Succulents Instead of Annuals

I have been so frustrated with the drought that this year I decided to use succulents in some places where I might have put annuals. The wind, coupled with the lack of moisture, has made it hard the last few years for bedding plants to make a showing in my yard, which  has an abundance of drying wind, so the switch to succulents made sense. The very thing that makes these plants succulents, their fleshy leaves, ability to retain water, sun-loving, makes them perfect candidates to stand up to the  arid, dry, windy, hot conditions. I used primarily ice plant (delosperma), sansevieria, artemisia, dew plant, sedums,  purslane-portulaca grandiflora and others this year, although there are many others you might try.

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Ice plant comes in several colors and a variety of sizes, but it is all pretty. In warmer climates it will come back after the winter. In our climate, sometimes it does, sometimes not. It is usually recommended that you cut back on water as cold weather approaches, but I have not seen that it makes much difference with mine. But maybe that is because it is usually drier than most places here and the cutting back of water just sort of takes care of itself. If you are concerned about losing yours over the winter, take a cutting to root so you will have a start in the spring.

 

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I forgot to take a close-up of the dew plant, but it is the one in the center. As you can see, it has filled its pot and blooms red. It is also available in yellow. It is not cold-hardy in my zone, zone 6. The yellow and magenta ice plant are in the other two.

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Sedums grow a little slower than ice plant, but make a stunning hanging basket. The senecio on the right, string of pearls, is also impressive. It needs a bit  more water.

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This pot is a mixture of sedum and cotyledon.

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The autumn joy, just as the name indicates, flowers later in the summer, closer to autumn. It comes is lavender and pink and perhaps other colors I have not seen. This one is growing its buds now for later flowering.

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I’ll admit , I have no idea what this is! It was not marked when I bought it and have not been able to find on the on Internet yet. But it is interesting with its zig-zag growth. It takes a bit more water and a little filtered sun.

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I bought a start of this plant at Sul Ross State University in Alpine in 2003 and it makes an interesting plant. It is a curcurbitaceae zerosicyos and has curling tendrils that latch on to anything close.

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This purslane portulaca grandiflora is one I saved from last year, and it has done beautifully this year. I love the neon magenta blooms.

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This ice plant is out in the big cactus bed and  has come back year after year.

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I used artemisia powis castle in one of the three big pots to add variety of color and texture. It should come back if watered some during the winter. The sansevieria tricolor I used for height and variety of texture in the pot with the yellow ice plant. The sansevieria is not cold hardy, so be prepared.

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Hoya has color when exposed to the sun. Kolanchoe grandifloria makes a nice statement as well. These two are not cold-hardy. But then, neither are most traditional bedding plants.

The list is endless if you would like to try succulents  in place of the annual bedding plants and even some perennials, which I find succumb to the drying wind and the need for water every single day, which can be a problem if your summer is full of trips and being away from the yard for days at a time.  It is a bit late this year to try them, although you could get specimens started now and winter them inside and be ready for instant color and greenery in the spring after the first frost.

Start looking and be amazed at what you will find.

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6 thoughts on “Succulents Instead of Annuals

  1. Oh my gosh…. oh my gosh. I saw your blog on Pinterest and your AMAZING string of pearls plant!! I have been trying to grow string of pearls for years now, with no success. Yours is clearly extremely happy!!!! What do you do to keep it that way? I must know your secrets.

    • Thanks for reading, Amy. I have no secret for the string of pearls, other than I try to keep them wetter than the other succulents. They seem to stay plumper that way. Mine are also in filtered shade rather than full sunlight, but they might do well in more sun; I just haven’t tried them in full sun. I do let them dry out, but I water them every other day or so. Hope that helps.

  2. Love all your plants! Just started collecting different kinds of succulents and now I’m hooked to it. Thank you for sharing!👌❤️

    • You are quite welcome! I don’t know what the temperature is where you are right now, but here it is 105, and in that kind of heat, even succulents appreciate more water! So keep an eye on your new plants and be aware they might need a bit more liquid and shade in extreme heat.

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