Foliage Followup February 2012

Pam at Digging hosts this sequel to Bloom Day on the 16th of each month, a chance to stand up for photosynthesis and plead a case for the slighted leaf, doomed in most gardens to forever playing second fiddle to the alluring procreative strategies of plants.
The adaptive strategies of leaves are equally compelling, and I offer Exhibit A, Portulaca molokiniensis, a Hawaiian succulent, which has the distinction of being my first smart-phone purchase. Being one of the gazillions that got an iPhone for Christmas, I was able to check my blog to confirm this portulaca’s desirable status as a Future Plant Purchase, which seemed weirdly momentous at the time.


A strong Exhibit B would be the spiral aloe, A. polyphylla, photo taken at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden by MB Maher.


Note the setting for a happy spiral aloe, grown at an angle for perfect drainage. Summer moisture, light shade.
(I’ve only killed two so far. )


Leaves or flowers? Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis? Harpo or Groucho? Holmes or Watson? No need for false choices — it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. UCBG was selling one of my favorite daisies, attractive in leaf and flower, Argyranthemum haouarytheum, which I haven’t seen on offer in many years, surprising since it’s so easy from cuttings. Very similar to A. foeniculaceum, which is probably what I’ve grown in the past. From the Canary Islands, part of Macronesia (Greek for “islands of the fortunate”).


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10 Responses to Foliage Followup February 2012

  1. Scott Weber says:

    Lovely…that Argyranthemum is stunning…love that foliage, almost like Fennel! I agree with you…I would never be able to choose between foliage and flowers…I want both…I want it all! 🙂

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I want it all too, and luckily no one can stop us! I love that spiral aloe and am so envious that you can grow it in your garden. It looks great growing amid the rocks.

  3. Your rock garden is gorgeous. Love the plants fitting tightly in among the rocks and the spiral aloe is out of this world.

  4. Denise says:

    Scott, my sentiments too.
    Pam, technically I should be able to grow the spiral aloe here. Three times the charm maybe.
    Jenny, I wish that was my garden! That’s the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. The entranceway plantings are amazing. Credit goes to UCBG’s Anthony Garza.

  5. shirley says:

    Ha, Ha! Denise, I grow spiral aloe here in Alameda and what I can tell you is that I throw it in and basically never do anything except when I come across it and think, there it is! Could be the weather? our sandy soil or could be the neglect. I’ve also had v good luck with it in pots.

  6. hb says:

    Their polyphylla looks thirsty to me (those black leaf tips). I know because I’ve killed 4 and am working hard on 5. Maybe I need to move to Alameda.

    The daisy is lovely!

  7. Denise says:

    Shirley, it’s that Bay Area plant voodoo!
    Hoov, those black leaf tips eventually extended quite a ways down the leaf on my last one…

  8. ks says:

    OY ! That Portulaca ..must must have one! My spiral Aloe is still alive, but looking mighty peak-y.

  9. Megan says:

    Be careful with your new Portulaca molokiniensis baby. We’ve killed two of them so far. One was outside & the other inside. Pretty sure we didn’t water them enough based on when they kicked the bucket. Love your pics!

  10. pph says:

    Hi Denise, this is my first time stopping by here, and I must post a comment (more a question)! 🙂 Love your blog~ I was drawn by your post about pink butterflies, but then I saw Portulaca molokiniensis. OMG, I’ve been looking for this succulent forever, and no one seems to have it or not available yet. Could you tell me where you found yours? It’d be much much appreciated~

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