by Monica Pugh
Succulents In Your Gardens
Succulents are one of the easiest plants to add and grow in your garden. They are typically described as a plant with thick, fleshy and swollen stems and/or leaves that adapt to dry environments. They require very little care and don't mind if they are forgotten about and not watered.... in fact, they probably like that which makes them a perfect plant for my garden!
The succulent above is what I call a "Grow Forever". I call it that because that's what my mother-in-law called it when she brought us a cutting from one of hers. They simply grow forever. They can be moved and propagated very easily. This particular variety has pinkish blooms later in the summer. If you know of someone who has one and you want one in your yard....simply cut off a stem or two and plant it in your yard...it's that easy.
This yellow sedum is an heirloom plant to me. It grew in eastern Iowa outside of my childhood home when I was growing up. My mom still has some in her yard. We simply brought a few cuttings back and put them in around some rocks (which you can no longer see). It makes a great ground cover around my giraffe. This spring Brenden took a few cuttings and planted them.... it's fun because you don't need the roots....they just grow them again.
Funny enough.... my heirloom sedum spread all on it's own to another spot by my pool. I'm leaving it for now... it makes me smile.
Did you know we have cactus in Iowa? This Prickly Pear Cactus is considered a part of the succulent family and is a native Iowa prairie plant. We started out with two small cactus pads and now it is huge. It enjoys poor soil and little water. It is also just like it's name states...very, very prickly. So we have it in a pot. We just transplanted it this spring to a larger pot. I wore three pairs of gloves and still managed to get prickles. This is not a plant everyone wants in their garden but we enjoy it. And I think it's important to know we have these in Iowa. It stays outside all winter. Apparently they are edible and Eric has stories to tell about farmers feeding them to cattle..... interesting. Eric also says if the conditions are right it will bloom.... I hope it does someday.
One day I happened upon plant towers on Pinterest. They were using them for herbs. I gave it a try but it did not work well at all. The pots dry out quickly and just aren't large enough to sustain herbs. So I turned it into a succulent tower..fairy garden with little lights. Succulents are perfect for these. I bring it in during the winter. The plants are so forgiving. I love searching for a new little one to add to the tower.
This silly plant in the left picture just won't die. At one point it was accidentally tossed onto the sidewalk like a weed, rescued, replanted, and it grew and multiplied. This year I cut off all of the plant as it was out of control and figured it would be done. It has some prickly things I don't really like. But, nope, it is growing once again.
Succulents are still available at nurseries for planting...but better yet take a cutting from a friend or family member and see how easy it is to grow them however you choose!
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