Happy Hot Pot
Plant up a pot of succulent heat busters. All you need to plant up a rock-solid potted garden to beat the summer heat is a collection of modern sedum hybrids, a gasteria or two and a splash of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Calandiva’ colour.
2 x Gasteria bicolor
4-pack punnet of pink Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Calandiva’
1 x Sedum spurium ‘Bronze Carpet’
1 x Sedum tetractinum ‘Coral Reef’
1 x Sedum lineare ‘Sea Urchin’
1 x large bag of commercial succulent mix, or mix 2 parts potting soil to 1 part river sand
1 x shallow clay bowl
A few pretty stones and some gravel chips to use as decorative mulch
The plant palette
Words like ‘appealing’, ‘attractive’ and ‘charming’ are used when gasterias are described – and with good reason. It is a compact succulent with tight rosettes of roughly textured, fleshy leaves with mottled colouring. Gasteria bicolor has elliptical leaves with light green spots on a dark green, almost black, background. Gasterias love growing in the shade of dry vegetation in mountainous terrain, often confined to high cliff faces in shady aspects. They are threatened in nature owing to their medicinal uses – the plants are used as charms to bring good fortune. Fortunately for gardeners, there are a number of hybrids and cultivars that grow quite successfully in containers.
Sedum acre (Goldmoss stonecrop)
This is a spreading groundcover with narrow, light green succulent leaves. It produces yellow, star-like flowers in spring.
Sedum tetractinum ‘Coral Reef’
This is a spreading groundcover with flat, dark green leaves which turn a fiery bronzered in autumn. It produces yellow flowers in spring.
Sedum lineare ‘Sea Urchin’
A rounded groundcover with small, silvergreen, narrow leaves with a white edge. It also produces yellow flowers in spring
Sedum spurium ‘Bronze Carpet’
This is a vigorous, evergreen groundcover with glossy, succulent leaves with frilly edges that are dark coppery-red in colour. It produces small, soft pink flowers in spring
Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Calandiva’
This highly ornamental cultivar, or variety, is bred from the Madagascan Kalanchoe blossfeldiana. ‘Calandiva’ is a brand name for a lovely collection of popular succulent plants, available in a wide variety of bright colours. The double flowers of ‘Calandiva’ are what make it different from those of K. blossfeldiana.
The best position for this container is in a warm, lightly shaded spot. Morning sun and afternoon shade would be perfect. Make sure that your pot has good drainage and water it only when the soil has dried out completely.