Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three succulents getting ready to bloom

As the rain continues to fall, plants that would normally be blooming already are holding back. I expect them to catch up as soon as sunshine returns, but for the rest of the week it looks like we’ll be bouncing from one storm to the next.

Since there’s not much I can do in the garden when the weather is like this, I decided to take photos of three succulents that are this close to flowering. Often the anticipation is as sweet as the payoff!

The first one is the coral aloe (Aloe striata). We have three of them, and two will flower this year for the first time. This is one of my favorite aloes, and I can’t wait for the flowers to open. I hope to have photos of the flowers at the end of next week, provided we get a decent amount of sun in the meantime.

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Aloe striata in the succulent bed next to our front door. The leaves have grown massively this past year. Each leaf is now between 18 and 20 inches long, so the plant has a diameter of more than 3 feet.
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This Aloe striata is in the succulent bed next to our driveway. It’s quite a bit smaller than the other one (about 2 feet in diameter) and a bit more reddish because it gets more sun.

The next one is the tiger or partridge-breast aloe (Aloe variegata). It bloomed liberally last year and has five flower stalks this year. It has a reputation for being sensitive to overwatering, but ours has gotten rained on as much as everything else and shows no sign of distress—knock on wood! The soil in this succulent bed is very loose and porous, which really helps.

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Aloe variegata in succulent bed next to our front door. It is now 11 inches tall.

The final succulent I want to mention today is a sedum from Mexico, Sedum confusum. This sprawling groundcover, up to 10 inches tall (ours is currently about 6 inches), is probably the most cold-hardy of the Mexican sedums—Internet sources say to zone 7. Its apple green foliage is attractive year round, but never more so than in the spring when it is covered with brilliant yellow flowers. I bought ours in a 6-pack, with each plant nothing more than a 4 inch sprig, and after almost two years in the ground they have grown into nicely shaped mounds (in the photo below you can see two of them).

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Sedum confusum in the planting strip outside the front yard fence. Some flowers have opened up already.

2 comments:

  1. Gerhard, are you getting more rain than usual this year? Is the rainy season lasting longer than normal?

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  2. Alan, our rainy season typically goes into April but it usually doesn't rain continuously. This year we've had one system after another. Our rainfall totals for the season (which starts July 1st) are a little over 18". That's about 110% of normal but we still have a good month of potential rain ahead.

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