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Horticulture/Alpine plants

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Question
I bought some sedum and sempervivum and want to plant them in the garden, rather than terracotta pots (which I understand are apt to break over the winter). The nursery recommended lean, fast-draining soil to mimic alpine conditions.

I'm not sure how to prepare the bed. Should I remove the fertile topsoil and use it elsewhere in the garden? The subsoil is compacted and sandy. Since they are alpine plants, should I add gravel, cultivating only the top inch or two of the subsoil?

Answer
Hi Janet,

You could add some sand.  Mine is just in regular, well-drained garden soil and does fine.  We have it planted between the stepping stones that meander through the flower bed.  Since it is a succulent, it needs little fertilization, but does seem to appreciate loose soil that is rich in organic matter.  It certainly spreads faster in that environment rather than where my neighbor has it planted beneath an established crepemyrtle, where the soil is compacted.  I think it will grow anywhere except wet areas.
Thanks,
Susan

Horticulture

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Susan Tabor

Expertise

Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.

Experience

35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Publications
Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Education/Credentials
Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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