Stylish SucculentsA recent explosion of interest in succulents is quite refreshing. I can see why so many folks are asking questions and seeking new info on plants that have been around since the beginning of time.

Succulent plants, also known as succulents or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climates or soil conditions. They store water in their leaves, stems and also in roots. It often gives the plants a swollen or fleshy appearance.

The best-known succulents are cacti. Virtually, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. There are some exciting new varieties of succulents. There are aloes, agaves, crassulas (Jades), echeverias, euphorbias, sedums and sempervivums (hens and chicks) just to name drop a few. These plants are trendy and gaining in popularity as a Succulents savvy addition to pots, hanging baskets, floral arrangements, wreaths and any place some style and interest is needed. We’ve always enjoyed them in the garden, such as Autumn Joy Sedum with great fall color or delospermas (ice plants) for their dense groundcover and low water appeal, but now they are showing up as an accent plants in all aspects of horticulture.

As I travel around the country, I look how plants and flowers evolve into new landscapes and uses. Coming from the garden center-greenhouse side of my business, we sell succulents by the pot, usually a 2-1/2-inch pot or pack, to a gallon-sized container. Over the years, gardeners ask for the basic, low water, low maintenance and easy care plants that can take a variety of conditions of sun and soil; the tried-and-true nature of the succulents was always a winning answer.

Not only is that still true, but also recently the plant has become a super star with its medicinal properties, as in aloe, and its new colors and textures of echeverias and agaves. The versatility of these gems should spark a renewed interest in your houseplants, office plants, deck pots and containers, and nooks and crannies around the garden.

SucculentsWhile watching Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” notice the vessels on his set contain many of these cool plants. My customers are now seeing them as a fashion statement with their striking colors, heavily textured leaves and dramatic rosettes and crimped margins. Their uses can span from a color bowl as a centerpiece to a wreath of sedums hanging on your front door, welcoming your friends with floriculture style. Our floral designers in our shop are almost daily using these impressive fleshy jewels as an accent piece in many floral arrangements, and the recipients love the style and whimsy it provides.

Ask your favorite plant store or florist for stylish succulents.

What plants are your favorites?