by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Watters Garden Center is a Center for Optimism.
Optimism (op·ti·mism) definition: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.
The alternate garden definition – one who plants seed or young plants; with faith it will grow into something better. Plants naturally take optimism, hope, or faith to believe in their potential, see positive outcomes, and nurture your garden. There is more, something satisfying in the sheer act of gardening. I have helped so many in this season of COVID, step into the garden center, and witnessed the healing power of a store full of plants. I like to think Watters Garden Center is a Center for Optimism.
Enough of garden philosophy; let’s talk succulents. The popularity of succulent plants has exploded this year due to their easy care and diversity of these fascinating plants. Particular anatomical adaptations and colors make some succulents look as they belong to another planet than on a kitchen counter or windowsill. Here are ten unusual succulents that add personality and distinction to your garden, houseplant collection, a desk at work, even “on the road” in that new motor home.
Pebbled Tiger Jaws – Faucaria felina is the kind of plant that both attracts and repels the temptation to touch its strangely serrated leaves. The plant produces golden yellow flowers that nearly obscure the plant in fall and winter in addition to the exciting foliage. Pebbled tiger jaw fills a niche for those who want to grow a succulent in a shady spot.
Crinkle Leaf Plant – Adromischus cristatus feature triangular leaves with lightly ruffled tips. Crinkle leaf tolerates light frost but grows best in a cool sunny spot with infrequent water. On mature plants, red and white flowers peek out from between the two-inch leaves.
Plover Eggs – Adromischus cooperi sports pudgy leaves dotted with purplish speckles. This plant is especially sensitive to frost, perfect for indoor winter gardener. The speckles become pronounced in brighter rooms. Plants are easy to propagate by leaf cuttings. Simply twist off a leaf from the stem and insert it into a moist cactus mix. Roots form in four to six weeks.
Mexican Hens and Chicks’Topsy Turvy’ encompasses hundreds of rosette-forming succulents native to the Americas south of Arizona. The squared-off leaf tips give this succulent a sea urchin appearance that looks handsome when planted in groups or combined with other succulents in a dish garden.
Baseball Plant – Euphorbia obesa has a plumpness to it that beefs up any container garden. Its spherical shape adds heft and texture to plantings but doesn’t bear the spines expected from a cactus-type succulent. Weekly water keeps a baseball plant very happy. Petite flowers that appear on top of the plant lets you know the plant is thriving.
Graptoveria ‘Topsy Debbie‘ – This plant forms rosettes type foliage spread by offsets. Each readily forms new plants for propagating pleasure. Plants grow best in bright rooms.
Echeveria gibbiflora’ Barbillion’ – Like the wattle of a turkey, and you instantly visualize this beautifully hideous succulent. They both are carunculated, a term that refers to a bumpy, fleshy growth that is beautifully hideous! Give plenty of light, yet water sparingly, this unique succulent piques the interest of even the most experienced gardener.
Echeveria’ Blue Curls’ – With its frilly leaves in shades of pink and aqua, a single specimen of this succulent makes an exquisite statement in containers. Prevent water from accumulating within the rosette and remove dead leaves to increase plant vigor.
Aloe hawthoroides – The commonplace aloe is updated with dozens of feathery bristles on each leaf. This highly touchable plant has a moderate growth habit that grows in any room of your home.
Kalanchoe rhombopilosa – Who can resist a plant called “pies from heaven?” This kalanchoe is but one of the many strange and beautiful living things you’ll find at the garden center. The leaves are fuzzy, gray, and covered with brown streaking. Insignificant yellow flowers appear on stalks in the spring. Kalanchoes prefer growing in rooms with abundant light.
2021 Succulents and indoor design ideas from Watters Pinterest Board. Directions and suggestions for indoor planting and fun with succulents.
Until next week, I’ll be helping gardeners create their own succulent gardens here at Watters Garden Center.