Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
In recent years there’s been much interest in winter gardens. However, one need not have an outdoor garden in order to enjoy the winter. There are some indoor succulents that can bring cheer to the colder months of the year.
Often the plants for winter gardens will have gray or silver foliage. This gives a wintry color to the landscape. However, it is also good to include some bright colors as well for a cheerful touch to a room during the colder months. Here are some recommended plants.
Blue chalk sticks (Senecio serpens)
Originally native to South Africa, this is a member of the Daisy family. It can reach about a foot in height. The much branched stems are covered with grayish-blue foliage with a blue, waxy-like cast. The chubby, cylindrical leaves can reach over 1˝ inches in length. The foliage can be very fragile. So avoid handling it if possible. This species has pastel, yellow daisy-like blooms.
Ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense)
A member of the Crassula family, this succulent is also known as mother-of-pearl-plant. It is winter hardy to zone nine or so. The thick succulent stems reach about a foot in height. This plant grows as a neat rosette. It is named
for the gray foliage, which is covered with a silvery white bloom. Avoid handling the leaves if possible as they are easily damaged. The foliage is fairly large, over three inches wide.
Pencil tree (Euphorbia tirucalli)
Native to tropical Africa, this plant goes by various other common names. These include finger tree, milk bush, and pencil cactus. The common names refer to the much-branched stems, which are mostly upright. These are only as thick as a pencil. In some varieties, the stems are vivid red or orange. These bright shades are great for indoor winter gardens. In the wild the pencil tree can be over 20 feet tall. As a houseplant, it is slow growing.
Flower dust plant (Kalanchoe pumila)
Native to Madagascar, this species is also known as the dwarf purple kalanchoe. This tender succulent reaches about a foot in height. It is noted for its attractive foliage, which is beautifully dusted with white. The stems are also sprinkled with white.
The fleshy, plump leaves can be 1˝ inches long. The edges are toothed. This tends to be a rather weak-stemmed species partly due to the heavy foliage. This has lovely pinkish-purple blossoms. These open in clusters at the tips of the stems. They’re about one-half inch across.