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Aeoniums

Aeoniums


aeoniumEven people who don’t typically like succulents don’t seem to mind the fabulous aeonium plant. I just walked through my gardens and counted 20 types of aeoniums. There are kiwis, Cyclops, zwartkops, haworthii, velour, arboreum, canariense, lindleyi, undulatum, gomerense and decorum to name a few.




aeoniumsAeoniums
come mainly from the Canary Islands and a few places in central Africa. They are fantastic for xeriscaping however they do require a little more water than most of their fleshy cousins. Aeoniums are not particularly happy in freezing temperatures but seem to manage moderate heat, although I have heard of the entire root system dying which eventually kills the plant if they get too hot. I have personally never had any heat death in my gardens, but I have seen it in hotter places. Most are able to handle temperatures as low as 25 to 30 degrees F. Aeoniums can be grown indoors or outdoors in pots as well as in the ground.

aeoniumsPart of the popular Crassulaceae family there are many succulents that are sometimes confused with aeoniums. Almost all are rosette shaped, as are many echeveria, graptopetalums and dudleyas. You can tell it is an aeonium by the way that their leaves attach to their basal stem. It is almost like there is a thin fiber that attaches them so when you remove the leaves the stem is not typically affected. They range in size from 1 inch in diameter to over a foot in diameter!

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Aeoniums are monocarpic, meaning they flower once and die. aeoniumsThis is a bittersweet ending and if the plant is not a branching type, which thankfully most are, this is the end of the road. Most of the time there are plenty of pups that have grown along side the flowering stem that will take over when the stem with flowers dies.

The photos above are the final flower from an aeonium cyclops. To the left is the final flower of an aeonium undulatum.


aeoniumsAs I went back through my notes I keep about succulents I will someday discuss on this blog I realized that I could go on and on and on just talking about the aeoniums I have in my garden. In the future I hope to be able to have entire posts dedicated to each cultivar but to keep you interested I will just focus on the ones that fascinate me the most.

There are probably hundreds of variations/hybrids of aeoniums that haven’t been named yet, which only adds to confusion when you are trying to identify yours. The most popular is the aeonium arboreum. This is the classic green aeonium with mid-sized rosettes that have longer, thin flimsy leaves. They are known to be able to grow over 6 feet in height; however the tallest we have had in our gardens at full bloom was about four feet. This plant is in the parentage of many of the newer cultivars making it sometimes quite difficult to know who is what.

aeoniums

aeoniumsaeoniumsArboreum atropurpureum – this green aeonium arboreum has purple ends on its leaves. They can almost completely fade into green if they are in the shade and turn into a gorgeous maroon purple in full sun. We have them from all green to all purple in our yard.

aeoniumsAnother favorite aeonium is the arboreum ‘Zwartkop’. This and some hybrids it has mothered and fathered are probably the most ornamental of all the succulents. Their leaves are a reddish aeoniums black that looks almost all black in full sun. Here is where it starts to get crazy!

aeoniumsSo you may have several large aeonium that look almost identical, yet they are different in a few ways. The aeonium Voodoo is a perfect example. This stunner has the same parentage as the Cyclops except the roles of the parents are reversed. The voodoo has a Zwartkop mother and an aeonium undulatum as the father, tends to be a solitary plant and has larger rosettes that are the dark red to purple with a slight green eye while the Cyclops, otherwise known as the giant red aeonium, will not get as large and has a much bigger, green center than its friend. I honestly have trouble telling the two apart.

Overwhelming, even for a plant lady! Have a fabulous weekend!

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Aristaloe

Aristaloe


AristaloeI learn something everyday when it comes to succulents. While clearing out the non-HOA approved succulents from my front yard I came across this hidden gem, a gorgeous Aristaloe, or torch aloe. Under a large crassula ovata bush he hid, and probably has been there for years. I love finding what was once a little piece of succulent that I tossed on the ground years before grown into something spectacular!
Researching this little guy I discovered that he is an Aristaloe. This is a new monotypic species, meaning that it is the sole species. When I first found him I was sure that he was some kind of haworthia, or Aloe haworthioides, but as usual I was corrected by Tony from Texas Aloe Growers. Thank you Tony!!!

aristaloeThis succulent is fantastic! Its green leaves are surprisingly soft to the touch with raised white dots. It grows in clumps and its pups can be easily removed for propagation. Coral colored blooms emerged from ling spiky stems that this aloe shoots off mid-summer. This aloe does wonderfully indoors and out and clearly he was happy living in the shade of the crassula.



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aristaloeThe aristaloe can handle temperatures to 44 degrees F and is happiest in well-draining medium. From my research he does well growing on the tops of mountains! I have placed him in a crystal candy dish with sempervivums, plectranthus, sedum and a variety of other beauties that will soon outgrow this dish. We have 3 gorgeous 5″X5″ crystal candy dishes full of gorgeous succulent plants and cuttings available in our succulent store, only one has an aristaloe! Enjoy this dish for several months and then create several new planters as they outgrow their home.

SucculentsFor more information on the aristaloe:

Wikipedia gives a great background on the Aloe aristata.

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Motorcycles and Succulents

Motorcycles and Succulents


Motorcycles and SucculentsOver the weekend I jumped on the back of my friends Street Bob and headed up the coast about 30 miles and then east on the road towards Borrego Springs.  Motorcycles and succulents, probably two things you don’t think about at the same time unless you are a total succulent freak. Anyhow, I have made this drive several times to see spring blooms in the desert, but never have I ventured out here on the back of a bike. We made it to the top just in time for me to check out a cool cactus growing on the side of the cliff before the sun was completely gone.

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Most normal people would have been in awe of their gorgeous surrounding, riding up the California coast on a clear summer night as the sun is starting to set. As a passenger of a cruiser you have a fabulous unobstructed view of everything and the freedom to look at it all but all I ever look at or look for are cactus and succulents. Even when we were at the top of the mountain. My friend captured this photo just before we drove back down the mountain.

motorcycles and succulentsA new set of rules was finally implemented into being a riding passenger of my friend.

  • Succulents are not an emergency.
  • Succulents are not something that we need to stop and look at, something that requires me to wave or shake my hand at and most definitely,
  • Succulents are not something that I am  allowed to discuss on the bluetooth we have set up between our helmets.

This is yet another of my “I knew I was a succulent addict when…” moments.

Amorphophallus titanum – Corpse Flower

Amorphophallus titanum – Corpse Flower


Channel 13 in Denver has posted this live webcam of the amazing Amorphophallus titanum – Corpse Flower. This is a fascinating plant that I have yet to see. Named after it’s stench, this plant gives off the largest inflorescence of any plant in the world. I know this isn’t a succulent but it sure is fascinating!

Read more about this plant on Wikipedia. I found it to be a very informative read with several quality links.

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Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana


kalanchoe blossfeldianaKalanchoe blossfeldiana is a popular succulent native to Madagascar, and sometimes referred to as the christmas kalanchoe or florist kalanchoe. It is glabrous, which in botany means has a feature that is smooth and glossy.  This kalanchoe has compact clusters of leaves and forms heads of tubular flowers that have numerous, up to 50 on some, flower buds per stem. Our kalanchoe blossfeldiana bloom in the late fall and into early winter.

kalanchoe blossfeldianaKalanchoe blossfeldiana seems to be the happiest with at least four hours of sunlight per day and as most succulents, living in a well-draining medium. They prefer cooler temperatures and but do not like it when it the temperature is under 50 degrees F. This succulent does well indoors and outdoors, however we do not recommend planting in a place where it gets bright direct sun all day.

Mokalanchoe blossfeldianast florists toss out this plant after it blooms, however proper pruning can make your kalanchoe bloom several times per year. Pruning encourages more branches with eventually leads to more flowers. To make your Kalanchoe blossfeldiana bloom it needs 13 to 14 hours of darkness per day. We have noticed that new buds began to form in roughly 30 to 40 days but we have also experienced kalanchoe that have retired from blooming completely. Several new plants we have propagated from these retired kalanchoes do flower after about a years time.

We use this kalanchoe often to make living succulent wreaths and in other projects. We have enjoyed red, yellow, white, purplish-pink, pink and orange flowers from our various blossfeldianas.

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 Don’t forget to enter the August Free Succulent contest!

Rhipsalis Cereuscula – Coral Cactus

Rhipsalis Cereuscula – Coral Cactus


rhipsalis cereusculaThis miniature woody succulent is often called a Coral Cactus or Rice Cactus. I planted a little 2 inch Rhipsalis Cereuscula over a year ago in a hanging planter with limited sunlight and something has set it off as it is now shooting 12 to 18 inch stems with miniature versions of itself attached.

This succulent is part of the Cactaceae family and it will withstand temperatures to 15 degrees F, however it doesn’t really like it when it is under 50 degrees. These fun little plants are easy to propagate and look great in planters as well as hanging baskets. If you look closely, the top pieces look like little green pieces of rice. I have also seen them referred to as mistletoe cactus. I have yet to have any of my rhipsalis bloom, but from research the flowers look very cool.

There are 35 recognized rhipsalis and their heritage comes from South America, mainly Brazil. It is the largest genus of epiphyte cacti. This succulent is found as an epiphyte in tropical rainforests. It’s stem takes on three main shapes, terete, angular or flattened and their stems are succulent.

We have the Rhipsalis Cereuscula growing well in pots as well as in the ground. Our plants in the ground do not grow as lengthy as those in the hanging pots. This plant seems to thrive when it is humid and it is out of direct light.

We have mini Rhipsalis Cereuscula available in our store.

Don’t forget to enter the August Free Succulent Contest!

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Fred Ives


Graptoveria Fred IvesPart of the stonecrops family this beautiful echeveria hybrid can reach up to 2 feet in width! It was once sold as an echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg. Parentage is said to be the graptopetalum paraguayense X echeveria gibbiflora. Our Graptoveria Fred Ives have done well in the ground and in pots outdoors and indoors they have done well and stayed a bit smaller.

Graptoveria Fred IvesTypical hardiness to 25 degrees this durable hybrid succulent turns a beautiful translucent pink, salmon, coral and purple tint when it is in fun sun.

Some of the Fred Ives we have growing in the shade are a light blueish green with a hint of rose. This graptoveria is native to North America and is fantastic for xeriscaping. It gives your gardens fantastic contrast! I have seen landscape designs where hundreds of these beauties are used and it is breathtaking. They are a clumping shrub and can grow in height over 2 feet if they have the space to grow.

Graptoveria Fred Ives
Graptoveria Fred Ives Flowers

The flowers of this favorite are a pale yellow and arrive in early spring on long racemes that can shoot over 2 feet in the air. I just cut the last stem of dead flowers from my vertical wall. We had a long spring-early summer of showy flowers.

This graptoveria is easy to propagate. We have grown countless plants from leaves, some of which have reached over 10 inches in diameter! We also cut, prepare and replant these rosettes and have had no problem with cuttings that are 3 inches in diameter to those that are ten inches across!

cresting Graptoveria Fred IvesOne of the more fascinating things that we have happening right now is the cresting Fred Ives I have that is starting to outgrow it’s pot. I purchased this plant about 5 years ago because it had one piece that looked like it was starting to crest. At the time I had no idea what that meant, I just knew it looked really cool. One of the rosettes was normal shaped while the other had multiple heads! I have replanted this guy probably 20 times over the course of it’s life in my yard and he always seems happy. Oddly, he sometimes has offshoots that have no mutation. I like to cut those guys off and replant them elsewhere.

cresting graptoveria leafIn my recent front yard revamp I found this leaf hidden under a large plant. This is the first leaf I have had that has grown a crested plant! I am more than ecstatic and am trying to get more of the leaves to do this! Cresting is a mutation, read more about it in our recent post here.

I will be taking time-lapse photos of this leaf and will create a page for you to watch with me in the near future.


Graptoveria Fred Ives in a potSerious Plant Lady

The planter to the right is one of my prized planters. This pot is HUGE! I recently had to do some HOA required plant removal from my front yard and being that there is no rule against potted plants, I borrowed this four foot tall planter from a neighbor and filled it with my favorites from the ground. It is taller than me and you can see that I have several ten plus inch graptoveria’s accenting the arrangement. I hope I never have to move this pot – it may not be possible.

 

Agave Attenuata

Agave Attenuata


agave attenuataThis soft succulent is an evergreen that can reach 4 to 5 feet in height and a whopping 6 to 8 feet in width. All of ours have done well in sun, shade, indoors, outdoors, in the ground and in planters. Agave attenuata do not have teeth or pokey spines like their relatives, they have soft, pale, yellowish-green sometimes gray, flimsy large leaves and their stems tend to grow with a curve. This ornamental agave is native to Mexico.

Sometimes referred to as a fox tail, lion tail or swan’s neck, you will see these huge beauties growing everywhere in Southern California. When they flower, a raceme shoots out 8 to 10 feet in the air and is full of greenish-yellow flowers.

Hardiness to 25 degrees and although my research says that they do not like to be in full sun, we have never had a problem with any of ours that sit in direct light all day. When propagating new pups from the stem of this agave, we have noticed that they like to drink a bit more water than their cousins but all in all they are fairly tolerant of being neglected, living in sand or rock and dry, arid conditions. We have grown agave attenuata indoors in North Dakota and it has stayed relatively small in its pot, but is very happy.

Get a small agave attenuata in our succulent store today.

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