Kalanchoe ‘Oak Leaf’

Wonderful architectural bloom trusses on this 5-gallon kalanchoe at Lincoln Avenue Nursery in Pasadena. Was this a Kalanchoe beharensis in flower? The leaves at the base of the plant were difficult to see without disturbing the careful display. The San Marcos Growers tag identified it not as Kalanchoe beharensis but Kalanchoe ‘Oak Leaf’ or the Dwarf Velvet Plant. Thought to be a cross between Kalanchoe beharensis and K. millot, John Greenlee is credited with bringing it to the attention of San Marcos Growers. (Read SMG’s discussion here.) I’m always interested in finding good shrubby landscape succulents, and the genus kalanchoe has been offering some fine examples. This one, with its see-through, aerial scaffolding when in bloom, looks very promising. It’s easy to see the appeal for Greenlee as a textural accompaniment for grasses. With my wallet emptied out after the holidays, I’ll wait to see if smaller sizes turn up at the spring plant sales. The challenge will be in finding as dramatic a backdrop for its pallid stems as those masses of Sticks on Fire, Euphorbia tirucalli.

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