Some of our residential landscaping clients here in the Florida Panhandle like to add diversity to their yard or deck with container gardens. And they ask us what plants to include. Should they be flowers? Herbs? Is container gardening with succulents a smart move? We answer a resounding YES!
What Are Succulents?
Succulents are plants with fat, waxy stems and leaves, adapted to hold water. Some of the best known succulents are cacti and aloe, but succulents come from more than 40 plant families! One advantage is that they’re easy to care for and they’re year-round plants.
Do Succulents Grow Well In The Florida Panhandle?
Though succulents are drought-tolerant plants known for thriving in desert environments, they do just fine in Florida’s humidity, even in the rainy season. That said, when planting succulents in Florida, it’s best to put them in clay or terra cotta containers, since they breathe better than plastic and lets the soil dry out a little.
You’ll also want to use a special soil that drains faster, adding inorganic agents like perlite or vermiculite, to aid in drainage. You can even put some gravel on top of the soil for decoration. We at GreenEarth Landscape Services can talk to you about the different planting media good for various types of container plants.
What To Use When Container Gardening With Succulents
Fortunately there are a lot of succulents to choose from. For visual impact, vary the types of succulents you plant, with different heights, colors and plant shapes.
Two common aloes are Barbados aloe, which grows slowly, in clumps. The aloe arborescens which form spiky branches with large cone shaped red flowers. These tend to be larger plants. If you’re looking for a smaller aloe, try the aloe brevifoliais (though some of these can grow quite large).
Some of the sedum succulents can look almost cartoonishly cute. They have small leaves and grow close to the ground, and many people use them as groundcover. For container gardens, though, they are fabulous to add to the mixture. Florida Friendly Gold is one sedum that’s well established in our state — good for cold and warm climates.
With leaves shaped like clam shells, they also have beautiful and long-lasting blooms. You can buy these plants in dwarf sizes, which are great for smaller containers.
How To Care For Succulent Plants In Florida
Outside the rainy season, you’ll need to water your succulents so they don’t dry out in hot weather. Some succulents, like those common in Mediterranean climates, become dormant in summer. If the soil feels dry, it might be time to water them.
In rainy season, you shouldn’t need to water them, and too much water can cause plant rot. Some people bring their succulent container gardens indoors during long periods of rain, to avoid this problem.
GreenEarth Knows Container Gardening With Succulents
Let us know if we can help you choose the right succulents and other plants for your container gardens. At GreenEarth Landscape Services, we can also help with an overall landscaping plan to beautify your yard, making it the peaceful place you want it to be.
Give us a call at our Panama City Beach office at (850) 236-1959, or call our Santa Rosa Beach office at (850) 267-0010 to set up an appointment. You can also fill out the online form on our website to schedule a consultation.