The mimicry plants known as mesembs are the thespians of the succulent world, mind-blowingly adaptable actors often accustomed to harsh, sun-blasted habitats that receive only a few inches of rain a year. They grow in coarse sand with just their translucent tops showing, enabling sunlight to reach the interior of each plant. The rest is underground, which minimizes exposure to extreme elements.
We 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.
Both varieties are among those you may receive with our Valentine’s Day Rosette Succulent Collection, an online exclusive, at shopaltmanplants.com.
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.
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!
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.
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’ 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.
- 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 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!
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.
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.
Quarterback: Echeveria ‘Cubic Frost’
Running Back: Echeveria ‘Neon Breakers’
Tight End: Lithops
Head Coach: Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’