Episode 95: airplants, cacti and succulents at the Chelsea flower show 2019

Ottershaw Cacti display at the Chelsea flower show 2019. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Ottershaw Cacti display at the Chelsea flower show 2019. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

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Although the Chelsea flower show is known for its show gardens, houseplants are getting an increasingly large chunk of the spotlight too. I visited Chelsea earlier this week and interviewed three gold medal-winning nurseries to find out more about their plants: Andy Gavin from Andy’s Air Plants, Vicki Newman from Craig House Cacti and Daniel and Joanne Jackson of Ottershaw Cacti.

Check the links below to find out more about the nurseries and their plants, and scroll down for more images form the show.

Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman from Craig House Cacti. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman from Craig House Cacti. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

  • Andy’s Air Plants is a mail order nursery based in Penzance, Cornwall in the UK.

  • If you’ve never heard of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism, here’s an explanation.

  • Andy grows Tillandsias, Dyckias, Puyas and more.

  • Dyckia goeringii is the punk rocker of the bromeliad world. Look out for cultivars ‘Snaggletooth’ and ‘Jaws’.

  • Craig House Cacti are also known as the Cactus Couple, Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman. Their cactus Popsy, a Parodia warasii, is a celebrity in her own right with her own Twitter account. They don’t sell plants, but do put on wonderful displays at shows all around the UK.

  • Euphorbia ingens variegata was for me one of the other stars of their display.

  • Echinopsis subdenudata aka the easter lily cactus or domino cactus smells like washing powder to me: if you want another scented cactus, try Queen of the Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum).

  • Ottershaw Cacti have bred a new Aeonium cultivar called ‘Night’s Watch’ a cross between A. ‘Schwarzkopf’ and A. ‘Firecracker’ (scroll down for a picture).

  • Daniel advises that you need to be careful when starting to water cacti after a winter break - particularly with Lophophora williamsii.

  • Want to expand your Echeveria collection? Try Echeveria ‘Pinky’, E. lilacina (the ghost Echeveria), E. secunda var. glauca, which is the green version of the ever-popular ‘Compton Carousel’.

  • Daniel is the National Collection Holder of Haworthia, Gasteria and Astroloba. I hope to visit Ottershaw for an episode on these plants soon!

Question of the week

Hapabella got in touch to ask about their new Pilea peperomioides which has lost a leaf, leaving a rather sad looking leaf stem or petiole behind. Given that the rest of the plant looks healthy, i advise there are two options: either snip off the base of the stem using a sharp, clean pair of scissors, or leave it to fall off naturally. I’d probably opt for the latter, leaving the plant to decide when the stalk is no longer needed. If you missed my whole episode on this plant, check it out here.

Want to ask me a question about your plant? Either way, tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.

This week’s sponsors

Growth Technology

This week’s On The Ledge is supported by Growth Technology, the nutrient company that helps your houseplants thrive. If you want to keep your orchids in tiptop condition, Growth Technology is there to help. Their Orchid Focus Bloom can help you produce brighter, longer lasting flowers, while Orchid Focus Grow is formulated to provide all the nutrients needed for healthier, more vigorous plants. Or use Orchid Myst to spray roots and leaves with a targeted foliar feed and keep humidity up around your plants. 

Visit Growth Technology’s website focus-on-plants.com for loads of great houseplant advice on everything from looking after palms to keeping bonsai happy indoors. You’ll find Growth Technology’s products available online and in many good garden centres and nurseries across the UK.

True Leaf Market

Thanks so much to True Leaf Market for backing On The Ledge for three whole months. This Utah-based seed company has been helping gardeners grow since 1974, so what they don’t know about sowing and raising healthy plants - well, it’s probably not worth knowing!

Whether you’re after some kit to get going with hydroponics, looking for stackable planters for your herbs, or investing in a whole heap of seeds to sow this year, True Leaf Market has everything you need.

Their products come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so I know you won’t  be disappointed. So, why not support On The Ledge by giving True Leaf Market a try?

US listeners, get 10% off your first purchase at True Leaf market.com now using the code ONTHELEDGE.


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This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, A Man Plays Trekking Song on Fewa Lake by Samuel Corwin, and Oh Mallory by Josh Woodward. Ad music tracks are Dill Pickles and Whistling Rufus by the Heftone Banjo Orchestra: All tracks licensed under Creative Commons. Logo design by Jacqueline Colley.