Saturday, May 30, 2009

Spruced up

After the arborists' visit to trim my olive trees last Tuesday, one little task for me was to put all the succulent pots back in their places in the area I like to call 'succulent city'. But before I did that I thought I'd give some of the tattier pots a much needed tidy-up, something which some of my potted succulents need almost annually, I find.

Might as well start with a nice looking 'after' shot of the reorganised, tidy sempervivums.

A few hours before that they were looking quite tawdry, with thick, bulging underskirts of dead leaves under each and every one of them.

Stage one of tidying them up is as easy as pulling off all the dead leaves.

For each succulent it only takes a minute to get them looking like this, tidy again and ready for replanting.

I combined two uninspiring pots of tatty sempervivums to make one new tidy pot, complete with a change of potting mix. I use a specialist 'succulent and cacti' mix which is very coarse, sandy and free-draining.

One of the reasons the sempervivums were looking so crook were these little chaps. Curl grubs, the larvae of a beetle. They live underground and munch on plant roots, and they're very common here, often found under lawns as well as in potting mixes. I have heard that the beetles are attracted to lights and so will lay their eggs into any pot near an outdoor light. Whatever attracted them, they were in a number of my succulent pots. I just tossed the grubs onto the roof of my shed, and the local magpies soon swooped down for the free snack.

Several other succulent pots got the full inspection, tidy and repot service, including these graptoverias.

I combined two pots of this unusual Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy' to make one large, wide pot.
In between rain showers today a little bit of sun poked through, enough to allow me to take this little portrait of the spruced-up Succulent City, a much happier looking metropolis full of interesting odd bods.

I've blogged at length earlier here and here about succulents, plants which give Pam and me a lot of pleasure and fascination. They are remarkably drought-hardy plants and so in that sense they're easy-care, but I find they need tidying and repotting more often than many of my non-succulent potted plants. That aside, they're fun collector's plants, the kind of thing you can always bring home as a cutting and grow on. Usually they've been something bought on driving vacations – souvenirs from happy holidays.


Kenneth Moore said...

Beautiful arrangements! I just learned that my South African squill, Scilla violaceae, is succulent. No wonder it thrives under my care--it's in a spot that I forget about!

I try to stay away from succulents, because I'm an overattentive gardner, but your spread makes it seem very worthwhile!

LC said...

Curl grubs are rampant in my garden too! Dudley the wonderdog likes eating them as I come across them....and although I don't like the idea of any level of cruelty I figure that they probably die pretty quickly (and my not have a complex enough nervous system to feel pain..anyway). I have almost an identical pot and succulent which happens to look very scruffy so thanks so much....I will get onto it this week. Cheers, Lanie

James Missier said...

What a beautiful garden arrangement. Very nice blog.