Coral Reef Succulent Container Update

"Last time on The Rainforest Garden..." I had started a succulent container with a coral reef theme, using drought tolerant succulents that have a look resembling that of marine life.  I started out with an Aloe "Crosby's Prolific", a Stapelia cutting (also known as Starfish Flower), my cactus seedlings and a Vriesea Fosteriana.
A lot has changed since then, and I'll be phasing out the more terrestrial looking plants in favor of those that fit the theme better.

Click this link to see how it started out, in the original post back in March.

As you can see, its gotten a wee bit overgrown and in desperate need of more coral-ish plants.

Amazingly enough, the Stapelia cutting has really taken off and has begun to clamber over the edge to novel effect!  I was considering taking some cuttings to neaten it up, but I'm curious to see how it does cascading over the container.  Not only is it prolific, but I'm pretty sure I saw a tiny flower bud the other day!  The flowers of these milkweed relatives are notoriously bizarre, resembling giant starfish with psychedelic markings and emitting a smell like carrion to attract pollinating flies!  I've heard that the smell isn't so off-putting as would be expected, but we'll see.  The starfish flowers conveniently tie in with the sea life theme, and the stems have a look reminiscent of columnar coral, complete with wavy textured margins!

This... echeveria... (I think?) has gotten pretty big and it putting out a stolon that might become a flower or a plantlet.  I really have no clue, but I some of you like Julie of A Succulent Life and Evelyn of Sensational Succulents should be able to help.  And while I have your attention, maybe you can help identify these cacti!

I'm pretty sure the ones in the foreground are a type of prickly pear, but what kind?  And what about those pretty columnar ones in the middle of the arrangement?  They seem to look a lot like organ pipe cactus seedlings I've seen in pictures, but I can't be sure.  All I know is that they're almost big enough  to transfer out into the garden and replace with some more coral-ey looking succulents.  Like this one!

Isn't it ugly?  I mean, beautiful?  It's called Cereus Forbesii Monstrose and it has the look of coral like no other!  After I bought it, I realized that Julie of A Succulent life used it in her Succulent tire!  I saw a picture of this plant online that was taller than a house, but I think I'll have a while before it gets that big.  On an unrelated note, the plant in the rear is a variegated spider lily!  I finally found it at a local ace hardware tucked away behind some gingers.  Here's a better shot of it.

Since they're tolerant of both drought and flooding, it will be perfect for the part of my yard that gets flooded in tropical storms, and it will even pop out of the background like a spotlight!  Yay me!


  1. That Cereus forbesii is beautiful to me...not ugly at all. And I love that variegated spider lily! How cool! I've never seen that for sale anywhere. Actually, I've never seen the solid for sale either. I was lucky to have some passed along to me. And our local Ace Hardware does not sell anything living. So not fair.

  2. Nice to see your coral reef expanding and healthy. The Cereus adds a lot of interest to the arrangement.

    You have found the best plants at your Ace Hardware. Earlier in the year you mentioned getting a palm (radicalis or microspadix) at your Ace Hardware store. I went into the one near me and asked if they carried plants. (Nothing resembling a garden center was visible, I admit.) The clerk said, "We're a HARDWARE store, ma'am." Did you set me up?

  3. hahaha, i bet you need to plant it in the ground with bigger space and direct sunlight if you want to let it get as big as a car! But your succulents above are fast growing, that's why they are escaping the planter!

  4. I like the pebbles you put on them, they make your plant collection very interesting.

  5. I too am a big fan of succulents, you have quite the collection. They really are hardy plants especially here in South Florida when you never really know what the weather ma bring.

  6. Hello, I had to pop over after reading the comment you left on The Florida Blogger about writing a guest post on gardens and nature preserves local to Jacksonville. I'm moving to Jacksonville at the end of the month! I moved to Georgia from the Tampa Bay area about six months ago and brought some of my tropicals in pots. I wasn't sure what would happen to them once winter arrived here. I lost quite a few in last year's winter. Looks like I found a great blog to learn more about my new town. I'm a BIG fan of nature preserves. I'll be busy packing this month, but I'll be back then to learn more from you. Thanks!

  7. The coral reef succulent is really very pretty. I love the combination of plants in the single container.

  8. Aaron:
    I like the coral looking one too, and it will be really cool when it flowers and fruits!

    Floridagirl and NanaK:
    I think the Ace hardwares are unique here... on the downside they are the only nurseries in the area apart from a few!

    I hope it doesn't get that big! Where would I put the poor thing? :)

    James Missier:
    I'll have to put some seaglass in there too! Then it will really shine.

    Thank goodness for containers! We do get some pretty rough freezes around here...

    Can't wait to see what you post after you move! My guest post will actually be about sea beans and sea glass, but I'll be sure to mention prime hunting grounds. (Hint: You have to go to Washington Oaks!)

    Autumn Belle:
    You are the third "Belle" in a row who commented on this post! I'm glad you like the combo... I'm working on it!

  9. Great plants! I love succulents so much too. Love your shots and yes that is an echeveria. Not sure exactly what kind though. Yes you can plant the pup. Cut off and let sit for a week. Then plant in slightly damp soil. I am friends with Sensational Succulents and Succulent life too!


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