Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
While many of the cacti and succulents offer memorable silhouettes, others may have a more subtle and whimsical charm. These plants are stunning and distinctive. They can offer the unexpected. For example, consider the wonderful soft texture of the lace-like foliage of the climbing onion, a most unusual succulent. This is often grown as an indoor or conservatory plant in cold climates.
Just as employees in today’s tight job market find that versatility and adaptability are key assets, the same is true for cacti and succulents. Today’s gardeners are more discerning than ever, and demand that plants fulfill multiple roles and functions in the landscape.
Plants for Difficult Garden Spots
Some garden sites pose challenging growing conditions for plants. In some cases the soils can be rocky, poor and infertile, or thin or almost non-existent. In general, the desert cacti and many succulents are suited to those types of soil. These rugged, durable species are ideal for stressful situations. In some cases stress brings out the best color in the plants.
Whenever a barrier is needed in the landscape, a spiny cactus or succulent might be the answer. These can be placed strategically to direct foot traffic away from the targeted area. It is a common practice to plant these spiny plants underneath windows to deter would-be burglars. They can also be used to create a living fence.
Eco-Friendly and Gardener-Friendly Plants
Cacti and succulents are both eco-friendly and friendly to gardeners. Assuming the plants aren’t dug from the wild, these are a sustainable choice. Requiring a minimum of water, they also need less fertilizer and chemicals than most other plants. Their sheer beauty can mask their practicality. They tend to be deer resistant, which makes them a good choice wherever deer are a serious problem for gardeners.
Very low maintenance plants, cacti and succulents require less routine care than most other plants. Being carefree, they’re suitable for those gardeners with limited time and those gardeners with health issues or physical limitations, such as arthritis.