Blue Is The Colour With A Succulent Everest

By Sarah A

When it comes to colour, blue is almost a universal favourite across the globe. A 2015 survey of ten countries across the globe by YouGov found that blue was the most popular in all of them, from Britain and America through to China and Indonesia. 

For that reason, many people will enjoy giving their own homes a bit of a blue look, even though it isn’t seen as a ‘warm’ colour. It may have been even more so in 2022 as Pantone named a ‘Very Peri’ blue as its colour of the year.

When it comes to living things, however, blue is a bit of a novelty. It is a little-known fact that almost all the blue animals we see are not truly blue. 

Whether butterfly wings or the feathers of a peacock, the colour is caused by the microscopic structures of the surfaces scattering every light wave in the visible spectrum except blue, a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering that is also responsible for the sky being blue. Very rare exceptions include the Olivewing Butterfly, the only one with real blue pigment.

Plants are a bit different, with blue seen commonly in flowers such as forget-me-knots, cornflowers and delphiniums. But you won’t see leaves with blue pigment, as this is not ideal for photosynthesis in the way green is.

That is where our Brighton plant shop can help. There are many fascinating succulent plants, but the Curio Ficoides, commonly known as Mount Everest, comes with a rare pastel blue-grey leafy shade that will contrast with the lush verdant greens of your other house plants.  The colour is not the result of pigment, but of a waxy coating secreted by the plant.

While the name may make it sound great as a gift for someone who likes mountains, it has no connection with the world’s highest peak. In fact, the plant is a cross-breed of two different succulent curios from the mountains of the Cape Province in South Africa, so perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it “Table Mountain”!

As it is, the succulent will go very well on your own table top, although if kept well watered and looked after well it can grow up to 50 cm tall, so it is likely to need re-potting and relocating at some point, which will not be hard as it does not grow beyond 15 cm wide. Watering should be kept fairly sparse in winter, by which time the hosepipe ban should be just about over anyway.

Given its native location in a warm climate that stays mild in winter, this should ideally be kept as an indoor plant, though temperatures are a bit colder on the top of a South African peak that’s about the same height as Snowdon. The temperature range it should be kept in ranges from 10 to 50 degrees C. This is for people with green fingers and blue leaves, not the other way round.

The plant should sit in cactus compost and when you do pot it, what better colour pot than blue? Nothing could better emphasise the distinctive hue of a plant that is simple to look after but will bring unique visual qualities to your home.