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Unique Ways of Using Succulent Plants In Your Events

Have you ever thought about how unique and interesting succulent plants are? How versatile they are compared to our regular garden plants? How great their textures are and how much range of colors and shapes they have? It’s truly amazing when you consider the many ways we can use succulents to make our homes more gorgeous and to make an ordinary office space homey.

But beyond our homes and our offices, we also see succulents being used to liven up a blank canvas of an event place. Have you seen a birthday party or an anniversary celebration with succulents as the main design? Don’t these plants look gorgeous and fun? Every event stylist is looking to design an event place that’s both beautiful and fun. You may think that’s a pretty ordinary combination but come to think of it. Roses are only beautiful. They are not fun. Peonies are pretty. They are not fun. Daises and sunflowers are fun, but they are not drop-dead gorgeous.

On the other hand, succulents are always beautiful when they are in full bloom. And also, they are fun once you consider all the different colors, shapes, and textures they bring to a room. People can gather around a succulent décor and talk about how unique the setting was and how the color matches the overall motif of the event. It’s a conversation-starter, and it’s also one of the most interesting decorative pieces an event can have.

Centerpieces and Bouquets

Do not think that you can only design with succulents alone. The best thing about these plants is that they are so versatile and flexible they can be mixed with other garden plants such as roses and tulips and they will still stand out. Or better yet, they can bring a touch of elegance to the already gorgeous bunch of red roses you have in your hand. You can use a succulent arrangement as table centerpieces or as bouquets for weddings. All you need to do is use different shapes and sizes of succulents to bring height and weight to the arrangement.

Ceiling Treatments

A popular trend these days is to hang flowers, balloons, lanterns, and other ornaments from the ceiling. This will create such a gorgeous backdrop in an indoor event place. How about hanging succulents instead? Succulents are great because they last long so even if you hang them as decorations during the day, they will still look as gorgeous as ever when the party extends to evening time. Roses and other flowers can easily wilt because of lack of water but succulents will still look plump and lively even after a day has passed.

Backdrops

How about a succulent garden as the background for the stage? We’re so used to using plastic ornaments and decors that we never stop to think about how gorgeous real flowers and plants would look like when they are used as a stage backdrop. Trust us, your photos will look priceless and you’ll feel like a million bucks.

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4 Things To Consider When Choosing Containers For Succulents

After planning which succulents to plant in your garden, you will have to decide the size, material, and drainage capacity of the containers or pots. It is important to consider the quality of your containers for succulents before beginning to plant them because the healthy growth of the plants will also depend on the right material used for the container.

1. The Size of the Container for Succulents

Keep in mind that it is easier to grow plants in large containers because it allows their roots to grow without any hindrance. A large container holds more soil, which stays moist longer and does not dry out easily as the soil in small pots. The rapid temperature outside can cause fluctuations in the moisture content of the soil, so more soil and more moisture mean a better chance for these plants to thrive.

Small hanging baskets are prone to drying out quickly, especially during hot and humid summer days. Though succulent plants generally like the idea of being dried out and not being watered regularly, this routine might change if the soil will use its moisture.

It is also important to consider what plant to grow in each container. You have to consider the size of the plants’ root systems, though succulents don’t grow that much in terms of root size. If you are going into mixed planting and plans to combine different succulent variants, you may have to buy a large container to accommodate all the roots that would take place.

2. The Drainage Capability of the Container

Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are important. Without drainage holes, water will pool and plants may die because of “drowning.” The holes don’t need to be large, though they have to be sizeable enough to squeeze the remaining water out of the roots. If you managed to buy a container with no holes in them, you have to drill ones yourself. Or, you can use this as a cachepot, which is functional for managing large plants and heavy pots. Simply grow your plants in an ordinary nursery pot that fits inside a decorative cachepot. You can then move them separately when the weather requires.

3. The Material of the Container

Each material used to make containers has its own benefits and drawbacks. Terracotta containers are attractive, but they easily break. Concrete containers last long and they come in a range of sizes and styles, but they are heavy and could not be moved from one area to another. Fiberglass, plastic, and planters are lightweight, inexpensive, and are available in different sizes and styles. However, they can become brittle over time and may even break and cause your plants to die. Wood is natural-looking and they are attractive and protects roots from the temperature swings. But you need to be careful in choosing the type of wood. Don’t use creosote, which is toxic to plants.

4. The Preparation for the Container

When the soil is out inside the containers, they will naturally become heavy and you have to decide strategically where to place them in your garden. Metal and plastic containers are lighter compared to wood and terracotta containers, so you can hang metal and plastic containers even with the soil and plant in them. But remember that metal containers can get very hot, too, so make sure they are not directly under the sun. These are just some of the considerations you need to make when preparing the container for your garden.

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3 Key Benefits of Container Gardens For Succulents

Pots, old fishbowls, metal tubs, half barrels, and an old crate overflowing with succulents, flowers, and plants add appeal to any garden, but they have practical purposes, too. Aside from making your gardens look incredibly gorgeous, container gardens are also flexible and versatile when it comes to the maintenance. Container gardening is ideal for people with small patches of lands to turn into a garden. They can also be employed by people who have no space to start even a tiny garden, which makes this strategy workable for those living in apartment buildings and condominiums.

In addition to growing flowers, those who can only plant on a little space in their balcony or their driveway can grow a wide variety of vegetable crops in containers. The most important spices and herbs—basil, thyme, chives, rosemary, spring onion, and even chili—in our pantry can grow in pots and containers. In fact, you can put these potted herbs on your windowsill by the kitchen and just nip their buds when you need them for cooking. How much fresher can that be, right?

1. Adds Versatility to Gardens

We are so used to seeing gardens with roses or tulips up front and a bunch of other plants and flowers below the front windows. But these plants don’t stand out primarily because we have come to expect to see the same plants and flowers house after house. Putting succulent plants in a container and putting two containers of the same style on either side of the front walk could serve as a welcoming decoration to your guests. Container gardening on the deck or the patio also adds a burst of color to an otherwise dreary garden space. Succulent plants lend instant color and texture, and it provides a focal point in the garden that ties the architecture of the house to the garden. In other words, it balances the overall look of the whole property.

2. Flexible Depending on Weather Conditions

Depending on weather conditions, you may need to transfer your succulent plants from outdoors to indoors, or vice versa. This is extremely hard to do, of course, if the plants have taken root in the actual garden soil. You would need to prepare well ahead of time and dig the plants’ roots to transfer them to specific containers. Do you really want to go through all that trouble every time the weather pushes you to put the plants inside? If they are in containers, you could easily put them carefully in a basket and transfer them to a safer place.

3. Provides Accents to the Garden

A single large container with an over-the-top succulent plant could serve as an accent to your garden. This could be the first thing that your guests will notice when they arrive at your property. Simply buy a container that’s big enough to embrace all the plants and flowers you want to combine. The possibilities are endless, of course, as you can combine succulents with ordinary houseplants. A guideline to follow is the “thriller, spiller, and filler” formula. The thriller is the focal point of the arrangement while the spiller will crawl over the edge of the containers. Finally, the filler will fill in the “gaps” in the arrangement.

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Best Sources To Learn About Succulents

If you want to become good at growing succulents or any kinds of cacti plants, you need accurate information about its physical structure, its propagation, the right maintenance schedule, and the materials used to take care of these plants. The skill of taking care and growing succulents is not something you can just “wing.” You need the right information if you are to grow these plants in your own garden or even turn this passion into a profitable business.

Do you want to know how to take care of succulents, the proper way of propagating it, and choosing the right varieties for your garden? Have you ever considered going back to school or taking an online course that will teach you everything you need to know about these plants?

Before enrolling in an actual university or for an online course, you need first to know what you’re going into. The study of plants and the practice of garden cultivation and management is called horticulture. This is an actual job for many people and they make a profit by growing and managing gardens and plants. It is not to be taken lightly. You cannot say that someone is a horticulturist just because he has a “green thumb.” Before beginning to learn about succulents, you need to first learn to respect the science that defines it.

University Courses

Find out if the local university or college in your area has a department or institute of horticulture. This department will cover the course about succulents and cacti. The courses are usually just around 100 hours to finish, so you should be done easily and armed with enough knowledge to get your succulent garden going. Taking the course isn’t expensive as well. Some universities will offer the course for only $500. You get to spend that little money and learn everything you need about growing succulent plants and managing a garden.

Online Courses

Of course, if you don’t have the time to attend an actual university course, you can take it online. Meaning, your professor or instructor will send the manuals and the reading materials to you. After which, you will be given an assignment and you will be graded accordingly. The instructor is tasked to guide you as you complete the assignment and if necessary, provide comments, suggestions, and inputs to turn you into a better succulent gardener.

YouTube Videos

Don’t have the money to spend on an actual course about succulent? Want to do this sparingly? No worries because you can still learn plenty of things via free YouTube videos made by experts and vloggers. Just browse through the internet to find well-known succulent experts and see if they have made tutorial videos about succulents. You can find these videos on YouTube and you can digest as many information as you can.

Books

You can always check out the local library or the bookstore and find many books about horticulture and succulents. It’s not the same as seeing an actual gardener nip and water and propagate the succulents but if you are a good reader (meaning, you digest more information when you read than when you watch), this might be a good source of information for you.

Blogs

Blogs like the one found here at Cal Farms provide more personal narrative and comprehensive information about succulent plants. We touch succulent-related topics including growing, buying, choosing, maintaining and a lot more. We give a more general take on the things you find in schools, online courses, YouTube videos, and books.

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What Are Aerial Roots In Succulents And What Can We Do About Them?

If you have had your succulents for a while, you may eventually notice aerial roots or air roots forming along the stem and obscuring the beauty of the plants. While this isn’t a major problem and would not cause the plant to die, this is a sign that your succulents are not as healthy as they should be. It’s time to take notice of them, water them and put them under the sunlight.

When you see aerial roots along the stem of a succulent plant, it only means it needs extra attention from you. After all, you’re the only one this plant depends on, so you have to know as many information as you can about what aerial roots are and how they can be addressed.

Aerial roots are just roots that grow on the stem of the succulent rather than the soil. They are usually pink or white in color. They form on succulents that are either not getting enough water or not getting enough sun. When the plant is in a humid environment, this could cause the aerial roots to grow from their stems, too. Remember that succulents absorb water through their roots from their surrounding environment.

When growing succulents, make sure to use a soil with large particles because this is essential for the health of the plants. If the succulent plants are not getting enough water, they will start to search for more and would eventually branch out through the stems. This is when aerial roots start to form. The message is: “Hey, I’m thirsty and I need more water to grow and thrive.”

Lack of sunlight would also cause a succulent to form aerial roots. You will notice that a plant is lacking sunlight when it looks stretched out. Just like in water, the plant itself is telling you that it needs more sun. One of the first signs of an unhealthy succulent plant is the dried up leaves at the bottom. If you notice that the leaves are starting to dry, then you could probably expect the aerial roots to form in a day or two.

Not all succulents grow aerial roots even when they are dehydrated. Aerial roots tend to grow from succulents with a stem such as Echeverias or tender Sedums. You won’t see aerial roots on Haworthias or Aloes. And of course, remember that if you are watering correctly, aerial roots won’t start to appear.

In terms of plants, you are likely to see aerial roots on succulents that grow quickly and are in their active growing seasons. The Graptoveria Fred Ives and Graptopetalum paraguayense grow quickly and stretch out when they don’t get enough sunlight.

Don’t worry because your problems with aerial roots can be solved easily. You don’t have to cut them off, though you can remove them if they are getting too unpleasant. Simply plucking them out carefully would do the trick. More than that, what you need to do is water the plants correctly and make sure they are getting plenty of light. That should do the trick of preventing these aerial roots from growing.

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7 Tools For Propagating Succulents Correctly

If you have been planting different varieties of succulents whether as a personal hobby or for business, you may be wondering when it’s time to propagate them and grow new plants from your existing ones. The process of propagating succulents is actually a fairly simple one.

As long as you have the proper knowledge (which you can learn on the internet) and these seven tools, you will be propagating succulents well.

Sharp Shears

Anyone who wants to propagate succulent plants should have two kinds of sharp shears in his or her toolbox. You will need pruning shears and trimming snips in order to get into tight places such as the lowest stem of the plant.

Using the proper shears is important when cutting succulents because you may damage the sensitive plant tissues with a blunt pair of scissors. You should invest in a high-quality shear because this could damage your plants with even your trained hands.

Knife

A knife is needed if you are propagating tough agaves, cacti, or other plants with a dense core. You have to try different kinds of knives before deciding on which suits your needs. Just remember to have a sheath for this tool because accidents do happen in the garden.

When choosing a knife, pick one that isn’t heavy and that has a firm but easy grip. There are really expensive options out there, but we’re sure you can find the one that fits your budget and your needs.

Rubbing Alcohol

Clean tools are essential to propagating succulents. Use an alcohol to clean the tools before and after using them. A clean blade will ensure that no infection or disease will be passed between the plants.

Simply apply rubbing alcohol to a piece of cloth or paper towel and wipe the blades clean with it. Use the alcohol to clean your hands before and after removing your gloves too.

Gloves

Spiny agaves and cacti might cut or prick your skin. Some succulents also have poisonous saps that should not come in contact with your skin. Protect your hands and yourself by wearing leather gloves or gloves with a rubber layer.

Tool Sharpener

There’s nothing more annoying than working with blunted shears. Keeping your tools sharp is as important as keeping them clean and dirt-free. A dull blade can damage the leaves and the tissues of the plants. If you have to cut a succulent plant, you have to do it in one swift motion.

Soil

You need a light, well-aerated, and well-draining soil to make sure that the succulent plants will thrive. The roots must easily penetrate the soil, and this can only be accomplished when the soil has large particles that can move around once the roots begin spreading.

Cell Trays or Flats

Cell trays are incredibly important when propagating succulents because you can start the plants small there and transfer them to bigger succulent pots or containers once they have thrived. Flats are useful for leaf and seed propagation and they make everything look organized.

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5 Easy Steps to Prepare Your Yard For A Succulent Garden

If you are planning to turn your front lawn into your very own succulent garden, you first need to prepare the yard for what’s about to come. Though succulents are very easy to maintain, they nonetheless require certain concessions such as well-draining soil and enough space to grow in height and width. Prepping up the site of the garden is an important step in ensuring that your succulent plants will grow healthily and that the garden will be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.

1. Mow and Uproot Existing Plants and Vegetation

If you have existing plants or vegetation on the area where you plan to have your succulent garden, you should think about mowing the grass down and uprooting the plants that can be salvaged or transferred. There are two things you can do to the existing plants: you can transfer them to a pot that you can place in the backyard or in another part of the property or you can give them away to a neighbor who wants it. You can always throw them away, of course, but that would be a waste as these plants can still grow even if they are not under your care.

2. Install and Adjust the Irrigation System

How are you planning to water the garden? Succulents are known for their minimal need for water so this should not cause you big trouble. Certainly, since you don’t need to water the plants every day, you can just make sure that there is a nearby faucet where you can plug your hose and sprinkler. You also need to ensure that pipes running under the yard are leak-proof because leaky pipes could cause water to damage the succulents.

3. Plan for a Temporary Roof

If you are living in an area where it could get cold, frosty, and wet, you need to put contingencies in the plan. What are you going to do with the succulents when the bad weather comes? You can plan ahead and buy a makeshift tent that would cover and protect the plants from rain and snow. Sure, this would have to be a big makeshift cover but you’ll only need to take them out when the weather gets really cold and bad. If you’re living in an area where the climate is usually cold, you may want to only invest in cold-weather succulents so you don’t have to go through the whole process of installing a tent or cover over the garden.

4. Evaluate the Runoff

You need to edge the lawn to avoid a run-off and keep your plants from spilling onto the pavement. You can use a shovel to cut the lawn eight to 12 inches from the edge of the pavement or concrete. You can also place a nice garden boulder to keep the plants within your lawn. A nice pruning of the succulents regularly would also keep them from getting too big and reaching out to the pavement.

5. Upgrade the Hardscape

Your succulent garden would look much better if the hardscape—the walkways and paths—could complement the overall design of the garden. You can use pebbles, bricks, woodchips, and flagstones for your hardscape.

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Where To Get Succulents And The Necessary Tools For Them

You may be wondering where to get succulents. You definitely don’t see them in local hardware or even around specialty shops in your area. So, where exactly are the succulent seedlings coming from and how do people cultivate them to look beautiful and gorgeous in their gardens? To start with, you have to tap resource persons both in real-life and online.

Forums and Online Communities

If you want to start this hobby, you have to know everything that you can about starting it and taking care of them so they maintain those lustrous leaves and flowers. There is one place you can look for all the information you need and that’s the online forums and communities.

You can join local Facebook groups and communities that share their knowledge about succulents and tips to take care of them. Most of these online communities are where you’re going to meet experts and bloggers who have been pruning and planting and growing their succulents for years. You can get expert advice from these people and you should know that they love sharing their knowledge with newcomers.

Pruning From Neighbors

Have you noticed a neighbor with such a good collection of succulents? You can ask that neighbor for succulent pruning. Don’t worry that they will have to damage their plants for that pruning you’re asking for.

The truth is that succulent owners need to prune their plants so that they don’t grow too high or wide. Succulent plants, after all, are meant to stay smaller than the regular plants. Maintaining their miniature sizes ensure that it would be easy to take care of them. If you still don’t know where to put the pruning you asked, you can plant it temporarily in a pot and then transfer it to a garden later on.

Gifts From Friends and Families

Is it your birthday? Is it Christmas? Are you expecting some of your friends or families to give you presents? If so, why don’t you make it easy for them and give a hint about what you want to receive? You could even give them a list to be more straightforward about it.

The list may include the varieties of succulents that you want, as well as the necessary tools you need such as pruning scissors, garden tape, disposable gloves, toolbox, and storage boxes. They can purchase most of these online and even from their local hardware stores, so it would be very easy for them to get you something.

Specialty Garden Stores

Of course, there are specialty stores like Cal Farms that focus on growing succulents. You can tap these stores and ask for the rarest succulents they have.

If you want to surprise and awe your neighbors, you would want to grow something more than just a simple rosette. These specialty stores also sell a lot of different containers, toppers, succulent varieties, and tools. Most of these are owned by succulent enthusiasts, too, so you can get more information about growing the plants and taking care of them.

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Getting To Know Winter-Loving Aloes

It is during the cold winter months when we seek colors in our garden. We want that pop of color to remind us that spring and summer will come soon and everything will be bright and cheery again. If you love succulents, aloes are a great choice. While all the other plants are taking a rest and going dormant, the aloes will bloom with their spires of flowers in fiery colors.

Though not all aloes flower during the winter, many of them do. These range from tall plants with trunks such as the Aloe barberae (Aloe bainesii) or Aloe ferox, to stemless rosettes such as Aloe vanbalenii or Aloe microstigma and finally, to dwarf plants such as Aloe humilis.

These winter-blooming aloes come from South Africa, which lies in the southern hemisphere and has its winter season at the opposite time of the year. This means that while the States is suffering from the harsh winter cold from December to March, South African flowers are blooming. Regardless of which hemisphere the plants are in, they flower in response to the changing day length so the plant flowering in January in our gardens would be flowering in July back in South Africa.

Why do so many species bloom in the winter? We believe that part of the reason lies with their primary pollinators, the nectar-loving sunbirds. During the summer season, there is a lot of competition for the birds’ attention and they would not prefer aloes over the other flower-bearing plants. By flowering in the winter, when the competition is gone, the aloes are assured that they would get noticed by the sunbirds. This is crucial because the sunbirds need fuel to make it through the winter. On top of that, the aloes will get pollinated.

In the US, we don’t have sunbirds but we do have hummingbirds and the nectar-producing flowers also appeal to them. If your garden is full of aloes, rest assured that you will attract as many hummingbirds as your garden can accommodate during winter.

All aloes are native to Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and islands in the Indian Ocean (principally Madagascar), and it is not a coincidence that many of the species in cultivation are specifically South African. Because South Africa is farthest from the equator, the seasons are more pronounced like in North America—this means shorter days and cold spells in the winter months.

An aloe that grew in the tropics could turn to mush when the temperature drops to a freezing point. On the other hand, many of the South African varieties will survive during the coldest of months. There are limits to this to how much cold they can take, of course. Very few aloes (even those from South Africa) can tolerate the temperature if it dropped below 25 degrees Fahrenheit but many can take as low as 29 degrees.

If you leave near a coast, you have a better chance of growing more varieties of the aloe because the winter temperature is less extreme than when you go farther inland.

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Ideal Gift Ideas For Succulent Lovers

Giving gifts to succulent lovers doesn’t always need to be a small arrangement of succulent plants in their rooms. They probably have them already if they are so fond of succulents. Instead, why don’t you think of unique gift ideas that could incorporate the succulents into different things such as a piece of jewelry or clothing?

You don’t have to be awkward about giving succulent rings or earrings, you just need to think out of the box. Here are some of the things that you might be missing out when thinking of what gifts to present to your succulent-loving friends and families:

Tools

Instead of giving succulent arrangements that these people probably have, why don’t you add to their growing collection of succulent tools? You can present them with well-draining soil, top dressings to make the arrangements look professional, all-natural fertilizers, floral glue, a new toolset or kit, and greening pins. Some of you may not know this, but it isn’t exactly cheap to create a mini succulent garden. Not only will it require the planter to shop for succulents but he would need the proper tools, too.

Pottery and Planters

There are many different kinds of planters—glass, wood, ceramic, terra cotta, metal, etc. Find quirky and interesting succulent pots in a specialty store, wrap these up in burlap, put a ribbon around them, and put it under the Christmas tree for your loved ones. We promise you that your succulent-loving friends or family members will love receiving the pots and containers because it means they can transfer the old succulents into the new ones. They may have new succulents, too, that are still placed in its original plastic casing. They can immediately work on these plants if you give them the tools and the containers.

Classes

Do you have a friend who is just starting in his succulent hobby? Do you think he needs help on how to plant the succulents and how to take care of them to make them live longer? If you think your friend needs a few pointers, then sign him up for a regular or even an online class. The organizer of the event would give you a certificate that you can then give to your friends. They would love the idea of knowing more about this interesting hobby and they would always remember you every time they are reminded of their love for succulents (which is always).

Coloring Books

We are not talking about those children’s coloring books with big lines and objects. We’re talking about the adult coloring books that people seem to love these days because they are perfect for taking the stress away. Some of these coloring books are really fun because the theme is succulent plants, which means your friend or family would have to color different succulent plants. Even people who don’t naturally love the idea of planting succulents would be fond of adult coloring books.

You can also be more creative and make something out of your own hands. You can draw and paint your friend’s favorite succulent plant and have it framed.