7 SUCCULENTS for a Water wise garden

Succulents are super heroes for water conscious gardeners!

Not only are they easy to grow; they're also hardy, drought tolerant and on trend!

Here are 7 popular choices - available at Cape Garden:

Echeveria 'Afterglow':

Echeverias are some of the most colourful and spectacular succulent plants.

They have thick succulent leaves in a rosette form and are originally from Mexico and Central America.

It produces bell shaped flowers on long stems and look amazing in containers or in mass plantings.

'Afterglow' is an incredibly pretty cultivar with large rosettes (+-30cm) of powdery lavender-pink leaves adorned with delicate bright-pink edges. Born on a short, stout stem, this Echeveria displays orange-red flowers. A highly valued Echeveria for its amazing colour and beauty.

Crassula capitella 'Campfire':

The 'Campfire' Crassula is a hardy, evergreen, branching succulent - ideal to use as a ground cover (of about 20cm tall) in garden beds.

The flesh, propeller-shaped leaves are a lime-green colour with red tips. If you plant it in full sun and limit watering, the leaves turn bright red.

Spikes of insignificant white, star-shaped flowers are borne in summer and attract bees, butterflies and other tiny insects to your garden ecosystem.

Also plant 'Camfire' in water wise hanging baskets or pots - to cascade over the edges.

Plant in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil.

Cotyledon orbiculata (grey):

The courageous Cotyledon (also known as pig's ears / plakkie) is a fast-growing, indigenous succulent.

It forms a low shrub and the handsome grey leaves provide year-round interest in the garden.

The colourful, hanging, tubular/bell-shaped flowers provide much needed colour in the winter garden. The flowers attract bees and birds, which feed on the nectar of the plant.

Cotyledon orbiculata is an easy-to-grow plant.

It's an ideal plant for the rockery or among other drought tolerant plants, but also grows well in pots. It will also add texture and form to the well-drained flower border. (When planted as a pot plant, good drainage is important.)

It is often found in full sun, but also grows well in semi-shade under trees.

Euphorbia tirucalli:

Looking for an eye catcher in the garden that ticks all the right boxes? Then the Firesticks plant is the ideal plant for you!

Being drought resistant and very resilient, it has become very popular in cultivation these days. It is well adapted to arid conditions and can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures. ....not even mentioning the stunning colour contrast it provides in the garden!!

Note: Keep in mind that this Euphorbia contains a milky substance which can be toxic to humans and animals.

Echeveria 'Giant blue':

'Giant Blue' is an attractive, large ruffled / frilly Echeveria.

The wavy leaf edges of this gray-blue succulent are tinged pink. (the pink colouring is more vibrant in full sun) New growth is green and older growth has a slightly gray tone.

It produces bell shaped flowers on long stems and look amazing in containers or in mass plantings.

Sedum nussbaumerianum:

The Stonecrop is unique and eye-catching! This low growing, trailing (but compact) succulent will be a yellow-green colour in partial shade; but a rosy-gold to to bright coppery-orange in full sun. Not only is it decorative in the water wise garden because of the stunning colour contrast it provides; it also produce pretty white flowers! A great choice for the succulent / water wise garden; but also pretty in hanging planters and pots. Best grown in full sun in soil that drains well.

Portulacaria afra:

Probably the best known succulent in SA!

But you might be wondering what's all the fuss about the Spekboom / Pork bush?

Well, these days this humble shrub/tree is being re-planted hectares at a time because of its ability to capture carbon, restore natural ecosystems and alleviate poverty.

Its value in the urban garden?

It's an evergreen shrub or small tree that can reach 1.5 – 2m in height when planted in the garden. It can be quite ornamental when in flower – it bears tiny star-shaped, pink flowers in late winter to spring.

Grow it in full sun to semi-shade as a hedging plant, in your rock gardens, as a screen or a windbreak, in containers, on banks and slopes or even as a hardy bonsai – the options are endless!

The Spekboom can be planted almost anywhere as long as the soil is well-drained. It has no special needs, but a little compost and fertiliser in the planting hole will encourage quicker growth and greener leaves. It takes well to pruning. It’s also a useful medicinal plant and can even be used in a salad or a tomato stew.

(Photos: Cape Garden)

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