Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Gardeners will find all sorts of new succulents are available for the 2009 gardening season. Here are some varieties that will be of special interest.
Portulaca Toucan Series
This new series is remarkable because it is among the few flowering purslanes (Portulaca oleracea) that can be grown from seeds. The seeds will be available in time for the 2009 planting season.
Very free flowering, Toucan stems cascade gracefully over the edges of baskets. They can also spread along the ground to form a large mat. The tear-drop shaped foliage is flattened.
Toucan plants are noted for their large blooms. In addition to a seed mix containing all flower colors, you can also buy individual colors. Though new colors will likely be introduced in the future, there are three colors available at this point. These include yellow and fuchsia. There is also a bicolor called Scarlet Shades, which combines bright scarlet with red.
There are several recent introductions to the stonecrop or Sedum group. Silver Frost Sedum is a unique variety. It has silvery, fine textured foliage arranged in neat rosettes. Around the edges of the leaves are tinges of red. The starry blooms emerge at the tips of the shoots. These open in full bodied clusters. Silver Frost Sedum is recommended as a ground cover.
Oracle Sedum forsterianum is a somewhat tender perennial. As a perennial, this is recommended for zones eight through eleven. However, it can also be grown as an annual or accent/container plant in colder climates.
Though Oracle Sedum canít tolerate frost, it needs some exposure to cool temperatures in order for flowering to take place. This means it isnít a suitable perennial for sub-tropical regions.
Oracle Sedum can be grown from seed. It reminds me of the cushion spurges. It has whorls of tiny, needle-like, greenish-silver leaves packed tightly on the stems. Though it can sometimes be more upright, the stems are often rounded or arching. Oracle brings masses of vivid yellow blossoms during late
summer and early fall.
Sedum album Athoum is a hardy, late blooming perennial. It begins flowering in July and August. This features white to pale pink blossoms. The fleshy foliage is deep green. This forms nice rosettes.
Sedum lineare Sea Urchin is admired for its exquisite foliage. This has white margins along the edges. The leaves are especially dainty and slender.
Sedum makinoi Salsa Verde blooms during the late summer. As with most stonecrops, the blossoms are star shaped. Small in size, these open in clusters. The branching stems are covered with flattened, deep green foliage. The leaves are rounded.