published Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Five Tips on caring for succulent houseplants

Succulent plants are becoming increasingly popular, said Kim Bonastia, manager of Signal Mountain Nursery on Hubbard Road.

“They resemble living sculptures and [they offer] the benefits of low maintenance and low water use,” Bonastia said.

People display the plants in a variety of ways — in dish gardens, suspended on walls, in picture frames, topiaries, wreaths and centerpieces for indoor and outdoor use.

“Crate & Barrel is carrying them as centerpieces,” Bonastia said.

Succulents, she said, are “sustainable, durable and low-maintenance. The varying colors, textures and style are a great hit.”

FIVE TIPS

1 Light exposure: Make sure succulents have full sun to part shade. The more the sun, she said, the better the color on the foliage.

2 Watering: Do not overwater. Allow soil to almost dry completely between waterings.

3 Soil: Use a good-quality “soil-less” soil. Soil-less soil, according to www.hydro-gardens.com, is a method of growing plants without soil.

4 Recommended varieties: Some of the succulents recommended by Signal Mountain Nursery are: Aeonium Tip Top with dark burgundy leaves that gather in dense clusters and form an overall pyramid shape; Dyckia Hybrid Burgundy Ice with smooth, deep burgundy leaves that have spiky white margins; Echeveria Nodulosa with zebra striped burgundy markings; Sedum Coppertone with lemon yellow and sunlit copper foliage; Echeveria Black Prince with deep maroon foliage and green centers; and Kalanchoe Thyrisifolia with paddle-shaped leaves that turn red in the sun.

5 Planting pointer: Mix them with hardy succulents (not listed) for different textures.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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