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Succulent plants have been the darling of drought-plagued gardeners for many, many years. With their fleshy, water-holding foliage, succulents require very little maintenance and are perfect for xeriscaping (landscaping that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental irrigation.) Ten to fifteen years ago, the only succulents available to an East Coast gardener like myself were hens-and-chicks, sedums, and the occasional jade plant. Succulents weren’t in our gardening repertoire simply because they didn’t need to be. Most years, we have plenty of water, so in our minds, succulents were only meant for places like Albuquerque, Tucson, and San Diego. But, boy, have times changed!
Lucky for us, these fascinating and beautiful plants have recently become available to a wider audience of gardeners. I’m not sure when the “succulent train” left the station and started heading east, but it’s been chugging along for a couple of years now, picking up lots of fans along the way. My guess is that Debra Lee Baldwin‘s terrific book, Designing with Succulents (Timber Press, 2007), played a big role in helping spread the word about these spectacular plants and encouraging people to experiment with them. Succulent fever has since swept the continent, and gardeners everywhere are discovering the joys of growing these uber-cool plants.
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Plant breeders and garden designers have also played a big role in promoting the use of water-wise succulents in the landscape. So, too, have growers and retail nurseries. One of those growers, Costa Farms, recently asked Savvy Gardening to participate in a container gardening challenge to share with our readers just how beautiful container-grown succulents can be. Their Desert Escape Collection is one of several plant collections the company offers, and it is chock full of amazing succulents and cacti.
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In our container design, pictured below, you’ll find African milk tree, zebra haworthia, variegated jade, Echiverias, flapjacks, and many more. We loved putting these plants together, using antique French dough bowls and rusted rebar for our containers. If you’d like to experiment with succulents in your own landscape, you can likely find many different varieties at your local nursery – all thanks to that “succulent train” and growers like Costa Farms!
Do you grow succulents in your garden? Which varieties are your favorite?