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Botanist's Lens: Soaking in the Sun!

Spanish Bayonet Yucca, Agauos Agave, and Amazing Aloe

Agave 'blue glow' rosette leaves.
Agave 'blue glow' rosette leaves

Succulents soak in the sun, enjoying every bit of the bright UV rays even when temperatures start soaring. Don't need any water yet? Let's have a look at three stalwart plants of the succulent family: Agave, Yucca and Aloe. All three, when gifted to anyone, will surely be received with wide open arms, for it is almost impossible to kill them. Yes, you can forget to water them and they will still live on. Succulent survival at its best!

Agave 'blue glow' with red spiky margins
Agave 'blue glow' with red spiky margins

Aguos Agave 'Blue glow'

Let me introduce you to a marvelous Agave variety: the leaves have a blue green tinge, a red margin and a stunning arrangement of rosette leaves. Agaves are one of the best succulents you can leave alone and forget to water. But when in pots, they could use a soil fix. Adapted to zone 8-11, this blue green Agave flowers only once in 10-15 years and then dies. This particular Agave is small in size and best for containers.

Agave americana

Agave americana on the other hand is a very large Agave with beautiful creamy yellow strip to the leaves and killer spike at the tip. Agave americana 'marginata' needs its own space in a garden, it can make a bold statement with its size and stripes.

Spanish Bayonet, Yucca

What's not to like about Yuccas? They thrive in dry, neglected soils and live on for years. A pretty drought tolerant variety is Yucca filamentosa, the specific epithet referring to fibers on the yellow green leaf margin. The flower spikes can reach up to 6 ft and the bright white flowers are a magnet for the bees.

Amazing Aloe

Aloe are soothing, everlasting and smooth to touch. One of the most kid friendly succulent. And amazing because of its healing properties and also how far back their history is recorded to "Aloe vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a funeral gift to pharaohs." Source:

Here is an excellent guide to care, culture and types of succulents as well as a reference to one of my favorite succulent gardens - truly a 'dry garden oasis' - Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Berkeley, CA. "Most cacti and succulents are adapted to dry habitats, and are found in arid regions all over the world. Most are able to store water, enabling them to survive long dry periods. The word 'succulent' means 'juicy' — and, in truth, that’s exactly what they are, thanks to their ability to store water in their leaves and/or stems." Source:

You can now watch a webinar for this garden on July 25th, follow the sign up link on:

Mini Succulent Workshop

Looking for something more hands-on? Well, you can now have a lively hands-on experience with succulents right here at London Town on Saturday, August 1st during the Mini Succulent Workshop. Follow the link on:

Succulents, big or small, spiky or smooth, all are an outstanding group of plants considering the wide array of choices. Whether in ground or in a container, a succulent in a sunny spot in your yard or glass window is a reminder of the sun, fun and natures gift of plants that can thrive in the toughest, driest of conditions, thriving in soaring high temperatures, a true wonder of life!

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