Succulents. Oh beautiful, easy, green succulents.
I’ve got succulent love pretty bad. But really, what’s not to love? They are green and lush like a house plant, but often with delicate, flower-like features. They’re masculine and feminine. They’re nearly impossible to kill. If succulents were a pet, they would be as friendly and loving and loyal as a dog, but with the independence, quirkiness, and meme capabilities of a cat.
So. A brief look at the succulents sitting (or hanging) around our place.
Senecio rowleyanus, or “string of pearls,” is one of the most recent additions to our house. Already since I took this photo (two weeks ago?) this guy has grown an inch or two. This one is a native to Southwest Africa and apparently flowers. It’s droopy “beads” make it a prime plant for a hanging pot (which we will be upgrading soon). Important note: if you have children or curious animals, get this one off the ground as the leaves are poisonous if consumed.
Aloe vera is probably the most commonly owned succulent. We all know that come summer, breaking into one of these can relieve sunburn, but what you might not have known is that aloe vera is only found in cultivation, having no naturally occurring populations. It does have relative aloes that can be found in northern Africa, though.
Sedum morganianum, or “donkey tail,” is a flowering succulent that is native to southern Mexico and Honduras. These trailing stems can grow up to 60 cm long! Note: this one does well indoors or out, with good to strong light, but not in blazing hot temperatures. It also likes to be watered less frequently in winter during its period of dormancy. I often find Little Girl, if left unattended for a few minutes, ripping the leaves off this one. Poor donkey tail…
Pachyphytum is native to Mexico. I believe my plant here is a pachyphytum hookeri, which like light sun to partial shade. I’ve heard it called “hooker’s fat plant,” but guys, I can’t call this my hooker’s fat plant. Eek. Pachyphytum will do. Anyway, this one is slow growing and pretty easy to care for as long as your tiny daughter doesn’t giggle and rip the leaves off.
Crassula ovata, or “jade plant,” “friendship tree,” “lucky plant,” or “money tree” is a native to South Africa. These guys can get quite large, in the 3 ft department. They like lots of sunshine and humidity (yeah, welcome to Alabama, you’ll love it here).
Echeveria harmsii, or “red velvet,” is a native to Mexico. It is fast growing and shrub-like. Apparently their leaves become quite red in cold weather. These guys like full sun and grow to be about a foot tall.
Echeveria is a native to semi-desert areas of Central America (from Mexico to South America). There are many kinds of echeveria (red velvet, being one), but I believe what I have here is echeveria chihuahuaensis, which is known for it’s powdery, grey-green leaves with little reddish tips, which is exactly what these tips do (although the photo doesn’t showcase it).
The unlabeled plant in the upper-right corner is a mystery. Many searches for this guy’s identity have returned void. Sadly, since this picture was taken, its health has deteriorated. It seems like this one requires different water or light needs than the others in its bowl. Sigh.
Lastly here is my “little jewel,” or pachyveria glauca. This succulent is a hybrid between the pachyphytum and the echeveria. Cooooool. The browning that you see on its leaves are not normal. I sunburned it. Yes, I thought it would appreciate a nice sit on the porch (stop laughing, Mr. P) and it got sunburned. Because I’m an idiot. So, just ignore that… these guys actually do well in sun, but if the temperature is above 92 degrees, they should be in the shade and watered a bit more frequently.
One rule of thumb for pretty much all succulent care is that you’re more likely to kill these plants by over-watering than under-watering. They need well-draining soil and they shouldn’t be watered until their soil is completely dry (typically).
I’m currently trying to decide how I want to display them. The string of pearls is going to get a hanging basket upgrade, but the bowl of many succulents is going to changed soon. I’m thinking a hanging terrarium? Or maybe even a bird cage. Ah, so many possibilities. As always, I’ll keep you posted.