Succulents (85 photos): types, features of care
Not everyone knows that under the name "succulents" are hiding all our simple, beautiful and unpretentious favorites that we meet every day. These are crassulaceae, aloe, euphorbia, rossula, Kalanchoe, some types of cacti and a mass of much more rare varieties. Their ability to accumulate moisture in fleshy leaves and stems unites them, so they do not need constant watering and complex care.
A group of succulents is distinguished not by appearance or origin, but by living conditions. Special fabrics are able to store and retain water for a long time. So plants survive in desert regions. For example, in hot South America or in Africa.
All succulents are divided into two types:
1. Stem. Moisture is stored in a powerful thick stem, and the leaves are small and inconspicuous. Sometimes in the form of thorns. This group includes many cacti, euphorbia.
2. Leafy. Moisture is stored in the leaves. The most famous examples are aloe, “money” fat, grassy haworthia and “stone” echeveria.
To save and store moisture to succulents allow several mechanisms that have developed as a result of evolution:
- Leaves and stems are covered with a dense cuticle. It not only provides mechanical protection, but also prevents evaporation;
- The fluff on the surface of the body condenses moisture;
- Rounded forms leave less area for evaporation of moisture. This applies to both trunks and leaves;
- Long root systems reach aquifers;
- Superficial roots draw moisture from above: dew and precipitation;
- The arched leaves work like gutters along which water flows to the roots during rain;
- The ribbed stalk gives a head start when storing water supplies. The plant absorbs moisture until these ribs are completely straightened. Due to this, it does not burst;
- The leaves are collected in sockets with a reduced stem. This minimizes the needs of the flower;
- The number of respiratory pores is minimized;
- The flower breathes at night. Internal moisture less passes through the pores when the temperature around is lower;
- Ground parts may die out if the drought is too long. But then they grow back with better conditions.
There are also mechanisms to protect against overheating. These are vertical forms, a minimum of ground parts with a developed rhizome, light colors and special protective pigments.
Types of Succulents
There are a lot of species of succulents. It is difficult even to clearly classify them by gender and family. Therefore, we will only talk about the most popular and interesting of them.
Aloe is the king of succulents, which is widely used not only in floristic compositions, but also in medicine, pharmaceuticals and cosmetology. He comes from South Africa. Homes grow only a few varieties.
Crassula, she’s a fat woman, she’s a “money tree” is distinguished by voluminous rounded leaves. Due to the yellowish tint on a dark, saturated surface, its leaves resemble coins. Therefore, the fat woman is considered an amulet that attracts wealth to the house.
Eonium is a whole genus of centenarians. Its very name from ancient Greek translates as "eternal", and not by chance. Subspecies differ not only in the color and shape of the leaves. They can grow outlets, bushes and even grass.
Until recently, kalanchoe in large quantities could be found on almost all window sills. And there are two reasons for this: almost uncontrolled reproduction due to inflorescences-stars along the leaves, as well as the healing, healing and anti-inflammatory properties of plant juice.
Due to its unusual form, Gasteria is also known as the “lawyer's language”. Squat rosettes are made up of dense leaves that really look like a tongue. In total, there are about eighty types of gasteria.
Agave has an interesting spherical structure of the outlet. It consists of dense and hard green leaves, sometimes with yellowish stripes. Pointed edges-ribs stretch along their surface.
Lithops is one of the most unusual succulents. It is also called a living stone, because at first glance the flower is difficult to distinguish from pebbles.
He reveals his essence only during the flowering period, when bright yellow, white, pink and orange flowers appear between thick leaves resembling a cylinder divided in half.
There are about twenty species of duvalia, and all of them grow in southern Africa. These are small succulents with oval or rounded stems. They are notable for their burgundy, brown, purple or even black flowers that resemble a starfish.
Adenium resembles a small tree with small leaves. This is one of the most hygrophilous succulents, which does not mind spraying. It rarely blooms, but densely - with an abundance of small pink flowers.
Haworthia is another succulent that many people know visually, but a few by name. These are the very dark green rosettes with pointed elongated leaves, mottled with woody pale ribs and dots.
Succulent cacti combine powerful rounded stems. Moreover, they can be spherical, cylindrical, disk-like and candle-shaped.
There are two categories: desert and tropical. Desert cacti are more accustomed to drought, with thick trunks without leaves, but with thorns. Tropical arrived to us from the jungle of South America. Their stems are thinner and longer, and the thorns are soft and delicate. Sometimes such cacti grow directly on other plants.
Succulent is the most flexible and unpretentious green friend. Minimal attention is enough for him, and the general rules for leaving are simple, uncomplicated and practically do not differ for the whole variety of species.
These are desert plants from arid countries. Of course, it will not be possible to recreate their native conditions in the middle climatic zone. Yes and no!
Just keep in mind that succulents do not tolerate severe frosts and damp rooms. But they are quite comfortable if you regularly ventilate the room and provide a temperature difference from day to night. You can safely leave the seedlings on the windowsill.
In their native regions, succulents feel great in sand or its mixtures. Therefore, choose loose soil that is well ventilated and allows water to pass through. Also, it should be evenly moistened when watering.
As a baking powder, you can safely take sand, fine gravel, broken shells, lime or special activated carbon. Do not add peat, humus or chernozem to the soil.
Like real inhabitants of the desert, succulents need the sun and love it. Choose the southern windowsills. Or take care of additional lighting if the windows face north.
Bear in mind that some varieties are sensitive to too aggressive direct sunlight. Be sure to clarify this nuance for your green favorites. For example, this does not apply to cacti and agaves, but crassula or aloe can burn out.
The frequency of watering depends on the season. From spring to autumn, it is enough to water the succulents every 1-2 weeks. Focus on dry soil. It should remain dry for at least 3-4 days. The main thing is not to let the roots dry.
In winter, the frequency is significantly reduced. If the temperature keeps above 10 degrees, then the average frequency of watering is once a month. If lower - every 2-3 times.
It is very long and difficult to grow succulents from seeds. Usually this method is used only when breeding new varieties. In other cases, normal vegetative propagation is sufficient.
Dry for several days a stalk or leaf, so as not to bring bacteria from the ground to a fresh cut. You can also use the growth stimulator. Moisten the soil with warm water and deepen the stalks by 15-20 mm. Leave the succulent alone for several weeks in a bright and warm place until it takes root.
Many varieties cope with reproduction on their own. Even leaves dropped on moist soil sprout quickly. Follow this if you are not planning to create your own mini-garden.
It is recommended to transplant succulents at the beginning of the activity period. That is, in the spring. But in the period of ovary buds or flowering - absolutely not worth it. You can transplant young plants every year, adults less often, every 2-3.
Fertilizing the soil is also better in the spring, but occasionally, not more than once a month. The concentration of fertilizers for unpretentious succulents is minimal. They are used to poor soil.
Pest and Disease Control
Even the most unpretentious varieties are not protected from problems. Although for pests and parasites, succulents are almost not of interest. Ticks, thrips and mealybugs are sometimes found. Use acaricides and systemic drugs to combat them.
It is recommended not only to spray the plant, but also to soak the soil. So the leaves and stems become poisonous to parasites from the inside. To prevent the roots from rotting, avoid frequent watering and choose impurities with a reduced nitrogen content.
Try not to disturb the plants in winter, during dormancy. And use pots only with a drain hole. Usually for succulents this is more than enough.
Succulents - photo
Still wondering whether to get succulents? We offer you the last and decisive argument. Succulents are ideal for creative flower arrangements, florarium, phyto-walls and original design solutions. Take a look at these photos and see for yourself!