Thursday, June 04, 2009

Suc-cu-lent noun: a plant adapted to arid conditions and characterized by fleshy water-storing tissues that act as water reservoirs.

I love these freaking plants. Their leaves, myriad varieties, and squishy weirdness never cease to fascinate me. With names like "string of pearls" and "jet beads" how could I not be completely drawn to them? And there seems to be no such thing as too many. Without further ado:

This little guy was a gift from Dudley's sweet mommy and found his home in this owl vessel I purchased at an estate sale.

The container also found at an estate sale, this small succulent is currently in Greenhouse Rehab at my parents'. Red decided when I first brought this one home that it looked like a tasty snack. (The plant has been recovering nicely.)

You just never know what this one will do... sprout roots out of nowhere, swoop down into the soil and then come back up with another new shoot. It's kind of ugly but in an awesome way. I got this plant from "the succulent guy" at the downtown Farmer's Market. I gave a cutting to my friend Kate, a fellow succulent fan, so I am interested to see what hers will do.

This was the first succulent I bought: the trusty jade plant. It has been repotted into this shell container after sitting in my kitchen window for about two years. Red decided (after I took the other one to rehab) that this new pot was going to be his digging spot. Outside it went. You can see behind it in the green pot is another succulent (got this one at Scarbrough's on Covington Pike), but I don't know its name.

Aforementioned "jet beads" found in the back right square green-ish pot. He may be headed to Rehab here pretty soon, truth be told. (Non-succulent strawberry begonia in the pot on the left.)

The challenges I've found with these guys (and succulents have a reputation for not having many at all, they are so hardy):

1. The entire garden industry does not seem to feel the need to produce any pots or containers for these plants whatsoever. They really need fairly shallow and wide areas in which to grow. I have really never come across such shapes, at least in ceramic form. This caused me to recently purchase a glass and tile drill bit for creating drainage in pots I find and want to use. Another way to ensure good drainage is to cover the bottom of the pot with rocks before putting in soil and planting. This helps with drainage too.

2. My townhouse presents both extremes in the lighting department. Indoors, you have very little light and a prowling kitty who is trying to eat you for his snack or dig you out of your home. Outdoors, especially in the summer, you have complete scorching sun with absolutely no shade or filtered light.

3. I will not tell a lie: I have killed at least 3 of these plants. It's not the end of the world (although it may feel close to it when they're on their last leg).

(Below: a very sweet plant stand J's mom gave me, which I spray-painted green and in which placed an aloe plant, another jade, and this other little guy whose name I don't know.)

For more interesting succulents and/or planters, go to Etsy and search "succulent plants." If you want a low-maintenance and/or interesting plant, this variety is for you!
Stay tuned for a non-succulent garden/courtyard post with some before-and-afters. Are there any particular breeds of plants you're a sucker for?


  1. Sunflowers! My hubby and I have a garden out at the community garden spot at Shelby Farms. There we can plant whatever we want. Last year I ordered some seed tape with different varieties of sunflowers and it was very easy! They have so many different colors of sunflowers to choose from and they are awesome for cutting and making arrangements for the indoors. They also draw the attention of beautiful butterflys that are fun to photograph. Anywho...that's my favorite. Thanks for sharing about yours!

  2. I love your courtyard, and I can't wait for you to help with my landscaping!!

    My jade is dying....


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