Abromeitiella lorentziana easily earns its reputation of being an easy and adaptable plant. My plant has tolerated full exposure to scorching sun, heat, and drought lasting several weeks (I'm certain that plants will easily survive months, and possibly years of drought), frequent soaking rains, temperatures ranging from a high (so far) of 95 degrees, to a low which was barely above freezing (it is said to be able to survive temperatures to 25 degrees, but it probably will not survive an extended freeze). In winter, I grow my plant indoors under the illumination of fluorescent lights held just a few inches above its foliage -
This month’s plant is Agave angustifolia v. marginata commonly called the Banded Carribean Agave. This is a very rugged, attractive, eye-
Agave attenuata differs from the typical agave in that it has a trunk to five feet tall with smooth, elliptic, two-
This month’s plant is Agave geminiflora. At first glance this plant does not appear to belong in the Agave family. A. geminiflora is a solitary, short-
Plants of Agave victoriae-
Aloe "Christmas Carole" is a relatively recent introduction, but has become practically an overnight sensation amongst succulent enthusiasts. Plants which have been grown in good light produce a remarkable degree of coloration in their leaves, with the leaf margins, and "teeth" bearing carmine to deep red coloration, against a greenish/grey background; in addition, my plant also exhibits a high degree of pale yellow variegation (which is not always evident on the photographs of this variety which I have seen on the web). This is a smallish plant, usually available in small pots with rosettes from about 3 to 6 inches across, but older plants may eventually reach a height and diameter to nearly 12 inches. Even at smaller sizes, it produces numerous offsets at its base, and will eventually fill a larger planter with clusters of rosettes. It is also capable of producing a number of kiekis on its flower stems. These keikis provide another opportunity to propagate additional plants from this plant.
One of the gems of the truly miniature aloes is Aloe descoingsii, which is widely regarded as the smallest aloe, with tiny rosettes, measuring to only about 2 inches across, and with triangular very succulent leaves, with wide bases, tapering abruptly to a point. In some clones, the leaf surface is very nearly flat, but in many individuals, the leaf margins are raised, to produce a cupped leaf surface. The leaf margins bear minute teeth along their length. All surfaces of the leaves are attractively marked with spots of paler green and greenish white. The stems are extremely compact, rosettes seldom stand taller than 2 inches. This species will soon cluster to produce a compact plant with many individual stems, and may eventually clump to produce clusters containing hundreds of individual stems and measuring over 12 inches in diameter.
My first encounter with the Fan Aloe (Aloe plicatilis) dates back to 1993 when I visited the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek California, and it made quite a lasting impression. This species is arguably the most recognizable of all of the aloes, with distinctive fan-
Most people are familiar with Aloe vera, the so-
the various species of Ariocarpus are amongst the most unusual and attractive of all cacti, with low stems (in some species, growing nearly flush with the surface of the ground, with odd triangular tubercles barely protruding above the ground’s surface). All species are compact, growing to (at most) several inches in height, and to about 10 across or perhaps slightly larger in the largest species (most of the species tend to remain much smaller). While most plants tend to remain solitary, mature plants may eventually produce a few offsets, and a few exceptional clones may even produce compact clusters of a dozen or so stems. The tubercles vary considerably between the species, and for that matter, often show considerable variation within a species: these may be flat, convex or concave, smooth, or intricately rough, long and narrow or short and squat depending upon the species, variety or clone. Except for their earliest months of growth (and in some plants of A. agavoides), no mature plants will produce spines. Some plants of Ariocarpus retusus and A. scapharostrus, may not even produce areoles, which is usually considered one of the fundamental diagnostic traits of the Cactus Family....
While the genus includes some very attractive and curious plants, I believe that the "Bishop's Cap" cactus (Astrophytum myriostigma) is one of the most iconic of the group; it easily recognized by its distinctive geometric, spineless stems, and its characteristic covering of tiny, scale-
I would be hard pressed to imagine a plant which looked more like something created by Dr. Seuss than the “Ponytail Palm”, with its large “Hershey Kiss” shaped caudex, long tapering trunk with its topknot of recurved, grass-
Billbergia nutans is probably the most commonly grown member of this genus: It is widely available, of very easy culture, tolerating a remarkably wide range of growing conditions, and flowers reliably every year for most growers. This species is epeipytic and is native to Paraguay, Uruguay, Southern Brazil, and northern Argentina.
The flowers are the crowning glory of this plant. The arching flowering spikes emerge carmine red to vibrant shocking pink, and eventually reveal pendulous clusters of flowers whose sepals and petals are curiously zoned in greens, carmine reds, and are edged in the most vibrant violet/indigo that I have ever observed in the plant kingdom. Fully opened flowers reveal golden "tears" of hanging anthers heavily laden with pollen....
In a group of plants known for its many interesting curiosities, Bowiea volubilis is one of the great curiosities of the succulent world. It produces large onion-
Bursera fagaroides is a fine example of a pachycaul plant; it produces a very thick, short trunk, topped with a few main branches which typically spread horizontally. The trunk and main branches are of a grey-