Definitely succulents are the favorites of garden lovers. Because the selection of plants is quite easier from such a broad group of plants.
Moreover we can grow edible succulents for the delicious fruits, and the highly nutritious leaves, stems etc. Many herbal succulent plants are commonly used as home remedies for ailments and for making ayurvedic medicines.
The only must have requirements for succulents, are well drained sandy medium and bright sunlight. Even gardening beginners can try these low maintenance plants.
Let me introduce a few examples of succulent plants, preferably that are suitable for tropical regions.
Succulent trees for gardens
Surely Jade is one of the best examples for a succulent tree, that we can grow easily indoors or outdoors. In the natural habitat, the tree grows up to a height of about ten metres. However we can keep it short, or according to the required height, through proper pruning. In addition, it is one of the best plants for making bonsai.
People in many parts of the world, believe that keeping the Jade plants in homes, bring good luck and prosperity. For this reason the plant is known in different names such as lucky tree, money tree etc.
Portulacaria afra and Crassula ovata are the common varieties, that we can grow in home gardens.
The Plumeria or Frangipani, is one of the best examples of succulent tree with fragrant flowers. Certainly you can try this plant, if you have enough space in your garden.
Using stem cuttings, we can propagate most of the succulent trees.
All cactus plants are succulents, and you can find the one that really suits fine for your garden. Usually we use leaf or stem cuttings, saplings or baby plants for propagating the cacti.
In order to prevent the excess loss of water, leaves are transformed as spines. But a lot of cactus plants have fleshy colourful stems that are really attractive.
Flowering Succulent plants for home gardens
Given below are a few examples of tropical succulents, in which flowers are the prominent parts. You can grow most of these with minimum caring, either directly in soil or in pots.
These succulents with shining leaves and fleshy stems, are also known as desert rose. Caudex, the thick bulbous base of the stem, is one of the unique features of the plant.
Through proper training, we can make beautiful bonsai with these plants. Mature ripe seeds as well as stem cuttings, are commonly used for propagation of Adenium plants.
Euphorbia milii, the thorny plants with bright blooms are very common in tropical regions. Christ thorn, Crown of thorns etc. are the names in which the plant is popularly known.
We can use stem cuttings for propagation of these low maintenance plants. But we should take care against the harmful thorns and toxic milky sap, while handling the plants.
Pink Portulaca flower
These are the common ten o’ clock plant, that grow well in warm climates. The flowers in bright colours, are the main attraction of the plant.
Really these plants are the best ones for making garden borders in landscaping. Potted portulaca plants are also good, for keeping in balconies or any other sunny places in your home.
Likewise, portulaca plants with flowers in mixed colours, will make your window boxes really amazing.
Kalanchoe, Begonias, etc. are also examples of flowering succulents common in tropical regions.
Edible Succulent plants for home gardens
The Dragon fruit plant
Flower of the Dragon fruit plant
Surprisingly, the most delicious and nutritious dragon fruit, is from a cactus plant. Definitely you can try a few dragon fruit plants, either directly in soil or in pots.
Though the flowers of the plant last only for a night, the wonderful fruits will make your garden really awesome.
The pic shown above, is the flower of the dragon plant from my garden, that I started growing just one year ago.
Through stem cuttings we can propagate the dragon fruit plants.
Malabar spinach is one of the best examples of edible succulents. In the southern parts of India, this nutritious plant is widely used for making dishes.
This evergreen succulent is used worldwide for preparing medicines as well as cosmetics. Also we can use the raw Aloe vera gel as home remedies, mainly for the treatment of burns, allergic skin irritations etc.
( Panikoorka in Malayalam and Botanical name: Plectranthus amboinicus )
The Indian borage ( Panikoorka ) plant
In Kerala, we use this herb as an effective remedy against fever and cough in infants and children.
Propagation of succulents
Generally we can use stem cuttings, leaves, seeds, saplings etc. for propagation of succulents.
Potting medium for Succulent plants in home gardens
Never forget to provide a well drained sandy medium, the most essential requirement for your succulents. Normally, you can prepare it by mixing the ingredients in the following ratio.
Crushed bricks 35%
River sand 25%
Compost or dried cow dung 25%
Coco peat 15%
Surely you can try slight differences in the above ratio, according to the nature of the plants,
Lighting for your succulent plants for home gardens
For proper growth, succulents always need bright sunlight. Hence select places where sunlight reaches for at least four to five hours a day.
Usually succulents do well in tropical climates, and rarely affected by common diseases. But a poor growing medium as well as over watering, may cause the plant to rot faster.
Definitely you can try any of these plants, to make your garden really awesome.