Moisture-storing succulents are a living palette for the artist-gardener. From loafers to loaf pans, the plants will grow in anything that holds soil.

 

Pot of succulents

Succulents are problem-solvers. They come in every color, are shallow-rooted, start readily from cuttings, and won’t wilt if minimally watered. Some succulents are ground covers and cascaders; others are upright and spiky. Many resemble roses.

 

Planted teacup on vintage books

Succulents need good drainage lest their roots rot. But a little-known fact about these remarkable plants is that they’re fine in non-draining containers, providing the soil stays barely moist and is never soggy.

So, fill a repurposed sugar bowl, flour sifter, coffee mug or colander with cactus mix (available by the bag at nurseries), then plant with succulent rosettes or stem cuttings. Cover bare soil with pebbles, and you’ll have a mini-garden perfect for a patio or windowsill, or a one-of-a-kind gift for a gardening friend.

 

Succulents in joint compound pans

Water succulents weekly in hot weather and monthly in cold. If in non-draining containers, dribble water at the base of the plants. Beyond that, all they need is good air circulation, lots of light and benign neglect.

 

Chicken feeder with succulents

Hens-and-chicks nest appropriately in the basin of a galvanized poultry fountain. Jade plant cuttings complete the charmingly witty composition.

 

Planted vintage pail and bottle basket

Succulents for Starters

These gorgeous, easy-care and water-wise plants are becoming readily available at garden centers, nurseries and online sources.

 

zwartkop plant in deep purple

Plant: Aeonium Zwartkop

Exposure: Sun

Height: 12-24 inches

Spacing: 8-14 inches

Hardy temperature: 25°F (-4°C)

Uses: In pots, flower beds and borders

Features: Tightly-packed leaf rosettes grow at the ends of stem-like branches, heat tolerant

Colors: Dark purple

 

Sedum Rupestre Angelina

Plant: Angelina Stonecrop Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

Height: 3-6 inches

Spacing: 10-12 inches

Hardy temperature: -40°F (-40°C)

Uses: Perfect for containers and beds, and as a ground cover

Features: Striking needle-shaped foliage, heat tolerant

Colors: Chartreuse to brilliant golden yellow

 

Coppertone Stonecrop

Plant: Coppertone Stonecrop Sedum nussbaumerianum

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

Height: 3-6 inches

Spacing: 6-8 inches

Hardy temperature: 25°F (-4°C)

Uses: In rock gardens, mixed containers and desert plantings

Features: Cylindrical foliage turns coppery yellow in full sun. Produces globular clusters of tiny white flowers, January through April

Colors: Yellow-green to yellow-bronze

 

Topsy Turvy succulant

Plant: ‘Topsy Turvy’ Echeveria runyonii

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

Height: 4-6 inches

Spacing: 6-10 inches

Hardy temperature: 25°F (-4°C)

Uses: Great in containers, appealing gift plant

Features: Fleshy, spherical rosettes of pointed and creased, inward-curving leaves

Colors: Silvery gray

 

BabyJade

Plant: Baby Jade Crassula ovate arborescens

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

Height: 8-16 inches

Spacing: 8-14 inches

Hardy temperature: 25°F (-4°C)

Uses: In mixed cactus containers, landscapes and beds, or as a windowsill plant

Features: Glossy round leaves on diminutive branching shrubs produce starry white flowers

Colors: Red-rimmed green leaves

 

campfire succulant in green yellow and red

Plant: Campfire Crassula coccinea ‘Campfire’

Exposure: Sun

Height: 12-24 inches

Spacing: 8-10 inches

Hardy temperature: 35°F (2°C)

Uses: Lends brilliant color to beds, borders, hanging baskets, wreaths and container gardens

Features: Striking coloration and an interesting form make this succulent a stand-out

Colors: Red (with full sun)

 

Cobweb hens and chicks

Plant: Cobweb Houseleek Sempervivum arachnoideum

Exposure: Sun

Height: 2-4 inches

Spacing: 6-10 inches

Hardy temperature: -20°F (-29°C)

Uses: Tuck into the pockets of strawberry jars and use as a filler in potted combos

Features: White-webbed rosettes form tight clusters

Colors: Green and white

 

Bronco hens and chicks

Plant: ‘Bronco’ hens-and-chicks Sempervivum hybrid

Exposure: Sun

Height: 2-4 inches

Spacing: 6-10 inches

Hardy temperature: -20°F (-29°C)

Uses: Great for rock gardens and containers

Features: Forms colonies of pointed-leaf rosettes

Colors: Green tipped with purple

 

gator Aloe

Plant: Partridge Breast Aloe Aloe variegata

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

Height: 4-8 inches

Spacing: 4-8 inches

Hardy temperature: 20°F (-7°C)

Uses: Useful for adding height to container gardens

Features: Striped leaves overlap to form a fan-shaped plant

Colors: Green and white

 

Ghost Plant

Plant: Ghost Plant Graptopetalum paraguayense

Exposure: Part Sun to Sun

Height: 4-12 inches

Spacing: 4-8 inches

Hardy temperature: 25°F (-4°C)

Uses: In containers, beds and hanging baskets

Features: Rosettes on ever-lengthening stems become pendant over time

Colors: Blue-gray to pinkish-yellow

 

Echeveria perle

Plant: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’

Exposure: Sun

Height: 6-10 inches

Spacing: 6-10 inches

Hardy temperature: 25°F (-4°C)

Uses: In rock gardens and container compositions

Features: Produces teacup-sized rosettes

Colors: Purple-pink

 

Agave 'Blue glow'

Plant: Blue Glow Agave ‘Blue Glow’

Exposure: Sun

Height: 18-24 inches

Spacing: 18-24 inches

Hardy temperature: 5°F (-15°C)

Uses: Beautiful in landscapes or containers, especially backlit by the sun

Features: A magnificent hybrid with red-edged leaves

Colors: Blue

 

© Caruth Studio

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