Succulent Succulents

Years ago, when I lived in Coronado, I used to take long walks around the neighborhoods and steal bits of plants from front yards I would pass. I didn’t dig up flowering shrubs in the middle of the night, if that’s what you’re thinking. I didn’t even pick flowers to put in a vase when I got home because that’s just rude. All I would do is snip off little bits from the plethora of succulents that grow in Southern California with very little maintenance and root easily. No one ever missed those little plant tips and I loved them.

Succulents are low maintenance (in the Pacific Southwest), slow growing, and can be combined in beautiful arrangements. I would occasionally buy one, but, even though they weren’t expensive, I didn’t have much money to spend on things I could just as easily pick up in someone else’s yard. I had to leave most of my plants behind when I moved to New Jersey. I did bring a few, but they don’t seem to enjoy the seasons the way I do. Actually, neither of us flourishes during the winters here, but at least I survive. Indoors, the house had very poor light and outdoors had blistering sun on the front porch and airless shade in the backyard. My green thumb didn’t do well here either, causing me to forget to water the plants in a timely manner. Most of my hardy little friends succumbed.

Here in the Garden State, whenever I would go to a nursery, the rare succulents I came across were priced as though they are exotic, delicate plants that must be carefully nurtured for years and then harvested by highly skilled gardening professionals. Why pay a fortune for something that will most likely shrivel up and die before it’s even paid off? You can imagine my delight when I found this lovely sedum in a fabric store of all places and for only a dollar!


It was in a small display of little variety, but looked much healthier than any that I had come across at the nursery in Home Depot. I spent a few minutes choosing the nicest one and placed in the cart so it wouldn’t get knocked over while I was shopping. When I went to the check-out register, I was a little irritated with the careless way the cashier bagged the plant, but I quickly had it sitting upright again and got it home undamaged. I had noticed at the store that it was very light and dry, an indication that it hadn’t been watered recently, so I was even more pleased to think it had survived so nicely and long enough for me to rescue it from certain death. As I took to the sink to water it, my self-satisfied pleasure dissolved in an instant. I had just bought, and carefully conveyed home, a fake plant.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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