Succulent Ramblings

I like to ramble on about my plants... and other things! My hope is to log the progress of plants and talk about my frustrations with others. So, tune in, turn on, or drop out (if you find it boring!)

Monday, September 17, 2018

More about plants

Hoya fuscomarginata is one that is difficult to get to put on new leaves.  Kind of like meliflua used to be fore me, it shoots out long vines then promptly drops the leaf buds as they come on.  So I was constantly whacking back leafless vines.  This summer, it finally put on a couple new leaves, which are just beautiful:
Big, shiny, a few nice silver splotches...makes the old leaves look rather tired.  But maybe this is a signal to the end of the leaf bud dropping.  I hope so!  Meliflua quit doing it after I put it outside last summer.  Left it in this summer and it put out all kinds of new growth with no leaf bud drop...

This year, I'm growing australis ssp tenuipes on the bottom shelf of the shelf that has a trellis attached to it in hopes it will start to grow up the trellis.  If it does, I'll probably have to put a sheer curtain in front of it next summer to keep the leaves from burning, but I think it will be worth it.  It could look pretty spectacular that way!  Here's a shot of it from above:
I'd sure like to see it bloom again - it's been a few years, since before I whacked it back.  It's large enough and got enough sun this season, I would think it should set buds.  It seems to go into bud in October or so, so it could still happen, I guess.

Hoya pubera (formerly picta... not sure why they changed the name because pubera, to me, implies hairy but this one is NOT...) has done very well.  It looked a little "iffy" in early spring, but then took off and grew well and is looking fabulous:
 Those itty-bitty leaves are fantastically succulent.  It's a little sweetheart!  But now it's time for it to bloom!

H. pubicalyx 'Pink Silver' continues to grow like a weed, yet it didn't bloom this summer.  I seem to recall that very early in the spring, one peduncle did bud up and open, but then nothing the rest of the summer.  It's just not fair...  It's been a long time since PS has bloomed for me and I think I'm way past due!

This next one is H. subquintuplinervus from Gardino's.  I also have one I got from Ted Green many years ago and they are very different.  The one I got from Ted looks more like pottsii - wider leaves, more succulent.  Here is the Gardino's clone:
 I moved it up to a bigger pot a few weeks ago, so I'm betting once it's settled in, it will really grow!  Though I have to admit, it WAS a good year for this one!

And I wanted to mention the rooting cuttings in my humidity dome:
From lower left clockwise, Hoya tsangii, 2 in the 2nd pot... weebella and a Kalanchoe (from Claude), glabra (the big leaved one... yay!), pub Black Dragon and hueschkeliana.  All but the two from Claude are from Kathy in Colorado and all the but Black Dragon are replacing some I've lost in the last year or two.  Now that my hip is going to be better, I should have no excuse for losing more!

More later! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

10 days after surgery...

It's been a little rougher than I anticipated.  The first several days were utter misery.  But it's been gradually better each day for the last few.  Yesterday, I actually said that I can see me graduating to the cane in the not-to-distant future.  Today... well, that doesn't seem as close as it did yesterday, let's just say.  But I was pretty active yesterday, so maybe I'm paying the price today.

I've been diligent about doing my exercises.  A few of them are tough.  I assume they'll get easier as I heal.  And that's about all I have to say about it at this point.  I'll be more "yacky" about it when I have good things to report!

Of course, my best distraction is sitting in the GH (or sunroom) looking around at my plants.  So I snapped a few pics this morning to give me something to blog about.

A few weekends ago, I helped Claude out for a few hours at his estate sale, just to be there for plant-related questions.  I got a couple plants from him, and one of them was a plant that someone didn't want - she wanted to buy the pot it was in but had no interest in the plant.  It's a Rhipsalis I don't have, which is Rhipsalis baccifera ssp. horrida:
It needs a little TLC, but I think it could turn into a nice plant in a few years.  

Another one I got from Claude, but back during the June meeting in the raffle, is one of little artistic bonsai style plantings.  It's a Dorstenia foetida with some sweet little Peperomia prostatus as a ground cover:
I think that might be a BJ pot... BJ was a friend in the club some years back who passed away from cancer.  I have several of her pots, all of which I treasure... Anyway, it has an interesting rock behind the Dorstenia.  The Dorstenia was a big leggy.  I've never whacked a Dorstenia before and asked around about whacking it and no one seemed to have any experience doing so.  So I took a chance and whacked it back and very quickly, some cute little leaves started sprouting all around the top.  And how it's blooming already:
I think by next year, it could be a pretty fabulous looking plant!  

From the Des Moines show, I got a Dioscorea elephantipes that's cute as a bug's ear:
It has lots of vining, delicate foliage that will likely drop this winter.  If I can keep it alive over the winter, next spring, I'll put it outside in a bigger pot and hope for some serious growth of the caudex!d

I whacked back my Crassula ovata Hobbit this spring - I mean, really whacked it back!  I got a couple dozen little starts, but this is what the new growth looks like:
Nice compact new growth.  Another year or two and this may be a show-worthy plant.  This is one that has some pretty spectacular Haworthias as ground cover:

(Notice there is one little mini-Jade growing in there... not sure how that got started!)  In spring, I plan to move this up to the snazzy teal bowl/pot on the front porch.

Haemanthus albifloss decided to shoot a bloom when it came inside.  Too bad it got an ugly sunburned leaf!

It has been an outstanding year for most of my plants, but it's been spectacular for both of my verticillata albomarginatas!  I actually had THREE in early spring, but one started to quickly decline, so I chopped it up and made potted cuttings, all of which took and I've sold.  The other two pots grew nicely and look just amazing:
This is the one in the GH growing in hydroton.  It's happy as a clam and has put on all kinds of new vines and leaves.  I don't think it bloomed this year, but it could still bloom this fall.

Hoya pusilla is one I got from Chuck.  It's been looking a little washed-out, but it was quite large, so I decided to whack it back and restart it.  I kept the mother pot, leaving a little foliage and vines and it's coming back nicely.  I'm keeping the biggest of the pots I made and have a few to sell.  Here's the one I kept:
You can see 4 or 5 of the "washed out" looking leaves, which I will probably trim off if they don't green up like the rest of it.  It seems pretty happy otherwise!

More tomorrow...

Monday, August 20, 2018

I took today off - day after the Des Moines cactus club show/sale - because I knew I'd need a day to recover from all the standing and walking.  So I will spend the day taking pics and blogging about the plants I entered in the show.

First we have Monadenium rubellum, which won a blue ribbon... first the caudex...
 The foliage...
And it was flowering, so the closeup of a flower...
I'm not sure I would have given it a blue ribbon, but sometimes flowering will evoke it even if the plant isn't perfect.  I guess they assume if it's flowering, it's receiving good care and it's a well grown plant.

Next is Haworthia truncata crassa, which is one I got a year or two ago at a show...
This one got an honorable mention, which isn't surprising with all the Haworthias that get shown.  It's a beauty, but the truncata genre is very common and everyone who grows Haworthias probably has a few in their collection, because there are so many hybrids.  

Which leads me to Haworthia truncata 'Lime Green', which got a third place ribbon...
There were two of these shown and I'm guessing mine won over the other only only because of the nice pot I had mine in.  The plants themselves were pretty equal otherwise.

And another Haworthia, reticulata hurlingii got an honorable mention.  I probably would have given it a higher reward just for rareness...
It's hard to get a really good photo of this one because the individual "pups" are very small, but they are very nicely patterened and it grows in the massive mound.  I think I'll pull a pup out of there and photograph it with my camera at some point to get more detail on the plant...

Last Haworthia is 'Milky Way', which is my only plant that got no award...

I had a Rhipsalis ewaldiana in the show that got an honorable mention...
This is one of my last few Rhipsalis I grow.  And this is a start off of one that got so large, I just had nowhere to grow it anymore.  I'd really like to grow more Rhips, but they just take up massive amounts of space!

Two years I've entered Cyphostemma juttae 'Fat Bastard' and I've gotten a blue ribbon both years.  Here is the caudex (notice it's raining today, which is why it looks half wet, half dry)...
 And detail of the gorgeous, succulent, grape-like leaves...
The only Hoya I entered was my smallest macrophylla...
Unfortunately, one of the large plants tumbled onto macrophylla and two nice leaves popped off.  In spite of that, it got a blue ribbon.  

I'll interject here that on Friday, as I was arriving home, I got a call from a lady who was asking about Hoyas at the show and was very disappointed there were none to buy.  Kathy gave her my number.  Well, we worked it out and on Sunday, I brought over 4 rooted Hoyas and 3 or 4 cuttings and she bought them all, $54 (which was a bargain for her and it was ok for me, too, because I didn't have to pack them up and mail them!)  So that offset some of my expenses for my trip and my spending.  I spent around $65 on plants, about $75 on a rental and roughly $70 on gas.  Carol (who rode over with me on Saturday) gave me $10 towards gas, and the club will reimburse me for one day of the rental for the day I brought two club members with me.  So the whole weekend cost me about $110 out of my pocket... not bad.

I entered my Euphorbia millii variegata in under the educational classification.  Here's the plant...
 And I put an explanation about variegation next to it, and this is what it said:

Variegation in plants

Variegation refers to contrasting colors on plant leaves and sometimes stems as well. Variegated leaves rarely occur in nature, but when they do, it’s typically in the understory (or deeply shaded) areas of the rainforest.  This indicates that variegated plants should be grown in less sun than their green counterparts.  It is important to note, however, that photosynthesis only occurs in the green parts of leaves, therefore variegated plants need a bright spot for good health.  Balancing enough light without too much sun is the challenge in producing a perfect specimen.

Chimeral (or genetic) variegation is due to the presence of two different kinds of plant tissue.  Because of this, propagation must be done by a vegetative method that preserves both types of tissue.  Stem cuttings, air layering or stem grafting are methods that typically work best.  Root cuttings will rarely remain variegated.  Stems with an inordinate amount of variegation often will not root at all. 

Variegated plants, because of their rarity, are highly sought after.  When one is produced and the variegation is replicated and deemed to be stable, a name is attached to that plant that is the original botanical name with the word “variegata” attached.  This particular plant is Euhporbia millii variegata.  But look closely… this one has an all green shoot at the base!  This is called “reverting”, and occurs in some unstable variegates.  In most cases, one would cut off this anomaly.  On the other hand, it creates a beautiful contrast against all the variegated foliage!  If more reverted stems appear, it is an indication that the plant will likely stop producing variegated growth, and an avid collector would take cuttings from the variegated parts to start a new, wholly variegated plant.

I thought it was a good explanation about variegation, something that a lot of people appreciate, don't know what it's called and don't understand.

Next is my grafted Euphorbia lactea crest, which I put in the grafted class - it won an honorable mention.  I know they're fairly common, but I think it looks fantastic!...
It has picked up so much red from being out in the sun for the summer!

I decided to show an Epiphyllum, and to be honest, I have no idea if this one is has all the same kind in the pot or if there are different ones in there.  This spring, I just took a bunch of cuttings and secured them in 2 pots and put them out back.  Well, this potful has a bunch of buds coming on so I thought I'd show it even though I knew it was unlikely that any would open for the show. Here's the crazy plant...
...and here are the buds coming on.  I count 13!!
These are definitely different than the Queen of the Night (oxypetalum) - just had some of those open recently:

I also entered my Sansevieria hahnii 'Baseball Bat'...
It got an honorable mention.  

That's enough for today! 


Sunday, July 22, 2018

All is growing...

...Well, ALMOST all.  My very stubborn H. sigillatis is still showing no signs of growth.  I mist it daily and encourage it, and though it feels fat and happy, no growth.  

Hoya parasitica 'Lau 2', which I've apparently had 5 years, has a new shoot.  Now this one did well for me for awhile, then it went into decline.  It got down to only 3 leaves.  I seem to recall I put it in my humidity dome for a period of time.  That might have been last summer.  It stabilized and looked healthy other than only having 3 leaves this last winter.  Well, I was starting to wonder if it would ever grow and lo and behold, I found a new shoot a week or so ago.  I'm anxious for it to fill in again!  It has such pretty splotchy leaves... here's a photo from when it was full and nice:
Next to it on the shelves in the GH is H. sp. 22 'Khao Yai' - I got a cutting of that from Kathy, then one from Ric as well.  It's looking freakin' fantastic this year and growing like a weed!  I'm not sure how long ago I got it...

Not a great pic, but it shows all the new vines and tiny leaves.  The leaves are super-pretty on this one... similar to macrophylla only smaller...
Then above that is bicknellii, which I got as a cutting from Dee in Florida in 2011.  It's turned into quite a gorgeous plant!
It's been growing in that same spot for at least 2 years without being turned, so all the leaves are facing the window.  I need to turn it around to give it more uniformity.  I'll do that in a bit and take another pic.  I like this one because it's very succulent.  I bet Dee's is a monster by now!!

I restarted my diversifolia this spring.  The whole plant took a dump over the winter.  I think the soil it's in is rock solid, and the whole thing got very dehydrated, to the point I didn't think I could salvage it.  But I never give up without at least trying and just put the best stems in water and waited.  It took it a long time over the winter and early spring, but it grew roots and rehydrated.  I planted it upprobably 3 months ago and it just took off like a rocket! Here's what it looks like today:
Unbelievable!  And there's lots of new points of growth, like this...
  Also growing well is my Dischidia parasitica:
I also started a small one off of this that's now growing in the sunroom.  Though it's a bit fussy, this is one of my favorite Dischidias...

Memoria has turned into one crazy big plant, especially considering it's a small-leaved Hoya and in only a 5" pot. Here is a pic of the whole plant:
And it's been budding and blooming like crazy - here are two photos...
These two were taken a week or 10 days ago, before they blooms started opening.  Here's what the open flowers look like:
 I must be doing something right!  

Lastly, I wanted to show the new growth on 'Michelle', which has barely grown for me until this year.  The new growth is just outstanding.  I took two photos, one with flash and one without:

 And that's it for today!  




Sunday, July 15, 2018

There is something very wrong in our country...

I had GMA on this morning and they were talking about the CEO (?) of Papa Johns  who used the "N" word, and now all the sponsors are pulling ads, he's been run off the board of the company (in spite of being 51% shareholder).  Mind you, he didn't used the word in a public forum, but during a marketing meeting.  Are we really getting so crazy-sensitive that we can't just turn around and say, "Well, that was certainly uncalled for!" or "You're an asshole for using that word!"  No, someone has to go on a rampage and ruin an entire company who employs a lot of people.  Not only that, but it's a BIG company whose stock is probably going to shit over this, which means many in the stock market will suffer losses.  No, no one has all their eggs in one basket, but why would there be such a fuss over ONE FUCKING WORD?  Yes, I hate the word.  I don't want to hear it.  But I won't fall apart if I hear it.  

People say things they regret... it happens.  Every single one of us has done it.  I remember when I was a kid, it wasn't uncommon for one kid to say to another, "What, are you a retard?"  Well, once in a blue moon, I'll see someone do something really stupid and I'll catch myself saying that and grimace as it comes out of my mouth.  Why?  Because it's now socially unacceptable to say it.  One might say it should have ALWAYS been socially unacceptable to use a word or phrase, and that's probably true, but you don't bring down companies or send someone off to shame prison because they slipped up and said something stupid or inappropriate.  

Our country has gone mad.  That is the only explanation for all this weirdness that's going on now.  We have to weigh every word we say.  Men have to be careful not to offend a woman in any way, shape or form (because, I guess, we're so fragile).  If a cop tries to defend himself or get control of a situation, they scream "police brutality" and all these videos show up - videos that, by the way, didn't start until AFTER whatever instigated the officer's reaction...  But we leap to judge that HE was out of place.  Yes, even cops fuck up and do the the wrong thing - they're human, too.  We make mistakes.  We say or do things we shouldn't say or do.  There is only ONE mistake that can never be remedied, and that's DEATH.  All other mistakes can be fixed.  And in the case of inappropriate language or words, can't we just be momentarily appalled and then MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES? 

Can we please stop being a whiny, over-sensitive country?  It's embarrassing!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Plants, plants!

Friday 7/13

Almost everything is growing now.  All except my stubborn deykeae.  The little bastard knows very well that it's probably my FAVORITE of all, and it refuses to give me the pleasure of new growth.  I took a deep breath and put it out in the greenhouse.  Let me explain... I got deykeae as a cutting in 2009.  It rooted fast, but didn't grow at all the first year.  The next year, it put on just a bit of new growth... maybe 2 or 3 sets of leaves.  I was thrilled, because by then, I had fallen in LOVE with the gorgeous leaves, and the new ones were spectacular!  Each year, it has only put on a little new growth, and as it branched, I might get 6 new sets of leaves instead of only 3.  But in about year 2 or 3, there was a post on GW about deykeae, and a very experienced grower commented that this was a very difficult species to grow!  OH NO!  Not my favorite Hoya!  I was so afraid that it would all of a sudden die on me that I didn't DARE move it from the spot where it was "thriving".  So in the nine years I've had it, it has always set in the same exact spot on a shelf in my sunroom, facing east.  Now that it's July and still hasn't hinted at growing, I decided to take a leap of faith and put it in the GH where it will get the heat and sun that (maybe) it's craving.  Marco's is growing gangbusters, so maybe that's what it needs...  Added the next day... Guess what?  I see 2, maybe 3 new growth points on my deykeae!  I guess it worked!

I took cuttings of my pubicalyx 'Bright One' and got them potted up to root and eventually sell.  It's gotten so large, and it just doesn't grow as pretty as 'Pink Silver'.  Of course, at least it blooms pretty easy, unlike 'PS'.  Who knows... I may KEEP the rooted cuttings and get rid of the big plant.

And speaking of getting rid of big plants...  I took down both of my nicholsoniaes and cleaned them up.  They both sit on the top shelf in the GH and are a bit difficult to wrestle down, so it doesn't get done very often.  The leaves were SO dusty and I wiped each one individually.  It cleaned up beautifully!  Here's the bigger one:
I found several new baby leaves and growth points.  I gate it a good VF-11 bath and put it back up.  The smaller one has just one point of new growth.  I think I'll either whack it up to sell, or I may take that one to the tri-club meeting in September to put in the auction.  I do NOT plan to put a bunch of smaller ones in the auction because I got royally screwed last year!

On the other hand, I've sent out three boxes of plants so far this year.  I've got a bunch of small plants that will be ready to go a little later this summer.  I decided to let them grow out a bit to make a little more money.  I've got a nice variety though, as usual, nothing rare.  

Off the subject of plants for a minute... I had one of my favorite bracelets break on me a couple weeks ago at work.  I was so upset - it's purple and just really pretty.  Well, I went on Etsy and found someone who makes jewelry and found a bracelet I wanted to buy, and I asked her if she would be willing to repair (if possible) my broken bracelet and sent her a photo. She said she would fix it for $5!  Wow...  Well, I ended up buying two bracelets from her AND she repaired my favorite one.  They came in the mail yesterday and I'm so pleased!  This one is even prettier in person than it was in the photo:
 The other I had her make to my specs from another one.  The one in her photo was a Sagittarius in blue, and I wanted mine (of course) a Scorpio in red...
 She did an excellent job!

Saturday 7/14

This morning, I got up early and potted 4 rooted macrophylla cuttings from a community pot into individual pots so they can get settled in, grow and be ready to sell by fall.  Next on my agenda is to repot the variegated Sanseveria, which has a new shoot on one side of the pot.  I'm going to cut up the one large leaf that's left to make cuttings.  I had some cuttings of another Sans that I rooted last fall, and they sprouted baby Sans from those leaves.  They're so adorable! 
This whole plant isn't more than 1.5 inches across:
I checked the cuttings from the 'Krimson Princess' Marco sent me today.  One had rooted - none of the others are even HINTING at rooting, but they're not totally dehydrated, so I stuck them in water.  The one that rooted I put in with the mama plant and hope it will take off out in the summer heat.  I'm hoping for some new growth on the KP before summer's end.  I know it takes awhile to get settled in to new pot, new (different) soil, and in a new environment.  Fingers crossed that the other 3 cuttings root.  It's possible they were too "pink"... Marco commented that the pink stemmed ones don't like to root.  We'll see.  I seem to have pretty good luck rehydrating wrinkly cuttings in water...

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Des Moines club meeting.  So maybe more another day next week...