Thursday 26 May 2011

Garden updates and silver linings

I have posted a picture of my echeveria blue prince before. It is a beautiful plant and flowered all summer and well into winter.  It didn't quite make it onto the A list for winter, but made it into the porch.  It breezed through and I was looking forward to seeing it develop this year. 

A couple of months back I re-potted it and everything looked healthy. The pup had grown nicely but I left it on to grow as a clump. Satisfied I put the pot to one side not thinking any more about it while I continued re-potting other plants.  Then disaster,  I spiked myself on an agave and moved my arm too quickly and knocked the pot off.  It was one of those slow motion moments as it fell to the ground landing with  sickening snaps.

I gingerly picked it up not wanting to see the damage and found I had snapped off or broken all the leaves on one side of the main rosette. So much for my idea of having it as one of my prized plants this year. You can imagine how annoyed I was, not helped by the throbbing you get when you get a particularly nasty agave spiking.

Of course I knew the plant would recover, the main thing was to decide what to do; take the pup off and grow that as my main plant,  or wait and see what happens.  In the end I went for wait and a couple of months later there are lots of new pups growing from the damaged stem.

I am still upset to have spoilt the plant,  but on the bright side I now a few spares (did I say I was cutting down on propagation this year?) and I get to decide what look I want for the pot.  Currently I am thinking of taking the top off the damaged stem and the cluster of three pups and leaving everything else to form a big clump. It may not look great this year but should look spectacular next year. As long as I can avoid dropping it again that is!

As I am on the subject of recovering after damage I thought I would also give an update on the two other plants.  The aloe striatula is growing at an amazing rate, here is the picture I posted a little over a month ago:

And here today,  I am probably going to have to thin out the clump to allow them space to grow.

There is no doubt that the spring we have had in the UK allowed it to recover like this.  Just in case you are wondering about the rubber snake in the bottom right, it was a joke present from a neighbour, who thought my arid landscape needed some matching fauna. I had heard that cats are scared of snakes and have left them on there to deter them from using it as a litter tray, and amazingly it actually seems to work!

The aloe striatula x aristrata pups are also growing, although at a slower pace.

I would love for one of the pups to stay variegated,  but sadly most have already reverted to green with the new leaves.

The other plants that are offsetting like mad are the sempervivums.  This one produced 12 pups when I planted it last year so I guess it is no surprise that each of the pups has now produced 6 - 8 pups of their own.  It was a mass of tentacles stretching out around the bowl, so I spent some time to tidy it up.

The original plant is starting to flower as you can see.  I don't think I will have a problem with gaps when they die afterwards, given how many plants there are now.  I have quite a few sempervivums coming into flower, sempervivum lively bug is another.

It is very symmetrical in the way it is flowering,  with one central spire and 5 at almost exactly equal points around it. These little flower spikes will be appearing all around the garden in the pots and dry bed for the rest of the summer. Not the most dramatic of flowers but they look great sticking up between the other plants. Maybe this will be the year I get around to doing the sempervivum picture I have been planning.


  1. I have a question - I just re-potted my echeveria, and pulled off many rotted leaves from the bottom, which uncovered a bare stem about 3 inches long. Can you bury the stem? Or do you need to keep the stem above soil? I currently have it buried, and then got concerned thinking about it since I'm not sure. Any advice is much appreciated - thank you!

  2. Echeverias tend to be very forgiving and burying deeper is usually fine. Where I have long stems I tend to cut the top off and plant that. This also allows you to keep the pots and rootball small but will slow the plant down while it re-roots.

  3. The echveria blue prince is gorgeous.

    1. Thank you, it is one of my favourites. I must do an update on it