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

07 Apr

Adenium Obesum, The Desert Rose

Adenium Obesum, also known as Desert Rose, is a succulent and caudex forming shrub from southern region of Africa and Arabia. Adenium are popular for their unusual shapes and spectacular flowers. This slow growing flowering shrub can ultimately turn in to a small tree with large swollen trunk/caudex.

Adenium Obesum can be used in landscape or grown as container plants. They can also be trained to make good bonsai specimens. Beware that sap from Adenium plants is toxic.

adenium plant

Culture

Desert Rose or Adenium Obesum grows as tall as 1 to 3 meters in height. It produces green, leathery leaves that grow near the tips of branches. Adenium blooms in late spring and sometimes in mid fall. Flowers are red and pink with whitish shade and resemble the flowers of Frangipani.

These days a number of hybrids are commercially grown and sold as houseplants. These hybrids bear spectacular flowers of many different shades. You can also find many different hybrids grafted on a single rootstock all producing flowers of different colors.

Adenium Obesum is a popular houseplant in temperate zones of India, Thailand and Vietnam.

adenium flowers

Cultivation

In temperate zones, Adenium can be grown from seeds. However, they are mostly cultivated from cuttings or grafting though plants grown from seeds acquire better caudex and trunk shape.

Water, Soil and Temperature

Adenium prefers sunny location, very well drained soil, and a minimum 10 C temperature in winter. They should be watered carefully as overwatering may rot the stem. Adenium prefer bright sunlight and can be grown outdoors easily. In winter, it can be grown indoors near a sunny window where it is protected from frost. Adenium prefers slightly alkaline soil.

Fertilizer

In order to develop a perfectly developed caudex and vigorous flowering, you need to fertilize your adeniums regularly. (Good lighting condition also encourages production of more carbohydrates that ultimately form better caudex. Also lift your Adenium a little above from soil every time you re-pot it to encourage good caudex formation.)

hybrid adenium flowers

Popular Adenium Species

Popular species of Adenium include: Adenium Swazicum, Adenium Somalense, Adenium Arabicum, Adenium Boehmianum, Adenium Multiflorum, Adenium Crispum and Adenium Obesum.

Adenium Crispum is relatively compact species and bears striking flowers. It is difficult to grow and does not withstand cold or hot, humid conditions. As grafted plant, Adenium Crispum can grow into a tall shrubby tree.

Adenium Multiflorum has brownish bark and bears white, pink, crimson and red flowers with predominant white base. It remains compact and grows in columnar style to attain a height of 3 meters. Adenium Multiflorum is also known as Impala Lily.

Adenium Boehmianum produces fleshy stem and can be grown easily from seeds, cuttings and grafting. Adenium Boehmianum is not grown commercially and thus cannot be found commonly.

Adenium Arabicum resembles Adenium Obesum and bears crimson and pink flowers. It can be grafted easily on a rootstock. Adenium Arabicum bears fleshy green leaves and makes a perfect show plant.

Adenium Swazicum is an evergreen dwarf shrub from Swaziland. It is usually used to develop hybrid plants because of its floriferous habit. Adenium Swazicum is relatively a hardy plant.

All images are taken from flowerpictures.net