About me

About me
🌿 I've been gardening ever since a child, when I spent time with my father in his vegetable garden. But my fascination with Echeverias started in the 1980's, when my father gave me a pot with five Echeverias, which turned out to be E. imbricata. At first I wasn't much interested in them and planted them in some obscure corner of the garden and completely forgot about them. How great was my surprise when, a couple of months later, I noticed that they had spread and made a beautiful display - I was hooked!
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Saturday, 19 December 2015

The joy of succulents in pots

Although succulents and cacti and are renowned for their 'easy care' and drought and heat tolerance, many succulents you may have in your garden might not be suited to your specific climate - some may prefer little water, some may thrive on lots more water, some may even prefer the shade and many might not be tolerant of too much cold or heavy frost.

Echeveria imbricata - doesn't tolerate frost and thrives on lots of water

That is the situation I have with many of my succulents. Here where I live (in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), we can have winters with extremely heavy frost. Even though we rarely experience temperatures below -2℃, which most succulents do not have a problem with, I have lost many an Echeveria because of the frost at temperatures well above freezing.

Another problem is the beautiful, rich, deep topsoil l have in my garden. That brings it's own set or problems - the soil is extremely porous and well-drained and even heavy rain tends to sink right down to well below where the plants can get hold of it (most succulents and cacti have very shallow root systems).

The joy of having your succulents in pots is the fact that you can control temperature by moving them either into the sun or into shade, you can tend to each one's water requirements separately and, if your pot is well-drained, even over-watering is hardly ever a problem. It's wise to pot your most precious and rarer succulents, ensuring that you may enjoy their beautfy for many years to come.

Shade- and water-loving Crussula imperialis

Echeveria imbricata in Terracotta pots that are easy to move under cover for winter

A young Aloe ferox starting its life in the safety of a pot, avoiding frost in the early years

Euphorbia cooperi (Transvaal candelabra) which I raised from a baby but lost one winter because I forgot to being it inside. It is mostly found in wooded grassland and rocky places from KwaZulu-Natal, through Swaziland and up to Messina in Limpopo, all basically frost-free areas.

Keeping my Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve's Needle) in a pot, reduces the chances of this weed-like opuntia spreading all over the garden

This Cactus trichocereus echinopsis hybrid is in a pot just because he's so beautiful and I love to look at him!

Echeveria imbricata thriving in dappled shade on my patio with protection from the frost from some overhanging branches

An Haworthia, some Aloe aristata (Guinea-fowl Aloe or Lace Aloe) and Peanut Cactus in an enamel bowl on my patio table. I often use some of my potted succulents as centre pieces for breakfast or lunch parties.


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