Succulents are hardy plants and lend themselves well to container gardening. The reason I chose to feature them are that they are almost care-free, need little water, lots of sunlight – and little else! They are a good start for a novice gardener, and you can see really quick results with them. And most visitors will love them! They make lovely pieces for table garden arrangements, or to simply decorate your balcony!
What you need: Succulent cuttings (they grow from stems/leaves as well), a container, potting soil and gravel/sand, a little knife for digging, a small ceramic figurine and some shells/stones for decoration (these are optional).
You can choose just one or two plants if you don’t have access to more, and feel free to use any type of container. I already had a pot with a Nephthytis (the little green plant that you see in the middle of the pot), so I didn’t remove that. A note about Nephthytis: Nephthytis is very hardy, and survives well in the sun, even though it’s usually kept as an indoor plant, so it’s fine to keep it with the succulents. As the plant grows, you may have to trim it a little bit, to retain the look of the container.
Preparing the container: Loosely block the holes bottom of the pot with small stones, so that the water does not run through completely when you water it. Layer it with some gravel and sand, and then potting soil. Succulents do not need a lot of compost or moist soil, so don’t be too afraid to use a lot of mud. I used an old butter knife to dig – its convenient for small container gardening – but if you feel you need a more fancy tool, more power to you :).
Planting: The fun part starts now! Dirty your hands and use gardening gloves if you love your finger nails.
Just dig in a narrow patch with the knife to plant the succulents. Feel free to break the stems (not too close to the top ) if they are too big, and just place in the soil. Press the soil gently around the stem, to hold the new plant, and spread some of it around loosely.
You ‘ll notice that I ‘ve placed the plants to contrast the colors and you can do the same if you wish. Ornamental green arrangements thrive on aesthetics, and are an art by themselves!
You can cover the soil with some shells or stones, and place your little ceramic figure, or leave it as it is. Now, spray some water to refresh the plants, and you are good to go, after a cleanup of course! :).
There, that was a lot of fun!
Care for succulents:
You need not water succulents very often, and in fact, they lend themselves well to even containers that do not have drainage (although drainage holes are always preferred, you can even plant succulents in chipped ceramic mugs, or little bowls). If there is no drainage, just spray the succulents occasionally with water, don’t pour the water in. In Bangalore, succulents always prefer direct sunlight, and I ‘ve seen that the more they are in the sun, the better the color is. Well-drained soil, and just the right amount of water also prevent rotting of the roots (though this is rare), and mealy bugs/ fungus.