Fashionable Succulent Plants
Fashionable succulent plants are everywhere now!
You’d be forgiven for thinking that gardening is unaffected by fashion.
Indeed many gardens are laid out to reflect times past and to be a place to escape from the hurly burly of our increasingly frantic lives. I see that as a good thing and gardens will have an increasingly important role to play.
But we do see fashion influencing gardens and, whilst the pace of change may be slower than the clothes industry, change is still there!
Who’s buying fashionable succulent plants?
After languishing and unloved by all but the passionate collector, succulents plants and cacti are back in vogue!
What is especially exciting is that young people are interested in growing these easy to care for succulent plants!
Of course, the windowsill of a student bedroom can be a challenging place for a plant! But succulent plants are forgiving and will wait for that occasional drink of water and don’t mind so much about not being regularly fed.
So they, and cacti, are a good choice for these budding gardeners.
But it isn’t just the younger generation that are realising that plants – that are adapted to harsh conditions in the wild – also make good bright windowsill plants too!
Succulent or cacti
Perhaps it is worth explaining that the difference between succulent plants and cacti is largely the spikes!
Both store up water and food inside swollen stems and leaves so that they can get through periods of intense heat and droughts and survive.
Some of these are also capable of withstanding periods of very cold temperatures at night.
So to them the harsh conditions that exist on a windowsill will not faze them.
Close to the glass, where light is brightest and heat greatest, and near to the radiator, blasting out hot dry air, they can cope!
But surely they don’t do anything?
You might argue that succulents plants and cacti change very little. I would have to concede that until they flower!
Although their blooms are short lived, they are amongst the most colourful and spectacular of the whole plant kingdom!
But by and large it is for the contrasting shapes and forms that these are grown, with the blooms being an added and very significant bonus.
Where do they grow naturally
Both succulent plants and cacti have evolved in desert or near desert areas of the world.
In the New World many succulents have evolved with sharp spines and this protects them from being eaten.
In the Old World they tend to be spineless and are more often called succulents but they are actually remarkably similar plants.
Are there any hardy ones
A few hardy plants that we grow outside in our gardens can also be called succulent plants. Stonecrops, Sedums and Sempervivums are prime examples and are increasingly being used on green roofs.
Novelty fashionable succulent plants
But I think the most novel use of succulent plants in the home must be the fridge succulent! This special container is held in place on the outside of the fridge door by a strong magnet and the succulent plants cheer up the front of the fridge door.
Move over post-it notes and fridge magnets, there’s a new kid on the block!
Best varieties to grow
Best succulent plants to grow are Aeonium, Agave, Aloe, Crassula, Echeveria, Haworthia, Kalanchoe, Sedum and Sempervivum. These are readily available now.
Several of these will happily spend summer outside and be better for it!
I grow the black leaf Aeonium ‘Schwarzkopf’ and blue leaf Echeveria in pots and place them in the sun at the furthest point from my hosepipe reach. They have to rely on rainfall and my poor memory for water there!
Wherever you grow them, try mixing contrasting looking succulent plants together in the same container. Use free draining compost, keep them cool in winter and don’t be afraid to give them some fresh air outside in summer. Remember, they will not be happy with poor light and so prefer south and west facing window sills.
Do you grow succulent plants in your garden?
Do you find that fashionable succulent plants are easy plants for a windowsill?
Have you seen these plants growing in the desert?
I saw quite a few on a trip that I describe here to Namakwaland.
You might find this RHS resource on succulent plants worth reading.