A great succulent nursery in McLaren Vale.

A great succulent nursery in McLaren Vale.

Today I visited a nursery in Mclaren Vale, (south of Adelaide, South Australia).  I was told they sold Succulents as well as herbs.  I was a bit dubious as to how many Succulents they would have as the name of the nursery is ‘Hillside Herbs’.  The entrance sign does not mention Succulents either.

However, I was pleasantry surprised as they had the most Succulents I had seen in one site.

Hillside Herbs& Succulents

They have a many rows of different succulents.

Succulent Nursery - Hillisde Herbs

Lucky for us it is under cover because it was raining heavily.

Hillside Herbs

There are many different varieties.

 

The nursery is 30 years old and they have been growing Succulents for 22 years.  Pretty impressive.  They also sell Cacti as well and have an impressive range of Chillies.. (as well of herbs of course, but I must admit I didn’t even look at the herbs!)

Hillside Herbs & Succulents

They sell larger pots/plants as well .

Hillside Herbs & succulents

Crasula Ovata and Echeveria

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A few more larger pots.

Hillside Herbs & Succulents

They have an area outside the nursery where Succulents have grown with only annual rainfall.

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These amazing cacti would have taken years to grow.

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Its interesting to see how well they survive with only rainfall.

The address is 43 Sand Road, McLaren Vale, South Australia.  They have a facebook page but I couldn’t find a website.  The only negative I could say is that the Succulents do not have identification tags on 95% of the pots. This does not bother me but I know it is important for some Succulent enthusiasts.

The main part of the nursery have small pots which are all $5 each for any of the different varieties.  Some of the bigger pots were $10 -$20.  All very reasonable compared to Bunnings prices!

If you do not live down south or within easy driving distance to McLaren Vale.  A few months ago I visited Virginia Nursery in the Northern suburbs of Australia.  It does have a Succulent area but was quite disappointing as the one row they had only had a handful of different varieties with about 30-50 pots of each.  Not what I would expect a “nursery’ to have,  At least it is an alternative to your local hardware store though.

 

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Virginua Nursery, Virginia, South Australia

If you do not live in South Australia and know of some great Succulent Nurseries in your State let me know in the comments below.

Succulents in an Australian Garden.

Succulents in an Australian Garden.

As per my previous post, I started out with Succulents as I wanted/needed a drought resistant garden.  I’ve seen many photos on Pinterest and Face Book pages of Succulent gardens which look amazing. These are usually in Mexico or San Diego in North America.  As per the photos below.

  Succulent Gardens succulent-garden-2 succulent-garden-1

I have not seen many Succulent gardens in Australia as yet.  So I thought I would show you the start of mine.  I decided to start in a small raised bed outside my lounge room window.  The sun hits it around 11 am and it has full sun for about 5 hours in the Summer but a lot less sun in the Winter due to the neighbour having tall gums in their front garden and the sun being lower in the Winter.

Succulents in the garden not potsStarted off a bit bare.

 

Succulent Garden - Australia

Gradually I  have added plants that should be able to survive with Winter rain and 40C heat waves.

Succulent Garden not Pots

This Cotyledon has doubled in size in one year despite a hail storm and the wettest winter on record in 50 years!

Australian Succulent Garden img_1010 Ausralian Succulent Garden

If you look closely you can see there is still hail damage on the majority of plants. I am unsure how large some of the plants will grow.  So it is hard to decide where to place them.  However, I think that they are easily transplanted so if they are in the wrong spot then I can move them.  I still have some non Succulent plants in the bed but they are gradually being removed as the space is required.  I think it will be a while until the entire space is covered in Succulents and looks amazing like the photos above.

img_1012 Succulent Garden img_0595

It seems that a lot of the Succulents that are available overseas are not readily available in Australia, well not in Adelaide anyway.  So I will be working with the plants that I can easily access and survive in the conditions.

How to Propagate Succulents.

How to Propagate Succulents.

I do not understand why Succulents are expensive to buy in Australia – ( in my opinion), considering they are so easy to propagate AND they need hardly any water to grow.  Compared to water loving plants they are easy and cheaper to propagate.

As I mentioned in my post ‘ What Soil do Succulents like?  Crassula Ovata – (Jade plant) grew new plants whenever my dog knocked a few leaves off.  Most of the Succulents I have in my garden can be propagated by either breaking off a leaf or snapping off a part of the plant.

One of my Succulent pots blew off in the wind,  It was a recent purchase from the South Australian Succulent Society’s Fair.  It was just left with one stork and on leaf. I consoled myself by taking the leaves that had snapped off and lay them in another pot on top of some sand, and left the broken plant where it was.  It took less than 8 weeks for the leaves to start sprouting and the stork to start growing more leaves. (as it was Winter and not growing Season). You may even accidentally knock a leaf off without knowing and it will start to grow. Even a leaf that drops off will root below the parent plant and produce a new rosette quickly. The new plant feeds off the leaf until it shrivels up and falls off.

Echeveria Succulent

A few months after it is sprouting again. The leaf is also sprouting.

It’s disheartening when this happens but its great to know that your plant has the ability to grow back.  Just lay the leaf down flat on top of a pot or just on a tray.  DO NOT stick the leaf into the soil. It is not necessary to water the soil it is laying on. If it does get rain or you do water, it will still grow.  But do not water more than once per week if you do ‘have’ to water.  In a few weeks, depending on  the season, you should see a new leaves start to grow out the end that was attached to the plant. Eventually some roots will start to shoot out the bottom of the new leaves.  Some leaves may not sprout another plant but 90% of them do.  The original leaf will eventually shrivel and die, it can then easily be pulled off or cut of with secateurs.

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This was my first leaf propagation. The leaf in the foreground was in the 10% that did not sprout.

Succulent Propagation

The propagation nursery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary:

  • If a leaf breaks off lay it on a flat surface of soil to propagate a new plant.
  • The new plant will eventually root.
  • You can break off a leaf yourself if you love a plant and want more.
  • 90% of the leaves will sprout a new plant.
  • The original leaf will shrivel and die it can then be cut/pulled off.
  • There is no need to water the soil the leaves are lying on.

 

 

 

Succulents DO NOT like hail!!

Succulents DO NOT like hail!!

hail damage to succulent

Damage after the hail Storm.

This Winter in Adelaide has certainly been out of the ordinary.  We have had weather events that are unprecedented!! So the State Government says!  I tend to agree.  In late July we had an amazing hail storm.  Not only did it hail but it laid on the ground for some time. Don’t get me wrong we have hail storms like any other state in Australia but not on a regular basis and not golf ball size.  I didn’t think much of it at the time not until I saw my Succulents in my front garden a few days after the storm.  I was amazed and at the same time devastated to see the effect that the hail had had on my wonderful plants.

Echeveria Before the hail storm

Slowing recovering after the hail storm.

The hail left black holes in the leaves, eventually they turned brown and went rather slimy.  I thought the best course of action was to cut them off with sharp secateurs so the plant could use its energy to produce new leaves. Which, after a week or so did happen.

I am guessing by the end of this Summer – 2017 I  will be unable to tell that the hail storm had effected them.  So, once again Succulents have amazed me with their resilience and hardiness in the Australian garden.

Needless to say, I have ear bashed a few family members and friends about my hail catastrophe so now I get messaged when there may be hail coming my way.  If I hear there is a chance of hail I will go out and put buckets and bowls over my plants in case of a repeat situation. Although I think just a quick hail storm that does not settle on the ground should not do any damage.

Photos (below) of the hail so that you can get an idea of how much we received and that it settled on the ground. These photos were taken from our neighbour’s house.  I was at work when the storm hit so I was unable to take photos of my garden with the hail.

hail-on-rockery hail-on-road

Below are a few photos of the hail damage on some Echeverias in my front garden.  The ice has literally burnt holes through the leaves.

Succulents with hail damage received_10154351800956460 Echeveria Succulent hail damage

 

Note: I do not profess to be an expert on succulents and do not have a horticultural qualification. My blog is simply my opinion and details my experience with succulents in my garden. All photos are taken by me. If there are photos of succulents not taken by me this is mentioned.

Please feel free to comment on anything and/or ask questions. You can do so by registering in the site admin section of this page.

Do succulents need water?

Do succulents need water?

Do Succulents need water?  This is a question that many people ask themselves.  The whole point of having Succulents in my garden was to survive a hot Australian summer without water while I am away enjoying myself in another part of the world.

However, when I started with Succulents I couldn’t help but look at them, see how dry the sand/soil was and give them a bit of water.  After all, this had been part of gardening for me for 20 years.  All plants need water to survive.

I was slightly devastated when my first succulent died soon after I bought it.  I cannot remember where I bought it, it possibly was already on its way to Succulent heaven and by giving it more water was the nail in its green bin coffin. I captured the event below so I could recognise it if there was a next time.

Succulent - Too much water

This is classic root rot. Note the thin leaves.

So I decided to water my Succulents once a week.  During a hot Summer once per week did not seem to be enough.  They were surviving but they were not thriving.  Succulents are supposed to thrive in the Summer.  So when my Echeveria Elegans had a baby I decided to water plant A once per week and plant B once per month.

Plant A survived but had very thin leaves, Plant B also survived but its leaves were thick and lush.  Succulents hold water in their leaves.  It looked so much healthier.  It was very hard not watering it for a month but it had proved that they didn’t need much water.

During that month I read a lot of information on the internet but sometimes Mr Google can have conflicting information.  I think its best to do your own experiments and what works best for your garden.  Just in case you were wondering the plants were in full sun for at least  5 hours and the temperature was between 28c – 35c.

So I would say the answer to the question: Do Succulents need water, yes, all plants need some water, but I think Summer rainfall would be sufficient and they would have winter rain.  When you do water make sure the pot has a good soaking, if planted in the right soil conditions it will dry out fairly quickly.  If the Succulents are planted in the garden make sure the water does not pool around the roots.

You also need to consider you succulents environment.  Are they in a pot or the ground.  A pot will dry out a lot quicker than a succulent grown in the ground.  I would water my succulents in pots more regularly than my succulents in the ground.

I will be keeping an eye on the Succulents I am growing in my front garden.  Adelaide has just experienced 200mm of rain in the past fortnight.  Will they die in the next couple of weeks? Or now that the weather has warmed up will they thrive?

Update:  They did not die, but they did not thrive, winter however, is most succulents dormant period so as long as they didn’t die this is all I can ask for.  See post : (When do succulents have their growing and dormant seasons? )

See my post ( Echeveria Black Prince Succulent  ).  The rain did effect this succulent but it did not die!

Of course there are lots of different species of Succulents and some are more precious than others.  I am still experimenting on which ones need which amounts of water.

Summary:

  • Too much water can give Succulents root rot and they will die
  • When you do water make sure the plants are watered well and then dry out
  • My experiment with my Echeveria Elegans showed that watering once per month was ideal and the plant thrived compared to watering once per week.
Echeveria elegans Succulent

This is my Echeveria Elegans now. Check out the thick leaves and she has a baby.