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The Arid Biome

A garden inspired by an arid biome is an opportunity to plant all sorts of weird and wonderful plants!

Explore the nature of desert biomes by viewing the images below. 

Succulents come from dry places in Africa, North, South and Central America, the European Alps and a very small number can also be found in Australia. It’s interesting that these plants that evolved so far from one another have developed the same adaptations and features to help them survive desert life. 

Take a virtual tour of the Royal Botanic Garden's Succulent Garden.

Interesting facts about succulents: 

1. Succulents come in many different colours, sizes and shapes. 
2. Succulents can be grown on vertical surfaces. 
3. The leaves of succulents are adapted to retain water. 
4. Some cactus can live to 200 years. 
5. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti. 
6. Succulents can handle neglect. 

Watch this video from Gardening Australia about creating gardens using succulents: 

Activities - The Arid Biome

1. Plant a mini desert

Create a mini desert landscape using succulents. Follow these steps to help you.

1. Choose a shallow, wide pot or dish to plant in. Drainage is essential so choose something with large drainage holes.  
2. Put a layer of coarse gravel in the bottom before filling with a specialist succulent potting mix. You can make your own by mixing potting mix, gravel and coarse sand in equal proportions.  
3. Now choose your plants. You can find a wide range in your local garden centre, but you could also try propagating some directing into the soil too.   
4. Finish your desert scene with a layer of gravel. You can even choose crazy coloured gravel for a sci-fi feel and add any landscape features you think work, rocks, old toys, broken teapots!  
5. Remember your mini desert will need to be kept outside in a sunny spot. 

For a few tips on growing succulents, check this out this link.

2. Make a poster

Choose three plants from the Succulent Garden virtual tour and create a poster about their adaptations.

3. Matching

Can you match the adaptations to the arid biome plant? Work out what these special features do for the plant.