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DIY jade plant wreath

This short tutorial shows you how to use cuttings of a succulent staple, jade plant, to make a spiffy succulent wreath that can be used any time of year to adorn a door, wall, or any other place you can think of.

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DIY Toy Succulent Planters

This short tutorial shows just how easy it is to make a toy succulent planter out of an animal figurine. Don’t know about you, but doesn’t that raccoon look even neater with a red-tipped echeveria on its back?

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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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Growing plants with a little help from our robotic friends

We’d like to introduce you to Bender, one of the two-wheeled spacing ninjas here at Altman Plants who helped us prepare for the soft launch of our True Bloom Roses line. On average, Bender spaces 150 pots per hour. We have six such robots at our production nursery in Lake Mathews, Calif.

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A ‘Perle’ of All Time Elegance

June finds us swooning over one of our succulent besties — Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’. For this post we’ll mark PVN’s heritage of sorts (well, its breeder’s) by adding the umlaut: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’. An amazing abundance of shiny hybrids have followed since ‘Perle’ arrived in the 1930s, but there’s a reason why it was a must-include in our Succulents All Time Favorites Collection on Amazon.

OK, several. First, there’s intriguing mystery surrounding the plant’s Echeveria parentage. As one dives deeper into the succulent world, opportunities arise to venture down rabbit holes, many of them dealing with genetics. Plant parents. Also, in the case of ‘Perle’, not one but two German plant mavens get credit for the plant’s creation. We’re in the camp that understands it was horticulturist and breeder Alfred Gräser who created this fabulous hybrid.

The story goes that Gräser came up with ‘Perle’ in the 1930s by crossing Echeveria gibbiflora ‘Metallica’ (no, not that Metallica) with Echeveria potosina. Today, E. potosina is widely considered to be a synonym of E. elegans. No more than a variation. Next, there’s uncertainty about what was or is the true ‘Metallica’. And it very well may be that neither ‘Perle’ parent was a true species. Hybrids, both of them! The International Crassulaceae Network credits Gräser himself for that revelation.

The ICN site has some more illuminating deets about the plant’s history, such as that right from the beginning of its introduction, “three slightly different forms … were propagated and distributed: a form with steel-blue leaves, a form with reddish leaves, and a form with silvery-gray leaves. This explains why the flowers do not resemble E. gibbiflora flowers.”

This is all fascinating stuff and reason for us to become even bigger succulent nerds, but it ultimately comes down to simple plant love — waking up in the morning or coming home from work and scurrying out to the patio or garden to see the swoon-worthy colors and symmetry. Did the buds open? Any new pups? On that note, we admire PVN’s out-of-this-world purple-pink highlights that pop from the powdery pale grayish-brown backdrop.

In the video below, our succulent whisperer Tom talks about pairing this impeccably elegant rosette star with other echeverias of contrasting shades.

Echeveria ‘Perle von Nürnberg’ is available on our retail succulent store (shopaltmanplants.com) or wholesale store (cactusshop.com). PVN is also part of some of our collections on Amazon.

 

 

 

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Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’: A succulent of stunning elegance

While new succulent hybrids pop up seemingly every day, Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ has stood the test of time with stunning grace — well the 80-some years since it was created. The pink highlights bring us back every time. Listen to our succulent whisperer Tom Jesch talk about this beyond lovely rosette stunner.

Look for Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ at our retail shop or wholesale shop

 

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One small grafted step for cacti: Moon cactus

“Lollipop lollipop / Oh lolli lolli lolli / Lollipop lollipop / Oh lolli lolli lolli / Lollipop lollipop / Oh lolli lolli lolli / Lollipop ‘pop'”

The Chordettes weren’t singing about cacti in the 1958 hit “Lollipop,” but wouldn’t it be funny if they were?

For May, we want to give you a taste of lollipop-look-alike cacti with otherworldly “flavor.” They are brightly colored confections called moon cacti: little spheres of vividness from the genus Gymnocalycium. The challenge with these sweeties is one of chlorophyll, or the lack of it.

Because of this, each one can only survive as a scion — the upper “moon” is grafted onto green Hylocereus rootstock. AKA dragon fruit. The base cactus provides the chemical “fire” necessary for the upper plant to have a chance at life. And to star in our spaces as a filtered-light-friendly, colorful treat.

Below, our cactus whisperer Tom talks about moon cacti’s graft-powered charm. Look for moon cactus at our retail shop or wholesale shop (here and here).

 

 

 

 

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Finally, an easy-to-grow rose with a True rose flower

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Moon cacti: Put these colorful grafted creations in your orbit

These beautiful Gymnocalycium seedlings lack chlorophyll and therefore cannot survive on their own, but when grafted onto rootstock of Hylocereus cacti, the colorful, shade-friendly living lollipops can brighten up any room. Listen to our cactus whisperer Tom Jesch talk about this vibrant union of cacti.

Look for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii ‘Hibotan’ at our retail shop or wholesale shop

 

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