If you are a beginning gardener thinking ahead to summer, and low maintenance gardening, there’s no better place to start than planning a few succulent containers. There’s no law that says that windowsill planters have to be full of flowers.
Windowsill planters full of annual flowers and vines tend to be one of the toughest to maintain in summer. Sometimes a windowsill is hard to reach with a hose or watering can. Plus the majority of available windowsill planters are not sized large enough to retain an adequate quantity of soil for roots to spread, let alone maintain sufficient water retention. Planters may need watering every day, making them far from low-maintenance. It’s one of my pet peeves that manufacturers continue to make so many small, shallow, window boxes. Many beginning window box gardeners blame themselves for a lack of success when their flowers end up all fried and crispy. It’s not their professed “black thumb” that’s at fault: it’s the small size of the container that set them up for failure.
But none of these problems present themselves with a succulent planter. The built-in water of the succulents’ fleshy leaves lets you (almost) set it and forget it—even in a typical shallow container. And the range of leaf colours, from green to blue-green, pinks and bronze creates just as effective a garden picture as blooming plants.
I have become a little mad about succulents in recent years, but not just because they are so easy to grow. Their hugely varied leaf forms and textures lured me in. The planter above has a mix of hardy and non-hardy succulents. Bringing non-hardy succulents in to winter indoors is very easy. A bright, cool room is perfect for them. Then in spring you can pop them outside again where they will grow on without bothering you for much attention. You could even start collecting small starter plants now, and have them ready for a mixed planting in a window box in the spring.