Free Succulents

Free Succulents

Free SucculentsWe have decided to do a monthly raffle or contest on Facebook and our July contest was a random drawing of 10 people who told us their favorite cactus or succulents and liked our page. I have been itching to do this drawing all week! We had a little over 200 people enter our raffle and our 10 winners are…………………………………..drumroll please:


1. Karen Way Pilcher
2. Dixie Nielsen Crabtree
3. Dezara Laws Leslie
4. Bonnie Hendrickson
5. Kim Pennington
6. Kathleen McManus Martin
7. Michele Hannigan
8. Kitty Steele Kuhnert
9. Adelina Soto Thomas
10. Angela Blue

We will announce the contest for August on Facebook soon!

Kalanchoe Luciae or Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora

Kalanchoe Luciae or Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora


Kalanchoe Luciae or Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora
Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora

As I was doing my research on the paddle plant, which I have always called Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, I realized that I actually have two types of paddle plants growing in my gardens. With so many other people making the same mistake and publishing it online, it can be confusing. I found a great article from San Marcos Growers explaining the difference. So, is it Kalanchoe Luciae or Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora?

Kalanchoe Luciae or Kalanchoe Thyrsiflora
Kalanchoe Luciae Flowers

Both succulents are obviously kalanchoes, which are part of the Crassulaceae family. Dave’s Garden has a great introduction to kalanchoe article you should check out. This article will also lead you to the San Marcos Growers link.

Kalanchoe Luciae
Kalanchoe Luciae

I had noticed that several of my paddle plants seemed to be shorter and stalkier, but more importantly, the red on the tops of the paddles is the deep almost burgundy color. The flowers of the luciae are not as fragrant as those of the thyrsiflora. They are also white with yellow tint while the petals of the thyrsiflora are a bright yellow.

The thyrsiflora is covered with a white chalk-like substance that comes off on our hands if you touch it.

We have kalanchoe luciae plants for sale in our store. Starting in 4 inch pots up to one gallon pots. Some of these guys have paddles three feet tall.

Ledebouria socialis

Ledebouria socialis

Ledebouria socialisLedebouria socialis, otherwise known as the purple or silver squill. Gorgeous tiny white flowers emerge from the bulbs all spring and early summer. This variegated succulent grows from a bulb. It is part of the Hyacinthaceae family and native to South Africa. Its tiny flowers appear in the springtime and last through mid summer, at least in San Diego. They appear to be white but are a light purple when examined up close. They are supposed to be grown in full sun but our Ledebouria socialis that are in the shade are thriving just as much as those in the sun.

This succulent needs a bit more water than the average fat plant, but not much. It is hardy to 25 degrees and adapts easily as a houseplant. These gorgeous succulents are available for sale in our succulent store. Get yours while supplies last!


Aloe x Nobilis

Aloe x Nobilis


Aloe x Nobilis

This compact aloe is an evergreen that gives off 2 feet tall racemes of orangish-red flowers in the summertime. It can grow to be 6 inches to 2 feet in height and width. Aloe x Nobilis can survive in the sun and shade and down to a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees F.

Sometimes referred to as the golden tooth aloe the leaves of this succulent are fleshy and green with a reddish tint on the edges. They have yellowish-white teeth running along their edges. Be careful handling this aloe, it may cause a skin irritation or rash.

This plant has grown well for us indoors and outdoors, shade and sun and in the ground as well as it does in a pot, although the aloe x nobilis we have growing in pots in the shade have stayed relatively small. This is a fantastic plant to use in xeriscaping and will do well indoors. It is an evergreen, drought-resistant and its flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

We have been successful propagating this aloe by cuttings and by removing pups off the stems. You can see two little pups on the aloe in the photo. We have this plant available in our succulent store.



Plectranthus tomentosa

I was amazed to find out that there are more than 350 referenced types of plectranthus! I found a great article on Dave’s Garden about these stinky, fuzzy little fellows. They make a fantastic ground cover or filler in a planter, are super easy to propagate and care for and smell fantastic. My first plectranthus, tomentosa, was purchased before I became a real plant lady. I bought it with a bunch of colorful coleus plants and it had been hiding underneath them in a shadier part of my garden.

Plectranthus ‘Lobster Tail’

I have Plectranthus amboinicus, also referred to as Cuban Mint, Plectranthrus coerulescens, Plectranthus tomentosa, or Vick’s Plant and  Plectranthus neochilus variegated, also called the lobster flower (read about  at San Marcos Growers) growing in my gardens and planters.  They are all very easy to propagate, so I tend to take a few cuttings and stick them in here and there. I have one large bush that is approximately 2 feet tall and as I keep taking cuttings, it keeps growing taller! There are plectranthus that can reach up to ten feet tall!

Plectranthrus coerulescens

Until just recently I thought I only had 2 types of plectranthus however I thought that a few of my cuban mint plants were a little “off”. I did not realize that the funny ones were a different breed. They are not amboinicus, they are tomentosa! They are both equally stinky, but the Vick’s plant seems more fragrant. Here are some other differences that I noted:

  • Seems to grow much taller and faster than it’s cousin.
  • My larger and older plant has developed a very woody stem.
  • Light colored green leaves that are covered with tiny white, fuzzy hairs. Leaves seem thicker and softer to the touch
  • The scent smells like vapor rub, hence the name, when your squeeze the leaves.
  • Blue-violet and white flowers in the spring and fall compared to the purple leaves of a tomentosa
  • Leaves turn yellow and soggy when the plant has too much to drink.
  • Grows well indoors and out. Most of ours are in partially sunny areas but we have a large one that is in full sun and doing very well.
  • Easy to propagate by cutting
  • Adam from Herbs from Distant Lands has a detailed page about the amboinicus.

Plectranthrus coerulescens looks very similar to tomentosa except it seems to have thinner leaves and less hair. It smells more like a skunk than the tomentosa but not as fruity as amboinicus. I only have one of these and I created it from a cutting I took from the plant lady next door.

Feeling confused yet? What I learned today is that the lamiaceae family is huge, over 6,500 species! It is not the worst plant misidentification I have made and many people will make it, even the nursery where I purchased my original “coleus”.

Are you interested in your own Vick’s Plant or Lobster Plant? We now have 4 inch pots of these plants for sale in our store for $4!


Agave americana mediopicta alba

Agave americana mediopicta alba

Agave americana mediopicta albaThe agave americana mediopicta alba or The Century Plant is one of my favorite jumbo succulents. When I say jumbo, I mean bigger than an average person! There are several hybrids of the agave americana. We have two types growing in our gardens. We will discuss our other agaves in an upcoming post.

This agave has a bluish-green leaves with a creamy-white stripe down the middle. This plant can grow to be 4 to 6 feet wide and up to 3 to 4 feet tall It has yellow-green flowers that protrude on a long raceme. Even though it is called a Century Plant, it is really a “Decade Plant”, it will not bloom before it is at least ten years old. It is a monocarpic plant, meaning it will die after it flowers. Its offshoots pop up along side from underground and start new plants that will replace the one that flowers and perishes.

We have taken out all of our century plants that we had growing in the ground and put them in large planters. Considering the amount of growth and coverage they have made in our yards (a few up to 3 years!) we hope that they will not eventually bust open their planters.

Agave americana mediopicta albaWinter hardiness to 15 degrees F. Our agaves have done well in the shade and sun and we have a success story of one growing indoors over a winter in the midwest and surviving just fine. This agave, as most, are poisonous if ingested. Their pokers will hurt in you even slightly touch them and their juice is quite caustic.

There are many fantastic places to reference this agave. One of our favorites is San Marcos Growers. If you are interested in owning your own Century Plant, check out our store.

Etiolation in Succulents

Etiolation in Succulents

Echeveria perle von nurnberg with minimal lightI am always experimenting with my succulents. Last year I purchased an Echeveria perle von nurnberg, separated it into two plants and put one in the ground with direct sunlight for 4 plus hours a day and the other in a planter that was full of other succulents. The other fat plants in this planter grew taller and bushier and blocked almost all of the sun that this poor plant was enjoying. Several months later I noticed that my little echeveria had grown almost 8 inches in stem and was peaking around the bigger plants. This is an example of etiolation in succulents.

Etiolation in echeveria
Etiolation in echeveria

Etiolation is a process in flowering plants where there is a lack of proper sunlight or none at all. Signs of etiolation can be stretching, thin stems, yellowing or pale in color and leaves spread out on the stem. The photo above shows my little guy in his shady home under the succulent canopy. 8 months later (March 2015) he is a gorgeous dark pink on a stem that is over 16 inches long.

We found this video on Youtube showing several of these echeveria living in different environments. The author does an excellent job showing examples of etiolation as well as some helpful advice about thirsty succulents.

Crassula Falcata

Crassula Falcata

Crassula falcata, airplane plant, propeller, plant

AKA Propeller plant, scarlet paintbrush and airplane plant. This odd shaped succulent has blue to green with a hint of silver leaves that sit horizontally and actually do look like airplane propellers. We have been able to propagate these easily by taking cuttings. As with most cuttings it is best to let it callous over for a few days before planting. Crassula falcata is one of our favorite succulent plants.

Stacked crassulas are fun to grow, perfect for xeriscaping or pots and a good conversation piece. Here is a great article from Dave’s Garden for beginners on these delightful succulents.

crassula falcataThis gorgeous fat plant is just coming into bloom in our gardens. They are summer bloomers and this is the first summer that I am seeing these flowers in my garden. Their flowers start as a green ball of tiny buds. As they grow and start to open you could be fooled into thinking you are about to get a pink flower.



Support San Diego LGBT Community Center

Support San Diego LGBT Community Center


Support San Diego LGBT Community Center with your purchase of a Rainbow Pot from Fat Plants.Fat Plants is proud to be American! It is about time that everyone is recognized equally! In support of these huge Civil Rights movements, Fat Plants will be donating 20% of all Rainbow Succulent Pots proceeds to Support the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, Inc., (d.b.a., The Center) is the nation’s second oldest and one of the largest LGBT community centers. Functioning as RainbowPlanters1the LGBT community’s anchor organization, the mission of The San Diego LGBT Community Center is to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV communities by providing activities, programs, and services that create community, empower community members, provide essential resources, advocate for civil and human rights, and embrace, promote and support our cultural diversity. 

 Succulent ArrangementThe Center is led by a 14-member board of directors, employs more than 40 paid staff and utilizes more than 800 community volunteers. Incorporated in 1973 as a community-based, non-profit, 501(c) (3) agency, The Center has more than 40 years of experience as a health and human services agency. Last year, The Center provided more than 61,000 direct service hours to community members and through its events, activities and advocacy, touched the lives of thousands more. Like The Center’s Facebook page.

Support San Diego LGBT Community CenterWe are proud to be able to contribute to an organization that truly saves lives. I cannot imagine the pain one must feel if they have had to hide their true self for fear of rejection from even their closest family members, let alone the entire world. Click here to make a donation directly to The San Diego LGBT Community Center.

View our entire hand-painted rainbow collection in our store.

Make a Succulent Wreath

Make a Succulent Wreath

Succulent wreaths are easy and fun to make. They can live for years with just a little care.  We are pleased to announce that we now offer a Living Succulent Wreath Kit so you can make your own indoor or outdoor wreath for you home or garden. Learn how to make a succulent wreath here.

Here are some of the succulent wreaths we have created over the years at Fat Plants.

 Make a Succulent Wreath

You can buy all of the supplies you need to construct your succulent project on Amazon or you can purchase one of our beautiful Succulent Wreath Kits. Our kits come with a home-made Sphagnum Moss Wreath, a wreath door hanger, several varieties of succulent cuttings and a special tool to help you place your cuttings perfectly into your wreath. You will also get detailed care instruction on how to make your succulent wreath live for years.

Succulent Cuttings
Succulent Cuttings

If you have your own succulent cuttings we recommend that you let them sit and callous over for at least 3 days before placing them in your moss or other planting medium. We also recommend that you use some sort of rooting gel, such as clonexA small amount of this amazing product goes a long way.

Watering Succulent Wreaths

Fat Plants San Diego Succulent CupsWater is the enemy for your new cuttings. The beauty of succulent plants is that they can survive for long periods of time without water. Some succulents are more sensitive that others

We water our wreaths roughly one per month by soaking them in a tub of drinking water or rain water that we have collected. We also feed our wreaths every other month by adding some organic kelp to the tub. A small amount of water can be used to water any plants that you have growing in moss. A good soak, say 30 minutes to an hour makes a happy succulent wreath. When you take your wreath out of the tub, let it hang above your water tub so that you do not waste any water.

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