Potted succulents don’t ask for much (and that’s the way I like it)

August 10, 2020

Potted plants green up my patio, deck, and porch, and I often plunk them into garden beds as focal points. But being in Texas, mine aren’t packed with flowering annuals or perennials that require daily or twice-daily watering. Instead they showcase water-thrifty plants like succulents, cacti, even foxtail fern — plants I can leave to their own devices in 100-degree heat and not fuss about them for a week or more.

Here are a few of my faves.

Variegated squid agave (Agave bracteosa ‘Monterrey Frost’) thrives in bright shade, with blue-green sedum (Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’) frothing at its feet.

A standard squid agave — this one’s at least 13 years old — has spread its tentacles across a 3-foot stock-tank planter, reaching for more light under an exuberant ‘Tiny Fern’ bamboo.

Speaking of tentacles, I adore this Tentacle Pot, and a wavy-armed Tillandsia xerographica is the perfect partner along with a couple of decorative octopi. Indoors, tillandsias require regular misting. But outdoors in the shade in Austin’s muggy summer, mine needs misting only a couple of times a month.

In a blue pot in a mostly shady bed, a ‘Spotty Dotty’ mangave shows off its freckles.

But I think its coloring would be even better in more sun, so I may try to find a new spot for it.

A steel planter on the garage wall catches my eye whenever I walk by, thanks to a turquoise Buddha accent.

If you’ve wondered what happened to my Moby pups — bulbils I harvested from my dying whale’s tongue agave, Moby — here’s one of them. Four remain from the original six I kept, and I recently repotted them into bigger pots. I’m keeping them in reserve for the next time a big agave dies and I need a replacement.

I’m feeling pretty pleased with this hanging container, which I replanted a month or two ago with succulent cuttings and a ‘Bloodspot’ mangave I grew from a bulbil. Now the dusty blue echeveria is blooming!

Good ol’ succulents — so easy to grow, and they’re a gift that keeps on giving.

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