Hola, amigos! If you follow my Instagram feed, you’ll probably notice that I have a thing for plants, and specially for succulents. These lovely, fleshy little plants have won my heart over because they’re easy to take care of and brighten up any garden or home. And the best part is that Mexico has plenty of native succulents to choose from. Take a look!
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For the longest time, I was a notorious plant killer. I was simply unable to keep anything green alive. I’ve always loved gardens, so this lack of plant skills was a big deal for me. I felt like a gardening failure until I was introduced to succulents.
I owe my love of succulents to my sister Juliet. She’s an agronomist who specializes in these plants, and she grows dozens of different kinds of them at her plant nursery. Juliet also designs home gardens, rooftop gardens, green walls, and vertical gardens, all of which feature succulents. She’s a succulent lover if there’s ever been any!
Thanks to her, I have also developed a love for succulents and I now have a small but lovely collection. I have learned to care for them properly and I’ve also acquired somewhat of a green thumb. Thanks, sis!
Succulents love mild weather and sunshine, and Mexico has plenty of these two things. In fact, Mexico is the country with the largest number of native succulent species on the continent. Here in Mexico, you can even find succulents growing randomly out in the countryside – in a field, in a rocky crevice, or just about anywhere.
Mexican succulents come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They’re a welcome addition to any home garden!
My Succulent Collection
Over the years, thanks to Juliet’s guidance, I have successfully cared for a number of succulents. They all began as little rosettes in a tiny planter, and most of them have grown to a considerable size. These are my favorites, and they’re all native Mexican species!
1. Echeveria agavoides
For the longest time, this baby just wouldn’t grow. I placed it in different corners of the garden, until I found a spot that it loved. Turns out, it likes to get morning sunshine and shade later in the day. After I moved it, it grew so fast it soon needed new planter. Now, it’s also spawned two little baby plants by its side
2. Echeveria elegans
Since my sister began working on her plant nursery, I fell in love with this kind of succulent. It’s just so pretty! Sadly, I had trouble taking care of other echeveria elegans specimens because they’re so fleshy that they’re prone to attracting pests. I finally managed to take care of this one properly, and after a few months it has doubled in sized, flowered, and spawned two little plants.
3. Graptopetalum pentadrum
I fell in love with this one since the first time I saw its lovely purplish color. Unfortunately, it’s a tricky one because the leaves are prone to falling off at the slightest touch. This poor little plant has had its leaves torn off by mischievous toddlers and it was almost killed by a hail storm, but it’s always managed to bounce right back! It’s an example of resilience.
4. Graptopetalum paraguayense
This one came to me when I was still a succulent newbie, but it’s so hardy it managed to survive my clumsiness. It began as a few little rosettes in a small pot, and now it’s literally bursting out of it’s third and biggest planter. It’s also spawned other baby plants, which have grown considerably in their own pots. This plant mommy boss turns a lovely pink color when it gets enough sunshine. Cute, right?
5. Sedum allantoides
This is also one of the oldest plants in my collection. It grew almost from the very first day, and it’s a pretty tough badass. It has survived my succulent newbie phase, serious pest attacks, deathly hail storms, and toddler mischief, without even withering a bit. It bloomed a year after I got it, and it still does every single spring. I think that’s the reason it’s commonly known as “fingers of God” plant.
The Mermaid’s Succulent Nursery
I paid a visit to Juliet’s plant nursery, Vivero Sirena (The Mermaid’s Plant Nursery), and tried to pick out some of my favorite kinds of succulents. It was terribly difficult to settle on only a few, but I picked some that I’m sure anyone would love.
Take a look at these succulents! I’m sure you’ll fall in love with one, or all of them. Wouldn’t you love these in your home garden?
How To Take Care Of Succulents
Succulents can be fairly easy to take care of. I used to be a serial plant killer, remember? So if I can do it, I’m sure you can too.
However, I know not everybody out there has a talent for keeping plants alive, so it’s always useful to get a few pointers. Juliet, the expert, was very happy to give me a few practical tips.
1. Succulents love sunshine!
We have plenty of that here in Mexico! Succulents thrive when they’re placed in an outdoor, sunny setting. However, if you must keep your plants indoors, make sure to put your succulents right next to a window where they’ll get as much sunshine as possible. A solarium or covered deck is also a good place for them.
2. Succulents can get damaged
Even though succulents love sunshine, they can also get sunburned. Make sure they get at least some shade during the day. Hail storms can do a number on them too, although succulents also have an incredible ability to rebound. But most damaging is the shade. If your succulents don’t get enough sunshine, they’ll die. Trust me.
3. Succulents can get waterlogged
Succulents have thick, juicy leaves where they store moisture. In simple terms, they don’t need you to water them all the time, only about once a week. If your succulents are outside in a very warm and sunny place, then maybe you can water them twice a week. Just don’t overdo it or they’ll rot.
4. Succulents don’t need lots of fertilizer
Succulents just need some good quality cactus soil and they’ll be happy. A good tip is to change the soil once every six months to keep them thriving.
5. Succulents need space to grow
I’ve seen lots of pictures with lovely, little succulents in teeny-tiny planters. Let me tell you they’re not meant to stay that size forever. If you do things right, you’ll need to move them to a bigger planter pretty soon. Some succulents can get quite large, and others love to spread out over a big area. I’ve seen some of my own succulents literally spill out of their planter. If your succulents are still small after a few months or a year, then they’re not thriving.
Fall In Love With Mexican Succulents
All of the succulents I posted from my personal collection and from my sister’s plant nursery are Mexican species. As a country, we are fortunate to have such amazing biodiversity, and hopefully we will continue to take notice of this.
It’s true that several kinds of Mexican succulents are endagered, but thanks to researchers and plant breeders like my sister Juliet, they just might be able to come back from the brink.
Succulents are amazing, beautiful, resilient plants. Even if you’re a serial plant killer, like I used to be, you should give them a try. They won’t disappoint you! After all, if you manage to keep just one little plant alive, you’re making a huge contribution towards saving the planet.
Are you ready to love succulents now?