Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Stone walls are a common feature of landscapes, and offer a wonderful opportunity to grow hardy perennial succulents.
Typically in such cases, the succulents can be planted on top of the wall. Then as they grow, they will spread over the edge and cascade to soften the visual effect of the stone.
With proper planning during construction, you can also create niches within the wall for growing hardy perennial succulents.
Succulents do well in such situations because the walls provide good drainage and airy conditions. For best results, these will need full sun in most cases. Now letís look at some specific succulents that would do well on walls.
Hardy ice plant
In recent years, the hardy perennial ice plants, which are known as delospermas, have become popular garden plants. Several species and cultivars are available. Forming mats, these have spreading stems and evergreen foliage. The thick succulent leaves are crowded together so they pretty much conceal the stems.
Only reaching about four inches or so in height, these bloom from summer through the fall. The flower color depends upon the species or cultivar being grown. Daisy-like, they are often pink, purple, or yellow. The plants are named for the whitish bloom that can be seen on the foliage.
Originally native to Europe, these rosette forming plants can reach about eight inches in height. These evergreens have rosettes crowded together in a mass. The pups or chicks come off the stems that emerge from the mother plant.
The foliage can be brightly colored, and may be hairy in some cases. Depending on the species or cultivar, the leaves can be in various shades. The blooms open in terminal clusters with the flower colors varying according to the species or cultivar being grown. Typically, these are purple, white, or pink.
Species suitable for stone walls include cobweb houseleek. This is named for the cobweb-like hairs that emerge from the tips of the leaves. The pinkish-rose blooms open on tall stalks from July through September.
Mountain houseleek has sticky, hairy leaves that are green. Found originally in the mountains of Europe, this usually has purplish-red blossoms though they can sometimes be yellow. These open in July and August in clusters.
Houseleek is also native to Europe. This is one of the all-time favorites for planting on walls and roofs. The foliage can become reddish. Along the margins are white bristles. The pale red blooms open in clusters from July through August. The flower stems can reach over 1Ĺ feet in height.