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Category Archives: Garden Blog

Echeveria ‘Lola’ and painted lady echeveria look similar for a reason

Echeveria derenbergiiWe recently posted a photo to our Instagram of a cute-as-can-be trio of Echeveria derenbergii, a species lovingly referred to as the “painted lady” echeveria. Painted lady is a quick-to-clump hen-and-chicks species from Mexico that forms small rosettes of triangular green or green-blue leaves with pointed tips. It bears a clear resemblance to another lovely “lady,” the succulent enthusiast favorite Echeveria ‘Lola’, introduced decades ago by famed hybridizer Dick Wright. There’s a reason for that, which we will get to shortly (have a guess as to what that is?). Someone commented on our post that she had thought these three little echeverias were ‘Lola’. Which prompted us to look at a whole bunch of photos of the two plants and do some reading and querying. The comment was totally understandable. There are so many species, hybrids and clones out in the collective “wild” of the nursery trade and hobbyist culture. Pretty much all of us are bound to get confused or unsure from time to time, especially when trying to make definitive IDs from photos.

So, the reason for ‘Lola’s’ resemblance to painted lady? Well, that’s because E. derenbergii is most likely one of the two parents of ‘Lola’, the other being Echeveria lilacina. You will see this as the credited parentage for ‘Lola’ in many online sources, but not all. Some say it’s E. lilacina and Echeveria ‘Deresina’, which is a hybrid created by Alfred Gräser (of ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ legend) involving derenbergii. So not wildly different. And then a well-regarded online resource on succulents lists the reported parentage as E. lilacina and E. ‘Tippy’, another hybrid of Wright’s. But it gets sticky. While it credits Wright for being the source of ‘Tippy’ having come from E. agavoides and E. derenbergii (there “she” is again!), this resource questions whether ‘Tippy’ truly could be a cross of agavoides and derenbergii.

We’re now going to step out of that thicket, hoping you’re still with us, and just make a case for ‘Lola’ being a “descendant” of derenbergii. The low inflorescences of ‘Lola’, with fewer flowers than some other echeverias, is a derenbergii trait, and seems to express in later generations. (By the way, have you noticed just how low the flower stalks of painted lady are? Super low.) The somewhat larger, slightly more open corolla (petals) is another. The shape of the leaves is similar to derenbergii, and when coupled with the more spatulate leaves of lilacina, appears to account for the leaf shape of ‘Lola’. The rosette form, somewhat shaped like the anthesis of a rosebud, the time at which it is beginning to open, is also expressed in derenbergii. And then there is the similar coloring.

So there you have it. With all the different species, cultivars and hybrids available today, it is quite easy to confuse or mistake one for the other based on a photograph. Especially when you factor in things like differences in growing conditions from one plant to the next, or even just the lighting of an image. That goes for whether you are just starting out in the hobby or are a professional nurserywoman or man. In this case, we have two echeverias that are almost certainly related, but the precise “how” is not universally accepted.

Echeveria derenbergii and Echeveria ‘Lola’ are both available at shopaltmanplants.com or cactusshop.com (wholesale). We love succulents no matter their pedigrees!

Both varieties are among those you may receive with our Valentine’s Day Rosette Succulent Collection, an online exclusive, at shopaltmanplants.com

 

 

  
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Treat your valentine to succulent sweethearts

Alluring. Enduring. Low maintenance!
Like your special someone, succulents really are something else. Let your love grow this Valentine’s Day season with our Valentine’s Day Rosette Succulent Collection. These living treats are even sweeter than candy hearts or chocolate and they last a whole lot longer.

Each two-pack ordered comes with a specially designed to/from card — we’re aiming to make this a piece of cake for ya! Varieties vary, in that enticing, ooh-I-can’t-wait-to-see way. Check out both styles, in 2.5″ or 3.5″ sizes. 

Few “giftable” things embody lasting affection like succulents, if we do say so ourselves. The rosette-forming sweeties in our 2 1/2″ two-pack come in decorative wood-style pot wraps. 

Succulents may not be as huggable as teddy bears, but they’re just as lovable. For our 3 1/2″ two-pack, two rosette beauties come in pots adorned with the sayings “Love Grows Here” & “Let Love Grow.”

Our Valentine’s Day Rosette Succulent Collection, an online exclusive, is available at shopaltmanplants.com

PS, make no mistake…we are pro-chocolate too! 

 
  
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Unleash your succulent spirit indoors

As spring weather approaches in some areas, a cool and dreary winter trudges on in others. It is hard to put on our creative gardening cap when the front yard remains dormant and lifeless.

Have no fear! Spruce up your home and decorate indoors with succulents.

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A cactus with a magnificent pop of yellow

We’re keeping the holiday spirit alive into the new year by going with balloons — balloon cactus, that is. This gorgeous globular bluish-green species is native to southern Brazil and other select South American locales. The view from above is spot on: pale yellow spines radiate from the rusty gold middle atop and down the center of the attractive ribs.

Flowers appear spring to summer, even into fall, providing a yummy pop of yellow on yellow. This one is relatively indoor friendly — a single stem can reach 6 inches in diameter, but over time, clumps may spread to 2 feet or more across.

In the linked video below, our cactus whisperer Tom highlights the beautiful glow effect when the plant’s bristle-like spines are backlit by the sun.

Notocactus magnificus (balloon cactus) is available at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

 

 

 

 

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Succulents are right at home during the holidays

This is a tradition-rich and family-heavy time of year for many, with Christmas Day less than a week away & New Year’s Day less than two. There are songs about a sleigh ride and a partridge in a pear tree, toy soldiers as tree ornaments, and pie for dessert. And perhaps a big family game of dominoes. We hear about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and for some, there might be a blizzard or snowstorm alive outside. Below are succulents that will remind you of this festive season. 

Get all the succulent cheer you can handle at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

Crassula lycopodiodes (watch chain), Aloe ‘Christmas Sleigh’, Crassula tetragona (mini pine tree), Sedum Firestorm & Aloe ‘Blizzard’

Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Chocolate Soldier’ in its birch-style wrap

Aloe variegata (partridge breast aloe)

A champagne flute of Sedum adolphi (golden sedum)

Aloe ‘Snowstorm’

Crassula rubricaulis ‘Candy Cane’

 

Adromischus cristatus (key lime pie) & Kalanchoe luciae (flapjacks)

Santa and Crassula tetragona (mini pine tree)

Echinopsis subdenudata ‘Dominoes’ in its festive, Grinch-inspired wrap

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Aloe, Holidays!

 
 
 
Hard up for holiday gift ideas this season? We know how difficult it can be to settle on the right gifts for the very favorite humans in your life. Luckily, we have a handful of unique, colorful and adorable possibilities for you to consider. So sit back, or lean forward, and say “aloe” to our little Altman Plants-hybridized friends that are part of our 2018 Holiday Collection at shopaltmanplants.com.
 
These three following varieties are particularly appropriate for container gardening and windowsill culture. They are all low-maintenance, waterwise plants that give us a reason to look forward to peeking at the nooks and crannies of our homes each day, for a glimpse of new growth or emerging flowers. Through the holidays, the order minimum for free shipping at shopaltmanplants.com is $50, down from the customary $75.
 

Aloe ‘Blizzard’

Aloe ‘Blizzard’

Aloe ‘Blizzard’ is a patented (US PP21,408), one-of-a-kind, perfect storm of variegation, attractive blooms, and compact size. Our breeding team wanted to create a white aloe that grew faster and more upright than one of its parents and with brighter color. Great for a windowsill, Aloe ‘Blizzard’ boasts bright white/deep green tones, tubular coral flowers, frequent flowering periods, and a pleasing penchant for multiplying.

Aloe ‘Christmas Sleigh’

Aloe ‘Christmas Sleigh’

Good ol’ St. Nick can only dream of this clumping hybrid succulent serving as his sleigh. It certainly would require fewer than nine reindeer. Aloe ‘Christmas Sleigh’ abounds with red teeth on the margins of its dark green to blue leaves, which also have red bumps down the middle. Reddens up in bright light and cool temps. Terrific as a small container specimen or as focal point in a dish garden with non-Aloe succulents.

 

Aloe ‘Snowstorm’

Aloe ‘Snowstorm’

Aloe ‘Snowstorm’ features irregular, dense white banding on green leaves, with “flurries” of white teeth on the margins. It’s like wild powder snow on a star-shaped verdant green ground cover. Free flowering with spikes of orange tubular flowers, loved by hummingbirds. Whereas the nominally similar Aloe ‘Blizzard’ is all about upright, tightly clustered growth, the leaves of ‘Snowstorm’ are wider and comparatively flat. Prefers excellent drainage provided by porous soil. Water thoroughly when dry. Can be grown on a patio or in a garden in frost-free temperate areas, or displayed on a windowsill or other brightly lit spot indoors during cold season in less temperate areas. Green coloring takes on chocolate tones in the sun.

View these and the rest of our Holiday Collection succulents at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

 
 
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Show us your DIY magic for our Holiday Decor Contest

We enjoy sharing our succulent craftiness on social media and the blog, but now we want to see yours! How exactly? Well, we are launching our DIY Holiday Decor Contest. We know there’s an amazingly creative minds and hands out there and we want to highlight and celebrate that talent within our virtual community of plant people.
 
Here’s how to enter. Find us on your favorite social media platform, as long as it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Send us a photo, by Dec. 31, showcasing your holiday-style DIY magic with succulents. It can be pretty much any DIY-style holiday-themed project, just as long as it involves succulents. We will be guided by a fairly broad interpretation of what it means to be holiday-themed.
 
So, for example, if you want to create a table centerpiece that will fit nicely at your family’s holiday feast, it need not incorporate a Santa Claus motif to qualify as a holiday centerpiece.
 
The method for entering will vary slightly, depending on which social media channel you choose. 
  • If you’re a Facebooker, simply post a photo to our page, or you can tag us (@altmanplants) in a photo on yours — in that case, be sure to set the post to public so we can see it. 
  • If you’re an Instagrammer, use the hashtag #altmanholidaycontest.
  • Should you be a master pinner, you can enter via Pinterest by using that same hashtag, #altmanholidaycontest, in your pin. 

There is no limit on entries. 

The grand prize: Altman Plants’ trio of 3.5″ rosette succulents in birch-style wraps

 

The winner will receive our three-pack of 3.5″ rosette succulents in birch-style wraps.

If you’re short on succulents at the moment but have a great DIY decor idea, we’ve lowered the minimum order for free shipping at shopaltmanplants.com to $50.

Whether it’s a wreath, succulent tree or centerpiece, or ornaments — or something completely different — we can’t wait to see it! Don’t hold back! Team Altman member Lee sure didn’t with his succulent Christmas tree. And no #fakesies! Happy DIYing!

 
 

 

 

 

 

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Give the gift of succulents

Can you believe the holidays are all but here? Good news for you: Succulents make super gifts for the favorite people in your life. These living treasures add gratifying, dramatic, year-round cheer and they do so without the need for batteries or USB cables or WiFi integration. And they don’t hit you up for attention during the holiday rush.
Our holiday collections (here & here) make gift giving simple, including succulents that arrive with their own cozy display “wrapping paper” — some in birch-style pot wraps, some in Grinch-inspired wraps. They’ll work splendidly as gifts and as living holiday decorations. And when the holidays end, remove the wraps and enjoy the plants all year long.
Begin your shopping for #holidaysucculents at our shop. Merry Succulenting!

The festive, Grinch-inspired holiday wrap & one of the birch-style wraps. View our entire Holiday Wrap Collection.

We sure wouldn’t mind coming downstairs to find succulents such as Aloe ‘Christmas Sleigh’ and Aloe ‘Blizzard’ under the tree. View our Holiday Collection.

Quirky varieties such as Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Chocolate Soldier’, in the birch-style wrap, may delight the youngsters in your life and turn them on to succulents.

Sedeveria ‘Blue Elf’ blushing with excitement. Our collection of three rosette succulents in the birch-style wrap.

 

 

 

 

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A colorful team (of succulents) you’ll wanna root for

Perhaps you’ve noticed, perhaps not, that football season is well under way, from the Friday night lights of high school ball (already winding down) to Saturday’s rousing collegiate showdowns, to the bruising glitz of the NFL on Sunday. And Monday. Um, Thursday too. 

What if one were to create a team made up of succulents? Say what? We present the Juicy Treasures! They’re full of heart and resilience. Devoted to good form and fundamentals, all while avoiding stretching as much as possible. They leave everything they have on the field week after week, although they’re OK with moving the action indoors if it’s too cold or soggy. That’s when their basketball side really comes through.

 Draft your favorite succulent footballers at our shop

Wide Receivers: Echinocereus rigidissimus rubrispinus (rainbow hedgehog cactus) & Sedum adolphi Firestorm™

Quarterback: Echeveria ‘Cubic Frost’

Running Back: Echeveria ‘Neon Breakers’

Tight End: Lithops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offensive Line: Echinocactus grusonii (golden barrel cactus), Euphorbia mammillaris ‘Variegata’ and Ferocactus glaucescens

Kick Returner: Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ / Kicker: Aloe ‘Swordfish’

Head Coach: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’

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Calico Kitten crassula — catnip for succulent geeks

A trailing succulent plant with heart-shaped leaves of lemony cream, green and pink? Meow! We are so in. How ’bout you? The crassula (Crassula marginalis rubra ‘Variegata’) we lovingly call calico kitten is an absolute boss of a pendant-minded plant, highly recommended as a way to step up your hanging basket game. The variegated foliage positively leaps off a green hanging backdrop of Sedum ‘Burrito’ and Senecio radicans (string of bananas). Like a frisky, feisty kitty leaving its hind paws for a swipe at an irresistible target of string. Or yarn. Or shoelaces. Calico kitten will also nicely spills over retaining walls, borders and planter bowls.

But, and this especially goes for you dog people (ha ha!), don’t go letting your children or canines trample over calico kitten. She’s a hair or two delicate, but it’s definitely worth it. Just give this succulent kitty as much bright light as it can stand without frying, along with some healthy stress (drought or cold). Watch that pink explode!

In the linked video below, our plant whisperer Tom says this charmer is a purrrfect choice for a cascader in a succulent grouping. Please let us know which obvious feline-y puns we left out.

Crassula marginalis rubra ‘Variegata’ (calico kitten) is available at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

 

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