House of the Rising Succulent: Gardening with Succulents

Written by Megan Gerdes

mcdermott remodeling succulents for your gardenSucculents are currently having a moment in the sun. These plump little beauties are not only adorable, but they’re also extremely low-maintenance. Their popularity has been on the rise since 2007, first dominating Instagram, then the world. Honestly, we get the excitement. Planting a bed of succulents in your garden is something of an art form. 

No longer do gardeners need to fret about delicate annual plants, pruning branches, unbalanced soil, or the host of issues that come with typical garden flowers. The succulent garden is a favorite of experienced horticulturalists and casual plant-parents alike.

Succulent Success

Many species of succulents are recognizable for their thick, fleshy leaves and stems. In addition to giving these plants the aura of a cute, chubby-cheeked infant, these fleshy bits are used to store water for long periods of time. Thus, the succulent appeal: these little guys can go a long time without being watered, making them extremely desirable for the forgetful or busy gardener. 

Succulents and their cacti cousins are primed to live in arid climates because of their ability to retain water. You can think of them as the camels of the plant world! In fact, succulents really aren’t big fans of overly humid climates, and overwatering them can actually kill them faster. They also don’t enjoy being frozen, which is why many plant lovers who live in cooler or more varied regions keep their succulents indoors, where they can thrive year-round.

Another incredible feature of the succulent? Their ability to easily reproduce, or ‘propagate.’ Propagating a succulent can be as easy as removing some leaves from a plant, allowing them to rest a few days, potting them in water or soil, and watching them grow!

Succulent Types

While there are hundreds of subspecies of succulents, here are a few of the most popular indoor and outdoor varieties. 

Indoor succulents love bright light, minimal watering, and sandy, well-draining soil. Even in winter, these hardy little fellows can survive and thrive, unlike their houseplant counterparts.

Jade Plant

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This succulent has shiny, dark green leaves, reminiscent of the stone it’s named after. Like a tiny tree, it has a main trunk populated with branches, which sprout leaves. When mature, these leaves can be tipped with dark red, and even grow star-shaped white flowers.

Snake Plant

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Snake plants are the perfect indoor succulent for beginners. They can be left without water for long periods, and never lose their shape or freshness. They have long, pointed, variegated green leaves that grow directly upward, giving them plenty of height. It’s a striking look for any space.

Pincushion Cactus

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Although cacti are a type of succulent, they are often differentiated by name. This particular cactus is tiny, round, and covered all over in soft, prickly spikes. It grows to about six inches tall and produces a vibrant pink bloom that will brighten your day.

Aloe Vera

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The much-beloved aloe vera is not only lovely to look at, but it’s leaves have therapeutic properties as well. Its long, pointed limbs can grow quite thick, and at maturity, the leaves are filled with a gel-like substance that you can use to treat burns and moisturize skin.

Although succulents can survive outdoors, fluctuating climates can take their toll. Consider growing them in planters, so you can raise them off the frosty ground or even bring them inside if needed.

Hens and Chicks

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This succulent genus is extremely easy to propagate, hence the ‘chicks,’ which spring off the plant with regularity. They come in a variety of colors, and when treated well, grow in the shape of a crown.

Stonecrop

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The stonecrop, or sedum, features tall varieties and ‘creeping’ variations, which stay close to the ground. They produce colorful clusters of cylindrical leaves and look excellent on rock walls or pergola roofs.

Whale’s Tongue Agave

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With their long, flat, pointed oval leaves, these massive succulents can grow up to five feet tall and three-to-six feet wide. With care, they can also produce flowers on tall, protruding vertical stalks, making them ideal for outdoor gardens.

Ball Cactus

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Covered in vertical columns of spikes, the circular ball cactus can grow up to a hefty two feet in height. They look striking, but don’t get too close! They pinch.

Sunburst

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The sunburst has rounded leaves, arranged in a pinwheel shape around a central trunk. Their tricolored green, yellow, and white leaves paint a pretty picture, especially with their dark red tips and white mid-summer blooms.

If you find yourself seduced by succulents, McDermott Remodeling is here to help you put these beautiful blossoms to bed. Connect with us today, and let’s get started.

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