If you are like me and want to grow succulents in your garden rather than in pots then the questions will arise. ‘Which are the best plants to grow succulents with?’ The most obvious answer is going to be : other succulents. The reason being: other succulents will prefer the same growing conditions. ie not too much water, they will love the sun and well drained soil. However, you can grow succulents with other plants as long as you consider a few things.
Succulents will die very quickly if watered every day, so do not put them with plants that thrive in a moist soil and require water on a daily basis. There are many native and other plants that can do without water every day and can be watered weekly. Many succulents grow well under trees as they are protected from rain showers and the ground does not get as saturated.
In general, all succulents will grow their best in a sunny position. Many will get leggy (etiolated) without at least six hours of sun and many become more colourful and flower more profusely with eight or more hours of direct sun.
For this reason if you are planting succulents with other plants be sure to grow your succulents at the front of the garden bed (or sunniest position) so they receive enough sun. If another plant grows (over time) to a height that shades your succulents they will not do very well. Most succulents are low growing plants so they will look great at the front of a garden bed.
Succulents do ‘not’ require a humus rich soil. Most succulents originate from desert or semi desert areas where the soil is mainly sand and does not have any nutrients. They ‘will’ survive in normal soil and normal potting soil. Clay soil is not ideal for succulents as it holds water and can rot succulent roots. So do not companion them with plants that require a humus rich soil.
So you can grow succulents in most soils except clay. The main point to remember is to make sure that the soil drains well, so planting in a raised garden bed or on a rockery with other plants is ideal. If you plant succulents in a flat garden bed you can build a mound above the garden floor and then plant the succulent in the mound so that the water will run off.
Can you grow succulents with succulents?
Succulents love growing in small confined spaces such as rock crevices and rockeries and also love being squashed in a pot with other succulents. As they grow as a plant they grow squashed together. (see below) The only possible problem that can develop is if one of the succulents develops mealy bug. This can easily spread to other succulents when they are planted close together. If this does happen it is best to remove the infected succulent as soon as possible. This can be done by cutting off the part of the plant that is infected by the mealy bugs.
Growing succulents in pots
Growing different succulents together in pots look great. They will outgrow the pot eventually but as they are succulents you can prune the plants that are getting too large and transplant it in another pot or elsewhere in the garden. ( see post: Succulent Planters/Containers – should I buy one? )