Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Planting Tips: 3 Flowering Succulent Plants For Drought Tolerant Gardens And Containers

Succulents are plants that are able to store water in their stems and leaves, enabling them to live for long periods of time without water. They are similar to cactus but without the thorns (usually). This is a very large grouping of plants with many different colors, leaf shapes and growth habits. Most succulent plants flower during the year too, many during the dead of winter when little else can be coaxed into flowering.

In containers succulent plants will stay smaller and are often used as bonsai. These plants are also easy to propagate with leaf or stem cuttings. Fall is a great time to root cuttings. When the ground is moist after a rain try planting your branches in the ground where you want them to grow. Or try a few new varieties from the nursery. Some dependable plants you should consider for your Fall Planting list are:


Crassula Ovata or Jade Plant

Height: Up to 8 feet, smaller in containers
Flowers: Pale pink flower clusters in winter

Crassula ovata or Jade plants are shrubby plants that make excellent choices for dry gardens and container plants. Jades have thick, deep green leaves sometimes tinged with red on the edges. The leaf shape, like the name ovata implies, are oval from 1 - 2 inches long.

Crassula ovata develop thick, fat trunks that have an aged look and will eventually grow up to 8 feet tall. In late winter jade plants get 3 inch clusters of light pink to pale salmon flowers with five petals.

Depending on container size, Jade plants will stay smaller. They make nice patio plants. Read more posts about crassula ovata here…


Crassula Tetragona or Bonsai Pine

Height: Up to 4 feet, smaller in containers, used for bonsai
Flowers: Tiny creamy white flowers with a flat top on the tips of the branches

Crassula tetragona are drought tolerant succulent plants that look like pine branches with fat needles sticking out the sides, or perhaps a green bottle brush flower. These unique crassula are often used in bonsai containers to look like pine trees.

In the ground, they grow up to 4 feet tall. The plants will branch at the tips and can be used as a low, informal hedge. Crassula tetragona leaves are about an inch long and about 1/4 inch thick. Leaf color varies from green to deep, bluish green. These succulent plants can take full sun to light shade, love heat and are easy to root and grow. Their bristly leaves make a nice contrast to the oval leaves of Jade plants. Read more posts about crassula tetragona here…


Crassula Capitella or Campfire Plant

Height: Spreading mat up to 8 inches tall, good for containers and hanging baskets
Flowers: white on the tips of branches

Crassula capitella is sometimes called crassula erosula and has common names like Red Flames or Campfire Plant. It has bright, lime green leaves with flaming orange red tips. These plants can take full sun to light shade, but they seem to change color depending on the amount of sunlight they get. When grown in shade, they are bright apple green most of the year. Full sun brings out more red on the leaves.

It gets tiny white flowers on upright stalks in early spring. Crassula capitella spreads by runners and will eventually form a mat about 6 – 8 inches tall. They are great for hanging baskets or draping over a sloping garden. Read more posts about crassula capitella here…

Read all my posts about the diverse Crassulaceae family here... Happy gardening!

5 comments:

Town Mouse said...

Perfect timing! I'm going to a plant sale tomorrow. Those crassula look great! thanks

Mary Delle said...

I agree. The crassula looks really good.

Laura Z said...

Thanks for dropping in on me!

Town, there's a Native Plant sale in LA at the Sepulveda Garden center in Encino. Is that the one? I'll have to tweet that.

didge said...

In modern taxonomy the specific (last) plant name always starts with a lowercase letter. There are no exceptions even for honorariums.
Regards.

Gail said...

The succulents are beautiful~~I can't imagine an 8 foot tall Jade Plant in the garden! But I've seen them almost that magnificent at the Missouri Botanical Garden's climatron! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I do hope you try goldenrods! There are some smaller less aggressive ones out there! gail

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