- Author: Lee Oliphant
- Editor: Noni Todd
Succulents - Great Companions!
By Lee Oliphant
I want to add succulents to my Mediterranean garden. What should I know about succulents and their environmental requirement? Carol D., Cambria
"Succulent” refers to plants that have a unique ability to store moisture in fleshy stems, leaves, or roots. They are not a family in themselves, but are represented in many plant families. Like cacti and succulents, many plants found in dry regions of the world have adapted to dry climates by storing moisture in their tissues. While cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti.
Succulents need little care other than removing withered blossoms. They can be fed in early spring using low nitrogen, slow-acting fertilizer like fish emulsion or kelp, or by using a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10. Fertilizer for succulents should be diluted at a rate of ¼ of that recommended.
Both Mediterranean plants and succulents have similar growing requirements- sun to semi-shade and little water. They can be planted in “zones” (areas where plants with similar needs are planted). Both succulents and Mediterranean plants survive in soil that lacks an abundance of humus and is well draining. They do not thrive in wet clay soil, and need protection in climates that fall below 30º for any length of time.
Succulents can be planted in pots and placed around the garden or indoors in a sunny window. Pots need to have a hole in the bottom for drainage. Use a fast draining soil mixture with pumice, perlite or decomposed granite or a commercial soil mixture made specifically for succulents.
Succulents and Mediterranean plants require little, after initial establishment, other than sun or semi-shade and good drainage. It is no wonder they play a major role in Central Coast gardens.