Monday, September 26, 2011

The Succulent Experiment

I get inspired by visiting gardens and after visiting the Boyce Thompson Arboretum this past spring, I got some ideas.  But instead of posting these beautiful succulents right away, I wanted to see how they would do over our hot summer.  These were placed in afternoon sun in well drained soil.  I will cover the remaining survivors up this winter during our freezes.  This was an experiment on succulents here in Tucson.  So let's take a look at what survived and is hardy....... 
PS. If you love succulents, check out Sweetstuff's Sassy Succulents. Candy has a lot of info there along with some creative ideas on how to set up your own succulent garden. 
Crassula argentea 'E.T.'s Fingers'
'E.T's Fingers' was one of my favorites, but it died.  This one requires a bit of shade.
Chocolate Soldier
The Chocolate Soldier slowly died and disappeared.  It likes morning sun.
Echeveria multicaulis
Surprisingly, this one has survived! But barely.
Graptosedum 'Vera Higgins'
This 'Vera Higgins' survived but barely.
Key Lime Pie or Adromischus cristatus
Key Lime Pie would like some cooler temps but it's hanging in there.
Cocoon Plant/Senecio haworthii
The Cocoon Plant is still alive.
Aloe descoingsii
This Aloe thrives!
Climbing Aloe/Aloe ciliaris
So does this one.  It's beautiful and very very green.
Ripple Jade/Crassula arborescens undulatifolia
Unfortuneatly, this Crassula didn't make it.
Rainbow Bush/Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'
This Rainbow Bush is the WINNER for heat.  I like it in mass plantings AND the best part?  It will thrive in almost full sun.  This plant seems to have done the best out of them all.  I am going to purchase more of these and plant them in repetitive form.
Sempervivum arachnoideum 'Cebenses'
This plant is barely holding on.....
Crassula Springtime
This Crassula has gone the way of the dinosaurs.
Echeveria minima
Still hanging on but would like cooler temps, this Echeveria minima is a favorite.
Haworthia mirabilis mundula
This Haworthia mirabilis mundula is my favorite.  I planted this in mostly shade because I love it.  It is doing well.
Kalanchoe longiflora coccinea
This Kalanchoe is still around.
Echeveria Ramillette
As is this Echeveria Ramillette.
Cremnosedum 'Crocodile'
I also like this Cremnosedum 'Crocodile'.  It's doing well and alive.  So my Tucson gardening friends, I would say that all of these need strong morning sun but protection from the blinding afternoon heat.  The Rainbow bush and aloe thrive on full sun.  The Rainbow Bush is the winner for the extreme desert heat and sun.  It's extremely attractive and makes a nice addition to an area that needs mass plantings.  Of course most succulents need some regular watering in extreme heat, but don't overwater or you'll kill them.  Knowing this information, I'll be able to better place future generations of succulents around the El Presidio grounds.  Too much shade and they'll rot.  Too much sun and they'll burn.  Also remember that they will freeze if not covered during our winter nights.  If you'd like a reliable succulent ground cover for your garden, plant the popular ice plant.  Little water.  Lots of sun and heat.....and BAM!  Perfection.  Until tomorrow...

Sedeveria 'Blue Elf'

There's your very own Tucson test.  I like everyone of these amazing plants and I have a plan to create garden art with them.  However, this time, I will be providing some protective shade for them down the road.  Reporting live from Tucson, I'm Chris Rohrer:)


  1. I love succulents. I planted them on the ground and all died. Too much rain here. So now I have some in the pots and water only once in while.

    Looking forward to your succulent garden art.

  2. I need more of these but they can get sun scorched. It was so hot this year, even our hens and chicks which I usually ignore didn't do well out in the sun.

  3. These are lovely. The succulents amaze me--of course, all plants amaze me. ;-)

  4. Chris you are cracking me up! Love that ending. Thank you so much for the great mention! My sister lives in Phoenix and she cannot get her succulents (other than cactus) to live. The heat and sun just kill them off. I understand why the succulents died. Afternoon sun is the hottest as you know. Those succulents like filtered sun and in the summer in your area I would water them 3 times a week. You have a lot of bark around the succulents. I know this would hold water in but I would worry it would hold in the heat. Does that sound crazy. Just an idea. My succulents actually do the best under my gazebo with filtered light all day. I killed many a succulent before I learned what they wanted. And I still kill some!


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