Succulent Plants – Fruits

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Other than the dragon fruit, few other succulent plants also have some fruits.

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Garden Mid Summer 2016


The two months of Summer, December and January’, here in Melbourne have been quite mild, with only few hot days. The last few days of rains have made the garden look more alive with various new blooms. Even the lawn suddenly has started to look greener.
The two pear trees are full of fruits, and we always share them with wild Lorikeets. Now I can hear their noisy chits-chats and squeaks.

Pears and Rainbow Lorikeets:

The Beurre Bosc pears are hanging heavily on small branches, Read more

Tanaman Babi Mesem


Dulu pernah ada kenalan yang juga dari daerah Jawa, melihat-lihat kebun kami. Dia paling suka dengan tanaman yang waktu itu penuh dengan bunga diakhir musim semi. Dia tanya apa namanya tanaman ini dan aku jawab namanya adalah ‘Pigface’ atau juga disebut dengan “Mesembryanthemum’. Teman itu tertawa, aneh betul namanya…. Koq bisa dinamakan muka babi kan engga kelihatan seperti babi sama sekali. Ya aku sendiri juga heran, mungkin banyak orang yang imajinasi-nya terlalu kuat sekali, ha….

Kemarin ini si-kenalan tilpon dan dia tanya apa aku masih ada tanaman “Babi Mesem’nya. Aku tak bisa menahan tawa dan tanya koq bisa jadi ‘Babi Mesem’. Rupanya diambil dari nama Pigface dan Mesembryanthemum…. untuk mudah mengingat dalam bahasa Jawa dia sebut Babi Mesem. Oh ya, mesem itu bahasa jawa yang artinya tersenyum. Ha….. aku masih bisa tersenyum sendiri.

Biacara tentang tanaman Pigface yang suka mesem ini memang membingungkan. Namanya macam-macam karena ada banyak jenisnya. Dalam nama sehari-hari pigface juga sering disebut dengan nama Iceplant. Sedang nama ilmiahnya ada sebutan Mesembryanthemum, Lampranthus, Carpobrotus, Dorothenanthus dsb. Aku sendiri tak bisa menjelaskan apa bedanya dan apa samanya karena aku bukan ahli botani. Yang aku tahu semua memiliki daun succulent dan bunga yang warna warni, ada yang merah, pink, oranye, putih, ungu dsb. Banyak dari tanaman ini kalau sedang berbunga bisa menutupi seluruh tanaman hingga tak kelihatan daun dan tangkainya. Banyak juga dari tanaman ini yang bunganya hanya terbuka kalau matahari bersinar, jadi kalau hari mendung/hujan atau dimalam hari, bunga tertutup.

Selain bisa ditanam di pot, babi mesem ini paling cocok ditanam ditanah yang mengandung pasir dan dengan kondisi yang agak kering dan gersang. Bisa dikembang biakkan hanya dengan mematahkan tangkai dan langsung di tusukkan ketanah dan jangan lupa memilih tempat yang banyak terkena sinar matahari.

Sebagian besar tanaman ‘babi mesem’ ini berasal dari Afrika Selatan dan yang aku tahu ada jenis yang tumbuh ditepian pantai didaerah Australia Selatan yang disebut dengan nama ‘Coastal Pigface’ dan termasuk dalam jenis Carpobrotus virescens, C. rossii dsb.

Oh ya, sepintas tanaman ini memang mengingatkan kita pada tanaman jenis krokot berbunga warna warni “Cantik Manis’ yang banyak ditanam di Indonesia yang nama ilmiahnya adalah Portulaca. Jangan keliru saja karena yang ini adalah jenis tanaman lain., walau banyak yang salah kaprah dengan menyebutnya pigface juga. Portulaca berasal dari Amerika Selatan dan bentuk bunganya lebih mirip bunga mawar yang lain sekali dengan bunga si ‘babi mesem’.

Flowering Succulents


Kalanchoe pearl-bell, pumila and blossfeldiana are flowering nicely. Today and also in the last few days have been sunny which is good for the pigface plants. Without sunlight pigface flowers will not open at all. It is even worse during rainy days, the flower buds will just rotten away before they have a chance to show off their beauty.

Here some of the photos that I took recently”

Kalanchoe ‘Pearl Bells’

Autumn Joy, Donkey’s Tail and Few Others…


Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’

One of the very popular plant from the Crassulaceae family is Sedum. As succulent which is also known as Stonecrop plant, sedum is juicy fleshy and it comes in many different colours and shapes…. around 400 different species. Many of them are trailing and pretty, so they are very suitable to be planted in hanging pots and baskets. Some are plump and rounder, some have flatter leaves or come in rosette. Most of the flowers are star shape.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Sedum telephium “Autumn Joy’ is quite popular lately. People grow it for the flower display in autumn. When the clusters of flower are still in buds and green, they look a little bit like broccoli. The plant will die down in winter and leaf buds will start to grow when the weather is warmer in spring. It is better to plant this sedum species in the garden in a sunny spot.

Sedum morganianum ‘Donkey Tail’ or Burro’s Tail is an odd looking succulent. The plump leaves grow in long strands and the small cluster of reddish flowers grow on the tip of each strand. The leaves are very brittle and can easily come off the stem. This succulent is best grown in a hanging pot as the leaf strands can grow very long.

Sedum rubrotinctum ‘Aurora’

Sedum rubrotiinctum is the most popular sedum species. It is commonly known as Jelly Bean plant. It comes in some different colours and it will be very pretty to be grown in a pot in a sunny spot around the house. Just like donkey’s tail, the rounder leaves are very brittle and easily fall off the stem with a slightest touch.

Sedum confusum

Sedum confusum can be grown as ground cover or in a pot. The small rosette leaves will have copper colour tinge when they mature. It will have star shape yellow flowers. The slightly trailing and compact growing habit make this plant suitable as gound cover and it will grow very nicely in a hanging basket.

Sedum nussbaumerianum

Sedum nussbaumerianum is less popular. It will be green if grown in shady area but will have yelowish copper colour in the sun. A nice species to be planted in pots. The flowers are small and white in colour.

Powdery Sedum allantoides var. Goldii

Sedum allantoides ‘Goldii’ is one of the largest sedum. The fleshy leaves are grey green and covered with white powdery substance that will stain your clothing (especially if it is dark colour). But don’t worry as it will be easily come off if you clean it. It will be good to plant in in the garden along the border. The whitish grey green colour is a sharp contrast to other colours. The flowers are soft yellow with long stems.

Note – November 20, 2013: I just saw a succulent plant by the name of Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Delight’. The appearance of this plant is very similar to the above Sedum allantoides ‘Goldii’. There is a chance that the plant above is actually Cotyledon and it is not Sedum at all. ???

Succulents are getting more popular every year as they are very hardy to grow in milder climate. They do not need a lot of water to waste and will tolerate neglect and poor sandy soil. Can be easily grown from cuttings.

Fuzzy Kalanchoes

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Kalanchoe succulent plant belongs to the large family of crasulaceae. It has up to 200 different species. Many people grow kalanchoes for the bright and colourful flowers, but others appreciate the beautiful foliage. I like the fuzzy and hairy ones that have large leaves. It is a fact that most of the unusual and strange succulents are native to Madagascar Island. Many others are native to southern parts of Africa and Asia.

Kalanchoe beharensis is also known as Elephant Ear.  The leaves are triangular in shape with irregular lobes. The green leaves are fully covered with fine hair to make them look smooth and velvety. Kalanchoe beharensis will multiply quickly in well drain, warm and sunny spot of the garden. If grown in a pot, it has to be large enough as the plant can grow over 1 meter high (ours only grow up to 75cm high), and can be quite heavy.

Kalanchoe baharensis aka. Elephant Ear Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe hildebrandtii ‘Silver Spoon’ is another unusual succulent. The leaves grow as big as a dessert spoon. They are silver colour, fuzzy and fleshy. During the warm weather the plant will bear tall orange colour blooms. This plant with woody branches will quickly grow bushy to form a nice and compact shape. It needs well drain soil and is very hardy and can tolerate mild frost.

Kalanchoe hildebrandtii ‘Silver Spoon’

Kalanchoe orgyalis ‘Copper Spoon” has large brown copper colour leaves on the top side and greenish gray colour underneath, but the leaves tend to be slightly green if grown in the shade. I find that this plant is less tolerance to frost. It grows slower compared to silver spoon and can grow up to 1 meter high. The brown copper colour and the furry smooth leaves are very eye catching. It is best to be grown in well drain soil and away from frost.

Kalanchoe orgyalis “Copper Spoon’

A little fact about Cactuses/Cacti and Succulents: 

“All Cactus plants are Succulents….. but not all Succulents are Cacti…………..”

Stapelia – Hairy and Smelly

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Stapelia sp. (Carrion or Starfish Plant).

Our Stapelia plant is flowering. The flowers are star-shaped, hairy and smell like rotting flesh. The colour is dark red like the colour of meat. Though the smell is not as strong as Corpse flower (Titan arum), it is good enough to fool some flies. Flies think that the flower is some kind of rotting carcass, so they lay their eggs/maggots inside the flower. So the missions are accomplished for the plant! The flies have helped the flower with polination. When I took the pictures yesterday, I saw tiny maggots near the stamens inside the flower. Not very long they will die as there are nothing for them to eat in there, within 3 or 4 days the flower will also wilt away.

Stapelia Plant

  • Stapelia is originally from southern Africa and also known as Carrion or Starfish flowers.
  • There are about 40 species.
  • It is succulent plant and not a cactus.
  • Attractive fleshy, smooth and spineless velvety long stems which can grow to about 20 cm long. Green or grey-green with purple tinge in colour.
  • Large flowers and the flower buds grow like balloons before they open.
  • The flowers are hairy, mostly are 5 points starshaped. Once open, they will last for a few days (3-4 days).
  • The flowers come in many different colours: dark red/maroon, yellow, cream, greenish or spotted/mottled.
  • It needs similar growing requirements as other succulents. Sandy but rich well drain soil.
  • Full sun position, keep in sunny place indoor in winter.
  • Much less water during cold season.
  • Liquid fertilizer during the growing season.

Stapelia Flower Bud

Stapelia sp. just about to open.

Star-shaped Stapelia sp.

A fly is attracted to the flower.

Maggots inside the flower.

The Amazing Wonder of Nature….. Sometimes it is just bizarre!

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