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Succulents lend color and texture to a garden


Last updated 6/12/2014 at Noon

The aeonium hybrid kiwi, seen at The Madd Potter, is a colorful addition to any garden.

The wonderful world of succulents includes plants with spiky leaves, frilly leaves, thick to thin leaves in almost every color in the rainbow (except for blue) from deep purple and bright pink to endless shades of green. They are a garden designer’s dream offering surprising options in texture and contrast for any size space.

In this age of water conservation, succulents are also an attractive choice for local gardeners. They do not require a lot of water, which has the dual benefit of conserving water and saving money on one’s water bill. Their vibrant shapes and colors add interest to any home design, inside or outdoors. Most important for people who do not have green thumbs, succulents require little time and attention to thrive. The use of succulents has come a long way since ice plant was the common choice for ground cover.

There are over 300 kinds of succulents to choose from now. Considered an ornamental plant, succulents can be grown almost anywhere.

While they do best in well-draining or well-composted soil, according to Jody Gillson who is the manager of Myrtle Creek Nursery, they can be planted in pots with cactus potting soil. She also said the main difference between succulents and cacti is that cacti have thorns whereas succulents are leafy, sometimes trailing.

While they vary in size, shape, color and texture, they all store water in their stems, roots and leaves so need watering less often than other plants, usually needing half as much water to survive. They also grow well in bright sunlight making them a popular plant in Southern California.

Succulents can be found at most nurseries. The variety of textures and leaf colors makes for endless combinations in appealing designs for gardens, pots and giftable containers. Myrtle Creek even has a “Pots-a bilities” shed in which customers can pick out a pot and the succulents they like and have the staff put together a personalized potted plant for their home or garden.

The nursery includes succulents that spill over the edges of their pots, some that send up tall, colorful flower spikes and others that grow in rosettes that look like flowers all year long. Unlike other plants, succulents do not need to be pruned. They do not stay small, though, so need to be planted with space in between to allow for growth.

The Madd Potter also offers a wide variety of succulents not only for planting or potting but also for garden art. Its staff can create unique topiary garden art using their succulent plants. They have three greenhouses with succulents to choose from for living topiary designs like topiary turtles, topiary mushrooms, succulent living wreaths, and garden stone planters as well as pot gardens.

Since succulents need minimal care, they are good projects for children to grow and a good choice for people who travel a lot. Succulents provide endless ‘pots-a bilities’ for the imaginative gardener.

Myrtle Creek Nursery can be found at 2940 Reche Road, (760) 728-5340 and The Madd Potter at 136 Ranger Rd., (760) 943-7256.

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