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Category Archives: Garden Blog

The X-Succulents

Intergeneric hybrids: all crossed up and completely beautiful

Succulent fanatics enjoy more choices than ever before, with new plants popping up seemingly every day. Amazingly, there are nearly 20,000 varieties of succulents on this planet. Many of our fleshy friends available in nurseries and garden centers were introduced into the marketplace during the last few decades.

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Winter is coming

But our treasured succulents don’t have to unduly suffer

We are fond of referring to succulents as the ultimate easy-care plants but many species can and will suffer easy deaths if exposed to elements they aren’t predisposed to tolerate.

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Krazy for kalanchoes

These succulents are go-to choices for texture and diverse foliage

“It’s so fuzzy I’m gonna die!”

That might be the (perfectly rational) utterance of a succulent fan upon laying eyes on Kalanchoe tomentosa. Commonly known as panda plant, the species is distinguished by its fuzzy, velvety, dotted leaves, which kind of look like cat ears.Those who fancy fuzziness and brown bears might like the bear ear-shaped leaves of Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Teddy Bear’ even more.

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Getting into the fall and Halloween spirit succulent-style

So many fun Halloween/fall-inspired decorations and arrangements are possible with succulents. Here are the few we’ve done in the past week or so. 

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Heir to the succulent throne: Echeveria ‘Black Prince’

Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ a noble choice for the garden, patio, or a bright nook indoors

The small, dark, and handsome echeveria known as ‘Black Prince’ has to make any list of Halloween-appropriate succulents. It’s unusual for an echeveria in that its rosettes often appear to be nearly black. Combine that with its glowing green center and striking red flowers, and this dark hens-and-chicks succulent just might startle an unsuspecting trick-or-treater. (Of course, it helps to have some well-placed, oversized spiders and bloodshot monster eyes nearby.)

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Bizarre yet endearing: Brave the world of mutant succulents

Crested and monstrose succulents — mutant forms only a succulent freak could love? We think not, whether it’s Halloween season or, say, Arbor Day…although these living oddities would be naturals in any décor scheme aimed at enticing or spooking trick-or-treaters and their parental units.

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Agaves rule!

 Here are fifteen images that prove our point

We’re fans of virtually all succulents, and are loathe to pick favorites, but there are agaves, those New World swordsmen, that tempt us to pick sides. We’re also fortunate here at Altman in that we at least get to lay eyes, if not always hands, on some non-garden-variety specimens…species that we enthusiasts cannot reliably find at our favorite nurseries or garden centers any and every weekend. That said …

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Mimicry plants: succulent masters of disguise

The mimicry plants known as mesembs are the thespians of the succulent world, mind-blowingly adaptable actors accustomed to harsh, sun-blasted habitats that receive only a few inches of rain a year. They grow in coarse sand with just their translucent tops showing, enabling sunlight to reach the interior of each plant. The rest is underground, which minimizes exposure to extreme elements.

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Cutting loose: Winter growers wake up, become active in fall

Autumn has arrived at last. It feels good to be a succulent geek right about now, especially if you have a bunch of plants exiting summer dormancy. Nothing like looking forward to seeing your aeoniums, your senecios, your sempervivums, get a little wild in wintertime. Of course, for those in colder areas, that festival of life will have to be held indoors, in a space blessed with light.

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Peeling back the story of Senecio radicans: string of bananas

We’d dare say that just about all succulents qualify for some degree of radness, but with this plant we really mean it: Senecio radicans. Hey, as far as botanical names go, that’s a pretty ra—er—cool one.

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