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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.

 

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.

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.

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.

Cresting

What is Cresting?


Cristation, fasciation, cresting or Forma cristata are terms used commonly in botany describing the abnormal development of a plant. Every year at the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Societies plant sale I am always mesmerized by some of the prized crested succulents on display but I never did any research on why this occurs. The best way to describe fasciation or cresting is with photographs. I have purchased several succulents that are “var cristata” in the past but I have never had a seemingly “normal” succulent grow a new head that is crested until just recently.

Cresting aeonium arboreumI have this big wooden box full of fat plants in the brightest area of my garden. There was one large aeonium arboreum that had one extra tall stem that looked out of place so I cut it and started a new plant in 2014. Over the last year the container has really filled in and the new growth that started where I cut the stem became hidden from view.

Recently I cut back all of the plants in this box only to discover that the aeonium I cut had not started several new pups as they usually do, but instead it had what looked like several stems fused into one.
I did not realize that a normal plant could become crested; I just assumed that was a heritable trait. The question now is why. Of all of the aeonium arboretums’ that I have cut in my yard over the years, why have I never seen this occurrence? Why is this particular plant cresting?
Trustworthy Google. It seems that I am not the only confused succulent lover out there. Here is the basic reason I found for why this is happening.

new growth of a normal aeonium is crestingFasciation or cresting, can be caused by many factors and can occur on the tip of the plants stem, the fruit, the root of the plant or the flower. Bacteria, genetics, hormones, fungus and other environmental causes are the primary cause of this phenomenon.

I can’t answer my own question but will continue to research this topic. In the interim if you are interested in reading more about this check out my favorite plant website. Dave’s Garden has a descriptive article on this fascinating mutation that contains several pictures and a detailed explanation of the many reasons this occurs.

Cresting Succulents


Take a look at some of the other cactus and succulents we have that are crested.

cereus hildmannianus
cereus hildmannianus
cresting in cactus
opuntia subulata cristata
Aeonium sunburst var cristata
Aeonium sunburst var cristata

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.

Plectranthus coleoides Cerveza n Lime

Plectranthus coleoides Cerveza n Lime


This fuzzy annual has been growing happily in our gardens from shady areas to full sunny areas. We also have several as houseplants who are just as happy. This wonderful little beauty is heat and drought-tolerant, very fragrant and has been impressively hard to kill. This Plectranthus coleoides Cerveza n Lime is probably the most fragrant plant we have in our yard.

We use this plant in most of our succulent arrangements, in our garden beds and in planters. Plectranthus seem to grow quickly and with the right cutting techniques, you can turn a single stem into a thriving little bush in a few months.

Here are some photos we took over the weekend of our fuzzy little friend.

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

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

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