Plant care: making the most of succulents

by Charlotte.Barnes on February 25, 2011

In the hot summer months it can be a struggle to find plants that will happily endure the heat and sunshine without losing any of their appeal. Succulents, a plant group often left in the shade, are more than willing to take centre stage during the summer. They are easy to care for, very low maintenance and attractive to look at with tightly packed rosettes and sculptural leaves.

Because they evolved in dry areas of the world, the care and conditions needed by different types of succulents to thrive are all very similar; they need free-draining compost, sunshine, fresh air and a period outdoors in the summer. In short, they are the perfect plants to display all year round.

A few tips to planting up and displaying succulents

  • Many succulents and cacti have short fibrous roots and prefer to be planted into shallow dishes and containers. Provide drainage holes in the bottom and line with pebbles or clean, broken up clay to ensure proper drainage.
  • If only planting up small numbers, it is worth buying special compost available from most garden centres.
  • Water infrequently in the summer – once a week or less – and cut this down again in the winter, as little as every 1-2 months. Never leave them standing in water.
  • There is no need to mist succulents; their main requirement is fresh air. If displayed indoors, stand them in an airy, well-ventilated place.


These are ideal if you’re looking for a gift for a man – with its clean lines and tidy finish (plastic cowboy and horse optional) this cactus garden will fascinate children.


Utilise your space outside if you can with this striking display of Semperviums – or Cobweb Houseleeks as they are more commonly known. Completely hardy, they thrive on neglect, love the heat and sun and will add class and style to your frontage, while more fragile varieties are wilting inside.


The stems of this intriguing plant can grow up to three feet long, although in doing so the foliage can become a little sparse. Overcome this by planting into an oversized container and swirling the stems around a network of twigs.


If you own a business and are trying to choose reception plants, then the spiky Aloe would be perfect. It’s a plant with real attitude and will survive even the warmest of situations.

Small is beautiful

For an outdoor table arrangement with a difference, plant sculptured Echeverias into individual containers; two or three grouped together or arranged in a line will compliment any barbeque or garden soiree. The fact that they will last all summer long is great too!

Make a style statement

This bench of differing shapes and styles of succulents planted in a mix of vintage containers has the feel of a Victorian hot house about it. Make this the centrepiece of any conservatory as it makes a very striking display.

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Charlotte Barnes

Post category: Flowers, Other Flowers  

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