Succulents (90 photos): types, rules of care
Kalanchoe, aloe, cacti, jerky, crassula, agave – these unpretentious plants are found in almost every home and office, but few people know that they all belong to the group of succulents. This category includes species typical of regions with arid climates that accumulate moisture in modified stems and leaves. Thanks to this feature, succulents do without watering for a long time, maintaining an attractive appearance. Aesthetics and pickiness make them an excellent option for landscaping interiors, terraces, flower beds and even rocky alpine hills..
Description and types of succulents
Translated from Latin, succulentus means “juicy” – this is how you can describe the appearance of the representatives of the semi-desert flora. During the summer rainy season, they intensively collect water, thanks to which they endure arid subequatorial winters. Several families are ranked as succulents – these include cactus, fatty plants, agave plants, lily plants, euphorbia plants, and aizoon plants. Their exotic shape and bright flowers look extremely attractive in any setting, and the ability to do without watering for a long time saves time and effort in caring for these compact green spaces..
In the broadest classification, succulents are divided into two categories – stem, with a thickened and often ribbed stem (cacti, spurge) and leafy, in which moisture accumulates in fleshy leaves (fat, aloe, rejuvenated, and others). The biological characteristics of all these plants allow them to absorb water from any possible source: long roots pull it out of deep soil layers, ground branches collect dew, a fluff on the surface is designed to condense droplets of moisture from the air, and rain flows down smooth curved leaves directly to the outlet. … All this means that sometimes guests from an arid climate still need life-giving watering and spraying, but this should be done very moderately and carefully..
In indoor conditions, species are grown for which a decrease in sunlight and temperature during the dormant period is not critical. The most popular indoor succulents are all kinds of cacti, as well as numerous names of Tolstyankovs, such as:
Aeonium. The leaves of the aeonium, rounded and slightly pointed to the tips, resemble multilayer flowers of dahlias or roses in appearance. At the same time, they have completely unique colors – the green gradient along the jagged edges can be edged with pink or red, there are also dark purple, black, lemon, creamy green species. The stem of the indoor aeonium is very short, and the leaves are tightly pressed against each other, growing in a checkerboard pattern from the center to the edges.
Graptopetalum. The attractiveness of this plant lies mainly in its unusual flowering. Around May-July, twigs with beautiful pink five-petal “stars” appear from a squat rosette of fleshy leaves. In the center of the opened buds, bright yellow stamens on long legs sparkle, which give the blossoming flowers a special festive charm. This extravaganza lasts 2-3 weeks, and then the succulent returns to its standard appearance for fat women.
Pachyphytum. The Greek name Pachyphytum means “thick-leaved”, which really can be considered the main feature of this succulent. Its dense leaves in the form of elongated and slightly flattened grapes are covered with a bluish waxy coating, which prevents moisture evaporation. The plant has the form of numerous pineal processes, which are interconnected by short, stiff stems. The pachyphytum blooms inconspicuously, releasing small pinkish shoots like slightly deformed ears.
Aichrizon. This succulent is also called the “tree of love”. With its small dark green leaves, crown-shaped branches and dense stem, it really resembles a miniature tree. The associations with romance are probably due to the heart-shaped shape of the leaf blades. In the spring-summer period, aichrizon is covered with a lush cloud of small golden flowers, which are very similar to the panicles of St. John’s wort. To form the crown, the tree is regularly pruned, and in the warm season it needs regular watering with small doses of water..
Monantes. A large number of small green bumps growing directly from the ground – this is Monantes. During flowering, a thin reddish stalk with a pale yellow “star” at the end rises from the center of each rosette. This succulent is valuable for its diminutiveness, and in compositions it makes an interesting background for larger plants..
Fat woman. Much more often this plant is referred to under the names “crassula”, “tree of happiness” or “money tree”. Its rounded leaves with a yellowish sheen look like coins, so this succulent is considered an amulet that attracts financial wealth and prosperity to the house..
Brigamia. A bright palm-like plant, known as “Hawaiian palm”, “volcano palm”. In autumn, yellow star-shaped flowers appear at the green top, with which the succulent takes on an even more exotic look..
Portulacaria, or “elephant bush” is an ornamental mini-tree with a very powerful tree-like stem, dark brown in color. In texture, it really evokes associations with the legs of elephants, but countless miniature light green leaves against the background of a thick base look very contrasting.
Argyroderma, which in translation sounds like “silver skin” owes its name to a unique color. The cold greenish tone of the dense leaves, due to the light gray waxy coating, seems even more mysterious. In shape, this plant repeats sea stones – the same smooth and oval-flattened, but dissected in the center. During the flowering period, the flaps open slightly, and in each there is an incredible beauty “aster” of orange, pink or bright yellow color.
Lithops, or living stones, it is not immediately possible to distinguish from pebbles. The gray, slightly mottled color completely disguises them in the natural environment. The succulent is a plant kingdom that gives out only during flowering, when bright “daisies” in yellow, orange, pink or white tones bloom in the middle of the rounded half-leaves.
Kalanchoe, with its rich and lush inflorescences-stars, it is often purchased as a gift or just to decorate the interior. This succulent grows well in normal indoor conditions, tolerates both excess and lack of sunlight. Kalanchoe juice has anti-inflammatory, wound healing and regenerating properties, which is widely used in folk medicine and cosmetology..
Haworthia. It has fleshy, but elongated and pointed to the ends of the leaves with jagged thorns along the edges or woody white dots and “ribs” over the entire green surface. At the same time, young plants look quite peaceful, and over time they acquire an increasingly “frightening”, prickly look. Due to its exotic texture, Haworthia can adequately decorate any floral arrangement..
Brought from an arid climate, succulents need rather harsh growing conditions. The slightest excess of comfort, oddly enough, leads these Spartan plants to the loss of decorativeness or even death..
Cacti, fat women and other guests from the desert latitudes respond positively to the indifferent attitude of the owners – they can even be left in the apartment unattended and without watering, and after a few months they can be found in the same condition. But succulents will delight in truly beautiful shape and flowering only if they are provided with an optimal, close to natural climate..
For all of these species, the sun’s rays are vital, although, for example, Tolstyannikov recommends not direct, but slightly diffused light. The scorching heat is preferred by desert and mountain plant species – cacti, aloe, Kalanchoe, dwarf shrub trees. For this reason, it is advisable to grow them on balconies and window sills on the south side of the house. In winter, succulents enter a dormant period, photosynthesis slows down, so a short daylight hours does not pose a big problem, but you still should not rearrange the plants in a dark corner..
Succulents need good ventilation for normal development. Air access to the roots should be provided by loose rocky soil. In general, the plants respond well to airing the premises, and in the summer they are recommended to be planted in a flower bed or at least taken out with pots on a balcony, veranda or under a canopy. The natural humidity of oxygen has a positive effect, from which the leaves absorb the missing elements..
An excess of moisture for this botanical group is more destructive than its long-term shortage, therefore, it is worth exercising moderation and caution with water. During active growth and flowering, that is, from late spring to early autumn, succulents should be watered 1-3 times a week in small portions. In the off-season, the frequency should be about once a week and one and a half, and in winter, one or two modest watering per month is enough..
For summer, the optimal temperature in a room with cacti and similar accumulators of moisture are standard + 25… + 30C heat during the day and + 15… + 20C at night. During the dormant period, most of these plants like coolness, therefore, the temperature can be lowered to + 5C, although ordinary room conditions from + 15 … + 20C are also suitable..
Any organic matter is categorically contraindicated for succulents, but mineral fertilizers with phosphorus and potassium will come in handy. It is best to buy a ready-made preparation for cacti and water the plants with it at the frequency indicated on the package during the growth period (spring-summer).
Reproduction and transplantation of succulents
There are four main methods of propagation of this group of indoor plants: from seeds, from cuttings, by rooting parts of leaves, or the usual separation of daughter formations..
The process of growing seeds is the longest and most laborious, so only professionals use it to develop new varieties. Amateur flower growers are limited to very simple vegetative methods. So, for example, a cut off stalk or a fleshy piece of leaf is enough to dry for 1-2 days, treat the cut with a growth stimulant, and then deepen it 1.5-2.5 cm into river sand, previously watered with warm water, and leave in a bright place for 2-3 weeks for rooting. Parts of the leaves can sometimes simply be put on wet soil without sprinkling them – soon roots will appear at the cut site, which themselves will begin to grow.
The soil for succulents should be poor in organic matter, so you should not add peat, black soil or humus to it. A clay-turf mixture is optimal, which can be additionally lightened with coarse river sand. For additional ventilation, it is recommended to add small pebbles or broken sea shells.
As a rule, the “ingredients” necessary for plants are placed in the container in layers: pebbles or other drainage on the bottom, then the soil itself, a layer of sand and again stones. Such a mosaic looks especially impressive in transparent florariums. So that succulents do not spend all their energy on growing roots, relatively small and cramped pots are selected for them, replanting only as the ground part increases once every 1-3 years.
Succulents – photo
The unusual beauty and unpretentiousness of succulents give a wide scope for their use. Plants are able to decorate the local area, being a worthy element of a flower bed or flower garden. With their participation, they create the most original flower arrangements, including magnificent phyto-walls. Succulents look especially elegant in home florariums, which can be made independently using curly containers. Many pictures of our photo gallery will introduce you to the varieties of these interesting and sometimes funny plants. Happy viewing!