Column: The Garden Girl – Fast Growing, Sun Loving Succulents

July 20, 2014 15:29 pm · 8 comments


Claycord garden lovers have been seeking succulents all growing season long. They are the most sought after groups of plants for this year. Folks have been perusing shelves at nursery, garden centers and plant sales looking for unique pieces to add to their collections. One of the more popular, easy to grow members of the succulent families is Calandrinia spectabilis.

Calandrinia spectabilis is a fast growing, sun loving groundcover with striking cool blue leaves and bright magenta flowers atop 24” stems. This evergreen succulent is exceptionally hardy to our local climate, surviving Claycord’s frosty winters and hot, sunny days.

A great feature of Calandrinia spectabilis is its surging growth. I describe its growth as compared to tossing a king-size pillow on the ground, since it can grow that wide. The stems that hold the magenta flowers are thin and give movement to the landscape like an ornamental grass would sway in the breeze. Calandrinia spectabilis will flower from late March through mid October.

The gray leaves of Calandrinia spectabilis makes an excellent contrasting groundcover for those that use black bark as mulch. Calandrinia spectabilis will thrive in a container, rock garden, and garden bed or landscape border.
Calandrinia spectabilis is water-wise, so you don’t have to feel guilty about installing considering our current water situation. It is also fun to share this evergreen. All one needs to generate a new plant is to break off an arm and push it into the ground or a container.

Happy Gardening.

Nicole Hackett is the Garden Girl at R&M Pool, Patio and Gardens, located at 6780 Marsh Creek Road in Clayton, 925-672-0207.

Nicole writes for the Clayton Pioneer Newspaper, and She is also the Clayton Valley Garden Club 2012 President.

1 Silva July 20, 2014 at 4:13 PM

I bought two of those in 4″ pots for the striking bloom. That was last year. This year I have a bed FULL of them, and they bloom a very long time. If they ever stop, I will be heading them back, as they are marching across my path. They are on the side of my house that bakes in full sun all summer, mostly there are just succulents and they get very little water.

2 Momo July 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM

I’ve always heard succulents need allot of water? Or is that too general of a statement to make?

3 Marissa July 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Lovely picture, I have seen succulents all around Claycord as I’m driving. They make the houses look wonderful!

4 Silva July 20, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Momo, succulents do NOT generally need a lot of water. they store water in their stems and fleshy leaves. They are the ones left standing when you go away and the watering system malfunctions. They may not be happy, but they are still alive.

5 kelly July 20, 2014 at 7:05 PM

I’ve been trying to find the name of a small succulent with little red flowers.

I see them everywhere but I don’t know the name. I would like to plant some on my side yard for ground cover.

6 VikingPrincess July 20, 2014 at 11:26 PM

I like succulents for areas in my garden that don’t have water access and need cover or color. They are like soft, naked cactus…may not be as hardy with drought but close enough.
I also like how easy it is to take little cuttings and replant.
@kelly – I found a succulent in my micro forest backyard, that is a ground covering (could also be a hanging planted pot) with fushia/magenta puffy flowers and took a few cuttings… Replanted and six months later they covered most of the ground around our compost hill.. Is that the succulent plant you are looking for?
If so, they are pretty. Saw them at Navalets.

7 Silva July 20, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Kelly, Iceplant maybe? There are many varieties/sizes/colors, you do see it around a lot. One of my favorites makes a carpet of deep fushia when it blooms.

8 Antler July 26, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Kelly, might you be thinking of Portulaca? That grows very well as a ground cover, and it likes sun. The “Portulaca moss rose” is the one you see most (bright pink….or maybe that looks like rose to some people, but there are many colors available). However, it does not tolerate foot traffic. I believe Garden Girl wrote an article about sturdy ground covers quite awhile back, so maybe you could scan back through the headings of her past work and spot exactly what you need?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: