Green Palisades

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

There’s no doubt that plant enthusiasts admire the wonders and eccentricities of succulents. But like many desert organisms, they remain a mystery to the average gardener.

Contrary to the popular belief that succulents are in the cactus family, some are, but not all. However, nearly all cacti are succulents (and those are the ones with beastly thorns). Professional succulent stylist and Palisadian Patricia Cevallos is making it her mission to educate people about the delightfully rewarding features of succulents. She runs a unique operation called Pacific Succulents, which works with clients to design and install succulent landscapes. Cevallos also holds a stall at the Pacific Palisades Farmers Market every Sunday.

On Wednesday, April 25, Cevallos held an informational and interactive succulent workshop for 15 women in the local community. She taught them how to handcraft succulent arrangements and care for them appropriately, as well as how to identify and care for specific plants. The evening was a roaring success.

“I’ll be able to keep my succulent healthy and thriving thanks to your wealth of knowledge,” one of the participants said. “Creating the succulent container was a fun experience, and I’m excited to hear about other events you plan on hosting.”

For Cevallos, the interest in succulents is personal. “Succulents intrigue me,” she shared with the Palisadian-Post. “I like their shape and color, and for some crazy reason, they love me as much as I love them.” She emphasized that succulents are easy to maintain, because all they require is partial sun and “a good drench of water at least once every two weeks.” They’re also drought tolerant and largely pest resistant. In winter, you’re off the hook, as succulents go into a semi-dormant state in cold temperatures.

Now the best part about succulents is rather romantic and storybook like. “They look like flowers and last way longer,” Cevallos shared. Some succulents do actually flower at certain times of the year. For those who relish in surprising trivia, Cevallos added that succulents are prehistoric and can be propagated from leaves.

In fact, due to their exotic nature, some breeds of succulent plants are seen as a status symbol. The dudleya succulents are in such high demand by domestic housewives in Korea, China and Japan that they are being smuggled from California in high volumes. According to The Guardian, five busts have been made this year involving thousands of stolen plants.

Alas, back to happy thoughts: With Mother’s Day fast approaching, a gorgeous succulent arrangement is an ideal gift that will keep on giving.