Succulent: A plant that stores waters in its stems and/or leaves.
Succulents are a great way to have color all year long. I found this planter walking around San Francisco and I realized how easy it is to have a vibrant and colorful garden without tending to blooms.
Seeing plants as a collection can develop into an addicting hobby. Keep your labels to remember the species and create your own labels. This will help you remember the species and be able to distinguish succulents from one another. This photo was taken at the Berkeley Botanical Garden.
Once you start learning and recognizing succulent plant names, shopping becomes a whole new level of overwhelming awareness about how much you really don’t know about plants. But don’t take this as a deterrent, challenge yourself and try to find the ones you own when walking around at nurseries and in neighborhoods. Test yourself and become the succulent naming know-it-all you know you’ve always wanted to be.
Succulent leaf propagation is not for the impatient. Twist leaves off your plants at home and lay on flat, moist soil. Water once a week gently and slowly by using a low intensity nozzle size on your hose or a watering can with many holes. Watering gently allows the leaves to stay on top of the soil, you don’t want to accidentally bury them (causing them to rot). Keep in indirect light and take progress photos to assure yourself it’s working slowly but surely!
Once your leaves develop into new plants, you can start to plant them in containers. Here’s a collection of succulents all propagated by leaf or stem cuttings and are only 1″ big! In my opinion this is the most entertaining stage.. you can fit them anywhere.
Plant succulents in wooden shapes for a mini garden that you can hang. My favorite shape is California! Fill in with sphagnum moss for a finished look.
So all cacti are succulent but not all succulents are cacti. What does this even mean..? We have to first go back to high school Biology class. Remember Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, and Cultivar? (King David Came Over From Germany Soon Clumsily). Taxonomy or the classification of organisms (in this case plants) is taken very seriously in the botany world, and rightfully so. If we did not classify plants, we would not easily be able to identify species and recognize common characteristics of plants that are related. Cacti have their own family–Cactaceae. This family defines cactus as a perennial that is fleshy or “succulent” and has spines. The word succulent is a vague term that implies a plant has thick and juicy stems and or leaves. Succulents (the plants we all know and love) can be placed in other families, such as Agavaceae, Crassulaceae, and Euphorbiaceae because they don’t have the same spines and other morphological parts cacti do.
Some succulents have a waxy, white coating that protects the leaves. When handling succulents with this coating, be sure not to touch the leaves as much as possible. Once your fingerprints are on the leaves they never go away! This doesn’t harm the plant but can leave unsightly marks as shown in this picture here.
I hope you’ve learned something new about my favorite plants! We always have an assortment of quality succulents in stock at the nursery. Swing by to see which species you don’t have.
-Allana of The Greenery