Designing succulents into the garden
Of all the different kinds of plants, there is no group with more variety in size shape, color and texture than succulents. Succulents are plants that have adapted to their environments by evolving the ability to store water in altered leaves or stems. By storing water in the plant tissues these plants can handle uneven rainfall and the occasional drought. Because succulent adaptations have occurred in a variety of climates, not all succulents will thrive in the same conditions. Some can take cold, some are frost sensitive, some bask happily in full sun while others demand shade, some can take dry soil whereas others need more water. Just as different plants grow in different conditions they also take an assortment of forms from tall to short, fuzzy to smooth, rosette or sword shaped. Because there is such a wide range of growth habits in the world of succulents they offer one of the best plant materials you can use for designing.
Succulents can be designed with other plants to offer textures and sculptural forms, cover ground where other plants will suffer from fast drainage, or create gardens of their own. They are ideal for planting vertical walls or green roofs where their small roots and spreading habits can be fashioned into patterns or pictures.
If you want excellent and detailed information on succulents, check out Debra Lee Baldwin’s books on designing and using succulents in the garden and in containers.
At the recent Pacific Horticultural Symposium held in Pasadena, speaker and succulent garden expert, Patrick Anderson offered suggestions on how you can use succulents to create a beautiful garden of your own. Whether using succulents in special containers, growing them on unusual surfaces like living walls or green roofs, or insinuating them into your landscape design and gardens, these plants can add wonderful effects to your plant designs. I was fortunate to nab Patrick for a short, informal interview at the symposium. Please check out the video to hear some of this expert’s tips on designing succulents into the garden.
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