Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Haworthia viscosa dwarf form

I picked up this Haworthia at a society plant show/sale last year.  Before I paid for it, several people approached me asking if they could buy it off me!!  Such a cool plant!

Shortly after I brought it home, the color of this Haworthia changed from deep green to reddish brown.  It also has shown very little, if any, growth.  I thought I killed it!  The roots were sparse but didn't look diseased or rotted, so I left it alone.  Over the past few months (summer), it has bloomed consistently.  A good sign!

This is how the plant looked a year ago.  Beautiful dark green.

Growing point. You can also see remnants of old flower stalks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Aloe 'Cynthia Giddy'

Blooming, September (late summer)

Same plant, two years earlier, same time of year.  Colors are strikingly different. Possibly due to smaller pot and leaner soil. Hard to see, but inflorescence is forming in this photo
Inflorescence (plant in top photo)

A new approach

I spend a lot of time looking at photos of plants in their natural habitats.  There is so much to learn; soil composition, landscape, position, plants with similar cultural requirements, responses to seasonal changes, etc..  Although I admire the presentation of a specimen in an artistic pot or pulled up to reveal more of it's caudex, etc., I have grown to appreciate plants presented in a situation that mimics nature.  I have lots to learn, but this is my first attempt.

Here's an older presentation.

I tried to mimic plants growing in rock crevices.  These quartz stones work out pretty well.  Only time will tell if these lithops survive!

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's Santa Ana time!

September is when summer REALLY arrives in San Diego County.  Weather patterns change; winds shift from the east and air masses traveling over the inland deserts, arrive at the coast.  These are referred to as "Santa Ana" winds.  Temps are soaring today! This is the thermometer on my shady porch.  Okay, I know all my desert friends will have no sympathy for me, but it's OUR time to pay the piper!!

This is also the time when some succulents, including cactus, can get severely burned. Temps can rise very quickly.  A couple of years ago, I recorded a rise of 25 degrees F within an hour!  It peaked at 115F.   The sun is also lower in the sky now, so it peeks under eaves that normally provide shade to sun sensitive plants.  Anyone who has lost a favorite plant to severe burn, (guilty), will start moving potted plants and covering ground dwellers when the weather reports call for another Santa Ana!

A couple of hours later
A few casualties in my garden....

This one is delosperma spalmanthoides.  It was in mostly shade, but a short dose of sun caused this burn.  I have no doubt it will recouperate.

Aeonium 'voodoo'.  This is growing in dappled shade in the morning, full shade the remainder of the day.  Sun was hot enough to burn the tender center leaves within an hour.

This aeonium grows in half day sun and closes up a little more in summer.  As a result, the exposure was reduced and the burn was limited to the outer leaves.

Dracaena marginata.  One branch grew too far out from underneath the eaves of our house and suffered pretty severe burn.  The growing point is protected, so it should recover well.

Argyroderma testiculare.  Normally, this plant likes a short dose of morning sun, but not at 100+ degrees!  Gave it a drink and moved it to full shade for a while.

Sedum hispanicum.  Doesn't like heat; doesn't like full sun.  Should recover once Autumn is in full swing.  Notice the larger sedums did fine?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Adromischus buds

Adromischus marianae v herrei "Little Spheroid"

Adromischus herrei

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer Dormancy

September is the time of year when Coastal Southern California
joins the rest of the nation in uncomfortably hot temps.  Monsoonal air flows from the south/southeast (sans precipitation), and Santa Ana winds from the eastern deserts, bring uncomfortably hot temps.  It's also the time of year my appreciation for succulents in the garden, is renewed.  While many other plants wither and grow tired, growth is at it's peak for many of my heat loving succulents.  Conversely, summer dormant succulents are showing their unique ability to slow down and preserve energy,  some feigning death. Here are a few sleeping beauties in my garden....

Of course, gotta show 
a few Cono's....

...looking like two horned aliens

Aeonium (I think)

Tylecodon paniculatus
Nice green, papery bark

Othonna retrofracta

Aeonium crest.
Looking a bit like rosebuds.