Echeveria, Echeveria plants, Echeveria Succulents, Echeveria Succulent Plants, Echeveria flowers, Echeveria blooms, Echeveria flower, Echeveria bloom,

Top 5 Succulent Plants To Grow for Beginners

Hi Guys 😀 

In this Blog I share with you my Top 5 Succulent Plants To Grow For Beginners 😀 

There are many Succulent Plants that are wonderful to grow but these are my recommendations on what I think are very easy for beginners to start with, and in this Blog I will be sharing links to pages and videos that I have wrote on this website and also videos I have made on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon to help newbies to grow and care for these incredible succulents.

Echeveria, Echeveria plants, Echeveria Succulents, Echeveria Succulent Plants, Echeveria flowers, Echeveria blooms, Echeveria flower, Echeveria bloom,
Me with some Echeveria plants that I could not resist buying from my local Supermarket.

1,ECHEVERIA:

Echeveria, Echeveria plants, Echeveria Succulents, Echeveria Succulent Plants, Echeveria flowers, Echeveria blooms, Echeveria flower, Echeveria bloom,
An Echeveria in beautiful flower at Dublin Botanic Gardens.

Echeveria’s are one of the most beautiful Succulents to grow, they grow with a rosette appearance that always remind me of a flower. There are many different types of Echeveria that are easily available for sale at many garden shops, and plant nurseries. 

If you can provide them with plenty of sunshine in Spring and Summer and a well draining soil, and a cool and mostly dry winter rest period then they will readily flower all through the Spring, Summer and often into late fall /Autumn too.

Graptopetalum and Graptosedum are also excellent plants to grow for beginners and resemble Echeveria and the care for both of them is the same as Echeveria.

graptopetalum, graptopetalums, graptopetalum succulents, Echeveria, Echeveria plants, Echeveria Succulents, Echeveria Succulent Plants, Echeveria flowers, Echeveria blooms, Echeveria flower, Echeveria bloom,
My Graptopetalum Succulent Plant, this plant resembles Echeveria and the care is the same.

I have made a video on my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Care For Echeveria and I share lots of tips and tricks on How to care for them and you can watch this video below:

2, GASTERIA:

Gasteria, Gasteria's, Gasteria succulents, Gasteria in flower, Gasteria flowers, Gasteria blooms,
A Gasteria in flower at Dublin Botanic Gardens, many Gasteria have wonderful variegated fan like leaf arrangements.

Gasteria’s are wonderful small growing compact plants that are ideal for people who do not have the space for large growing plants. The are often variegated and have wonderful patterning to them. Gasteria’s are also more shade loving than many other Succulents, making them ideal for growers who do not have south facing windows or positions, although many Gasteria’s can also tolerate full sun too as well as more shade. 

Provide Gasteria with a bright position and a well draining soil and they will also readily flower from spring and Summer and into the Fall / Autumn.

I have made a video on my You tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Care for Gasteria and you can watch this video below:

3, HAWORTHIA:

Haworthia, Haworthia's, Haworthia plants, Haworthia succulents, Haworthia attenuata, Haworthia attenuata - fasciata, Haworthia succulents,
My 36 year old Haworthia attenuata – fasciata plant, one of my very first succulent plants. This plant was just a small Rosette and has over the years formed into a wonderful large bowl arrangement with many Rosettes.

Haworthia plants are very easy to grow and also nice and compact making them ideal for growers who do not have much space for the larger growing succulents. Haworthia is also perfect for people who don’t have sunny windows or positions as Haworthia prefer to be grown in more shade than many other Succulents, and although they appreciate some early morning sunshine, they can be grown in a bright position with indirect sunshine, or even a bright well lit position that does not receive any sun, although these plants will flower more readily if either a couple of hours f morning sun or indirect sunshine can be provided.

The rosettes form into little clumps over time and will eventually fill a bowl with their rosettes, the rosettes can also be separated from the parent plant and be planted up individually.

The flowers are not the most impressive on these plants but their foliage and rosette appearance to the leaves make them very attractive to grow for their foliage and ease of care.

Haworthia, Haworthia cooperi, Haworthia's, Haworthia, Haworthia plants,
My Haworthia cooperi Succulent plant

Haworthia like all Succulents like a very well draining soil mix and to dry out in between waterings, and prefer to be kept more cool and dry over the Winter.

4, ALOE: 

Aloe arborescens plant, Aloe plant, Aloes, Aloe succulents, Aloe plants, Aloe arborescens,
Our Aloe arborescens plant, this particular Aloe can grow very large over time, however there are many Aloes that stay small and compact, this genus is very varied. Photo by Hans Muller

Aloe Plants have to be one of the most famous of all succulent plants to grow, the most well known being the very common Aloe Vera, Aloe Vera is commonly always seen for sale at almost any garden shop or plant nursery, its a very easy and fast growing succulent with many well known medicinal and skin care uses.

There are many different types of Aloe plants, some are smaller and some can grow very large over time, making them ideal specimens for growers who love larger plants or have greenhouses or conservatories. Many Aloes especially the many hybrids now available will stay small and grow into clumping rosettes, and because this genus is so varied it makes it ideal for growers who love either small growing or very large growing Succulents.

Aloes do need lots of sunshine otherwise they will grow thin and leggy. However if growing Aloes behind glass or in a greenhouse its best to provide some shade in the strong midday sun in Summer. Aloe plants need a very well draining soil, water only when the soil has completely dried out in the pot before watering again, keep the soil dry during Winter with occasional watering if growing Aloes indoors in winter.

I have made a video for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Care For Aloe and you can watch this video below:

5, CRASSULA:

Crassula, Crassula falcata, Crassula Falcata, Crassula falcata propeller plant, Propeller plant,
My Crassula falcata plant in beautiful bloom, Photo by Hans Muller

Crassula is a very large and very varied range of many Succulent plants, the most common one being the Jade Crassula Ovata, also known as the Chinese Jade Money Plant. Crassulas are wonderful plants for beginners and also perfect for growers who want to see flowers in Winter, as many Crassula will flower in Winter as well in Summer and quite often Crassula’s will prefer to have a bit of a dormancy in mid Summer when everything else is in flower and growth.

Crassula like a sunny position to encourage them to flower, they also need a well draining soil and the soil to dry out completely in between waterings,

There are many small growing Crassula that are ideal for a nice sunny windowsill and also many crassula like the Crassula ovata that grow large into a tree over time.

If I had to pick just one Crassula to grow I would chose the Crassula ovata, its a classic favourite and easy to prune and keep in shape and if you want to know How to get your Jade Crassula ovata to Flower check out this video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How To Get your Jade Crassula Ovata to Flower and you can watch this video below:

I hope you found my Top 5 Succulents to Grow for Beginners Blog helpful and if you want to watch a video that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on the Top 5 Succulent Plants To Grow for beginners you can watch this video below:

Thank you all for reading Guys and Happy Growing to you <3 

 

 

 

 

Gasteria, Gasteria variegated, Gasteria pups, Gasteria offsets, Gasteria babies,

How to Care for and Grow Gasteria Succulent Plants

What are Gasteria Plants ? 

Gasteria is a genus of succulent plants that is native to South Africa and are related to the Aloe, Haworthia and Sansevieria family of plants.

Gasteria includes around 80 different species and they are known for their beautiful very striking tongue like leaves that can vary in size from small and compact leaves to long and and tongue like.

I have made a detailed How To care for Gasteria video for my cacti and succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and also a video on repotting Gasteria and I have shared the links to these videos at the bottom of this Blog.

Gasteria, Gasteria variegated, Gasteria pups, Gasteria offsets, Gasteria babies,
My Variegated Gasteria with offsets ‘babies’ forming all around the base, these can be detached with a sharp clean knife and potted up as little individual plants.

HOW TO CARE FOR GASTERIA

Light Levels

Gasteria like to be grown in a position that receives plenty of bright natural light but these plants prefer to be away from strong direct sunshine and a position that receives part sun or indirect sunshine is best for growing these plants. Too much sunshine can make the leaves on these plants turn yellow or red.

If you are growing Gasteria as a houseplant its advisable they are placed in a bright position away from strong sunshine, and a window that receives some part sun for example morning sun that is not too strong is best, avoid afternoon sun in a south facing position in a window or if only a south facing position is available then you can cover the window with a shade cloth or net so the plant receives dappled sunshine.

Watering

Gasteria can take plenty of water during the warm Summer months but its very important to always allow the soil to totally dry before watering again. Like most Succulents these plants like to have a winter rest period where watering should be reduced to a bare minimum. I stop watering my Gasterias almost completely from October until mid March but I do still give a small amount of water to them once every 6 weeks but I grow mine outside in a heated polytunnel that is kept cool at around 7 Celsius / 45 Fahrenheit, but if you grow yours inside a house that is kept at a normal room temperature its best to give a small amount of water once a month to prevent the plants shrivelling, however its best to only water very lightly as watering these plants during Winter can encourage them to grow lanky and stretched out and at the worst case rot at the roots.

Clean Rainwater is always preferable to tap water if possible, but these plants are pretty hardy to tap water.

Temperature

Gasteria like most succulents can take high Summer temperatures but if you are growing these plants indoors or in a greenhouse or polytunnel its important that plenty of ventilation can be given otherwise these plants can ‘cook’ in temperatures above 100F without fresh air.

In Winter its best to keep these plants at a minimum Winter Temperature of 7 Celsius / 45 Fahrenheit but they can take slightly lower than this for brief periods but never any lower than 5 Celsius / 41 Fahrenheit as these plants can not take any frost at all, but ideally these plants are happier kept above 7 C / 41 F in Winter. Ideally 10 C / 50 F is a safer temperature in Winter if it can be provided and a cool unheated but bright room to overwinter them without heating would be best as keeping these plants on the cool side in Winter encourages blooming in the Spring and Summer. 

Re potting & Soil media

Gasteria like to be planted in a well drained soil mix and a cacti and succulent soil is ideal for these plants.

I usually make my own soil mix up of 1 part loam and 1 part grit and 1 part horticultural sand but any good quality well draining cactus and succulent mix will work well for these plants.

Gasteria have thick and very fleshy white roots that often die back every few years and new ones form, because of this its important that all the dead dried roots are removed every time you repot them. When I re pot my Gasteria’s I will cut off the dried dead roots and leave the plants out of their pots overnight before I pot them into their new pot and soil media, I do this to allow any roots that may have got damaged from trimming the dead ones to callus over, this prevents the slight possibility of root rot, this is not a necessity but its something I prefer to do and would personally recommend.

Here is  a video below I have made for my cactus and succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How I repot my Gasteria and Haworthia and Aloe plants with their fleshy big white roots, and in the video I show my Haworthia as an example but this also applies to Gasteria.

Here is a video below I have made for my Cacti and Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to make your own cactus and Succulent Soil in 3 easy steps:

Fertilising 

Gasteria can be fertilised with any good quality cacti and Succulent fertiliser from spring until late Summer, and I usually fertilise my Gasteria with every 3rd watering that I give them from April until early September.

Flowering

Gasteria’s are called Gasteria because of the shape of their flowers resembling the shape of a Stomach as ‘Gaster’ means Stomach.

The flowers usually form in Spring and Summer but I have also had my Gasteria’s flower in Winter and Fall /Autumn but then again I do have odd plants that often like to do their own thing haha 😀 

Here is a video below I have made for my Cactus and Succulent You tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon when my Gasteria’s were flowering at the right time of year 😀 

Propagation

Gasteria propagate by sending out little offsets or ‘babies’ that form in little clusters around the Mother plant. These offsets can be left to cluster all around the Mother plant or they can be detached by using a sharp and clean knife and potted up into their own individual pots.

Occasionally a little offset will form along a flower stem where a previous flower has been although this is not common and much more rarer, but I did have it happen to one of mine a few years ago and I had this happen also with a Haworthia.

Gasteria can also been grown from seed although this is a lot more time consuming but definitely very rewarding and fun to do especially if its from seeds from your own plants.

Here is a video I have made for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Harvest Seeds from Gasteria and you can watch this video below.

Here is  a detailed video I have made for my cactus and Succulent You tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Care for Gasteria and you can watch this video below: 

Wishing you all lots of happy growing and PLANT POWER from across the Emerald Isle

Lyn XXXXX <3 

Sanicat Pink cat litter Low dust lightweight non clumping

How to use Sanicat / Sophisticat Cat litter made of Molar clay as a soil addition for Cacti and Succulent plants

Hi Guys 😀 

In this weeks Blog  I talk about how you can use a certain type of Cat Litter that is made from 100% Molar clay as a grit replacement and also as a top dressing for all of your Cacti and Succulent plants.

I have recently been using this cat litter as a grit and perlite substitute and as a wonderful component of cactus compost for my cacti and succulent plants, I have been using it as a top dressing too 😀  BUT Please note DO NOT use other types of cat litter ONLY ones made from 100% Molar Clay and non clumping, and I will ONLY be recommending the one I use in this Blog as I have been using it myself with great success.

Sanicat cat litter for cacti,
Sanicat Pink lightweight low dust and non clumping cat litter made from 100% molar clay used as a top dressing on my cactus plants.

I first heard about using cat litter as a grit and perlite replacement from my Cactus and Succulent Society friends here in Ireland.

My friends had been using a brand of cat litter from Tesco that is made only from 100% molar clay and sold as Tesco ‘Low Dust Lightweight Cat litter. Tesco is a common Supermarket chain here in UK and Ireland, but sadly Tesco have now discontinued this brand of cat litter and it is no longer available. 

Thanks to my wonderful friend Alex I have found a very good 100% molar clay cat litter replacement. Alex  recommended this product to me after using it on his own beautiful succulent plants and Alex has also had amazing success with growing his succulents using this cat litter as a 100% soil alternative and growing his plants in just this cat litter alone and he has noticed such a difference with the roots of his plants being nice and healthy.

The cat litter I am recommending is by Sanicat also sold as Sophisticat and it is the pink non clumping cat litter low dust and sold as 100% molar clay. BUT Please note DO NOT use other types of cat litter ONLY ones made from 100% Molar Clay and ones that are non clumping and non perfumed, and although this cat litter does have a very light perfume it is harmless to your plants and goes away after the first watering.

Sanicat Pink cat litter Low dust lightweight non clumping
Sanicat Pink cat litter low dust, lightweight, and non clumping.

It is so important that you only use the brand I am recommending or a cat litter that you know is definitely a non clumping 100% pure molar clay variety as any other types of cat litter are intended for cat litter trays and not cacti and succulents and all other types of cat litter are sold for cats and are not suitable for cactus soils, therefore any bag of cat litter will not do and can be very harmful to your plants if you use it.

HOW I USE IT AS A SOIL ADDITION

I love to make my own cactus an succulent soil and previously I have always used horticultural sand and grit or perlite and a loam based soil such as John innes number 1, 2 or 3 but for the past 3 months now I have been using this cat litter at a ratio of half and half of 50% cat litter to 50% loam based soil and I mix both of these ingredients equally, and so far I have been very impressed.

I will be busy repotting a lot of my cacti and succulents in the Spring of 2019 as this time of year most of my plants are resting for the Winter, but I am looking forward to seeing how this soil mix of 50% Sanicat pink low dust non clumping cat litter and 50% John innes loam based soil will work for me long term so watch this space guys <3 

HOW I USE IT AS A TOP DRESSING

Top dressing your plants is not a necessity but I always think it adds a nice touch to your plants, and also it does help to keep bugs like Fungus flies and Root mealy bug away, but grit can sometimes stay a bit damp for too long on the top of the soil, and because Sanicat cat litter dries very fast once it has been wetted it makes it ideal for cacti and succulents as it does not hold damp for long because it is so fast drying 😀 

The natural pink colour of the molar clay adds a wonderful touch for top dressing your plants too 😀 

Here is a link to a video I have made for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How I use this cat litter as a grit replacement and also as a top dressing and I explain in a more detail how I use this product 😀 

Thanks so much for reading guys and let me know your views by dropping me a comment below <3 Sending you all lots of love and PLANT POWER from across the Emerald Isle and wishing you all lots of HAPPY GROWING 😀 

 

 

 

Welcome to my first Blog and lets talk about overwintering your plants

Hi Guys 😀 

Welcome to my first Blog on this website 😀 

Winter is very nearly upon us and we have already had a few chilly nights here in Belfast in N.Ireland, Luckily I have just finished bringing in the last of the Cacti and Succulents that are not cold hardy from the Polytunnel into the house to overwinter them.

If you are like me and live in the Northern hemisphere and you grow cacti and succulents either outdoors or in a  greenhouse or polytunnel then you will need to protect any of your plants that can not tolerate the cold temperatures we get here on this side of the planet.

During the Autumn and Winter months I heat my polytunnel at a minimum Winter temperature of 5 Celsius / 31 Fahrenheit and I have a thermostat control that switches on if the temperature drops below 5 c / 41f inside the polytunnel, this allows us to keep a large proportion of our cacti and succulents safe over the Winter to overwinter them during their Winter rest period, but also still warm enough for the Winter growing Cacti and Succulents such as the South African Succulents and the Schlumbergera cacti commonly known as the Thanksgiving and Christmas Cacti that still continue to grow and flower during the Winter.

cacti, cactus plants, desert plants of avalon, Succulents, succulent plants,
The Cacti and Succulent Plants that are all going to be left overwintering in the Polytunnel, these plants will be kept at a minimum temperature of 5 Celsius / 41 Fahrenheit, I have a thermostatic heater that switches on if the temperature in the polytunnel drops below that.
Christmas cactus, thanksgiving cactus, schlumbergera truncata, pink flowering schlumbergera,
Some Cacti still continue to grow and flower during the Winter for example Schlumbergera commonly known as ‘The Christmas Cactus’ and the Thanksgiving cactus’

 

There are so many different cacti and succulents and they all vary so much in their minimum Winter temperatures and also the minimum temperatures vary so much depending on where they are growing, for example cacti that are being overwintered cool and dry in a dry arid climate with low humidity can survive much lower temperatures, and some of the desert cacti like Opuntia and Rebutia can even survive temperatures that are below freezing compared to the same types of cacti that are being overwintered cool and dry but are in a humidity high country such as where I live here in Ireland and UK.

 

Most of the Cacti and Succulents like to be overwintered cool and dry and bright ideally at a temperature between 5 – 10 Celsius /  41 -50 Fahrenheit, this encourages them to stop growing and they get to rest over the winter and also encourages blooming in the Spring and Summer of the following year.

If you want to learn more about Overwintering Cacti and Succulents then you can read the Article I have wrote for the growing tips on this website HERE

I have made a couple of videos on my You Tube Channel Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Overwinter your cacti and Succulents and also How to Overwinter your Cacti and Succulent seedlings during their first year and both of these videos are below : 

 

I filmed a series of fun video vlogs for my You Tube channel Desert Plants of Avalon when I was bringing in the Cacti and Succulents to overwinter from the polytunnel into the house, and in these video vlogs I share lots of information about each cactus and succulent and about their individual minimum winter temperatures, check the video below if you want to see the first part of my Overwintering video Vlog

I hope you enjoyed my first Blog on this website and stay tuned for many more to come 😀

Sending you all lots of LOVE and PLANT POWER from across the Emerald Isle 😀