Succulents are great plants to have in any home or garden. They’re a special type of plant characterized by their thick, bulky, and meaty leaves and flowers. The reason why these plants have such fleshy appearances is so they can retain a maximum amount of moisture, as they are usually at home in dry and arid climates.
The Latin word “sucus” roughly translates to “juice,” quite fitting for plants that need to survive in harsh conditions.
Generally speaking, this means that succulents are quite easy to care for, as they really don’t need much water, and they’re quite hardy. That said, some are easier to care for than others. So, what are some of the best succulents, and how do you care for them? Let’s take a look at 4 awesome-looking and easy-to-care-for succulents.
Aeoniums are some of the most popular succulents which is due to their unique appearance. They feature large and fleshy rosettes, with one of the most popular species being the black rose aeonium, which is almost totally black. Another popular variety is the kiwi aeonium, which features chartreuse leaves with a red tinge. Aeoniums can grow up to 3 feet in height and are perfect for outdoor gardens. Here is a nice kiwi aeonium for beginners to check out.
Planting aeoniums is best done in soil that is not overly porous, such as a 40/60 mix of normal potting and succulents soil. They are used to having a lot of moisture around as they are native to coastal areas. The soil described here will be perfect for retaining lots of moisture.
These succulents don’t need a lot of soil and they have shallow root systems, making them perfect for fairly small pots and containers.
Only water your aeoniums when the top layer of soil feels dry, so about the top inch. They need more water than other succulents, but weekly watering will do fine. These plants are dormant during the summer, at which time they will need only monthly watering.
If kept inside, keep aeoniums in the sunniest area possible; if kept outdoors, keep them in partial shade.
Keep in mind that aeoniums do not like cold weather, so if it gets anywhere near the freezing mark, they need to be kept inside.
Another popular succulent is the Crassula. These succulents, also known as jade plants, feature very thick, rounded, and dark green leaves. This is a type of succulent which also flowers, with beautiful pink flowers. Given the right conditions and care, crassula can grow up to 6 feet in height, resembling a small tree with large paddle shaped leaves. Here is a great crassula plant for beginners.
Crassula plants do not need a lot of water. They do best in very porous soil with great drainage, and can even grow in sandy or rocky soil.
Although crassula may require slightly larger containers than aeoniums, at least if you want them to reach their full size, they still make for great container plants.
Crassula requires minimal amounts of water and moisture. Watering them about once every two weeks is fine, or when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is very dry. Water them about once every 4 to 6 weeks in the summer, as they become dormant during the hotter months.
Crassula prefers being planted in very sunny locations, although it can also handle a bit of shade just fine.
Yes, aloe is a succulent, and it’s one of the most popular ones, not only due its fleshy and spiny appearance, but also because aloe can be used for various skin treatments, and can even be eaten.
The most popular variety, the medicinal one just discussed, is known as aloe vera, which features thick leaves that come to point, complete with sharp spines. These can grow to around 2 feet in height and feature yellow blossoms in the summer. Here is a great Aloe Vera plant that comes with its own small pot.
Aloe Vera is quite picky with water. It requires an extremely well-draining succulents soil, not regular potting mix. If the roots stay wet for too long, they will rot; root rot caused by improper drainage is one of the most common causes of death.
When planting, also use a porous pot that will allow for good drainage. These plants don’t grow too large, so a fairly small pot will suffice.
Aloe vera should be watered about once every 3 weeks. They should be given a lot of water, enough to make it look like they are almost drowning, but only every few weeks. The top 2 to 3 inches of soil should be totally dry before the next watering. Water them even more sparingly during the winter.
This plant does best when grown in either artificial light indoors or in bright, yet indirect sunlight outdoors; this plant does not like large amounts of strong and direct sunlight.
What makes this particular succulent so interesting is that it’s one of the few perennial succulents. Most others are classified as evergreens, which means that they don’t drop their leaves during the winter, but the Graptopetalum does drop its leaves. It can get a bit messy, but the awesome look of this plant makes it worthwhile.
Graptopetalum features very large and thick leaves, which come to a point and form large rosettes. These look whitish-pink in the sunlight but may look grayish in the shade. To complement the rosettes, during the springtime, you will notice white star shaped flowers with red accents blooming. Here we have a small graptopetalum for starters that comes in a 4.5 inch pot.
A good mix of potting soil and succulents potting mix is recommended for planting. You want these plants to have fairly good drainage, but the soil should still be able to retain a bit of moisture.
Graptopetalum is pretty average when it comes to succulents watering needs. They should be watered every 1 to 2 weeks depending on the climate. You should allow the soil to dry out totally between watering. The top 2 inches of soil should be quite dry before the next watering.
Graptopetalum enjoys large amounts of sunlight and does best when planted outdoors in direct sunlight. Partial shade will do fine as well, although generally speaking, the more sunlight the better.
Keep in mind that Graptopetalum is not cold hardy and cannot tolerate temperatures under -6° Celsius or 20° Fahrenheit — they need to be taken inside during the winter.
Of course, there are dozens of other succulents that you can go for. However, the ones which we have discussed are all very easy to care for, not to mention very good looking. Succulents are some of the hardiest plants out there.
They’re almost easier to keep alive than they are to kill, and it’s why so many gardeners and plant enthusiasts love them. Once they are planted in the right conditions and location, they barely need any care at all.