Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
and other Xeriphytic Plants
Succulents, with their fleshy leaves or stems, are an easily-recognised group of xeriphytes (or xerophytes) which are plants adapted to withstand prolonged periods with little water. This group has become very popular recently as many parts of the world face increasing watering restrictions and declining gardening skills.
Their interesting "architectural" forms work well with contemporary building design. However, they could be very usefully incorporated into a more traditional garden if most of the succulents used are of the softer and prettier types and mixed in with other plants. Some bold types can be blended with drought tolerant palms, strelitzia and such for a waterwise tropical landscape.
Note, however, that they do have a lot of weed potential, reproducing readily from small pieces and surviving harsh conditions. Some are already recognised as weeds.
Biosecurity Comes Calling
Backyard growers on the Sunshine Coast have had over 1,000 banned plants (mostly cacti) seized and destroyed. "Our staff, together with Sunshine Coast Regional Council officers have been on the lookout for people selling illegal plants either online or through local markets," said Biosecurity Queensland Operations Manager Rob Cobon. If you're aware of someone growing or selling illegal plants, you can alert Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Source: Biosecurity Queensland and Sunshine Coast Council target illegal weeds in backyard nurseries. (January, 2020)Older news at bottom of page.
Suppliers of succulents to Qld
Succulents are now so popular that most regular garden centres can be expected to carry an assortment. However, if you're looking for something in particular, especially if a rare species, you might need to seek out a specialist nursery or look out for succulents for sale at garden shows, open gardens etc.
If you operate a succulent nursery (including online and mail order nurseries) or you promote or distribute unusual succulent plants or related products, please get in touch for information about advertising on this page.
Types of succulents
There are way too many succulents available these days to be cover every one in detail on this site. However, we can take a look at some types that are most popular in Queensland, particularly for landscaping. The following plant groups have seperate pages:
Euphorbia millii (E. milli and Poysean hybrids)
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Snowflake (Euphorbia leucocephala)
Portulaca varieties used as ornamental bedding: Annual Flowers and Bedding Plants
On other pages: Euphorbia millii (E. milli and Poysean hybrids)
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Snowflake (Euphorbia leucocephala)
Succulent Euphorbias Link gives the English-language version of this German website, containg extensive information about succulent species of Euphorbia and some other Euporbiaceae genera, including cultural information
Euphorbia - Native to Africa Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Succulent Euphorbias Harrisiana, Newsletter of the friends of the Harris Garden, UK
Pencil Cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) University of Arkansas
Pencil tree Euphorbia tirucalli Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, California
Pencil Tree (Euphorbia tirucalli) Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Euphorbia tirucalli 'Firesticks' The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Milk Bush, Pencil Tree, Firestick, (Euphorbia tirucalli) at the A Yard In Fort Pierce blog
This succulent groundcover is becoming very popular. It has potenial as a lawn substitute provided you don't need to walk on it. There is variety with a variegated leaf but has same pink-red flowers. It would be better for containers and ornamental garden beds.
Aptenia cordifolia Missouri Botanical Garden
Tropical Ice Plant Aptenia cordifolia Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (PDF)
Aptenia cordifolia (Aizoaceae) National Tropical Botanical Garden, USA
Aptenia cordifolia - Baby Sun Rose Cal's Plant of the Week, University of Oklahoma
Aptenia cordifolia (L.f.) Schwantes South African National Biodiversity Institute (Rock rose)
The following photos are of a common succulent which, based on online information, is probably xGraptosedum 'Francesco Baldi'. It grows very easily in Brisbane and gets passed around.
This genus encompasses a range of fleshy-leaved plants which are not spiky or spiny. Forms range from low growing to tall with leaves variously coloured and smooth or felt-like.
Kalanchoe beharensis Manie Van Der Schijf Botanical Garden, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Kalanchoe beharensis "Napoleon's Hat" The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Silver Spoons, Kalanchoe bracteata
Portulacaria afra Manie Van Der Schijf Botanical Garden, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Dear, Is That an Elephant in the Yard? (Portulacaria afra) Post at Hawaii Horticulture (blog)
For Portulaca varieties used as ornamental bedding, go to Annual Flowers and Bedding Plants
Purslane - Weed It or Eat It? University of Illinois Extension
Portulaca oleracea var. aurea The Herb Society of America
Senecio fulgens (Synonym Kleinia fulgens)
Stapelia species, probably S. gigantea
Stapelia, Carrion Flower, Starfish Flower, Cactus Toad Plant Stapelia variegata Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Stapelia gigantea - Carrion Flower Cal's Plant of the Week, University of Oklahoma
Adenia glauca The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
String of Hearts Vine, Heart Vine, Rosary Vine (Ceropegia woodii) University of Arkansas
Echeveria - Native to Mexico Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Florida
Graptopetalum paraguayense Ghost Plant. Cal's Plant of the Week, University of Oklahoma
All you wanted to know about Haworthias Blog from Czech Republic specialising in Haworthia and Gasteria
Pigface (Lampranthus species) "Grow Me Instead", Australia
Christmas Cactus Toronto Botanical Garden
Christmas Cactus Clemson University, South Carolina (PDF)
Holiday Cactus Production Guide (Schlumbergera bridgesii, Schlumbergera truncata, Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) University of Florida, USA
Grow Holiday Cactus Without Much Effort Office of Agricultural Communications Mississippi State University, USA
Christmas Cactus Horticulture Update, Texas A&M University
Re-blooming Holiday Cacti Missouri Environment and Garden, University of Missouri
Other Online Information
Additional links about other species or about succulents in general are provided below. They are intended for general information, design ideas and research. Some plants referred to in links may be unavailable in Australia or even illegal to grow. Many heat and drought tolerant plants have considerable potential to become weeds (remember the prickly pear cactus!), so take care. If in doubt, consult appropriate authorities in your region.
Download: Angular pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens) Factsheet download page Environmental Protection Agency, Queensland Govt.
Carpobrotus glaucescens 'Coastal Pigface' Centre for Subtropical Design, Queensland University of Technology
Carpobrotus glaucescens - Pigface Cooloola Coastcare
Australian Native Succulents Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Australian Invasive Cacti Network Includes advice on control options
A Succulent Obsession Blog, Canberra
Cactus Tropical Garden Botanical garden of cactus and succulent plants, Reunion Island (Indian Ocean)
Succulents can be an excellent choice for Miami-Dade landscapes University of Florida. (Introduction to growing succulents in a subtropical/tropical climate)
Definition of a Succulent Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Huntington Desert Garden, California
The Ruth Bancroft Garden California, USA. (Click on "About our Plants" and scroll down the page for links to pages about a range of succulents species)
Totara Waters Sub-Tropical Garden, NZ. (photo gallery demonstrates a lot of succulents)
Warm Climate Production Guidelines for Succulents University of Florida
El Charco del Ingenio Botanical garden and nature preserve, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca at The Human Flower Project. Post about the The Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Gardener in Chacala, Mexico Blog from an "almost tropical" Mexican village. (Succulents and other plants)
Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme (SKEP) Studying and conserving one of the worlds "biodiversity hotspots" in Namibia and South Africa, an arid area rich in succulent flora
Epiphytic Plant Study Group mostly epiphytic cacti
Epiphytic Plant Research and Information Center epiphytic cacti and epiphytic succulents, bromeliads, tillandsia's, hoyas, orchids
A Succulent Life Blog, South Florida
Climate key to cactus diversity
Genomic anaysis suggests that while the Cactus family probably emerged some 35 million years ago, rapid diversification did not occur until between 5 and 10 million years ago. This coincides with major periods of speciation in other succulents around the world, suggesting a major change in global climate at that time. The scientists think that a drop in temperature (indicated by other studies) led to reduced rainfall. It is also possible that a drop in atmospheric CO2 may have also given the succulents a competitive advantage. Tropical grasses with the C4 mode of photosynthesis also expanded at this time. Source: Succulent plants waited for cool, dry Earth to make their mark (May 2011)
ALERT: Cactus growers and traders under threat
All Australians, especially anyone who grows or handles plants, should be aware of proposals from the federal government to expand the list of species to be banned or regulated due to alleged drug dangers. A variety of Australian natives and common garden exotics could potentially be banned, in addition to many cactus species. The website gardenfreedom.com provides more information on this issue, including how you can have your say.
Possible misspellings: succulants, suculents, suculants