Posts Tagged ‘succulents’

Filling in the Cracks with Hardy Sedums

Sedums can fill unusual spaces in the garden, like this V-shaped gap in the garden.

Sedums can fill unusual spaces in the garden, like this V-shaped gap in the garden.

Perennial Sedums, the winter hardy version of succulents, are tough. Remember, if you like succulents, there are two kinds, the tender ones that can’t survive freezing temperatures—like echeveria, jade plants, burro’s tail—and these, commonly called Hens and Chicks or stonecrop, which are perfectly able to withstand Canadian winters. There is always a space where you can fit a few in your garden. And there are so many named varieties of hardy sedum to choose from. Colours range from green, blue-green, and pink all the way to deep purple. One of my favourite new varieties that does well in dry shade is bright yellow-green ‘Angelina’, which turns orange in the fall.

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‘Angelina’ sedum turning orange in September.

 

The sustainable approach to gardening is to make sure you have growing plants covering soil, rather than on relying on mulch. Avoid bare soil at any cost. Instead, use low ground covers for any garden bare spots. Sedums work especially well in garden crevices, as seen in the picture above. They are true ground huggers and help to stop erosion on slopes. This sedum patch above, is growing on a slope, where even mulch would be regularly washed away.

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Worry-Free Planters: Mixed Succulents

Mixed succulents in a clay planter.

Mixed succulents in a clay planter. Echeveria, (rosette form), and two kinds of crassula among others.

Why do I love succulent planters? Because, not only are they beautiful, but they are tough and worry-free: they’re the ultimate drought-resistant container planting. Succulents can thrive in the tough growing conditions that a clay planter provides, and are the only plants I grow in an unglazed terra cotta planter.

Why is a terra cotta planter so hard on plants? Because they are porous. Beware, because beautiful, decorative clay planters often seduce us at the garden centre or in photographs, but keep in mind that garden picture books may have photos taken in other climates, with different growing conditions. In rainy, old England, for example, or any Maritime climate with tons of rain and mist, you can get away with planting mixed annuals—like petunias, begonias, browallia— in clay, but I would never do it in the Toronto climate. Sunny, hot summer days dry out a clay planter in a couple of hours. All planters dry out from the top, but porous terra cotta dries out from the sides as well. It can spell certain death to most flowering annuals, they don’t stand a chance.

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