For a striking garden feature, Agaves have stiff leaves that form large rosettes which can reach up to 1 m across. Some have spiky margins while others, such as the very popular Agave attentuata, has smooth edged grey-green leaves. Agaves need a frost protected position in full sun to part shade and although they are drought tolerant, will appreciate a deep watering each week during hot dry conditions. Agaves also look fabulous in pots. For the larger agaves like A. attenuata you’ll need a pot at least 40 cm in diameter. Flower spikes reaching several metres high can emerge from the centre of mature plants. Once an agave has flowered, the plant will slowly die however will produce numerous small ‘pups’ around the base which can be separated and replanted.
Echeverias are succulents that form neat rosettes of overlapping leaves in shades of green, blue-grey, burgundy or silver, with many having interesting two-toned or attractive wavy leaves. Echeverias are sometimes known as ‘hens and chicks’, due to the delightful way that small plants will develop around the mother plant. These can be easily separated, making it simple to grow your echeveria collection. Echeverias will also produce yellow, red or orange flowers on tall stems, held high above the plant. Most echeverias grow to around 15 cm tall and wide and make fantastic potted plants, either one variety en masse or a range of different varieties grown together in the one pot. When growing succulents in pots, a free draining potting mix, together with a well-drained pot, is essential. Yates Specialty Potting Mix Cacti & Succulents is a coarse, free-draining sandy mix that’s ideal for succulents. It contains a biostimulant for plant and root health and controlled release fertiliser to feed succulents for up to 6 months.
Sedums are a diverse range of succulents, from the cutest jelly bean sedums (Sedum rubrotinctum), to gorgeous flowering ‘Autumn Joy’ and cascading donkey’s tail (Sedum morganianum). When it comes to ground cover and low growing sedums for full sun or partly shaded spots, the ‘Blob’ collection from Plant Growers Australia includes colours for every garden design. ‘Purple Blob’ which has attractive clusters of purple and grey leaves, ‘Silver Blob’ with compact rosettes of powdery silver foliage with yellow flowers during the warmer months, ‘Grey Blob’ which has feathery-like grey foliage, ‘Green Blob’ with rounded lime green leaves, ‘Chocolate Blob’ that has burgundy tinted leaves and ‘Gold Blob’ with golden coloured foliage. The range of colours and textures in the BLOB range are perfect for creating attractive focal points in rockeries, garden beds and dry garden designs or to edge paths and driveways. They also make a fabulous potted plant. BLOB sedums only need watering once their leaves start to soften or shrink, which is more common during periods of hot weather.
If you are wanting to clear the air, say ‘Aloe’ to your new best bud in the home. Aloes (Aloe vera) are not just there to help with those after beach sunburns (ouch!), but can also assist in the home by removing toxins in the air. How can such a simple plant do so much you ask? A study conducted by NASA scientists in the late 80’s has shown that when planted in the right conditions can reduce the amount of formaldehyde present in an indoor area. Easy to grow both outdoors and in, these hardy, beneficial and multi-use plants are a must have in the home say ‘Aloe you Vera much’ and make for this helper in your home.
Jade (Crassula ovata) can be found with plain green or variegated leaves. It has thick brown stems and small, round, succulent leaves. It may be grown in a container or in the garden. Jade adapts well to tough, dry conditions but needs more watering in warm weather. It’s sometimes called the money plant because, if sited near the front door, it’s said to enhance the inhabitants’ wealth!
Succulents will really appreciate being fed between spring and autumn, to promote healthy leaf, stem and root growth. Feed potted succulents with Yates Thrive Plant Food Spikes Cacti & Succulents. It’s as simple as pushing a spike into the potting mix, midway between the stem and the pot edge, until the spike is just below the surface. The spikes contain a complete blend of nutrients, specially designed to feed cacti & succulents for 2 months.