Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Succulent Surprise

If you read my blog posts even occasionally, you probably know I have a LOT of succulents.  They do very well here in general and, as our summers grow hotter and our problems with drought persist, I've added more and more of them.  In June 2016, I planted Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' from 6-packs all over the garden.  'Kiwi Verde' is a more understated sibling of variegated 'Kiwi', which I've previously described as my "gateway succulent."  The latter was the first succulent I introduced in my former garden.  I brought cuttings with me to my current garden in December 2010 and planted them here too.  They're attractive, well-behaved plants and they've filled in nicely as edging material in several areas of my garden.

I used Aeonium 'Kiwi' here to edge one side of the back patio

and here to edge a portion of the gravel path in the area on the north side of the house


I expected 'Kiwi Verde' would behave the same way.  I found it grew a bit faster and taller but it also appeared well-behaved - until it didn't.

Here's what the plants I added to the sandy bed along the back patio looked like back in March

And this is what the plants look like now.  Unlike 'Kiwi', which produced only a couple of flowers here and there this year as in prior years, 'Kiwi Verde' has bloomed heavily everywhere it was planted.


Back in late March, when I was pondering what I should do with the sandy bed along the patio, 'Kiwi Verde' was still all foliage and no flowers,  I went ahead and filled in the empty center of the bed with a second Yucca 'Blue Boy' and low-growing Festuca glauca.  Since 'Kiwi Verde' began blooming like crazy, I'm once more considering a wholesale renovation of this bed.  The Aeonium rosettes that flowered will die back, leaving holes in that bed, as well as the bed next to it.

One of the principal reasons I didn't remove the Aeoniums in the other bed in the first place was that I had a matching set on the this side of the flagstone path too

This is what the bed in question looks like at present.  The Yucca cutting, while still small, will gain size in time.



I'm going to let 'Kiwi Verde' finish out its bloom cycle but I think I'll pull the Aeoniums out of this bed and the adjacent one when they finish up.  The plants will fit more nicely in other areas of the garden than in they do along the patio.

They look as good in flower as they did beforehand in this spot on the south side of the house

and the flowers do look rather pretty in a vase


I'm not entirely back to square one on the patio bed area.  Yucca 'Blue Boy' #2 is really happy there so I may add a third plant and simply fill in with more blue fescue.

'Blue Boy' has colored up nicely since I planted it here.  (Thanks again for the cutting, Denise!)


As the saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed...".



All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. I actually like it, but I can see that you want a more subtle look along your borders. Interesting that there is such a vast difference in how the two varieties perform... who would have thunk?

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    1. Well, I certainly didn't, Anna. I guess that's an indication that I shouldn't make assumptions, especially when planting so many specimens at the same time without any prior experience with that cultivar.

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  2. Trial and error...it's always ongoing in the garden. I'm amazed at the growth of KV in such a short time. I still love its red edges!

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    1. It's a nice plant. It just didn't exhibit the same manners as its sibling, 'Kiwi'. But then one of my middle school teachers made a similar observation when she realized my brother and I had the same roots.

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  3. It's all really filling in nicely and succulents work so well in your garden. I like your idea to have lower and neater plants near the patio which will work well with the mid-century lines of the house. It's amazing to see how easily succulents grow in your area. Easy to get them going in another spot as you move things around.

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    1. I'm lucky, shirley - I can take succulent cuttings and simply push them into soil, no rooting required. I was initially concerned that I don't have suitable spots for all the remaining Aeonium 'Kiwi' plants but I can probably use them as fillers on the back slope.

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  4. Wow those blooming succulents are terrific. I wish I could grow them here. I can but I have to bring them inside during the winter. They get all long and stringy looking. Not very pretty. Nothing like this.

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    1. We all want to grow things we can't, don't we? I know my own list of plants I covet but can't grow gets longer every year.

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  5. I am envious of the ability to grow Aeonium in the ground-although Gerhard has had some success in Davis.I think it gets colder here in winter.I'm thinking of trying A. kiwi in a narrow bed that is up against the house on a south wall that may provide enough protection.

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    1. You DO get a lot colder (and wetter) than we do, Kathy, but it's worth trying the plant in a protected spot.

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  6. I like to see a succulent bloom freely, but I can certainly see your difficulty with the placement! It just goes to show you never really know what a plant will do till you put it in your own garden! ;-) The Blue Boy Yucca is wonderful!

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    1. I had 3 or 4 'Blue Boys' in another area of the garden, where they clearly struggled. In contrast, the one I planted in this bed years ago has done really well and it appears the cutting is thriving there as well.

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  7. Wow, that's really impressive, Kris! I really like the way you have them edging along the paths and in layers.

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    1. 'Kiwi' is exceptionally cooperative as edging material, Beth.

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    1. Too many, especially for the spot adjacent to the patio.

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  9. You do have a lot of succulents and I am always very envious of how wonderful they look growing in your garden. My collection has to be confined to pots and they never look as good.

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    1. Our climate is made for growing succulents it seems, Chloris.

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  10. 'Kiwi' has been fast enough; the 'Verde' version must be speedy indeed.

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    1. Our winter rains may have been a factor but the flowers produced by 'Kiwi' are still few and far between here by comparison to the extravaganza from 'Kiwi Verde'.

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  11. I am rather taken with the flowers! As I'm not used to planning a perennial bed, I'm constantly second guessing my plan and changing things up on paper, which is of course delays everything. I love this reminder that mistakes can be fixed and I should just get on with it.

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    1. I like the 'Kiwi Verde' flowers too, Margaret - just not in that location along the patio. I'm thinking of relocating the plants left over after this bloom-fest to other areas where the plants will look better when they bloom.

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