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Printed in the United States of America fSBN 0-917304-90-X

Printed in the United States of America fSBN 0-917304-90-X

Reprint edition, 1984. bv TIMBER PRESS P,0. Bo* 1631 Bejverton, Oregon 97075


Contents ack

one Introducing Succulents J

list of illustrations ix ack one Introducing Succulents J

What Are Succulents?—How Succulenis Developed—Dry Plants and Succulents—Where Succulents Grow—The Patterns of Survival

r W o Understanding Succulents 17

The Lure of Succulents—Five Famous Fallacies—A Problem and a Paradox—An Embarrassment of Riches

THKBE The Cactus Family 25

What Are Cacti?—History and Nomenclature—The Leafy Cacti—The Prickly Pears and Chollas—The Cereus Tribe— The Torch Cacti—The Climbing Cacti—The Hedgehog Cacti —The Living Rock. Barrel, Star, Chin, and Ball Cacti—The Melon Cacti—The Pincushion Cacti—The Tree-dwelling Cacti

FOUR Other Succulent Families 63

The Amaryllis Family—The Crassula Family—The Daisy Family—The Euphorbia Family—The Lily Family—The Mesembryanthemum Family-The Milkweed Family—Suc-

culents in Other Families

FIVE Succulents in the Home 133

Succulents as House Plants—Coi tainers and Pottine-Gardens—Arrangj

Six Succulents in the Garden 159

The Rock Garden—Patterned Bedding—Wall and Ground-Cover Plantings—Espaliers, Planters, and Baskets

SEVEN Collecting, Buying, and Propagating 185

SEVEN Collecting, Buying, and Propagating 185

EfGHr Maintenance 203

Water—Rest—Cold and Shelter—Air, tight, and Shade Food—Pruning and Weeding—Labels and Cataloguing nine Pests and Diseases 215

Sucking Pests—Chewing Pests—Fungus Disi logical Disturbances—The Human Element


rPN Books About Succulents 227

index 231

List of Illustrations


5 How the Wastelands Were Formed II How Succulents Developed

31 The Leafy Cacti. Prickly Pears, and Chollas

37 The Torch and Climbing Cacti

45 The Hedgehog Cacti

49 The Living Rock, Barrel, Star, Chin, and Ball Cacti

53 The Melon and Pincushion Cacti

59 The Tree-dwelling Cacii

65 The Amaryllis and^Daisy Families

71 The Crassula Family

79 The Crassula Family

89 The Euphorbia Family

99 The Lily Family

111 The Mesembryanthemum Family

123 The Milkweed Family

129 Other Succulent Families

141 How to Pot Succulents

161 How to Plant Succulents

191 How to Grow Succulents from Seed

195 How to Make Cuttings and Divisions

199 How to Graft

219 Pests and Diseases


21 As dramatic-accent plants in the home or garden succulents are unsurpassed.

137 A sunny window, iwo glass shelves, and a remarkable collection prove belter than words thai succulents can be easy and exciting house plants,

145 What could be simpler—or more beautiful—than a brass kettle planted with the purple rosettes o Aeonium arboreum var, airopurpureum?

147 Any patio or porch will become the center of attraction when decorated with a few succulents.

151 Aeonium blooms and roseues form a striking arrangement

155 A beautiful and lasting holiday arrangement is created with a few soft red- and silver-tinted rosettes of eche-vena and graptopetalum.

165 The succulent bed should always be gently sloped and shaped in an interesting free-for m pattern.

167 A few Urge rocks, carefully placed, enhance any succulent planting.

171 This spectacular mass planting of cacti displays dozens of Echinocactus grusonii blooming in the foreground and three clusters of tall columnar cacti in the center.

175 More and more, succulents are leaving the rock garden and desert planting to move into the perennial border and informal flower bed.

177 Succulents are perfect plants for banks and ground covers, terraces and rock walls.

181 Many succulents make beautiful and easy-to-care-for hanging-bask et plants.

209 Good Lighting, ventilation, and cleanliness are the secrets of successful succulent culture under glass.

223 Many collectors are fascinated by the relatively common occurrence of deformed or fascia ted growths in succulents.

For their help in preparation of this book I would like to thank the following;

The editors of Sunset for permission to paraphrase briefly two of my articles on succulents originally published in their magazine. Scott E, Haselton, Editor Emeritus of the Cactus and Succulent Journal, for the photographs by K R. Brown of the Ganna Walska collection on pages 21, 145, 147, 171, 177, 181; and for the photographs on pages 137, 165. 167. 209, and 223 (by Ladislaus Cutak), Nell True Welch for the photographs of her garden and succulent arrangements on pages 151, ¡55 (by William C. Eymann), and 175, used here by permission of Jva Newman, Garden Editor, San Mateo Times. And, certainly, Shirlea Hatcher, who captured in her drawings for this book not only the botanical details but the very heart and spirit of these exciting and intricate plants.

Finally, 1 would like to thank Roben Foster of Abbey Garden Press for help in preparing the revised bibliography of this edition, and Charles Glass, Editor of the Cactus and Succulent Journal, for the color photograph on the cover.

Claude Chidamian

Lag una Beach, California, February, 1984



Dramatic, exciting, always interesting-succulents have moved in and out of American homes and gardens on changing tides of popularity. While some collectors have remained loyal over the years, others have turned to succulents twice with serious mterest-once in the nineties and again in the late twenties, when the succulent-cactus planting was pari and parcel of the Spanish-style home.

Now succulents are coming back into favor again, but this Umc it is something more than a temporary infatuation. Modern gardeners have found in succulents landscape specimens that blend perfectly with contemporary architecture house plants that require practically no care, ground covers lhat are as easy as they are beautiful, and flowers that put the choicest orchids to shame. Today succulents are earning their way by performance. They are no longer prized as oddities, but as the most elegant and practical plants it is possible to grow in our homes and gardens.

But despite this rising popularity, despite the dozens of books, hundreds of articles, and thousands of catalogues published on succulents in recent years, the beginner is still too often at a loss to know how and where to begin with these

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