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How to Grow Succulents in Containers

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Ideas on how to grow succulents from Southern Patio.

Ideas on how to grow succulents from Southern Patio.

Succulents are perfect plants for container gardening. They naturally grow in arid areas and store water internally to hold them over between waterings. Unlike many houseplants, they actually do well in hot sun and poor soil, which also means they thrive in pots.

Some of the most common succulents are sempervivums, sedums, kalanchoes and aloe. Semperviviums, also called hen and chicks, are good to start with, as they are hardy through zone 4 or 5. They reproduce small versions of themselves each year. That’s the chicks.

Succulents come in a wide variety of a distinctive colors and shapes. It’s easy to get creative when you’re combining succulents in a container. Succulents can be planted in almost any container, but because they have short root systems, they work well in shallow bowls. Because these plants prefer dry conditions, make sure your container has drainage holes. Succulents also need a well-drained potting mix. Blend together 75 percent potting soil and 25 percent gravel or builder’s sand.

Plant the largest plant first and position the other plants around it. For a finished look, you may want to sprinkle small rocks or aquarium gravel over the soil. This also helps keep moisture away from the leaves.

Succulents like sun. Outside, feel free to place them in an areas that gets direct sun most of the day. Inside, they’ll be happiest near a sunny window, where they’ll get lots of light. As an added bonus, sunlight helps bring out some of the colors in their foliage.

Caring for these plants is super easy. They do require watering, but because they store water in their leaves, they won’t fare so badly if you skip a few waterings or go out of town for a few days. Just be sure the soil doesn’t get soggy.

In warm climates, succulents can overwinter outside, but in more temperate zones, bring them in during cold months. Temperatures below 60 degrees actually help the plants set blooms, but don’t let them freeze.

Attractive, forgiving and easy to grow, succulents are an excellent way to bring some desert beauty to your container gardens.

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