Suc­cu­lent plants for low-main­te­nance

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NEWS -

Now is the time of year to fo­cus on out­door land­scap­ing projects. One pop­u­lar project in­volves re­design­ing the front yard or back­yard to in­clude an ar­ray of dif­fer­ent flow­ers and fo­liage. While many peo­ple grav­i­tate to the flashy and col­or­ful an­nu­als on dis­play at nurs­eries and home cen­ters, you may want to con­sider adding some suc­cu­lents to your home land­scape.

Suc­cu­lent plants can be a boon to a home­owner with­out the time or re­sources to main­tain plants. Suc­cu­lents get their name from their pri­mary func­tion, which is draw­ing up and stor­ing wa­ter. Suc­cu­lents are able to thrive in arid con­di­tions, and there are more than 300 dif­fer­ent types, in­clud­ing some ex­otic species.

The ad­van­tages to plant­ing suc­cu­lents are many. Be­cause they store wa­ter in their stems, roots and leaves, this re­duces the num­ber of times an owner must wa­ter them. Suc­cu­lents can go sev­eral days be­tween wa­ter­ings. Suc­cu­lents, like cacti, that have few if any leaves, are per­haps best at man­ag­ing wa­ter be­cause they lose lit­tle to evap­o­ra­tion through the fo­liage.

Suc­cu­lents are par­tic­u­larly good to have in ar­eas prone to arid tem­per­a­tures or where wa­ter re­stric­tions are of­ten in place. They can be en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly be­cause of their abil­ity to con­serve wa­ter. Suc­cu­lents treat wa­ter as a pre­cious re­source, and their en­tire makeup is de­signed to min­i­mize con­sump­tion of wa­ter.

Be­cause they thrive in sun­light, suc­cu­lents can be the ideal plants to put in ex­tremely sunny and hot lo­ca­tions. They will not wither and dry out due to ex­treme heat. For par­tic­u­larly dry ar­eas of land­scape or where soil is sub­par, con­sider the place­ment of dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of suc­cu­lents to cre­ate a varied and eye-catch­ing dis­play.

There are many other ad­van­tages to plant­ing suc­cu­lents; some of which in­clude:

• Suc­cu­lents of­fer con­trasts in shape, tex­ture and col­ors. With the many va­ri­eties, you’re bound to find some­thing in­ter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent to add to the land­scape.

• Whether you have am­ple acreage in the yard or sim­ply some con­tain­ers avail­able for plant­ing, suc­cu­lents will thrive. They grow just as well in con­tain­ers as they do in the ground.

• Suc­cu­lents don’t tend to re­quire prun­ing or cut­ting back of the plant. With this in mind, you can ex­pect them to grow large. There­fore, space the plants ad­e­quately to al­low for growth.

• Suc­cu­lents are peren­ni­als. So once you plant them, they should last for years and years with­out the has­sle and ex­pense you can ex­pect from plant­ing an­nu­als ev­ery year.

• In­door green­houses or sun­rooms can be another good place for suc­cu­lents. They pre­fer not to get chilled, which makes a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment ad­van­ta­geous.

When con­sid­er­ing a spot for your suc­cu­lents, choose ar­eas that get plenty of sun. Think about prun­ing back or re­mov­ing trees that would cre­ate too much shade on the suc­cu­lents. Space the suc­cu­lents widely apart — more so than you would with other plants — to al­low them to spread. Peb­bles or gravel make good mulching ma­te­rial around suc­cu­lents so that drainage will be ad­e­quate. It will also set the suc­cu­lents apart from other plants by con­tex­tu­al­iz­ing them in your gar­den.

Visit a gar­den­ing center or home im­prove­ment store to learn more about the myr­iad types of suc­cu­lents that can add beauty to most gar­dens.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Suc­cu­lents, like jade, are ideal for arid con­di­tions or for gar­dens where low-main­te­nance plants are de­sired.

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