Tag Archives: sempervivum

Succulents Planted in Cedar and Hypertufa…

Made out of cedar...

Made out of cedar…

Even an ordinary day can bring pleasant surprises. Every now and then people stop by, peddling items they’ve created, hoping we’ll carry them. We try some,  hoping they’ll be a good fit for our location and things our customers will like.  Some work for us; some don’t.

The other day  a gentleman stopped in with his truck loaded with beautiful hypertufa pots of all sizes and cedar frames planted with hen and chick succulents, sempervivums. Right away  I knew these were right up our alley! If you’re on Pinterest (Oak Street Garden Shop is!), you no doubt have seen succulents of all sorts in many combinations. Whoever the very first person was who came up with this great idea deserves a prize!Cedar Frames with Hen and Chicks

These frames are made of long-lasting cedar,  are lightweight, and are actually designed to stand on a table like a picture. Even set completely flat they could be a beautiful centerpiece. The planting box also has drainage holes so plants won’t get waterlogged.


Little cedar boxes wrapped with burlap and planted with sempervivums also caught our eye. Really such a simple idea…and so pretty. We’d like to also get more of the cedar planters with metal fronting; they are fantastic looking!

Cedar and Metal Planter with Hen and Chicks

Rounding out the offerings were different sizes of planted hypertufa pots. The tiny pots with one sempervivum are just the right size for party favors or a “Thinking of you” gift. There were also a selection of larger pots, some wrapped with burlap with the addition of a medallion for added interest.

Fortunately, this gentleman used to work for one of our excellent wholesale plant suppliers in Alabama years ago and has a lot of experience growing quality plants. Taking this knowledge a step further and offering planted  containers was certainly a natural progression. After a move to Georgia and time spent working in garden center retailing, he and his brother are back in Alabama with this new, local business. We wish them the best of luck!

if you’re in the Birmingham area, stop in and  take a look at these pretty plantings from our newest local supplier!

Succulent Plantings…When Summer Heat Sizzles!

Cork Bark and Succulents - Echevaria, Variegated Jade, Rhypsalis, Cryptanthus, Haworthia, String of PearlsWhile parts of the country are enjoying an unusually cool summer, here in the heart of the south the temperature and humidity can still soar. Unfortunately, even nighttime temperatures rarely provide respite from the unending heat, though, thankfully, we (and our plants!) have had a couple of welcome breaks this year.

Succulents: Albuca spiralis 'Frizzle Sizzle', Rhypsalis, EchevariaWhile there are plenty of tough, heat tolerant plants that, with the proper maintenance, work very well in our landscapes, this post is going to concentrate on succulents, with examples of some recent container plantings.  Look HERE for more succulent arrangements we’ve done in the past too.

Three bright yellow pots provide a temporary home as a centerpiece trio, then these plants will move outside for the rest of the season. The curly little number here is an interesting, and new to the plant scene (at least for us), succulent-like plant (It’s actually a bulb.) called Albuca spiralis  ‘Frizzle Sizzle’. Native to South Africa, its growth actually slows during the heat of summer, and it must be kept on the dry side during this resting period.  As we move into the colder winter months, it will begin to grow again and should make a relatively easy indoor plant for a  bright room inside.

Succulents: Echevarias, Rhypsalis, Variegated Jade, Sedum and Pilea 'Aquamarine'The basket planting shows a tiny leaf blue-green succulent-like plant that is actually a Pilea called ‘Aquamarine’. It has fast become a favorite for succulent and other arrangements in containers. The tiny leaves grow quite quickly, mingling with other plants and eventually trailing, seemingly indefinitely! This mixture also has echevarias, workhorse succulents that can grow to enormous proportions.image

The square brown planter is home to a variety of succulents, including a number of Hechtia glomerata.  It’s  in the Bromeliad family and native from Texas down into Central America. Species of Hechtia are terrestrial and inhabit dry, rocky places and often seen growing  on vertical walls along rivers, where the soil drains exceptionally well. Hechtia is a plant that’s new to us this year. We’ve noticed it has  the spiny edges on leaves that some bromeliads are known for.

Tillandsia ( Air Plants), Succulents (Hechtia glomerata) and RhypsalisSucculent plants and air plants, Tillandsia, are  perfect partners, as you can see in this cork bark composition. Here’s the Hechtia again, with another plant called Rhypsalis. Rhypsalis is another fascinating plant. It’s actually in the cactus family and most are native to Brazil. Its name is derived from the Greek word rhips, which means wickerwork and refers to the slender, flexible, reed-like stems.
Rhipsalis are primarily epiphytic, meaning they live in trees, but some also grow in  the cracks of rocks. Quite a versatile little cactus! It doesn’t have spines like a conventional cactus; instead the stems seem almost flattened and branch frequently. Flowers are among the smallest of cactus flowers and usually white, though some may be tinged with yellow or red.

Succulent Planter with Hen and Chicks, Echevaria and CryptanthusThe wooden bowl shows an old favorite, sempervivum or hen and chicks, a well known succulent and widely available in many rosette colors. One thing we’ve learned about “semps” is they really do appreciate a bit of shade in the afternoon here in Birmingham. Maybe it’s our constant humidity. At any rate, a touch of shade seems to help.

Succulents and Cactus in a Marble DishAnother cactus called ‘Old Man’ and a little succulent called Haworthia are at home in a small marble container. There are no drainage holes in this piece, so careful watering must be done sparingly.

Succulents in Cork Bark - Close-Up. Rhypsalis, Variegated Jade, Echevaria, Cryptanthus, HaworthiaFinally, a long, very narrow piece of cork bark is home to a varied selection of succulents including Portulacaria afra, sometimes called miniature variegated jade plant though it’s a different species.  Its small, cream-variegated leaves on reddish stems are striking combined with the echevarias, haworthias, Cryptanthus, and  Senecio rowleyanus or string of pearls (not shown in this picture). With  bright light and a light hand with water, this planting should  flourish.

These plantings are just the tip of an amazing succulent iceberg. We’re constantly on the lookout for others to expand our design repertoire. So far we’re having a grand time!