Gardening Tips > July > Growing outdoor succulents

Growing outdoor succulents

If you’re feeling like your garden is missing something ‘a bit different’ then look no further than outdoor succulents!

Succulents are perfect for busy gardeners who want to enjoy their outdoor spaces but can’t always devote much time to maintenance.

Succulents are a large family of plants that are known for their ability to store water. As a result of this adaptation succulents can endure extended periods of drought, relying on stored water and nutrients in their leaves. As well as being low maintenance with few demands succulents are quirky and unusual, providing an extra wow factor to your garden.

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It’s hard to walk past succulents without stopping to have a better look as they look so different to the plants you would normally associate with UK gardens.

One of the easiest and most practical ways to grow succulents is in a container. A cold and wet winter can be particularly destructive for succulents. By planting succulents in containers you will have the freedom to experiment with the bizarre array of shapes, colours and textures available whilst still ensuring their survival in winter when they can be enjoyed indoors.

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Choosing which container to use will only be limited by your imagination. Shallow bowls or stone troughs are ideal or you could also create a succulent window box to admire from indoors. If you feel the urge to get really creative you could make a custom planter using an old garden boot, an old biscuit tin or even an old teapot!

Specific potting mixes for succulents are available or alternatively you can easily make you own. Simply mix together John Innes No 2 with at least 30% extra grit and fine gravel. Succulents like a warm and sunny spot so avoid damp, shady spots or they may rot.

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Succulents come in many different shapes, sizes and colours. If you want to start with something simple and reliable then plant Sedums and Sempervivums. These are amongst the hardiest of succulents and could survive winter outside if they are protected from the cold and wet.

Once you get the hang of these you could then pick out something more unusual such as Pachyphytm, Aeonium or Echeveria. While these plants love being outside during the summer, they will need some winter protection. If you don’t have a frost free greenhouse then simply bring them inside and treat them as a houseplant during the colder months.

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