Succulents: Houseplants of the Month for July
They’re a marvellous sight and require virtually no care: these succulents can survive heat waves and will still be radiant when you get back from your holiday.
Delicate antennae, sturdy spikes, magnificent star shapes, perfect rosettes, wild twists – succulents are outstanding examples of design by nature. And their names also make you think of faraway places: Echeveria, Crassula, Kalanchoe, Aeonium, Aloe, Haworthia, Rhipsalis and Peperomia. They’re all succulents, which means that they are able to store water in their roots, stems and thick leaves. This enables them to effortlessly cope with dry periods, such as your holiday.
Most succulents come from the tropics and subtropics, and originally arose in dry areas such as steppes, mountainous regions and semi-deserts in Africa and South and Central America. They are tough guys that can also survive in a hot bleak maritime climate in the wild. The name succulent comes from the Latin word ‘sucus’ means ‘juice’ or ‘moisture’.
How to recognise the stars of summer
Echeveria Stunning rosettes in grey, green and purple.
Crassula Scale model of a tree, but also with leaves like green tubes and green leaves with an orange or red edge.
Kalanchoë Options range from a whimsical foliage plant to an extravagant bloomer with flowers or bells.
Aeonium Rosettes with plain and coloured leaves ranging from pale green to almost black.
Aloë Stylised rosettes with tall, pointy leaves, both plain and with a pattern.
Haworthia Available as sturdy rosettes, but also with thick, round almost transparent leaves.
Rhipsalis Cheerful green mophead which first grows upwards and then becomes a hanging green curtain.
Peperomia Looks more like a foliage plant than a succulent, a variety of plain, variegated, smooth and corrugated leaves in various sizes.
Many rosette shapes amongst the succulents fit into the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical formula the refers to perfect ratios.
- Succulents like a warm and light spot.
- In terms of watering: preferably give plenty of water in one go, and then leave the soil to dry out for a couple of weeks.
- Be restrained with plant food: a little bit once a month is enough.
- Succulents can also be displayed on the garden table in the summer months.
Succulents are particular popular because their unusual, sometimes freakish shapes fit perfectly with the trend in which botanical elements are key. They’re perfectly suited to arrangements in low dishes, but also look attractive under a trendy glass dome. Because they can cope well with the sun, they’re ideal plants for an original windowsill garden.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 21 June 2018