Five years ago, I practically bragged about how bad I was at gardening. I loved the idea of having a garden around. I appreciated the health benefits of houseplants. I enjoy the look and feel they bring into a home.
But every plant I brought home died, from the bamboo and bonsai trees to my sad attempts at growing vegetables and fruit for food.
When I finally moved out of the van and into a dwelling, home gardening topped my list of things to do, and over the past few years, I learned a lot about how different plants work. I have several generations of plants of all types now, and my favorites are the succulents.
So when I came across Lula’s Garden, a succulent gifting company, I had to contact them to sample the service and see what it’s like. Welcome to the wide world of succulents.
What Is a Succulent?
Succulent plants are typically found in arid climates with poor soil quality and have thickened, fleshy leaves and/or stems that retain water. This makes them drought-resistant, so they thrive in harsh climates. The elephant bush above is native to South Africa, although I’m growing it in Arizona.
Because of their fleshy parts, these plants look very exotic and are often used ornamentally. They can also often draw water from the air, so planting them in humid environments may not require any watering at all.
The plants we categorize as succulents differs in botany and horticulture. Cacti, for example, are succulents, but we don’t buy/sell them as such. The below pineapple is also a succulent (like all bromeliads), but it’s typically found in stores with a small pineapple fruit attached and sold as a fruit plant.
Not only are succulents easy to keep alive (due to less watering needed), but they’re also typically easy to propagate. A single plant can be cloned into a garden within a few years.
Of course, this easy growth and replication can make succulents invasive species in other climates.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum is a native succulent in Madagascar, but has been introduced to the U.S. as a bit of a nuisance. Its unique look and properties earned it nicknames mother of thousands, alligator plant, devil’s backbone (similar to Harry Potter’s Devil’s Snare), and Mexican hat plant. I have one growing in my garden and can attest to it’s beauty/creepiness.
If you’re looking for a unique houseplant, succulents are the way to go.
Buying and Caring for Succulents
Based in the American Southwest, Lula’s Garden can ship succulents all over the country. Here in Arizona, my succulents get plenty of light and get weekly waterings that help them continue to grow. I’m a fan of cloning and creating more free plants around my house, and they’re perfect for this.
In darker, more humid areas (especially during the winter), you’ll want to supplement your succulent’s light. If you have one dying on you, indoors it’s more likely due to lack of natural light than water.
Succulents are used to sandy, rocky soil with great drainage. Beyond that, it’s very difficult to kill them.
Overall, succulents are a great way to spruce up any interior or exterior garden. They’re drought resistant and have an array of gorgeous patterns that make them feel like they’re from an alien planet.
Check out Lula’s Garden to find a succulent that fits your style.