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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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Planting succulents in containers

Planting succulents in containers has various benefits. Succulents are not fussy plants (or so we are led to believe! I have some that insist on lots of special attention and tender loving care!) and will grow just about anywhere. Controlling water requirements is easy, for there are some that thrive with hardly any water and a few, like Crassula imperialis and Echeveria imbricata, absolutely thrive on lots of water. Containers don't have to be expensive and anything goes, from glass bottles to rocks with a hole or an indentation, tins, wooden crates, terracotta pots, concrete blocks, bricks, cups and saucers, wire baskets, pots and pans, plastic containers, dog baskets and even cardboard boxes.

Echeveria imbricata planted in an old dog basket - this one has now become too big and heavy to bring inside, so is moved under cover during winter

Many (or most!) of my succulents and cacti are planted in containers because of the severe winter frosts we get here in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa). It enables me to bring in and winterize those that do not tolerate frost. Most succulents have no problem with cold winters and many of them need a cold winter to flower, but being plants that store water, frost is deadly. I almost lost my whole Echeveria imbricata collection to one such severe frosty winter.

An Echeveria imbricata that grew beautifully from a single leaf planted in the pot and on the right, some new Aeonium cuttings

Shade-loving Gasteria that do not mind the cold but I keep them under cover on the patio.

Crassula imperialis do well in pots (with lots of water) and will form thick, trailing clumps.

Enamelware bowls make beautiful containers, but unless you drill holes in the bottom, do not over-water

Vygies - Lampranthus - look lovely in baskets or any container where they can trail over the edge. The Graptoveria sharing the basket (and at the back left) do not do well indoors, they shrivel up and become leggy, so I let them brave the winters outside.

The hardy Austrocylindropuntia subulata monstrosa doesn't mind the frost but looks better when spending the winter indoors - it tends to grey out a bit outside in the frost and stays greener indoors.

I do have some cacti in pots, but purely for ornamental reasons. They easily survive the most severe winters, even frost, except for Echinopsis, I've lost a few due to severe frost. So now I have a few containers filled with Echinopsis eyriesii that come inside every winter.

Echinopsis cacti (E. eyriesii) rescued from the garden after severe frost and planted in a fan cover.They're sharing space with some Crassula imperialis, not a good mix, as the Crassula require a lot of water and the cacti do not, so I'll have to re-think this configuration!

A few of my succulents and cacti in various containers


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