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Plantidote of the Day 2013-02-21

twig's picture

blooming succulent

Blooming succulent

My best guess is either a dudleya or echeveria, but those could both be wrong. Succulents can be pretty confusing. Many of them look very similar to one another, so if anyone recognizes this little plant, please help set the record straight. Anyway, whatever it is, the flowers are rare -- and sometimes wonderfully showy, like this example. This particular plant has only bloomed once in the past few years. Fortunately, the camera was handy and now we can enjoy it whenever.

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but it really is a guess. Many succulents are hard to tell apart. Especially since their growth can vary from compact to "lanky" depending on growing conditions.
Insanely et al.: Speaking of growing conditions, I've had good luck with cacti as long as they aren't overwatered and get good light. My cacti experience is in coastal California. I don't know if having superbly well-drained soil can get around that in wetter climates. Good luck!

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

For months, I have been pondering where I can plant a cactus corner. I love the Sonoran desert look for a small dry garden somewhere, but it doesn't really fit in with the roses and orchards I have here. Perhaps an enclosed area away from all other plants. I just need the right location.
A few yrs ago, I bought a packet of cactus seeds. I planted them in pots and lo and behold, they sprouted. Now I have about 28 very cool cactus plants in pots that really would like a home in the dirt.
Anybody have any experience with cactus gardens?

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but I think you can find a better source ;-). I have some cacti, but they're not in a special area, mostly in pots so they don't get waterlogged when the monsoons hit. The San Pedros seem fine with water, but some of the other ones rotted a few years ago when we had torrential rains.

I hope it works out for you. They really are wonderful plants. I just planted seeds for this purple prickly pear, which should be pretty interesting. And fun to say, too!

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Your comment about all being in pots reminded me that Martha Stewart has a cactus garden that uses them in containers. It was sublime. She's a clever gal.

jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

I grow cactus on my septic drainfield in PNW and it's wet here EXCEPT in the summer! I do prop up the plants w/ river rock mulch. I get some rot that I have to cut away, so the plants never get large. My cactus look out of place too, but I interplanted them with bearded iris and santolina so it doesn't look quite so weird.

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Because I have a big yard and most of it is wild native stuff and plenty of
really nasty weeds, I kinda worry about having to pull weeds from around those thorny
cacti. I guess a landscape fabric would help.

Joel, yes, drainage is the most important. I could build up an area and set some boulders and that would help on the drainage too. Mix in some gravely soil.
Maybe I can enclose it on 3 sides with something solid so it is retained and really raise up the soil.
Humm, good project.

JoeInSF's picture
Submitted by JoeInSF on

My expanse of farmland is the back deck, so I'm a container gardener. Makes for easy soil control, though. Good luck with your new cactus project!

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