If spring showers are few and far between in your area, consider planting succulents this year. The plants are well known for their ability to withstand arid conditions by storing moisture in their stems, branches, or even roots.
That makes for low-maintenance gardening: You only need to water succulents about once a week. Just make sure that the location is sunny and the soil dry to the touch.
Basket Planting How-To
Succulents love well-draining soil, making them perfect candidates for hanging basket planters. Plantsman Dennis Schrader of Landcraft Environments in Mattituck, New York, shares basket-planting tips.
1. Begin with a soil mix that has good drainage. If you're using a regular soil mix, add perlite, coarse sand, or gravel to the mix.
2. Ruff up the roots a bit to let the plant know it's out of its pot.
3. Plant the succulents at the same depth at which they were growing in the pot. Place trailing plants along the edges, and place compact plants in the middle and sides.
4. In the fall, the baskets can be brought inside and hung in a large, sunny window.
Glossary of Succulents
There are plenty of beautiful succulent varieties, each with their own distinctive characteristics. Dennis lists a few of his favorites.
Jade (crassula ovate): Jade is a very popular house plant, with winter blooms shaped like small stars.
White Ghost Crest (euphorbia lactea variegata): The "lactea" in the name of the plant refers to the white, milky fluid that drips if it's cut or damaged.
Echeveria rosea: This plant comes in many different colors and shapes. It makes a good houseplant and likes summering outdoors.
Gasteria variegata: A cousin of aloe, this plant gets its name from its stomach-shaped flowers. Its rare variegated forms are prized by collectors.
Black Kalanchoe (kalanchoe beauverdii ): These tall plants grow best with a stake or two, and caring for them is easy.
Plum Purdy (aeonium): Native to North Africa and the Canary Islands, these plants feature beautiful chocolate-plum leaves.
See photos from Martha's visit to Landcraft Environments on The Martha Blog.