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!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wow! I was out giving my plants a VF-11 bath on Sunday and found all kinds of buds. Let's see... most exciting was nicholsonaie. I had just commented on GW about how I thought it was kind of a stingy bloomer. I found at least 6 peduncles budding up!! Until this last fall, I had grown this one up on the top shelf of the GH, where it would get very nicely red-veined leaves. But I would get just one or two blooming peduncles each year. This last fall, I decided to move the stingy-blooming Nick down to a bottom shelf, where I could admire "his" pretty foliage. Well, maybe that's just what he wanted! Six blooming peduncles! Wow!! I'm very excited!

Others I found budding up: verticillata variegata - several peduncles. Inconspicua has been budding up for awhile. Plain old verticillata has buds. Oh, and subquintuplinervis (did I spell thaqt right?) has a bud - tried to take a photo of it, but it looked like... uh, well... a phallic symbol (to put it politely!!) And latifolia's peduncle continues to develop without problems (so far...)

Yesterday, I went to see a lady who's husband was a member of our local C&S club. He passed away about a month ago, and she called me a week or so ago about coming to take his plants to find homes for them. I got to their home and she had obviously been crying. I felt so bad for her. She spent the next hour telling me such great stories about her wonderful husband...stories I hope to never forget. She had to show me his completely (and beautifully) restored 1964 Ford Gallaxy 500 (a car my ex and I had when we first got married - though our's was a '65 or '66...) Though it was kind of sad, it was also inspirational to know that two people can have such a great connection.

I can't believe it was so incredibly warm today! 75 or so. Wow... I had to put the screen in the south window of my GH because it was too warm in there. It's still open and I'm hoping I won't have to close it again. It's so hard to open/close, so I'm hoping it will stay warm (yeah, right!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

I just discovered that sp. 'Nong Nooch' has a new shoot! Two new leaves, though small, seem to be developing - one is far enough along it looks safe to touch. I'm very excited! I got this one from Carol 2 years ago and it's never done a darn thing. I put it in semi-hydro last spring and it still didn't do anything all summer long. Well, it's finally growing. It's going to be a beauty! And I'll be glad when it's put on enough new foliage that I can take off the damaged leaf, or it will at least be hidden by new foliage...

And I took down H. mitrata this morning, search it thoroughly for new growth and found a teeny tiny shoot coming from near the base of one of the plants. Yay! I may need to move that one to one of those 8" pots I get from Awanda (need to order some...) Now, if it would just bloom for me!

Another one to talk about - subquintuplinervis (wow, I checked to see if I spelled that right and I did - without looking!!) This one is here in the room with my computer... I was looking for new growth a couple days ago and found a peduncle is forming! Amazing - it's a cutting I got from Ted Green in May of '08, so that's pretty fast, really. Then this morning, I see a little growth nubbin just a little beyond the peduncle. It will be interesting to watch them grow.

Latifolia's bud continues to grow. I got my new camera yesterday and tested it with a quick photo of the bud forming...

You can tell I took the photo straight up with all the light behind it (see the clouds in the sky through the roof glass?) I also got up there and watered latifolia, thinking surely it's pretty dry (which it was...) I hope it doesn't drop the buds! I've been looking forward to this one blooming for me someday. I've had the damn thing for 4 years!

I also discovered a peduncle forming on pallida!! I love this small laved Hoya - the very succulent leaves have raised veins, making it look textured. I hope it grows a lot for me this year.

'Chelsea' continues to be a problem child for me. I think I'll put it outside this summer to try to kick it into growing. I have a few others like that, too, that will likely be put outside to try to encourage new growth.

I was going to place an order with Gardino's, but it seems all the ones I wanted are sold out now. So I'm going to place a pretty large order for Liddle cuttings. I hope I have a good a success rate as I did last year!

Monday, I sent out my first two boxes of cuttings for this year, and then Wednesday, I got my first box of plants for this spring. It came from Kelly from WV - she sent me a Hoya dasyantha (an established plant, no less!) and some very nice cuttings of linearis. The dasyantha has carnosa-shaped leaves (though larger) but they're more veined like fungii. It looks like it could be a real beauty! And I put the linearis in hydroton to see if maybe it will do better for me that way. Her mama plant must be awsome looking at these cuttings!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's Sunday (after a double-weekend) and I'm feeling a little tired, but otherwise pretty darned good. So I got up about 8:30 (thank you Lucy for letting me sleep that late!) and I decided to do some watering. The sun is out today, so it feels great in the GH! I got almost one whole shelf done and a lot of foliar feeding and wanted to take a break, so thought I'd jot down some observations here...

H. fischeriana is starting to grow in several spots! I put it at the top of the GH a few weeks ago hoping it would help get it going and it seems to have worked. It has the potential to be a beautiful plant. It reminds me a lot of hellwigiana, one I got a few years ago from Carol that bloomed quickly for me, then proceeded to die. What I really loved about it were the beautiful leaves, though the flowers, too, are quite impressive. Check out the leaves (above left) and the flowers after they're completely reflexed (right). Pretty cool! Anyway, fischeriana reminds me a LOT of hellwigiana. I did manage to get another little cutting of hellwigiana from David Liddle last summer, but proceeded to lose most of it. Right now, I just have a small, one leaf cutting that's rooted and hanging on. I keep my fingers crossed that it will take off this spring!

Macgillivrayii had more yellow leaves, and the leaves above it were starting to feel a little spongy, so I decided I'd better take cuttings to ensure it goes on in case there's a root issue causing these problems. High up, the foliage felt fine, but if you wait too long, you're screwed, and with that plant, I don't want to take ANY chance at all of losing it! So I took a bunch of cuttings and left quite a bit left to watch. If it continues to decline, I'll do what I did with my imperialis - cut it clear back to leafless stems and keep the pot, put it out when it warms up and see if it will come back from the "stump." If it's like imperialis, it'll root quickly and I'll be fast on my way to a whole new potfull of it.

After repotting vanuatuensis (which I originally got as diptera, but after a little research on, I realize it was mislabeled...), it seems to have fattened up a bit. But it's still guzzling water like crazy - I may have to move it to an even larger pot before summer's end. It doesn't seem to have affected blooming, though. It continues to pump out those beautiful, butter-yellow flowers (left). According, vanuatuensis' flowers are solid yellow whereas diptera's flowers have a red center. Anyway, the plant was horribly potbound and starting to dehydrate a bit because I couldn't seem to keep it watered often enough. I also repotted the one I thought was vantuatuensis (and may actually be diptera...) I got a cutting of each from Kelly on GW (then got the established plant labeled diptera from Gardino's.) Anyway, the one I thought was vanuatuensis has been in a small decorative pot in my bedroom for a year or so and was pretty potbound, so I moved it to one of those small hanging pots and put it in the GH. Van & dip look so much alike, that's what prompted my research that made me decide I had the two species turned around. And that's, of course, if the second one turns out to be diptera. I might just have two vanuatuensis' - I won't know until the 2nd one blooms. If it turns out to be another van, I'll sell it...

And speaking of dehydrated water guzzlers, obovata x. carnosa is looking awsome again, but it does seem to go dry pretty fast, so I obviously need to keep a close eye on it.

I also repotted carnosa ssp. carnosa into a very large pot. I had a little pot of it I had rooted last year (I think) when I thought the mother plant was looking a little sad, and the mother plant which had become pretty potbound and put them together in a big pot. It has produced a couple peduncles and I'd like to see it bloom - I hope the up-potting didn't delay it, but if it does, it's ok. I'd rather the plant be strong and growing than get flowers on an unhappy plant.

I moved things around a bit in the sunroom. That climbing onion had gotten so big that I moved it over to sit on top of the old radio, and put the 'Krimson Queen' on the shelves. It made it a little more spacious and airy-feeling over on the dresser. I pulled everything off and did some cleaning before I put them all back. It gave me a chance to look closely at my macrophylla and kerrii which have both gotten so large there that I don't mess with them much. I had a chance to carefully examine (and "ooo and awww" over) the extraordinarily huge leaves (2) on the mac. WOW! The biggest one is as big as my hand with my figers stretched out! I guess it must like that spot...

And on the subject of of macrophylla, it seems they're putting on new growth - all of them. I've got the small one I'll be selling this spring which showed first signs. The biggest on has a new vine, and the one in the hanging pot has growth "buds." I also notice that arnottiana has a nice long new vine. Cv. 'Jennifer' also has some growth buds. It's haning on a shelf in the south window, so it should take off soon. Latifolia has that long leafless vine I almost cut off this spring, but it has an old peduncle that never bloomed at the end of it that I thought I should leave on just a bit longer. Well, it appears to be budding up now. When it formed originally, it tried to bloom a couple of times, dropped the buds and never tried again. It looks so gnarly, I was sure it was dormant and it must have been pure luck that I decided not to whack it off. I guess we'll see what happens.

Variegated macrophylla, which I moved to a larger pot last summer, is putting on new growth but it's weird. Kind of deformed. I'm not sure why. I probably need to pull it down and look at it carefully. I keep finding some scale on a plant here, a plant there, so maybe that's what's going on... It also has growth that is trying to revert back to green. I cut off one of the all-green shoots and am rooting it now. I guess it's ok since it's a narrower version of my original mac. I think the wide-leaf one is more sought after, but I do like the look of the narrower leaf, too...

I notice my larger Sans pearsonii (the one I plan to sell) has a pup coming on. I haven't checked real close on the one I'm keeping, but most of my other Sans seem to be putting on new growth right now, too. The one called 'J2922' put out a long runner with a pup that was coming off another pup, so I had to cut it off because it was getting terribly side-heavy. It's callousing over and I'll pot it up in a week or so and hopefully have another one to sell at the show.

My Dischidia ramosii is blooming and now I'm wondering if the ID is correct (in spite of it coming from the "horse's mouth" - Tanya Livschultz...) The flowers on ramosii are supposedly red and these are white. I'm waiting to see if maybe they turn red as they age. Unlikely, I'd guess. Probably more likely that it's a misID. Well, it doesn't matter - I really like it a lot! I have such a time getting Dischidias started, so it makes them all really special when one gets going and then actually blooms! I've got two right now that are struggling - one is griffithii, which I've tried and tried to root. I've got a small pot with two cuttings that I think will be ok - I say that cautiously because you never know with Dischidias! I've got another pot with several cuttings that are "iffy" that I got from Tom back in Dec. We'll see how they do... Then there's that one with the heart shaped leaves. I think it's this one (from Antone's site...) If this one ever really takes off for me, it would be in my top 5 favorites! It's really neat. My CBFM ovata continues to do well, but I struggle with the other clones. The one in the little tiny pot in the sunroom has done amazingly well this year - it bloomed for the first time and continues to do so. I love the fat leaves on that one... But the almost round fat leaves of the clone I got from Tanya's collection just doesn't want to "take" for me. I have some in a pot that maintain, but just don't "feel" quite right yet. Maybe with spring, it will do better. Then I have a small-leaved clone from Gardino's that I've lost some of but part of it seems to be ok at this point. They're really a challenge!

On a sad note, BJ, a member of our cactus club and a fellow Hoya lover, passed away in late Jan. I'm glad we got a chance to spend some time together in the company of Hoyas and Dischidias (and succs) at the UNO greenhouse last year. I really liked BJ... The last time I saw her, though, she looked SO weak, I had a feeling this was coming soon. She was a nice lady and she'll be missed by many, I'm sure. I have a lot of her pots, and starts of some of her plants and I bought a few of her plants that her daughter let the club sell. There are so many in my collection that make me think of her every time I water or primp... I hope she "hangs" with me in the GH sometimes. I think she "gets" my eccentricity about my plants...

And that's about enough rambling for now!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Success!!! After 17 days, my Hoya imperalis cuttings are rooted. I just put them in a 6" glazed clay pot (all but one that is...) and assuming they make the transition, I'll have a nice potfull going strong by full-swing-spring. I was amazed at how fast they rooted!! I can't wait to see how they look in a week or two. The mama plant continues to decline - I left about 10" on each plant, with some leaves that continue to drop. I'm going to stake my experience on it making a full recovery eventually, though. It may not be this year, mind you, but I'll bet it'll come back eventually.. I plan to put it out on our deck this summer, in a shady spot, which will encourage new growth. But my point is that I just can't express how **YIPEE** I feel about the cutings rooting so fast. That tells me I got ot the plant in time.

So what else is going on in my world of plants?? OMG, so much new growth on so many plants. All the pubicalyx cultivars are growing like mad. I put 'Royal Hawaiian Purple' in the sunroom and it has all kinds of pretty, dark purple new growth on it. 'Red Buttons' has gotten HUGE and has all kinds of new growth, too. Lots of peduncles, too. And then there's 'Bright One', which I moved up to one of those 5" hanging pots. I'm betting it's going to grow like wildfire this summer.

Another one that's putting on growth hand-over-fist is 'Krinkle 8'. I'm amazed at how well it's growing. I remember back when I got the cutting - I think in 2006?? from Yale. It took the first year to form minimal roots. Second year to get established. Grew some in the third year. Last year it really, really took off, to the point that I moved it to a large ceramic pot (due to its heaviness) last late summer. And now it's growing like mad. And putting on lots of peduncles. I think last year, I got two two very nice flower clusters from it. I have a feeling when it's ready to bloom, it'll be something to behold!

I watered my carnosa x. obovata (or is it the other way around??) a few days ago and thought "Oh NOOOO" because it seemed to have dehydratd considerably. I was so afraid I'd hurt it permenantly, but a couple days later, it seemed perfectly fine. Hoyas are so resiliant... and thankfully so. I loved that plant, which I got from Carol.

Enough for today!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Yesterday, I chopped up my Hoya nummulariodes and saved the stump. I'm hoping either the cuttings rehydrate or the stump regrows. If neither happens, it's not one I will replace. When grown well, it's a nice plant (at least seems so in photos...) but I've been unable to "grow it well" myself (so far...)

Then today, I took a cutting off of variegated macrophylla - I hadn't noticed that some of the new growth was un-variegated. I don't really care - I love mac either way. But I don't want un-variegated growth on my varieated form, so will keep it removed and then I'll have yet another clone of this beautiful plant. Oh NO! =o)

I was on a roll, so I decided to take a couple cuttings off of aldrichii. It's one of those Hoyas that grows in a quick spurt, then stops. So I haven't gotten what I'd call a lot of growth off of it so far, even though I've had it a few years. So I figured a pruning might do it some good (shock it into a growth spurt) and I can always put the cuttings back into the pot with "mama".

By this time, I was feelin' kinda bold, so when my carnosa ssp. carnosa largish rooted cutting fell to the floor (got caught up in another one) and broke, I decided to repot the mama plant into a larger pot and put this one (which was really potbound) in with it. It's got a couple of peduncles, so maybe it will bloom this year, maybe not, but I'm excited to see what it does. I love this one - bright, lime-green leaves, longish and narrow with a creased center-point. It has the potential to be on my "top 10 favorite" list...

Which brings me to my "Top 10 Favorite List"...

10) H. carnosa 'Krinkle 8' (great grower, goregous leaves)

9) H. callistrophylla (with those leaves, who cares if it blooms?)

8) H. kerrii (all forms - for the super-succulent leaves)

7) H. australis ssp. tenuipes (for the

6) H. shepherdii (for the very narrow, long leaves!)

5) H. hueschkeliana (for the very unique flowers!)

4) H. macgillivrayii (for the succulent, heart-shaped leaves)

3) H. pubicalyx 'Pink Silver' (for the splashy leaves)

2) H. fungii (for the beautifully veined leaves & large flower clusters!)

1) H.macrophylla (mine is the wide-leaf clone)

And there you have it. My top 10 favorites THIS year! Ask me again next year!