Sunday, August 26, 2012

A special Antimima ventricosa

This isn't just an ordinary Antimima ventricosa. I grew this beauty from seed!!
A couple of years ago I ventured into sowing succulent/mesemb seeds.
As a complete novice, I haphazardly chose this species.  It was with 
continual astonishment that I watched it grow to maturity.
I've grown many other succulents from seed since, 
but cannot help but be very proud of this one! 

This is a recent photo of the plant at 1.5 years old. 
Following is a photo timeline.

10 day old seedlings (3/2011)

One month (4/2011)

Two months (5/2011)

Six months (8/2011)
Not much growth over summer!

Eight months (11/2011)
Obviously a winter grower

One year old

Stapelianthus pilosus

My Stapelianthus pilosus bloomed!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Aeonium arboreum rubrolineatum

Aeonium arboreum rubrolineatum

I've always loved this species of Aeonium.  It is robust, sturdy, and freely branching like other arboreum cultivars but what makes this one unique is the beautiful coloring. In late spring, the leaves turn ash brown with maroon striping and margins, exaggerated on the undersides of each leaf.  The maroon markings are unique on each plant. During the cool/growing season, colors turn back to a rich green and the maroon markings disappear.

A smaller plant showing more prominent markings.
This one was a show stopper!

Colors fading as the plant prepares for summer dormancy.

Summer dormancy

Developing inflorescence

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Stapelia variegata crest
I have always been drawn to the downtrodden, strange, and deformed.  The straggly puppy in the corner missing an ear would easily be my first choice.  When things go awry in the plant world, it's as if a new species has formed. What makes them bizarre, also makes them beautiful.  One manifestation of this is the crested succulent.  An arm or a branch decides to rebel and in doing so, becomes more attractive...and gets cut off and repotted!  
Aeonium arboreum crest

I don't completely understand why this happens.  Seems the more fleshy species are more prone, but I really don't need to know the scientific reasons.  

Here are a few of plants that have spontaneously crested in my garden.
Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy' crest

Echeveria 'Pappy's Rose' crest
Echium candicans crest
Not a succulent but I had to include this one.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Seed Determination, Part 3

This is the third update to the Seed Determination post....

A ten day trip out of town left me a little anxious about the fate of my seedlings.  I had to figure out how to prepare them for survival on their own.  Most seeds had already germinated, so I hesitated keeping them in baggies, yet the late summer high temperatures were due to arrive, so I also feared they would dry out without my twice daily misting routine. What to do?

I decided to place all of the pots in a large plastic tray with about an inch of small gravel covering the bottom.  I poured a small amount of water over the gravel, then placed the entire setup in a large, white plastic bag, sealed it, and kept my fingers crossed!!  

The first thing I looked at upon my return was my seeds.  Carefully opening the bag, I prepared myself for what I expected to be pots of sand with no signs of life.  On the contrary!! There were lots of tiny green blobs looking up at me and smiling.  They did amazingly well.  I was so relieved.  

Despite the successes with this batch, the germination rate is pretty low.  I would guess it at about 20%.  Surprisingly, Lithops were the lowest and Faucaria the highest.  I also had great luck with a couple of the cactus species, with an especially good showing of Echinocereus.

Below are the latest photos.  I will post another update soon!

Echinopsis 'Epic'
Faucaria kingiae 'Grahamstown'

Argyroderma delaetii x patens

Odontophorus protoparcoides

Echinocereus reichenbachii and
Echinocereus coccineus

Cephalophyllum spissom caespitosum

Overview of seedlings 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Seed Determination, part 2

This is the first follow up to my "Seed Determination" series...  

It's been almost two weeks since sowing seed representing ten succulent genus, see Seed Determination.  Of these, five have sprouted:  Faucaria, Odontophorus, Lithops, Aloinopsis, and Echinocereus.  Culture has been the same for all ten genus (baggie method), and consistent with past sowings, the same genus' have the strongest showing. Also, I sowed a couple of dozen Lithops in one larger pot, yet there are only five sprouts, all located at the perimeter of the pot despite the highest concentration of seeds being sowed toward the middle.  Not sure why that occurred, but it may have to do with water condensing and/or heat emitting, from the pot walls. 

I removed the baggies from all pots after a week and have been misting twice a day.  Temps are unusually cool, nights in the 60's (F), days in the 70's.  Still hoping for signs of life from the other pots!

Here are photos of the strongest seedlings.  Others are too small to photograph.  More updates to follow.....
Faucaria kingiae

Aloinopsis orpenii 
AKA Prepodesma orpenii

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Survival of albino Aloes

This is an Aloe nobilis
variegata.  Pups are continously growing from her base - all
variegated. The variegation patterns are widely varied, ranging from almost full green to albino*.  Striping is light to dark green, often turning red/brown in full sun.

Closeup of albino* pups
*In the context of this post, "Albino" are plants with very little chlorophyll.

I was curious if the albino forms would survive on their own.  I removed four similarly sized pups, three albino and one standard, and situated them in half day sun. This is a photo of the four pups a few months after removal.  The standard form has grown twice as large as the albinos and has begun to produce pups.  

More recently, I removed these four pups and planted them in the same pot.  They represent a wider range of variegation.  There is one almost completely white specimen.  Curious to see if it survives.

This pup was lightly variegated and unlike the others, took on the reddish "stress" colors of the mother plant.  

Of the first group, only this one and it's green sibling, survived.  The other two turned brown and died.  This plant is exhibiting the same problem, browning of the leaf margins.  Plants in the second group have survived so far.  All but the whitest plants, regardless of the proportion of green to white, did very well.  On some plants, green stripes have thickened, but the all-white leaves never developed new striping and are weaker and more sensitive to light.  They cannot tolerate much direct sun, yet do poorly in bright, full shade.  They seem to do best in dappled shade with a dose of early morning, direct sun.  I am still experimenting with exposure.  

I can only conclude that the albino plants, lacking in chlorophyll, are weaker, less tolerant of light/sun, and grow much more slowly than their greener counterparts, if they survive at all.  More updates to come....!