Echeveria    succulent perennials loved by collectors and dry gardeners the world over for generations. It is nice to see they have recently broken away from being restricted to a sandy mound or dish garden to being incorporated with other foliage plants in the current color/texture style of garden design. Still they have enough cultural demands (drainage, exposure) that they can't be used with wild abandon; most will want some shade, some watering in summer, and drier winters if possible. Most are primarily used as container plants, where you can exert better control over drainage, watering, and frost and sun exposure, but they do fine in the ground south of the Transverse Ranges and for some, as far north as Portland. The real fun though is in matching the foliage to the perfectly colored and textured container, glazed or unglazed, for display as a solitary statement or part of a foliage combo. And did you know that they are fantastic for drawing hummingbirds when in bloom? With proper choice you can have varieties blooming all year, and thus hummingbirds all year. Crassulaceae. rev 8/2011

affinis    deep tones   this species has smooth, pointy leaves, almost black in color and produces red flowers, so different from most. Not a fast grower and mostly solitary, it can pup when mature. Needs strong light for the best color but be careful not to scorch. This is one of the parents of Echeveria 'Black Prince' which is much quicker to offset but more coppery. This is a must-have for any succulent collection. Do you have one yet? Well then, better take care of that. Protect from cold outside Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 5/2014 

'Afterglow'   beautiful color   bragging rights porch plant  flowering   flower closeup   West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz  a very large, distinctive form, to 12-18" across, with smoky blue-jade leaves shaded lavender, just beautiful. A hybrid of E. subrigida with E. shaviana. Side by side with either parent you can clearly see the breeding influence. In full sun, and when the powdery bloom ages off the outer leaves, the color becomes deep coral red, especially along the margins. It is mostly solitary but can form offsets after flowering, slowly. Flowers are rich dusty coral on the outside, brilliant pink orange in the center, and are produced in fall and winter. The flower stalks can reach over 30" long. This makes a really impressive porch plant, or can be used mixed in with other succulents in outdoor plantings, even tolerating Northern California winter rains in areas that don't receive much frost. Sunset zones 9, 13, 16-17, 21-24/USDA zone 9. rev 9/2010

agavoides      young rosette    many variations of this species are sold in the trade, some with cultivar names, more without. This particular pointy-leaved rosette is apple green with rosy tips and undersides, the fairly thick leaves are just slightly bendable. Handsome and vigorous, it will shine in its own pot or garden spot or be an amiable companion in a mixed planting. Spring bloom, full sun for the best color. USDA zone 9. rev 2/2015 

'Beauty'  young plants   (not currently in production)  the name says it all on this beautiful, simply elegant species.  Clean, pale jade green rosettes have a rather stiff appearance, and the almost translucent, leaves are highlighted with a tiny red tip on the end of each leaf. The leaves show iceplant-like granulation in full sunlight. Flowers are yellow and pink on 12-15" stems. To about 6-8" tall and clumping. This is one of the few "hardy" forms, taking at least 20F irregularly, meaning it will take at least that low before showing frost damage but can still rot out at higher temperatures if wet, and if it is tired of life. Sunset zones 8-9, 13-24./USDA 9. rev 10/2017

'Ebony'  that edge   the ne plus ultra, the acme, the nonpareil of all E. agavoides varietes. Light jade green, broadly triangular leaves are sharply tipped and edged in dark blood red. Slow to grow, slow to offset, but eventually becoming the ultimate bragging-rights specimen, the weapon with which you shall humiliate and dominate your neighbors and fellow collectors. You'd better get yours first, they might be thinking the same thing!! To about 6" across, frost hardy to somewhere around 25-20F or lower. Full sun and cool conditions for best tip color but will need part shade in hot interior regions or it may scald. rev 2/2017

'Hybrid A'  long leaves   yellow flowers   long, curved  leaves that look more like a cactus form dahlia flower. Tips and ends are reddish brown without a sharp tip. Deep yellow flowers about now, late winter. Grows to an 8" rosette or more and is a fine pupper. This handsome devil will have its best color in mostly sun with little watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 2/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Lipstick'  perfection!!    commercial landscape, Westside Santa Cruz    that amazing leaf color!   the best form of the species, in my opinion, and one of my favorite plants in the whole world! Mine have the best color because I torture them (yes, torture!) with sun, heat, and no water. The thick, pointy leaves, that incredible red edge and the large rosettes make for an impressive clump at maturity. rev 5/2016-Suzy Brooks

albicans   green porcelain    one of the forms of Echeveria elegans, although this one has mostly solitary rosettes of blue chunky leaves. Charming little button for containers or the well drained garden. Nice one for planting in a grid in a square pot. Sun, part shade. Protect from cold outside Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 4/2014-Suzy Brooks 

alpina    nice blooming rosetes    from Mexico, this species form blue green rosettes of elegant, sharply scultpured leaves that have dark pink tips in spring. An easy one to grow in sun near the coast and with more shade inland. Grows under a foot tall and clumps. Give it well drained soil and water during spring and summer, much less in winter. Protect from cold outside Sunset Zones 21-24/USDA 10. rev 6/2011-Suzy Brooks

amoena  BABY ECHEVERIA    winter flowers   means "beautiful, charming, attractive," all relevant to this species. Small, silvery blue rosettes, about 2"across, tint purplish in high light and cool conditions, forming nice colonies as specimens or for use as a good underplanting backdrop for larger succulents.  In late winter and early spring deep coral red  stalks appear above the leaves bearing tight clusters of small, pretty pale yellow and coral flowers. Only inches tall, it's suitable for groundcover, hanging basket and container applications. Sun (cool, foggy) or part shade, even bright indirect light indoors, let dry between watering spring-fall, keep drier and more dormant in winter. Outdoors in USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24. rev 10/2017

'Aquarius'    mesmerizing edges    very pretty, frilly, powdery, sea green with pink edges, so nice with a dark top dressing. To 8-10" across, mostly solitary. Keep it colorful and dense with minimal watering and bright light,watering oney when dry from spring to fall and keeping it much drier October-March. No frost. USDA zone 9. rev 4/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Arrow Shaped Setosa'   flower   silvery rosettes  compact, fuzzy to the point of being silvery when young. Red flowers with orange tips.  rev 3/2010 

'Azulita'   young rosette  a beautiful little study in chalk-blue leaves, each tipped with a soft, lilac point. This selection is relatively resistant to falling apart in cold, wet soils compared to many other very-blue hybrids. This wonderful hybrid "sizes down" well for use in micro-pots on windowsills or desktops. The youngest emerging pup rosettes are perfect miniatures of the mature crowns. rev 2/2016

bifida v. metallica    young plants    flowers   very close  also sometimes referred to as simply E. metallica, this is one of the better and more foregiving varieties, with smoky amethyst and turquoise blue juveniles leaves that are coated with a powdery white bloom and show a distinct rosy pink edge. These later turn darker smoky purple then ruddy bronze before falling off. It can get over 12" across when it is happy, making one spectactular display specimen, and with age can get an upright trunk to a couple of feet tall that will either make it look strikingly alien and attractive or impossibly messy and unrefined. If cut back hard it will break nicely from the base. Spikes of rosy pink flowers open to bright orange in late summer, these can get quite tall (2') on plants that are old and weather protected. Give it some shade unless you are close to the coast and enjoy the more tortured look, and some regular watering or it will go rather dormant. With cold the colors become more intense, enough so that with enough cold (below 25F?) it will turn to black liquid. Mexico. rev 2/2010 

'Black Prince'   rosette   flowers   one of the darkest foliage colors for Echeverias. The photo doesn't really do it justice. In full sunlight it becomes extremely dark burgundy-black. A welcome addition to mixed plantings in containers or the garden. Rosettes up to 10" across.  Intense, dark red flowers in winter are produced on spikes to 2'. Zones 8, 9, 12-24/USDA 8. rev 7/2010

'Blue Atoll'  little rosette   here's a long leafed Echeveria of that wonderful silvery blue color that just glows. Alone, in groups, in the ground, combinations, or containers, it's a good thing. Under 5" tall and clumping, give it sun or part shade and some water spring into fall. Takes the cold, wet winter much better if the soil is drier. Put your pots under shelter outside of Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 2/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Blue Bells'    blue rosette    bright light blue leaves with a pink edge in an open rosette, of small stature, for mass plantings, symmetrical rows, or in its own pot. Sun or part shade, water during the growing season, spring through fall. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 7/2014 

'Blue Curls'    container   broad blue green leaves, lightly crinkled margins tinted rose pink to magenta red, deep coral pink flowers not very heavily produced on long, tall stalks. Choice, harder to propagate. One of the best varieties. rev 9/2010 

'Blue Prince'  smoky blue   a nice change from silvery is this one, dark smoky blue leaves with a light green center. Flowers are very nice, dark orange and pink, branching stalks not too tall, just right to balance top and bottom. Clumps nicely, great in a pot. Appreciates water in spring and summer, into fall but keep dry in winter to combat cold temperatures. Bring indoors outside of  Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. 4" pots rev 3/2013-Suzy Brooks 

cante 'White Cloud'   why you grow it     very close    life's amazing patterns   a most ethereal and sought after species, growing as a stunning, white, ghostly form under the best of conditions. These include very good drainage and a mostly mineral, low organic material soil and a dry atmosphere with high light but not extreme heat and very judicious watering during cold, wet periods. Unless you are in the warmer coastal areas of San Diego or points south, with a soil low in clay and humus, you are certainly better off growing this in a container that can be properly drained, sited and sheltered during freezes. Usually solitary, occasionally pupping. A distinctive and defining powdery white coating covers the leaves of this beautiful rosette, and a thin pink margin defines each leaf edge. Every fingerprint shows on this one, so stop touching it! Also if you don't bait religiously snails will carefully graze amazingly detailed, wandering zigzag tracks into that wonderful powdery white surface bloom. This will either send you  into a peaceful, dreamlike state, pondering the beauty of life's infinitely varied and amazingly intricate fractal patterns, or send you into a cold, shaking rage, depending on whether or not you've taken your medication. Sun near the cool coast, some shade inland. Water during the growing season but be careful in winter when soil stays damp and gets cold. Sunset zones 17, 21-24/USDA 9 or as a sheltered container plant anywhere. rev 2/2014

'White Shadow'   glowing blue and light rose    becomes a large, open rosette of long, powdery white, blue and pink leaves with a rose-outlined margin. More illumination for your moon garden! A foot tall, twice as wide, best as a great container subject north of the warmest and driest areas of Southern California. Orange and yellow flowers rise up in summer. Mostly solitary, but sometime small leaf shoots on the flower stalks will go. rev 6/2016-Suzy Brooks

ciliata    peach fuzz      wide, glossy, dark green leaves sport a thin halo of white peach fuzz along the margins. This medium-size rosette produces yellow and orange flowers, probably short-day initiation. Use its elegance in a multicolored pot, combine with other succulents, or plant in well-drained soil in sun/part shade. Water spring through early fall, but keep much drier in winter to better battle the bitter cold. This species is sometimes listed as a form or subspecies of E. setosa. USDA zone 9/Sunset 16-24. rev /USDA 9. Mexico. rev 2/2016

craigiana    amethyst vision   long, pointy leaves of pastel lavender with shades of pink and light green make a most elegant display. Rosettes to 6-8" across, flowers are rosy. Excels in containers, alone or with others. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 10. rev 8/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Debbi' see Graptoveria 'Debbi'

'Deranosa'   flowers   violet-tipped rosettes   compact light jade green to light powdery blue grey leaves form compact rosettes to about 4-6" across. These pup quickly and prolifically to form large clusters, and as they age and experience cool weather the leaves become bluer and develop beautiful lavender purple to burgundy edges and tips. A good show of light pure yellow to deep gold flowers appears copious short spikes that reach gently up about 8" then curl downwards. Classy, delicate.  rev 3/2010 

derenbergii  PAINTED LADY   very cute and pretty blooming rosette   nicer foliage example   small rosetttes of stout, light green leaves that clump rapidly and cover the ground or fill a pot. Short stalks of colorful flowers in summer. Sun or part shade. Little watering. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 9. rev 10/2014 

in winter  called the Shattering Echeveria for the small leaflets on the multiple flower stalks that jump off at the slightest touch. This is a showy bloomer, with flowers in beautiful shades of orange and yellow. Almost flat rosettes, only inches tall, will eventually forn a clump. A wonderful choice for containers. Sun to part shade, little water, protect from frost. Houseplant, annual/seasonal everywhere, with protection Sunset zones 8-9, 14-21, reliable in the landscape 22-24/USDA 10. rev 1/2011

'Domingo'   shocking orange and pink flowers   pearly leaves  Bridgido with massive rosettes   a big, luscious, sprawling monster, producing pearly grey rosettes of grey, pink and taupe. Hot orange flowers shaded pink at the base open from spring through fall, and make a great show. This is one of the "Mother of all Echeverias," and is used to produce many of the monster-sized hybrids. We have plants almost a foot across. A hybrid itself of E. cante and E. runyonii, it shows. Best in diffuse full light or part shade, good drainage, intermittent water, no frost below about 25F. rev 9/2012 

'Dondo'    nicely proportioned flowers and rosette   thick, light green leaves have a slight bluish tint from their powdery coating. The very nice orange and yellow flowers come in a very compact, densely packed spike that is held quite close to the rosette, compared to most. Makes for a very pretty specimen! Flowers from fall through spring. Containers or a very well-drained spot in a rock-gardeny-type landscape in any climate with little or no freeze. Sun or part shade, water during the growingt season, and it will take the cold best when dry. USDA zone 9/Sunset 16-24. rev 11/2014 

'Doris Taylor'     Huntington specimen    commercial landscape container specimen, Westside Santa Cruz     winter     greenhouse    flowers    sheltered site, greenhouse   she's got her fur coat on! Soft fuzz covers these leaves that grow in tidy rosettes. Stalks of  orange and yellow flowers in summer. Cute one for the collection, combination plantings, or the dry garden. Appreciates water in the summer, nice soil, and a dry winter. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 10/2014-Suzy Brooks

'Edna'  Richard Josephson's Santa Cruz yard   bluish-white leaves, with a pearly pink halo-margin, in waterlily-shaped rosettes that pup and cluster and spread freely. Intense gold flowers peek from dark coral pink buds on bright red stalks to 18" or more. One of my fav's! rev 12/2018

elegans    MEXICAN SNOWBALL  young rosette  a compact, very pale, celadon-green species which clusters quickly and happily to form impresssive clumns, both in gardens and containers. Mostly vertical spikes appear starting in spring, and are quite showy due to shear volume, deep coral pink color on stem and flower petal bases, with contrasting brilliant gold-tipped petal tips. Full sun to full, bright shade, expect it to curl  up and protect itself in hot, dry, full-exposure sites. One of our fastest selling and most popular varieties. USDA zone 9/Sunset 9, 14-24, indoor/outdoor container plant anywhere. Mexico. rev 10/2017

'Frosty'  with flowers  an Echeveria that is totally covered with soft, bright silver fuzz. It just beams against dark foliage or a dark colored pot. Grows 10-12" tall and wide. As with most Echeverias, stalks can be cut off before bloom, retaining the plant's figure, or left to produce pleasant stalks of orange yellow flowers. Sun or part shade, water in the spring and summer, drier in winter. House/pation plant anywhere, a landscape plant in Sunset zones 16-17, 21-24/USDA 9. rev 4/2011

gibbiflora   cool blue   this crop was grown from seed and there are lots of variation in leaf shape, color, and size. Some with big round leaves, dusky pink and purple, some smaller rosettes of sea green with wavy edges. And just like a Shetland Sheepdog, you won't know its true colors for a few years! Protect from cold outside Sunset zones 16-22/USDA 9. rev 5/2014-Suzy Brooks 

gibbiflora 'Metallica'   see 'Perle von Nurnberg,' below. Note the difference in name between this and E. bifida v. metallica.  rev 2/2010 

globulosa  like a globe  here's a round, small rosette of blue leaves with dark pink tips and short stems of  many orange and yellow flowers. Offsets from the base and is a good choice for a container or a mass in an area with good drainage. Likes water in the warm season but not in winter. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 6/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Goochie'   intensely colored flowers    forms a small, open rosette of cupped blue green leaves, with a faint white powdery coating, to about 4-6" across. Offsets freely and has stout stems of brilliant red orange and yellow flowers. A team player for a combination planting or in well drained soil in part sun. Water while growing in spring and summer, much drier in winter. Provide shelter from cold outside of Sunset zones 17-24/USDA 10. rev 8/2013-Suzy Brooks

'Holy Gate'    clean lines    an open, silvery blue rosette with thick, paddle shaped leaves with pink tips. Strong and bold and a marvelous color, plant it in groups or mixed containers in sun or part shade. rev 4/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Hummel's Minibell'
     warm apricot orange flowers, fall    don't be fooled by these simple, long, dusky grey green leaves -  in sun and thirsty conditions, they redden right up. Starting in fall they have some of the biggest, boldest orange flowers ever! A nice one for those very busy, patterned pots. New rosettes stretch up then fill in from the bottom with pups. Named for George Hummel, though many plants with similar names were just unnamed seedlings sold off by his widow when he died, and thus of variable quality (unlike this one!). As a side note, George's son Ed was our propagator for a few years, absorbed along with all the other employees and the inventory when we bought out Joe Solomone's business in 1988 and started our own. Ed had worked for Joe for over a decade by then. Sadly Ed passed away shortly afterward from cancer, around 1993. USDA zone 9/Sunset 16-24rev 2/2015 

'Haagai Tolimanensis'   happy, happy plants    leaves close up    flowers close up   rotund olive green to taupe leaves, coated with an ethereal, powdery white bloom, shading amethyst. This plant is quite chunky, compact, and rather small, tending to fall sideways as the stems elongate. Short, dense, branched stalks bear a heavy show of light coral pink to deep coral red flowers starting in spring and going through summer. Slow, distinctive. rev 9/2010 

'Imbricata'  GRANDMA'S HEN AND CHICKS   mature rosettes    typical planting, Santa Catalina High School, Monterey   shade adapted    flower closeup   note, singular "hen."  And also note not a species but a varietal name, a hybrid of E. glauca and E. gibbiflora. One of the most persistent, most commonly encountered landscape forms. Very broad, flattened rosettes of jade blue foliage to over 10" across when well grown under cover, with leaf margins edged in rose pink, the whole package topped with striking spikes of coral and brilliant orange flowers in summer. Tough, hardy, spreads well, frost hardy enough to be found in many old gardens but generally blacker and deader the more below 25F you go. Sunset zones 8-9, 12-24/USDA zone 9. rev 7/2014

'JC van Keppel'    rather plump rosette    this unique rosette is full of luminous, light green, chunky leaves that look about to burst and pup in all directions, even pushing the new little faces in the soil. This hybrid, one parent being E. agavoides, was released by the Huntington in 1985 as ISI #1557. A slow but steady grower to 6-8" across and under a foot tall, it's a great choice for containers. The flowers have not been seen (by us? By anybody? -L). Protect from cold and frost outside Sunset zones 16-22/USDA 9. rev 8/2014-Suzy Brooks 

lilacina  rosette   solitary and slow growing, this ghostly beauty come from the cliffs of Mexico. Pointy tips, lovely symmetry, it is a great container plant or in the garden, in well drained soil. Larger than most, up to 8" or more. Grow it outside in Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks

'Lola'   more info coming soon! rev 10/2017

'Mahogany'   winter-greenhouse color-phase    summer-greenhouse color-phase    those red edges!   those awesome flowers!  one of the very best Echs of all, becoming a stunning, eye-catching, dark mahogany object of attention, often with a wonderful, glossy surface sheen where foliage is well-protected. In shade or under winter conditions the foliage emerging from the center will remain green for longer, but with age, or heat and light (or cold and light) that wonderful dark, sombre tone always returns. Flower spikes are possibly the best feature of all, dark coral pink bells held on very long, bright coral pink stalks, to 3' tall, and remaining in color for literally months, for over 6 months on plants I've seen. Sun to part shade, protect from frost. rev 1/2016

'Melaco'  fresh young plant    shiny brown leaves, with hints of green and bronze along the edges, form an open, stalked rosette. Coral orange flowers are held on (relatively) long, leafy stalks, initiating under short days. Must be an E. multicaulis hybrid? rev 2/2017

minima    ultra-compact rosettes    fits its name, this being a very small, chunky clumper in blue with maroon tips. Topped by yellow flowers in summer, it's a great choice for its own pot where it can slowly fill it up. Sun and frugal watering will make it smaller, chunkier, bluer. Ours are a bit spoiled with plenty of water. Water while growing, keep dry in winter, sun or part shade. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 16-24. rev 9/2014 

multicaulis  COPPER ROSES  with special rock   fall flowers   is this really an Echeveria? It is the smallest, most atypical form I have seen. It grows more like a very minature Jade Plant, to 12-18", with shiny, compact green leaves that pick up a coppery edge in sun. Fall to spring flowers are bright orange on compact terminal stalks. Everyone likes it. Containers indoors/outdoors everywhere and always, might survive in the ground outside most years in Sunset zones 9 (full shade), 17 (keep dry in winter), and 21-24/USDA zone 10. Southern Mexico. rev 10/2012

nodulosa   rosette   very tall flower stalks    flower closeup almost certainly this trade form is the selection found in the wild that was introduced as  'Painted Lady.' Grey green leaves with distinctive maroon stripes in the centers and defining the margins. A taller grower, usually growing up to expose the soil and thus dry out a little more, and branching to form low shrublets. This can be a difficult plant to deal with when it throws its very long (to 3' !) , dramatic flower stalks that try to leverage the flowering branch off the main stalk, or tip the plant out of its container. Give the stalks some support. Very tough and forgiving about soil, sun. Mexico. rev 3/2010 

parva   I want one   a real stunner, pale, chalky, blue-jade colored leaves with graceful lavender rose tips. Easy to grow, containers or as a rockery ground cover. Sun or part sun, water in spring and summer, much less in winter. Single rosettes remain under six inches tall by not much wider. Mix it up with grasses and rocks in a container, lor make it the perfect companion to some garden art or rocks or driftwood. Keep it away from hard freezes. Sunset zones 8, 9, 14-24/USDA 9. Mexico. rev 1/2012

peacockii  PEACOCK ECHEVERIA   rosette    flower spike against rosette  a very important species for breeding compact, blue-white foliaged hybrids, this outstanding gem is just fine all by itself, thank you. It needs a little better drainage than most, and produces flowers under long days. Great for very small, high quality decorated containers or use it in very freely draining rock wall plantings. Southern Mexico.  

'Perle von Nurnberg'   flowers   young foliage  a confused issue, with the very similar Graptoveria 'Debbi' also sold under this name. This is also sold as E. gibbiflora 'Metallica.' This is a larger specimen type, with typical amethyst to grey green leaves and bright coral orange flowers in spikes that make a respectable flower show. Paul Bonine in Portland assures me this variety is fine to use outside there as far as winter tolerance, but he may have been referring to a plant that was actually 'Debbi.' Or not. It can rot, capriciously, but it is quite cold tolerant. rev 9/2010 

'Pink Frills'    pink frilled edges   some fine texture offered with these pinkish tan, lavender leaves and the small wavy ridges, looking almost like a camellia. Part shade is usually enough to keep the color and not burn in hot sun. Makes a lovely container subject. Protect from cold, no frost. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 8/2013-Suzy Brooks 

pulidonis   Cabrillo College succulent garden   this is most likely identical with E. 'Deranosa,' or more correctly, that is this. Compact rosettes of grey green, margined with deep burgundy, and lightweight stalks of light yellow flowers, often falling sideways, appearing in winter. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24/USDA zone 7. rev 7/2010

pulvinata   at Cabrillo College garden   red, red flowers, close   Kathy Musial's porch  very close to  E. setosa, but with finer fur. A medium size clumping variety with short branches. Deep orange red flowers. rev 2/2010

'Fiesta'  with flowers   nice plant   the "redwood tree" of Echeverias, this fuzzy fellow can grow to 2' or more with fairly stout stems. Flowers are deep true red and are produced under short days. A clean, soft choice for around the pool, and great in a container for patio or deck. Sun or part shade. Some watering during spring and summer, but let dry for winter. Can easily be moved to shelter when containerized outside Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9.  rev 1/2011

'Pulv-Oliver'   blooming   flowers   a more sparklingly silvery version, with the same intense red orange flowers, initiating under short days. Distinguished from the species E. pulvinata by its deep violet red leaf tips. This is a hybrid of E. harmsii x pulvinata. rev 12/2011

'Raindrops'   rosette    a sea green rosette with a 'droplet' on the end of each leaf. With less water and more sun, the color gets pinker on the edges. Medium sized.  rev 6/2016

'Red Prince'    sombre mahogany leaves   add red to royal line of princes! Maroon, brown, dark pink edge, light green center in a rosette that is sure to add some contrast to the silvery blues, greens, and pastels of the collection. Not a fast grower, medium sized. Keep it in good light for the best colors. Watering in spring through fall, dry in winter. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 4/2014-Suzy Brooks 

'Rippling Water'    peer into swirling taupe    very pretty, long leaves of soft grey, tan, and pink with wavy edges. Still growing and it's filled this 6" pot. Flowers in summer. Morning sun, part shade, water while actively growing and let dry in winter. Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 5/2013-Suzy Brooks 

'Round Leaf'  - see Pachyveria

'Ruffled Red'   just starting to ruffle   wide, bronzy leaves show lightly wavy edges surrounding a sea green center. Keep the dark colors by growing it in a sunny location without too much water. A good size for medium to large containers, by itself or grouped with Sedums and grasses for a very combo. Sun, part shade, water spring through fall, keep much drier in winter if possible. USDA zone 9/Sunset 16-24. rev 1/2015-Suzy Brooks 

'Ruffles'   rosette   very pretty colors and textures on this one. Rather flat blue grey juvenile to taupe green mature leaves, densely ruffled along the margins then smoother with age, have a smoky lavender cast and can reach to 10" tall. Intense red to magenta red flowers, small, upward facing and more open than most, appear scattered on tall spikes to 12-16" in late summer to early fall and last through winter. Easy to grow and maintain, lovely in a container, alone or mixed with others. Sunset zones 16-17, 21-24./USDA 10. rev 7/2017

secunda    clump    flowers just starting   a clumping, hardy outdoor species that forms domes of  mostly blue leaves that age to plum or rose pink. Usually the very tip of the leaf is dark rose pink also. It offsets freely. Flowers are particularly intense, brilliant yellow inside and intense coral red outside, in late winter and spring. Mexico. USDA zone 9/Sunet 8-9, 14-24. rev 10/2014

setosa   plants    flowers   soft textured light green leaves are densely covered with silvery hairs. Coral red flowers. rev 3/2010

'Arrow Shaped'  intense red flowers, very close    arrow-shaped leaves   more open, faster, thinner-textured, flowers are held on much taller and more open stalks and are even more intensely colored. rev 1/2016

v. minor   breeder stock plant   a very nice, compact, durable form, with the typical fuzzy leaves but nicely condensed flowers of hot yellow and red.  rev 1/2016

shaviana    MEXICAN RUFFLED HEN  Molly's backporch plant   a most important parent of so-very-many modern hybrids, but difficult to propagate and slow growing as well. Forms a densely nested rosette of silvery blue grey against taupe, with wavy leaf edges and pink highlights with some sun. The beautiful colors blend easily or can shine alone as a focal point item. To about 12" wide when the clump is mature, producing typical coral pink flowers in summer. Sun or part shade, regular watering in summer with good drainage. Keep much drier in winter to help it get through the cold, then it is relatively hardy (for an Echeveria!). /USDA 9/Sunset zones 16-24. rev 3/2019

shaviana 'Dusty Blue'   DUSTY BLUE MEXICAN RUFFLED HEN   frills   a form with very ruffled leaves, in a beautiful combination of grey, sea green, and lavender. Flower stalks echo the colors with the added pink, orange and yellow in summer. They make long lasting bouquets. Excellent medium-size container subject, growing to about 12" tall and wide. Provide shade in the hottest areas, let dry between waterings, most especially in winter. USDA 9 with frost protection/Sunset zones 16, 17, 21-24/. rev 3/2019

shaviana hybrid  MEXICAN RUFFLED HEN  typical mass flower display   rosette, close view     sometimes sold in the trade as "rosea," and formerly by us as the real E. shaviana itself. But not quite, according to John Traeger, who says there's something else in its green blood as well. Vigorous, easy and very show, produces an especially strong flower display on distinctive, 16" tall, vertical-then-cascading flower spikes. The unusually large flowers are deep orange and coral. Mature rosettes will initiate in summer and continue opening through winter and early spring. Durable! Dependable! rev 3/2019

sp. (unidentified)   leaves   this looks like it might be E. runyonii, perhaps a slightly crested form, or maybe something else, who knows. Eventually we will get a better name on it but as with almost all forms, good luck getting any definitive, authoritative source for ID. Grows as a dense aggregation of pale grey leaves shaded blue and taupe, we haven't seen flowers. I'll bet orange-red on narrow, gracile stalks. Part sun to shade, good drainage, probably not frost hardy. Very attractive, best grown in containers. Guessing USDA zone 9 with freeze protection/Sunset zones 9 (full shade), 17 (keep dry in winter), 21-24. rev 3/2019

'Spruce Oliver'   greenhouse plant   forms clusters of stalked, tightly balled rosettes, each composed of narrow, green, upwardly curved leaves. With age and drier conditions leaves develop a minutely fuzzy surface, with sun and/or cool conditions they become reddish, especially the tips and undersides. Small flowers are typical light coral orange, usually in condensed clusters, on stalks of moderate length. Easy, cute, well-behaved. Full to part sun, no frost, average succulent watering. rev 2/2017

subrigida    leaves    flowers   Quail botanic Gardens   long, broad light blue grey leaves, to 10" long by 4" across, with a red edge, moderately covered with a whitish powder. It makes quite a show when it flowers, with tall bright coral orange flower stalks, to over 30", arching above the plant, holding showy bright orange and pinkbell-shaped flowers against powdery violet blue-tinted sepals. This one is especially nice. I took home a stock plant specimen in a 5g can, with a rosette over 2' across, just massive. This is one fine container plant! It did fine through a 29F freeze, a little damage but nothing major. Then the rains came. And came. After two months of normal winter rainfall I was left with a completely leafless, rotten, black, spongy, club-shaped stump about the size and shape of my fist and wrist, with not a speck of living tissue to be seen. Give this one a little overhead rain/frost protection and good drainage, or be prepared to take your chances! It is worth it though, this is one of the elites. It is easy in containers, with frost protection. Mexico. rev 1/2011 

'Topsy Turvy'   rosette   flowers   lots o' plants  powdery grey white to blue white leaves curl back in towards the center. A faint lavender tinge suffuses the older growth. This unusual form makes a great specimen and it is one of my very favorites of a very favorite group. It is a very showy, robust, outstanding bloomer, with really vigorous stalks of intense orange pink flowers against chalky white stalks being produced from spring through summer on mature clumps. This is really just E. runyonii 'Monstrosa,' but everyone seems to know it by this other name. rev 9/2010 

'Topsy Turvy' crested    just starting   here's a riot of growing tips! Not uncommon for this Ech to do that. It can revert to normal growth at any time, but mostly doesn't. rev 6/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Violet Queen'  a real beauty!   long silvery blue leaves with pink to violet tips in a lotus shape for that succulent dry water garden. Makes a lovely clump as it offsets. Rosettes up to 6" across. A wonderful container subject or in soil that drains well. Water in spring through fall, much drier in winter.  Sun or part shade. Protect from cold outside of Sunset zones 16-24/USDA 9. rev 3/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Echibeckia 'Summerina'    Brown   Orange   Yellow   the idea of forcing a Coneflower and a Gloriosa Daisy into an unnatural coupling, the idea is just  .  .  well, gee, kind of interesting! The result combines the durability, dependable perennial habit, cold and disease resistance of Echinaceas with the stature, habit, bloom vigor and flower colors of Rudbeckias. But wait - there's more! The flowers individually last well over a month, opening each new rank of tiny disk flowers slowly, as they are seedless and therefore don't stop to reproduce. Now how much would you pay? That's not all! They seem to be immune from the nasty stem and leaf rots characteristic of the annual Gloriosa Daisies, meaning less trouble and nicer appearance. This series grows to about 16-20" tall, 12-16" wide and bear those long-lasting, 3" diameter flowers well into fall. The gorgeous, smooth, warm dark brown, orange or deep golden yellow petals show against a shiny button center and fuzzy dark green leaves, and the flowers are outstanding for cutting. Sun, average to little watering once established.  Something new for daisy lovers! Sunset zones 1-24/USDA 3. rev 8/2014 

Echinacea purpurea  a deciduous prarie perennial, late spring-fall blooming, usually to about 30" tall. All forms have spiky orange yellow disks slightly elongated into cones and all make outstanding cut flowers. For quick effect use these in multiples. Plants will take a while to mature to a large clump. When fully grown a single specimen can make an impressive display though. They attract butterflies! Full, bright, glaring sun to a little shade (they want as high a light level as possible), average watering, frost hardy. All are hardy for all California zones but vary for the colder USDA hardiness zones. Most will take USDA zone 3 unless noted. Central U.S. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 8/2012.

'Butterfly Cleopatra'   cheery flowers  stocky, dwarf, and branching dark green foliage is topped with fragrant, yellow flower,s with orange center cones. A favorite of bees and butterflies, also a long-lasting cut flower. About 16-18" tall and wide. Loves the sun, takes heat, low water user once established. USDA zone 7 or lower/Sunset all zones. rev 6/2016-Suzy Brooks

'Butterfly Orange Skipper'     beautiful neon orange flowers     compact and branching, an easy-to-grow new  variety, blooming with single, deep neon-tangerine flowers from late spring through fall.To about 15-18" tall, 18-24" wide. Attracts butterflies, bees, other pollinators. For borders, pots, herb and cutting gardens, anywhere you like! Sun, moderate to intermittent watering, most soils. USDA zone 7 or lower/Sunset all zones. rev 8/2015-Suzy Brooks  

'Butterfly Purple Emperor' PP24459      incredibly showy magenta flowers on compact plants, just 15-18" tall, attract pollinators plus you to your garden . An easy to grow perennial, blooming all summer and into fall. Sun or part shade, drought tolerant, great in a mass or in containers. USDA zone 7 or lower/Sunset all zones. rev 6/2016-Suzy Brooks

Cheyenne Spirit   a very good, new, excellent performing seed straing producing single flowers with a wonderful, brown central cone. They come in a multitude of colors - pink, purple, orange, red, cream, yellow, and white are all possible with this easy to grow perennial. Ranging in size from 18-30" tall, they all branch wonderfully for lots of flowers, attract butterflies, and are a great cut flower. Nice for a sunny border, great choice for mass planting, or in containers. Little watering once established. The 2013 AAS Flower Award Winner! All Sunset zones/USDA 5.  rev 6/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Magnus    PURPLE CONEFLOWER    closeup    more flowers    border   this excellent seed strain produces dark rosy pink flowers to 5" across, distinguished by petals that don't reflex back along the flower stem. The standard against which all other seed strains are measured as far as vigor, uniformity, and overall quality. rev 8/2012

'PowWow Wild Berry'  PURPLE CONEFLOWER   wonderful plant   here's an Echinacea that stands out for its strong color, its compact size, and its branching from the bottom for more productino of the 3-4" across, rosy purple flowers. An award winner in 2010! To 20-24" tall and 12-16" wide, big enough to show off in the garden but still compact enough for containers if you want those butterflies closer. This is a great cut flower with an easy to use color. Blooms all season, very easy to grow. Sun or part shade, average watering. rev 6/2011-Suzy Brooks

'Pow Wow White'    warm white flowers   a free flowering, branching, compact, bright white. Color mixes with just about everything, grasses, annuals, and perennials, even Aeoniums! Attracts butterflies, bees, and birds when in seed. So easy to grow, so nice in bouquets, or masses, beds, and containers. 16-24" tall. rev 7/2013 

Echinocactus grusonii   GOLDEN BARREL CACTUS  at the Huntington, with our interns Alona, Ranulfo, and Chiqa   one of the easiest, fastest growing, most forgiving, and dramatic of the Barrel Cacti, forming a large dome, eventually to 3', in a reasonable amount of time. Eventually it stretches into a large-headed column, with grayish spines below. It is quickly and easily recognized by its striking, light golden yellow to deep gold to almost chartreuse yellow spines. It bears bright yellow flowers in a ring near its center in spring, very showy but also close to the spines in color, and not until the plant is a couple of decades old. It looks quite dramatic against any dark rock, or near other geometric forms like square concrete planters, walkways, large-textured wood structures, etc. It looks good on mounds. It looks good in containers. It looks good. It is also quite drought tolerant, needing no summer watering anywhere in the cooler areas of California but doing better hotter regions with at least monthly irrigation. They are easy enough to grow that in the Huntington Botanic Garden cactus and succulent section they are almost used like a groundcover. It is rare and critically endangered in the wild. Good, sharp drainage is a necessity. Sunset zones 7-9, 14-24/USDA zone 9. Central Mexico. Cactaceae. rev 6/2010

albispinus    young cutie  like the Golden Barrel only with bright, white spines. Grows to 3' or more, mostly solitary but can offset when older. Sun. Water in summer, but keeping dry in winter will help it take the cold. Great container plant. Sunset zones 14-24/USDA 9. rev 7/2012-Suzy Brooks 

Echium candicans (fastuosum)    PRIDE OF MADEIRA    closeup    very closeup    habit, purple flowers    coastal planting, blue flowers    mixed colors    very blue     an evergreen shrub with dramatic grey green to silvery grey foliage. Mature specimens can get to 6-8’ tall, 8-10’ wide. Mature specimens become flat-topped and tree-like,  and a little bizarre; you may find them a little woody and somewhat unattractive, I find them beautiful and intriguing. Tall, upright spikes of densely packed flowers appear in early to mid spring. Color ranges from light rose pink through dark purple blue, with most plants falling somewhere in the medium blue range. This is a plant Californians pretty much take for granted but out of state visitors are often struck by their beauty and comment on them. It really deserves to be featured for its spiky grey foliage and texture alone, especially against dark backgrounds, and would be quite valuable whether it ever bloomed or not. That said, I have never seen a seedling be less than spectacular when flowering. It prefers sun to part shade with little or no summer watering required when established. I have seen plants reach to 8' when sited against walls where they reach for light. Since it usually (but not always!) breaks from old growth when cut back hard, if you want to keep its size in check get on it early before it gets out of hand and try to only cut into green wood. Make sure you give this one enough room, it won't look good or respond well if you are constantly cutting it back. It is often planted too close to walkways, and clearance pruning quickly forms it into a wall of foliage. I think 5-6' should be a minimum sidewalk allowance. Large, stretched plants are prone to breaking major branches in close to the crown but they usually resprout and grow to cover the damage. Plants that are sited in rich, moist soils will tend to break more often. On plants you need to restrain, do your pruning either post bloom or in late fall, so they have time to leaf out and be ready for its spring flowering. Plants usually age and need to be replaced after five to fifteen years, but the replacement will grow so outrageously fast it hardly matters. Can be severely damaged by frost below 25°F but all plants I know of survived the 1990 frost and temperatures at or below 20°F. Canary Islands. Boraginaceae. rev 4/2011

wildpretii    Cabrillo College    very closeup of rosy flowers     a biennial rosetted type, forming a round clump of dramatic, very grey, hairy foliage to 2' tall and wide. The flower stalk appears the second year and gets to about 6-7', and the flowers are usually a deep coral pink. Dies after flowering and reseeds well. This species seems a little touchier about drainage. Zones 14-24. Canary Islands. rev 4/2011

   a genus of clumping rush-like or grass-like plants in the Restionaceae, native to South Africa. All have jointed stems, but they can be branched or not, persistently sheathed or shedding. Some like moist environments, some drier. Almost all are high satisfaction return ornamentals. rev 1/2006

fistulosa    male/female pair at UCSC Arboretum    an erect species to about 30-48" tall, recognized by its rather robust culms, large papery bracts on the rather compact flower/seed heads (both male and female), and medium green color. The almost wheat-like sheaths of flowers and seeds are probably the most impelling reason to grow this plant. It is a very different look from most of the other Restios that are grown for the flower heads, which tend to be feathery and pendant. Native to sandy, moist wetland areas across the very southern tip of South Africa, from the western Cape Region to the opposite side. Best in full sun but will tolerate some shade as long as it has half a day of intense sunlight. Undamaged at 25F, probably top hardy to around 20F or lower. rev 10/2007 

capensis    UCSC Arboretum    another nice one at Teresa's house   shade form    sheaths    female flowers    my wife's bouquet    a wonderful plant, a giant Horsetail analogue, though completely unrelated and non-invasive. Some seedlings can grow to over 8' tall, such as the two at my house planted in part shade with access to saturated soil in winter. The whorled branches are amazingly Horsetail-like, and when we first tried to sell this plant back in 1988 we had sales reps and customers assuring us it would never sell because it looked too much like a horsetail and buyers would be afraid it would be invasive. They were right; we threw out our first crop when it didn't sell. How times and tastes change!! This is just a wonderful foliage/texture and focal point plant, very dramatic and exotic looking. It does well in containers too. Native to moist or even marshy habitat in the Cape Region. Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24, USDA zone 9. rev 1/2006

Ellisiophyllum pinnatum    soft foliage   here's a neat little groundcover that roots as it spreads with soft green leaves and white starry flowers in summer. It is not an invasive beast, but is easily kept in bounds. Lush, woodland feel, only inches high, good groundcover in containers or under other plants. Does best in rich moist soil with regular watering. I can just see a dog making it the spot to lay down in the heat of summer. Part sun or shade. Sunset zones 6-9, 14-24/USDA 7. rev 3/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Ensete    banana relatives, distinguished by solitary habits and monocarpic flowering behavior - they flower once then die. Fast, soft, frost tender, big. Tropical looking. Musaceae. rev 6/2007

ventricosum    ABYSSINIAN BANANA    Berkeley Way    innovative leaf trimming    Eastside    blessed event    one of the world's largest herbaceous perennials. A gigantic plant, to over thirty feet tall, with leaves over fifteen feet long and a pseudotrunk to over two feet thick when happy. It is amazingly fast given enough sun, water, and fertilizer. This species actually grows better under moderately warm or cool conditions, between 65 and 75°F. Some of the largest specimens will be found along the Central Coast of California. It is dark maroon red when young and grown in full sun. When older or in more shade, it becomes greener with reddish highlights on the leaf edges and midrib and along the trunk. It will grow in half a day's sun, but like all bananas it needs some sun under cool conditions or it slowly goes downhill. The more sun, the faster the recovery from cold winter conditions. Leaves can get shredded in windy conditions, and are usually tattered by the end of the stormy season. It will grow for a few years, then flower and die. Another way to handle the flowering/dying issue is to cut the flower stalk off, then the original plant will continue to grow and get even bigger. Flower clusters are massive, arching, pendant things that are bizarre and interesting but not showy. The plant is unattractive when it starts to flower, since it will retain its winter-tattered leaves when it sends out its ratty looking flower cluster. The overall effect is really shabby. Unless you want to see the truly interesting and somewhat bizarre flowers and fruits my advice is to chop it right down if it shows signs of blooming and start over with a new one.

     The fruits are leathery and considered inedible, though the flower heads and seeds are cooked and eaten where native. I'll try them and get back to you. A starch is also extracted from the base of the plant. This plant is actually an important food plant in Ethiopia and I have seen one reference that it supports up to a quarter of the population. As far as ornamental use, this is one of the best plants for instant tropical foliage landscape effects. There were huge specimens for years at the famous and irreplaceable India Joze restaurant in Santa Cruz, growing against a wall in a very narrow outdoor eating area. The leaves grew up over the building to provide jungle-like shade while the thick trunks provided a stunning, imposing ambiance to the entire restaurant, a row of massive, living, green columns if you will. Let your imagination run free as far as possible planting sites. You get a lot of bang for the buck when you plant one of these. Leaves begin to yellow below 40°F, and will show black frost damage from any light frost. It has some freeze hardiness just due to the fact that takes a lot of cold to freeze two feet of water-soaked tissue all the way through to the center where the actual growing point is. However it can rot in very cold, wet, clay soils. Ethiopia. Musaceae. rev 4/2005

‘Maurelii’    RED ABYSSINIAN BANANA    nice commercial specimen    foliage closeup   Sean's photography class picture   amazing flower    a highly desirable burgundy red foliaged variant. Slower than the green form, and not as large in the end, but still massively gigantic. Its dark maroon coloration will lessen as it matures, until it is mainly displayed on the trunk and leaf midribs. New leaves always emerge burgundy, though, and mature to a darker color than the green form. Difficult propagation accounts for limited availability. rev 1/2003

Epidendrum hybrids    REED-STEMMED EPIDENDRUM    orange & yellow    typical clouds of flowers    red   one of the easiest orchids to grow and flower, indoors or out. Classification is a messy, and much of what is in the trade probably represents hybrids between E. ibaugense and E. radicans. Grows as a compact to open evergreen perennial with scandent upright branches to 3-4’ tall, often scrambling on plants or other nearby support if not cut back. Flower stalks can reach 6’ or even more on certain varieties, others (like those we grow) are much more restrained. Bears terminal clusters of small flowers with fringed lips. They come in a range of colors, currently we offer the form the compact red orange form with the yellow lip as well as red, rose pink and light pink.  Epidendrums have a well-deserved reputation as everblooming, easy-growing subtropical perennials which will thrive as container plants anywhere there is at least half a day of sun, regular watering, at least occasional fertilizing, and little or no frost. In the tropics and warm subtropics you will see them sheared into hedges. They make great cut flowers and last for weeks, continuing to generate new flowers from the tip of the cluster even after being cut. Hummingbirds regularly work them for their relatively copious nectar. The stems make excellent, dramatic cut foliage as well. I got an enormous amount of satisfaction out of two matching specimens in very large clay pots that flanked the double French doors opening out onto my back porch. They gave me joy every time I looked at them or passed by. They bloomed every day of the year, and most of the time had quite literally hundreds of flowers each, forming solid domes of color. They thrived with just a weekly soaking and a handful or two of time-release fertilizer (Osmocote) dropped on top about twice a year. They responded instantly to the liquid fertilizer I occasionally give them as well. With most orchids the performance will be directly related to adequately the plant is fertilized. One thing they are fussy about is soil. They are at least semi-epiphytic and will grow in anything from light peat/perlite based mixes (hot, dry areas) through fine, cymbidium-grade orchid bark (cool, foggy or rainy areas). They DO NOT grow well in dirt or even fine textured, sandy potting soil mixes. Central America. Orchidaceae. rev 7/2013

Equisetum hyemale    SMOOTH HORSETAIL    effect, Blue Bamboo Nursery   another nice application    Aptos Creek Trail, Nisene Marks State Park    entryway    a striking reed-like plant that bears dark green, jointed stems to 3-4’ tall. It can be extremely invasive, but only when certain conditions are met: good drainage (or well-oxygenated water, such as in a container in a pond) and lots of water. High silica soil might be another requirement for extreme vigor. Best used in pots, and can be quite effective as an accent plant there. Against a wall or fence or by itself, this plant has a wonderful look. Sun to part shade, average summer watering, frost hardy. Tolerates wet conditions, but most successful plantings are those with average soil moisture. Eurasia, Pacific Coast. Equisetaceae. rev 7/2002

myriochaetum    GIANT HORSETAIL    Strybing Early Plants Garden    another view   here it is, one of the amazing giant horsetails I have been looking for some time now, courtesy of Don Mahoney and Strybing Arboretum. Our strain originated at UC Berkeley and is reportedly sourced from Veracruz, Mexico. To 15' tall, you will only see its full height in full sun, with regular watering and feeding, where it is protected from winds strong enough to knock it over, and where it has something to lean on or grow up through. Unsupported height is more like 8-10'. The critical point is that it is primarily a short day grower, but doesn't like too much cold, so it has to be carefully situated. This is also why its escape potential is minimal. It has large, regular, brushy, typical whorled branches just like our native stream horsetail, E. arvense, not the single, unbranched stems of the common "joint grass," E. hyemale. Unlike the winter deciduous stems of temperate species, these culms will live from year to year if not frosted. In dense groves it looks like bamboo. It needs constant moisture and will simply die if the roots dry out. But the silica-coated stems are very efficient at controlling water loss above ground, even under very dry conditions such as Santa Ana winds. Protect it from hard freezes and you should be able to grow it successfully from year to year. Since it may take more than one year for the stems to reach full size, freezing to the ground is obviously not something you want to have happen every year. We have the true Holy Grail of Dinosaur Plants, the Mother of All Horsetails, E. giganteum itself, in our possession in several forms, courtesy of the very generous Chad Husby, but it has the bad habit of producing cones on the axillary branches as well as the terminals, and has a much more irregular and unkempt appearance in cultivation. We do not have current plans to produce it. Giant Horsetails link.  Central and South America. Equisetaceae. rev 10/2010

Eremophila prostrata  PROSTRATE YELLOW EMU BUSH, RAINBOW VALLEY EMU BUSH   flowers and leaves, very close   a very prostrate, eventually very wide-spreading, yellow-flowering form of an extremely tough Australian native plant. Highly variable, it is broadly distributed, ranging is from coastal Western Australia all the way across the vast central deserts and drylands, rangin gclose to edge of the eastern and southeastern mountain rangess. This form is very dense and can eventually spread to 15' across while remaining under 2' tall, and mostly under 12". It has attractive, smooth, bright green leaves and bears yellow, tubular flowers in spring and summer sprinkled around the foliage. Of course they attract hummingbirds here on our continent. Other forms of this species can be grey and fuzzy, or upright/prostrate, or orange, red or something else. It is famously drought and heat tolerant, will take frost to around 25-20F and asks only for a site in mostly sun for most of the year, good drainage and less winter rainfall than it's probably going to get, wherever it goes. After a long delay (25-30 years?), it looks like we're back into the enormously endearing Emu Bushes! rev 7/2017

Erica canaliculata ‘Rosea’    BLACKEYED HEATHER    closeup    large plant at UC Santa Cruz    a rounded to irregular evergreen shrub or small, gnarly tree to 8-12’ tall with small, needle-like leaves. Clouds of minute, bell shaped, dusty rosy pink flowers with black centers appear from late fall through spring. Color intensifies with cold. This twisted, weeping, free form shrub looks great against the straight lines of picket fences or houses with regular forms that highlight its character, such as Craftsman or Victorian era homes. It tends to live for about twenty years. It is relatively fast growing. Plants do best in full sun to part shade with at least average drainage and infrequent summer watering. Will tolerate 20°F before being damaged. Sunset zones 15-17, 20-24. South Africa. Ericaceae.

x darleyensis    hybrids between E. erigena and E. carnea. They grow as low evergreen shrubs to 24" tall, 6’ wide, forming dense mats of wiry stems and dark green foliage. Small, bell shaped flowers, white through lavender pink and dark rose pink, almost red, appear from late summer through early winter. Sun to part shade, average to little summer watering when established. One abused specimen thrived for years on nothing but natural rainfall in an abused traffic island in downtown Watsonville, blooming prolifically and never looking anything but fantastic. Sunset zones 2-10, 14-24, USDA zone 5-6. Ericaceae. rev 3/2006

‘Kramer’s Rote’    magenta red.
‘Silbersmelze’    closeup    white flowers against dark green foliage. To 12" tall.

mammosa red  wonderful flowers this is a quite variable upright species, bearing green to grey green needle-like leaves held tightly aginst the upright stems. Orange red tubular flowers completely cover the upper portions of the branches from late summer until late fall. Quite spectactular, and relatively (relatively) easy for a South African heather. It will take frost to 28-25F, will tolerate some summer watering, and isn't as picky about soil as most. Still it thrives in full sunlight, well drained mineral soils, and needs good water quality. It can be cut and used indoors. Sunset zones 16-17, 21-24. rev 8/2008 

speciosa    closeup    young plant    confused with and formerly offered as E. cruenta, a closely related species, this grows as an open to moderately dense shrub. The needle-like leaves are dark green. Downward curving, tubular, dark red orange flowers with greenish mouths appear in winter. To 3’, with erect stems, spreading by basally branching stems. Good drainage, little or no summer watering, acid sandy soils if at all possible. South Africa. Sunset zones 15-17, 20-24. rev 9/03

verticillata    masses of flowers    a dark green, soft-foliaged grower with an upright habit to 2-3' tall. Flowers are tubular, deep, intense rose pink with green mouths, heavily produced from late summer into winter, in flushes. A relatively easy species (for a South African heather!) but it still likes at least average drainage as well as some summer watering. It will not like much Colorado River water. Give it acid, sandy soils if at all possible. Great in a container too, if you don't let it dry out. It also makes a terrific cut flower. South Africa, reported as extinct in the wild. Sunset zones 15-17, 20-24. rev 8/2008

Erigeron  perennial daisies. Compositae/Asteraceae. rev 5/2011

glaucus 'Sea Breeze'  PP12076  SEASIDE DAISY  daisies  this forms a dense mound of wide, grey green leaves with big, solid buds opening into plump, pink daisies in spring and on and off through fall. Attracts butterflies to your garden. Full sun near the coast, more shade inland. Grows about 10" by 12". Average watering. Sunset zones 4-6, 15-17, 22-24/USDA 7. rev 4/2011

karvinskianus    SANTA BARBARA DAISY    closeup of flowers    habit    mixed planting    winter flower color    with Geranium incanum    Water Street Hill     relatively compact evergreen perennial, deciduous with hard frost. Small, rose pink buds develop into endless clouds of white daisy flowers with yellow centers and very narrow petals. Blooms almost all year. A rewarding little perennial that cheerfully thrives in abandoned gardens, stone walls, or cracks in the sidewalk and never asks for anything in return. Sun, little or no summer watering, probably hardy to around 20°F. Excellent in containers. Shear back if overgrown. Has anyone tried this mowed, as a lawn substitute? Sunset zone 8-9, 12-24/USDA zone 9. Central America. rev 5/2011

‘Morheimii’    closeup    habit    hybrid bears somewhat larger flowers flushed a pale rosy lavender. Color becomes a clear lavender with cooler winter temperatures. Grows slightly larger, with somewhat larger leaves. Growing conditions identical to E. karvinskianus. rev 5/2011

Eriophyllum lanatum 'Siskiyou'   CALIFORNIA WOOLLY SUNFLOWER   those flowers!   March, bloom begins   same place, another plant   a tough, attractive selection with great silvery foliage backing really good, strong, Euryops-type yellow flowers. Provides excellent color from spring through summer or even fall. Drought tolerant, low, weed-smothering, relatively fast and reliable enough for commercial landscapes as well. Even better, the plants pictured were growing in what turned out to be essentially boggy, saturated soil, in the landscape of a certain unnamed local water agency, watered twice a week continuously since installation, all year, all weather, right through three years of RECORD drought! And not even one died. Thanks and a tip o' the hat to our lovable agency for that useful test, they whom endlessly flog water conservation and favor restrictions while strong arming away from their rightful current owners as many surface and groundwater assets as they can. Grow in as much sun as possible, in almost soil except (maybe) the heaviest clays, and apparently yes it takes wet soils. Pretty darned good in containers too. Hardy to 15F at least, probably much less. USDA zone 7/Sunset zone 4-9, 14-24. rev 7/2017 

Eriostemon myoporoides ‘Profusion’    LONG LEAF WAX FLOWER    closeup    typical plant    another plant    an evergreen shrub to 6’ tall, 8’ wide, retaining foliage to the ground. Simple lance shaped leaves to 1" long are dark green, somewhat succulent, borne on bright green stems which are covered with bumpy oil glands. The fragrance of the stems and leaves is close to that of pineapple. This is a relatively mundane appearing shrub until it comes into bloom, when it is completely covered with white star-like flowers to 1/2 " across opening from pink buds. Bloom lasts for up to six months on the plant, and flowers are also very long lasting when cut. Best cut back when young to improve density. Different cultivars of this species are extremely popular in Australia. This showy, compact strain is a distinct improvement on the wild version, which is much leafier and less showy. Needs at least part sun and average drainage. Drought tolerant when established, survived 25°F undamaged. Southern and southeastern Australia. Rutaceae. UC Santa Cruz. rev 5/2011

Erythrina    CORAL TREES    a group of slightly to respectably thorny trees and a few shrubs. Mostly tropical in origin but with a few hardy or semihardy forms exist. Flowers tend to be extremely showy, usually red or orange red but with variation. Most are deciduous at some point during the year. Many produce attractive, brightly colored seeds. Leguminosae/Papilionaceae. rev 2/2010

humeana    NATAL CORAL TREE    my house    wonderful flowers    very close    arguably the best of the really showy subtropical Coral Trees for use in Northern California. One of my all time, all time favorite plants. A deciduous (at least in Northern California) tree to about 20', it is usually seen as a spreading multitrunked specimen. Tall unbranched flower spikes, to over 2' in length, are held well above the foliage, and bear whorled ranks of bright lipstick orange red flowers, each to about three inches long. These produce copious nectar and attract hummingbirds, which appreciate being able to perch on the flower stalks when sipping the nectar. My wife, a non-technical bird lover, continually comments on how effective this plant is at attracting other species as well, especially chickadees  and bushtits, but also warblers, sparrows, and finches, all of which draw scrub jays, mourning doves and bandtailed pigeons to see what all the activity is about, all of which then draw the neighborhood Cooper's Hawk, Sharpshinned Hawk, Kestrel, and our resident pair of Red Shouldered Hawks to see if they can score a free meal. My wife and her birds get a lot of mileage out of our tree.

     As far as flowering, any wood produced during very long days will initiate. Flowering usually commences in July and can last well into winter, even into the new year with a warm fall and if temperatures remain above freezing. Leaves are very large and open, divided into three long-tipped leaflets. Trunks, stems and petioles are thorny but not viciously so. Makes a good, but large, container plant. In all situations, it is relatively drought tolerant but water as needed. The form in California is thought to actually be a hybrid with E. princeps, and in support of that theory I have never seen it set seed. It is possible this tree is showier in Northern California. It tends to be winter dormant, then the branches all break growth together and initiate flower spikes at the same time, leading to one massive flower show. In Southern California it is more or less evergreen and everblooming but tends to have one very long but rather light display. Pollarding it back once in January or February might help to improve the flower display there. Grow in at least half a day of sun, full sun is preferred. Needs at least average drainage and as little frost as possible. Overhead protection is almost always needed in Northern California, and it should be sited facing west, south, or east. Limited availability. South Africa.

     There are two primary reasons why this species is so good for us subtropical plant maniacs living in colder areas. First, it is showier than the other very good, hardy Erythrina species most often encountered in Northern California, E. crista-galli, and even better than the showier E. bidwillii. Erythrina humeana brings with it the brilliant, intense, striking bright red to orange red color of the more tropical species whereas E. crista-gallitends more toward dark, ruddy, wine red. The hybrid E. bidwillii has more true red to scarlet flowers, and its stalks also do display well above the foliage, but it is still more subdued in color, has wicked, hooked thorns, is almost always going to remain a shrub in Northern California.  Natal Coral Tree is also a warm season bloomer, in contrast to most of the other subtropical Coral Trees, so the plant can freeze to the ground in winter and still recover and bloom the following summer on new growth. The showy but tender spring blooming species usually seen in Southern California, like E. coralloides, falcata, x sykesii, and caffra, are occasionally encountered north of Santa Barbara but all set buds over winter, and any frost will usually kill the flowers. This species also grows extremely well under cool-summer conditions. I talked the late Ken Hockenberry into planting a specimen of this tree at the entrance to the Pacific Garden Mall in Santa Cruz around 1981. It produced a brilliant, stunning, long lasting, mass display of flowers on a multitrunked, very large shrub of about 8-10' height, every year for nine years until it was removed in the rebuilding of the Mall after the 1989 earthquake. RIP Ken. rev 2/2011

Escallonia ‘Compakta’    flower closeup    low hedge    West Cliff Drive    a compact, small textured shrub to 2-3’ tall, 4-6’ across. Bears short, loose clusters of small dark red flowers in spring and fall. Sun to mostly shade, average to infrequent watering. Best performance comes in cool summer climates. This variety is noticeably more prone to Phytophthora root rot than E. ‘Fradesii’ so drainage issues should be addressed if they are a problem.  Saxifragaceae. The genus is native to South America. rev 9/2003

exoniensis ‘Fradesii’    closeup    habit    an evergreen shrub to 6-8’ tall and wide valued for its glossy foliage and attractive clusters of pink flowers. Blooms heaviest in spring and fall, with some flowers all year. I like the resinous fragrance of the foliage, best detected on warm days. It is a very formal looking shrub but also very tough so finds heavy use in commercial hardscapes. Escallonias grow best in sun to part shade, but will tolerate mostly shade if they have to. Usually need little or no summer watering. This variety is more tolerant of poor drainage than any other Escallonia. rev 9/03

'Jamie' PP20,180    as far as I can tell this is a do-over or close analog of  E. 'Compakta.' It grows as a compact, small textured shrub to 2-3’ tall, 4-6’ across. Short, loose clusters of small dark red flowers are produced in spring and fall. Sun to mostly shade, average to infrequent watering. Best performance comes in cool summer climates, but it will take Central Valley or inland SoCal conditions with some shade and/or additional watering. rev 3/2012

‘Lou Allen’    closeup    original planting at Strybing Arboretum    a very dense, compact evergreen shrub to 2-4’ tall, 4-6’ wide at maturity. It forms a tight wall of glossy, medium green foliage almost stiff enough to lay on. Medium pink flowers appear in spring and fall, with some flowers almost all year. This is another commercial hardscape plant, tough and durable. Strybing Arboretum. rev 9/2003

Eucalyptus evergreen trees and large shrubs, found in tropical, subtropical, temperate and Mediterranean regions of Australia and Southeast Asia. Myrtaceae. rev 11/2015

gunnii Silver Drop  CIDER GUM     young plant    an extremely cold hardy species from Tasmania, its sap can be used like that of sugar maples, or fermented as the common name suggests. Very round, bluish, silver-dollar-type juvenile leaves become more typically pointed and greener when the plant reaches flowering maturity, though constant pruning will keep it in juvenile phase. White flowers are scattered along the branches in late winter. Here on the Best Coast it is probably best used in containers, or sheared back several times a year, unless you want a very striking, silvery, 60-120' tree to become your entire landscape. Believe it or not this plant received an RHS Award of Garden Merit! The varietal name just seems to be Benary's marketing handle. rev 11/2015

'Moon Lagoon'    juvenile foliage   a hybrid seed strain of a Western Australian mallee (very tall shrub or short, multistemmed tree) of arguable species affiliation. It has become suddenly popular here for its very attractive compact juvenile foliage, which is light silver grey to almost blue-white. The compact sprays form a very soft-textured,  evenly shaped, rounded shrublet to about 4-6' tall by 3-5' across. If not cut back it grows into a multistemmed tree 12' tall by 8' wide, with long, narrow, slightly sickle-shaped green leaves. Flowers are small, held in crowded clusters along the mature branches and open in late summer and early fall. This plant is nice grown up but still much better juvenile, we think you also will like it best when kept cut back. Sun, most soils, tolerates winter inundation if not stagnant than and its grown dry in summer. Used commercially as cut foliage. Frozen to the ground at around 20-25F but will usually resprout from lower temps. USDA zone 9/Sunset zones 8-9, 14-24. rev 7/2017 

pulverulenta Baby Blue    silhouette    mature, unpruned plant    fragrant flowers    for cut foliage     also sold as Blue Baby or Little Boy Blue. It is not clonal, being seed propagated, but comes very true from seed. The leaves are smaller than the regular form of E. pulverulenta, bluer, often with a violet or purplish hue and sometimes prominently so when pushing new growth, and more crowded along the stem, making it more highly valued for use as cut foliage. My personal theory is it may have some E. kruseana in it. A couple of other nice features of this plant are its bark, which somewhat resembles that of Madrone, with the outer layer peeling off to reveal very smooth green or burgundy skin below, and its dense, small, pale yellow-white, fragrant flowers that are packed along the stems in fall and early winter. The flowers have a strong scent of raw honey, produce a heavy load of nectar, and draw large numbers of hummingbirds. If you don't cut it back hard to flush new growth for foliage production this variety will grow quickly to about 30', as a single, slightly angled main trunk with a strong herringbone-like branch pattern, before broadening its crown to an irregular spreading crown with somewhat pendant branchlets. Handily survived 19°F with some damage. Myrtaceae.  rev 3/2012 

Euonymus  shrubs, vining shrubs, and trees, deciduous to evergreen. Grown for foliage, interesting winged bark, and often showy seeds. Mostly Asian, but widely distributed. Celastraceae. rev 9/2013

fortunei 'Emerald Pagoda'  deep color   happy, shiny, dark green leaves on a very upright plant but only to 5-6' tall and 18-20" wide.  Some wonderful, evergreen accents for the garden or containers against narrow spaces. Goes in full sun or part shade with average watering. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 6. rev 2/2014-Suzy Brooks 

japonica 'Microphylla Variegata'  Suzy's Fairy Garden    foliage closeup   if you haven't tried to make a fairy garden yet, here's some inspiration! So cute and slow growing, under 2' tall. Use it as tree with a tiny groundcover like Scleranthus and set up your tiny bistro set.  Bright white edges on these tiny green leaves, sun or part shade, regular watering. An evergreen miniature. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 5. rev 9/2013-Suzy Brooks 

Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’    perenninal garden    russeted flowers    wonderful foliage    a deciduous clumping to spreading perennial to 2' tall, slowly reaching out via short stolons. Neat, compact, dark green foliage turns reddish purple, especially at the branch tips, forming a nice background for the green flower bracts that appear in summer on last year's stems. Foliage greens later in summer. Sun to part shade, average to infrequent summer watering. Frost hardy. Euphorbiaceae. Asia Minor. rev 7/2002

robbiae    perennial garden    new flowers    russeted flowers    this subspecies is a compact, very dark green, shrubby evergreen (for us) shade perennial used for its flowers, its formal appearing foliage, as a groundcover, a background for color, or simply for its even texture and leafy presence. Becomes a very dark black/olive green in the darkest spots. Grows to 18-24" tall by 3' across in most soils with average watering, but it will take considerable drought when established and so makes the list for dry shade. It spreads moderately quickly by short stolons and can be used as a groundcover. Long stalks of light chartreuse to yellow flowers appear in late winter against nicely contrasting burgundy stalks, and continue opening for months. Eventually the flower stalks look tall and slightly club-like as they stretch well above the foliage. I found this plant greatly loved on a visit to the Pacific Northwest, everyone spoke highly of it and was tucking it into any unoccupied shady spot in their garden. Will take full sun along the coast, but definitely needs at least some shade inland. Probably hardy to around 10°F. It barely bloomed for us after the very warm winter of 2002-2003 and bloomed heavily after the much cooler winter of 2003-2004. You will get a sprinkling of old leaves turning yellow or hot orange red in winter as they age and fall. Asia Minor. rev 4/2004

‘Blue Haze’ PP 14868    early spring flowers    a very nice garden perennial hybrid variety that's worth growing for its wonderful blue foliage alone but also puts on a stunning display of brilliant chartreuse to bright yellow flowers. This makes a low, compact, clump of foliage to about 18" high, spreading out to about 3' wide or more. Flowers seem to initiate on new growth plus chill and develop with subsequent warm temperatures and are produced very heavily in late spring. They usually repeat in coastal or other cool locations in late summer or early fall. The spring bloom just about completely obscures the plant, you will just see a few leafy branches sticking through the brilliant chartreuse flowers. The foliage is a pleasure to work with when composing your landscape, being soft textured in appearance and an easy color in any situation. It doesn't get large enough in 1g containers to really show its stuff and sell itself in the nursery. Does best in full to mostly full sun, with average to good drainage, average to very occasional watering when established, and a post-bloom shearing if it looks like it needs it. I have grown it in mostly shade as a foliage plant and it becomes quite blue (I am crazy about blue-foliaged plants), but it needs good, bright indirect light - it will slowly go downhill in dark shade. Stems are annual or biennial and after flowering should be cut back to the base. Or you can leave it alone and just do nothing, like our own farm garden patch. Leaves pick up reddish tints in cool fall and winter weather. Frost hardy for all of California. rev 3/2018

characias  a shrubby perennial species of the Mediterranean region, ranging widely. Two forms or subpspecies appear to be in cultivation, as well as hybrids involving it. CUT OLD STEMS after flowering, once you see where the new buds are forming at the base. rev 10/2011

ssp. characias shorter leaves, shorter plant. rev 10/2011

'Portuguese Velvet'  Molly's plant   Strybing Arboretum (I think)   foliage closeup   interesting but unspectacular flowers   I am guessing this is little more than the straight subspecies characias, but prove me wrong if you think or know otherwise. Grows with a short, tidy, very attractive habit and produces short, fuzzy, jade to light olive green leaves with recurved margins. Flower heads are interesting but less spectacular than those of ssp. wulfenii, but foliage remains more presentable, longer. rev 10/2011

ssp. wulfenii    blooming    another    yet another!    what it does    blue shade foliage    flowers closeup   another closeup    form Bakery    “One of the grandest of plants!” - Gertrude Jekyll. This subspecies (E. characias wulfenii) is a great plant for foliage color, form, and flower power but apparently Gertrude couldn't smell too well because it has a definite skunky odor. Nevertheless it always draws your eye with its leaves and flowers, looks good against almost any other plant or background and I use it whenever I can. The very best way to use it is to buy one for your downwind or across-the-street neighbor. It grows as an evergreen perennial with thick, robust stems and a semiwoody, bushy habit, to 2-4' tall and 4-5' wide. Long, narrow, bluish leaves are leathery, persistent, and held in tight, neat, spiral whorls. Huge rounded clusters of eye-straining yellow green bracts make a real splash and grow in neat, spiral, horizontally tiered clusters across the top of the plant in late winter and spring. By early summer the show is over.You must groom the exhausted stalks down to a growth point/new buds or it looks extremely shabby when those spent stems turn red brown. Sun to part shade, little summer watering, good drainage, very frost hardy. Dalmatia (Croatia). rev 3/2010

'Bruce's Dwarf'    those wonderful flowers    a very small, compact form of v. wulfenii, with smaller clusters of lime green flowers on finer greenish grey, narrow leaves. Won't overpower your garden, leaving more room for other goodies. An evergreen perennial for sunny hot areas or even  substantial shade. To about 2' tall and wide. Sunset zones 6-9, 12-24/USDA 7. rev 4/2013-Suzy Brooks 
'Glacier Blue'    foliage    a sport of 'Tasmanian Tiger,' this version is mostly blue grey with a creamy white edge. This give it a more smoky grey blue appearance than the stark presentation of its parent. rev 8/2007 
'Lambrook Gold'     a form selected for its large flower heads. How much larger I can't say since I haven't taken it into short days to compare it to our standard trade form of E. c. w., but apparently it is nice enough that the RHS gave it an AGM (Award of Garden Merit) and that is noteworthy because they don't pass those out freely. rev 5/2007 
'Shorty' PP19,808    classy, elegant blue green foliage   bushy, evergreen, blue grey leaves that form a sturdy, more compact than normal mound 2-3' tall. Growing tips are red in cool weather, and in spring there are clusters of bright yellow flowers. Low water user for sun or part shade. Easy and rewarding. USDA 5./Sunset 3-24. rev 3/2015-Suzy Brooks 
'Silver Swan'     leaves   between Tasmanian Tiger and Glacier Blue, white eding to grey green leaves. rev 1/2010
‘Tasmanian Tiger’ PP 15715   landscape, blooming    flower spike closeup    against a darker background  a very compact form, probably ssp. wulfenii, with leaves strongly margined with creamy white. This actually has pretty good vigor, for all its lack of chlorophyll, and has done well against the ocaen. A good looking plant, especially against a darker background. rev 3/2010 

characias x martinii  (not currently in production)  foliage look   winter leaf color   leaves are long, deep blue green, very narrow, much like E. characias wulfenii but more gracile and becoming purplish in color as temperatures fall. Like E. martinii, but leaves are larger and wavier. Flower clusters are slghtly larger and with somewhat showier flowers. To 3' by 4-5', sun to part shade, average soils and watering but drought tolerant when established. Short day blooming. Trim spent stems in late spring. Sunset zone 4-24, USDA zone 7. rev 3/2010

'Copton Ash' (not currently in production) putting on a show    this is quite similar to the very satisfactory 'Dean's Hybrid' but bluer, lower, and more seasonal in bloom.  Ashy blue green leaves display the deep chartreuse winter and spring flowers just perfectly. To about 18"-24" tall, dome shaped, spreading with age. Like all of the really showy perennial Euphorbias it is usually short-lived, but what a display while you have it! When the flower stop you get to see that wonderful foliage! Under full sun and dry conditions it gets almost white.. Likes full sun, good drainage, and at least reduced summer watering. Evergreen for most of California, happily deciduous with record cold. Sunset zones 3-9, 14-17, 21-24/USDA zone 7. rev 8/2012

cotinifolia     CARIBBEAN COPPER PLANT    leaves, close     Orange County, Jan - Jeff and Alex display spring styles in shorts for 2014     tiny flowers    similar to Sapium sebiferum in leaf shape, this deciduous tree is barely hardy enough to try as a tree here in Northern California. It can be much more easily used for foliage effect as a wall shrub, or in small or large containers on protected patios, commercial entryways, etc, or used exposed in the very warm microclimates of Southern California. The drip-tip-equipped oval leaves of juvenile growth emerge dark coppery maroon, then mature to become rounded heart-shaped leaves at maturity, slightly warmer in color and with best color in full sun. Flower are very small, initiate under short days like almost all Euphorbias, and are not showy. To 10-15' tall, average soil and drainage, very drought tolerant when established,  looses leaves in cold weather. With freeze protection it can be used everywhere, otherwise USDA 9a/Sunset 23-24. rev 6/2015 

‘Dean’s Hybrid’    why you plant it    against phormium    young plant    flowers closeup    new flowers    discovered in a garden by Dean Dalton of Western Hills Nursery in Occidental, this is another very fine textured green form. It mounds up to about 18-24" tall as a clump and produces a heavy show of brilliant chartreuse yellow flowers in spring, becoming a little oranger with age, then reblooms in summer and fall with flowers usually lasting into winter. It is probably the longest blooming Euphorbia I am aware of. It does not seem to run as does ‘Claris Howard.’ A first class perennial and one of my favorite Euphorbias, in fact one of my favorite plants because it is so outstandingly showy. It looks fantastic against almost any other plant, but especially so against blue foliaged Euphorbias like ‘Blue Haze,’ purple flowers like Lavandula stoechas ‘Otto Quast,’ or strong reds like Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.’ It looks stupendous massed in drifts. It is dense, carefree, holds its own against winter weeds, and shears like cloth. Foliage color blues somewhat in winter, too. Full to part sun, average to infrequent watering. Probably USDA zone 7, Sunset zones 5, 8-9, 14-24. rev 9/2003

greenwayi     container plants    my favorite angle    those spines!    minute flowers  a top-tier foliage/form succulent, being a dense forest of upright, square blue-grey stems patterned with white chevrons and highlighted by shiny black marginal spines. The flowers range from minute and not showy to small, yellow, and interesting. Needs freedom from freezing temperatures, freedom from extended cold/wet soils, good drainage, part sun or diffuse light for the best stem color, and a growing site where the stems won't get beat-up and injured and show damage on those beautiful stems. It is fabulous featured in containers. Tanzania. rev 1/2015

griffithii Fireglow    closeup    fall color    a winter deciduous perennial of robust growth to 30" tall, sprawling and spreading to form clumps. This is a somewhat coarse textured plant that is tough, durable, large enough to overgrow weeds, has wonderful flower bracts, and colors up dependably in fall. Thick, tuberous roots sprout new growth in late winter. Bears showy bracts of fiery orange red in terminal clusters in late winter, then reblooms as stems mature so it has a lighter display of color from spring through early fall. The color continues as the broad, deep green leaves turn yellow, coppery orange and hot red before falling. In the end it is out of color for only a short period during winter, and in a mild winter it might not even go entirely deciduous. Sun, average watering, frost hardy. rev 3/2003

lambii    TREE SPURGE   flowers and bracts   mature Huntington specimen   young shrublet   another shrub      this is an interesting shrubby to tree-like, subtropical Mediterranean species, recognized by its large habit, long, thin leaves, and short-day initiation. Flower bracts and subtending leaves are rich to deep chartreuse. These are colored by December or January, and they make a bright statement during a dark, grey, wet, drizzly (please!) California winter. They last until about May, when new branches emerge from below the leaves. This can grow into a small, wide-crowned, multi-stemmed tree to 8-10' after a few years, but any overnight lows in the 27-25F range can start to cost you branches, meaning you may have to regrow the canopy. But that's what it's all about, isn't it? The journey, not the destination? Fits with any Mediterranean or xeric landscape, and is dramatic just by itself in a large container. For maximum artistic effect, and to intimidate your neighbors with your design skill, use it with any dark foliage (Phormium 'Dark Delight,' or 'Wildwood'), with yellow or red leaved-plants (Phlomis spp., Phormium 'Guardsman,' Cordyline 'Electric Pink') or against dramatic stonework or masonry. The name E. bourgeana seems to have priority, but we're using this California trade name for now. Sun, well-drained soil, little watering. Burns foliage below 32F so protect from frost and cold outside USDA 9b/Sunset zones 16-22. Canary Islands. rev 3/2018

milii hybrids and selections  a very long time ago (1988) we inherited a large collection of George Hummel's Euphorbia milii hybrids courtesy of his son Ed, who was our first propagator. There were perhaps twenty or more selections. All were badly virused, most were slow because of (or in addition to) that unfortunate fact, and those that weren't were almost uniformly shy bloomers or had very small or poor quality flowers. So we threw them all away. Still I wonder why we didn't save at least one of each. We could have recrossed them and lost those viruses by going back to seed propagation, and the possibilities  .  .  .  It give me some comfort to think that in our alternate mirror universe we did save some, and over there we are now rich, rich, rich! For now, in this universe and under this set of dimensions and rules of natural law, we are moderately poor and raise the following modern approximations:

'Dwarf Apache Red' DWARF CROWN OF THORNS  to just 1' tall by about the same wide, very compact foliage, supposedly blooms all year (we'll be watching!).

'Jerry's Choice'   GIANT CROWN OF THORNS   flowers   this is one of the giant E. milii hybrid types, with large, attractive, succulent foliage, thick, bold, spiny stems, and large bright red flowers. Supposedly this thorny succulent will flower as long as it's warm but if you watch it I wouldn't be surprised to find it is a short day or facultative short day initiator. Provide shelter from wind, sun or light shade, good drainage, and average watering in summer or whenever actively growing. To about 2' tall and wide. A perfect container plant, definitely bring it in when cold weather arrives anywhere except in parts of Southern California. Sunset zones 21-24/USDA 10. rev 3/2018

NEW COMPACT HYBRIDS     Dinii     Gundula    Karola    Pink Cadillac   Zeus   Vulcanus    so far, by far, the best of the compact varieties, and we've grown 'em all, starting with a greenhouse full of assorted, unnamed, very-first-original George Hummel hybrid seedling selections passed we inherited by default through our propagator, his own son Ed.  First and most importantly they are all virus free as far as we can tell, which has mostly doomed almost all other (cutting-propagated) competitors to permanently disfigured leaves and stems, discolored flowers and most importantly reduced vigor, usually substantially so under California's less-than-tropical climate. Choose one, collect 'em all!! rev 5/2018 

Supergrandiflora hybrids  GIANT CROWN OF THORNS   Primrose Yellow   Salmon    Red Speckles   Orange Blossom   these are some of the giant tropical hybrid types, with whopping flowers that can grow to 2" across! The leaves are attractively 'uge, and thorns are big too, making them actually a little less dangerous because they are easier to avoid. Chosen for uniformity, vigor, and health. A wonderful patio container plant for any sunny spot, or use as a houseplant but needs bright or direct light. To about 2' tall and wide at full tropical maturity with almost continuous bloom. Bring indoors in winter outside of USDA zone 10/Sunset 21-24. rev 4/2018

x martinii    closeup    spiral foliage    emerging flower spikes    nice blooming plant    deciduous to semievergreen soft-wooded perennial shrub to 30" tall, 3’ wide. Bears narrow, dark blue green leaves to 2" long with reddish undersides, purplish when emerging and flushing burgundy and orange in cold weather. Foliage is borne in a very regular spiral pattern. Chartreuse bracts emerge in late winter and last through late spring, then enclose the shiny, deep red seed capsules through summer for a long season of color. The old bract/flower heads turn a most attractive coppery orange and gold as they age. Sun to part shade, average watering, good drainage, frost hardy. Cut it back in early fall if it starts to look like it needs to be renewed, at least in those climates where it tends to be evergreen. In colder areas where it is deciduous remove old stems in winter. Current best theory of initiation is either obligate short day or facultative short day with substantial chill modification. Sunset zones 5-9, 14-24/USDA zone 7. rev 3/2010

'Ascot Rainbow' PP 21401  flower stalks   this is a variegated sport found on E. martinii, featuring golden and apricot toned leaf margins with darker green centers and burgundy new growth. Flower clusters are also variegated, these appear in winter and early spring. To about 18" tall and wide. This is a very attractive container or garden plant that can take some drought. rev 3/2010

‘Red Martin’    blooming    redder new growth and a little darker blue green color. Branches, stems and flower stems are also dark reddish burgundy for more contrast than the regular form of E. x martinii. rev 3/2010

myrsinites DONKEY TAIL SPURGE   blue green leaves   silver spiral arms thrash out from the center and seem to say, "Danger, Will Robinson, danger!" Pretty dramatic for a low growing perennial with chartreuse flowers. It appreciates sun and well drained soil, and takes heat and drought. Nice with succulents, rocks, or in containers. Be careful with the Euphorbia sap, it can be irritating to the skin. To about 8-12" tall and 12" wide. Cut back after flowers fade. Sunset zones 2-24/USDA 5. rev 6/2011-Suzy Brooks 

polychroma (epithymoides)    blooming    also known as E. polychroma, this is a low, rather horizontal species with soft, smooth green leaves and dense, tight terminal clusters of chartreuse bracts that can be produced as early as January in our climate from plants established the previous year. It changes to a wonderful warm salmon to hot red fall color before going deciduous. Can reach about 12" high, growing with a dome shaped habit, and spreads to about 2'. Very frost hardy, prefers good drainage, like most of its relatives. Europe. rev 6/2006

‘Red Wing’ (Pat pend.)    perennial garden    green foliage, compact habit to 18", deciduous. This looks a lot like a compact ‘Red Martin.’ Flower clusters emerge red before aging to sulfur yellow and the plant is in color for at least six months beginning inspring. This variety gets so many flowers, in a large round head held above the leaves, that it completely covers the foliage with blooms and looks like a dome of pure flowers. Sunset all zones, USDA zone 5 and up. rev 8/2005

'Ruby Glow' PP 22,200  dark leaves  a dense, compact, and evergreen perennial grown for the very dark maroon red foliage . This makes a  wonderful canvas for the striking chartreuse flowers that show up in late winter-spring. About 15-18" tall and spreading out to 18" wide. Takes sun and heat, needs little watering. Looks good in beds, borders, and containers. A different color to add to silver or light green plants. Sunset zones 3-24/USDA 6. rev 3/2012-Suzy Brooks

stygiana  leaves, April flowers    flower and leaf closeup    looks like it was taken from a Dr. Seuss book! I first ran into it this big, glorious, strange thing up in Portland, where it is used for its bold, striking foliage effects. In fall (there!) or late winter (here, cold years) the leaves turn yellow-salmon, starting with the veins, which quickly go to intense magenta red. Fill a blank focal point or view line spot in your garden with its gigantic, white-striped  green leaves and eye-drawing form. In April large, loose clusters of honey scented flowers burst forth. Trim those branches back to basal buds when the clusters set seed, they are finished and will die back later anyway. Grows to 5-6' tall and wide in the sun or part shade. It likes soil that drains well and is a low water user. USDA zone 8b/Sunset zones 5-24. rev 4/2015 

tirucalii 'Firesticks'    why you grow it  this is actually a selected form of a tree species, reaching over 30' in height in nature. I have never seen this more colorful form over 3' high in California. It is found all over the dry tropics, and was first described by Linnaeus from material from India. This form is grown for the superior color of its fiery coral red branches, with color most evident in sun and with cool weather. It makes a great container, patio or house plant. It can be grown in the ground where it doesn't see hard freezes. The sap is quite caustic, keep it off yourself and definitely out of your eyes and mouth. South Africa. rev 3/2010