Succulents, which are sometimes referred to as "fat plants," are plants that are very good at retaining water, even in hot and arid climates. A succulent garden is a garden that is filled with these types of plants. One of the reasons that these plants are called "fat plants" is because the way that the plants store waters often gives the plants a fleshy, swollen appearance. In addition to being able to store water in their visible leaves and stems, these plants can also store water in their roots. During very unfavorable weather conditions, the plant may only stay alive in its parts that are underground so that, from above, it looks to be dead.
A well-tended succulent garden, however, will not have plants that suffer in this manner. Even though these sorts of plants are native to areas that regularly have dry weather and high temperatures, succulent gardens can thrive in many other climates as well as long as the plants are protected or brought indoors during the winter months. For this reason, some people have their entire succulent garden in pots and urns that can be brought inside when the weather becomes too cool for the plants to remain hardy.
There are hundreds of varieties of succulent plants, but some of the most well-known species are those in the aloe family and those in the cactus family. Some, but not all, succulents flower. Depending on the choice of the gardener, a succulent garden can be quite austere and monochromatic or very bright and colorful.
One of the main requirements of a healthy succulent garden is that the succulents are planted in soil that drains well. As these plants are best suited to arid conditions, they can wither if they are over watered and cannot drain properly. Potting the plants is one way to ensure that they will drain well. They can also be planted in rock gardens.
A succulent garden is often a good choice for people who do not have a large amount of time to devote to their gardens or are away from the garden for stretches of time on a regular basis. This is especially true if the succulents that are chosen are of the variety that are especially good at doing without regular irrigation. Even during hot, dry weather, these plants can survive for as long as weeks at a time without being tended to.