Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thirsty? Not these Plants & their Friends

Up until recently, rainshowers have been few and far between this summer. It seems as though the rain has skirted around us, but we rarely find the clouds opening up and dropping buckets of water on our little plot.

And, you know what it means when there isn't any rain during these "dog days." While the plants and (surprisingly) the grass have held up pretty well, it's the container plants that insist on being hand-watered daily...lest they wither away. I think they actually wouldn't complain if I watered them twice a day during the dry periods.

Much to my relief, though, are the containers filled with succulents (and a few of their close friends) that are making my job a whole lot easier. They seem to shoot me a wink that says..."Not thirsty yet! We're doing fine."

I'm sorry to say that I don't know the names of most of these delightful succulents, but this container is one of my favorites. I love the soft green shades combined with splashes of cream and pink.

The foliage comes in so many different shapes...round and elongated or tiny and delicate...all waxy feeling and plump with water.

They don't even seem to mind being out in the full sun.

There are many varieties of aloes as I have recently discovered. The two pictured here are from my aunt's garden. The bottom plant is the steppable plant from my sister-in-law that I posted about in Summer up North.

Because these plants don't like wet feet, I plant them in terracotta pots, in the event we get a rainy spell...such as the one we've had the last few days. The pots absorb a lot of the water, and I don't have to worry about them getting waterlogged.

Here's a close-up look at the two aloes pictured above. One has more slender, solid-colored leaves, while the other has thicker spotted leaves. Both have a pretty good set of spines along the leaves.

This monster Aloe Vera is growing out of its pot, and it's also produced a number of outstanding blooms. The flower stalk is about 2 1/2 feet tall and is bending slightly from the weight of the soft peach and green-colored flowers. I grow these plants both in containers and in the ground.

Another sharp-sided succulent from my aunt...this one grows low to the ground and multiplies nicely. And, it produces a beautiful spike of yellow flowers in spring. My aunt lived in New Mexico before moving to Florida, and she's always had a small cactus and succulent garden.

This Wide Zebra Haworthia attenuata succulent is quite small.  The inside of the leaves are solid green, while the outside is covered with white stripes.

And, while this plant is not a succulent...it is worthy of mentioning because it, too, is not a thirsty plant. It can go for what seems like forever before showing any signs of stress. It's called Snake plant Sansevieria trifasciata...or more commonly...Mother-in-law's tongue (not the nicest name).


Orlando Realtor said...

I just love the succulents also. And like you, I have a difficult time with the plant official names. Your photos are gorgeous as usual.

FlowerLady said...

You have some wonderful succulents.

The rain we've been getting is so refreshing. It seems like old times getting rain every afternoon again.


NanaK said...

You have quite a variety in your succulent collection. I especially like that Wide Zebra. I just recently got the "bug" for these plants. They are just so different looking and seem to like our humid Florida weather which I find surprising.

Floridagirl said...

I'm with NanaK...that Wide Zebra is cool looking! Never saw that plant before. I've been tempted often by the succulents I see at the garden center. One day, I'm going to start a collection. (Like I need more things to collect.) The only aloe I have right now is Aloe saponaria (aka soap aloe). I think it's the "monster" you speak of. I've just about given up on potted plants. Mine are always rainless because I have a lot of covered porch space. Without the rain, they do require twice daily watering here. I recently moved the six or seven containers that still had living plants to one spot, where they would be near a hose and life would be easier. I was tired of being called a plant murderer. Empty containers were filled with bounty from my garden, i.e., indestructible things I have a lot of, like caladiums and oyster plants. Right now, I'm not confident enough to spend any more money on potted plants.

sanddune said...

The Aloe plants also grow happily here in South Florida with no care. Started with one several years back which has since divided into perhaps forty or so. They seem to thrive best in the heat and humidity.

Rainforest Gardener said...

Oh wow! The plants from your aunt are actually dyckias, which are terrestrial bromeliads! I'm so glad they flowered for you!

ChrisC said...

I have fallen in love with succulents all over again,this year.I don't know their names,either,but I still love them.I keep mine in terra cotta pots,also.You have such a great variety.I have the Wide Zebra also,and it is the most forgiving plant ever!

Susan said...

Maxine...They are quite easy to grow. Thanks for your compliment on my photos.

FlowerLady...Yes, it does feel like old times with daily showers. Hurray for the rain.

Kay...They do take our hot weather well. That zebra is actually a very small plant. I'm not sure how big it will get.

FloridaGirl...Succulents really are growing (no pun intended) in popularity. I have my potted plants together but in 4 different locations...so, I run around several times a week watering them with the hose or by hand.

Sanddune...You got your money's worth out of that aloe. I've gotten most of my succulents from family members or friends.

Steve...Thanks for correctly identifying that plant as a bromeliad. I'm guessing it's the one with the stalk of yellow flowers. I wasn't sure about it. It's a very small plant when fully grown and it multiplies like bromeliads.

Chris...I definitely have to grow them in terracotta pots, otherwise I'll definitely overwater them.

Ami said...

I also love succulents, and have been collecting them little by little. I need to find some nice way to organize them all, and yours gave me some idea how to do that! :) I also have some Aloe growing in partial shade, but never saw it flowering even the leaves look very healthy and grow very well. Maybe mine is some type that won't flower?

It is funny that you mentioned "Mother-in-law's tongue is not a nicest name for the plant. That same thought has occurred to me several times everytime I saw this name :)

Meems said...

Lots of great succulents, Susan. I am trying so hard not to 'love' succulents as I do not need another thing I'm determined to collect. Although I have been given several and they are definitely grabbing my affection this year like never before.

I really like the photos you've taken in this post... a very nice way to display your pretty plants.

Succulents are SO carefree I have to really remind myself NOT to water them when I'm dragging the hose to the other containers around them.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Hi Susan and my name is Candy. I have a blog that I started mostly about succulents. I absolutely love them. I live in Northern CA and 90% of my plants are succulents. I have no idea how many I have. You have some great succulents. I see some echeveria's and kalanchoe's along with the other ones you named. I really like your blog!

Floridamom said...

I like the idea of succulents in pots and will keep that in mind. Unfortunately, my potted plants have needed watering daily here in Brevard. My rain barrel has been empty 3 times this summer. Unbelievable!

Rusty in Miami said...

Succulents are my next adventure in the gardening world, I am slowly acquiring a collection of plants, last week I purchased a book recommended by a friend “Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin, I’ll let you know how it is.

Susan said...

Ami...There are aloe varieties that don't bloom. FloridaGirl identified my blooming variety as "soap aloe."

Meems...Succulents are really neat plants. I, too, have to be careful not to water them when i water my other plants. I've killed a few cacti in my day.

Candy...Hi and welcome! I look forward to looking at all your succulents. Calif. is a bit dryer climate than us, but so far my succulents are doing well.

FloridaMom...Welcome! I'm always glad to find other Florida gardeners. I look forward to visiting your blog and will add you to my blogroll.

Rusty...Yes, please let me know how the book is. Succulents look nice when combined in some sort of container.

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