My Treasured Succulents

Hardy succulents have long been a mainstay in my dry land garden. I grow numerous sedums, sempervivums and euphorbias. These are tuff as nail plants that never let me down and add much decorative and unique interest to my garden.

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For what ever reason, succulents have really hit the red carpet in the plant world this season and our local nurseries were offering up many different types. Definitely hard to resist, even though most of them are not winter hardy to my zone 5 garden. I usually stick to zone hardy plants but some of these were just too cute to pass up.  I chose a few and placed them in containers for the porch over the summer and have just now rescued them from the chilly temperatures that are returning.

Tradescantia navicularis is originally from Mexico.  You might also hear it called  “Widow’s Tears”, “Dayflower”, or “Chain Plant”. This is a perennial , evergreen succulent related to the “Wandering Jew” plant that I used to grow indoors years ago. It is a miniature trailer with leaves of green above and purple undersides. I was thrilled this summer when it flowered with lavender pink blooms that opened in the early morning, closed in the afternoon and lasted just the one day.

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Senecio citriformis is a slow growing shrub-like plant from South Africa. It has blue green tear shaped leaves and clustering yellowish flowers. Like all succulents it prefers a well drained gritty soil, and to be kept on the dry side between waterings.

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Kalanchoe tomentosa is also known as “Panda Plant”, “Pussy Ears”, and “Chocolate Soldier” and comes from Madagascar. A taller succulent with densly wooly, thick fleshy leaves.  The hairs on the leaves serve a purpose as they retard the movement of air directly across the leaf surfaces which reduces water vapour loss.

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Echeveria is an evergreen succulent with spherical rosettes and spoon shaped leaves covered in tiny hairs.  I love the fresh green colour of this one and how it grows all on top of itself.

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Sanseviertia trifasciata is one I’ve been growing all along as a house plant but didn’t know it was also a type of succulent.  It’s often called “Mother-in-law’s Tongue” and is from West Africa. Another evergreeen perennial it has stiff vertical leaves with yellow edges. It grows well in very low light conditions and is almost impossible to kill. I was told that it was nick named because it has sharp edges ( like a mother in law perhaps ), but don’t know if that is really the reason.

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