Mexico is home to many species of Echeveria (often referred to as hens-and-chicks), much prized by gardeners because of their flower-like rosettes of leaves in a wide range of colors. This one is Echeveria runyonii, from northeastern Mexico, with pallid succulent leaves and red-orange flowers that bloom in the fall. This is the normal form of the species, but in cultivation it is more common to see an aberrant form known as ‘Topsy Turvy’, with unusual curled-back leaf edges. Both make excellent garden plants.
My Hylotelephium has finally flowered and I’m so happy because it really reminds me of home. I’m not sure about the exact species, it might even be an hybrid, but I collected a few tiny offsets last December in my aunt’s garden in Milan, gave them a very small pot and just waited to see what would happen. When I used to live with my family I had a large one which looked exactly the same growing on the terrace in a massive pot, so I was unsure whether it would do well indoors, here in Scotland, and being so confined, but it did and I’m planning to re-pot it in due time to give it more space.
Formerly placed within the genus Sedum, it isn’t just your average pretty succulent: both the leaves and the root are edible and it has being used as a medicinal plant, most commonly to treat wounds, ulcers and bruises. On this note, I remember an episode from when me and my cousin were both eleven or twelve. She had fallen and got a huge, sore bruise on her arm. Being the kid I was, I met her the following day bringing mashed Hylotelephium leaves mixed with honey and olive oil and convinced her to let me spread the viscid, green mixture on her arm. At least it didn’t smell bad. The bruise turned green-yellow a lot quicker than we expected, so it seemed to be healing faster and I was happy to believe it was my doing, but who knows!
Crassula is the type genus of the Stonecrop Family (Crassulaceae) - that is, the genus that lends its name to the family. The majority are native to South Africa, and in many parts of the country you are hard-pressed to find a place to stop that does not have at least one species present. This one is Crassula tecta, from the Little Karoo region. From a distance it looks like it might be dusted with flour (see upper photo), but on close inspection it can be seen that the whitening is due to little raised tubercles all over the leaf surface.
You might remember a post about my mum’s differently loved E. agavoides last time I was Italy in December, but my mum has kept sending me photo-updates as it started developing a flower spike and then bloomed, I just didn’t share them until now. I am finally going back home for a visit next week, and I can’t wait to see my family, the old plants and enjoy some proper sunshine!
Echeveria lutea looks rough after a long Texas summer in full sun, but considering that would have killed many echeverias outright, I’m pretty proud of it. It’s been blooming since June with three branching inflorencenses, the longest of which reaches nearly 30" (or at least it did before I snapped part of it off measuring D:). It also survived all the Harvey rainfall, which melted several other echeveria and grapto hybrids and prompted my ranting in the first place.
Now that the weather starting to cool down, it’s putting out new growth and should start to look better soon. Best echeveria I’ve tried, definitely worth a go if you grow in very hot outdoor conditions!