Succulent plants are masters of adaptation, they have developed numerous methods to survive scorching heat and dry climates. Some species don't need soil, some can survive extended periods of time completely underground, and there are even some aquatic species that can survive in salty or mineral-laden water. The excess water that they store is thick and juicy- like the sap of an aloe plant or the milky latex of cacti. This is where there name originates from, "sucus" is Latin for "juicy."
The fact that they are juicy and ingenious plants is about where the consensus stops. Botanists disagree with horticulturalists on what exactly makes a plant a succulent. Botanically speaking cacti, bromeliads, and air plants are all succulents. For gardeners, there are important aesthetic and behavioral differences. Both are correct in their own way of course, it's just a stretch to think of a pineapple that grows in tropical jungles as a succulent.
The process that unites all succulents is their ability to regulate gases and undergo photosynthesis differently than other plants. This method is called CAM, meaning crassulacean acid metabolism. Simply put, they can close their stoma (breathing pores) during the day to conserve water and stay cool, and then open them at night to take in the carbon dioxide that they need for photosynthesis. Their ability to keep water from evaporating means that when it does rain, they can soak up as much as possible and not let go of it.
Conversely, overwatering is usually how people kill their succulents when they are raised as house plants. Some varieties can be watered repeatedly, but most prefer "dry feet" meaning their soil must be completely dry- almost sandy, before they get another dose of water. Roots that are accustomed to dry soil can easily succumb to fungus and root rot. And generally speaking, once the roots of a plant are damaged there's little that can be done to bring it back.
Below you can find more info about succulents, like how they are being used in urban environments as green walls or green roofs. What you will find in our succulent collection are all pieces that have been harvested and cast directly from our plants. Big thanks to my mom who helps me grow these! I learned all my plant knowledge from her, and now she supplies our business with some great raw materials.
The Real HighGarden
Game of Thrones has its Highgarden, but more and more landscapes are becoming spotted with high gardens of their own. The 20,000 or so plants growing on top of Chicago's City hall help to reduce the urban heat island effect, conserve energy, and mitigate storm water run-off. Green roof building is exploding over airports, factories, retail spaces, schools etc.
Lost Wax Casting 101
These stonecrop plants are about one day's worth of casting for us. The silver is white because they just came out of an acid bath we call the pickle. The disc tool is a rotary grinder that we use to grind and shape metal pieces. You can see a few rings already sanded and soldered in the back.
Metal casting is a unique art. I say that because a lot of the processes feel like science...
What is a Stonecrop?
Stonecrop is the common name for many succulents in the Crassulaceae family because gardeners joke that these plants need about as much attention as a stone.