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Desert to Tropics Succulents

air date: September 15, 2018

Like any plant, succulents come in all sizes and growing conditions. Jay Arredondo from Deserts to Tropics nursery taps succulents big and small to grow outside or in low light freeze-protected containers.On tour, graphics designer James Barela turns a lump of clay into distinctive containers. Find out how plants prompted his ceramics venture, Baetanical. Daphne answers: why does a whale’s tongue agave look miserable after a move? And, meet two plants that are considered beneficial despite their benefits.CTG’s camera operator and Strange Town producer, Mark Morrow, shows how he removed front yard lawn to make a flagstone patio.

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Episode Segments

On Tour

Clay to Ceramics: James Barela Container Designs

Graphics designer James Barela turns a lump of clay into distinctive containers. Find out how plants prompted his ceramics venture, Baetanical, assisted by quality control manager, young cat Luna.

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Question of the Week

Why is my Whale’s tongue agave yellowed with shriveled leaves after moving?

Thanks to Eric Norris for this great question! When he moved recently, he brought along his healthy whale’s tongue agave in a container. After a few weeks, it was yellowed, washed-out, and even shriveled.

This is sunscald. The sun has destroyed the chlorophyll in the leaves, hence the washed-out color, and the pattern of discoloration isn’t reversible.

But future damage is easy to avoid by moving the agave to a shadier location.

Much like humans, plants become accustomed to the amount of light that they receive over time, and are damaged if overexposed too quickly. You can acclimatize plants to more sun, but the large dose that this agave received all at once was more than it could handle.

Note: this is why you should slowly move winter protected plants back into sunlight outdoors and why seedlings are “hardened off,” to get used to being outside.  

But this agave will grow new leaves and damaged ones can be pruned out as desired.

If you plant whale’s tongue in the landscape, plant in partial shade or a bright, filtered spot, protected from the harsh afternoon sun. If the spot is too sunny, you can also protect the plant by placing rocks, boulders, or even a trellis on the south/west side to protect it.

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Plant of the Week

Invasive Horned Poppy and Buffalo Bur

Invasive Horned Poppy and Buffalo Bur

Beneficial plants or noxious weeds? That describes both horned poppy and Buffalo bur. In May, Storm Hardin ran across a new plant growing in her horse pasture. About 8 inches tall, the leaves are blue green in color. Its petals change color over time, going from red to white and finally to orange. Peckerwood Garden’s Director of Horticulture Adam Black identified it as a Glaucium, possibly species corniculatum, an exotic that’s naturalized in Texas and many other parts of the country. Adam notes that the common name, “horned poppy,” is due to the long seed capsules. We can’t recommend planting it, but thank you for educating us all, Storm! And Mike Dunn spotted this prickly plant growing where he’d sown tomato seeds. This is Buffalobur nightshade, Solanum rostratum, also called simply Buffalo bur. According to Andrea DeLong-Amaya, Director of Horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, its seeds can be transported on animal fur, so perhaps they lay dormant in the soil until Mike began to cultivate it for his tomatoes. Buffalo bur is a drought-tough native plant and its flowers provide nectar to pollinators. But it’s highly toxic to humans, and is considered a noxious weed in some states. It’s also very painful to remove, so wear long, heavy gloves when digging it out. It’s an annual, so remove flowers to prevent it from spreading or returning next season.

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