Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Name this plant.

In an earlier post I showed a few echeverias which are one of my favourite groups of plants. Alongside propagating through offsets and leaves, I have been experimenting with growing them from seeds.  They are easy to propagate this way the only problem is knowing exactly what the other parent is as they will hybridize very easily.

Taking advantage of this every summer I play cupid and using a small paint brush take the pollen from one plant and spread it inside the flower of a second.  For my first attempt there were a few varieties in flower at the same time, so I choose two of my favourites, echeveria pulidonis and echeveria rosea.

Echeveria pulidonis is a very neat compact plant, which offsets well and has pretty little yellow flowers. While not being totally hardy,  it does have some tolerance of cold.

Echeveria rosea is a more bushy plant which for much of the year can look a little messy.  However come winter the whole plant turns red and then from very early spring the end of each stem becomes a flower spike the biggest of any variety.  It also has the distinct advantage of being by far the best suited for growth in the UK and can be left outside unprotected in many parts of the country.

To be honest as a first attempt I didn't expect it to work, so was amazed when one of the seed pods opened to reveal tiny seeds.  I thought there was no harm in seeing if they would germinate,  and again was surprised when after a couple of weeks the tray was covered in new seedlings.  I mentioned yesterday that my skills at killing seedlings is unmatched and as usual I I did kill a fair amount but some made it through.

But what chances they would be anything different?  At first they looked similar to e. pulidonis, but by the end of last summer they were already starting to show differences,  the leaves seemed longer and the rosette looser.  To test the hardiness I left a few in various places, although only small they all survived despite our terrible winter.  At the start of spring they looked like this:

 As the summer progressed they grew and I'm not sure what I was feeding them but their growth rate was much quicker than normal, by July it was a fine plant and was obviously something special and had started to offset.

I am particularly pleased that it has kept its blue colour.  At this stage it was about the size that pulidonis normally gets to, but this one carried on and had to be repotted.  It now looks like this:

It is about 20cm across and has loads of offsets forming. A monster by plain e. pulidonis standards, I will be watching it closely next spring to see if it can get any bigger! I have also left a few outside to again test the hardiness.  While I love it, it has now raised a new problem of what to call it.  I have already been asked for offsets by a couple of nurseries and so I have to think of a name to stamp my mark on it.  Originally I had thought of combining the two parents; something like "pulosia"  or "pulidosia"  but was recently informed that this is not allowed.

So what to call it?  Any suggestions?


  1. Call it Spikeys Blue - that's fantastic! I keep trying with my Echeveria, but so far I have only dud seeds. It's hard to get several different ones blooming at the same time - after seeing this, it gives me new hope and determination.

  2. Wow congrats! That's pretty amazing. I do like the suggestion from Blue Fox but I would change it to be 'spiky blue'

  3. Yes, Danger - I did think of that, but then you would have people wondering where the spikes are! It is a great plant anyway - I'll be interested to see how big it ultimately gets; nothing like that hybrid vigor!

  4. I found this very interesting and love Blue Fox's name for the plant. Will be fun to see if it gets even bigger next year.

  5. Hmmm, Blue dawn? Sky blue pink. Everything I think of sounds like a new advertising agency. It's massive now!

  6. Thank you for all the kind comments. Luck was obviously on my side with this one. I will make sure I post an update next year.

    BF:Don't give up on trying with the echeveria. I am lucky as I always have 2 or 3 different varieties in flower at any one time. Thanks for the name idea, it would link it to me.

    Oxslip: Yes is has grown since you last saw it. "Blue Dawn" sounds like a very possible echeveria name.

    On another site someone has suggested "adonis blue", or "blue adonis" so there are going to be a few names I am going in the hat.

  7. 'Bluedonis'? :) It's a lovely plant!