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Let’s Talk About Plants ~ My Other, Other Obsession

Hey there! Long time no talk.

   The past couple of months have been crayyy-Z! The cold weather set in and the boys came down with the crud and never really got over it.  They’ve had pink eye, colds, viruses, congestion, coughs, and somewhere in there, my husband had minor surgery.  What with that and all of the holiday planning and events, keeping up on here just didn’t happen. Obviously.

 

    Anyway, today, we’re going to talk about…..plants! Or, more specifically, succulents and cacti. First thing you should know, all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.  Does this take you back to high school biology? Ahh, classification. 

 

The second thing you should know is that I LOVE succulents and I think they are so beautiful and unique.  Each different species is different and interesting looking. Some are so bizarre that they look fake!  

 

   When I first got into succulents, I had just seen the normal star/firework shaped plants that are pretty common and  come in lots of different shades of green and purple. However, once I started looking at pictures of them, I started discovering that there’s a whole crazy shaped world of weird, beautiful plants.  It started an obsession.   

The first succulent I got, was a simple jade that I bought at a open air stand at a park.  I kind of forgot it for a couple months and then as it began to grow, it became more and more beautiful.  I started collecting more and more and soon, every window sill in our house was stuffed to bursting with pots and plants.  Today, I just want to go over a few things that I just love about these little plants. I could talk for hours and bore you to death but here are some tidbits just to keep you interested.

 

Unique

 

Each of these plants is unique, not just in the way they look but in the amount of light they need, water intake, part of the world they come from and colors they can come in.

Take, for example, the Paddle Plant (Kalanachoe Tetraphylla), also known as the Flapjack Plant.  It has large, wide, oval leaves like a pancake that grow outwards and can come in different colors.  If it is set in full, direct sunlight, the edges can start to turn red.

my paddle plant

 

If it’s in indirect light, it stays a soft muted green color.  It also can come in a variegated color, as seen below which means it has streaks of cream throughout it.  Combined with the red, I think these are gorgeous colors! This plant is native to South Africa and they like direct light and minimal watering.

variegated paddle plant

 

  Another example of a crazy type of succulent is the Lithop.  Commonly referred to as “Living Stones” or, my favorite, “Baby Butts”.  Look how cute that little bottom is, sticking out of the soil!  

    Again, these come in so many different colors and pattern variations that help them camouflage themselves with their surroundings to avoid being eaten.  Also native to South Africa, lithops prefer VERY Little water. About a tablespoon per year!  They can produce beautiful yellow flowers and often, the top of the plant is translucent.  Look how incredibly different the Lithop is from the Paddle Plant and you can see that there’s enough variety to keep one interested and discovering for a long time.

not my collection**

 

   Finally, the String of Pearl (Senecio Rowleyanus).  This succulent is a spreading, vine succulent and each of its leaves form a tiny sphere about the size of a pea.  Along each sphere is a small stripe which is actually a tiny window that allows light to filter into the leaf to help with photosynthesis.  How amazing is that?! I think they are just beautiful.

They are native to Southwest Africa (most succulents are native to South Africa, Mexico or South America).  If you keep them alive long enough (mine have been pretty picky about their conditions, as you can see above), they can grow beautifully long and overflow a hanging basket.  

There are so many other varieties and each are so crazy looking!

Propagation

   The part I love most about succulents is that they are SO easy to propagate.  If you simply pick a leaf off of a plant and lay it on soil, a tiny baby succulent will start growing from that leaf within a few weeks!  So if you have one plant, you can easily have many plants!  This is a great way to expand your collection, especially if you have a favorite that you want more of. This is also great if you are a part of a trading group on Facebook where you can trade leaves of plants that you have for other types of leaves that other people may have.  Everyone wins and your collection grows.  It’s so satisfying too, to keep track of the growth progress of each leaf.   It’s also very addicting.  Here are some examples of some propagating I have done over that past year. 

Minimal Care

   As I stated earlier, as long as you have a bright window and lots of sun, succulents don’t require much.  Water them when they are super dry (about once every one or two weeks) and they will be happy.  They also have very shallow root systems so they can grow pretty much anywhere which is another reason they are popular decorative plants. They can grow in shallow dishes or even on a wreath or frame system like you’ve probably seen on Pinterest.

   If you want something with even less care required, look into the beautiful cacti selection available. There are many colors and types available and they love bright light and even less water. If you don’t like the prickly aspect, there are several spineless varieties, including the Fuzzy Navel cactus, the Tanzanian Zipper Cactus (below)or some that have spines but they are soft and not sharp like the Peanut Cactus (second picture below).

Tanzanian Zipper Cactus
Peanut Cactus reaching for sun

 

One of my favorites is the Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus which is a pretty pink with flat spines that won’t poke you!

 

As you can see, I could go on indefinitely about these pretty little plants.  If you haven’t tried to grow one before, check out your local Lowes or Home Depot in the garden section.  Some great online stores are listed below where you can find some of the more rare types.  Also, if you want to just try one out for free, send me a quick message and I can refer you to a site where you can pick out your very own little succulent FREE OF CHARGE (not even shipping!).  It’s super worth it.  I got these cute little “Baby Toes” for free and they are so fun to look at.  Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Shop Options

www.mountaincrestgardens.com

www.rubyplants.com

www.plantsforthought.com

www.penceplants.com

So thanks for sticking with me, hope you’re not comatose and drooling yet. I love to talk about this topic so if you have any questions, feel free to message me or comment below!

If you are into succulents and plants, what’s your favorite type?

Thanks for reading,

Bethany