Succulents Are Eco-Friendly in 5 Ways
by Lynn KirkJun 1, 2022
We cheer for eco-stewardship, yet some of our most popular plants, ornamental trees, and sod are not eco-friendly . . . or even gardener-friendly! In fact, many houseplants and traditional landscape plantings are just plain greedy. Demanding. Finicky. And at constant risk for pesky pests and devastating disease.
If you’re an eco-enthusiast who wants only the best for your gardens and environment, look no further than the world of succulents. Likewise, if you prefer low-maintenance plants that tend to give as much as they take, consider succulents. You see, succulents are eco-friendly in 5 ways.
1. SUCCULENTS REQUIRE LITTLE WATER.
Our world’s water supply is limited, particularly in regions plagued by horrendous heat and dogged drought. Flowering plants, ornamental trees, and sod tend to demand water – sometimes lots of it on a regular basis. Miss a few days, and they start to droop, lose their flowers, curl their leaves, and/or turn brown. Not too forgiving, for sure! However, this water-greediness doesn’t apply to most succulents (especially those originating from desert environs). Specialized tissues in their stems, leaves, and/or roots enable them to hold water — and they do just that until it is needed. As a result, succulents require watering only about once a month. No precious water wasted on them! Their drought tolerance and waster-wise ways also make succulents a natural resource in the fight against increasing temperatures and climate change*. Now that’s another positive perk, for sure!
2. SUCCULENTS MAKE GOOD USE OF BAD SOIL.
Succulents tend to grow where other plants won’t or don’t – even in areas with scattered rocks, challenging hillsides, and minimal (if any) topsoil. In these places, succulents not only survive; they tend to thrive (depending on the species and its planting preference, of course). With such hardiness, some succulent plantings provide natural ‘shade’ that helps cool neighboring plants; act as ground covers that help fight erosion; or form dense mats that help fight weeds — all making life a little easier for the gardener and a little better for the natural world. So when it comes to tough soil and tough situations, pick an equally tough plant. Go with a succulent that makes tricky terrains their ‘home’!
3. SUCCULENTS NEED NO NURTURING.
Unlike traditional roses, fruit trees, sod, and other maximum-maintenance flora, succulents require minimal effort. Seldom is there a need for fertilizer (unless you want to treat them to nutrients as they exit dormancy). There’s also little use for pesticides since succulents tend to attract few pests (and that means less chemicals bombarding our natural world). Another no-nurturing benefit is that succulents require little to no pruning or repotting for years since most are relished for their quirky form and slow growth. Consider succulents nature’s environmentally friendly, nurture-free plants!
4. SUCCULENTS IMPROVE AIR QUALITY.
Nowadays, just about every manufactured product gives off some level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) indoors. And of course, we continually pollute outdoor air in countless ways, too. Succulents help remove these toxins by pumping contaminated air into their roots and converting those contaminants into their nourishment. Then the succulents reciprocate by returning oxygen into the air we breathe. Truly, a much-welcomed breath of fresh air!
Yep, succulents are eco-friendly in 5 ways, with this last one being a bonus . . .
5. SUCCULENTS GROW MORE AND MORE.
Succulents are perennial plants that typically return year after year (assuming they’re planted in their designated USDA Plant Zone). That alone is environmentally friendly because it cancels the need for continual replacement purchases and related energy and transportation costs. Additionally, some succulent species naturally spread over time while others grow ‘pups’ — both providing their own next generation of plants. Others offer a leaf or stem to which the gardener can add a bit of succulent soil for easy-to-accomplish propagation of more plants. These all add up to extra plants at minimal to no extra cost: another eco-friendly benefit that strengthens succulents’ overall value.
Indeed, succulent plants are eco-friendly in 5 ways. That makes them the savvy choice for eco-stewards, such as the Britsch family that operates Succulent Market. Hans and Gretel Britsch were ahead of their time when they first offered succulents for sale in the late 1960s. Now, three generations later, Succulent Market is the nation’s number one, online resource with the strongest variety of eco-friendly plants. And all are domestically grown right here at home.
Together, we can help save our environment . . . one succulent plant at a time!
*SOURCE: Grace, Olwen M., “Succulent Plant Diversity as Natural Capital,” Plants People Planet.