Suc­cu­lents That are Master­pieces

Bring out the beauty of dif­fer­ent low­ers by mix­ing them in one pot or lo­ca­tion

Business Daily (Kenya) - - GARDENING - lig­ad­­tion­ Lynet Igad­wah

Shabby chic gar­dens do not come easy, you have to be cre­ative, hire a good land­scaper or em­brace im­per­fec­tion. Noth­ing quite dis­plays the beauty of suc­cu­lents than when dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties are grown in time worn fur­ni­ture and at one spot in a garden.

Suc­cu­lents come in dif­fer­ent geo­met­ric and ar­chi­tec­tural shapes and their aes­thetic is about per­fectly mix­ing them in one pot or lo­ca­tion.

Take, for in­stance, the ‘Echev­e­ria’ with its Mex­i­can splen­dour sit­ting side by side with the thim­ble cac­tus and the ‘Pachev­e­ria’ in a con­tainer or garden.

Teresa Lubano, the owner of a thriv­ing on­line shop for suc­cu­lents says if the in­ten­tion is to have a shabby chic fin­ish, have a ‘clever eye’ so that the pot or garden does not look dis­or­gan­ised. “When pair­ing suc­cu­lents, al­ways con­sider the spot/ base you are plant­ing them and con­sider that some are pro­lific while oth­ers grow so slowly,” says the pro­pri­etor of shop­nan­jala that has grown over the years to at­tract big con­tracts.


Some of the suc­cu­lents that can be paired per­fectly to bring out an artis­tic form and add glam­our in­clude the ‘Cal­i­for­nia Sun­set,’ a plant that boasts beau­ti­ful colour­ing with the Se­dum ‘Don­key

Tail’ which drapes dra­mat­i­cally.

The ‘Spring­time’, a slow grow­ing suc­cu­lent is also a ground cover that can be com­bined with

‘Cal­ico Kit­ten’ which is an adorable trail­ing suc­cu­lent with colour­ful, heart shaped leaves in shades of rose, pink, cream and green.

You can even re­peat one type of suc­cu­lent in all pots or spots for a cre­ative colour echo. Be­low are ex­am­ples of spots where suc­cu­lents can be paired;


The size of the pot will de­ter­mine the types of plants you can mix. While a com­bi­na­tion of the ‘Echev­e­ria’, ‘Thim­ble cac­tus’ and ‘Pachev­e­ria’ will look awe­some in a small pot, the op­po­site might be the case with the agave.

Agaves are suc­cu­lents with large rosette of thick, fleshy leaves and short stem. The leaves are nor­mally spring­ing from the roots, hence this might be too much for the small pot.

“Opt for spillers and ground cover types like ‘Cras­su­laes’ and ‘Se­dums’ if your pot­ting is open,” Ms Lubano says.

For a strik­ing ef­fect in the home, Ms Lubano says her favourite is the ‘San­sev­e­rias’ or ‘Cac­tii’ which add a sculp­tural ef­fect in any home. Al­ways re­mem­ber to use top dress­ing af­ter plant­ing the suc­cu­lents in the con­tainer as this gives it the ‘fin­ished’ look.


While in­cor­po­rat­ing driftwood in your garden gives it a bit of rus­tic artis­tic feel, hav­ing suc­cu­lents grow on it is even more in­trigu­ing.

You can put soil in the de­pres­sions on the driftwood and grow suc­cu­lents that have iconic coloura­tion such as the jade plant and com­bine this with the ‘Echev­e­ria’ va­ri­eties.

Ms Lubano ex­plains that bright sun­light brings about var­ied coloura­tion in suc­cu­lents.

“For ex­am­ple, a jade plant that lives in­doors will have green leaves how­ever when the same plant is placed out­side, the tips go a red­dish or­ange, this is also the same for the ‘Sticks of fire’,” she says.


The best ex­am­ple in this class is the gum­ball ma­chine planter which ba­si­cally is the work of re­cy­cling. The open globe ter­rar­ium or the suc­cu­lents orb also fea­tures here.

The best com­bi­na­tion of plants to have in these semi closed planters are minia­ture suc­cu­lents.

“For ex­am­ple, the ze­bra cac­tus (har­wothia), thim­ble cac­tus or op­un­tias and echev­e­rias are great as they are slow,” she says.


While the in­door va­ri­eties are mainly the ‘hardy suc­cu­lents’ such as the cac­tus, ‘San­sev­e­ria’ (snake plant), jade plant and the ‘Har­woth­ias’, the out­door va­ri­eties nor­mally in­cludes echev­e­rias, se­dums, sem­per­vivums (hens and chicks) as well as cras­su­laes.

The out­door types are nor­mally green coloured and thrive with sun. How­ever to some level, all suc­cu­lents re­quire sun­light (or bright light) to sur­vive.

Ms Lubano warns against over­wa­ter­ing suc­cu­lents as they will rot and deny­ing them light as they will wither.

“Starve them. Wa­ter spar­ingly and only one a week or fort­night es­pe­cially when in­doors. Don’t place in dark cor­ners as this part of the house gets the least light. Try win­dowsills, ve­ran­dahs and bal­conies if you want a suc­cu­lent to last you decades,” she says.

She also warns that some suc­cu­lents are harm­ful and one ought to be cau­tious of species such as the ‘Sticks of Fire’ as the sap if in­gested is poi­sonous.

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