Tag Archives: flower shows

solana succulents

Indulge me, if you would, a quick return to last month’s San Diego County Fair. There, in the flower show going on in the botanical building, I ran across this one class they had for “most unusual foliage.” Flowers are great, but so are leaves. This little display included a few pretty special examples.

Here you see variegated milk thistle and a fuzzy kalanchoe leaf, thick and rigid like many layers of felt.

This was the winning leaf, from a succulent echevaria. Not the prettiest thing on earth, but it definitely fit the “most unusual” category.

While at the fair I ran across the display I ran across the display mounted by Solana Succulents. The place has been around for a while, but I’d never taken the short trip to north county to check it out. This past weekend I took John up for a quick visit.

Heading north, once you clear the thin atmosphere of Del Mar, you come upon a chain of fun, funky little beach towns on the way up the coast. A visit to Solana Beach and neighboring Encinitas will give you some comfort that the 1960s never went away very far, though they did get a little reinterpreted and gentrified.

Solana Succulents occupies the outdoor spaces of a little house that’s been converted into a shop. I liked its tight, funky feel. You’ll find little succulent gifts, bigger landscape specimens, as well as some wild curiosities that’ll probably keep a connoisseur happy. With so many pointy, sharp plants around, this is no place to take your toddler. But for two people who find succulents totally cool it was a great way to spend part of an afternoon.

Here’s a brief gallery of some of the hundreds of neat plants there. I tried to get the names, but a few plants weren’t labeled. And beyond that there were some unknowns mixed into the offerings.

A cool red aloe or gasteraloe hybrid.
Another aloe or aloe hybrid with cool red summer coloring.
Aloe andongensis, a species with gentle spots and a distinct gold aura.
The fuzzed flower buds of Aloe tomentosa. The plant is a pretty basic green aloe, but these woolly flowers make up for the ordinary plant.
Espostoa lanata: Was it Freud who said, 'Sometimes a succulent is just a succulent?'
One of the variegated forms of Agave lophantha, a nice little spiky bundle not much over a foot across at this point.
A nice boxed euphorbia specimen.
Euphorbia polygona, one of many Old-World euphorbias that mimic New-World cactus.
And a real New World cactus, one of the weirdly blue-colored species in the genus Pilosocereus. The owner needed to look up the exact species, but he said it wasn't the more common azureus.
I really flaked on the name of this one. Maybe one of the stapelia relatives? EDIT 7/16/2010: Thanks to Candy, who has identified this plant as Euphorbia pugniformis f. cristata.

There was this short little plant with a bulbous, succulent base. It had fewer than a half-dozen leaves. But what stunning leaves. I thought they had a great gold-dust effect to them. And then John suggested that I wipe the potting soil off the leaves. Okay, no more gold dust effect, but still a great plant. Not all succulents are squat, spiny, leafless little auditions for a horror movie. This plant is proof. But I think a lot of the other plants I've shown are further proof of that.