Growing sun-loving succulents in Perth


CONSIDER yourself a brown thumb?

Try succulents; virtually maintenance free and perfectly suited to our Mediterranean climate, these hardy sun-lovers are surging in popularity.

Suzanne Lefroy, from Perth Succulent Bowls, shares her blooming good ideas on growing and caring for the plants.

Why do you love succulents?

It has to be the amazing range of colours they come in; you could design a colour wheel using succulents as they come in almost every shade of the rainbow.

There are surprising shades of blue, teal, silver, chartreuse and burgundy, and the shapes and textures range from roses, dainty beads, daisies and fluffy mounds to bold suggestions of the dinosaur era.

Do you have a favourite variety?

Sedum ‘Gold Mound’ has an amazing yellow hue that turns bright red in winter, Crassula ‘Bonfire’ has burning red colours, too intense to look past in any garden, Crassula muscosa has gentle green tips that wave in the breeze and Kalanchoe tomentosa has soft fluffy leaves that make you want to stroke it.

What are some lesser known facts about succulents?

You can grow a new plant from a single leaf cutting; you can even super glue a succulent rosette on to a moss frame and it will shoot out new roots and grow into the moss.

Also, succulents change colours with the seasons and they even take on the most amazing colour changes when stressed (a stressed succulent occurs in temperature extremes and with lack of watering).

Why are succulents ideal for Perth gardens?

They love full sun, thrive in low nutrient rich soils, tolerate wind, and thrive in our wet winters. They also add big impact to small gardens and can grow in the ground, containers, vertical gardens, rooftop gardens, just about anywhere as long as there is plenty of sunlight.

Five tips for growing healthy varieties

1. Lots of direct sunlight

2. Water only when the soil is dry

3. Dead head the flowers when required

4. They look amazing with slow release fertiliser sprinkled around the root ball twice a year

5. Cut back plants thatare outgrowing containers and plant directly into the garden to propagate new plants

What are common mistakes people make when growing succulents?

Most people don’t know that succulents are generally sun lovers, this means they won’t thrive indoors. Colourful succulents do best outside. That being said, there is a range best suited to indoor locations (Crassula undulata is a great example).

Also, succulents love good drainage so if possible, purchase a pot with a hole in it.