Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
When trailing and creeping species of plants are needed, there are a number of cacti and succulents from which one can choose. Generally, most of these are tender plants that must be grown as houseplants in colder climates. These plants can be grown in hanging baskets. They can also be planted along the edges of mixed planters. In warm climates, they look stunning if they’re planted along the edges of stone walls so the stems cascade over the stone.
Drunkard’s Dream (Hatiora salicornioides)
Native to Brazil, this epiphytic jungle cactus has much branched slender stems that can becoming trailing or pendant as they mature. These can have purplish tinges. Drunkard’s dream has lovely two-toned blossoms that are white on the inside and salmon pink on the outside. This can produce small reddish-tipped fruits that are almost clear.
The ice plants are members of the Aizoon family. There are various species of these succulents. Native to South Africa, these have trailing or creeping stems. They’re named for the small whitish dots on the foliage. These could be grown outdoors in warm climates. Elsewhere they’ll need to be brought indoors for the winter.
The golden ice plant (Lampranthus aureus) has thick, succulent leaves with angled edges. These can be nearly two inches long. The stems are dark brown. The name refers to the bright, glistening, gold colored blooms that have contrasting centers.
There is another relative of the golden ice plant. Lampranthus emarginatus has much branched woody stems that are nearly a foot in length. The linear, greenish-gray leaves have angled edges. Very floriferous, this species has reddish-purple blossoms.
Pink ice plant (Lampranthus roseus) has trailing stems. This species can become woody with age. The angled leaves can be over 1˝ inches in length. The foliage tends to be linear in shape. Pink ice plant is named for the lovely pastel pink blossoms. Over two inches across, these have deep pinkish-red centers.
Red ice plant (Lampranthus spectabile) is a spectacular trailing, branching plant. The stems can become woody with age. The gray foliage can be two inches long. Red ice plant has vivid pinkish blooms. There are hybrids with true red blooms.
Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites)
Myrtle spurge is also known as broad-leaved spurge. Native to Europe, this is a hardy evergreen perennial. It is winter hardy to zone four. The trailing stems are less tan a foot in height. The stout branched stems are covered with greenish-gray leaves that are arranged in neat overlapping layers. The leaves are thick and fleshy. During the mid to late spring, the abundant blooms open. Up to four inches across, these have colorful, yellow, kidney-shaped bracts. These open terminally at the ends of the stems.
Bristle tufted twig cactus (Erythrorhipsalis pilocarpa)
This is a jungle cactus species. An epiphyte, it is one of the chain cactus. Originally native to Brazil, twig cactus has slender, much branched pendant stems arranged in neat whorls. The slender stems are greenish with purplish tinges and grooves. This has lovely white blooms, which can eventually produce fruits