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A Calendar of Succulents – Romeo, Romeo…Wherefore art thou…

Echeveria ‘Romeo’ is one of the more colourful hybrids around at the moment and well worth looking out for. The fleshy, pinky-red leaves give the plant a really festive feel and it looks great in seasonal arrangements as you can see from the photograph below.

One of its parents is likely to be Echeveria agavoides, a really cracking plant. There are many different cultivars and hybrids of this beautiful species that form big rosettes of attractive pointed, shiny leaves in a range of colours. It is one of the largest species of the genus and a single rosette can reach up to 12 inches across, making it ideal as a single potted specimen for a windowsill or balcony.

Echeverias are native to Mexico where they grow on the sides of steep, rocky gorges. They are easy plants to maintain, thriving in a sunny position that brings out the rich colour of the leaves. The plants are slow to offset, but in time, will cluster spikily around the base of the mother plant. Flower spikes emerge in late winter and wildly twisting stems of nodding pinkish-yellow flowers last for several weeks. Plants need infrequent watering throughout the growing season and should be kept dry during the winter months.

I like to use brightly glazed pots to plant up single specimens – deep reds, greens and black work well. But for the following arrangement, I wanted to bring out the redness of ‘Romeo’ by contrasting it with green Crassula rupestris (see last month’s blog) and a fleshy blue echeveria. The container is wide and shallow, so as not to distract too much from the plants, and is an antique verdigris copper sieve, which is a lovely dull blue when you catch a glimpse of it.