Plants make successful trip from San Diego to GJ
I like growing souvenirs.
And this year, one of my favorite souvenirs of all-time has become a real showstopper in my yard, proving that you can’t really go wrong with a good succulent.
Some of the little succulents I brought back from a trip to see my friend in San Diego more than a year ago have absolutely thrived, and I’m so glad I brought them home.
Instead of buying ugly magnets or shot glasses or spoons or whatever tchotchke you can imagine that would clutter your house or need dusting, I buy plants on trips whenever possible.
Why would I want some thingamajig when I can grow a souvenir plant I can enjoy? And on this trip I couldn’t resist the tempting array of succulents that thrive in San Diego’s Mediterranean climate.
I got some weird looks, getting on the plane with my box of plants.
One fellow passenger caught my eye, and I gave her an awkward smile.
“Do you take your little friends everywhere?” she asked, in a careful, not-sure-what-age-you-are-mentally, high-pitched tone.
“Well, these are succulents. And I’m taking them home to plant in my yard,” I explained. “We’re just getting acquainted, actually, so I wouldn’t call them friends.”
OK, so I lied. They were my little friends. Almost all plants are my little friends. I mentally apologized just a tiny bit to the aeonium in the box in case it heard me.
The succulents had a successful journey home on the plane, and I planted them inside at first, since I was worried they wouldn’t like our harsh climate. But since they did so well, I decided to plant them together outside in an old whiskey barrel this summer.
Planting them in a container was important as it allowed me to control the amount of water they would receive. I also provided some well-draining soil so the plants wouldn’t get too soggy, which was important.
For the most part, the succulent planter has required only occasional watering. I use the blue chalk sticks (Senecio serpens) as a guide — if they feel full and plump, I don’t water. If they’re starting to look and feel a little mushy and droopy, I water.
The saucer plant (aeonium), blue chalk sticks and Elephant bush (Portalucaria afra) have been good container-mates and tolerate the same amount of water, so that has been a success.
While these plants will not survive the hard frosts that come with a Grand Valley winter, I will definitely find a way to repot them or take cuttings for next year’s arrangement. I can’t imagine my patio without my little succulent friends now.