12 Sep

Beautiful and Unusual: Agave ‘Blue Glow’

Today I am featuring Agave ‘Blue Glow’ which is one of my favorite of all agave plants in my collection. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is supposed to be a hybrid between Agave Attenuata and Agave Ocahui – ‘Blue Glow’ has long narrow leaves (from Agave Ocahui) with a terminal spines and almost no marginal spines (from Agave Attenuata). Dark blue-green leaves have red margins that glow when seen at eye-level with sunlight in the background. Agave ‘Blue Glow’ is relatively slow growing plant that tends to grow solitary. It forms a compact rosette of up to 18 inches in height and spreads as wide as 2 feet- suitable for growing in containers. The plant in picture is about 2 years old and was grown from a small offset.

Agave 'Blue Glow'

Agave 'Blue Glow'

 

Agave ‘Blue Glow’ prefers bright sunlight but protection from direct harsh sun of summer. It is quite hardy, easy to grow, and drought tolerant. I am growing my plant in a terracotta pot in my roof garden.

Agve 'Blue Glow' Leaves

Agve 'Blue Glow' Leaves

15 Jun

5 Unusual Plants for a Miniature Succulent Garden

I am a big fan of miniature gardens. They allow you a lot of freedom in a very limited space to grow your gardens the way you want – Japanese tea garden, a traditional Italian garden, a mini succulent garden or whatever creative or unusual you can imagine.

Best Plants for a Miniature Succulent Garden

Being a lover of cacti and succulents, I have compiled a list of unusual plants that I am going to use in my next miniature succulent garden experiment. These plants are unusual as well as slow growing, so they can live together for quite a long time.

Epithelantha Micromeris (Button Cactus)

Epithelantha is a really slow growing, miniature succulent.  It grows in rocky and well drained soil, requires very little amount of water and usually remains solitary. The plant bears white or pink flowers in summer. Epithelantha requires a sunny spot to grow but does not like direct harsh sunlight. It is also known as Ping Pong cacti for its unusual formation and resemblance with the Ping Pong ball.

epithelantha micromeris

Epithelantha micromeris (Button Cactus), Image from www.drogen.bz

Lithops (Living Stones)

You would hardly find these unusual plants visible in their habitat because of their unusual formation and colors that make them look like pebbles. These miniature plants of South Africa are an excellent choice for a miniature garden. These are relatively easy to grow when provided with proper sunlight, regular fertilizer and grown in well drained soil. Lithops bear white and yellow flowers that look like dandelion flowers.

Lithops, Living Stones

Lithops (Living Stones), Image from lithops.net

Fenestraria (Baby Toes)

Another group of miniature and unusual succulents, Fenestraria belong to extremely dry regions of South Africa where they rely on rainfall for survival and hide themselves in sand for protection against harsh climate. They are excellent choice for a miniature succulent garden and form a soft, green mat of succulent leaves. This unusual plant bears white and yellow flowers in winter. Fenestraria is also known as Baby Toes plants.

Miniature Succulent, Fenestraria Rhopalophylla, Baby Toes,

Fenestraria Rhopalophylla (Baby Toes), Image from wikipedia.org

Crassula

Almost all species in this group are suitable for a miniature succulent garden. These attractive plants are known for their colorful foliage and unusual, tiny flowers. These are drought tolerant plants and do not require plenty of water. These unusual succulents need protection against direct/harsh sunlight and frost. The most unusual of all Crassula is Crassula ‘Buddha’s Temple’ which is a hybrid of Crassula Pyramidalis and Crassula Perfoliata var. minor. This unusual plant actually looks like a mini pagoda.

Crassula (Buddha's Temple)

Crassula (Buddha’s Temple), Image from ilgiardinosullago.blogspot.com

Discocactus horstii

Another unusual, lovely and rare succulent plant that belongs to Brazil, Discocactus horstii is known for its unusual white flowers that bloom in the night and spread intoxicating fragrance. This unusual plant grows solitary and forms a nice and symmetrical globose body. Mature plants produce woolly cephalium covered by bristles. This plant is sensitive to frost, requires partial sunlight and moderate watering.

Discocactus Horstii

Discocactus horstii, Image from www.discocactus.nl

31 May

Agave Potatorum ‘Kissho Kan’, The Lucky Crown

Agave Potatorum ‘Kissho Kan’ is a compact, slow growing plant that bears short blue-grey leaves with yellow margins and red spines. Kissho Kan makes an excellent container plant because of its compact size(12 inches tall and 12 inches wide, max.), regular proportions and nicely variegated succulent leaves.

The plant is considered a Japanese cultivar and a distant cousin of Agave Parryi. The name Kissho Kan is translated as ‘happy crown’ or ‘lucky crown’.  Agave Potatorum Kissho Kan bears yellow blooms that grow on a long stalk like all other agave plants.

Agave Potatorum, Kissho Kan

Agave Potatorum, Kissho Kan

How to Grow Agave Potatorum ‘Kissho Kan’

Kissho Kan is easy to grow under filtered sunlight and moderate watering. Normally, it would grow solitary and form hemispherical shape. Mature plants produce offshoots that can be rooted and propagated easily. Kissho Kan withstands drought and cold spells to -3° C.

14 May

Euphorbia Milii, The Crown of Thorns

I have been growing Euphorbia Milii (also known as Crown of Thorns) for many years and I grow it for many purposes. It makes a nice hedge plant, it is an excellent flowering bush for container gardening, and it adds beautiful colors to a landscape.

Euphorbia Milii Plant

Euphorbia Milii

Euphorbia Milii is a bushy succulent and bears small yet attractive flowers almost throughout the year. The stem is covered with sharp and dense spines, and bright green leaves near the growing ends. Flowers are red, pink and white though you can find a wide range hybrid Euphorbia Milii that bear more colorful flowers (yellow, orange, cream and many mixed colors). Hybrid varieties are usually grown as grafted plants and display larger flowers.

How to Grow Euphorbia Milii

The actual home of Euphorbia Milii is Madagascar, however it has been successfully acclimatized and grown commercially in many parts of the world. Euphorbia Milii requires well drained soil, moderate water and good sunlight, however, it can survive drought and high temperature. It can be propagated from cuttings that can be rooted or grafted on a stock. When growing from cuttings, allow cuttings to dry for a few days and then plant them in a mixture of moist soil and peat moss. Keep the medium barely moist till plants are established. Over watering would rot these tender cuttings.

Euphorbia Milii, White Flower

Image from riverrocksucculents.com

Euphorbia Milii can be used as hedge plant, pruned down for edging, grown to cover spaces in rock garden or landscape, or kept as indoor ornamental plant (provided with ample sunlight).

Euphorbia Milii is named after Baron Milius who introduced these plants on France.

Hybrid Euphorbia Milii, Pink-Yellow Flowers

Image from panoramio.com

27 Apr

What’s Blooming Today?

April is about to end and temperature is going to rise as high as 109° F in the coming weeks. Almost all of my cacti and succulents are now under the shade (up to 60% filtered sunlight) on my roof top succulent garden. Haworthias will continue to blooms for some time. Cacti especially Astrophytums have already started blooming profusely. Today’s bloomers are:

Astrophytum Senile is bearing a large yellow flower with silky sheen.

Astrophytum Senile Flower

Astrophytum Senile

Astrophytum Capricorne with a yellow flower.

Astrophytum Capricorne Yellow Flower

Astrophytum Capricorne

Notocactus Mammulosus with a nice yellow-pink flower. This plant has been flowering vigorously for many years.

Notocactus Mammulosus Flower

Notocactus Mammulosus

Gymnocalycium Pflanzii bearing pinkish cream flower.

Gymnocalycium Pflanzii

Gymnocalycium Pflanzii

Last of all, this Cycas Revoluta is sprouting new leaves. This plant is more than 35 years old and was grown from seed.

Cycas Revoluta Leaves

Cycas Revoluta

14 Mar

Blood Spots

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite Agave plants, Agave x Manfreda.

Agave x Manfreda

The plants is remarkable because of dark red spots on its delicate leaves. The plant makes a compact rosette (usually 12″ in height and 12″ to 20″ in width). The grey-green leaves have red margins and are usually fragile. It is suitable for container gardening, requires regular maintenance and survives cold spells, if protected from frost. In summer, it can be grown under bright and filtered sunlight with moderate watering.

Mangave Bloodspots

Agave x Manfreda is believed to be a hybrid of Agave Macroacantha with Manfreda Maculosa that is why it is listed as Mangave Bloodspots.