In recent days, growing succulents in rooftop gardens have gained a lot of popularity. One thing that makes them stand out from other plants is their ability to thrive in hot, dry climates.
These drought-resistant, hardy plants boast of varying colors and sizes. They create bold statements in your garden. Succulents come in different types which include:
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Aloes are best grown in containers. Terracotta containers are a perfect option as they are porous. Before watering the plants, make sure the soil is dry as too much water will damage aloes. They are not tolerant of winter frost; hence, they need to be taken indoors or covered during winter.
There are several varieties of yucca, each suitable for specific climatic conditions. Their leaves have edges that resemble spears. They are one of the easiest plants to grow. Species of yucca come in different sizes and colors. Depending on the variety, yucca can grow either as trees or shrubs. The succulents can be propagated from seeds or cuttings. However, cutting propagation is the best.
Also known as mother in law tongue, snake plants develop root rot when overwatered. They grow at a very high rate. Snake plants are useful for cleaning the air and removing some toxins. The plants thrive well in warm climates and do not tolerate winter frost. They do not require frequent watering, as they store water on their leaves.
The succulents are drought tolerant, making them ideal for low maintenance rooftop gardens. They form rosette shapes and cup-shaped flowers. They have taproots that do not grow deep; hence, they do not require to be planted on deep soil. The soil has to have good drainage to avoid waterlogging, which may damage them. Agave can also be planted in containers.
Jade is also known as dollar or money plant. The leaves of jade come in shades of grey and green. Its leaves are oval. When planted outdoor, the plants bloom and produce pink or white clusters. The succulents are usually used as house warming gifts, as they have always been thought to bring good luck. The plants do well in full sunlight. Just like any other succulent, overwatering the plant will make it die. Jade is best propagated from its leaves.
Cacti are ideal for first-time rooftop gardeners as they tend to be of low maintenance. They survive in extreme climatic conditions. The seeds should be planted near the surface as they may not sprout when planted deeper. The succulents require well-draining soil.
The seeds may take several months to grow, according to their variety. One should practice patience. Overwatering the plants could result in the rotting of the roots, eventually leading to the death of the entire plant. You can supplement the growth of cactus by adding plant food or fertilizer. When it comes to cacti, under watering is better than overwatering.
Ice plants have daisy-like flowers. The succulents thrive well in full sunlight but can also survive in partial shade. The plant is propagated from seeds, divisions or cuttings. They require little maintenance as they are drought tolerant and may not require any form of additional fertilizers.
Echeveria comes in different colors; grey, pink, white, and red. Some come in a combination of colors. They have surfaced roots hence do not require deep soils. Echeveria can also be planted in small pots.
The planting medium should have good drainage, to avoid waterlogging. Cuttings from the plant can be used for new plants. If the plants are overwatered, the roots will rot. Therefore, it is advisable to water after the soil goes dry. Echeveria is not tolerant of winter frost; hence they should be covered to prevent damage.
The Euphorbia family has more than 1000 species. It is also known as spurge. Some species make striking accents, others look like cactus, and they tend to store water in their leaves too. However, one should be cautious when selecting the type of euphorbia species to plant. Some contain a white milky sap that could be poisonous.
A beautiful, little succulent, haworthia looks perfect when planted in container boxes. They come in different varieties, with the main differences being leaf sizes and the arrangement of the white patches on the leaves. The plants should be protected from long sunny intervals as they may sunburn.
They establish at a fast rate and form overlapping colonies. The little succulents can be grown in customized containers to make them even more beautiful. The containers should have good drainage to prevent waterlogging. When watering the succulent, do not let the water collect in the rosettes as they may start rotting. Harwothia is propagated from the offsets of the mother plant.
They are appropriate for colder climates. The succulents establish faster and form dense, mat-like foliage. They are low maintenance plants. The majority of sempervivum varieties are frost tolerant. If you go for the non-tolerant types, plant them in pots so that you can move them indoors during winter. Sempervivum is best propagated from seeds.
These are one of the most popular commercially sold succulents. They are easily found in supermarkets and other outlets that deal with gardening plants. Allow the soil to dry before watering, as too much water may kill the plants. Kalanchoe are best propagated from stem cuttings.
General Tips For Growing Succulents
Although succulents are one of the easiest rooftop garden plants to grow, they still need some essential maintenance. These include:
- The majority of the plants won’t tolerate frost. In this case, cover them during winter or plant them in pots so that you can move them indoors to prevent them from getting damaged.
- Take care when watering the plants. Succulents tend to store water in their leaves. Too much water will damage them. As a general rule, only water the plants after the soil dry out completely.
- Use well-draining soils to prevent waterlogging, which often causes root rot and the death of the plants, eventually
- When planting succulents that spread, allow adequate space between the plants to avoid to overcrowding.
- Although succulents are not highly susceptible to pests, they can be infested by pests from time to time. Always inspect your plants for any pests and get rid of the affected parts. If the whole plant has been affected, it is necessary to uproot it. Uprooting will prevent the spread of pests to other plants.
- Some varieties of succulents get sunburnt when exposed to long hours of sunshine. In such a case, provide them with shade.
- When planting the plants in containers, drill holes for proper drainage; still, you can use porous pots.
- Although they grow in low nutrients, adding fertilizers once per year will make the succulents flourish even better. Organic fertilizers are a good option.
- When planning for the first time, use potting mix together with small gravels or pebbles.
Once you adopt the idea of planting succulents, you will always get new ideas on how to work with them to make your garden more appealing. With succulents, you can always go creative. Whether you are a novice or an established gardener, growing succulents is worth trying.