Summer is a great time for outdoor succulents to grow and produce new babies. See how this robust and succulent garden changed in just 3 months! (3 Months Later – Impressive Outdoor Succulent Growth)
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A little while ago I shared some photos and videos with you of the outdoor succulents that I planted at my parents’ house. It is a zone 5 climate, which means that winters are below zero for long periods.
Lots of snow. Very cold.
We planted these succulents in early May and in just 3 months the growth has been impressive! Succulents outdoors tend to grow faster than succulents that are kept indoors, but I was still surprised by the change.
We plant a lot of different succulents in these gardens, and I list them all in the first post on how to plant them. But I wanted to list them again here in case you haven’t looked at that post yet.
Here is a list of the products I used to create these luscious landscapes:
Now … since I am not taking care of these plants myself, I am going to share my mother’s experience with each of the areas of the garden so that you know what works, what does not, and which areas work best. .
In general things are going well! Sempervivum chickens have scared away so many chicks! The Sedums are taking over everything (more on that in a moment). It’s quite a show!
Below you’ll find photos of the different gardens in various stages, in May when they were first planted, June before things got too hot, July when the Sedums took over, and August when things cleaned up a bit.
The garden of the birdbath
Let’s start with the infamous birdbath. This year I planted the birdbath again. See year 1, year 2, and this year. This area receives full sun most of the day, including the afternoon when it is very hot.
If you look at the previous post about it, you will see what happened to the birdbath in the past.
The Sedums around the base have been there since year 1. They have done incredibly well with no help or maintenance.
Here’s what it all looked like in early June, about a month after I planted the birdbath:
A bit chaotic, but still looks good. But then … things started to get out of hand … Here’s what July 12 looked like (about a month after the photo above):
So my mom decided it was too much. The goal is for succulents to be low maintenance. These would require quite a bit of pruning each year to prevent them from taking over. It is doable, but it is not what we are looking for here. So they took them out.
Guess what we found under all those Sedums? Semperviuvms (hens and chicks)!
When I planted this area 3 years ago, it had a nice mix of Sedums and Sempervivums. But, as it will happen, the Sedums began to spread out and get taller, covering the Semps.
Now it will be fun to see how these Semps will perform, with more light to absorb and room to spread, for years to come. You will likely add a few more in the fall, when it’s a little cooler, but before the first frost.
Also, if you didn’t notice before … the succulents in the birdbath are great! The self-watering balloon is making a difference. Keeps roots fresh and helps prevent succulents from burning.
These succulents have not grown as long as some in other areas of the garden. The reason is that they are using every ounce of water to make sure they survive the heat, so very little resources are devoted to growing.
As it cools down in September and October I’ll fertilize them for a growth boost before their winter slumber.
The succulent chair
I was especially curious how the succulent chair would work. You are in an area that receives dappled light for most of the day. It’s also in the way of sprinklers running every other day (or sometimes every day).
Here’s what it looked like when I finished it in early June:
When I made the chair I used Spanish Moss which holds very little water. Turns out this is working fine!
They don’t stretch, dry out, or rot too much. It seems that this combination of planting material and location fits well.
Here’s what it looks like in early August:
The fairy garden
I am so in love with how the fairy garden is working. It has mostly been filled with “scraps” of succulents from other projects or transplanted succulents from other areas of the garden.
Most of the succulents to the left of this section have been there for 3 years. They have done quite well considering they are extremely run down and low on water.
When I added the other succulents, it seemed a little lacking, but I knew it would fill up. Considering that most of these succulents were leftovers, I’d say it looks pretty good!
This is how it was in early May:
Just a month later it was already quite full! Also, we added some more fairy elements and replaced the pumpkin birdhouse. This shot is what it looked like in early June:
This area receives some sun in the morning, shade for most of the afternoon, and then an hour or two of sunlight at dusk. Sprinklers don’t spray directly on it, but it runs off from other areas.
It also gets nice wet from time to time if anyone thinks about it (no more than once a week).
Here’s what it looks like in early August, about 2 months later:
Once again the Sedums started to take over and spread too fast so I took out some. Otherwise, things are still in place. Some of the Semps have almost doubled in size and have many more chicks!
The rock garden
If I had to pick a favorite succulent garden, I don’t know if that’s allowed or possible, this would be it. I love the combination of rocky paths (thanks to my sweet neighbor Emma) and the rows of succulents.
It seems to be the perfect combination of organization and natural beauty.
The rock garden faces east and is in front of the house. Although it does not have sprinklers, there are pots next to it that have a drip system. The excess water from those pots runs into the rock garden.
It also receives tap water when the hose is in use. It’s right under the faucet and the faucet has a fair amount of leakage when the hose is on. Occasionally someone waters it, but only once a week or less.
This area appears to be the best for Sempervivums in terms of sunlight, heat, and water frequency.
It gets plenty of sun from sunrise to early afternoon, but it doesn’t get sunlight in the afternoon or evening when the temperature is at its peak.
And now, let me show you what this garden looked like when I planted it in early May:
We added a fairy house in early June and I am in awe of the new growth in just one month. I’m telling you, they grow succulents outdoors in the ground Too much faster than indoor succulents or outdoor succulents in pots.
Here’s a photo from early June:
This stage was almost perfect for me. If only he could have remained so perfectly imperfect. Unfortunately, those Sedums don’t like to be contained. They need to be in an area with plenty of room to spread out, or you’ll have to keep trimming them.
Take a look at how much things grew in mid-July:
Remember, the goal here is a low-maintenance or no-maintenance succulent garden, which means … you guessed it! Sayonara Sedums! Here is the garden in early August:
Chickens and chicks love the extra space and extra sunlight. No more Sedums towering over them. And you can see the fairy house again!
I miss some of the texture of the Sedums, but the Semps will complete very well. There’s a good reason we call hens and chicks Sempervivums. Just look at the number of babies they are putting off!
You can also notice the different sizes of Sempervivums in this garden. The group on the left is much larger than the succulent cobwebs in the center.
It won’t take that many girls for the Semps on the left to fill the space around them. Cobweb Semps will have a really impressive texture as they produce more chicks and start to create a mound.
Overall, I’m delighted with how well these succulents are doing outdoors. Growing succulents in the ground is a different challenge, but fun!
Thank goodness my wonderful mother is willing to keep me informed on how she is handling things. Most of the areas are “neglected,” meaning they get water if there is any there, but are otherwise left alone.
We have learned that Sedums are not best suited for these tapestry-type designs, but some slower-growing ones can be a good option. In the meantime, we’ll let the Sempervivum do their thing.
Hope you can see the beautiful garden you can create with cold hardy succulents!
Whether you have snowy winters or just a few days below zero, Sempervivums and Sedums are a great way to create a low-maintenance garden in a four-season climate.