Succulents Don’t Suck!

8 Jul

Succulent Junkie Alert!

Hello from Outer Sunset in San Francisco! It’s Megan (Annie’s plant sign-maker) blogging at you from the foggiest parts of the Bay Area. In celebration of Brian Kemble’s upcoming and totally AWESOME succulent talk on Saturday, July 9th I thought I’d show you what happens when you become succulent obsessed. A little less than four years ago I moved to San Francisco from Madison, Wisconsin and was immediately intrigued by the masses of succulents I saw growing OUTSIDE everywhere. Jade plants growing taller than me were the most amazing things I’d ever seen. I didn’t even know what most of  the succulents I was seeing were, as there’s not a lot of succulent options for the garden in Wisconsin.

Agave & Sweet Pea love

Since I started working at Annie’s my inner Flower Floozy has emerged, and I’ve been mixing it up. Flowery annuals and other non-succulenty plants can be friends with succulents. There’s no reason why you can’t have sweetly scented Lathyrus odorata ‘Cupani, California native Keckellia cordifolia AND a big honking Agave americana (I do not recommend this plant unless you have lots and lots o’ space) bunking up next to each other. Throw in a Euphorbia ‘Blue Haze’ for the heck of it, too!  I planted the sweet pea early, so the Winter rains would establish it before Summer, and since it almost never gets above 65 degrees next to the beach, it’s still covered in blooms – even in July! Pretty much everything in the garden gets watered once a week during the rainless Summers, and if that’s not enough, too bad.

Sunny Scyphanthus & Succulent Friends

Here’s a shot of the back fence with TONS of succulents. One of my faves is Aloe plicatilis (the big guy on the left), but I’ve got viney buddies Scyphanthus elegans and Eccremocarpus scaber ‘Cherry Red’ crawling up a homemade trellis for some flowery action everyone can enjoy from the patio. My Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ is still pumping out flowers in a container, along with blue beauty Anchusa capensis ‘Blue Angel’. Hurray for flowery pops of color!

Mix of all kinds of stuff

This picture is from the “shadier” side of the garden (gotta keep an eye on those sneaky Fuchsias). I’ve found that pretty much all Aeoniums are just fine, if not even a little perkier, on this part shade in the Summer/full shade in the Winter side of the garden, so I stick them everywhere, even in containers full of Fuchsia procumbens (I think that’s Aeonium rubrolineatum poking out). One of best things about succulents is that even in January, most of them are still doing their cool sculptural thing. I encourage anyone thinking about going the succulent, dry garden route to give them a shot. For more tales of the succulent obsessed visit me on my garden blog Far Out Flora.

12 Responses to “Succulents Don’t Suck!”

  1. Denise July 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Love the succulents!! I live in the Chicagoland area and can’t grow them here myself but I love to look at them. I’m jealous.

    • Megan July 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks Denise! I used to grow Sempervivums and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ back in Wisconsin, and I know there are some Opuntias, and Yuccas that can deal. We’ve got some succulent options for Zone 5 here at Annie’s, too.

  2. Loree / danger garden July 9, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    As yo know I am a wanna be Californian living in Oregon. Good god how I wish I could come to Brian Kemble’s talk…so jealous….

  3. shellyjas July 9, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    Just getting to know succulents and am amazed at the many different kinds, thank you for your blog

  4. Megan July 9, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    Loree you need to make another pilgrimage down here sometime soon! Plan it during a Succulent Society meeting, and you can watch Brian describethe show and tell plants like a succulent whisperer. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of. Matti, and I have watched the Victory Garden episode with Brian at Ruth Bancroft at least ten times.

  5. Anna July 11, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    What is the beautiful blue leaved plant on the left?

    Gorgeous photos!

  6. Trevor July 11, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Great post Megan and the garden looks wonderful as usual! I really love how you mix colorful plants with your succulents. At this point I don’t do much of this yet. But I may give it a try.

  7. nancy l July 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    A blog just in time! We have a mediterranean and succulent garden. They do well together. I’m looking for new ideas to spruce it up a bit. This blog will come in handy! Do you have any suggestions for a low drought tolerant tree?

    • anniesannuals July 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Happy to be timely Nancy! If you are looking for a drought-tolerant tree, HERE is a good place to start. If something you like is unavailable, you can add it to a Wish List!

  8. Michelle Dooley July 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Beautiful, I live in the outer sunset too…. so if I bake you some fresh bread can I come over and take a few cuttings 🙂

    • Megan July 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      Ooooh! That sounds like a great deal. We always have plenty of succulents to share 🙂

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