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 

 

 

 

 

Aztekium, Aztekium hintonii, Aztekium cactus,

How To Care for Aztekium Cactus

Hi Guys 😀 

In this Blog I share my tips and tricks on How to care for the Aztekium Cactus.

Aztekium, Aztekium hintonii, Aztekium cactus,
My 23 year old Aztekium hintonii grown from seed ( not by me ) 

I have made a video on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon on How To Care for Aztekium, and you can watch this video HERE:

ABOUT AZTEKIUM:

There are just three species of Aztekium, 1, Aztekium ritteri, 2, Aztekium hintonii, and 3, Aztekium valdezii.

Aztekium valdezii has only recently been discovered from 2011.

The Aztekium Cactus grows in its natural habitat in Mexico growing on steep cliff faces that consist of mostly gypsum and some limestone gravel.

Aztekium is extremely slow growing and forms into little clumps over many years, it is one of the slowest growing cacti both in natural habitat and in cultivation. 

I have grown my Aztekium hintonii for over 23 years, I got it as a young seedling that was grown from seed from a Cactus Grower in the U.K called David Quail, it was the just size of my thumbnail and in all of that time it has grown only about 2 inches in height and width.

Because of their extremely slow growth and difficulty to grow when young on their own roots, these cacti are often seen for sale grafted onto other more hardier cactus stock, but once established on their on roots they can survive long term as long as a very careful watering is maintained and a very gritty well draining soil is used.

Aztekium, Aztekium hintonii, Aztekium cactus,
My 23 year old Aztekium hintonii

HOW TO CARE FOR:

LIGHT:

Aztekium like most cacti need bright light with some sunshine to grow healthy, however these cacti prefer to be protected from very strong midday sunshine and prefer more shade than a lot of the other types of Desert Cacti, and Aztekium would be best positioned where they can get either early morning or very late afternoon sunshine.

WATERING:

Aztekium prefer soft water that is not alkaline and clean rainwater is best to water these cacti with. Its best to avoid watering these cacti with water than has a pH higher than PH 7, as hard alkaline water can cause damage to the roots. If you use tap water check that the PH is not higher than PH 7 and allow the water to sit for 24 hours to allow the chlorine and other gases to dissipate.

If you are growing Aztekium that have been grafted, then the pH of the water is not as much a concern as most cactus stock used for grafting Aztekium are mostly Trichocereus or Pereskioposis, and these cacti are not so sensitive to water PH, however careful watering should still be given with all Aztekium cacti.

Water Aztekium from Spring through Summer ALWAYS allowing the soil in their pots to fully dry out before watering again.

Keep Aztekium totally dry throughout the Winter rest period with no water from Fall / Autumn and Winter, introduce water again from Spring when their active growing period returns.

SOIL:

The soil used for Aztekium must be extremely well draining, this is very important especially for Aztekium cacti that are growing on their own roots, especially when they are young as they can be very prone to rot, which is why they are often seen grafted.  If grafted onto hardier root stock such as Pereskioposis and Trichocereus they are far less prone to rot and grow faster, but as with all cacti except the epiphytes, the more well draining the soil the better.

Some growers of Aztekium like to add lie to the soil, but I have had success over 23 years of growing this cactus with my well draining soil mix that I use for most of my arid loving cacti.

Avoid using peat and houseplant soils for these cacti as they need a VERY well draining and gritty soil.

I like to use a soil mix of 3 equal parts of loam, horticultural sand and grit for my Aztekium hintonii, For more information on How I make my own Cactus soil click HERE:

FEEDING:

Feed Aztekium once a month in Spring until mid Summer with a good quality cactus fertiliser. Because these cacti are extremely slow growing its best to use the fertiliser at half the strength they recommend for normal cacti.

FLOWERING:

The flowers on Aztekium are very tiny and white or pink or lilac coloured, they grow from the top of the cactus when the plant is mature often after many years. 

Aztekium forms a woolly tuft and fine spines from the crown of the cactus when the plant is mature enough to flower.

I have not had my Aztekium flower for me in 23 years, but I hope one day to see flowers, patience is definitely the key when growing cacti haha, but I have heard of many growers who have had their Aztekiums flower after 10 years or less.

Grafted Aztekiums will flower much sooner than if grown on their own roots.

TEMPERATURE:

In Spring and Summer Aztekium can take high temperatures but they must be protected from extreme heat and strong midday sunshine, especially if they are grown behind glass in glasshouses or windowsills, and they like to have plenty of ventilation.

In Winter its best to overwinter Aztekium cool and dry above 5 Celsius / 41 Fahrenheit

PROPAGATION:

Propagation of Aztekium is done by seed that are very dust like, but it is extremely difficult and slow to grow from seeds, although germination rate can be high at first lots of seedlings will often die within the first few months of germination. 

I have never tried to grow these from seed myself but when my Aztekium flowers for e in the future and I get seed I will definitely have a go at trying to grow this amazing and unique little cactus from seed.

If you want to grow Aztkium from seed or any other type of cactus from seed read my page on this website Growing Cactus from seed  by clicking HERE

Here is a video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon on How To Care For Aztekium Cacti and you can watch this video below:

 

Thanks so much for reading Guys and Happy Growing to you all <3 

 

 

How to Care for and Grow Aloe Succulent Plants

In this Blog I will be writing about how you can care for and grow Aloe plants.

What are Aloe Plants ? 

Aloe plants are Succulent plants that belong to the plant Family Asphodelaceae, Liliaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae .

Aloe’s come from Africa, India and the Indian Ocean Islands and there are Over 500 species of aloes plants, with the most common Aloe plant that is readily available being the much loved Aloe Vera plant that is a very popular houseplant and has been used medicinally for many years. Aloes form thick fleshy succulent leaves in a rosette shape and each succulent leaf is are filled with a sticky gel.

In this Blog I will also be sharing videos on Aloe plants that I have made for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon including a special video on How to Care for Aloe Plants.

HOW TO CARE FOR ALOE PLANTS

Light:

Aloe plants are often grouped alongside their related genera cousins Gasteria and Haworthia and Sanseveria, but Aloes do like more sunshine than their cousins and although they can be grown in shade they do prefer more bright strong light such as a South or west facing window that receives some sunshine or a sunny position outside that is protected from very strong sunshine and winds. Some of the tougher varieties can tolerate full all day sun.

In Winter its important that Aloe plants are placed in a very bright position and if growing indoors its important these plants can receive some sunshine for at least part of the day as Aloe plant leaves can grow lanky and floppy if not enough light can be given especially in the Winter months when Aloe plants will often still continue to grow. 

Temperature:

 Aloe plants can take very high temperatures in Summer as long as plenty of ventilation can be given. If you are growing these plants behind glass such as a window or greenhouse its important that plenty of fresh air can be provided on very warm days as these plants can cook at temperatures 100 F or more on a hot sunny day.

In Winter its very important that the temperature never drops below 5 Celsius / 41 Fahrenheit and although these plants can survive a bit lower than this if they are kept totally dry, they can not take any frost at all and its much safer to keep these plants above the temperature of 5c / 41F especially in damper climates where humidity in Winter is a problem. Here in UK and Ireland where I live as the damp and cold can cause fungus and rots to appear on these plants.

personally I would recommend keeping these plants at a minimum temperature of 7-10 C / 45-50 F if possible and I keep all my Aloe plants at around the 7 Celcius / 45 Fahrenheit in my Polytunnel over the Winter months. 

Water: 

In Spring and Summer Aloe plants like to be given a good water preferably with clean rainwater if it is available and the soil must be allowed to fully dry out before watering again.

In Winter its best to keep Aloe plants on the dry side and I only water mine lightly about once a month because I overwinter mine in a cool Polytunnel where the average Winter temperature is around 7-12 C / 45 – 55F, but if you are growing your Aloe plants indoors in a centrally heated home or outdoors in a tropical climate that has warmer temperatures you may need to water your Aloe plants more often, but its better to under rather than over water in the Winter.

unlike some of the Desert Cacti and some of the other Desert Succulents that have a complete winter dormancy, Aloe plants will often still continue to grow slowly in Winter and although Aloe plants will slow down their foliage growth in Winter, this is the time they will often send out their very beautiful colourful flowers in late Winter to early Spring. 

My Aloe variegata in beautiful bloom in my polytunnel January 2019

Soil: 

Its important to use a well draining soil mix when potting up Aloe plants and I like to make my own of 1 part loam based soil and 1 part horticultural sharp sand and 1 part grit or perlite. 

I have made a video for my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to make your own Cactus and Succulent Cactus soil and you can watch this video below:

The most important thing is that you use a well draining soil so the soil in the pot dries out easily in between waterings. You can use any good quality commercial cactus and Succulent plant soil with Aloe plants.

Re Potting:

Its best to re pot Aloe plants in the spring and Summer when these plants are actively growing. Aloe plants have fleshy water storing root systems and because of their fleshy root systems its best to cut away any dead and decaying roots when you repot your Aloe plants.

Here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube channel called Desert plants of Avalon On How to repot Aloe plants and also including the Aloe cousins  Haworthia  plants and Gasteria plants where I show you the best way to cut away the dead fleshy roots and you can watch this video below :  

Fertilizing: 

I fertilise my Aloe plants once a month from Spring until late late /Autumn using a tomato based fertiliser by Maxicrop, ( see photo below ) The reason why I like to use a Tomato fertiliser with my Succulents and cacti is that I truly believe it helps them to flower because of the high potassium in the tomato feed and I have never had tomatoes on my succulents yet haha 😀 but any good quality houseplant fertiliser or a good quality fertiliser especially for Cacti and Succulents should work well. I stop fertilising all of my Aloe plants and all my Succulents and Cacti from late fall / Autumn until Spring when the cooler temperatures and short days come and their growth slows down.

Pruning: 

Aloe’s can be fast growing plants and need to be given plenty of space to grow and thrive. Aloe plants do not need be pruned if the growth is healthy and green but its normal for the lower bottom leaves of these plants to go brown and dry up as the new growth emerges from the rosette, and these dead brown leaves can easily be removed and pruned back to make the plants look healthier and tidier. 

If you want to know How to prune back the dead brown leaves from your Aloe Plants then Here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Prune dead leaves from Aloe Plants:

Flowering : 

Aloe plants will usually flower late Winter to early Spring but I have had my Aloe plants in my Polytunnel flower in Spring and Summer and Winter haha 😀 but I do have crazy Cacti and Succulent plants that have a mind of their own haha but because Aloe plants are from South Africa in the Northern Hemisphere where I live in in N. Ireland they will normally flower in late Winter ( Jan /Feb ) to early Spring ( Feb -March ) the flowers are gorgeous and are usually red, orange, yellow bell shaped flowers 😀 

Here is a couple of videos that I have made for my Cactus and Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on Aloe plants in flower both my own and also Aloe’s here in the Botanical garden of Ireland and you can watch these videos below: 

Propagation: 

From Plantlets :

The wonderful thing about Aloe plants is that they produce lots of plantlets from around their base. The best time to divide these aloe plantlet pups from the parent plant is when you are re potting in the Spring and Summer months.

You can then pot up the individual plantlets from the base of the Mother plant into individual pots to give away to friends and family.

From Seed:

These plants will occasionally produce seed pods too if the flowers have been pollinated by other Aloe Plants also in flower 😀  and if your Aloe plants have been pollinated then once the seed pods have ripen and the pods have turned brown then you can harvest the seeds to sow them and get more Aloe babies haha. Most Aloe Plants are not self pollinating though and you would need more than one Aloe plant in flower to get seeds.

If you are lucky enough to find seed pods on your Aloe plants and you want to know How you can harvest the seeds from the pods and also when the seed pods are ready to be harvested, then watch this video below that I have made for my Cactus & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon.

If you want to know How to Grow Aloe plants from seed then you can watch the video below I have made for my cacti and succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to grow Aloe plants from Seed : 

Pests & Problems:

The Biggest problem with Cacti and Succulents including Aloe is Mealy bug they are the pain of any succulent plant lovers life haha and the best way to treat them is with using a solution of Isopropyl alcohol /rubbing alcohol and also Horticultural neem oil for treatment of prevention long term. The Isopropyl alcohol is best to treat the bugs that you can visually see and the Neem oil helps to keep the bugs away long term. 

Here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to remove Mealy bug from Succulent Plants including Aloe’s using Rubbing alcohol / isopropyl alcohol:

Here is a video below I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to use Horticultural Neem oil to prevent and treat insect pests on Houseplants including Aloe’s:

 Here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Care and Grow Aloe Plants.

Thanks so much for reading guys and wishing you all lots of Happy Growing and Plant Power from across the Emerald Isle 

Lyn XXXXXX 


 

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 

Euphorbia platyclada

How to Care for Euphorbia platyclada – The dead Succulent Plant

Hi Guys 😀 

In this Blog I am going to be talking about a very weird and very wacky Succulent plant called Euphorbia platyclada and I have also made a special care video on this plant for my Cacti and Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and I have the video at the bottom of this Blog page.

Euphorbia platyclada belongs to the Euphorbiaceae group of Succulent plants.

Euphorbia platyclada is a real oddity and because of its ‘weird and dead like’ appearance it is more commonly known as ‘The dead Plant’ ‘Dead Stick Plant’ ‘Dead Wood  Plant’.

Euphorbia platyclada
Euphorbia platyclada is a weird and wacky and unusual wonderful little Succulent plant that always looks dead.

This weird and wacky plant is a pinky brown colour and the pink colour becomes brighter in bright sunshine and during the Summer months, in the Wintertime this plant loses its colour more and goes a lighter pink almost grey appearance. The stems are flattened and mottled and hard to the touch resembling ‘dead scabby sticks’ and they emerge from a heavy rootstock, the plant itself is small and totally leafless, the flowers are extremely small and are a orange yellow colour.

The plant itself is not very pretty haha but personally I love its uniqueness and wackiness and I love anything that is different from the norm haha.

Euphorbia platyclada is from Madagascar in Africa where it grows in its natural habitat on the floor of forests.

HOW TO GROW EUPHORBIA PLATYCLADA

Euphorbia platyclada loves a hot and sunny position such as a south facing window or in a sunny greenhouse or conservatory.

These plants can be placed outside during the Spring and Summer months as long as they can be protected from excess rain and winds. They can take a very high temperature as long as plenty of fresh air can be given, In Winter its best to keep these plants above 10c / 50F but they can take lower than this for brief periods especially when kept dry but never overwinter them any lower than 5c / 41F as they can be prone to rot and fungal diseases at temperatures lower than this, ideally try to keep above 10c / 50F at all times.

These plants like plenty of water during the active growing season from Spring to early Fall / Autumn but always allow the soil in their pots to fully dry out before watering them again because Euphorbia platyclada just like all Euphorbia Succulents do not like their roots to be sitting in wet soil as this can cause root rot. From mid Fall / Autumn to late Winter reduce watering  to the bare minimum and only water enough just to stop the plant from shrivelling too much.  In the Winter I only water my Euphorbia platyclada once every 2 months and I overwinter it on a sunny south facing window in my Kitchen. Rainwater is always preferable to tap water if it is available.

Euphorbia platyclada like to be grown in small pots due to their small but heavy rootstock, it is always safer to under rather than over pot, and grow them in a well drained soil especially for  Succulent plants, I like to make my own soil mix up for my Succulents and cacti and use a loam based soil with added perlite or grit and added horticultural sand, but you can use any well draining soil mix to your preference, the most important thing is that the soil is free draining. Re potting is always best done during the Spring and Summer months.

If you want to know How to make your own Cactus and Succulent soil here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to make your own Cacti and Succulent soil in 3 easy steps : 

These plants can easily be pruned to keep in shape and cuttings can be taken to be propagated by allowing the cutting to ‘callus’ over for a few days before planting in a well drained soil mix. Its important to be careful when taking cuttings of all Euphorbia plants because of their milky sap than can be irritating to the skin and extra caution should be taken when taking cuttings of all Euphorbia Succulents.

Here is a special care video below that I have made for my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to care for Euphorbia platyclada and you can watch this video HERE:

Wishing you ALL an abundance of love and happiness and HAPPY GROWING 😀 

 

 

pollinating christmas cactus flowers, pollinating Christmas cactus

How to pollinate Christmas Cactus flowers to get Fruit for Seed

Hi Guys 😀 

Its always so much fun to grow seeds from your very own plants, and at this time of year during the Winter months your Schlumbergera cacti that are more commonly known as the Holiday Cacti, Christmas or Thanksgiving Cactus may be all blooming lovely.

When your Schlumbergera cacti are all blooming lovely this is the perfect time to have fun pollinating the flowers to see if you can get seeds. Pollinating the flowers is very easy to do and in this Blog I include a few videos that I have made for my Cacti & Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon where I show you on video exactly how you can pollinate the flowers for seed.

pollinating christmas cactus flowers, pollinating Christmas cactus
Its so much fun to play the Bee and pollinate your Christmas cactus flowers to see if you can get fruit and seed.

All you need is a Schlumbergera cactus that is in flower, preferably with at least two flowers on as from my own experience I have always find it more successful to cross pollinate the flowers on either the same plant or if you have two different flowering Schlumbergera at the same time, for example a red flowering one and a pink flowering one you can cross the flowers between both of them. 

Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, red flowering Christmas cactus, Christmas cactus red flowers, Xmas cactus,

I have had great success pollinating Schlumbergera flowers and have had seed on most occasions when I have pollinated the flowers, however I have found that a lot of my more recent Schlumbergera purchases have failed to produce fruit and seeds for me. I have heard that some of the newer hybrids on the markets today are harder to pollinate for seed but I don’t have enough evidence for that just yet. Let me know if you guys have had success with pollinating the flowers on the newer Schlumbergera hybrids available today 😀 

So How do pollinate the flowers for seed ? 

All you need to do is use a clean tiny brush for example a tiny paint brush, lip brush or a q tip cotton bud, and load the pollen from the flower and then dab the pollen from the flower onto the stigma of the flower, this is best if you only have the one flower but if you have more than one flower its best to take the pollen from the the one flower and dab it very gently onto the stigma of the other flower or flowers. 

The Stigma is the part of the flower that hangs out almost like a tongue haha, and here is a photo of one of my Schlumbergera’s my Schlumbergera ‘Golden Charm’ in flower with the stigma that is bright pink sticking out. this should hopefully show you what the stigma looks like 😀 

Christmas cactus, Xmas cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, yellow Schlumbergera truncata, golden Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera flowers,

Here is a step by step video that I have made for my Cacti & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to pollinate Schlumbergera Christmas and Thanksgiving Cactus flowers :

If you want to cross pollinate two different flowering Schlumbergera cacti for example a white one crossed with a red or pink or orange then you simply dab the pollen from the one flower/s from the one Cactus onto the other stigma on the other Cactus flower.

Here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Cross pollinate Schlumbergera cactus flowers :  

How do you know when your pollination has been a success ? 

Within a few days the flowers will naturally start to wilt if they have not been pollinated and the flowers will dry up and fall off, but if its been a success then the very base of where the flower emerges from the end of the leaf segment will start to swell up and turn a darker green colour ( see photo below ) 

It can take many weeks, months and even as long as a year for the fruit to be fully ready for harvesting, and you will know when the fruits are ready to harvest for seeds because the fruit pod will go very soft and often a dark red colour just like a juicy small berry. 

Here is a video that I have made for my Cacti & Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to tell when your Schlumbergera flowers have been pollinated :

Here is a video that I have made for my Cacti & Succulent You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Harvest the fruit from Schlumbergera to get seeds:

Once you have harvest the seeds then its time to sow them, this is the fun part and although very time consuming to grow these plants from seeds compared to cuttings its so much fun and very rewarding to do 😀 

There are many different methods on growing cacti from seed, but personally I like to grow my seeds in pots that are then placed into ‘baggies’ this keeps the seeds and young seedlings moist at all times without having to worry about the soil drying up. After about 3-6 months depending on their size I then remove them from the clear bags and treat them as young seedlings always making sure the soil is moist but not soggy.

Spring is always the best time to sow seeds including all cacti seeds, but if you have grow lights and additional warmth then you can get sowing them at any time of the year.

Here is a video that I have made for my Cacti & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Grow Cacti from Seed and this includes all types of cactus plants including Schlumbergera : 

Good luck with pollinating your Schlumbergera cactus flowers and let me know in the comments below if you have had success with pollinating the flowers and growing these beautiful cacti from seed. 

Here is a video below that I have made for my Cacti & Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on the update on my Schlumbergera Christmas Cactus seedlings that I have grown from seed in June 2018.

Sending you all lots of love and plant power from across the Emerald Isle and Happy Sowing and Growing Guys 😀