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August Meeting – Al Klein, Fat Plants: Caudiciforms and Other Succulents

  • Mon, August 12, 2019
  • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Congregation Beth Israel


  • Pay at meeting check-in
Al Klein
Fat Plants: Caudiciforms and Other Succulents

Al Klein, the owner of Botanic Wonders nursery, in Vista, specializes in growing and selling rare and exotic plants, including cycads, and rare succulents. Come learn all about some of the most special plants in his nursery, the so-called “Fat Plants.” Al says that of all the succulents available in the market place, fat plants (caudiciforms) are his favorites.

Caudiciforms are some of the most unusual plants on the planet. They have found a way to adapt to some of the most inhospitable environments our world has to offer. As a result of these adaptations, they can be a challenge to grow; duplicating their preferred environment in containers is not easy. However, for Al, this is actually their attraction.

Caudiciforms are a grouping of many totally unrelated plants, all of which have a fat stem, trunk or succulent roots. Their swollen base or root is used for water storage and from it a thin vine or stem grows. A perfect example of this is Dioscorea elephantipes. Many other plants that fall into this classification, such as the euphorbias. Caudiciforms is a very broad term that can also include pachycaul trees, such as Ficus palmeri. Other plants, such as cycads, also have caudexes. However, Al will be concentrating on the succulents he grows.Al's interest in the natural world started in his childhood. Growing up in Chicago, he would make regular visits to Field Museum of Natural History, and read books on the natural sciences. His favorite hobbies were growing exotic plants like cacti and collecting fossils, minerals, and insects. When he moved to California at the age of 17, he was amazed at the diversity and beauty of the flora of California, and he found his passion in plants. Al worked at South Shores Nursery in San Clemente California while attending California State Polytechnic University, Pomona where he received his Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture with an emphasis in landscape design and retail nursery management.

After graduation Al was hired by Rogers Gardens in Corona Del Mar, California. Within a year, he was promoted to Nursery Manager. Soon Al he was asked to help open a nursery-gift shop in Escondido California, called Canterbury Gardens and Gifts. After almost 35 years as a partner at Canterbury Gardens, he retired. He is now running Botanic Wonders full time, fulfilling his true passion.

Join us on August 12 for what is sure to be a fun evening learning about these rare and wonderful plants.

Doors open at 6 PM with the presentations beginning at 6:45 PM.

Free for SDHS Members

$15 Non-members - Tickets available at the door.

Free, easy parking at the Congregation Beth Israel, 9001 Towne Centre Dr., San Diego, CA 92122

Our Mission To inspire and educate the people of San Diego County to grow and enjoy plants, and to create beautiful, environmentally responsible gardens and landscapes.

Our Vision To champion regionally appropriate horticulture in San Diego County.


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