Seed Swaps

Succulents are great for dry shade and where you don't want to disturb the roots of other plants.

They are so easy and self-reliant. The key seems to be to site them where they can get on in the first place. While they are very independant they can’t keep up with many faster growing plants which can swamp them and completely shade them out. They aren’t that tolerant. Of course they are also very scuptural, often shiny and colorful too. Many are attractive to hummingbirds when in bloom.

I’m interested in succulents as landscape/garden plants outdoors. I can’t grow all of them in my Berkeley, California garden but I can grow many. Drainage is a problem here with my clay soil, but easily overcome with raised beds. I use them a lot in my dry island bed where I wish to avoid all watering. Many pelargoniums do well here as do euphorbias and California fuchsia. So have Aeoniums, Echeveria, Graptopetalum, Agaves, Sedums, Yuccas, Aloes and some cacti including my favorite ‘Strausii’, a Cleistocactus I believe, done well here. One larger barrell cactus was completely hollowed out by some of the largest grubs I’ve ever seen. Yuck. In addition, California poppies and ‘Love In a Mist’ come back from their own seed every year and I cull out those that threaten to swamp the permanent cast leaving as many as possible. (Sometimes an Oenethera odorata seedling will come up in an opportune spot and get to stay as well.) One of my favorite plants in the garden (and at least ten years old) is the Ceonothis cultivar ‘Diamond Height’. It is a very low growing rambler with exquisite folliage and easily missed powder blue flowers in the spring. It is an excellent weaver coming up between masses of Graptopetalum and other succulents over an area of several feet, making mouth wateriing contrasts. The larger plants here include two Queensland Bottle trees (Brachiton rupestris I think), a Palo Verde tree (Cercidium) and a Leucospernum cultivar called ‘Red Gem’. The Palo Verde tree is underplanted with yellow flowering Bulbiinella from South Africa which look like miniature kniphofia and the blue flowering Convulvulus (sp?). In the spring there are some little Muscari bulbs which come up near the base of the ‘Diamond Heights’ ceonothis and some yellow flowering, sweet smelling Freesias. Lantana tends to want just a little more water than I really want to give it here but I am cheating to get one established here. Perhaps later I can harden it off of its water habit.

Posted over 10 years ago

Taking your advice, I planted 3 more succulents under my orange tree and bird of paradise bush. I’m forming a little colony of succulents under there!

Posted about 10 years ago

Hi there! You're reading a conversation in the Cacti and Succulents group on Folia.