It’s no secret I’m obsessed with succulents. It’s my thing. I’ve embraced the infatuation. I have succulents everywhere in my garden, my front patio is constantly cluttered with pots filled with baby succulents and there are cuttings all over the outside table. My husband has given up complaining about the mess, bless him.
It’s an obsession that other people are starting to take interest in so I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you. (You can read about how to propagate succulents from a leaf and how to plunder other people’s pavement gardens over here.) What I’ve discovered from growing these plants myself in my own garden.
These are my favourites for the week:
Stapelia grandiflora –
(I thought this was stapelia gigantea, but I see the flowers are different)
- Also known as starfish flower or carrion flower.
- Long, slender columns. Colour of the plant can vary from dark green, to red-purple.
- Perennial (grows all year round) groundcover. Fairly fast growing.
- Low water needs. Prefers dry soil that drains easily after rain.
- Will flower frequently, but only if it’s happy.
- Flowers are large, ugly-looking and they smell really bad. Like rotting meat.
- This is because these flowers are pollinated by flies, not bees.
- They like a lot of sun and need between 3-4 hours of full sun a day.
- Stealing level: Easy to snap off a piece, easy to grow from cuttings.
- Because they grow in runners, they make good container plants.
- When it comes to frost, these are tender and will need to be covered.
Agave horrida –
- Also known as papery tiger, because of the shape of the jagged leaves.
- Rosette-shaped, dark green leaves with white marginal thorns. You’ll want to be careful of the thorns, as they’re poisonous and make you itchy if you get scratched.
- Slow growing, needs full sun. Low water needs. This one is in a pot that hardly ever gets water.
- Stealing level: Difficult. You have to get the full plant, because it’s a slow grower. Difficult also because of thorns. Have not tried propagating from a leaf, does not seem advisable. Worth purchasing.
- I’ve had it for almost a year and it has not yet flowered.
- I’ve read that it’s frost-tolerant and hardy, but I have not experienced this yet for myself.
Echeveria elegans –
- Also known as rock roses, desert roses, hen and chicks.
- Light blue rosettes, tinged with pink. Groundcover.
- Fast growing, medium water needs.
- Will grow just about anywhere, in hardly any soil.
- Loves full sun. If planted in shade, the stems will grow taller and the plants will look lanky, pale and sickly.
- Stealing level: easy. Snap off the rosette with a little piece of stem and you’re good to go. Grows new roots quickly. Can propagate easily from leaf.
- Frost tolerance: not high
- These flower in late spring, early summer.
- These plants break quite easily, but the leaves will grow (where they fall) into new plants.