Large Agave grown in a pot

Giant Agave Threatens to Take Over Small Office

I kid. A little hyperbole on a Thursday afternoon. The leaves on this particular plant expand as much as 25″ across! Those of you living in warmer climates must wonder why in the heck I have such a large agave indoors! They’re big, heavy, and their spines are painful. At this size they are not

Earth Star Cryptanthus terrarium

Grow an Earth Star Terrarium

Ground control to Major Tom. Perhaps it is the trippy name or the reference to outer space, but David Bowie comes to mind whenever I look at the little cluster of earth stars aka cryptanthus that I keep in a terrarium. In reality, the common name of this unusual Bromeliad family plant has a much

Cactus and Succulents

Hello Summer, My Old Friend: A Tour of My Cactus and Succulent Table

It’s not a particularly good photo, just a quick snap of some houseplants sitting on a table on my back patio. There’s bits of grit on the table that had been earthed by the squirrels, water rings on the metal table, and volunteer geraniums underneath the bay laurel tree — little messes that I might

Jade Plant Crassula Ovata

Experimenting with Jade

Some years ago, my friend Barry gave me a large jade (Crassula ovata), an extra that had become crowded in with another in the pot they shared. Through the years since, I had been caring for this large-trunked succulent much like I do many of my other tender(ish) succulents. They spend winter in the south-facing

Aloe Pink Blush in bloom

Blooming Aloe ‘Pink Blush’

It was the day of our 20th anniversary, but I COULD NOT miss the annual Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society sale at the Toronto Botanical Garden (a different account of this story appears over here). Davin entertained my desire to go — an anniversary gift of sorts and one that he has been

propeller plant Crassula falcata

Succulent Fever: Propeller Plant

With flat and fleshy, bluish/silver/green leaves that reach out horizontally as if the plant may take flight, Propeller Plant (Crassula perfoliata var. falcata) is an aptly named South African succulent that I think you’ll love. For those who are curious, according to “Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners,” the Latin “falcata” or “falcate” means

euphorbia platyclada

Zombie Plant is Coming

I probably should have waited to post this until it was doing something more exciting than simply being alive in a pot, but the fact that it is alive at all is one reason why I find this euphorbia so thrilling in the first place. Euphorbia platyclada is a living succulent plant that looks dead,


Beautiful and Wretched Voodoo Lily

The voodoo lily’s (Amorphophallus bulbifer) reputation as a real stinker precedes it, and I have to admit that I have always been a bit hesitant about introducing something that smells badly to my home. Still, as the bulb drew closer to blooming, it was curiosity, and the worry that I would miss the event that

pigs ear cotyledon orbiculata by Gayla Trail

Succulent Fever: Pig’s Ear

Last Friday, I took a trip out of the city with some friends to buy herbs, and came home with something unexpected. Pig’s Ear (Cotyledon orbiculata) is a pretty grey-blue-green succulent with big, fleshy leaves and orange flowers. According to my favourite go-to succulent identification book, “Succulents: The Illustrated Dictionary” by Maurizio Sajeva and Mariangela

fasciated echeveria by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Super Freaky Echeveria

No, it’s not a sea creature out of water. It’s a super freak, super freak, super freaky (Rick James approved) mutated succulent! Fasciation, cristate, cresting, or bundling: all are words for an interesting genetic mutation that causes a plant to grow gnarled and twisted, thick in some parts and thin in others. Sometimes the plants

euphorbia tirucalli photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

In Bloom: Sticks on Fire

My sticks on fire (Euphorbia tirucalli) is blooming! The flowers are so wee, I almost missed them. They’re not much to write home about (or on a website for that matter), but it was such a monumental occasion, I felt it warranted pulling out the camera and posting about it anyway.

madagascar jewel by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Madagascar Jewel

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but my interest in oddities from the Euphorbiaceae family seems to be growing. To be fair, it is an attractive family of plants with incredible diversity. Euphorbias can be succulents, trees, bushes, or herbaceous plants. From your seasonal poinsettias to colourful and spiny crown of thorns, and a

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