Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Succulent city – part 1

Plant labels are hardly the most informative of documents at the best of times, but when it comes to succulents, all you usually get is the very unhelpful word 'succulent' and that's it. Thank goodness vegie seedlings don't just come labelled as 'vegie'! Anyway, here's my little stocktake of what I think I have, courtesy of the few succulent books I have and good old Google. I've divided the blog into two parts, just to handle the workload.

This general shot is what I love about succulents. Lots of foliage colour, a great array of forms, and plenty of personality. In the foreground, the green plants are young Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and in the background, a gaggle of Aeonium cuttings that are doing just fine.

Aeoniums all seem to have the rosette shape, but colours range from green through to reds, maroons, purples and blacks.

Had to add in this photo, as lots of succulents look lovely in the rain.

This is an Agave attenuata with offspring. These dramatic plants can get enormous in the right conditions (I've seed some growing on the NSW South Coast that were each over a metre in diameter). Mine are kept in pots and will never roam free...

A while back I detached the Agave attenuata kids and potted them up. They're doing OK.

And I also took the opportunity to repot mum into fresh mix. Here she is recovering in the maternity ward after a successful delivery.

The sheer variety of crassulas is amazing. This one is Crassula 'Babies Necklace'. It should have been named something to do with pagodas, I say. I think its correct name is Crassula perforata, with an alternative common name of skewer plant.

Crassula 'Campfire' won my heart at a garden show about a year ago, and ever since then has disappointed. It was this wonderful, rich red colour when I bought it, but it needs a really cold winter to make it this stunning colour, and so most of the time is a fairly plain green. This plant died back rapidly at the end of last autumn, and this is all that I was left with in winter. Since then some cuttings rescued from the autumn decline have bounced back in spring, so I'll see how I go this season. I'm probably doing something wrong...

Crassula argenta 'Coral' is happily increasing in size in its pot, underplanted with colourful little Sedum 'Jelly Beans'. 'Coral' has fat, stout branches and interesting, seemingly hollow leaves.

This is what I mean by those interesting hollow leaves on 'Coral'.

Crassula argentea 'Variegata' shows another leaf shape again, as well as an interesting colour. 

Pam bought this at a plant stall in the Blue Mountains last summer. The seller had planted the poor thing into heavy clay garden soil in a plastic pot (which we didn't realise at the time). It rapidly took a turn for the worse about a week after getting home. With sick succulents I often find that repotting cures a variety of mystery ailments, and it did the trick here, too. Belting along now. At first my Googling told me this plant was Dyckia, but my new book on succulents says it's Kalanchoe daigremontiana.

This Kalanchoe daigremontiana is a wonderful weirdo. Here's a close up of the bract thingies on its leaves. They are in fact plantlets, says my new succulents book, and later on it should produce nodding grey-violet flowers. Can't wait. 

Viewed overhead as if I am some kind of gardening space module entering docking procedures with the mother ship, this Kalanchoe looks like it's ready to gobble up anything that strays into its path.

A far more benign look, the common echeveria is an especially lovely blue-grey colour.

The alternative name for this Echeveria secunda is hen and chickens, and here's mother hen with her little brood of chickens. I'm planning on letting this gaggle of echeverias to spread out and fill this pot over the next year or two.

Echeverias are a bit like Crassulas in the variety of leaf forms they show. This one is called Echeveria 'Topsy Turvey'.

That's it for part one of the tour of Succulent City. Some time in the next few days I'll do the rest of the alphabet, plus a couple of stragglers which I've just realised I should have included here. Quite a few of my plant I.D.s here are just my best guesses from Google, so if anyone reading this spots a blunder, let me know.

1 comment:

nswfm CA said...

I love those little succulents too. I live in Southern California and was looking to show an acquaintance what aeoniums look like and saw your blog. These are the types of plants that do best by my salty, sandy air, (after many dead plants to my green-thumb mom's shame!).