Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
In colder climates, the number of winter hardy succulents is more limited than elsewhere. For succulent lovers, the solution is to grow them as bedding plants during the growing season. Those in warmer areas can also plant them for the same purposes though the plants may well survive over the winter months.
Letís start with Senecio. The succulent Senecios donít seem to have a
common name, which is a pity. There are over a hundred species or so of Senecios. The small, low-growing kinds are most suitable for flower beds and mixed borders. These should be available at local garden centers and nurseries. Two new varieties of Senecio especially bred for landscapes are available for 2005. These include Kilmanjaro, which has silver-green foliage, and Himalayan with light green leaves. These attractive succulents tend to be vigorous growing. Theyíre suitable for outdoor container gardens as well as annual flower beds and borders. Their beautiful foliage provides a wonderful background for viewing flowering plants.
So far as bedding plants are concerned, Kalanchoes arenít the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are now some varieties that were especially bred for outdoor growing. These varieties have been tested under outdoor conditions, and are the most likely to succeed as bedding plants. Though this does depend on the weather, these specially adapted varieties can bloom several times with a short rest period following each flush of blooms. This is in contrast to the usual one we see sold in containers that are best discarded after they quit blooming.
If you plan on growing these landscape Kalanchoes, wait until the temperatures are warm and settled, and all danger of frost is past. They do best when temperatures are at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit. These are suitable for flower beds and borders as well as for mixed outdoor containers.
Needling little watering, these landscape Kalanchoes are highly resistant to most pests and diseases.
There are a number of these landscape succulents available. Usually the flower colors will be in varying shades of red, pink, yellow, or orange as well as white.
One group of outdoor Kalanchoes is called Southern Glow. These should be available at local garden centers and nurseries. The Southern Glows include six different varieties. Their flowers are in several shades, including red, orange, yellow, violet, and carmine.
In warmer areas of the U.S., the snakeplant or Sanseveria can be grown outdoors year-round. Elsewhere they would need to be moved back indoors during the winter months. These are also called bowstring hemp. Typically, these are used as succulent ground covers. Sanseverias prefer poor, infertile, dry soil. Theyíre even suitable for coastal areas for they tolerate salt spray. These prefer some shade. Though there are over fifty species, the appearance of the foliage can vary greatly. Some have highly colored, mottled foliage, while others are plainer looking. The leaves are sword shaped. The plants have an erect, stiff growing habit.