Do Succulents Flower?

Do Succulents Flower?

When I first started with succulents I had no idea how many of them produced flowers and how many they would produce.  Some succulents do not produce flowers, some produce flowers and then die, some flower in spring and some flower during the winter.  Some do not flower until they are mature plants and others will flower when they are less than a year old.  They can be star shaped, tubular, dangle like a bell or look like any other flowering plant.

However, a large majority of succulents do flower and they flower profusely as well.  Just like many other flowering plants most succulents tend to flower during Spring. Different succulents can flower from spring and summer to autumn and winter. Therefore, just as with other types of plants your garden can look beautiful in Spring (or anytime of the year) if you only have succulents in your garden.

As usual, in the amazing world of succulents there are a many and varied flowers which all look amazing with brilliant shape and colours.  There is a common appearance between the Echeveria, Graptoveria, Pachyveria and other Echeveria hybrids, they are usually orange, red or yellow. In one instance, the only way to determine a Graptoveria succulent from an Echeveria succulent is by the flower it produces!  (What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?)

The size of the flower depends on the size of the plant.  My Echeveria Strawberry Heart is large and thus has large flowers (see below left).  Conversely, a small Graptoveria Fred Ives has tiny flowers. (Below right).

Echeveria flower close up

Echeveria Strawberry Heart

Eceheveria Flowers

Echeveria Strawberrry Ripple

Graptoveria Flower

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Flower

Graptoeria Fred Ives

Monocarpic Succulents
As mentioned above, some succulents – such as some Agaves, Aeoniums and Sempervivums will flower and then the parent plant will die. These succulents are known as being – ‘monocarpic’.  However, the plant will produce many babies/offsets during the flowering of the mother plant so it is not too devastating for the owner! (Which succulents die after flowering?)

Winter Flowering Succulents
Aeonium succulents are Winter flowering, also monocarpic (see above).  You can often see them growing on the side of the road as they are very hardy.  They can be quite untidy succulents while the flower and the attached stem is dying.

Aeonium Undulatam

What should I do when the flowers die?
You can prune the dying flower stems at any time.  Usually the stems start to look unsightly which is when I prune mine.  If you do not prune them they will eventually shrivel up and drop off by themselves.

Do succulents flower when grown indoors?
Succulents ‘rarely’ bloom when they are grown indoors.  In their natural habitat they can require high temperatures in summer to trigger flowers to grow. Air conditioned houses do not provide these high temperatures.Conversely some succulents need winter dormancy and cold temperatures to induce flowers. Light and water conditions are also conducive to whether a succulent flowers or not.

Succulents (in flower) from my Garden
Aeonium Pinwheel
The Aeonium Pinwheel is a very compact plant that is hardy and easy to establish.  This year is the first time mine has flowered, (it has been growing for approximately 3 years) It is Monocarpic, so the stem from which the succulent has flowered will die, however, the rest of the plant growing from other stems should survive.  Below is a photo of the flower which is quite stunning.

Aeonium Pinwheel flower Aeonium Pinwheel Flower Aeonium Pinwheel

Kalanchoe
 This succulent is usually sold for Mother’s Day as it has beautiful flowers of white, red, pink or orange.  This succulent flowers in the spring.

Kalanchoe flower Kalanchoe Succulent Flowers

 

Which succulents produce the most offsets/babies/pups?

Which succulents produce the most offsets/babies/pups?

If you love succulents you will always want more.  If you love succulents you will know that it is not hard to propagate and grow more of the succulents you have.  90% of succulents will produce offsets/babies/pups at some point in their lifespan.  Some succulents will start replicating themselves at a very young age whereas others will not until the parent plant is about to die.
Graptoveria offsets

Graptoveria multiplying in my garden

One of the many amazing things you can say about succulents is that they are the plants that keep on giving. Yes of course there are other plant species that produce new shoots and offsets but as a type of plant; succulents produce offsets in abundance.  Once they are growing in their ‘happy place’ or perfect location there is no stopping them.

What methods can i use to propagate succulents?
There are a few different ways that succulents multiply.  Many will naturally produce offsets which grow below and next to the parent plant. Some can be propagated by gently pulling off a leaf – which will grow into a new plant and others will produce new plants simply by pruning back the plant.  Of course you can always propagate from seed but you can do that with any plant and even though it is very satisfying to do so it takes a very long time.
Aeonium - offsets after pruning

Not long after pruning Aeoniums start producing new offsets

Which succulents produce offsets as apposed to propagating from leaves?
The succulents that are the most prolific at producing offsets are some of the most popular.  Echeveria, Aloes, Pachyphytum, Pachyveria, Graptopetalum, Graptoveria and Sempervivum genus’, just to name a few, start producing offsets very early in their lifespan.  It is not unusual to buy your first plant from a nursery or store that has more than one offset already growing.  However, please note that succulents that produce offsets can still be propagated from leaves!!S

Echeveria Elegans

Echeveria Elegans

Echevreia Offsets

Echeveria Hercules

Echeveria Ripple Offsets

Echeveria Princess Anne

What do I do when my succulent starts producing babies?
You can do absolutely nothing when your succulent starts growing a new plant from a fallen leaf or producing an offset.  Nature will run its course and a new plant will grow from the leaf and/or plant.  You can carry on in the knowledge that sometime in the future (maybe about 3-4 months)  you will have a twin of the succulent you purchased.

Sempervivum propagation

The tiny balls are Sempervivum offset starting to grow

Sempervivum grown in part shade

About 5 months later!

Do succulents that produce offsets also propagate from leaves?
It is important to note that just because a succulent produces offsets it does not mean that you cannot propagate from leaves as well.  Satisfation wise, an offset gives you a new plant alot faster than growing it from leaf propagation.  Leaf propagation can take up to 12 weeks just to form a tiny plant on the end of the leaf.
Sempervivum Offsets
When can you transplant an offset?
You can transplant an offset as soon as it has developed its own tiny roots.  I would even say you could transplant it before the roots have formed.  However, success rates will be higher if you wait for the roots to form.  Depending on whether you are in a hurry or not, the longer you leave the offset to develop where it is the stronger the new plant will be.  Another consideration is if your offsets are numerous they may all be squashed into the pot and this can hamper growth.  If this is the case it would be more beneficial to remove a few of the offsets to make room for more to grow.  (see examples below).
Sempervivum pups Sempervivum offsets crowding a pot Sempervivum arachnoideum
 Succulents can look amazing mass planted in your garden.  See post : Landscaping with succulents So do not be afraid to use one of the offsets to plant in your garden and start an area dedicatd to a mass planting of succulents.  Most succulents that grow numerous offsets are fairly small but can still look amazing in a mass planting.
Echeveria Elegans Aeonium Aboreum Fire Wise Succulent Sempervivum
Why have the stems on my succulents shrivelled?

Why have the stems on my succulents shrivelled?

The stems of a few of my succulents started looking dry and then they started to look shrivelled and brown.  I was quite concerned.  How would the succulent live if it could not get water from its roots?  I did notice that there were some aerial roots above the shrivelled stem which would be the succulents way of trying to survive the lack of water it was receiving from its original roots in the soil.

shrivelled stem on succulent

Why did the stems shrivel?
This is ‘not‘ root rot or in this case ‘ stem rot’.  Root rot on a succulent is black! and there is no sign of dried out stems when a succulent has root rot.  This is due to the succulent having too much heat and not enough water for it to cope. Normally it would be the amount of heat – ie high temperatures.  Succulents like sun with lots of air flow but some do not cope with high temperatures. ie 38-40C/100-104F. It may cope with a few days of high temperatures with the right amount of water but ongoing high temperatures with no water and the succulent’s survival tactics will kick in. 

Will my succulent survive?
As in the case below, the stems have all shrivelled and the separated stems have put out new aerial roots in attempt to survive the heat.  A sure sign it is willing to survive!

Graptoveria growing in ground

A healthy succulent when first planted!

Graptoveria dying

Suffering from over heating and lack of water!

What can I do to save my succulent?
Firstly, do not panic!  The reason we all love succulents is because they are amazing survivors. Cut the stems above the shrivelled part and replant into a new pot or a different spot in the garden. Move the pot/plant  to a position with a bit more shade.  Even if the stems do not have any tiny white aerial roots the plant will still grow some new roots in the soil and live on.  Wait about 1 week before you water the new cuttings.

Some succulents do require a little more water than others.  However, moving the succulent to a shadier position will most likely cure the problem.  If you move the plant to a shadier position AND increase the water then you may then over water which will then cause root rot. So try the shadier position without adjusting the water first.  If the stems shrivel again (in due course) then you should water more regularly.  Some succulents do require more regular watering than others.

So why have the stems of your succulents shrivelled? Basically; to let you know that they are not happy and to do something about it!

 

 

What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?

What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?

The name Graptoveria is a combination of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. It is a hybrid between the two plants. Like most people I thought these plants were another Echeveria variety rather than a hybrid between two genera.  So how do you tell the difference between an Echeveria and a Graptoveria and is there a difference in their growing conditions and care?

Growing Conditions
Most Graptoveria are low growing and normally grow with a clump-forming habit.  Their growing period is in the Summer, they are drought tolerant, can withstand a full sun position and can grow in part shade.  They also tolerate wet winters. For those of you who live in colder climates they have a good cold tolerance too. So, does that sound familiar,?  Basically, they have the same growing habit as an Echeveria.

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Both Graptopetalum and Echeveria come from the same Crassulacae family. As with Echeveria there are many different varieties of Graptoveria. Like Echeveria there are some varieties with very plump/thick leaves and there are also  some with very thin flat leaves.

Graptoveria Succulent Graptoveria Succulent Graptoveria succulent

Problems
I thought one of my Graptoveria was dying when the stem shrivelled up and died. (see below)  I waited to see what happened – as many other succulents have revived and survived after looking dead.  Not too surprisingly the plants rosettes put down new roots and continued to grow as separate plants.  Why did the stem shrivel up? – I’m not 100% sure, research suggests it was probably due to high summer temperatures and not enough water.

Graptoveria dying shrivelled stem on Graptoveria Succulent

Sometimes the leaves on a Graptoveria may look blotchy.  This is normal when they are changing colour from summer to winter.

How do you tell the difference between a Graptoveria and Echeveria?
Apparently the only way you can tell the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria is by the flower. The flower is neither an Echeveria or a Graptopetalum flower. The two photos on the left are a Graptoveria flower: the petals open out wider, they have spots on them and the stamen reaches outside the petal. On the right are the Echeveria flower which are more compact, they tend to be more closed even as a matured flower.

Graptoveria Flower Graptoveria Flower Echeveria flower close up Eceheveria Flowers

Conclusion
Other than the flower there really is not much difference between an Echeveria or a Graptoveria.   The only other very small difference that I have noticed (in my experience) is that the Echeveria may cope with higher temperatures in a full sun position than a Graptoveria would.  Hence, the shrivelling stem situation that I had occur last year.  So if you buy a succulent from a hardware store that just says ‘ succulent’ on the name tag -or you are given a nameless Echeveria or Graptoveria succulent and you are unsure of what it is, do not worry!, treat it the same and it will survive.  Alternatively, you could try and identify the plant online (see post: Where can I identify my Succulents? ).  Make sure you look under the Echeveria and Graptoveria category though!