Succulent lusciousness for Foliage Follow-Up


After the deep freeze that Austin experienced last winter, I had to replace three-quarters of the succulents in my cinderblock wall planter (click for the how-to) this spring. It’s still a bit sparse, but it’s nice to see all that pinchable — like a plump baby’s cheek — foliage settling in, knowing it’ll sail through the dog days of summer with only an occasional sprinkling of water.


With some extra cuttings, I filled my red Circle Pot, which hangs amid the live oaks for a dash of hot color in the dappled shade.


And the tapestry of succulents in my new Hover Dish is growing well — on one side, anyway. I’d neglected to turn the pot around so that both sides get light, but I remedied that yesterday evening.


I think I get more questions about the toothless sotol (Dasylirion longissimum) in the steel pipe than any other plant in my garden. Toothless sotol is not commonly grown in Austin, although you do see it around. This one came through the winter with absolutely no damage, and it just laughs at the Death Star.


Plus it’s shaped like a 1970s fiber-optic light. What’s not to love? The toothy agave in the tractor-rim planter at its feet is ‘Jaws’.


Variegated Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia ‘Variegata’) is a relatively new addition, an impulse purchase from Vivero Growers. I like its verticality. I did have to cage it last fall and winter, fearing that the deer would antler it to oblivion.


Of course not all my plants are spiky and succulent. The Japanese maple (a species Acer palmatum) delights me in spring with leaves that glow like stained glass. Native river ferns (Thelypteris kunthii) are coming up at its feet.


Also glowing with new growth are a trio of giant mullein (Verbascum thapsus) in the raised bed out front. Their fuzzy texture is irresistible to one’s fingers when passing by.

Please join me in posting about your lovely leaves of May for Foliage Follow-Up, a way to remind ourselves of the importance of foliage in the garden on the day after Bloom Day. Leave your link to your Foliage Follow-Up post in a comment. I really appreciate it if you’ll also include a link to this post in your own post (sharing link love!). If you can’t post so soon after Bloom Day, no worries. Just leave your link when you get to it.

All material © 2006-2014 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

40 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    Hi Pam

    Here is my foliage post – lots of purple this month. http://patientgardener.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/foliage-follow-up-may-2014/
    I do like your hanging dishes – might have to do something similar

  2. Diana Studer says:

    http://eefalsebay.blogspot.com/2014/05/autumn-hearts-roses-nic-anniversary.html

    Autumn hearts for Nic. Hibiscus tiliaceus has leaves that turn colour and delight me year round. Always an ‘autumn’ moment.

    When we are ready to move, I will be taking boxes of succulent volunteer cuttings. Until the new plants get established I’ll miss what I have now. Hmm gap? Who will volunteer to fill in?

  3. Diana says:

    Lots of things still working on leafing out here in New England. How jealous I am of those of you who have an early spring (being Southern born I’m jealous of Southern gardens most of the year, except in August).

    LOVE some of your pot options – especially the steel pipe. I wish I’d seen that before I installed my latest pots. Then again I think my aesthetically conservative neighbors might have a conniption. Maybe I can use that in the backyard when I finally get around to renovating that. http://gardenontheedge.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-follow-up-may-2014.html

  4. Love the succulents by your front door and the new windows etc. Setting up our garage sale so will be back later to look at the tour pix. I posted some Trillium foliage. http://eachlittleworld.typepad.com/each_little_world/2014/05/trilliums-same-variety-or-different.html

  5. I have always had a passion for succulents and yours are wonderful and I also love your giant mullein (Verbascum thapsus. May is sporting a lot of new foliage in my Long Island garden. Here is the link: http://landscapedesignbylee.blogspot.com/2014/05/garden-bloggers-bloom-day-foliage.html#.U3YKhvldV8F

  6. Tina says:

    Lots of succulent action going on in your garden–I love that little red planter with the succulents; so pretty. The light on the Japanese Maple and the Mullein is beautiful–good Texas sunshine. Here’s my post for foliage:
    http://mygardenersays.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/foliage-follow-up-may-2014-2

  7. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your succulents are looking marvelous and as always, your cinder block planter is fab! Still in love with your Dasylirion longissimum grown perfectly in the metal pipe to accentuate it’s form! Your Agave ‘Jaws’ looks better every time you show it. Mine made it through the winter protected from the rain but not from the cold but it lost a few lower arms. Hope our recent warm (lower 80′s is hot for us.) weather makes it happy.

    Here’s my FFU post – http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-follow-up-may-2014.html

  8. Kris P says:

    Most of my own pots are full of succulents and I’m starting to use them more frequently in the landscape as well. I just replanted one small area along the driveway in succulent cuttings after the prior inhabitants fried during our 1st spring heatwave. In the midst of our 2nd heatwave, I’m afraid that my Foliage Follow-up post has a cranky tone: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-follow-up-may-2014-heatwave.html

    Thanks for hosting, Pam!

  9. Alison says:

    Just a bunch of random shots of things that got my attention this month for me here: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-followup-may-2014.html

    Your cinderblock wall looks fabulous with Moby behind it. Now that I have so much empty gravel in my front garden, I should do something like that, it looks too sterile. And I always love getting a good look at those rusty metal containers near your front door. Your ‘Jaws’ Agave is looking great.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      You have such nice combos, Alison. I especially like the combos in the last two images. I also love seeing the raindrops on all those luscious leaves! —Pam

  10. Funny I think we have the same circle pot but where I see orange you see red (unless they once sold red too?). Everything is looking great in your garden Pam, and good tip about turning the hanging containers so things grow evenly.

    Here’s my contribution to foliar love: http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/quercus-dentata-pinnatifida-is-my.html

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I’ve noticed that everyone calls it orange (everyone being you and the Potted website). But mine sure looks red. It was a gift, so I don’t know what the official color was on the order form. Either way, I love it. —Pam

  11. Carol says:

    Very nice as always. How do you plant in those elongated pipes?

  12. Your front plantings are perfection. You know how much I love the rusty metal look, but the planters wouldn’t be such knockouts without your plant choices.

  13. I am a real fan of plants raised on pedastals, whether pots on pedastals or tall containers however improvised. The red circle pot is a marvelous eye catcher.

    Here I am in two places at once:

    http://dottypants.blogspot.com/2014/05/follage-follow-up-in-greenhouse.html

    http://seedscatterer.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-follow-up-may-2014.html

  14. I really do know how to spell pedestals.

  15. ricki says:

    I admire your way with mixed succulent plantings. I’m still working on that. Here’s my post: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/3707

  16. Jenny says:

    I am making notes on those plants that like a hard winter. Where did you get the sotol? Looks more mannerly than the common one which I had to move out of my garden. Jaws looks wonderful.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      I found it heavily discounted at Big Red Sun’s now-closed retail nursery, Jenny. I have seen it offered other places too though. You might check with Jardineros, Tillery Street Plant Co., and Vivero. —Pam

  17. Evan says:

    Great foliage! I especially love the backlit leaves on the giant mullein. Thanks for hosting foliage follow-up! http://practicalplantgeek.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-follow-up.html

  18. peter schaar says:

    Love the Dasylirion in the pipe planter! Beware the Yucca aloifolia var. though! Once its roots are grown out enough it will proceed to take over the entire space it’s planted in.

  19. Love the cinderblock succulent collection. Darn winter was crazy cold, wasn’t it? Looks like your garden is right back on track, though. Amazingly, most of my Wisconsin perennials made it through, too. Thanks for hosting!

    Here’s my link: http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/2014/05/hold-those-blooms-watch-that-growth.html

  20. Still working on my foliage post… but I have to say that I adore that backlit mullein! And I’m marveling at the sotol having overwintered in that tall metal pipe. (It looks amazing there, of course.) What a trooper. :-)

  21. Denise says:

    Gosh, Moby is enormous now! I think the sotols are maybe the best thing there is for strong sun. Even my ‘Jaws’ burned a few leaves in the recent heat wave.
    http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=55195

  22. Hannah says:

    Your sotol does look like fiberoptics, perfection. The pipe looks good with it. I remember lots of Spanish Bayonet in Texas. I like your artistic stacking of the brick blocks, but am mystified how you retain the soil in the blocks that stick out. Very clever!

    My contribution is at-
    http://weedingonthewildside.blogspot.com/2014/05/foliage-follow-up-may-16-2014.html

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Hannah, your ‘Green Dragon’ foliage — I LOVE it. Especially with the purple smoke tree and red maple leaves pictured just above. By the way, my how-to post about making the cinderblock wall planter is linked to in the first paragraph, if you’d like to know how the soil stays in the cantilevered blocks. —Pam

  23. Hanna says:

    Pam, how much water does your river fern need? I would love to add ferns in my shady yard (here in Austin) but always think of ferns as needing lots of moisture.

    • Pam/Digging says:

      It gets irrigated on my once-a-week watering day and is fine with that. It’s native to our region and fairly tolerant of dry shade conditions once established, though it’ll go dormant if water is lacking for long periods. Shade is the key. —Pam

      • Hanna says:

        I might have to give it a try. I’ve got plenty of shade, I am just not real consistent with watering my plants – I always look for those that can make it on their on. :) Thanks for the info!

  24. Mary says:

    Love that cinderblock succulent planter! Such a fun design. The hanging succulent planters are great, too. You take such beautiful pictures… http://delightfulgardenaustin.blogspot.com/2014/05/may-foliage-follow-up.html

    • Pam/Digging says:

      Thanks for joining in this month, Mary. Your plumbagos are farther along in their winter recovery than mine. Yours will be back to jungle status in no time, I think! —Pam

  25. Anna K says:

    Love all the succulents and how you present them! Such fun ideas all around! Happy belated FF day! http://flutterandhum.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/pity-the-pink-blooms-and-foliage-for-may-2014/

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