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Category Archives: Garden Blog

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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Succulents can be a juicy source for costume ideas

So you’re skilled with a sewing machine or are an imaginative repurposer of a variety of materials. Yay! And you’re thirsty — hungry! — for a novel costume and willing to spend this entire coming weekend creating it. See? We have you all figured out, heh heh. Well, we happen to be conveniently adept at compiling silly suggestions for DIY projects, yet we’re perfectly content to let others transform them into reality. Our big tip: Use felt. Loads and loads of felt. These theoretically costume-inspiring living treasures are regularly obtainable at shopaltmanplants.com.

No. 1: Echinocereus rigidissimus rubrispinus (rainbow hedgehog cactus): Believe it or not, there are hedgehog costumes galore online. You just need to add the rainbow colors. Or pink. Lots of hot pink.

No. 2: Echeveria ‘Dusty Rose’: Play a county-rock songwriter with a mauve-colored leather or faux leather jacket named ‘Dusty Rose’.

No. 3: Oreocereus celsianus (old man of the Andes): Old man cactus could involve a sweet wig, faux white hair and toothpicks. Doc Brown the cactus!

 

 

No. 4: For Cremnosedum ‘Crocodile’, we’re thinking plump, juicy leaves instead of teeth for your crocodile mask.

No. 5. For Sedeveria ‘Blue Elf’, you could be Legolas from “The Lord of the Rings” painted blue. A blue Orlando Bloom? Hmm.

 

 

No. 6: Kalanchoe luciae (flapjacks): A pancake costume sure sounds tasty, right? Especially red-tipped, aqua-colored pancakes.

 

 

 

No. 7: Gasteria ‘Little Warty’: ‘Little Warty’ is two-toned green sweatpants & shirt with white or silver felt dots! Adorn the outfit with felt Gasteria-style tongues to really sell it.

No. 8: Echeveria ‘Galaxy Blue’: Instead of rigging a solar system of mini planets on your shoulders, go with wavy blue leaves.

No. 9: Echeveria ‘Black Prince’ could be a young Johnny Cash in robes.

If that’s not enough Halloween succulent chatter — and of course it most certainly is not! — we’d love to share with you our frighteningly fun Halloween Collection 4 Pack at shopaltmanplants.com. This spooky collection will be the perfect new addition to your Halloween décor. Four creepy, crawly, toothy succulents paired with four festive cups and four ghoulish picks. It’s the best way to complete your Halloween decorations this year. And while holidays come and go, succulents are rather adept at haunting homes year-round. They’re adaptable to all sorts of decor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This sedum delivers a hot storm of color

Would you care to make a statement … in your garden? On your patio? You’d be hard-pressed to make a quiet one by slotting in Sedum adolphi Firestorm™. More like a searing proclamation — in prime condition (lots of light), the leaf margins scream out as if they’re sear marks. Orange-red ones. The middle is golden yellow to greenish yellow. Clusters of star-shaped white flowers burst forth seasonally.

This striking selection of golden sedum is an incredibly versatile rangy color accent in succulent landscapes, borders and along pathways, or for spilling forth out of planters.

In the linked video below, our succulent tamer Tom plays up this fiery character’s ability to light up a temperate landscape in a mass planting. Firestorm is hardy to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but protecting it from frost may prevent possible scarring.

Because of its bright hues, this sedum excels as a loud accent in all manner of dish garden combos. We find ourselves going back to the well with this one time and time again.

You can find Sedum adolphi Firestorm at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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