Meet Snake-Leaved Medusa Succulents

Euphorbia inermis or Euphorbia esculenta

This essential info on medusoid euphorbias (snake-leaved plants) is from “Spiny Succulents: Euphorbias, cacti, and other sculptural succulents,” by renowned nurseryman Jeff Moore, owner of Solana Succulents near San Diego. I highly recommend his brand new book.

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Super Fall Succulents

Agave 'Snow Glow' (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Those plants that made the final cut are lovely year-round, especially in autumn. These tall, medium and low succulents combine to create a balanced, aesthetically pleasing landscape. And if you have an entire yard to fill, they’re wonderful repeated.

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Plant Expert Tony Avent on Mangaves

Mangave 'Red Wing'

Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery According to plant expert Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, NC, “the world of mangaves is exploding. The colors and forms continue to break new barriers of previously inconceivable foliage.”  Founded in 1988, Tony’s nursery is a premier source of rarities and natives, and offers more than 1,400 kinds of…

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Testing Mangaves in My Garden

I’m testing more than 30 Mangave cultivars in my Zone 9b Southern CA garden. This is a report on the first batch of 14 that arrived two years ago from Hans Hansen of Walters Gardens, a wholesale perennial grower in Zeeland, MI. Hans is the world’s leading breeder of mangaves, and the first to reproduce them via…

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Midwinter Succulent Show: Big Aloes In Bloom

Red Aloe ferox, stressed (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Above: Aloe ferox at Desert Theater nursery, Escondido, CA. From my video, Spectacular Aloes in Flower. Large, sculptural aloes with brilliant, Popsicle-like flowers make striking garden plants. Midwinter is peak aloe bloom season and an excellent time to see them in nurseries and landscapes. Aloe ferox, or Cape Aloe, might be considered a tree because of its height at maturity–6 to 8 feet with bloom…

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How Cactus Snowflakes Seduced Me

Cactus snowflake

Remarkably, the spination of certain cacti suggests snowflakes, something I first noticed years ago at a succulent specialty nursery. I was there to photograph aloes in bloom, but I’d come too early in the season. I thought of leaving, and I’m so glad I didn’t! That afternoon forever changed the way I see certain succulent…

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The Secret to Happy Succulents

Can you grow saguaros in Tucson? You bet! In California, probably not. The secret to happy succulents is to duplicate their native growing conditions as much as possible. The more you know about where a succulent comes from, the easier you can do this…up to a point. Occasionally (not often) it’s nearly impossible. No matter…

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Agaves Handle Summer Heat

Late summer is when tough succulents really shine. Large agaves handle summer heat, and are unfazed by harsh sun, high temps and lack of rain. Their statuesque, fountainlike forms lend a sculptural element to any landscape, and contrast beautifully with fine-textured ornamentals. They also make good firebreak plants and security fences. With the exception of a few…

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