It’s so enjoyable to hang outside with our fleshy friends that we sometimes forget indoor “succulenting” is totally a thing too. And has been for ages. (For a brief, glorious moment, we thought we had coined that juicy gerund, but no.)
Golden barrel cactus adds rugged depth to the garden
Thank Mother Nature that not all living things are as delicate as us humans. In summer, we pine for anything that cools us off — beaches, pools, lakes, and all matters of covered, artificially cooled rooms. Not golden barrel.
There’s not a whole lot of mellow about the eye-popping, golden-yellow sphere officially known as Echinocactus grusonii, which belongs in the orbit of every gardener who desires a space light on fuss but deep with dramatic appeal. The color, texture, and shape of golden barrel cactus lend interest, definition, and contrast to any composition. For maximum effect, group it in threes.
It can be grown in a container on a warm, bright patio or in full sun in a garden landscape. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Can tolerate temperatures below freezing for brief periods, but is best to protect from frost to prevent scarring.
We’re thrilled to share the creative chops of the four winners of the first Altman Plants team photo contest. We challenged our colleagues to submit images that captured nature being awesome in whatever way they could find, whether in and around their homes or while out and about, and they came through big time. In the case of this fab four, that could be of a hummingbird zipping around for nourishment or of a quiet moment with a rose bush in the rain. Of a living wall of succulent colors and textures or of a backyard space transformation.
Accompanying the four photos below are the stories behind them, in the words of our coworkers. View all of the winners’ submissions here.
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.
Stretching generally has a positive connotation when it comes to us human beings, especially in the realm of physical fitness. Or when we get to splay out on the sand or poolside for some deserved chillaxation. With succulents, though, not so much. A stretched plant is a light-deprived plant. All that stretching robs the plant of its attractive, natural, compact form. Light deprivation also prevents plants from exhibiting their full chroma potential. Instead, leaves become pale and possibly yellowed, as if suffering from chlorosis.
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.
Tree options for succulent gardens are many. We look at five:
Summer has arrived, which has us thinking of shade and the coming moments when we will be fleeing for cover from an oppressive sun.
At the same time, feeling compelled to seek refuge indoors is not particularly desirable. Do you have any cool or cool-ish zones in your succulent garden? Or, if not some majestic, light-blocking tree canopy, areas where more wispy specimens soften the sun’s impact for your fleshy leaved light lovers?
Tom talks about a hens-and-chicks succulent that will light up your landscape or glow from a container: Echeveria ‘Lola’. The plant forms a sculpted rosette with a somewhat “rosebud” shape. Leaves are alabaster marble with a delicate blush of pinkish violet and tipped with rose. Rosette gives the impression of alabaster wax suffused with violet. Flowers are peach, bell-shaped and appear in spring. Would look great in a centerpiece or bridal bouquet.