Yesterday, I received a copy of Debra Lee Baldwin's new book, Succulent Container Gardens. I'd been waiting anxiously to see it, because though I've grown various succulent-type plants longer than I've actually been a gardener, I never was too excited about any of them. This past year though, they've caught my fancy and I appreciate their unique artsy forms and easy care.
They're actually perfect for just about anyone, especially those who forget to water. Succulents have that little issue covered, due to their ability to store water in their leaves or stems. Of course, you can't ignore them completely, but they're more forgiving than a lot of other things grown in pots in the house.
That's not to say I haven't killed a few. For example, I started out in August with a beautiful Echeveria that Mom gave me and while it did fine outside, this winter it has declined in the house. It's not dead yet, but it's lost so many of its leaves that it isn't attractive anymore. Can't win 'em all.
One succulent that many people grow, including me, is the Jade plant (Crassula ovata). Three years ago, I purchased a large one at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory and it sits in our family room in a south window, where it gets the most sun it can in winter.
Last year at the Ft. Wayne Home and Garden Show, the conservatory had a booth with many of their wonderful plants for sale and I added another Jade, this time a variegated one. It sits by the other one and is doing well, too.
When I was in Chicago last August, our visit to The Planter's Palette found me leaving with a small Senecio called 'Killimanjaro' (among other things). Just this week, I repotted it because there were more roots in the pot than soil and I found myself having to water more often than I cared to. It's now in a container just a little larger than the original.
My Haworthia started out as a miniature, but is about twice that size now and has produced some offspring.
last February, Aunt Kay let me dig up some babies at the base of her Aloe plants. I now have them in two different containers and they're growing nicely, with babies of their own coming up! I really love the speckling on this particular variety.
Debra's new book has given me some ideas for planting and display, so there may be more succulents in my future. I dream of one day having a giant Agave, Pam Penick style! (I'm sure Pam is very glad her garden is more than a thousand miles away from me - she knows how much I love her agaves!)
Watch for my review of Debra's book, Succulent Container Gardens, soon to be published on my garden book blog, Gardening by the Book.