This is an article about trial and error, success and failure, and about creating a treated lumber succulent container garden from scratch. It is not really a 'how to' article though it started out that way. It is more of a 'one way to do it' article including some of the reasons perhaps why NOT to do something this way.
Caudiciform plants, also known as Fat Plants, are a morphologic grouping of many totally unrelated plants all having a fat stem/trunk or succulent roots that can be raised up in cultivation. These plants are wonderful curiosities and are very popular among those plant collectors and growers that like odd or peculiar plants. The following is a brief introduction to these marvelous plants and a short list of the more common examples, including several of the easier ones to grow, in case one is interested in starting their own 'Fat Plant' collection.
Many cacti are ornamental for a variety of reasons: their spines, their overall shape and size, or their amazing flowers. But some cacti are simply amazing for the color of their skin. There are many species of blue cacti and these can make some of the most beautiful and striking landscape plants for desert gardens.
Invasive species are a big problem around the world and what to do about them is a controversial topic. So I thought I would skirt most of the controversy and talk about the invasive species I see from my doorstep.
In awareness of National Invasive Species Week earlier this month, I thought I would discuss some species I have personal experience with that most don't normally think of as invasive, but certainly are in my garden.
In part one, we discussed some of the nomenclature used to describe aloe flowers, so you may need to refer to that article if there are unknown terms in this one. This article is really just a contination of the last article and an introduction to some, but certainly not anywhere near all, of the aloes that one can see flowering in cultivation, at least here in the southwestern US.
Now that it's winter again, I guess this is a good time to discuss cold hardy palms. Every year growers in marginal climates repeatedly experiment with hundreds of species of palms, pushing them to their limits and trying to find a few gems to add to their list of what can survive in their less-than-ideal climates. This article is primarily a discussion of the better known palms to give the would be grower in a marginal (non-tropical) climate some ideas of what palms are available for their climate, and a good place to start experimenting on their own.
Perhaps growing palms from seeds is not entirely unique a process, but as I know little about growing much else from seed, I present this article, and the follow up one, for those who have little experience with palm seeds, germination and care.
Now that Christmas time is nearing, you will undoubtedly start seeing these beautiful plants for sale again, as they have become an important holiday tradition. One of the frustrating things about these plants is keeping them healthy and blooming throughout the entire holiday season, or just plain keeping them alive. The following is a brief overview of this plant and not only how to take care of these plants this winter, but keep them year after year.
This article is designed to give the reader an introduction to some of the more common Ficus species in cultivation, bonsai and general ornamental use. The edible fig, Ficus carica, will not be discussed in this article as one could write several articles on that species alone.
Agaves are wonderful garden plants and make excellent potted plants as well. Since they do so well in pots, they can be grown in any state in the U.S. indoors in winter and outdoors in the summer, weather permitting, or outdoors year round in those areas where little or no frost is encountered.
One of the premeire caudiciform plants for both pot culture and landscaping are the Pachypodiums. These are pachycaul plants from Madagascar and southern Africa. The following is a brief discussion of the genus, including some tips on care and growing, as well as an introduction to many of the species more commonly encountered in cultivation.
The following article goes over some of the symptoms of pest damage to tropical and succulent plants I see in my own personal yard, along with a list of the usual suspects. Recognizing certain forms of damage is important so the culprits can be narrowed down and a treatment plan formulated.
Some time ago I wrote an article about the hazards of my garden, real and exaggerated. But now, after having created this beast, I have to tame it. In the process of pruning dangerous and toxic plants, I have learned, often the hard way, a few things about dealing with these sorts of exotic life forms in terms of trying to control them. This article is just a few pearls of experience I pass on to you, particularly for those who are planning to grow some of these same plants.
International Rabbit Day is the fourth Saturday in September, so I thought it was timely to discuss the proper feeding of these wonderful pets. Many of you are already feeding rabbits perfectly by having lawn and vegetable gardens that are being raided by wild rabbits. But some of us have rabbits as pets. And surprisingly most pet rabbits do not get fed properly. This article will act as a current guideline for proper pet rabbit nutrition, from a veterinary point of view.
Stress is supposed to be a bad thing, but stressed cacti and succulents can sometimes be beautiful (and even 'normal') and associated changes with this stress are what often attract our attention to these unique plants. The question should be more what is "good" stress and what is "bad" stress. The following article is a brief discussion of the good and bad stresses we see in our cacti and succulents.
Many natural plant toxins are used in veterinary and human medicine for a variety of reasons. The word 'natural' sometimes seems to stand out more than the word toxin does, and so many associate 'natural' with good, organic... and safe. And indeed, pyrethrins are often advertised as one of the safest insecticides available. And their synthetic counterparts, the pyrethroids, are relatively toxic in comparison. But as discussed in this article, natural toxin does not mean safe toxin, nor does synthetic toxin necessarily mean deadly. Since these poisons are used extensively on pets, I thought I would discuss some of the pros and cons of these common toxins.
I have been growing aloes for years now but am still fascinated with the world's focus on this single species as something miraculous. Is this really a singularly amazing, healing species or is there a lot of overstated benefits of this plant? And why is Aloe vera also on most toxic plant lists, if it is such a great healing plant? And what of the other species- do they have beneficial properties as well? For the answers to some of these questions, read on.
Most think of the tropics when they think of palms. But many species are well adapted to desert life, and surprisingly many others seem to make the transition as well. For those who live in the warmer, dry regions of the world, and are interested in growing some nice tropicals in your area, this might be the article for you.
This pictorial article is provided as an introduction to one of the most beautiful and available flowering succulents for landscaping and pot culture in existence. There are hundreds of species of aloes in cultivation and many of them have magnificent and colorful flowers... and some have less than amazing flowers as well. The following is a list of some of the aloe flowers growing in southern California, starting with the Aloe species starting with 'M' and going through 'R'.
This article will give you a comprehensive (though not exhaustive) list of the best books, journals and internet sites to find information about the following groups of plants: cacti, agaves and their relatives (Nolinideae), aloes and their relatives, Crassulas and their relatives, succulent Euphorbias, caudiciforms, asclepiads and mesembs, Bromeliads, palms, cycads, bamboo and orchids.
By middle to late spring, into early summer, the types of succulents flowering are predominately cacti and tend to remain so the rest of the summer. However, there are still plenty of aloes that bloom this 'late' in the year, along with a good variety of Euphorbias and other succulents. This article is a pictorial to give the reader some idea what might be in bloom this time of year in the world of succulents and cacti.
In celebration of National Turtle and Tortoise Day on May 23 and since many Mediterranean gardens are home to one or more desert tortoises (not to mention a host of other tortoise species), let's discuss some of the controversies and recommendations for properly feeding these amazing vegetarian creatures.
In several previous articles I introduced the Davesgarden readers to Agaves (one of my very first articles) and then to some of the larger species (Agaves 101). But for those who like their succulent plants a more manageable size, or simply like potted Agaves, or do not have large gardens for the huge, specimen species, then the following discussion might be for you.
This the 5th installment in a series of 12 monthly articles providing the reader with some idea what succulents bloom what time of year (should hold true pretty much anywhere in the northern hemisphere outdoors- plants in the southern hemisphere always bloom during the same season as in the north, only seasons are the opposite time of the year). Note that many plants bloom multiple times of the year, or have a more 'opportunistic' flowering schedule. Still, this is an introduction should one like to know what to expect when growing their own succulents, or when visiting warmer areas of the world where these succulents grow outdoors.
March is another great month for succulents flowers (most winter and spring months are), though this one is more evenly spread out among the various succulent and related families. This article is an introductory guide to what one might expect to be blooming this time of year.
Dracaenas are Agave relatives and are a large group of plants that include some of the more popular house plants as well as some of the most striking xeric and massive trees used in outdoor landscaping. This article is an introduction to this interesting group of plants.
Most plants people grow and are familiar with are flowering plants. But many plants don't make flowers at all, ever. Some of these we are very familiar with (ferns, pine trees etc.), but how are they related and what makes them different? This article is an introduction to a large group of non-flowering plants called the Gymnosperms.
Probably the very best month of the entire year for seeing the flowers of succulents is February. This article is mostly a visual display for those who might want to know what is in store for them should they want to visit a succulent garden in a warm temperate climate in February, or have succulents of their own that are not dormant and getting enough light to warrant blooming.
There are several bulbs that I tend to lump into the succulent category since they grow so well in the same situations that cacti and succulents do, and the Pregnant Onion, Albuca bracteata (aka Ornithogalum longibracteatum) is one of the easiest of these I have grown. The following article is an introduction to this common house plant and outdoor potted or garden bulb that grows like a succulent with very little added care needed.