Container Gardening

Five Easy-to-Grow Succulents

By Nina Koziol

Displaying Succulents

For special occasions, I’ll move small pots of succulents into a long, narrow basket and place it down the middle of our dining room table. The plants are a conversation piece and have transformed many non-gardening friends into succulent aficionados.

While some succulents are hardy here in our zone 5 garden outside of Chicago, those in my houseplant collection are not. By mid-May, the threat of spring frost is over and I bring my plants outdoors and set them in a shady spot where they’ll remain until September.

In the fall, I break off stems of succulents and use a glue gun to attach them to a pumpkin for a tabletop decoration.

Photo by Nina Koziol

In the fall, I like to decorate pumpkins with pieces of succulents. There’s no fuss with carving the pumpkin. I simply use a glue gun to attach pieces of “sheet moss,” which is available at garden centers and craft stores, to the top of the pumpkin. Next, I break off a few pieces from my succulents and glue them onto the moss, where they’ll remain for a month or two. They get an occasional spritz of water to keep the leaves from drying. A bonus—they sometimes send little roots into the moss. When the pumpkin is ready for the compost pile, I can pick off the rooted succulents and pot them up to give away.

You can find many succulents at garden centers, big box stores and food stores. They’re typically sold in small size pots that are perfect for windowsills. Treat yourself to a few of these little treasures and see how they brighten up a room or two.

Zebra Plant (Haworthia)gets its name from the stripes on its leaves, which can be green, red or brown. Grow them in a window where they get a few hours of direct sunlight.

Photo by Nina Koziol


Additional Sources of Information About Succulents

The Plant Lover’s Guide to Sedums. Brent Horvath. Timber Press.

Cacti and Succulents Handbook: Basic Growing Techniques and a Directory of More Than 140 Common Species and Varieties. Gideon F. Smith. Fox Chapel Publishing.

Success with Succulents : Choosing, Growing, and Caring for Cactuses and Other Succulents. John Bagnasco, Bob Reidmuller. Quarto Press.

Cactus and Succulent Society.

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