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!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Work... we had a "look and book" today. I love that! It's always wonderful when brides walk in and say nice things like, "Wow, it's even more beautiful than the website!" (You can see the website at ...) But most of them go away to think about it and compare it to some other facilities. When we have one that walks in and goes, "OMG, this is IT!!!", it feels great! And it was our first booking for Oct. 2010. YAY!

And I've got three appointments, one on Friday and two on Sat., for "lookers" for Jan. 1st, Feb. 19th and Feb. 27th!! These are tough dates to book here! I keep sayin' - this A/H stuff really, really works! I've been reveling in how well it works... From the little stuff to the big stuff. Now, I have to work on the damn lottery!!...

Starting to organize and bring in some plants, and I should take some photos for this blog. So many look absolutely fabulous and I should post them here to compare in a year or so. Some at work are, like, WOW!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

As I sit here in the basement with my laptop, Lucy is lying next to me with her head on my lap, which makes typing difficult! But it's so sweet to have my big, beautiful girl sleeping right here next to me. She's my love muffin! I'll add a photo here in the a.m. for anyone who doesn't know what a beauty she is...

So I ordered 3 plants from Accents last week based on a posting on GW. They came yesterday and they were really pretty nice. First was H. bandaensis, which I'd never heard of and was curious about. Turned out to be globulosa, which I'd just gotten some of from Rick/Anne. But I justput both in the same semi-hydro pot. I had the small one from Rick/Anne in the seim-hydro media and it was sucking up the water so fast, I could hardly keep up! A thirsty devil!

I also go variegated multiflora. The leaves are much smaller than my javanica, so I wonder if it might actually be the real multiflora variegated. I think it will be lovely...

And the third was H. lanceolata bella variegata. Now, despite the package being totally smashed on one side, they all seem to be fine. I was especially surprised that L/B looked so good because it seems a little delicate.

Also this week I got a package from Johanna on GW with a few rooted cuttings of linearis. It's such a beautiful little plant! I hope I can keep this one alive. I'm going to send her a box of multiflora/javanica cuttings in return tomorrow.

Anyway, life is good! Lots of Hoyas. Kitty on legs. Puppy's sweet face on lap. Roof over head. Good food. Hubby's walkin' around as if he wasn't sporting a prosthetic leg. Yep - life is good!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More to update... H. magnifica continues to grow fast. H. naumanii seems to have a new growth "nubbin" coming on, too, so I guess that one must be ok for sure. (New growth is my signal that a rooted cutting is actually viable - USUALLY!) I got a cuttings of H. incrassata in a trade in April. It rooted quickly and even seemed like it was going to grow and put out a leafless vine. But then it stopped and has been motionless since. I think I'm seeing a little sign of a growth bud on it, too. Yay! That one looks like it will be pretty one...

One that I'm finally sighing with relief about is Dischidia ramosii. Dischidias, for me, are tough cookies to get going. Don't even bother to try to root them in the fall! Well, with the exception of geri - it's one that's so easy to grow, it may not even need soil! But the rest of them are tough to root in ideal circumstances, and even once rooted, they can be stubborn to keep alive. Well, ramosii is one I tried 3 years ago - one of the first I got from Tanya Livschultz. I'm not sure what it was about this one, but I wanted it to grow SO bad - I seem to recall that she told me it blooms red, and maybe that's it. Anyway, the first one rooted, but then before winter was over, it slowly started drying from the tip and evenually ( died. I wasn't a happy camper! Then, last fall, Tom from my cactus club, who manages the University greenhouse, asked if I wanted some of Tanya's collection - she'd moved back east and left most of it behind. I collected TONS of cuttings but, because it was fall, lost the vast majority of them. Went back early this spring and got TONS more, sent a bunch off to Carol in Hawaii, and started rooting. Believe it or not, I still lost quite a bunch of the cuttings! Well, it was February... maybe too early. But I did manage to get some of the ramosii to root. It put on a bit of new growth here and there, so I knew I'd finally succeded, but it's been my experience that you can't be terribly trusting of Dischidias until they're fairly mature. Well now it's really taken off, and I may even need to pot it up to a larger pot pretty soon! Maybe I can anticipate some blooms soon.

And one that proves my theory that Dischidias are tempermental is griffithii. It's one that rooted nicely, put on new growth, but became dehydrated and has been struggling to bounce back. I think it will make it, but I was kicking myself in the butt when I let it get too dry. Once established, many dischidias are real water guzzlers! In the GH, I can water geri nearly every day when it's hot.

Anyway, my goal this week (with a small wedding to get ready for) is to do some rearranging in the GH and start bringing in Haworthias and Gasterias that are still outside. The sun-lovers (Aloes, Echeverias, Crassulas, etc...) will stay out until mid-Sept., unless it turns cold early. And my Jades will stay out right up until they prdict our first frost. It's the only way I can get them to bloom!

Off to get ready for Ella Rose's christening...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A quick update from my last post... Yesterday, it was sprinkling heavily when I got up and looked like (from the forecast) that rain was going to be moving through all morning. So, I took the three DL cuttings that still remained somewhat to fairly dehydrated looking back out to the porch for some rainwater. It's been my observation that plants respond to rainwater very differently than to water in the watering jug - they always look such a beautiful bright green (like the grass does!) right after a rain. Anyway, I thought it might help. And boy, did it rain! I haven't heard yet how much it actually rained, but at work (which is about 8 miles from home), it was one of those every-couple-of-year rains that comes down in sheets, creating rivers of water running down the streets because the storm drains can't keep up. I was a little worried that maybe I'd made the wrong decision putting out such tender, newly rooted plants in such a torrential downpour.

Well, this morning I decided to look closely at those three to make sure there was no damage. They were all fine, and upon close inspection, I first noticed what I'm pretty sure is a "growth nubbin", about 1/4" long, protruding from the amoena cutting! Then I picked up megalaster and - ZOWIE! - there was about a 3" long new vine with two itty-bitty leaves on it!! I couldn't believe my eyes. How could that happen so quickly? I suppose after the rain, when the sun came out, that was about all it took. So it proves my theory, I think, that rainwater is indeed better than even VF-11 water!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The point of this post is going to be to document the progress of the David Liddle cuttings I got back in June. First, the cuttings arrived on June 25th (I remember that because it was the day before I had to take all those plants out to Mulhall's for the show!) They were all somewhat dehydreated, and some were very, very dehydrated. I knew the moment I saw it that dennisii would not make it, but I soaked them all overnight in a big bowl of water with some SuperThrive in it. The next morning, I potted them up, with my regular mix, then I put a wad of wet sphagnam on top of the soil, to kind of help keep the soil from drying out too fast. I set most of them on the back porch, in the shade, and watered them whenever they showed even a little bit of dryness. Hellwigiana looked pretty rough, too, so I had my doubts it would make it. A couple others were very questionable, but I thought there was a chance they might make it and I wasn't going to give up until there was no doubt whatsoever that they were dead. (I've had some come back from looking nearly dead!) I have to admit that, at this point, I was thinking this would be the one and only time I would participate in the Liddle order, because having spent that much money on cuttings that arrived in such tough shape, I felt my money would be better spent collecting less hard to find, rooted plants.

So, here we are, right at 7 weeks later, and here's the skinny on the cuttings:

H. dennisii - as suspected, DEAD! Pffft! I'd say, in fact, it was D.O.A. It completely dried out into a crispy, papery cutting, as if it had been preserved in a book!

I'll say here that these photos aren't exactly great. I took them early this morning, when the sun was "dappling" through the GH, so that's why they're - well, "dapply" looking! ;-)

H. samoensis (left) rooted fairly quickly, but seems a little anemic. Once I'm sure it has a solid root system, I'll have to give it a boost of a high nitrogen fertilizer to see if I can't get it a little more green. Best part, though, is that it has a little sprout of new growth on it! YAY!

H. naumanii - I think this was the first one to root. Here it is (below right) - a nice-sized cutting. I seem to recall it was also the least dehydrated. I rooted the whole cutting, and figure perhaps next spring, when all those rooting and growth hormones are raging, I'll cut it and start a new one. But for now, I want to let it get settled in before winter gets here...No signs of new growth, but seems nice and firm and well rooted, so I think I'll probably see some new growth before it goes dormant or semi-dormant this fall.

I spent $16.50 only on two cuttings, and they both made it - whew! I was reluctant to buy any more of the "high-end" cuttings because I had no previous experience with getting them all the way from Australia.

H. megalaster (left) looked like it was a goner. In fact, you can still see the one leaf (and there's another out of the photo) that looks like it won't make it. This one was broken, so I made it into two pieces. The one piece with the one nice green leaf has definitely rooted. The other resistes when I tug, and the stem still feels ok, but the leaves are really crappy, so it's a "wait and see" thing with that second piece. I feel a little bad spending $16.50 for a one leaf cutting, but if it grows for me, I suppose it will have been worth it. And who knows - maybe that second one will be ok and produce new leaves. I've had it happen before, so I don't give up on a cutting until it's obviously crispy-dead!

H. vitellina was the other $16.50 cutting. This one came broken in 3 different places (at every space between leaves!), so I ended up piling all those short cuttings into this pot and weighting them down. Some of it rooted pretty quickly, and the last piece seems to be pretty firm when tugged now, too. This one looks like it will be a beauty, so I'm looking foward to it growing. No signs of new growth at this point, but it seems healthy and ready to go at any moment. I'm going to do some reasearch on it and find out if it's a good grower. I figure the most expensive cuttings are so high for one of two reasons - they're slow growers and therefore, he doesn't get as many cuttings to offer. Or they're not readily available and therefore the supply/demand dictates the price.

H. amoena - this one does feel rooted, but it's still pretty dehydrated. It's another one that broke into a couple of pieces intransit. I'm hoping it will make it because the leaves look like they could be pretty. I guess we'll see...

H. pusilla came with splotchy yellow leaves - it looked weird, but it wasn't as dehydrated as most of the others. I'm like, "Great, the one that's not dehydrated looks like it has another issue..." But it's rooted and the yellow splotches have faded considerably and the green seems to be more even. No signs of new growth yet, though. I'll probably give it a nitrogen boost, too...

And finally, H. magnifica (below right). This one was in pretty good shape and rooted pretty quick. But the best part is that it has two new growth points already! How exciting!! I love the big leeaves. Now it's time to get busy and learn about all these Hoyas so I know how to treat them - the best spot to grow them (in the house or in the GH), are they water guzzlers or like to be on the dry side...)

I won't make a decision about whether I'll participate next year until I see how these do. But at this point, I'm feeling pretty good about these cuttings. Where I originally thought I'd end up likely losing 1/3 to 1/2 of them, I only ended up losing 1 out of 8, which isn't bad. Of course, time will tell if they all DO survive... I'll be sure to post back regarding "progress" (or NOT!) so that I know which direction to go next year. One thing is for sure - I'll make sure that I order only thick-leaved species next year!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life rolls along... in a good way, I might add! It was scorchingly hot on Sat., when we had around 200 guests at a reception. But the A/C's kept up nonetheless! Yippee!

Yesterday, Sunday, was a totally weird day, weather-wise. A cold front apparently moved in (PRAISE THE LORD!!), so it was much nicer, but it was a day of strange thunderstorms. It would rumble around for about an hour, darken up considerably, then rain for a bit. A couple hours later, it would start the whole process over again. It must have done this at least 5 times! STRANGE!! But I loved it 'cuz I'm a fan of weird weather!!

Today (Monday) was much more "normal" (if that actually exists here in the Midwest!) Mid to upper '80s, a little humid. I'm starting to bring in Haworthias and Gasterias, and some Euphoria milliis. With so many plants, I have to start early!

Mark has been laid off for nearly a month and he's driving me a bit batty. He's gotten into "golf" mode, which isn't cheap. I've told him - when the bucks run out, he's going to have to sit around with his thumb up his ass... He still seems intent on spending it as fast as possible!! Doofus! *Sidenote: I love his doofus ass! That makes me "Mrs. Doofus" - uh-yup!** I guess we can't all be good at all stuff... meaning... he can't be a financial genius, and I can't be expected to pick (nor would I necessarily want!) a financial genius to fall in love with! Life is fun/weird/exhilerating/never dull... Get my drift?!! Anyone who thinks it should be easy is so off base... How uninteresting would it be if it were EASY??? YUCK!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New bloomers of late include.... drum roll!....

Hoya heuschkeliana. I accidentally found a flower cluster when I picked up my little rooted cutting to look it over and spritz it with some VF-11. To my surprise, there was this little umbel of flowers that looked like little pink lanterns. How cute!

Hoya diptera. A smallish-leaved Hoya that's a fast grower. Beautiful bright green, shiny, consistently-sized leaves. Those first flowers were a surprise! About the size of a carnosa flower, but the clusters are much, much smaller. First cluster had 6 buds behind it that were slower in developing. I like the butter-yellow blooms. And it's been blooming ever since...

Hoya purpureo-fusca. I got a rooted cutting from Carol Noel last summer after I lost an unrooted cutting from Ted Green. Then, this spring, she sent me another rooted cutting in return for the Dischidia cuttings I sent her in Feb. So the one she sent me last summer set buds about a month ago. I was surprised to get buds so early on a Hoya - happy, mind you, just surprised! They opened a few days ago. Very pretty!!

And old bloomers include H. rubra. A beauty, no doubt, and it's been a consistent grower. I top-dressed it with some new soil and have kept it well-watered the last month or so and it's gone into a mega-bloom cycle. Wow! Pumping them out like crazy. Pubicalyx 'Splash' (or 'Pink Silver') has been putting on gobs and gobs of new, large growth as I've been diligent about keeping it consistently watered this year. I have a feeling that it's so terribly potbound that it needs constant water/nutrients. I'm going to give it a big ol' vitamin/mineral boost here soon to see if we can "kick" it into blooming!
That's about it!

H. 'Krinkle 8' has a new bloom on it. I took it to the C&S show and it kept tipping over - one tendril made it way side-heavy. And it was potbound. So I repotted it into a larger, heavy ceramic pot about a week after the show. Since then, it looks great and set a new bud which opened yesterday. Looks AWESOME!