Trading Rare and Collectible Succulents
There are some rare succulents floating around out there, whether they’re rare because they’re a new hybrid or their natural habitat is diminishing. These valuable succulents are fun to trade, satisfying to propagate, and important to preserve. In this article I tell you why trading plants can be a life saver, and how I learned my lesson!
Why Trade Succulents?
Trading and sharing plants opens the door to creating friendships, and encourages the sharing of plants and ideas so we can all learn how to grow and develop new plants. It also gives plants a new home and is an insurance policy for a plant’s survival—one that paid off for me.
How often have we heard from another collector that they had an amazing one-off plant that was lost to disease, pesky possums, or some other unforeseen disaster? When collectors share their plants they create opportunities and connections with others—this might just come in handy if disaster strikes!
This happened to me recently, reinforcing this attitude I have adopted. Several years ago I found a great variegated Echeveria ‘Candy’. I lost it eventually at home and sort of forgot it. Earlier this year while visiting a NSW friend and collector, I saw a healthy one growing with some young offshoots to spare. I told my friend what happened to the my original plant and I came home furnished with a new replacement! I was so relieved I had given away a few of these plants, so it could eventually return to me. And no, it is not lost anymore, several good growers now have it, and it’s there for everyone in the future.
One of the best comeback stories in succulent history may be that of Dick Wright. With at least 85 recognized hybrids under his belt, Wright knows how to grow succulents right! But no amount of experience can save a collection from wildfire. That’s right, in 1985 Wright lost his entire collection, everything he’d dedicated his life to was engulfed in flame. Many of his plants found a way back to him, though, through generous donations from friends in the succulent community. Australia also plays a role in the preservation of his legacy as some of his hybrids are now only found here. When Dick got a good selection back, he hit the ground running cultivating and hybridising once again.
This week, a friend contacted me. He was looking for some large Caudiciform plants he is collecting for a future landscaping job, a new garden. He is an avid collector and a good customer of mine, and he has a great eye for recognizing, finding, and procuring rare and unique plants. He assured me he could give me some plants I had not yet seen or heard of before. All too often many of these types of plants remain in private hands and are rarely seen, until someone with some growing ability finds and/or obtains them and can present them to the public.
I am of the view that plants are for everyone, that their beauty and uniqueness should be shared. I enjoy the challenge of growing and learning how a new plant works and likes to be propagated. I particularly like variegates, as they are slower to produce, more demanding to grow, and are considered by many as more desirable because of their scarcity. This is borne out through the public who chases these types of plants, and are often willing to pay quiet exorbitant amounts of money for them. This is not just in this country, but throughout the world people are fanatical. In fact, Australia has some catching up to do if we are to reach the dizzying heights that some countries have achieved valuing rare plants.
Check out these rare, variegated beauties!
Graptoveria 'Titubans' variegata
Sedeveria Mebina showing off An unknown Echeveria.
young, variegated pups.
Echeveria nicksiana All five variegates together.