jade plant

Of Succulent Wreaths and Cuttings

– Posted in: Succulents

I'm often asked to recommend sources of succulent cuttings for wreaths, topiaries and other projects. Unfortunately, most online sources sell cuttings for around $1/apiece, which means a wreath---not counting its moss-packed wire donut---may cost $100 to make. But pre-made wreaths available this time of year not only cost much less, they're also a great source [...]

Succulents That Like Stress

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

If there's a good thing about our too-hot Southern California summers, it's that heat makes certain succulents turn color. A case in point is Aloe nobilis, which in my garden grows in nutrient-poor decomposed granite with minimal water. In winter, the same plant reverts to green. Such "stressed" succulents---which seal moisture in their leaves as [...]

Blue-Ribbon Succulents

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

The annual cactus and succulent show at the Los Angeles Arboretum is the largest in the world.  It's a 2-hour drive for me, but I wouldn't miss it. When I see a plant I've never seen before or a perfect specimen of something I'm familiar with, I go slack-jawed and stare. And this year there were dozens. [...]

Firewise Plants

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

Wildfires making national news are a wake-up call for us Southern Californians who live near canyons and wilderness areas. Hot Santa Ana winds blow from the desert, desiccating already stressed plants and threatening to push backcountry brush fires all the way to the sea. We've had no rain for months and everything is tinder-dry. My husband and I were evacuated from our [...]