Desert plants moving to Midwestern homes

…One of the prettiest plants on my deck all summer has been an echeveria named Silver Spoons. The centerpiece in a small hypertufa trough, Silver Spoons also proved to be one of my easiest container plants.

A waxy succulent plant with large silver-blue, spoon-shaped leaves, it looks something like a giant hen-and-chicks (Sempervivum). Its small coral flowers atop tall stalks are a nice extra, but the leaves are really the focal point.

Echeverias are native to near-desert parts of Mexico and South America, where they thrive in soil that is well-drained and often dry. Houseplant books have long offered plenty of information on growing echeveria indoors, but only recently has the plant become a hot item outdoors here in the Midwest. . . .

[ read more Silver Spoons is an easy container plant]

Echeverias are named after an 18th century Spanish botanical artist. They are easy to grow from cuttings. Dead leaves should be removed they are prone to fungus problems. Water them as you would a cactus, deeply and rarely. In winter they lose their leaves, detracting from their appearance. They make great dish garden plants and come in many colors.