Christmas gift survives

A few years ago for Christmas I gave my mother a small container of mixed succulents. These weren't plants that I grew myself, but I had seen them at the local garden center and thought they would look nice in her window -- unlike mine, her house has a nice big south-facing window that gets a decent amount of sunlight in the winter.

My mother has always had mixed luck with houseplants -- some of them thrive, but others struggle. I suspect that overwatering is often the issue there (as it is one of the main causes of houseplant death I've read), but it could also be light levels, humidity, lack of nutrients, goofy water chemistry... but I'm getting off topic. The point is I gave her these small plants not knowing how they'd do in her care.


As a backup plan, I took small cuttings from a couple of them to grow myself, thinking that I could replace any that didn't fare well for her -- after figuring out what the trouble was first.

That was negative thinking though, because although a couple of the plants died at some point, two of the plants are doing very well now.

This one is really nice, and I have no idea what it is. It's developing a nice woody trunk though:

I love the cupped ends of the leaves:

Happy in the winter sunshine!

Can somebody tell me what plant this is? I should probably just find a small one and buy it... but what to do with another sun-loving cold-hating plant during the winter? My mom said that she puts these outside during the summer so they get lots of sun as I suggested, and apparently that's the key here.

These plants are doing better than the cuttings I took, as my cup-leafed one died -- only my elephant bush survives (which is most likely a plant that is very difficult to kill). Her elephant bush is doing well too:

She's taken cuttings from it too, rooted them in water, and is ready to pot them up. I suspect it will be a while before she does that though -- she mentioned it was an experiment.

Apparently succulents are the right houseplants for my mom:

Although I didn't give it to her, this Christmas cactus is doing really well, and has been blooming for her each of the three or four years she's had it:

She said that half of this plant looks like it's dying, although you can't quite see it in this photo. It's frustrating when she asks me for advice on plants, but then it's a plant I have no experience with.

I'll do some research and get back to her though, as I know she'll be disappointed if this plant fails.

I'm glad to see that my gift of plants has continued to give her pleasure for more than a few months. I think more succulents are in her future...


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM)  

Alan, the first plant looks like a jade plant cultivar named 'Gollum' (Crassula ovata 'Gollum'). It looks very happy and is developing a nice trunk. It can be pruned into any shape desired.

Very nice plants!

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Alan  – (December 29, 2011 at 10:34 PM)  

Thanks Gerhard! Thought you might know what this was.

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