Who 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.
On a pleasant note, this is the first flower I have seen from this echeveria ‘topsy-turvy’ and I have had him for 3 years!
Kalanchoe 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 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.
Most 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.
Part 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.
Typical 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.
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!
One 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.
In 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.
Serious 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.
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?
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.
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 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.