- Author: Karen Metz
Last month, the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show delivered its usual spring dose of inspiration. One of the most jaw-dropping exhibits was a huge rotating globe totally covered in succulents. The succulents were grouped in such a way that the different colors represented the continents and oceans. It was magnificent.
I also had the opportunity to attend a lecture on succulent maintenance by Robin Stockwell from Succulent Gardens in Castroville. It turns out, they were the team behind the globe. The finished globe weighs over a ton. The team started planting in late August-early September for the late March show. The globe has about 30,000 cuttings. Someone from his team has sent in paperwork to the Guinness Records organization to see if it might be the largest succulent planting in history.
Aside from the interesting background of the construction of the globe exhibit, Mr. Stockwell gave us many succulent pointers. He suggested a mixture of one part perlite to four parts regular potting mix for a custom succulent potting mixture. He fertilizes with half strength of a balanced fertilizer (he stated it didn't really matter what kind) once a month.
His pruning demonstration led to audible gasps from the crowd as he cut off a lovely Aeonium rosette. He explained that the larger the stem, the longer it would take for the cut to scab over and be ready for planting. He estimated that the piece he had cut would take two weeks before it would be ready to plant. He also suggested cutting the resultant tall stem left on the remaining plant down further so that branching would occur lower down. This cut he advised making at an angle so that water would not accumulate in the cut and lead to rot.
For those of you who didn't make it to the show, Mr. Stockwell mentioned that they are looking into taking the globe on tour. (The logistics of that make my brain spin) Hopefully, in the meantime, the photos will help. I must say though that photos don't do it justice.