- 1 How do Succulents Survive in the Desert?
- 2 How to Properly Care for Desert Succulents
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If you are wondering which types of succulents are desert succulents, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will be discussing various points about desert succulents. Hopefully, we will be able to share all the information you need so you will know how to grow and take care of desert succulents in your garden.
Succulent plants are plants that have parts that are fleshy, thick, and enlarged. This type of plant retains water and can withstand barren climates and dry soil conditions. The word succulent is based on the Latin word “sucus” which means juice or sap. Succulent plants are known for storing water in its different structures such as stems and leaves. Some succulents also use their roots to store water and they are called geophytes.
Succulents can survive in habitats that often have high temperatures and a small amount of rainfall, which is why they do well in desert climates. Desert succulents are capable of thriving with a limited amount of water and they can survive in an ecosystem that has scarce water sources.
How do Succulents Survive in the Desert?
The desert experiences very little rain and the soil conditions tend to be bone-dry. Desert succulents such as cacti, aloes, and agaves can survive in the desert by storing water in its different parts like roots, leaves, and stems.
When there is rain, the succulent plant can absorb large amounts of water rapidly. In an area like the desert, water tends to evaporates quickly and does not sink deep into the soil. Succulents have immense but shallow root systems. The roots of the succulent plant absorb water within an inch below the surface of the soil.
Succulents can hold onto the water. Most succulents have a waxy coating called bloom, which allows them to seal in moisture and avoid water from evaporating, while some succulents have fine layers of hairs that are used to prevent excessive moisture loss. Other succulents use techniques that help them shade their leaves from the sun, therefore, limiting their exposure to the sun.
Succulents have a smaller amount of stomates compared to other plants. Stomates are small pores found in plants that are responsible for taking in gasses used for the process of photosynthesis. The stomates also allow water to be lost, because it allows water to evaporate. Succulents tend to have a smaller surface area and their leaves are usually fleshy and thick.
Succulents usually have a unique way of performing photosynthesis. Unlike other plants, desert succulents keep their stomates closed during the day and open them during the night so they can take in carbon dioxide.
1. Stonecrop – The Stonecrop is a succulent sedum plant, this plant is available in different colors that range from bright green, pink, silver, and blue. Sedums have two main types – tall and creeping sedums. Tall sedums have long stems that grow approximately 1 to 3 feet tall.
They are known to bloom colorful flower clusters that look amazing. The creeping sedums, on the other hand, grow along the ground and are commonly used in roofs, rock walls, and rock gardens. You can use a container like this when growing a Stonecrop.
2. Golden Barrel Cactus is scientifically known as Echinocactus grusonii. This succulent plant has a short and round shape and it is a perfect addition to any landscape design. This type of cacti is among the ones that work great as a part of a rock garden.
This succulent transforms into a cylinder shape as they grow older and comes in multiple shades of green with thorns that come in different shades of yellow. This succulent blooms bright yellow flowers found in their tops.
3. Whale’s Tongue Agave – Agave ovatifolia is one of the agave succulents is a native plant found in Mexico, they are commonly found in mountains that have elevations that range from 3,000 to 7,000 feet in height. This succulent has light green, flat, and wide leaves that looks like a whale's tongue.
The whale's tongue agave can grow in a range from two to five feet in length and three to six feet in width. Because of its large size, this succulent is perfect for growing outdoors, they grow into full size when they are watered frequently and can produce flower spikes that grow into 10-14 feet tall.
4. Ghost Plant – Scientifically known as Graptopetalum paraguayense, the Ghost Plant is one of the most popular succulents grown nowadays. This plant is low maintenance and it is one of the easiest succulent plants to grow. This succulent comes in a different range of sizes.
The Ghost plant's color depends on the amount of sunlight it receives. They are commonly green in hue but can range from pinkish yellow to blue-gray. The rosettes of this plant have a rosy tint on its edges. During spring, the Ghost plant can produce bright yellow flowers and can be a nice addition to a rock garden, pathways, garden borders or arranged in plant boxes.
5. Ball Cactus – Parodia magnifica has a unique shape, making it one of the favorites among succulent growers. This succulent can grow approximately one to two feet tall and its shape looks like a hot air balloon. It has columns of spikes that line its exterior and its small yellow flowers may form in clusters.
The ball cactus can be grown in patios or containers in a garden. Because of its unique shape and lovely blooms, this succulent adds a desert vibe to your garden. Ball cactus is one of the succulents that can be used in xeriscapes.
6. Paddle Plant or Red Pancake – This succulent plant is scientifically known as Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. The Paddle plant has a red color around the edges of each leaf and it depends on its exposure to the sun. This desert succulent requires little maintenance to live. Because of its color-changing abilities, this paddle plant is a perfect addition to any desert landscape design.
7. Fox Tail Agave – This desert succulent is scientifically known as Agave attenuata. Fox tail agave is one of the most popular species of agave. This plant's leaves are curved and resemble fireworks shooting from the ground. The foxtail agave is perennial and can live all year round. When the fox tail agave is full-grown, its leaves curl downward and a large stalk grows from the center of the plant while a cluster of rosette flowers fills its base.
8. Pencil Plant – Pencil plant is scientifically known as Euphorbia tirucalli. This desert succulent is one of the most popular choices among landscapers these days. If you are searching for succulents to grow in xeriscapes, this plant is a perfect choice. Gardeners usually deprive this plant with water so it can display a bright coral color.
9. Living Stone – Also known as lithops, the Living stone is a succulent that has evolved to blend into its surroundings and protect themselves from animals. The Living Stone looks like small stones or pebbles but is living plants.
This variety is a native of South Africa, where they only receive less than 2 inches of rain every year. This plant can live in the desert or arid climates. This succulent has two leaves that are fused at the base of the plant; this allows the plant to have the least amount of sun exposure. The leaves are thick and shaped like stones and are capable of storing plenty of water.
Do not overwater your lithops or they will rot. Water it during fall and spring thoroughly. Allow the soil to dry out in between watering. Avoid watering it during winter and summer months; you can apply sparse sprinklings every month. Place your Lithops in a bright, window facing the south direction so it can get enough sunlight every day.
10. Bunny Ear Cactus – This desert succulent is a prickly pear cactus. This cactus contains small clusters of tiny spines. This type of cactus spines are called glochids and can be quite difficult to remove if caught in the clothing or skin so make sure to place it in an area where no one can disturb it. The Bunny Ear Cactus is available in varieties of the yellow and white spine.
How to Properly Care for Desert Succulents
1. Grow your desert succulents in a sunny area, greenhouse, or under grow lights like this. If you are growing your desert succulent, you can place it in a brightly lit south-facing window, or an area with bright indirect light outdoors.
Some plants can tolerate full sun exposure but watch out for the possibility of sunburn. Etiolation can occur when the plant does not receive enough sunlight; the plant will become leggy and stretch out towards the source of light.
2. Desert succulents can be grown in shallow trays or terracotta containers, you can get them here. Succulents grow in shallow trays and low humidity containers. Most succulents are short and stubby and are designed so they can avoid too much exposure to the sun and they are capable of storing water during heavy rains.
3. Plant desert succulents in a lean soil with good drainage. Desert plants need a very small amount of fertilizer. Desert succulents prefer a soil that is exposed to good airflow as well. Perlite and Pumice can be mixed with the soil. You can also use a cactus mix, you can get it here.
4. Desert succulents need to be exposed in a warm and bright area so they can grow well and bloom during the summer months.
5. During the winter months, desert succulents must be moved indoors as most of them can withstand cold temperatures but are not able to take frost.
6. Desert succulents will require minimal care. Succulents grow and may need to be repotted. Make sure to propagate them so you will have smaller plants to live throughout the winter.
- If the container has drainage holes: water only once a week during active growth.
- If the container does not have drainage holes: water sparingly, apply just enough water to moisten the soil. Make sure not to overwater as this can cause the rotting of the plant. Allow the soil to dry out in between watering.
Are you a plant lover? Do you want to know more information about desert succulents? Eden Succulents is the best place for you to know information and facts about succulents. Our ever-growing passion for succulents inspires us to share our knowledge with the world especially for those who are passionate about succulents.
We will help you learn more about succulents and teach you how to grow and take care of them. Succulents need special treatment and you must know how to properly take care of them so you can be successful in growing them. If you want to know more make sure to visit our website for more details. If you have any inquiries or questions, please let us know. We would like to hear your thoughts and comments.
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