Gardens4u in Texas

Texas gardens

In Corpus Christi, Texas this week for my sister’s birthday, I just couldn’t stay out of the dirt.  For her birthday gift, I promised her a new garden in her front yard, one that she could not kill.  Seems like she did not inherit the same green thumb I did.

First, for inspiration, we went to the Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens to see what will survive in this hot environment.  Instead of cold hardy as I am used to in the Ottawa, Ontario area of Canada, I had to think heat and drought tolerant…

We chose succulents, agave, cactus, sedum, aloe and various stonecrops for ground cover and trailers.  All are drought tolerant once established and can handle the extreme heat here in Texas.

Hopefully this new garden renovation survives the heat and drought conditions in my sister’s Texas yard.

Succulents For Full Sun

succulents

If you follow this blog and gardening website, you will know I love succulents of all shapes and sizes. At the top of my list of favourite perennials, they tolerate hot sun and require little to no maintenance. Not only do they tolerate full sun but they also thrive in drought conditions. There are so many varieties to choose from too, with the options increasing each garden season.

I love them so much that I even included one tiny succulent in each of the party favours for guests at my daughter-in-law’s baby shower.

succulents
tiny succulent in baby shower party favours

Propagating Succulents

I’ve also decided to try my hand at propagation recently. All I did to encourage propagation was tuck a few leaves from various types of succulents into houseplants around the house. Especially the ones in a sunny location. I also tried placing a few leaves in a small, shallow, clear container into which I added a tiny bit of water. The container sits on a north-facing window sill.

The leaves withered up, but tiny new plants emerged at the base of the leaf in each propagation attempt. Just be sure to keep the soil moist around the leaves inserted in soil as well as a tiny bit (just enough to keep emerging roots wet) of water in the bottom of the container.

Hen and chicks (sempervivum) are especially easy to propagate, simply by removing the ‘chicks’ from their ‘mother’ and inserting them into the soil in a new location right in the garden.

Sunny Containers

Succulents look great and thrive in my urns that are located in full sun.  I had two coco liners filled with soil left from last summer’s hanging baskets.  I turned them upside down over my cast iron urns, tucking the fiber into the edge of the urns to make them fit and to prevent soil and water from leaking out.  I then cut slits in the fiber and tucked slips of succulents (sedum and stonecrop) into the slits.  For the top, I used a large sermpervivum rosette (the hen part of the hen and chicks succulent plant).   I am hoping the succulent slips will cascade over the sides of the urns as they grow.  I will rotate the urns occasionally as the sedums grow toward the sun, so they will cascade evenly around the perimeter of the urns.

These urns of mine sit in front of my garage with a hot, dry, full sun, southern exposure. Over the years I have not had much luck with any other plants growing there.  They all start off well but quickly lose their appeal as they get leggy and dry out.  Hopefully, the succulents will do the trick to keep my urns looking great all summer.

Succulents in Garden Beds

Perennial succulents are also an excellent choice for a hot, dry location in your garden.  There are many varieties to choose from; sedums and stonecrop are two of my favourites.  Choose a variation in color for a spectacular display. Once established succulents require very little water, and in fact, too much water will cause them to rot. In garden beds, succulents can be used in whimsical containers or as beautiful edging plants or groundcover.