Ask The Florist: Why Succulents Make the Perfect House Plant

Succulents in the home

Listen very carefully; I shall say this only once. I don’t “do’” house plants. I don’t “do” them mostly because I kill them. Okay, I know I’m a florist and florists ‘per se’ mostly “do” plants and flowers generally speaking, but there has to be an exception to the rule and I, dear reader, am she. Regardless of what I do (and here-in lies the problem), I do very little, they invariably die – it’s as simple as that.

Lack of water or near drowning, too much sunlight or too dark a corner, too draughty or too near the radiator or if none of the above I have simply starved them to death. Whatever the method of extermination call the plant police, it’s a fair cop guv – you have me banged to rights on this one. I am a self-confessed serial house plant killer!

But wait, I have at last found a plant that actually likes a negligent owner. More than this, it looks rather lush or should I say rather succulent.

Caring for succulents

Succulents are the house plant du jour. Pretty, quirky and, what’s more, they add a touch of modernity to your book shelf, bedside table or office desk.

I first discovered these little blue/green beauties about five years ago when a bridal client showed me a photo of one and asked me to include a few in her wedding bouquet. Somewhat perplexed by the initial request, I did as I was asked and subsequently fell in love with this little flowering succulent known as Echeveria Elegans. There are a whole host of varieties, shapes, sizes and colours available. I sometimes include one or two in my table centre pieces and for the more adventurous client, I have even been known to spray gold paint on one or two for my more avant-garde arrangements.

Planting succulents

Succulents are reasonably hardy, and can be left outside during the warmer months, but it would be best to bring inside during the winter to avoid frost damage. They are generally fine down to about 2 -3 degrees. I have some that I leave out over winter in much lower temperatures and they come back year after year.

So whilst they don’t like too much watering, they do need a drink every so often (as much as every 3 – 4 days in summer- not that they will be getting that from me!). They are draught tolerant and come potted up in a mixture of sand – a grit which is easy to mix up if you want to plant up into a larger container.

Succulents in a planter

I bought a tray of them and have had fun planting them up for a table on my deck outside my kitchen. I used a few pots lying around in the workshop and shed as well as an old elongated wooden fruit bowl, I have covered the soil with some moss to keep in the little bit of moisture and might even spray them or dribble a drop of water on them from time to time (if I remember)! I’ve also planted succulents up for my teenage boys to have in their bedrooms; the little Campbell’s soup tin succulent shown here is now two years old! I have just re-potted it and dunked the root ball in some warm water and returned to its usual spot in my son’s bedroom.

Alternative succulent planters

If you, like me, are prone to a bit of indoor plant homicide, may I prescribe a few of these to try out at home? Wonders may never cease, but I think we may have just found the perfect plant partner.


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