Our plants of the month are succulents, including cacti. Succulents puff up with water to stop them drying out in drought conditions. They tend to be houseplants because frosts can kill them. Succulents can be positioned on a sunny windowsill all year round or kept in any bright spot indoors. Cacti are easy to grow and popular with children, who are often fascinated by them.
Try planting a cluster of low growing succulents in different shades in a shallow container. You can buy specialist compost in Garsons, which suits their needs. Adding horticultural grit to the compost mix will help with drainage. If they outgrow their container, repot them in the spring. The taller varieties can be top-heavy, so might need a heavy pot to stop them falling over.
Like the rest of us, houseplant succulents prefer fresh air in the warmer months. You can give them a stint outside during warm weather. They like rainwater too, not that we’ve had much of that lately! In the winter, they favour a chillier temperature of about 5 degrees.
Water them regularly and allow the water to drain away, leaving the soil to dry out a little between watering. You can slightly under-water them in the summer months because it’s the dry season in their natural habitat. Give them tomato feed from April until the end of September. September onwards is the rainy season, but they still prefer to dry out between waterings. As mentioned, they prefer rainwater to tap water.
Moving to outdoor succulents, the sedum is good for the front of your borders, with its flowers in shades of pink to white, and succulent leaves. The sedum is drought-tolerant and likes full sun in a well-drained soil in order to flourish. Horticultural grit mixed with compost can help with drainage if you have heavy soil.