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Succulents: Desert Reservoirs
Looking for a low-maintenance way to spruce up a home or yard? Succulents might fit the bill. Learn why these plants are so hardy with Groupon's introduction.
Succulents don't look like other plants. Rather than delicate leaves and fibrous stems, they have thick, fleshy tissue that hoards lots of water. Their leaves vary from paddle-like appendages to tightly wound rosettes to trailing beads, all designed to make the most of hot and arid climates. Aloe vera and cacti are instantly recognizable varieties, but succulents can take far stranger forms. Southern African plants such as the bulbous pleiospilos or the pale lithops resemble small rocks or deep-sea creatures more than plants, appearing so inedible that predators pass their luscious liquids right by.
Outdoors, succulents need bright light all day, and temperatures that range from 70 to 85 degrees. Nighttime temperatures should be between 50 and 55 degrees—a range that reflects the hot days and chilly nights of their native desert environments. They need generous amounts of water during the summer, but in the wintertime, they need only be watered about once a month, since they live off their own reservoirs and drifting hot-chocolate fumes. Because they carry so many of their own nutrients with them, succulents are easy to grow—and share. One need only pull off a leaf and put it in a glass of water. The leaf eventually will sprout roots that can be planted in a more permanent location.