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  • Pamela S

Succulent Fandom

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

Soft, roundy ones

Have you ever thought you invented or discovered something, only to realize that a gazillion others have been before you? That's how I felt when I began to discover my passion for succulents, only to find that a gazillion others think they are cool too. No Pinterest feed is immune. What is this obsession we have with these fat little fleshy plants? I mean, apparently, they are even hipster.

I can't speak for all of succulent fandom, but I came up with ten reasons I love these little suckers.

1 - Succulents look a little alien. Really. Have you looked at sea of succulent plants at a nursery? It's a little other-worldly. Being a charter member of sci-fi fandom, this is a plus.

2 - Succulents come in endless shapes, textures and colors. Talk about a people pleaser. I am partial to the soft, roundy ones that look like the velour jumpsuits I used to wear in junior high. But like butterfly wings, I've found it's best not to pet them. I love pairing the blue-gray plants with silver or driftwood. Num. The darker green plants look edible with rusty metals and terra cotta. (By the way, succulents are not to be confused with ouchy cacti. Botanically speaking, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Succulents have leaves; cacti have spines instead of true leaves and only their stems are fleshy. Things that make you go huh.)

3 - Succulents are very forgiving (mostly). I live in a temperate climate that does not freeze, so it's always interesting to see which plants overwinter with no attention. Actually, most do. They certainly get leggy, and look more alien than usual, but a few nips and tucks usually return a succulent bowl back to Earth.

Little Succulent Souls

4 - Succulents save homes. Seriously. So many homes here in southern California were saved recently during wildfires because people had a break of ice plant around their homes. Makes sense that they would not burn, infused as they are with water. Way to go, ice plant!

5 - Speaking of ice plant, I have a strong childhood memory of making mud pies with "green beans" made from the chunky leaves.  That's worthy of a bullet point.

6 - Succulents provide me with an almost daily temptation to snip cuttings from other people's yards, businesses, and public property. I usually refrain from stealing plant parts, which makes me feel good about myself.

My Pinterest silver and driftwood palette

7 - Succulents remind me of paper dolls. Snip, snip, arrange, dress up, done. So cute!

8 - I now have a new vocation of being on the lookout for succulent containers. No object is safe. I am enjoying using old kitchen and dining implements. I just planted a teeny beany plant in a candlestick holder. Now it sits on my palette garden shelves. My Pinterest palette garden shelves. Totally hipster. Alongside my rusty potato masher that I use to mix soil. Beyond hipster now.

9 - You can take a leaf and grow a plant. That's just cool. I've only just started consciously propagating (love that word), so it's still a thrill to see hairlike roots and leaf buds poking out from a leaf that was put aside, or even one that was dropped and forgotten. I always save what I can. Once they start producing life, they have a soul. An itty-bitty succulent soul.

My Pinterest rusty metal and terra cotta palette

10 - Succulents combine art, miracles, and life. When I create a lovely bowl, I can't take all the credit, especially when it grows and changes after I am done. I am learning about each plant, who is sensitive to too much handling or too much sun, who loves water and who drowns in it. But in general, they are diverse, adaptable, regenerating, forgiving, and interesting. Qualities that I strive to attain for myself. Ah! Perhaps that is the core of the fascination.

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