Dwarf Aloes Perfect for Pots

Kelly Griffin dwarf aloes

If you’re into aloes, you’re probably aware of highly collectible Kelly Griffin hybrids. Kelly, a premier plant breeder, is responsible for dozens of cultivars in the commercial marketplace. Naturally he has a following

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Grow Calandrinia (Cistanthe grandiflora, Purslane)

Calandrinia (Cistanthe grandiflora, rock purslane) in bloom with other succulents (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Gray-green calandrinia (Cistanthe grandiflora) shrubs sit quietly, building their strength, from late summer until spring. Then, like the fireworks they resemble, they explode with neon-bright blooms. Here and in my new video you’ll find out how to keep calandrinia healthy and flowering, and how to use it to enhance your own garden. Calandrinia is native…

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About Aloe arborescens (torch aloe)

Aloe arborescens and Mexican feather grass (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

One of the most widely grown succulents in California from the coast to the foothills is Aloe arborescens (torch aloe). There’s no need to buy it. It’s so common, it’s a “pass-along plant,” meaning friendly neighbors who grow it will likely give you cuttings. But before you go knocking on doors, here’s what you need…

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About Kalanchoe luciae (succulent flapjacks)

Kalanchoe luciae (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Kalanchoe luciae, commonly called paddle plant or flapjack plant, is a highly popular succulent due to its bright coloration and flat, rounded, pancake-like leaves. These are green near the stem and red on the edges. Kalanchoe luciae, perfectly colored  Shades of red in paddle plants vary from rose and magenta to burgundy; greens go from…

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Spiral Aloe Essentials

Spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla) (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Seeing a spiral aloe (Aloe polyphylla) is an unforgettable experience, and to see one is to want one. Under ideal conditions, these rare succulents can attain two feet in diameter. They’re challenging to grow, but not impossible. Like lithops (living stones), if you understand their persnickety requirements, they’ll do fine. Spiral Aloe Essentials Climate: Spiral…

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Crested and Monstrose Succulents with Normals

Euphorbia lactea crest (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

I’m proud to present to you the only YouTube video and Gallery showing both normal and crested succulents side-by-side—nearly 90 different kinds! Succulents are unusual in the plant kingdom in that numerous varieties will grow convoluted, twisted, or puckered forms called crests. These look gathered like a waistband or a drawstring purse, and follow curved…

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How I Understand and Remember Succulent Names

Mammillaria plumosa

Ever wish you could understand and remember succulent names? It’s especially challenging when they’ve changed, multiple common ones exist, and Latin binomials (genus + species) are long and unpronounceable. Here I share my own experiences in order to help, offer hope, make you feel better, and entertain you. It kills me when I get a…

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Agave attenuata (Foxtail Agave) Care & Cultivation

Agave attenuata bloom spike (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

How do I love foxtail agaves (A. attenuata)? Let me count the ways: They’ve performed well in my garden for over 20 years. In pots too. Rosettes eventually attain a manageable 5′ in diameter. Soft, flexible leaves lack barbs or points. Yes, a harmless agave! They’re trunk-forming unlike other agaves, so they serve as beautiful…

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Silly Succulents and Garden Store Horrors

Garden store horrors (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulents that make me want to scream are proliferating at my local garden center…which I’m now calling The Big Box of Horrors. I suspect these appeal to kids and newbies who are unaware that fake-and-flashy succulents are doomed to fail, and also to anyone who assumes if a plant’s for sale, it must be OK.…

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Echeveria Bonanza at Oasis

Echeveria 'Love's Fire' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

The selection of large (dinner-plate-sized) echeverias at Oasis Water Efficient Gardens right now is astonishing. Great timing, too. Autumn is nearly upon us, and an important end-summer task is refreshing our echeveria gardens. My own occupies several large pots. Annually in late August, I remove dry lower leaves, deadhead, and enhance the assortment—hence my trip…

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Discover Stacked Crassulas

Crassula 'Red Pagoda' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

My love affair with stacked crassulas began three decades ago. On a garden tour I saw a succulent with leaves stacked like pancakes along pendant stems. I took photos and finally tracked down the plant (Crassula perforata) several years later. Today stacked crassulas are much easier to come by, and desirable varieties number in the…

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Should You Water Aeoniums in Summer?

Aeoniums in my garden (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Conventional seasonal care advice for aeoniums is to “withhold summer water,” info I’ve routinely passed along. But it’s always bothered me. My own experience and observations indicated otherwise.

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