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These plump plants with graphic shapes have it all, they are beautiful and easy to grow.
No wonder they're so trendy!
Plants that have adapted to arid conditions by storing water, or "juice", in their leaves, roots or stems are called "succulents". Cacti are one of them, but we tend to speak of "succulents" to refer more precisely to succulents without thorns.
Coming from America, Africa and the shores of the Mediterranean, they include hundreds of species of various shapes, sizes and colors. Aeonium, crassula, echeveria, kalanchoe, sedum for indoors; Houseleeks for the exterior ... take your pick! Most have an astonishing graphic silhouette and a smooth, waxy appearance, intended to avoid evaporation of water and contact with the searing atmosphere of their home environment.
Besides their variety and originality, the advantage of succulents is that they hardly require any care. They do not need any fertilizer, pruning or repotting, and they need little watering once a month. It is then advisable to bathe them, by immersing their pot with holes in a container filled with water for a few hours, then letting it drain.
The only condition for their success: light. Don't hesitate to place them near a window and, in the summer, take them out to the garden.
Thanks to their low water requirement, succulents adapt to any type of container.
They are popular with decoration fans who have fun planting them in jars, terrariums, recycled tea boxes ...
They are also ideal for making compositions: combine several succulents in a large container and cover the surface of the earth with decorative gravel.
The substratum of succulent plants must above all be well drained. Use soil for cacti or mix one-third soil, one-third potting soil, and one-third sand.
It is very easy to cut a succulent. All you need to do is cut off a leaf or a stem, let it heal by drying for a few days out of direct sunlight, then plant it in a moist and light mixture (earth and sand).
After a few weeks, once the roots appear, you can repot!
Succulents in the spotlight
250 species of succulents from America, Africa and Madagascar are on display until October 21 at the Chèvreloup arboretum, near Versailles. Rens. : www.mnhn.fr/chevreloup
Visuals credit: © OHF