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!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just some notes as I start my GH cleanup - I'll do some puttering, then some posting, to keep track of what I'm finding. 

Started on the northern-most shelves the last couple of days and found most of the Hoyas are looking fine (so far!), but some of the succulents are looking pretty rough.  Hmmm... you'd think they could take my neglect more than the Hoyas.  I guess it proves just how hardy the Hoyas are!

My Cissus cactiformis for some reason decided to die back.  Interestingly, though, it died back from the base of the plant and there were ends that were perfectly fine, so I've taken cuttings and will plant them in some soil in a few days, after they've had a chance to heal over.  I really like these succulent Cissus, the ones that have sausage-like segments.  Here's a photo of the cuttings:

I grow this species and another one - quadrangularis.  The difference between the two is quadrangularis has smaller segments, about 1/2" wide.  Cactiformis' segments are at least twice as big.  Notice the great arial roots - I hope they root quickly.  Here is my quadranularis, which has gotten quite large and heavy...
Last year, I grew it on the front porch and it really seemed to like being outside, so I plan to do the same this year, probably with both...  The cactiformis gets BIG, FAST, so we'll see how that goes!

I lost Hoya globulivera, a Liddle cutting.  Bummer.  I also finally lost thailandica, which I never even put on my list because it always looked so awful.  I also lost pusilla - another one that never did particularly well for me.  I know there's another Liddle order this year - wish I could afford to get in on it...

My only Cotyledon, long name... **deep breath** C. orbiculata var. orbiculata 'Decussata'... is blooming for the first time:

It's one of those flower spikes that goes straight up from the plant, then hangs pendulent, so I had to take a few photos to get a decent one.  I cut it off last fall and made two plants.  I'll probably try to sell one this summer.  I've never seen this particular species offered before or since, so it shouldn't be hard to sell...

Back to Hoyas - Hoya mitrata is doing very well.  She's a happy camper since I put her in the south-most east window in the sunroom.  Looks all fat and happy.  I believe I put it there last summer sometime and it put on some new growth.  I don't think it's put on much new growth since then, but it just looks very happy and healthy where it's at, so I think I'll leave it there this summer.

H. micrantha is the one I got from Tom over at the UNO greenhouse.  Then I got another from Awanda - I can't remember if I got it because I didn't know the one I got from Tom was micrantha (he has a lot of unidentified stuff) or because I wanted to confirm the ID, but this resulted in me having two nice-sized plants after a couple years.  It's a fast growing plant with leathery leaves - the original plant I got from Tom was kind of ugly because it was badly water spotted.  For the first year, every time I watered it I would "scrub" on the water-spotted leaves with vinegar trying to get the stains off.  It eventually worked and it has become a beautiful plant.  Ironically, the one I keep in my bedroom window, which faces west and gets no direct sun except a couple hours in the evenings in the summer, has a peduncle budding up.  The one in the GH, which gets a bit of sun in winter and much more in summer, is lush and large, but has few peduncles and I don't see any budding up yet.  At any rate, this will be my first flowers for this species.  Here's a photo of the plant:

The photo I had was old so took a new one that showed how lush and full it is.  This is the one in the GH.

To my dismay, I've discovered I already have APHIDS!!!!  I hate those suckers!  And I've never, ever had them this early.  I fought them in the GH last late summer and thought I'd whipped them, but I'm thinking they must have laid eggs and they're hatching now.  I really don't know what to do about them, short of watering everything with BATS.  Maybe I'll just water what seems to be yummy to them as I find them...  I found some on micrantha and a couple others with new growth.  I MUST get them under control FAST!!

Well, I have lots to do and will take notes as I inspect so I can post again in the next few days.  Need to get some stuff done before I go to work...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Warm? That's an understatement!!

Yesterday (3/13) was 80 degrees.  It's supposed to be about the same for the next few days.  According to the news this morning, there were over 1000 record highs broken yesertday!  Of course, they're ranting on about what this means for our actual summer heat when it's this warm before we're even done with winter.  However, I seem to remember a few years ago - I think it was the year Dad died (2004) - we had an extraordinarily warm spring, then the summer was absolutely sublime.  I remember that summer for two reasons - of course, as mentioned, my Dad died, but it was also the summer I bought my Saturn Vue, my very first vehicle with a sun roof.  I spent almost the entire summer with the sun roof open.  Anyone who knows me knows under no circumstances do I like to sweat, so obviously it was a very MILD summer.  I've been wishing for one of those ever since, and maybe this is a precurser to exactly that kind of summer!

It's been a long time since I posted.  I've had an utter lack of interest in my plants this winter for some reason.  I just don't get it - my plants have always been my place of solace.  I certainly can't say I haven't needed any of that lately.  I mean, our circumstance remains scarey at best.  Mark's STILL unemployed (going on three years now...)  I can say some things have improved...  Let's see, business is definitely looking up this year.  I can't say it's what I was hoping for yet - so far, I think every single job has been tiny since the first of the year... but hey, at least there ARE jobs!!  We refinanced the house in late fall and reduced our house payment by $230/month.  We made the last payment on Mark's truck in Oct., which freed up $350/month.  I paid off a little furniture payment in Jan., freeing up another $40/month.  Of course, Mark's health insurance went up $50/month, and the level payment gas went up $15/month, but we're still ahead of the game.  We're getting closer to being able to live on what I make - that helps.  I'm sure glad that we were never the types to "move up" to a better house.   It helps that we've been here 25 years (as of May) and we owe so little on the house. 

But getting back to my waning interest in my plants...  I'm trying very hard now to kick-start my obsession back into place.  It helps a little that I'm seeing new growth on a lot of them - some are even budding up.  Hey! Australis ssp. australis is budding up!  That dang Hoya has been one of my ornery ones - I've had that sucker for probably 15 years (at least) and I had one puney peduncle of flowers last summer for the first time ever.  Maybe this will be the one that gets my interest back.  And I'd guess that it could have been my neglect this winter that pushed it to bloom...

So my intent is to start documenting the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with a spring after a winter of neglect.  I have to get my mojo back soon because this heat will be hard on them if I'm neglectful now! 

My first observation is that Hoya vanuatuensis is budding up.  Well, one of them is - I have two, and the one in the south window is budding up.  Also budding up are davidcummingiana and lobbii.  All three of these are easy bloomers, so I don't really feel like I can take credit for them. 

I chopped up much of my mama fungii last summer.  For some odd reason, the leaves on the mother plant were turning yellow.  Not all of them, mind you, and it wasn't the kind of yellow that then drops.  Anyway, I tried using some epsom salts in the water, which is supposed to encourage deep green growth, and when that didn't make any difference, I decided to start new plants.  Interestingly enough, the yellow leaves on all the new started plants have all gone back to a nice healthy green.  Which leads me to believe one of two things - either there is a root/soil issue with the mother plant, or it's getting too much light.  I think I'm going to unpot and repot it in some new soil this summer.  I'll put it back in the same spot to see if the yellow leaves continue - if they do, I guess I can safely assume it's a light issue...

Well, the sun is now up enough that I can go do some watering, so I'd better put this to rest for today and make more observations later.  Ciao!