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One of my favourite succulents are the Graptoveria species.  Why? Its easy to care for, speed of growth, propagating ease and they look great. Also, they grow well in a pot or in the ground, in a sunny or shade position.  There are many different species of Graptoveria, I currently have Fred Ives and the Tri Colour species.

The name Graptoveria is a combination of Echeveria and Graptopetalum. It is a hybrid between the two plants.  Like the Echeveria species it comes from the Crassulacae family.

Growing Conditions
Most Graptoveria are low growing and tend to grow in clumps.  Their growing period is in the Summer, they are drought tolerant, can withstand a full sun position and can grow in part shade.  They also tolerate wet winters. For those of you who live in colder climates they have a good cold tolerance too. So, does that sound familiar,?  Basically, they have the same growing habit as an Echeveria.  They only vary with regard to being able to tolerate colder temperatures than Echeveria and the flower that is produced looks slightly different. (see below)

Graptoveria Fred Ives-Grown under shelter of tree/part shade

Tri Colour grown in full sun/in pot

Fred Ives- full sun/in the ground

Surviving Hot Summers
Graptoveria can survive very hot summers.  Graptoverian species : Tri Colour, David Cumming, Fred Ives and Jules have survived Australian hot temperatures of 40C+ (that is in the shade). Some Graptoveria produce a protective waxy or powdery coating which protects them from the sun.  It has a few names such as: farina or epicuticular wax and is thought to be the plant’s natural protection from strong sun – like a sunscreen.  This coating will rub off at the slightest touch and  will lose its protective coating.  The protective coating will not be re-produced.

Producing Offsets/Pups
Graptoveria have their growing period in the summer and can produce a few offsets/pups in this season. They will normally grow in the shade of the parent plant to start off with.  So if your succulent is in a pot and it produces an offset/pup do not turn the pot so the offset is facing the sun as this could burn the new growth.  Similarly if you decide to transplant the offset do not plant it in full sun to begin with.

Flowers
Graptoveria have a very distinguishable flower in that it has tiny black dots on its petals.  The flower will look like an Echeveria and other succulent’s flowers until closer inspection. If grown outside/in the garden the Graptoveria will flower profusely, however, if it is grown inside it may not produce any/many flowers. Graptoveria’s are NOT monocarpic so they do NOT die after flowering.

Graptoveria Flowers have tiny black dot on the petals

Black dots on Graptoveria flowers distinguish them

Tri Colour- grown inside and did not flower

Tri Colour-grown outside has flowered

Graptoveria Fred Ives and Graptoveria Tri Colour
Fred Ives grow in full sun and/or partial shade.  In previous summers they have withstood 40C+ temperatures. The photo below left shows a Graptoveria Fred Ives that has morning shade and full afternoon sun and is grown under the protection of a cherry tree. The next photo from the left shows a Graptoveria Fred Ives that has morning shade and full afternoon sun but is NOT grown under the protection of a tree.

The mottled/blotchy leaves are normal for a succulent that is not protected from the elements such as rain and hail.  I put this down to the cold rain or hail sitting on the leaves in the winter.  The Graptoveria on the left is growing only 10 metres from the Graptoveria on the right during the same winter this year.  This is a bit of a downside to growing succulents in the ground and open to the elements.  However, it will only look unsightly until the mottled/blotchy older leaves drop off.  Which is not that long at all – possibly a month.

Problems
Graptoveria can survive in cold temperatures but they do not tolerate frosts or hail well.   As stated above they can also look a bit unsightly if they are grown outside and open to the elements in the winter. (Succulents DO NOT like hail!! )   Like most succulents Graptoveria can be susceptible to mealy bugs.  How do I treat pests on succulents & cacti? Other than those minor problems they are a great succulent to grown and love.

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When I first started with succulents I had no idea how many of them produced flowers and how many they would produce.  Some succulents do not produce flowers, some produce flowers and then die, some flower in spring and some flower during the winter.  Some do not flower until they are mature plants and others will flower when they are less than a year old.  They can be star shaped, tubular, dangle like a bell or look like any other flowering plant.

However, a large majority of succulents do flower and they flower profusely as well.  Just like many other flowering plants most succulents tend to flower during Spring. Different succulents can flower from spring and summer to autumn and winter. Therefore, just as with other types of plants your garden can look beautiful in Spring (or anytime of the year) if you only have succulents in your garden.

As usual, in the amazing world of succulents there are a many and varied flowers which all look amazing with brilliant shape and colours.  There is a common appearance between the Echeveria, Graptoveria, Pachyveria and other Echeveria hybrids, they are usually orange, red or yellow. In one instance, the only way to determine a Graptoveria succulent from an Echeveria succulent is by the flower it produces!  (What is the difference between an Echeveria and Graptoveria succulent?)

The size of the flower depends on the size of the plant.  My Echeveria Strawberry Heart is large and thus has large flowers (see below left).  Conversely, a small Graptoveria Fred Ives has tiny flowers. (Below right).

Echeveria Strawberry Heart

Echeveria Strawberrry Ripple

Graptoveria Fred Ives

Graptoeria Fred Ives

Monocarpic Succulents
As mentioned above, some succulents – such as some Agaves, Aeoniums and Sempervivums will flower and then the parent plant will die. These succulents are known as being – ‘monocarpic’.  However, the plant will produce many babies/offsets during the flowering of the mother plant so it is not too devastating for the owner! (Which succulents die after flowering?)

Winter Flowering Succulents
Aeonium succulents are Winter flowering, also monocarpic (see above).  You can often see them growing on the side of the road as they are very hardy.  They can be quite untidy succulents while the flower and the attached stem is dying.

What should I do when the flowers die?
You can prune the dying flower stems at any time.  Usually the stems start to look unsightly which is when I prune mine.  If you do not prune them they will eventually shrivel up and drop off by themselves.

Do succulents flower when grown indoors?
Succulents ‘rarely’ bloom when they are grown indoors.  In their natural habitat they can require high temperatures in summer to trigger flowers to grow. Air conditioned houses do not provide these high temperatures.Conversely some succulents need winter dormancy and cold temperatures to induce flowers. Light and water conditions are also conducive to whether a succulent flowers or not.

Succulents (in flower) from my Garden
Aeonium Pinwheel
The Aeonium Pinwheel is a very compact plant that is hardy and easy to establish.  This year is the first time mine has flowered, (it has been growing for approximately 3 years) It is Monocarpic, so the stem from which the succulent has flowered will die, however, the rest of the plant growing from other stems should survive.  Below is a photo of the flower which is quite stunning.

Kalanchoe
 This succulent is usually sold for Mother’s Day as it has beautiful flowers of white, red, pink or orange.  This succulent flowers in the spring.

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The Aeonium Aboreum succulent was one of my very first succulents.  It is the epitome of what I believe a succulent should be!  Can be grown in full sun, survives on only rainfall in the garden(or a pot) and can be easily propagated.  I have seen Aeonium Aboreum (pronounced – Ay O nee um) growing on the side of the road.  However, there are numerous other Aeonium’s.  In total there are about  35 different species of Aeoniums.  Not surprisingly I have only seen about 5-10 different species in my State . Are all the Aeonium species as hardy and what other Aeonium’s are there?

All Aeoniums are winter growers and therefore look their best during the winter months. So don’t be worried if your Aeonium looks different during summer. This is when they are dormant and therefore do not require a lot of water.  To cope with summer temperatures they can change their appearance dramatically. If you are not aware of this you can think that there is something wrong with your plant.  Many, but not all, Aeoniums are monocarpic.  This means that when they flower the flowering stem will die.  If the Aeonium is the type that has many stems then only the stem that flowers will die. However, if the plant does not produce multiple stems then the whole plant will die – sadly.  Usually the plant will not flower for about 5 years though.

Pests include aphids and mealy bugs, I have also seen snails make a nice meal out of some of my Aeoniums.

Aeonium Aboreum during dormant Summer season look like this

In Winter Aeonium Aboreum look like this- during this growing season

Aeonium Aboreum
Size: Large
Shape: Any (can be tall and lanky)
Hardy:  Extremley
Monocarpic: Yes
Aeonium Aboreum is the most common of all Aeonium species. The Aboreum can grow to the height of a one story house if left to grow as it pleases and not pruned back.    It is easily propagated.

Aeonium Undulatum ‘Stalked Aeonium’
Size: Large
Shape: Any (low growing)
Hardy:  Extremley
One of the larger species of Aeonium with thick stems that grow about 1 metre (3 feet) from the ground. Other rosettes do not branch off the stem like most Aeoniums. The plant is monocarpic so the flowering stem will die when it flowers which is normally after about 5 years.  It is easily propagated.

Aeonium Goochiae ‘Ballerina’
Size: Small
Shape: Spherical
Hardy:  Yes
Monocarpic:  No
This Aenioum is a smaller species in that it is very low growing.  It reaches about 20cm (8inches) tall at maximum height.  It is slightly hairy and the leaves are a bit sticky.  Some have a red tip point on them.  It grows in a compact ball shape.

Leaves are covered in small hairs and are sticky

small clumping habitat

Aeonium Goochiae Ballerina

Aeonium Pinwheel
Size: Small
Shape: Spherical
Hardy:  Yes
Monocarpic: No
Aeonium Pinwheel is as hardy as the Aboreum and has the added advantage of growing in an amazing spherical compact shape. It is easily propagated and when pruned back it will replace the part of the sphere that has been taken.

Aeonium Decorum ‘Sunburst’
Size: Small
Shape: Spherical
Hardy:  Yes
Monocarpic: Possibly
This is a beautiful Aeonium and one that I am reluctant to neglect as I have rarely seen it for sale (at Bunnings or nurseries etc) in South Australia. It is now nearly 2 years old and has produced only two offsets.  However, this may be due to the fact that I have kept it in my greenhouse and it has not had a lot of water during its growing season.  The new leaves in the centre are a vibrant and deep  colour.  However, as the leaves get bigger and older they can lose a bit of their colour intensity. I have no had any problems with pests of any kind and it survives with semi regular watering.

Aeonium Sunburst – when first purchased it in 2016

Aeonium Sunburt-new leaves are more vibrant and older ones

2 years growth. The pups are growing in the shade of the main plant

Aeonium Aboreum ‘Schwartzkopf’
Size: Large
Shape: Any
Hardy:  Extremely
Monocarpic: Yes
This Aeonium can be absolutely stunning in the Winter and is one of my favourites.  It turns a very dark purple when it is grown in the sun, however, if grown in full shade it will be totally green and look like a normal Aeonium Aboreum. (as above)

These are just a few of the different types, the ones that I have and can comment on.  Are they all hardy?, I would say the above are.  That is; hardy in a Mediterranean climate.  Aboreum is definitely in a league of its own when it comes to hardiness however the other species (except Sunburst) have survived on rainfall only in the garden with hardly any attention or care!

It is believed that the Aeoniums that are monocarpic usually only produce a flower when they are a mature plant – say at least 3-5 years old.  However, I found my Aeonium Undulatum (as seen above) had a few new stems start to grow a few months ago and these are already starting to flower!!  So I am perplexed as to why they are flowering straight away and will see what happens after they have flowered.  Watch this space!

New Aeonium stems producing flowers on very small stems!?

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Succulents are still very much ‘on trend’.  Even if you are not a succulent enthusiast you are still likely to appreciate a succulent in a nice pot or container in someone’s home.  Especially if it is not a plastic one!   Horror of all horrors!!!!

The bathroom is the most common room in someone’s house to see a sexy succulent.  However, due to the humidity from showering and baths a lot of succulents will just not survive in a bathroom unless they are indeed plastic!!  This is why I was so happy to find a succulent that survives in a bathroom and has done so for about two years.

The name of the succulent is a Haworthia Coarctata.  As pictured below.  It can be grown outdoors or inside your home.  Grown indoors it does grow alot slower and does not multiply as often but it still looks great in a small glass jar or any tiny pot.

What care is required for a bathroom succulent?
The answer to this question is hardly any.  I water my succulent approximately every 4-6 weeks and only give it about  1 tablespoon of water.  If this succulent is ‘over’ watered it will rot and die.  A good way to remember to water your succulent is to water on the 1st of every month.  Then you can keep track of when you last watered it.  Even when it looks dry do not water it.  Also, as the succulent is in the bathroom it will receive some moisture from when the bathroom gets all steamy.

Will it grow in a pot without a hole in the bottom?
Yes it will.  Mine does.  You have to be very careful when you water a succulent that is growing in a pot without a drainage hole.  However, it is possible.  Mine is growing in a glass candle jar from Ikea.  With a glass jar you can see the water through the glass and see how wet the soil is.  Also if you put too much water you can always gently tip the jar to the side and pour any excess water out.  Just put your finger on the top of the succulent so you do not tip out the succulent as well.

The Haworthis Coarctata will also grow outdoors in the ground in shade or full sun.  The ones below have been growing in my garden for about 2 years.  As you can see they have grown some babies/pups.  These can be carefully broken off, re-potted and brought inside.  Even if you break off a part that does not have a root it will grow its own roots and happily continue to grow.

The green colour of the Haworthia growing in the sun is lighter in colour than if it is growing inside or in the shade where the colour will be a lot darker green.

This Haworthia has very shallow roots so it is great for growing in any tiny pot or container.  I recently found a great use for all my old Pandora boxes.  I pulled out the black cardboard and put a tiny bit of soil in the bottom of the box and popped in a Haworthia Coarctata. It looks funky.

There are probably a few succulents that wil grow/survive in a steamy room without much light.  However, I would like to point out that this is the only succulent that I ‘personally’ have had survive in my bathroom.

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If you are considering buying an Ikea kitchen and would like some tips on how to go about it – read on.  It is not as straight forward as you may think!  I would have loved to have heard someone’s thoughts and experiences before I went ahead.  I did search the internet for a blog but was only able to find information on American Ikea.  This is my experience with Ikea Adelaide – Australia.

Sometime last year we decided to replace our kitchen – it really did need it.  This was the first time in our lives that we had the opportunity to do this.  Where on earth do you start?

Get quotes!
Firstly, make sure you get a few quotes from local kitchen suppliers.  We obtained two ‘custom made’ kitchen quotes from local suppliers that were $40,000 and $26,000.  This was for the basic models and did NOT include any appliances, electrical or plumbing costs.  I believe you should get some quotes for a few reasons.
1. Quality – check out the finish on the doors and benchtops.
2. Warranty Criteria – How long and covers what aspects
3. Timelines – to make and install. (don’t forget you will also need to remove your current kitchen – is this included)

Ikea Displays
Ikea do not display all of their kitchen options at the store.  There are numerous colours and finishes on offer so obviously they are unable to display all their options.  You can view some ideas in store and some ideas in their annual Kitchen Brochure.  A point to be aware of is that if you see a handle or accessory that you like do not assume that it will be available when you go ahead with your kitchen as it could be discontinued by the time you have your kitchen installed.

So it is good to have some idea of what sort of kitchen you think you might like.  If you have no idea at all then I would suggest looking on Pinterest.  If you have not heard of Pinterest; it is a free website that you can join/register with and then type in words such as ‘ white kitchen – black benchtop’.  It will then show you as many photos of kitchens with your specifications as it can find.  You can then save these photos to your computer/pinterest board so that you can look at them at your leisure and decide which kitchen really tickles your fancy.

Ikea Process

Ikea Online Design
I tried making my own design on the Ikea online design tool but it was not the easiest piece of software to use.  I am unsure whether it was my computer not having the right graphics or speed to use the app but it kept shutting down and was very slow.  I understand that they provide a service (which you have to pay for) where an Ikea team member will help you design your kitchen on the app – in store.  This would indicate that: – like me – other people had trouble with the design tool so they brought in this option of booking an appointment with an Ikea staff member to help you use the software.

Kitchen Planner
For $99 you can have a Ktichen Planner come to your home.  I assumed that this meant he would help with design ideas, colours and the plan etc.  This is not the case. The Kitchen Planners are contractors who come out and will measure up and send you a computerised kitchen desgin and the estimated price for this design.  If you are looking for him to advise on colours, benchtop types- ie laminate or stone this is not part of this service.  They are not Interior Designers but really just there to measure and generate a 3d image of what the cabinetry will look like.

At this stage you have not signed up for a kitchen with Ikea you have just used their planning service to generate a computer design of your kitchen.  Included in the $99 the planner/designer will change aspects of the kitchen until you are happy with the design.  This is easy to do on the software.  As long as you do not go overboard and change the whole design! You will now have some idea how much your design will cost. 

What the planner will do :
Measure and plan the kitchen to your specifications
– this Includes Ikea white goods and electrical appliances that you will replace
Itemises and costs the cabinetry/appliances and accessories
Generates a (black & white) computer design of the kitchen

Kitchen Installer
Once you have decided to go ahead with the Ikea kitchen the next step is to call Ikea and arrange for the ‘Installer’ to come and complete the final measure and quote.  This is a cost of $220 and is called a ‘pre inspection’.

Pros

If the installer does not use all the parts or you change your mind with regard to small items like door openers or if you want handles on your overhead cupboards then you can return them to Ikea for a refund. (they need to be returned within a year of purchase)

If you do go ahead with an Ikea Kitchen the $99 is re-imbursed when you make the final payment for the cabinetry.

Cons

If you love the item – lets say a cupboard handle – if you were to purchase the handles when you first decide to go ahead with the Ikea kitchen you can always return them within a year of purchase.  If you are unsure of how many you need it would be advisable to buy more than you need as you can always return them.  Ikea has a 1 year returns policy.  Ensure you keep your receipt.

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