How to grow
Succulents require an open and sunny position. They also grow well in pots and can even be grown indoors, provided they’re in a well-lit area, like a window sill.
Succulents will grow in temperate to hot climates. Some are frost-tolerant, while others are very sensitive to cold so in cool areas, check with your nursery before you buy.
When planting in pots, use free-draining potting mix. If you’re planting them in the garden, sandy free-draining soils work best.
Succulents require minimal watering. A good tip is to test the soil with your finger – if it feels dry, give it a little water. Direct the water to the roots and avoid it sitting in the crown of the plant as this can promote rotting.
Succulents don’t require a lot of fertilising. Feed them with a slow release fertiliser, that’s low in nitrogen, in early spring which should see them through their main growing season.
One of the most common mistakes made with succulents is overwatering. In the middle of summer, twice a week is perfect but for more shade tolerant plants you once every 2 to 3 weeks is appropriate. Over winter they don't need much water at all.
Where to plant succulents in your garden
The beauty of succulents is that they’re so easy to multiply. Snap off a short stem with leaves attached, leave in a dry area until the end forms a callus or starts to sprout hair-like roots, then plant in potting mix.
As long as succulents are planted in well-draining soil and receive plenty of direct sunlight you won't run into any major problems. But if you're moving a succulent from one spot to another, aim to replicate the area from where the cutting was taken.
How to grow succulents in containers
These fleshy plants are easy to propagate, especially if you consider yourself a brown thumb. Just pluck a few leaves from your neighbours’ or friends’ plants and stick them in a free-draining mix.
Step 1 Using a clean and sharp pair of secateurs, cut a section of a stem from plant.
Step 2 Fill a seedling tray or a small pot with potting mix then, using your fingers or a pencil, poke shallow holes into mix.
Step 3 Remove a few lower leaves, which can also be planted, position in hole and gently compact soil with your fingers.
5 sensational succulents
Native to Southern Africa through to the Arabian Peninsula, cotyledon varieties vary in appearance but all have tubular flowers with curled tips.
Cultivation tip: Cotyledons will grow in cool conditions and frost-prone areas if kept dry during the winter. They require plenty of sunlight and are summer-flowering.
Native to the Canary Islands and Morocco, the genus comprises about 35 species. The fleshy leaves often have attractive variations and certain species form small shrubs of multiple rosettes.
Cultivation tip: Aeoniums grow in winter, so to bring out the best colours, ensure they enjoy full winter sun and are watered throughout the warmer months. They can also tolerate shade.
Thought to be the most varied of succulents, echeveria rosettes come in a range of colours and can be beautifully ruffled. Echeverias are native to the Americas.
Cultivation tip: Mostly summer growing, the leaf colours are more vibrant during the cooler months. Once established, echeverias can tolerate extended drought but will grow more profusely if watered during the warm seasons.
With over 200 species, Agaves are native to the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. The leaves are strong, sturdy and plump in appearance.
Cultivation tip: Agaves are generally slow-growing and will tolerate full sun to light shade. They’re extremely hardy and will survive drought conditions as well as frost. You’ll only need to water once every 1–2 months during winter.
Senecio is a large genus from all over the world, only some of which are succulents. There are species that grow into large bushy plants, though the most popular are the ground-covering succulents, particularly those with grey or blue leaves. These are useful for contrast in container plantings.
Cultivation tip: Senecio prefers a sunny position and well-draining, sandy soil. Once established, they require little in the way of maintenance. Keep well-watered during the warmer months and drier in winter.
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