Debra Lee Baldwin—an award-winning garden photojournalist and succulent connoisseur—offers suggestions for what should be on your benches in 2012
Striking shapes, forms and colors have made succulent plants into social-media darlings. Blogs, Pinterest pages and Facebook groups are raving about the architectural beauty of these tough plants. With so many selections out there, it’s hard to choose which specimens should be featured in your store.
Garden Center recently asked Debra Lee Baldwin for some suggestions to help narrow down your purchasing prospects. Baldwin—the author of “Designing with Succulents” and “Succulent Container Gardens”—had these recommendations:
All images courtesy of Debra Lee Baldwin
1. Agave victoriae-reginae (Queen Victoria agave) A dark green artichoke-shaped plant with white lines and black tips. It’s hardy to 10° F.
2. Echeveria imbricate is a blue hens-and-chicks echeveria that creates amazing clusters. It’s gorgeous in pots or in the ground. Hardy to the mid-20s.
3. Crassula ovata ‘Hobbit’ (Hobbit jade) is similar to regular jade but its leaves resemble sow’s ears. This selection is intriguing and non-intimidating to the beginning succulent enthusiast.
4. Dwarf aloe cultivars are perfect for containers. (Check out ‘Pink Blush’ in the foreground!) These non-hardy specimens can be overwintered indoors.
5. Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ has lavender-pink rosettes that look amazing in container combos. Florists love it, too; it’s the No. 1 succulent for bridal bouquets. Hardy to about 27°F.
6. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, one of the most common of all succulents, is grown for its flowers. Many hybrids exist, so stock unusual ones—bi-colors, pastels and the Calandiva cultivars.
7. Kalanchoe luciae (paddle plant) has leaves that form fans of overlapping ping-pong paddles. This non-hardy selection reddens beautifully in full sun.
8. Kalanchoe tomentosa—also known as panda plant—features silvery leaves that are fuzzy and have the appearance of brown “stitching” along the margins. This great container plant is also a non-hardy selection.
9. Sedum ‘Angelina’ catches eyes with its bright-chartreuse trailing habit. It’s perfect in gardens as a ground cover or in containers as a filler/spiller. ‘Angelina’ turns coppery yellow in full sun. It’s hardy to 30-degrees below zero.
10. Sedum burrito (burro tail) features pendant stems of beadlike leaves that are must-haves for hanging baskets. Leaves of this species don’t pop off as readily as those of similar-looking Sedum morganianum (donkey tail). Non-hardy.
11. Sempervivum arachnoideum (cobweb houseleek) wows gardeners with green rosettes tipped with white filaments that web the plants. The hen-and-chicks growth habit makes it perfect for strawberry jars. Hardy to 10 degrees below zero.
12. Senecio radicans ‘Fish Hooks’ is a trailing succulent for hanging baskets that makes an excellent substitute for fragile and finicky Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls). Non-hardy.
More succulent reads
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored “Designing with Succulents” (http://bit.ly/designsucculents) and “Succulent Container Gardens,” (http://bit.ly/succulentcon tainer) both bestsellers. Her own garden near San Diego has been featured in Sunset and Better Homes & Gardens, among other publications. Debra specializes in showing how top designers use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of lovely, creative applications.