This weekend I went to a succulent show. These happen twice a year, and it’s something I really look forward to. Why? Because it’s a chance to get my hands on succulents and cacti that are difficult to find at nurseries and in shops, or too delicate to be planted out into pavement gardens and left defenseless and unattended for someone like me to swipe. At least twice a year I pay actual money for succulents, and consider it money well spent.
I’m always hesitant to buy succulents from shops (those little glass pots from Woolies etc) because there’s always the risk they haven’t been potted properly and the roots will rot and the plant will die. Which is why it’s better to buy directly from the experts, who know how to look after the plants they’re selling. They also dispense care advice before you buy, which is handy too.
This is what I got:
This week’s selection from my garden:
Graptosedum bronze –
- A compact shrub-like plant, with succulent spiral-forming fleshy leaves on stalks.
- Needs at least 6 hours of full sun to develop a deep, rich red colour. If this plant gets too much shade it will be a pale, insipid greeny-brown colour.
- Slow grower, slow spreader.
- Stealing level: Easy. Snap off a stalk or two, and you’re good to go. Can propagate from leaf but it’s a slow grower, so be patient.
- Low water requirements, but does need good drainage. Don’t plant it where the soil stays water-logged after rains.
- Suitable for planting in containers.
- Bright yellow flowers on a very tall stalk, late spring early summer.
Faucaria tigrina –
- Also known as tiger’s jaw succulent.
- Spiky leaves that look like a tiger’s open mouth with serrated toothsome edges. These grow in clumps, and they’re quite low to the ground.
- I’ve planted these in a shallow biscuit tin, so they’re happy and won’t get smothered by bigger, sprawling plants.
- These succulents need full sun. At least 3-4hours of direct sunlight, without which they will not flower.
- These plants get a daisy-like flower in late autumn, but the blossom is very short-lived.
- Low water requirements.
- Stealing level: Challenging. You need to get a full plant. I have not tried to propagate from leaf. Worth paying money for.
- Relatively fast grower.
Crassula perforata –
- Also known as string of buttons. I’ve come across a variety of different plants that all fall under this same name, all basically stacked crassula.
- Indigenous to South Africa.
- This plant looks like stacks of buttons, and these stacks will eventually grow and spread into dense colonies. Mine hasn’t grown taller than 25cm, but it has spread substantially.
- Stealing level: Relatively easy. Getting the plant to grow once you’ve stolen it? Another story. I bought this one, because I couldn’t get the cuttings I’d stolen to re-grow. But I have had success with other variations of this plant.
- Needs a lot of sun, but protection from the midday sun.
- Flowers in late autumn. Tiny little pink-white blossoms.
- Low water needs.
Missed the succulent show? You can catch the next one. There’s a spring and autumn sale, so join the Johannesburg Succulent Society Facebook group here.
Missed my other posts?
- How to propagate succulents and tips for guerrilla gardening.
- Last week’s 3 favourite succulents – stapelia grandiflora, agave horrida, echeveria elegans.
Got any questions about succulents or need help identifying* something in your garden? Leave me a comment or hit me up on Twitter.