Cactus & Succulents

Cactus & Succulents


>>So, we have a lot
of collections here at Lewis Ginter, but this is probably my favorite
collection in the garden.>>Oh, really? That’s a unique thing to say. So many people love the flowers
and the drama of it all. And yet, here we are
in a very comfortable, gentle, serene corner
of the conservatory.>>Yeah, the one with the spikes.>>The one with the spikes,
yes, the deadly side. So what do we have here? Because obviously,
there’s a difference from one side of this
walkway to the other.>>Right, so, at this
section of the Conservatory, we’re housing our
succulent plants, the cacti and the agave and
the drought tolerant plants. And we have them split up into kind of two
different sections. This side over here are all
the succulents of the Americas. and then over here we have
the other world succulents.>>Something we’ll talk
about in a few minutes, ’cause there’s a
lot to share there. But also there’s a
lot here to share. And I would like to know,
this is a beautiful collection and it’s so well kept.
>>Thank you.>>So I applaud you on that. But as a homeowner, you
know, what is your advice? How did you do this?>>Yeah, I think they
kind of scare people because of the spikes, but really they do make
a great houseplant. The really big thing about
them is that they do, they’re adapted to
be drought tolerant so they don’t need the water
that a lot of houseplants need.>>So you can go on vacation and not have to have
your neighbor water them.>>It’s nice, isn’t it? (laughs)>>So what are some of
your favorites here, Ryan?>>So, the agaves are probably
my favorite succulent plants. They’re all native
to the Americas. And we have several of those
represented right behind.>>Some of them get
a little large.>>They get really large,
but they vary in size too, some of them don’t get more
than five inches in diameter. So they’re really variable. But what I love about them is
they come in so many colors and shapes and they’re
just so symmetrical. And I just find it,
they’re beautiful.>>Simple beauty.>>Yeah, exactly.>>What is another
favorite of yours?>>Well, the cactus, of course, another, you know, all cactus
are native to the Americas. And it’s kind of a love-hate
relationship with the cactus. Because they, again,
produce so many cool forms. But they also bite.>>Yes, gosh do I
know that! (laughs)>>Are characterized
by the thorns, which are really
just modified leaves. And most cacti have adapted to
totally losing their leaves. And it’s a great adaptation
to help prevent water loss and then also prevent
things from eating them, which in the environments
they have adapted to, there’s not a lot to eat.>>No, there isn’t. That’s an actually very
good protective attribute of the plant, is to
have those thorns. But how did these plants survive in the environment
they come from? I was in Utah last year. Fell in love with the place. Just totally enamored by it, so different from
the East Coast. But I noticed it’s
harsh conditions.>>I know, it’s horrible. You have to be well adapted, if you’re gonna live in a place, where there’s hardly any
water and almost full sun, you don’t have the protection
of these other plants and structures that a
lot of the other plants you would have here. So, you know, you
have to overcome it, when you’re taking care of it. As a homeowner, by adapting to how much water you’re giving it and really paying attention that you’re not keeping
that soil too moist. That’s one of the things
that really gets homeowners is that they’ll start
rotting the crown. And then really great trick if you’re gonna keep
potted succulents is top dressing it with like
a gravel or a hard substance that’s not gonna
hold a lot of water close to that top layer of soil.>>Sounds great. So that where the
root and the plant near the upper
portion of the plant means that crown of
the plant can stay dry.>>Exactly, even when
you do water it.>>So the water goes
down to the roots but leaves the top nice and dry. Do you wear protective clothing?>>I do, yeah, it’s one of
the biggest things in here to keep volunteers around, keep them coming
back and working. We do a pair of really
thick leather gloves, almost like falconing
gloves, is really helpful. You know, repotting these
plants is a nightmare, and being able to actually
grab the structure is super helpful.
>>Is very helpful. Well, let’s go from the Americas
to the rest of the world to the succulents. So, what do you have over here, ’cause I don’t see the need
for thick gloves and such, except for one or two.>>They really, they don’t
bite nearly as hard. Although they have kind of, they do look very similar
upon first glance. So this kind of rosette form
that a lot of the aloes have, resembles the
agaves quite a bit. But mostly over here we have close to a
dozen species of aloe. There are other
interesting succulents that come in tree forms. And then you know, kind
of everything in between.>>Well, I see one
blooming over there.>>Yeah, the Giant stapelia.>>Oh, that’s very unique.>>It is.>>So, why, who is the
pollinator for that plant?>>So, if you come
into the conservatory, when these things are blooming, you’ll see flies all over it and you might actually
even catch a smell, that smells like rotting meat. And it’s because that plant
attracts its pollinators by replicating the smell
of rotting meat and yep.>>And it works.>>And it’s very effective, yeah.>>So over here, which
are your favorite here of these plants from
around the world?>>So I’ve got to say, I
love the Madagascar palms. Madagascar being
an island has made for some of the coolest
shapes and plants around, and I just love how
it’s almost palm like, although it’s not a real palm and then it’s almost
looks cactus-like even though it’s
not a real cactus.>>That is unique,
that’s very unique. Which is the easiest to grow, if you were to share with
somebody a plant to start with which would you suggest?>>So I would suggest
many of the aloes, the smaller aloes are
quite easy to grow. And the graptopetalums, which
are these blue guys here.>>They’re beautiful.>>Aren’t they awesome? And they come in so
many shades of colors that mixing them
can be really fun, if you do like a mixed pot, get a lot of different
shapes and colors. But you know, they will
tolerate a kind of a wide range of water conditions relative to some of
the other succulents, so they are good starter plant.>>They’re a little
more forgiving on a little bit
more extra water.>>Exactly.>>Okay, so these require
the same conditions as our friends from the Americas of our cactus and
succulents of the desert, they still want it
to be nice and dry and allowed to thoroughly dry, but to keep that moisture away
from the crown of that plant.>>Right, yeah.>>But what type of fertilizer
do we use for these, ’cause we are not
outside to get the rain.>>Right, and I’d say relative to most of the other
plants in here, they are kind of low need
as far as fertilizer, but I will still fertilize
in about every two weeks. Very low dosage.>>Like half strength
or quarter strength?>>Yeah, maybe quarter strength, 50 parts per million nitrogen
to 100 parts per million.>>Okay.>>And yeah, they really
just don’t require a lot at all.>>Ryan, this has been
very interesting.>>Thank you, Peggy.>>Thank you so much for
sharing this with us. And hopefully others will find
this corner of Lewis Ginter.>>I hope so. Thanks.

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