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December Succulent Blooms

December Succulent Blooms


echeveria flowersHappy Holidays Succulent Lovers! You may have noticed that Fat Plants has been very quiet over the last two months, no free succulent contests, no scary succulent stories, nothing. There is a good reason for this disappearance. The holiday gift of choice this year seemed to be succulent cuttings and succulent terrariums. I am not complaining in the least bit, but it was definitely a challenge and a lot of work for one lady, a cat and a three year old. At least I was able to sneak out and get some photos of some of my December succulent blooms to share with you.

IMG_2459This particular echeveria flower raceme has amazed me the most this December. I accidentally snipped this stem when it was only a few inches tall back in September. At the time I was not quite sure if it was a pup or a raceme of flowers – it was that new.
Feeling terrible I let it callous over, dipped it in some clonex and stuck it in the ground. Only today I realized that this bloom, now over a foot in the air, belongs to that little stem.  It is also the home of a cute little spider.


graptoveriamoonglowGraptoveria Moonglow

Another favorite of mine (do I say that about every plant?) is the graptoveria moonglow. Look at the gorgeous yellow blooms I have spread throughout the nursery. We will soon have gorgeous graptoveria moonglow plants for sale on Amazon with Prime shipping.

Gorgeous pale mint green fleshy leaves with a hint of pink on the edges. It does almost glow in a succulent garden. This little guy also pushes out tons of pups!


Pachyveria Moonstone

December Succulent Blooms
Pachyveria moonstone flower

Echeveria and hybrid echeveria flowers are stunning and their beauty lasts for well over a month.
This gorgeous pink flower belongs to a pachyveria moonstone. There are several other types of echeveria’s in the planter, as you see in the photo, (the bloom belongs to the rosette behind the green echeveria elegans). This pinkish, fleshy rosette is often included in our 25 piece cutting package.

December Succulent Blooms
Pachyveria moonstone

This is the first year I have had these flowering in my home yard and I am falling in love. In the shade their fat leaves turn into an almost lilac color over a glowing white and in the sun they get bright pink edges. Very easy to propagate and a great succulent to add some color to your planters.


Cotyledon Flowers

December succulent bloomscotyledon tomentosa_2Sometimes referred to as bear paws, this cotyledon tomentosa finally opened its large, fuzzy bloom. This succulent has round, hairy leaves and feels like velvet. In the shade the leaves of this little plant turn a dark green. Those with more sunlight turn a bright lemony green.


crassulatomthumbflowers2
crassula tom thumb flowers
crassula mesembryanthemoides
crassula mesembryanthemoides

I love crassula perforata, string of buttons, Tom Thumb or ‘lil boxes’ as the kids next door say. They are even more stunning when they are in bloom. They shoot off 12 to 18 inch racemes full of tiny little white and yellow flowers.

This photo was as close as my camera would let me go without switching lenses.

Similar to the tiny pink flowers on a crassula falcata, the crassula mesembryanthemoides has tiny clusters of pink and yellow blooms. That just started opening in the nursery. I hope you enjoy our December succulent blooms as much as I do.


Announcements

sunburst4inch_clipped_rev_1A new Free Succulent Contest will be announced the first week of January. Three lucky succulent addicts will win a gorgeous Aeonium sunburst hybrid plant in a four inch pot.

Check out some of our new products for sale on Amazon.

Echeveria

Echeveria


echeveriaThe largest genus of succulents in the Crassulaceae family is the ever-famous echeveria. This flowering succulent happens to be one of our favorites, who doesn’t love a bright pink, teal, purple or orange rosette as a showpiece in any planter or garden! Echeverias range in size from one inch to two feet across and most of them thrive in bright places and direct sunlight but many do fine in the shade. We have many echeverias that live in bright spots indoor as well as in shadier areas of our nursery and do just fine. Some are frost tolerant and most will do fine down to 45 degrees F. Echeverias can adapt and are suitable as indoor plants.

echeveriaThe echeveria succulent plant is native to areas in Mexico and down to the Northwestern part of South America. They were first named after a botanical artist from the 18th century, Atanasio Echeverria y Godoy. Some people refer to the echeveria species as “hens and chicks”, however there are other genera of succulents, mainly sempervivum, that are also referred to as such.

Echeveria Species


echeveriaThere are hundreds of named species of echeveria but there are tens of thousands of man-made hybrids as well, with only a fraction of those hybrids being true cultivars. This makes 100% accurate identification challenging. Some of our favorite echeverias include the echeveria afterglow, echeveria agavoides and echeveria pulvinata.

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Echeveria are polycarpic, meaning they can flower numerous times in their life unlike the monocarpic aeonium. Our oldest echeveria, an echeveria ‘blue waves’, blooms from July until October and every year it seems to give us more and more racemes of gorgeous pink flowers.

Succulents and Spiders

Succulents and Spiders


 

succulents and spidersWho says that slinging succulents is not a dangerous job! Succulents and spiders are plentiful at Fat Plants! As I was packaging orders I took a break to admire the flower I just noticed from an echeveria runyonii that I have growing on my palm tree. As I leaned in to get a better view I felt that awesome feeling of walking through a spider web, however this was more like a 50 pound fishing line!

I followed the string 20 feet across the patio to one of the several  podocarpus in the nursery and look what I found:  An orb-weaver the size of a very large snail and her nest! I enjoy spiders as much as I enjoy root canals and snakes but I faced my fears to get a few photos for you. Yes, they are harmless, but seriously-who likes to be surprised by a hairy creature with 3 inch legs, 8 eyes and a web as tough as a bug net! This is not my first nor will it be my last to-close-for-comfort moments with a spider but it reminds me again that succulents are not only attractive to humans and it is always best to wear gloves when you are working in your garden.


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Succulents and SpidersOn a pleasant note, this is the first flower I have seen from this echeveria ‘topsy-turvy’ and I have had him for 3 years!

Don’t forget to enter the FREE SUCCULENT contest for September! We will be giving away 3 ten packs of awesome cactus and succulent cuttings at the end of the month! Enter for free here.

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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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.

 

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.

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.

Gardening as Therapy

Gardening as Therapy


 

There is something so calming and therapeutic about gardening. Especially when your garden is full of strange succulents in bloom. I may be a tad bit obsessed with the echeveria ‘elegans‘ that are blooming throughout my yard but their fluorescent pink and yellow flowers can bring a smile to my face even when I have a busy 2.5 year old pulling at my leg.

Gardening as Therapy Gardening as Therapy Gardening as Therapy echeveria 'elegans' echeveria 'elegans'

echeveria 'elegans'Betsy Dru Tecco’s article “A Therapeutic Garden” from Better Homes and Gardens is a fantastic reference article on using gardening as therapy. Being in touch with nature can be stimulating for the mind, body and soul. Gardening is an excellent activity to do with your children as well. Even at age 2.5, my son is aware of  succulents and other plants when we are out around San Diego. He has his own little garden, 75% of it contains his rock collection and a few toy cars, but he is always mindful of his plants. He is learning that he needs to “be gentle” and the responsibility of taking care of something.

What IS a succulent?

So, What is a Succulent Anyway?


What is a succulentAll this chatter about succulents! Living in Southern California has its advantages when it comes to being a succulent lover. With more and more people becoming water-wise and re-landscaping with drought-resistant plants, it is almost like living in a botanical garden.

So, what is a succulent? Otherwise referred to as a fat plant, a succulent is a plant that has larger (thicker) or more “swollen” than normal leaves, stems or root systems that it uses as basically a water-storing organ so it can survive in arid conditions. Succulent comes from the Latin word Sucus, which means juice or sap. Most fat plants thrive in areas with higher temperatures and little rainfall.

Succulents are ornamental plants and known for their unusual appearance, shapes, and bright colors. You are probably familiar with a handful of the 60 or so plant families that encase succulents. The most popular is the Crassulaceae family.

Common names for fat plants include Sedum, Sempervivum or Echeveria. These are all part of the Crassulaceae family. Other popular fat plants are Aloe, Agave and Haworthii. Most people group succulents with cacti but did you know that almost all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti? We will get into further conversation on this topic in the future.

macro photography - succulentsThere are thousands of succulent species, enough to confuse even the avid gardener. This site will focus on what we have growing in our gardens, our opinions, observations and research we have done over the years. We learn something new everyday and we appreciate your input, any corrections and stories.

How do you define what a succulent is?


Learn More about Succulents

Macro Photography – Succulents

Macro Photography – Succulents


macro photography - succulents up close
Echeveria

Succulents are the most interesting plants. I am a broken record, as I seem to mutter those words daily. It is almost as though they have their own personaltities and every day I discover something new about one or more of the thousands in my gardens. After receiving a new lens from my father for my birthday, taking a class at YouTube University to learn how to use it,  I decided to have a little photo time with my plants this morning.

Plectranthus coleoides 'Cerveza 'n Lime'
Plectranthus coleoides ‘Cerveza ‘n Lime’

Two of my favorite times of the week are just after the sun comes up on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  It is especially fantastic the morning after a good rainfall. Although it didn’t rain last night, I did feed and soak most of my yard with leftover rainwater I collected last month last night.

All of my plants are perky and almost smiling. Ready for a beautiful day of California sunshine. Hopefully as time progresses I will improve with my camera skills and be able to capture the sense I get in my yard so I can share it with you with photography and not just my words.

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