20 Nov

Agave Collection in my Succulent Garden

My love for succulents especially Agaves in not old but it is for sure obsessive. In fact, I have replaced many other plants in my collection with Agaves. The following are some of the Agaves in my succulent garden.

Agave victoria reginae

My favorite plant – Agave victoria reginae is slow but easy to grow plant characterized by a unique leaf pattern and formation.

Agave victoria reginae

Agave victoria reginae

Agave victoria reginae variegata

This variegated variety is even more beautiful and unique than its original form.

Agave victoria reginae variegata

Agave victoria reginae variegata

Agave bracteosa

A very different formation and leaf style for an Agave. Agave bracteosa has ‘softer’ and spineless leaves – quite different from its cousins.

Agave bracteosa, Squid Agave, Spider Agave

Agave bracteosa

Agave striata

Another beautiful and unique form. Agave striata produces long, needle-like leaves of greyish green color.

Agave striata, Live Wires

Agave striata, Live Wires

Agave augustifolia

A beautiful specimen plan with nicely arranged white leaves contrasted by reddish teeth and red terminal spines

Agave augustifolia variegata

Agave augustifolia variegata

Agave potatorum, Kissho Kan

Another beautiful Agave with bicolor leaves beautified by red spines.

Agave potatorum, Kissho Kan

Agave potatorum, Kissho Kan

Agave nicklesiae, King Ferdinand

Somewhat similar to Agave victoria reginae but with different style and formation of leaves.

Agave nicklesiae, King Ferdinand

Agave nicklesiae, King Ferdinand

Agave leopoldii

A variegated variety closely resembling Agave filifera.

Agave x leopoldii

Agave x leopoldii

Agave Blue Glow variegated

Pretty rare plant – Also known as Sun Glow, this beautiful plant is a variegated form of Agave Blue Glow.

Agave Blue Glow 'Sun Glow'

Agave Blue Glow ‘Sun Glow’

Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

A nice plant for landscaping/ xeriscaping – fast growing and easy to maintain.

Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak'

Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’

Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’

A clump of Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’. A delicate yet fast growing plant. Good for containers.

Agave guiengola 'Creme Brulee'

Agave guiengola ‘Creme Brulee’

Agave manfreda x Bloodspot

Unique and attractive, it is believes to be a cross of Manfreda and Agave, that is why it is also described as Mangave.

Agave manfreda x Bloodspot

Agave manfreda x Bloodspot

Agave victoriae reginae ‘Kazo Bana’

Another beautiful variety of Agave victoria reginae. ‘Kazo Bana‘ is quite rare and elegant plant.

Agave victoriae reginae 'Kazo Bana'

Agave victoriae reginae ‘Kazo Bana’

Agave lophantha ‘Quardicolor’

As the name suggests, this is a colorful and beautiful plant. Ideal for both container gardening as well as landscaping.

Agave lophantha 'Quardicolor'

Agave lophantha ‘Quardicolor’

Agave schidigera ‘Shira ito no Ohi’

The name – Shira ito no Ohi – is quite difficult to pronounce and so is the maintenance of the plant.

Agave schidigera 'Shira ito no Ohi'

Agave schidigera ‘Shira ito no Ohi’

 

29 Oct

Peliospilos, the Split Rock Plant

Pleiospilos is a genus of miniature succulent plants from the family of Lithops. These interesting plants are indigenous to the semi-desert land of the Great Karoo in South Africa. Pleiospilos are widely grown as ornamental plants among container gardeners. These plants are characterized by a pair of succulent leaves that grows on the underground stem. The leaves are covered with tiny, black dots. The daisy-like flowers of Pleiospilos are orange or yellow.

Pleiospilos bolusii

Pleiospilos bolusii, Split Rock Plant/ Image by Manuel M. Ramos

Common name of Pleiospilos is Split Rock plant because of their pebble-like leaves that are split from the center. Pleiospilos grow best when planted deep in a well-drained soil under bright sunlight. These plants prefer only occasional watering and feed especially in winter.

The most popular and widely grown species is Pleiospilos nelii which is grown easily from seeds. Other popular species include P. bolusii and Pleiospilos nobilis.

19 Jul

Sedum album, the Coral Carpet

Sedum album or Coral Carpet is a low-growing and very attractive plant for containers as well as a mat-forming ground cover. The plant is known for its small, mossy and succulent foliage that makes this plant look like coral from the oceans. Sedum album or Coral Carpet makes an excellent ground cover because of its shiny and dark-green leaves that turn red in winter. Since it is frost hardy, it is used in rock gardens, containers or garden landscapes for a year-round effect.

Sedum album, Coral Carpet

Sedum album (Coral Carpet), Image by William Kirby

Sedum album spreads horizontally and effectively covers empty areas with its succulent growth and tiny, star-shaped flowers of white or pinkish color. Flowers usually appear in midsummer.

Sedum album is a good plant for a beginner’s collection. It only requires bright sunlight, and loamy but well-drained soil. Water moderately in summer but only occasionally in winter when it turns red. New plants can be produced from leaves that root easily and grow into small plants. When grown in containers, repot your plant every other year in spring.

05 Mar

Agave Attenuata, The Foxtail Plant

Agave attenuata is an excellent specimen plant for ornamental and landscaping purposes. Unlike other species of Agave, this beautiful Agave does not have sharp teeth or terminal spines on its leaves, instead its leaves are softer and more succulent. A healthy Agave attenuata would usually grow as tall as 4 to 5 feet and produce broad and fresh-green leaves (50-70 cm long and 12-16 cm large) that spread up to 4 feet. Mature plants have stout and curved stem, thus giving the plant its common name ‘foxtail’.

Agave attenuata comes from the plateau of central Mexico and thus requires similar growing conditions. It prefers lightly moist and loamy soil thought it can grow in poor soil and withstand drought. Protect this agave from direct scorching sunlight in summer and from long spells of frost and freeze.

Agave Attenuata, The Foxtail Plant

Foxtail, Image by Forest Starr and Kim Starr

The plant produces beautiful inflorescence of white or cream color on a long stalk in spring followed by bulk of seed pods or small plantlets. The stalk is often drooping with flowers, that is why, the plant is also called Swan’s Neck Agave. Agave attenuata can be grown easily from these seeds, plantlets, or suckers.

Foxtail or Agave attenuata makes an excellent plant for both landscapes and containers.

05 Dec

Winter Flowering Miniature Succulents: Cheiridopsis

Cheiridopsis is a genus of unusual succulent plants mostly from south-western Africa. Grown this sandy soil, these succulents are perfect choice for dish gardens, as small pot plants, miniature gardens, or rockeries for because of their low growing and clump forming habits.

Cheiridopsis, Succulent Flowering Plant

Cheiridopsis, Image by Manuel M. Ramos

Almost all species of Cheiridopsis grow in pairs of thick succulent leaves of olive or pale-green colors tinged with red and pink tips. Flowers usually appear from center of leaf-pair and resemble the flowers of daisy. Mature plants would form thick clumps and flower profusely in winter when Cheiridopsis would bloom and grow vigorously after a long dormant period in summer.

Cheiridopsis can be grown from seeds and planted in sandy soil to provide very well drained soil system. Provide these plants spots where they are protected from winter frost and direct sunlight of summer. Water barely enough to keep them alive in summer. Start moderate watering in winter.

Popular species include:

Cheiridopsis Herrei: Easy to grow, clump forming plants with small green leaves tipped with shades of pink or purple.

Cheiridopsis Serrulata: Grey-green succulent leaves with bright yellow flowers in spring and winter.

20 Oct

Ornamental Plant for Dish Gardens: Haworthia Reinwardtii

Haworthia is a genus of compact and low growing succulent plants from South Africa. A number of species from this genus are commercially cultivated and sold as ornamental plants. Known for their dotted, mottled, striped and ridged leaves, Haworthia make excellent ornamental pot plants. When grown under suitable temperature, Haworthia can be grown in dish gardens, as ground cover, in rock gardens, as container plants or in window gardens.

Haworthia Reinwardtii

Haworthia Reinwardtii

Among common species, Haworthia Reinwardtii is perhaps one of the most popular and definitely easier to grow. It features compact rosettes of dark green leaves with white dots and reddish tips. Grown from offsets, it roots easily and forms thick clumps of leafy stems. Flowers, as of all Haworthias, are very small and inconspicuous.

Haworthia Reinwardtii grows in well-drained soil under partial sun. Propagated from divisions, this ornamental succulent should be watered only when soil is completely dry. Hold carefully during months of hot and high-humidity conditions.

Image source

17 Oct

Ornamental, Succulent Tree for Xeriscapes: Cobas

Today, I am featuring Cyphostemma Currorii commonly known as Cobas tree and grown as ornamental plant. Though it has long been in my wish list, I have not had the chance to add it to my succulent garden so far. Cobas comes from a large family of vines, ground covers, small trees and pot plants of many different sizes and shapes. Cobas, being the most popular of its family, is grown as ornamental houseplant or as foliage plant in xeriscapes.

A Cobas normally grows as a compact plant in containers but flourishes into a small tree (up to 7 meters) when planted in ground. The plant is covered with green, succulent leaves that fall in winter to expose small and thick branches of Cobas. Pale green flowers appear in spring and summer followed by grape-like bunches of poisonous fruit.

Cyphostemma Currorii, Cobas Tree

Cyphostemma Currorii in Wild, Image by Petr Kosina (flickr)

How to grow Cobas Tree

Being native to Madagascar and parts of North Africa, Cobas is a sun loving plants that does not require much care. Grow in a regular and well-drained soil mix. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering. Cobas can be grown from seeds as well as from cuttings. As with most caudex-forming plants like adenium, keep these plants dry and protected from frost and freeze in winter.

Cyphostemma Juttae is another popular species from this family of unusual plants.

19 Sep

Living Stones of African Deserts: Lithops

Lithops are some of the most fascinating and unusual plants from the most dry and arid regions of Africa. In fact, they are an excellent example of survival for their ability to grow under extremely dry conditions and camouflage themselves for protection from animals. Lithops are so good at blending themselves with their surroundings that one can hardly spot these unusual plants in their native habitat where they grow among pebbles and rocks. For this reason, they are also known as Living Stones.

Lithops, The Living Stones

Lithops, The Living Stones, Image by yellowcloud (flickr)

Typically, Lithops (Buy seeds online) consists of two fleshy leaves with fissures on their top. The pair of leaves dries up every winter giving way to a fresh pair of succulent leaves. The leaves usually stray buried in the soil with only the top surface exposed to the climate. This top surface varies in colors and patterns according to the climate and distribution of plants.

Growing Lithops could be challenging but with a bit of practice you can grow them as ornamental plants in your dish gardens or as container plants. When growing at home, be very careful when watering. Since these succulent plants have a lot of water stored in their leaves, they do not require regular watering. If you living in regions of mild climate, keep your plants completely dry during winter since plants would extract sufficient water from drying pair of leaves. Water barely enough to wet the soil surface in summer. In hotter climates, Lithops go dormant during summer. At this time, they should be kept dry (water slightly only when leaves start shrinking). In tropical climates, allow Lithops plants to stay dormant in summer and start watering in winter.

The name ‘lithops’ is derived from two Greek words ‘lithos’ (stones) and ‘ops’ (face).

Lithops generally bloom and grow in autumn or spring. Flowers are white or yellow and emit sweet fragrance. These small yet attractive flowers appear from the center of the pair of leaves.

How to grow Lithops ‘Living Stones’

Unlike in their native habitat, Lithops (Buy seeds online) do not adopt easily to climate outside their native habitat so it is important to understand specific requirements of each species. Generally, it is advised to provide them with filtered but ample sunlight. Grow them in porous and well-drained soil and provide just barely sufficient water in growing season. Lithops can be grown from seeds or off springs.