Living greener: hardy succulents for beginners

Living greener: hardy succulents for beginners

In addition to the well-known Crassula, Eclaira and Co., which are leaf succulents, these thick-leaf plants are also available with a stem. Also protected from its natural predators by thorns, the cold-resistant varieties are particularly suitable for planting in rock gardens, on terraces and on balconies.

also read

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  • These succulents are suitable for outdoors - a selection of beautiful species
  • Planting succulents in the garden - how to do it right?

One special feature distinguishes the winter hardy from their conspecifics: starting in September, they are no longer watered at all until the beginning of March. Photosynthesis causes residual water that has accumulated in the plant body to be converted into sugar, so that while the cell sap is reduced at the same time, even temperatures far below freezing point do no damage to the tropical plants. This process can be recognized by the particularly characteristic color changes from green to red-brown, which can be observed in many winter hardy species in autumn. In the following period, they generate their own natural antifreeze, so to speak, and prepare for winter without our intervention.

Popular varieties of hardy succulents

If you are thinking about planting in the garden, you should definitely consider that the shoot axes of these plants can reach considerable dimensions after a short time and branch out profusely. Ultimately, however, the right choice of location, an optimal substrate as well as reliable rain protection and species-appropriate water dosage play a dominant role in these tropical plants, which can grow up to a height of 15 meters. In the following overview we have summarized some of the hardy succulent species that are often found in German gardens:

varietyoptimal temperature (° C)Height (cm)features
Echinocereus viridiflorusuntil - 25until 10profusely blooming and ideal for rock gardens
Escobaria vivipara (ball cactus)until - 3010 to 15Formation of its own offshoots, requires cold stimulus for flowers
Opuntia engelmanniiuntil 20100 to 400Prickly pear cactus with edible fruits and a shrubby growth
Mountain cactusuntil 20about 150Columnar cactus with pink flowers in summer and 8 cm long thorns; not for housekeeping
Opuntia ficus indicaup to - 15 (except young plants!)about 500Ancient variety with fruits up to 10 cm in size, extremely fast growing
Corynopuntia clavatauntil 20(Minis) 3 to 7Visually very conspicuous yellow flowers, needs rain protection
Opuntia imbricatauntil - 30maximum 500hardiest species, may also be shortened
Opuntia tortispinauntil 20with broad growth up to 100Pink-red flowers, needs frost to grow, good as a pot plant

Planting and care tips for succulents

In all regions of Germany, cultivation is basically possible in every garden, with the exception of a few young plants, which should be grown in the apartment or at least in the cold greenhouse for the first few years. Many of the species are particularly suitable as potted plants and can be used to decorate terraces, balconies or house entrances when the garden is not in the garden. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • ideal planting time: end of February until August;
  • the location should be protected from rain and sunny (a southern slope is perfect);
  • use water-permeable, granular substrate so that rainwater can drain off quickly;
  • DO NOT use compost earth (risk of fungal infections!);
  • do not water immediately after planting and avoid waterlogging.