This week we are catching up with someone from Canberra. She goes by the name of Homelypots on social media, but her real name is Michelle Sare. She has been collecting and swapping succulents for a few years.
We asked her a few questions to find out more about growing succulents. Here's what she had to say:
When did you start growing and how long have you been collecting succulents/cactus?
I started collecting succulents and cactus around 4 years ago. My father and his wife, we're passionate gardeners with an established cactus, succulent garden that was growing beautifully for 18 years so when they sold the coastal farm, I knew I needed to collect and grow my own.
What are the challenges growing these plants in Canberra?
Biggest challenge in Canberra is our winter frosts they can be quite devastating when not prepared. My best advise for cold climates is to plant succulents in the open only if suited to your area and you can toughen plants to your climate with time and frost cloth is amazing for Canberra.
How do you keep up with the watering and pest control for all your plants?
I'm very lazy at watering so I do so when I remember. No real routine, but I'm a big fan of watering from the bottom e.g. I have large rectangular containers that I fill with water and sit pots in them that I know need a good drink (succulents that don't look as full and looking sad) and rain is always best for me.
Pest control that works, a big fan of MaxGuard comes in a red bottle and I get the concentrated version save you dollars from Bunnings. I also add this to my bottom feeds (watering) once every couple months ensures I keep pest out of my pots and roots mealy bug, aphids, scale, it kills the lot and more.
You can also find Scotts products in a number of gardening, hardware, independent and supermarket retailers including Flower Power, Mitre10, Coles and Woolworths.
You've done amazing arrangements with succulents & cacti. Are there any tips to create an arrangement?
Thank you, tips for arrangement if you use cuttings make sure your cut ends have healed and don't water until settled e.g. seeing roots form. And hanging arrangement - let sit flat for 6 weeks before hanging to get the best established results.
What is your most prized succulents/cactus?
A very hard question for me, my favorites change daily but most prized would be my 17 year old Spiral Aloe it amazes me every time I look at it.
What is the most difficult plant you ever grown?
The most difficult succulent for me has been quite a common Echeveria, "Painted Lady" why I'm actually not to sure but I have found mine always tend to rot even without water so I'm on to my 5th one fingers crossed I get it right this time.
What was your biggest mistake in gardening?
My biggest mistake was when I first started collecting, too much love, giving them too much water and not knowing what mealy bugs were or how to treat quickly, there's great remedies to treating mealy and most you'll be able to save from this annoying pest.
Where can people buy your succulent arrangements?
You can find my creations for sale on facebook and markets held in the South Side Public Service Buildings. I also love to swap which I do through Australia Succulent Swap on facebook or through instagram.