Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Garden centers and nurseries will offer many new varieties this year. Among those will be a number of cacti and succulents. Here are just a few new ones, such as echeverias.
Black Knight Echeveria
This Mexican hen and chicks forms a neat rosette that is only eight inches or so in height. The thick succulent, dark green leaves taper to a point. They have touches of brownish-red, especially towards the centers of the leaves. Hardy to zone nine, Black Knight blooms during the summer. It has lovely orange flowers.
Topsy Turvy Echeveria
This is a new Hort Couture offering for 2011. Look for the familiar Hort Couture pots and logo at the garden center or nursery. This variety is somewhat tender as it is only hardy to zone nine. A very miniature plant, it is about eight inches or less in height. Topsy Turvy is less than a foot across. It has distinctive foliage that can be pale green, gray, or silvery green. This forms a full, rounded rosette.
One of the unique things about Topsy Turvy is the growth habit of the leaves. The edges curl outwards so that the underside of the foliage is very conspicuous. The plant's name refers to this strange characteristic of the leaves.
This variety is very floriferous, and produces lots of hot colored yellow and orange blossoms on delicate looking flower spikes. These open during the summer.
This plant is suitable for outdoor garden beds and borders as well as container gardens. Very suitable for seaside gardens, Topsy Turvy could also be used in rock gardens.
Pink Frills Echeveria
Of all the newer varieties of the echeverias, this has to be one of my favorites. This delightful, compact variety has incredibly crinkled or frilly foliage. The gray-green to greenish-blue leaves have pink tinges all around the margins.
Pink Frills only reaches about six inches in height with a slightly larger spread. It is hardy to zone nine. Generally, this benefits from some shade, particularly during the summer months.