KINGSBURG – If you’re looking for a plant that’s hard to kill, drought tolerant and offers a variety of options, Amanda Ferguson has a suggestion for you: succulents.
“I love succulents,” she said during a workshop at the Kingsburg High farm on Sept. 16. “I love plants in general, but succulents themselves are extremely hardy. If you have an idea of what you’re supposed to be doing with them, they’re hard to kill and they’re an easy plant to take care of.”
Ferguson is one of the agriculture teachers at the school and after attending a similar workshop and teaching it to her students, decided to open it up to host one at the school.
“This is the first workshop we’ve done. I attended one and I took a lot away from it. It’s a project I’ve done with my class, but never something we opened up to the public so it’s a first.”
Aside from sharing tips on the right kinds of pots and soil to use, Ferguson also shared ideas on how to get rid of bugs and where to get planting supplies.
Another plant workshop is planned for the spring to coincide with the annual plant sale which is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 7. “We will have our usual variety of succulents but we will be including an increased amount of spring vegetables,” she said.
The event was also a fundraiser for the five students who will attend a Future Farmer of America National Convention in Indianapolis from Oct. 25-28.
Morgan Waldner, Brooklyn Young and Katie Crenshaw are among FFA students who will make the trip and were there to assist at the workshop.
Waldner said her favorite of the plants is the zebra succulent.
“It’s more like cacti and has white stripes on the outside. It’s really beautiful and really intriguing.” She used one in a vertical project they created in class.
“It’s my thriller piece,” she said of the planting concept of having some plants that thrill with color or exceptional form while other plants fill space or spill or cascade over the sides of the container.
That’s one thing that Waldner says she notices about succulents. There’s such a variety, gardeners are sure to find some that fit their personality.
“Succulents are really in right now whether it’s a more rustic feel or a minimalist feel. I find a lot of people lean toward that style or fashion sense. I think they really fit anybody’s sense of style. They are drought tolerant and we promote that a lot being in the Central Valley. Conserving water is something that’s really important to us,” she said.
Waldner said gardeners should think of the space they’re hoping to fill with their succulents and to choose plants that fit their own style.
“Definitely make sure the plants show who you are. That’s something that’s really neat about watching people make arrangements. It really shows who they are.”
Ferguson said the plants the horticulture students propagate now will be for sale at their spring plant sale on April 7.
She said it's satisfying when the students propagate the succulents and see them root.
"They have a quick turnaround. We can propagate them in the fall and let them go dormant and then sell them at a spring plant sale. That in itself is great because the kids see the reward," she said.
“Most of the students going to [the national convention] are going into agriculture or an ag-related field. [Ag] is so much more than them just wanting to grow plants or food. There are so many different aspects to it. They all definitely have a passion for it, and I’m all about them getting their hands dirty out here.”