The Small, Discreet World Of Echeverias

Small world:  what do Ellen De Generes, Madonna, and your blogger have in common? 

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Ancestors, specifically Martin Aucoin, and a few of his descendants.  That's weird.  I've traced other ancestors back to Charlemagne, which sounds impressive, but isn't.  Charlemagne had something like twenty children, who all fu--uh...reproduced their way across most of Europe.  Thus almost everyone with a European ancestor is a descendent of Charlemagne, and therefore also of Charlemagne's great-great grandfather, who happens to be the Patron Saint of Beer, which my Dad always enjoyed a ice-cold bottle of on a hot summer day.  

And a hot summer day it was yesterday, so I spent it in the shade spraying the pests off my Echeverias with a bottle of water, not beer.  Echeverias are another small world.  They are small plants that in nature stay hidden among other plants, or that hide from the madding crowd by growing on sheer cliffs, or occasionally even in trees, where nothing much can get at them.  Echeverias are discreet and maintain a low profile in the world (unlike Madonna).

They undulate:
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Ruffle...
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...and pleat:
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Many of them have exquistely symmentrical forms:
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But not all of them:
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They might have red edges:
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Or be a ghostly blue-white:
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Or a cool cool ice green.
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Or a color I cannot begin to describe.
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They may live in packs:
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Or all by themselves.
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Despite their discreet nature, they can be promiscuous, (though not to the extent of Charlemagne's kids).  There are Graptoverias, which are a cross of a Graptopetalum and an Echeveria...
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..and Sedeverias, which are a cross of a Sedum and an Echeviera.  
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Like Potterworld wizards and witches, there are pure-bloods and mud-bloods.  Commercially it seems, many more hybrids are readily available than the pure species.  Some of the species are more difficult than the hybrids, though not all.

Pure-blood Echeviera compressicaulis:
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I know a little more about Echeverias than I used to, and sitting in the shade on a hot summer day, spraying off the spider mites and mealy bugs that irk them is for me a quite satisfying thing to do (beer does not appeal). 

Thinking about ancestors, it occurs that the love of plants is there in our DNA for vital reasons.  Those who could love and grow plants could grow food, and therefore survive.  Nowadays with our highly complex civilization and factory farms, loving plants has become an eccentricity or hobby.   A thousand years ago, we were the guardians of human survival.  Today, mere plant nuts.  

That's weird, as weird as me being related to Madonna.  Good thing it's distantly.  I'm sure she'd agree. 














Comments

  1. Whats you soil mix? and give me some outside maintenance tips on sedum. Hot and humid here.

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  2. Thanks for the glimpse into the small world of echeverias! These are quite fascinating plants. I wish mine would look as good as yours. I guess, I have to change the potting mix, which seems to get too dense over time and then the echeverias become waterlogged and rot. May I ask what growing medium you are using for yours?
    Christina

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  3. I use a "cactus mix" that does not contain peat. You want peat-free. Peat and rot seem to go together where succulents are concerned. Then I add some extra pumice (not sand!) to increase the air spaces.

    Sedum--there are Sedums from Mexico, at least one or two native to California, but also Sedums from Europe that live in alpine conditions--places like Austria, Germany--places with very cold winters, also Japan, which has hot humdid summers but cold snowy winters as well. So care depends on which Sedums you have. I think I can safely say that excellent drainage is a must for all of them. Beyond that, look at the native climate of the species.

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  4. Fascinating post about a great group of plants. They need to stay indoors a lot here in Scotland but I was thrilled to see them growing outside in LA, not like when I was living there as a kid in the early 80's when our local gardens were a patch of brown grass and a shrub. Now they are filled with a delight of natives, from 3 inches to 9ft tall. So wondrous.

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  5. Lovely post, about what is one of my favourite groups of plants. Sadly only a few varieties survive planted out here in London. You have a lovely collection of many of the best varieties.

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  6. Hoover Boo, thanks for the information about the growing medium for echeverias that you are using. I will have in mind what you said when I buy new stuff for mine! Hopefully that will help them to grow a little bit healthier.
    Christina

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