Episode twelve: Robin Stockwell, the Succulent Guy

Succulents like this   Agave parryi   thrive outside in the warm climate of California; in the UK they probably need to be brought inside over winter unless you're in London. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Succulents like this Agave parryi thrive outside in the warm climate of California; in the UK they probably need to be brought inside over winter unless you're in London. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Have you ever wondered how one particular type of plant seems to come out of obscurity to become the must-have houseplant of the moment?

Although photographs of aloes, echeverias and agaves are now plastered all over Instagram, it wasn't always this way. My guest this week is The Succulent Guy, Robin Stockwell, the man credited with making succulents sexy.

I talk to Robin about his legendary - and enormous - globe of succulents, why you shouldn’t get an Agave mixed up with an Aloe, and why there’s transatlantic difference of opinion about size among Sempervivum breeders. 

We also talk about Robin’s new book Succulents: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Designing, and Growing 200 Easy Care Plants. It is out this month, published by Oxmoor House. Having drooled my way through every page before our interview, I get all envious of the possibilities of growing succulents offered to those living in California, while Robin reminds me about the many hardy succulents that do thrive in the British climate. We discuss the versatility of succulents - from cuttings to grafting to bouquets to living walls - and find out how Robin got into the succulent business in the first place. 

If you'd like to see the huge 15ft tall rotating succulent globe made my Robin that we talk about, there's a great slideshow of images here. And if you were intrigued by my description of the woman who glues succulents to her nails as "nail art" , you can find her here on Instagram. 

Here's a list of succulents we discuss:

Question of the week

Got a question? Tweet me at @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

This week's question, appropriately enough, is about an Aloe... it comes from Sian Ediss, @foxcreativeart on Twitter.

This small garden in Encinitas, California features in Robin Stockwell's book.

This small garden in Encinitas, California features in Robin Stockwell's book.

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Credits

Thanks to my guest Robin Stockwell; to talented voice artist Mark Hamilton for providing the extra voices you hear in this show; On The Ledge's theme music is Government Funded Weed by Black Ant which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. You also heard Hot Lips by Bill Brown and His Brownies.

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Perrone