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Category Archives: Garden Blog

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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If an echeveria were a jeweled lizard

If you admire reptilian motifs but can do without slithering or hissing, then you ought to consider giving Echeveria purpusorum a spot in your garden or new planter. Or scale up and sprinkle several here and there. We imagine it would pass muster, with its enticing, irregular reddish-brown spots, particularly on the outside of the short, pointy leaves. More of a finely mottled pattern graces the inside. Leaf color will be some form of green, punctuated by red margins. Check out those dynamite flowers.

In the linked video below, our succulent wrangler Tom notes that this windowsill-ready echeveria lacks a common name. If you come up with one, we’d love to hear it!

You can find Echeveria purpusorum at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A petite purple people charmer for your windowsill & patio

 Sometimes fabulous prizes come in small packages. This is particularly true with succulents. Take Anacampseros rufescens (sand rose), a diminutive cutie that’s ideal in a windowsill pot or as a dish garden accent. But that’s not all! In a garden, over time, it will spread to become a miniature ground cover of green-purple rosettes, with white hairs along the stems adding a nice contrast.

While the plant is suitable for a partially shady area, its olive green leaves will turn purple to reddish-brown in bright light. The fetching flowers will win your heart with their pink to pinkish-purple petals. Keep yours long enough and you might even notice a caudex (plump stem) form.

In the linked video below, our succulent whisperer Tom talks about this fleshy wonder from South Africa being a delightful fit for a bright sill or nook.

You can find Anacampseros rufescens at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Befriend this mutant jade plant character

 We have an incredible summer blockbuster for you. Instead of some silly popcorn movie, though, we’re talking about a succulent full of freakish star power. It’s pretty much a given that the mention of Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ is going to elicit a “my precious” response from someone. Some geek. (Like us.) Sorry, non-“Lord of the Rings”-fan gardeners. Unlike the Gollum character himself, though, it’s a rather cheery, desirable form. A super bonsai candidate. If you’ve seen this monstrose jade plant form while out and about, or have one yourself, you’ll probably agree.

The jade plant is a popular subject for bonsai training due to the inherent gnarly character of the thickened trunk and the ease with which it can be pruned and trained. In the case of ‘Gollum’, the red-tipped “fingers” are an added plus to create an interesting bonsai plant, around 1′ to 3′ tall and 1′ to 2′ wide.. … “Bright green leaves with ring-like red margins to rule them all!!!” … Sorry; it’s finally out of our system.

The leaves, unlike the flattened leaves of regular jade, form odd tubular, lime green “fingers”. The tip of the leaf is flared but depressed in the center and often a brilliant, translucent red. It’s excellent as patio plant or landscape plant. Just watch out for filthy hobbitses snooping around to steal your precious backyard fruit and vegetables. (No, we really can’t help ourselves, and we’re far from the biggest Tolkien fans.)

In the video below, our totally-not-filthy succulent whisperer Tom, an upstanding, productive member of society, channels his inner Gollum (no, really) to explain why you should consider making this variety part of your slice of Middle-earth, er, your space. Corral your Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at our online retail store, shopaltmanplants.com, or our wholesale store, the Cactus Shop. No need to feed it raw fish either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Succulent ‘whatdunits’ — varieties with mysterious plant parents or origins

If you’ve been following along with us this month in our email dispatches (sign up here), you know that we’ve been preoccupied by botanical intrigue, particularly as it pertains to how certain succulents came to be. Below you will see some favorites  for which answers are at least foggy-ish regarding which plants, precisely, were crossed to create them. Or where they fit into a particular species. Maybe native habitat is unknown. Or maybe nature had a moment of quirkiness and engineered an intriguing “sport.” Why? Because reasons, perhaps. Maybe it’s better to just say “cool plants.”

Most of the photographed plants below can be had at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

They are the Echeveria minima hybrid in the golden chalice, Graptoveria ‘Moonglow’, Graptosedum ‘Ghosty’, Echeveria ‘FO-42’, Kalanchoe tomentosa ‘Teddy Bear’, Sedum ‘Burrito’, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’, and Sedum ‘Golden Glow’ (in the pot with Sedum adolphii, Sedeveria ‘Lilac Mist’, and Aloe ‘Delta Dawn’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Echeveria ‘FO-42’, another succulent uncertainty

In our previous post, we delved into the “parental” uncertainty that’s part of the history of Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’, a very beautiful and quite popular hybrid. This time, we have another rosette-style succulent, Echeveria ‘FO-42’, for which there have been questions regarding what it is exactly and where it fits within the genus Echeveria.

‘FO-42’ refers to Mexican naturalist Felipe Otero (its discoverer) and the accession number — the number given to collected plant material in order of acquisition. You may also see it referred to as Echeveria setosa ‘FO-42’. At Altman Plants, we recognize its setosa-like qualities, but we generally wait for a plant to be formally described (and scientifically accepted) before we refer to it by that name.

As the plant description on our wholesale succulent shop says, “This particular form of Echeveria setosa has not yet been formally described, as it has not yet been established that this is a form of a species, and of which species, and that it is not a hybrid. At the time that this plant is formally described, it will be named. … Flowers are the distinctive “candy corn” flowers of the Echeveria setosa complex; bright yellow and reddish-orange bicolors.”

Yes, from the appearance of the flower, it does seem to be a form of E. setosa, which is a species that can be quite variable. And the hairiness! E. setosa var. ciliata has rounded leaves and fine velvet texture, whereas E. setosa var. setosa has pointed leaves with hairs that are longer and more bristle-like. Then there has always been conjecture over the many assumed forms, such as deminuta and rundelii.

The International Crassulaceae Network website notes,via British succulent expert Roy Mottram, that Otero gave the same accession number for E. setosa var. deminuta and E. setosa var. minor, suggesting that these “three varieties in fact might belong to only one very variable species.” Mottram reports that all of these variants can occur from the same batch of seedlings.

If they all have the same number, it is possible Otero discovered them all the same day and did not want to give them separate numbers until he knew how many forms or varieties he really had. If Mottram has had all three forms occur from the same seed batch, then it is possible that they are the same but very variable within the same form and vary possibly due to hybridization over the years within the colony, or that some of the material that he used to generate this seed was itself a hybrid of two forms of E. setosa ‘FO-42’. Under certain circumstances, a seedling that is genetically different from the parent can so closely resemble the parent visually that it can be mistaken for the parent, in which case all three forms might manifest, and possibly others as well (go, recessive genes!).

Whatever you call it, the blue foliage color, hairy texture and candy corn flowers make ‘FO-42’ a winner on a windowsill or patio, or in a rock garden. Look for it at shopaltmanplants.com (retail) or the Cactus Shop (wholesale).

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