SWAKOPMUND - Cute potted succulents are the latest gardening trend sweeping Namibia, plus a wonderful decor accessory and alternative to the big garden experience, especially in these drought-stricken times when water is a precious commodity.
Bringing the outside inside has never been more fashionable than now, and for people with ‘green fingers’, and penchant for pot plants dotted around your home, these hardy and low-maintenance mini arrangements don’t only add a whole new dimension to decorating a room, but also make an attractive outdoor feature.
Calling their little venture ‘Happy Crafts’, retired husband and wife team Ralf and Hilda Steyn from Walvis Bay, are succulent boffins and are currently the only succulent plant crafters at the coast, where they have turned their hobby into a full-time production.
Hilda is has been honing her potted succulent skills over the past few years, while hubby Ralf complements these arrangements with some handy woodwork boxes, which add even further appeal, especially his small colourful wheelbarrow, which will liven up any corner in the garden.
“I’ve always been keen on gardening, and first tried my hand at potting Desert Rose succulents about four years ago, which I enjoyed so much, it became a flourishing pastime,” said Hilda, who mostly generates and grows her own succulents from trimmings, mentioning that there are nearly 50 types that one can work with.
“Potted succulents have become so popular these days, we keep really busy growing and nurturing more plants to keep up with the demand, as well as making pots and other wooden ornament planters as a decorative feature to add to their decorative appeal.
“We have a lot of people buying these arrangements, which can vary from one succulent to a potted cluster, and are busy working the market scene,” she added. “Because they are so small, they can fit anywhere in your home or outdoors, and are easy to maintain, unlike the bigger pot plant varieties - you can be really creative with your ideas when introducing them into your home or office.”
She said a major factor for the popularity of this tiny gardening craze is the variety of pots and planters that can be used to decorate any corner anywhere, just by adding a candle or your favourite ornament to your display. It was not difficult to see why the Steyn’s potted craft creations at last week’s Green Market in Swakopmund was such an attraction.
Furthermore, potted succulents have become a world-wide green industry and should you Google, you will be amazed at what is out there, including all the dos and don’ts of potting succulents, with tips on how to pot them, what light to use, trimmings, when to water, what soil to use and so on.
Succulents, which include cacti and aloes among other desert plants, generally need less water than other pot plants, and have proven to be an effective, low maintenance way of personalising your own space, and can also be packed up fuss-free if you decide to move.
Since the natural habitat of most succulent plants are arid deserts where moisture is scarce, they need to be watered every two to three weeks only. Because their leaves store water, even if the soil feels dry, it is advisable to let them dry in between watering.
You can also grow your succulent collection yourself, and many succulents grow leaves, which can be broken off and re-planted in a new pot to form a brand-new plant. These little cuties also enjoy being in light or some sunshine, so they are the perfect choice for our climate.
A great place to put succulents is in the bedroom; as they release oxygen overnight, and act as natural air purifiers, allowing you to breathe more easily while you sleep and wake up feeling refreshed - isn’t that nice.