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!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Got a box of plants from Dee today. She had saved a Hoya villosa for me since late fall/early winter. It's a very pretty plant!! Big, dark green, shiny leaves the veins are slightly distinct. I have a feeling that it's much like fungii - when you're looking at it with the sun behind it, I bet it's a masterpiece! I also got a Hoya cv. 'Ruthie', which is an eriostemma. She swears up and down that I can probably grow it. She says Carol calls it a "slutty" Hoya - it grows and flowers profusely. I guess we'll see... I haven't had any success so far with eriostemmas. The photos I've seen of the flowers are absolutely spectacular, so I HOPE I can grow it! Check 'em out:

Stunning, huh?

I did some plant cleanup yesterday afternoon. It got cold last night (is supposed to again tonight) so couldn't leave any out on the porch. I did leave the ones that were already out (the Jades and a couple others) and covered them lightly. Anyway, my Aloe plicata is looking fabulous. I've got some Haworthias in around the base that look great, too. I really should do this with all my Haworthias that want to falter in winter months. It's like the ideal condition for them, it seems. I think what happens is the large plant they're growing with pulls the moisture down and away from the Haworthia so that it's less likely to get root rot. They get fat and happy and healthy looking. The large plant also provides some shade, but I think they get more sun than they would were I growing them alone. So in reality, I think Haworthias like more sun than we give them credit for. I'll have to post some photo examples when I get a chance...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My latifolia buds finally opened!

Ta-Da! They're pretty, but very similar to a lot of other Hoya blooms. Not that I'm complaining. I've waited a long, LONG time to get flowers on this one. And it's not a particularly great grower for me. Seems to put on a bit of new growth every year, but not enough to be impressed. Considering I've had it for 4 years, it's really not very large. I think I may do what I did with my nicholsoniae when it's finished blooming - move it to a lower shelf. The top shelf might just be too intense for it...

Also blooming is my big verticillata. And wow, is the fragrance powerful! Mark commented last night "Your damn plants are stinkin' up the whole house!" Well, it's NOT stinky, but quite perfumey. HE might think it's stinky in his little brain!

H. davidcummingii has two peduncles with buds ready to pop open, too. Also budding up is the variegated verticillata. And of course, nicholsonaie has those dozen or so buds, but they're developing more slowly. I looked at it from the outside of the GH a couple days ago when I was doing some work in my flower bed - it looks like one happy plant! Since we don't have a job this weekend, I think I'll spend a lot of time pulling plants down, taking them outside and looking them over good, cleaning them up, and figuring out where I might want them for the summer. I've already put all my Jades (and forms thereof) outside, but it's a little early for anything else. They're predicting upper 30's overnight Sat., and the Jades can take that, but I'll wait until the night temps are pretty consistently above 45 before I put anything else out.

And speaking of Jades, the two I had at work I seriously pruned. The biggest one I cut clear back to just trunk and branches - the cuttings filled one of those giant stainless bowls we have at work! I plan to put them out in pots at work in another week or so. Then I can give them away in the fall. The smaller one had been accidentally pruned last fall when it got knocked off the deck by a strong wind. It looked kinda crappy, so I shaped it back up, leaving mostly just new growth that had popped on the branches. Then I brought them both home and put them on the front porch. Yesterday, I root-pruned the biggest one - it was hell getting it out of the pot it was in, because it was the kind that was kind of urn-shaped, the upper part of the pot narrower than the biggest part. So I had to cut it out with a sharp knife. I WAS going to put it right back in that pot after a good root-pruning (as Norma always suggests), but I didn't want that struggle again in a few years, so I put it in a big pot that's more bowl-shaped. It also gives it a lot of new "leg" room. The trunk on that one is so impressive! Today, I hope to root prune the other one, and I think I'll put that one in the pot the other was in. That's the one with all the Haworthias growing under it. I love the way they look as a ground cover! I'll be sure to show photos of both later this summer - an after-pruning shot and another when they've put on some nice, new growth.
We had a little shower today - I always think rainwater is so much better for plants. It wasn't a significant rain, mind you, but I'm hoping the Jades all perk up a bit. They don't look bad, but I like it when the leaves fatten up and looks bright green and turgid once they go outside.
Well, I broke down and chopped up the rest of my macgillivrayii... =o( I was so hoping the some of it would be ok, but it seems it just continued to decline. So far, I've got two pots of the rooted cuttings, and with what I took today, I'll have one more big pot or two smaller pots of it when/if those develop roots.
I also moved my variegated macrophylla from the top shelf down one today. I don't know - for some reason, it's been not-too-happy this spring, and I'm wondering if the top shelf is just too much sun for it. With the exception of a few, I think maybe it's better to grow Hoyas in a bit of shade. Kerrii and australis ssp. australis both seem to be perfectly happy growing up there, but the rest seem to be happier in a shadier location...
Well, off to figure out supper!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Despite it being Sunday AND cactus club day, I started out very productively. Got up a little after 7:00 and spent about 2 hours watering and taking Jade's outside to the back deck. They're predicting 70's all week, and I think they'll be fine. If we have a cold snap, I'll cover them with a towel. I have great confidence that spring is HERE! I think they'll all fatten up nicely. I plan to sell off all the duplicates this year, because I NEED the room in my GH...

The latifolia buds are SO close to popping open. I can't hardly wait. I've put off looking at photos just so I can be surprised. And, OMG, nicholsonii is just packed with budding peduncles! I count at least a dozen. Verticillata (plain and variegated) are also both budding like crazy.

I went ahead and potted up most of the macgillivrayii cuttings yesterday. I'm so excited to see how it does. More later! Back to watering!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hueschkeliana seems to be holding its own sine I potted up the fattened up cuttings. And there are two cuttings of it left in the aquarium - I think I'll pot them up seperately. I won't mind having two of this one because the flowers are SO unique!

And the macgillivrayii cuttings seem to have rooted nicely. I'm going to try to find a good heavy pot for them this afternoon and put most of them in it, then one back in the original pot. One of the plants in the original pot is doing well, the other seems to continue to decline, so I'll probably go ahead and cut it off in hopes of reviving it in the aquarium like the others.

Imperialis, which I rerooted and put several cuttings in a new pot, continues to do fine, though I don't think there's any new growth that wasn't already there when I took the cuttings. And that new growth isn't changing. But just the fact that it's maintaining its "turgidity" and no leaves are yellowing is a good sign. I stuck one cutting in with the original plant (which I eventually cut clear back) and that one did get one yellow leaf that dropped. But it seems to have stablized and I think it will be ok. I plan to put that pot out on the back porch in a shady spot this summer in hopes that the original stump will be revived.

Oh, and YAY, there are three new growth points on the variegated multiflora stump. It had dropped ALL it's leaves after I got it last fall, but the stump looked perfectly fine, so I kept it hoping it would do exactly this. That was one of those plants I got from that Home Accents. The other one I got from there were lanceolata ssp. bella, which sat nicely all winter, doing nothing (nothing is better than declining - don't think I'm complaining!), and is now starting to put on some new growth.

The last few mornings when I get up and come sit at the computer, the strong smell of perfume has been wafting around. At first, I thought "Gee, is something in here blooming?" But the only thing even close is my multiflora, which has no scent. But when I went exploring and followed the scent, it just turned out to be lacunosa. I may have to start keeping the sunroom door closed!

I looked at nicholsonaie a little closer today and found at least a dozen budding peduncles! YOWSA! It's going to be absolutely breathtaking when it gets going. I can't wait.

'Nuff for now!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A few notes on this Bunny Day...

I wanted to document that I restarted Hoya nummularioides (again!) I got my first cutting of it in a trade in 2006 - didn't do well. Got another cutting of it in 2008 - hasn't done well, either. It had gotten very dehydrated over the winter, so I decided to restart it again. It fattened up in some moss in the aquarium and I replanted it today, so I guess we'll see if it will do ok this time. If not, I GIVE UP on this one!!

What I thought was pallida budding up (on what I thought was a "surprise" peduncle...) was actually a vine from 'Red Buttons' that had wandered behind pallida.. Darn. Well, that's ok - I'm excited to get blooms from 'Red Buttons', too.

Fungii has several peduncles just starting to bud. That ones going to be covered all up and down the vines. And I'm amazed at all the new leaves along the vines it put on last fall (beautiful, beautiful leaves!), but also new leaves at some of the clusters. Check out these photos...

Left is those filled out vines of fungii - aren't they gorgeous! And right is a peduncle budding up. It's one of my favorites!

Also blooming are my two Moth Orchids. Check out these flowers:

Both of these have bloomed several times for me, but the gorgeous colors never fail to take my breath away as they open.
Had the annual Easter family get together at Mom's today. Little Ella Rose is growing like a weed. She's got 8 new teeth! She turns 9 months old in a week or so. Merry absolutely croons over her. Even Rick can't seem to get enough of her. I guess I can see why babies are such fun for grandparents. I wish Kara wanted to stay home with her, but most girls her age are second generation feminists who "want to do it all." I just always hope that there are no regrets in 25 years - that she missed the special moments, like first step, first words, etc... I certainly wouldn't want a stranger having that experience with my child. But, in all honesty, I was of the same mentality when I was of child-bearing age, so I imagine I would have been one of those kind of parents, too. I can't quite figure out why we have the sense of the best way to do things after they're already done!
Well, off to the basement for some Sunday night TV!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Got off work early, so got a head start on some photos of last year's Liddle cuttings. But for some reason, blogger isn't letting me upload the photos. I'll do a little commentary then go back and add the photos later...

H. amoena (left) has grown some, and there are some new growth "nubbins" starting on the stems. It's hard to tell from the photo, but this one has slightly raised veins. I have a feeling it will be a favorite once it really starts to grow!

H. cagayanensis (right) is actually a cutting I got from Shannon last summer. It seems a little puney when I got it - one little 4-leaf cutting. But I guess Shannon knew what a great grower it was - look at all the new foliage! It's growing like a bat out of hell. The leaves are medium sized (maybe 4" long, 1.5" wide) and relatively thin, though they do seem to thicken a bit as they age. It's quite a little climber. I'm thinking of putting it in one of those 5" hanging pots, but it's in such a small pot that would be a pretty big move up. Maybe I'd be better off putting it in a heavy cache pot with a small trellis. I see some tiny peduncles forming - yippee!!

Left is megalaster, one I wasn't sure was going to make it. Well, it did root, though I haven't really gotten any growth yet. However, I see a little "something" popping out of the soil next to the main stem that could be new growth. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! This one looks like it could be a real beauty with its big, extremely dark green leaves. And the very thin stems make it seem the big leaves are almost hovering in the air!

Right, this is a shot from above, looking down on magnifica. This is another big leaved Hoya, but the leaves are thin and pubescent. It wants to clime, so I recently moved it to one of the 5" hanging pots. And I put it in the GH. I think this is going to be a good grower for me.

H. naumanii (left) is one I'm not sure I'm going to like. Look at the new leaves (center) - they're kind of crinkly and gnarly looking. I'm starting to wonder if this one might be an eriostemma, but I don't think so from what I've read. Maybe that's just how they start out, I don't know. Well, at least it's growing, I guess... I can always trade it off if I decide I don't like it.

Right is 'Dee's Big One', which I got from Awanda last summer. It's a carnosa cultivar with particularly big leaves. I imagine the flowers are typical carnosa. It's started growing, so I imagine I'll be moving it to one of the 5" hanging pots soon, too. Where will I hang all these plants as they grow???

And last one for today is thompsonii (right). I can guarntee that this one is going to be a favorite of mine. The fuzzy leaves that are silver flecked are beautiful! I can't wait for it to get big! It's got some new spring growth on it, so I may not have to wait long!

Overall, everything is doing well. These warm days have gotten me in the mood for some real spring spruce up with my plants. I can't wait til I can start putting them out!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April 1st and the A/C is on... Yikes! I hope this isn't a sign of a hot summer. Lucy had an "episode of weirdness" last night that kept me up, not getting much sleep. Around 1:30 or 2:00, she woke me, came up on the bed, panting considerably. But I figured she was just hot.. it was warm enough that I was sleeping without covers, with the fan on high. She would lie down for maybe 15 minutes, then pop up and bug me, keeping me awake. I let her out, where she stayed for a considerable time (which is totally unline her), but when she'd come in, she wouldn't leave me alone. The only sleep I got after that point was when she was outside - but I would wake every 10 or 15 minutes, thinking surely she wants in or surely I heard her jump on the door... I'd go outside periodically to check on her (because the "weirdness" had me worried...) She'd come running up like she hadn't seen me in hours, all happy-waggy, but then would come in and not leave me alone. I finally gave up and got up about 4:30 or so. The weirdness continued - she was like glue to me, not wanting to leave my side even for a second. I was sure I was going to have to take her to the vet when they opened. I couldn't get her to drink any water, even though she seemed parched and hot. She hadn't eaten her dish of food from the night before (which isn't unheard of, but still...) Then around 6:00, I had a glass of chocolate milk - knowing how much Lucy likes it, I gave her some and she lapped it up. A little more and she lapped it up, too. Within an hour, she was acting perfectly normal again. Now, we'll see how tonight goes!!

But here it is, nearly 9:00, and it's still not terribly comfortable in here. I just looked at the weather channel website and it says it supposed to get down to the mid-60's tonight. I think I'll leave the A/C on until middle of the night... I'll stop here and continue in the a.m...
6:00 a.m. and it's 67 - I turned off the air and opened the windows because a cold front is on its way, not that it's supposed to turn cold, but it says the high once it hits will be 62, so that's more like it!
My goal this weekend is to take photos of all the cuttings I got from Liddle last year to show what they look like going into this summer. All are growing with the exception of hellwigiana (which I can't find in the dark to confirm...) That one got down to a one leaf cutting, but the one leaf is still firm and happy looking, so I guess we'll see if it takes off this spring. So my plan is to take photos and document here how they're all doing so that by summer's end, I'll be able to look back and see how they've progressed...

I took some photos ago of popping buds. Left is nicholsonaie and below is verticillata variegata. Both have several peduncles budding up.

It's amazing how completely different buds can look. Nicholsonaie has white flowers with green corollas. I never really paid much attention to verticillatas corolla back, but I know the flower is relatively light, so I wonder why the buds are so dark? I'll have to look at the back of the corollas when they bloom to try to figure this out...

Then left is latifolia - that ancient peduncle that I was so sure was dormant. It caught me completely off guard when it started to bud! I hope it makes it...
And right is inconspicua - it's been budding up for at least 6 weeks or more. Seems to have gone into suspended animation. Probably because of all the gloomy days we had there for awhile. Well, with the last couple of days of real heat, I'm betting they all go into hyperdrive!
Well, off to work I go!