The Succulent Alternative


Mmmmm…Spring!  It almost feels like a dream, spring-like weather for such an extended period of time.  It also makes me wonder what kind of summer is around the corner.  Just in case we are headed for a heat bath, I have decided to fill my porch pots with drought tolerant plants.  If you have spaghetti lines (stemming from your irrigation system) inserted into your pots, you are sure to have lush plants all season long.  If you must hand water (like I do), it is difficult to keep them looking nice in July and August.  Choosing plants which can handle the heat and the rapid drying of the soil might be the way to go if you continually struggle to keep them looking nice.

If you have never tried using succulents in your pots, I think you will truly enjoy them.  They can even be mixed in with other annuals as accents.  Our Tropicals Department stocks many interesting varieties and hardy sedum (in our Perennials Department) can also be used as filler.  If you decide to use the non-hardy type, they can easily be brought indoors and watered once a month through the winter.  Janet and Nancy (135th & Wornall) pre-assemble many pots which are ready for your outdoor living space, or you can select your own pot and plants and have fun arranging it yourself.

Nancy and Janet creations

There are no rules to succulent arranging, you can set the structure as you would a standard annual pot (something tall, something bushy & something cascading), or choose a landscape style (with berms and rocks).  You might expand your creativity by finding some interesting receptacles to showcase a lovely selection of succulents.  You really can’t go wrong.

Something that I love about these tough plants is that they have such unique design patterns and many have vibrant coloration.  They are also extremely easy to grow and fun to work with.

This is definitely a project that kids will enjoy, as well.  Be sure to warn them about cactus needles if they are going to be used.

I was plant shopping this past weekend with my little guy and he decided a cactus “needed some love” in the form of a pat on the “head”.  While he never cried, I knew it had happened because he wouldn’t use that hand to hold onto the cart anymore.  He did cry when I tried to scrape the fine little hairs out of his hand.  Poor little thing….cacti are beautiful, but the handling should definitely be left to the adults.

He had forgotten all about the incident by the following day and was eager to help me assemble my sedum pots.  I chose to use hardy sedum, which I will transfer to my garden beds later in the season.  In addition, I decided to stack a couple of pots together for added interest.  My son even “created” his very own.  Most of all I wanted something easy to care for with architectural interest with supplies which I already had.   As the season progresses, these pots will be tightly packed, plush with these lovely little plants. The golden Sedum ‘Angelina’ will cascade over the sides and contrast against the plants with a bluish cast, as well as, the terra cotta pots.  Once established in their pots, they will require very little supplemental water.

When selecting your filler plants, be sure to use one that grows quickly (a sedum or other).  If in doubt, ask us!  Smaller or elongated pots make great centerpieces for outdoor tables, as well.

Above all, have fun!  Enjoy the year that we are having and get out there and enjoy the weather while you can!!  I will be in touch soon.

The Garden that is Finished is Dead


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