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SHARING SECRETS: Success With Succulents

Edited by Dayle Cheever* and Lisa Marun.

The question for this month was: Is there a succulent that you have had particular success with? And what creative or interesting uses have you come up with for displaying your succulents?

Koby Hall's succulent arrangement.

Koby Hall: I like creatively mixing things up while still having a theme—this relies on a few warm and fresh colors (not every color in the rainbow) with geometric repetition in the form of the main complement—being succulents. Here I have used a Queen Palm flower case (in the shape of a canoe) to stuff and display succulents. The mostly succulent arrangement is a combination of: Queen Palm flower husk and fruit, Portulacaria afra 'Variegata', Aeonium ‘Kiwi’, Crassula ovata 'Monstruosa', C. ovata ‘Hummel’s Sunset’, C. ovata 'Minima', Kalanchoe marmorata, and Echeveria ‘Afterglow’.

Barbara Dunn: A picture's worth a thousand words.

Barbara Dunn's succulent creation.

Donna McClay: This isn’t anything clever and I don’t have that much experience with succulents yet, but I chipped a coffee mug that has Italian colors and designs on it. I took a cutting of spoon jade and planted it in the cup and it looks fantastic! I was also able to re-purpose the cup and make a cute display for the potting bench. It follows Debra’s suggestion to letting the container dictate the plant material. Yay! One other thing—I took cuttings from my garden and planted my daughter’s front yard with the cuttings. Other than the aloe tree in the center, all the plant materials are cuttings from my house!

Succulent cuttings in Donna McClay's daughter's front yard.

Pat Venolia: I have used a large aloe leaf as a ‘pot’ or base and filled it with small succulent varieties to make a beautiful, original gift.

Jim Bishop: Planted rain chains!

Susan LaFreniere: While the local clubs focus on collection show plants, my interest is succulents in the landscape. Our grass has been removed. One of the things we did was take a simple, hearty, common Aloe striata hybrid with a soft color flower and weave it along a dry river bed. It is planted in meandering groups of three or five, on alternative sides, and flows like water around two sides of my yard when in bloom. I don’t bother with succulents in hats or glued onto some decorations. Refined nature is what I am after.

Joan Braunstein: When I was a teenager many years ago, a cousin gave me what she called a panda plant. It thrived as a houseplant until I left home. It died soon after. Many years later, I’ve come across it again, learned it is actually a Kalanchoe, and have one growing happily outside in a stone container. I imagine this is typically an easy plant to maintain, but I still get the feeling that panda plants are fond of me. I surely like them!

Mary Yan-Lee: This is no secret, as most succulent lovers have probably seen or made a bouquet for some special occasion already. I just want to share how easy it is to make a special gift with any one of these succulents. Bonus Game: See how many kinds you can spot!

Mary Yan-Lee's succulent gift.

Catherine Tylka: This Agave americana ‘Marginata’ grew so big, when I put the bed around it, I had no idea the bed would be dwarfed. It is one of the focus points of my garden.

Catherine Tylka's Agave amer​​icana ‘Marginata’.

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