In this video we’re looking at decorative toppings for succulent plants. Now these toppings aren’t purely decorative. They also have a number of uses for improving plant health. There’s a whole range of different toppings that you can use some. You can buy some. You can find yourself, so lets. Take a look so, James, I can see here that there’s a whole range of toppings that you’re using with these different succulents. Why should we be using a topping with our succulents? Well, there are several reasons. One of the primary ones I think is programs is show and display we’re trying to maybe emulate some of the gravels that they might live in in their natural environment, but it comes as a secondary purpose, too, because these things actually help to take away the moisture from the plant and they keep it dry underneath on the leaves, so therefore it reduces situations of rot, air increases airflow in there, all that type of stuff and another really good reason to have this. These different toppings is your soil mix, which is predominantly a pine bark, blend here, washes off quite easily and all splashes up on the leaves. And if you’ve got really nice leaves, particularly like these variegates here that dirt shows up so that keeps the soil in the pot, and the water goes through the mix really easy and soaks into the soil, so it stops splashback so that’s especially if you if you’re watering from above like with a correct, which most people do do they water with a rose above and especially when you’ve got a lot of plants? You have to water like that, so it does stop. Wash off and blow back so what’s? The name of this particular plant, This is an argave or Gonzaga it’s. A Japanese hybrid and this is stone that we got from a friend in Queensland when she comes down here to buy plants. She brings me some bags of this down, and I particularly like this one because I do like the sort of golden colors in it, and it’s very natural, sort of like the type of river stone, so it’s. Actually, I like that one. So if we move on to this plant here, which is yeah. This is one of the echeverias and this has actually got dianamide on it, which is a tonic, sort of a rock. It sort of absorbs moisture and minerals and elements, but also purifiers, so it actually operates a little bit like charcoal. A lot of people use this. It’s a bit expensive, but they use it in their mix and it’s a really good purifier for the plant. Okay, and we’ve got another echeveria. Here, which is, uh, this is Casparada across Ebony. That’s a beautiful plant, But this one has scoria on top now. This is about six or seven mil scoria, but this one’s red. You can get Black Scoria. We do use that one as well and the difference in the colors. Um, does that make any difference to what you’re actually doing with these? I mean, if you’ve got a really dark color or a light color well. It does it to a point. It depends on the light situation. You’re in if you’re in a really high light high sunshine thing, The darker stones can absorb more sunlight and therefore retain the heat and they can possibly burn your leaves, so possibly if you are using a really dark stone, you should be in a slightly shadier environment, whereas the white stones you see here, they reflect the light more and keep the heat away, so this dark. One here that this is an alloy. Yes, and this dark One would be an example of the one that might yes. This is bronzier. We did that too, and I did this, really. For contrast, this is iron stone. We got from Gobar in New South Wales. It’s a long drive there, but we went up to gather it up, and it’s particularly beautiful. It’s also very heavy, but it’s just a really lovely, contrasting thing. It really lifts the plant out when you do it, and this is a little bit different because we’ve these are lithos and we’ve got a yeah, well here. I tried to use some slightly bigger stones. So this is a bit of a mix of seven mil. Um, washed river sand, plus a few small pebbles in here. I’m trying to make it look like their own sort of natural environment a little bit. This is sort of stones that lithops would grow in in, Um, and also we’ve got here featured. A little bit of sand. Wind blown’s rock here. So it’s like a mini landscape. Another agave. Yeah, that that’s a beautiful one. This is a Parvaflora varigate, which is one of my favorite ones. And here I’ve used slightly bigger, washed river sand, but white and to sort of match it, so you can use rock gravels to match or contrast, depending on how you feel and here you’ve got like a little mini landscape and this is what I call an African landscape because, you know, it’s got some conifytum lithops and some crayolas and a Tyler coated and I’ve used slightly bigger gravel, which would be natural, plus a couple of slightly bigger rocks in here again, another landscape. Yeah, this is some of the range We have here. John of some of the gravels that we do sell and it does change from time to time when things become available. So, um, it’s worthwhile, noting there’s quite a large variety now. Pumice over the back there. You see the pumice here? That’s a little bit light for a topping. It can wash away when you wash them right there. So but it’s often used as a tonic again in the soil. It holds moisture but allows a lot of air around it. What I’ll do, John, I’ll just water. These and, um, I’ll give them water. Show you what they look like when they’re wetted this one here, what’s this one? Okay, that’s what the Chinese call my fun. But really, it’s decomposed granite. All right, that’s what they look like so you can tell when you plan to have some moisture content in them because they show up these sort of colors. This water type color. Okay, so, um, yeah, that’s an interesting way of looking at it. And, yeah, see, look at that Iron stone there. It really does glisten, you know, with a thing. Uh, Scoria is really porous and really light. It allows a lot of water to go through and actually holds a bit of water and moisture content around it. You can see pumice changes color and this is there what it called Chinese call this Rainbow Stone and they particularly like it. It is a mixture of scary or another rocks, but they are natural. They’re not dyed. So this is, um, you know, and again reasonably light but heavier than pumice. But people do like this for topping. And these this one here in the packet, the car. These are clay balls. This is something this can actually be used for crocking, which is at the bottom of the pot and or to lighten the mix, but it is still pretty solid, but people are now using this as a topping overseas. So we thought we’d try a little bit here and here I’d like to show you. Akadama akadama is used in the soil mix and as a topping and again it’s. This is like a type of decomposed scoria. A lot of people are confused about what it is. I checked it out pretty hard and realized it is a natural thing. At first, I thought this was compressed clay and treated a certain way, but it is a natural stone. We have this in two grades, so we’ve got a fine one for smaller. You know this is it here? We have a fine one for, uh, smaller plants or smaller pots. You can use it as a potting. Mix, you know? Plants will grow purely in this with some fertilizer. And you also have the course grade here. So in in Japan they do use this as a growing medium for some plants. They do definitely, and, you know, bonsai Thai plants that type of thing it is used. I’ve seen it grown for specimen plants, just pure, and they grow beautiful root systems in it, so there’s a whole range of topping media that you can use. You could go and find your own if you wanted to. Um, but you’ve got a lot of stuff readily available here for people who are lucky enough to live in Melbourne and the favored one that Australians use a lot because this is readily available. Here is washed river sand and three mil washed river sand. That’s the one main one that people do seem to use here, but for fancier plants. This stuff here really does set your plant off really. Well, there’s a there’s a really nice sort of that’s a Queensland one. That’s lovely colors, that’s wonderful. We need to come back and talk about pots and the right pots for the right plants. This is these are the new pots that you’ve got in now. They are designed for succulents. They are. And can you show us why they’re designed for succulents? Okay, you can tell now. The majority of these have feet on them, and that allows the air to go in underneath them and drain really. Well, sometimes when these are just flat on the ground, the water doesn’t really get away that quickly, but they all have a very large drainage hole in them, and this is essential for succulents with these pots. Now they’re different sizes, So if we’re going to grow something like lithop’s, it’s a single specimen. What are we going to use? Okay, Lithop’s. They do have a slightly deep root, and that’s deep enough. They get a root about this long, so you’d make a little mini garden in there. A three to five always. Odd numbers is better. That’s a good size litho pot, And if we were looking at Haworth ears, Hawthorne’s I it depends on Hawaii. Some like a deeper one. This would be good for a slightly deeper route. You know, they get down to three and four inches or, and, uh, that sort of width. Um, but then there are shallow ones like Cooper Eyes and things like that. That would be better for a like a cooperate. They only need it shallow well. Come back and talk about what pots are suited for which succulents, because I think it’s a slightly bigger topic. This would be a really good one for say like your truncatas. They have the really, really deep root, right. That’s a nice looking one there, too. Quite a few nice looking pots. We’ll deal with that in a little bit more detail next time. Thank you very much, James. Thank you! If you’ve got any questions, ask them. In the comments section, there’s further information in the notes below the video, subscribe to the Youtube channel for regular updates on a whole range of succulents and indeed a whole range of garden plants. And as always. Good luck with your gardening.