The succulent solution

It’s easy to see why Succulents have become so popular in contemporary gardens.  Many are evergreen; they’re undemanding and easy to grow – provide them with a sunny spot and the right conditions and they’re off. Best of all, with today’s climate issues, they’re drought tolerant.

Sempervivum (Houseleeks)
Sempervivum (Houseleeks). Photo: Gardening Express

There’s a huge range from tender, indoor varieties to hardy spreading types.  From four-foot tall architectural Agaves to ground-hugging intricate varieties. But it’s best not to run before you can walk and a combination of hardy Sempervivums (houseleeks) and Sedums (stonecrops) is a good place to start.


Succulents. Photo: House Beautiful

They need free-draining soil – you can use a special cactus mix or make your own incorporating sand and plenty of grit.  If your soil is heavy you’re better off planting them in containers.  Waterlogging is fatal to succulents so water sparingly when the soil is dry.  Planting against a south-facing wall will help to prevent over-watering due to the rain shadow under the eaves, and if you top-dress with gravel it will help to avoid root-rot.  They require little to no feeding – remember you’re mimicking the dry conditions of the desert and savannah.

Succulents. Photo: The Succulent Guy

Succulents are happy container plants and can stay in the same pot for years.  A shallow bowl or trough is ideal, but as they can grow successfully in crevasses and on roofs you have many options for more unusual containers.