Skip to Content

Blog Archives

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 11 Continue Reading →

A menu loaded with succulents, from small plates to party platters

Last week in this space, we got a little playful, a bit wild even, in talking about succulents with animal-inspired names, from Crassula ‘Calico Kitten’ to zebra plant (Haworthia spp.).

0 9 Continue Reading →

Some ‘animal’ succulents worth adopting into the family

Have pets? Do you lovingly refer to them as your fur babies? All the time? Stickers on the car back window? It’s perfectly OK if you do. This is a judgment-free zone. After all, whether they be dogs, cats, birds, iguanas, velociraptors, or all of the above plus pot belly pigs and chickens, they are beloved members of the family. But where do your succulents fit on that pecking order?

Marble hanging out with panda plant kalanchoe, baby burro’s tail sedum, and other succulents.

0 10 Continue Reading →

This lineup of crassulas is stacked

There is so much to adore about succulents — we can’t even begin to count all the ways — but this week we want to highlight a crew of ornamentals that just can’t help but be showoffs: “stacked” crassulas. And we love them for that, their penchant for fancifulness: forms resembling spirals, pendants, pagodas, or just un-plain, goofy vertical.

0 11 Continue Reading →

Succulents to keep you company during shady respites

It’s summer (news flash!) and sometimes we just want to hide. From the sun. That fiery sphere serves a noble purpose, of course, but occasional time apart is healthy. Our succulent pals, though, we always want close by…even when in shady-friendly spots.

Even if not necessarily lovers of deep shade, aeoniums can relate, as they are also susceptible to sunburns, as well as leaf curling, when overly exposed. They have a distinctive, daisy-like appearance. The leaves can vary in color from black to rose to green to yellow. The rosettes grow on the ends of stems that, depending on the variety, may be a quarter inch or more in diameter. We should all take a cue from these diversely hued succulents that like nothing more during summer than to chill. They perk up in winter to spring, when the weather is cooler and on the damper side.

0 5 Continue Reading →

Brighten your landscape with shy-but-strong Echeveria ‘Lola’

The time for relishing the summer breeze as it brushes your face on a balmy Friday evening has arrived. While Seals & Crofts may have had a soft spot for jasmine, we can’t help but have eyes for a favorite succulent beauty of ours: Echeveria ‘Lola’.

0 3 Continue Reading →

BFFs for your succulents

Non-succulent companion plant options are numerous. Here are five:

One of the biggest garden design challenges is focusing your enthusiasm. Even if succulents and cacti are your #botanicaljam4lyfe, choices must be made. There are thousands of species on the planet, yet you only enjoy space for 75 plants. That means you’re probably going to plant 25 species at most, unless you have a hopeless case of the “onesies” and are determined to get your mitts on one of everything.

Plus you might want to make room for a few non-succulents. We here at Altman have soft spots for all kinds of plants and know just how beautiful a mixed landscape, abounding in rich colors and textures, can be.

0 4 Continue Reading →

Five picks for heat-enduring, non-prickly succulents

Those who have found this particular outpost of succulent fandom are probably aware that succulents have their limits. For example, to decorate desert ground with any plant accurately answering to the name “succulent” is to expect or desire one very possible outcome: fried succulent. Personally, we much prefer going the “fried” route with cauliflower or chicken.

Cactus, agaves, and aloes, this post is not intended for you. (Now’s a good time to acknowledge that plants generally don’t answer when called upon.) With summer here soon, we thought it would be cool to highlight some needle- and sword-free specimens that should do pretty well in the hotter spots of the garden. To be clear, not desert hot — we’re not about to completely deep-fry our senses. We are referring to areas that experience temperatures of 90+ degrees Fahrenheit (32° Celsius) without much if any marine influence.

0 2 Continue Reading →