Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Avonia quinaria (4 pics)

I feel like I need to read up on Avonia's (as well as Anacampseros) yearly growing cycle again. It seems they are in an active growth phase now, having flowered for the last time in October. I thought they are supposed to be resting in winter. Maybe they will. It's not winter yet.

Avonia quinaria plants are not very difficult to grow on the windowsill (in pure pumice) and they will flower for you, too. The main cause of death is overwatering. I made a mistake once - I thought the thick root will increase in size if I buried it. The only thing that came out of it was a dead plant, rotten from the inside, and a resolve not to do this ever again. You see, the only clear way of telling whether an Avonia quinaria needs water, at least for me, is to squeeze the raised root a bit. Sure if the plant needs water the branches might drop a little. But depending on the time of the year those branches might be too short to drop visibly. So from now on they all will grow raised and looking like palm trees. Much safer this way.

This Avonia quinaria ssp. quinaria (that's the one with pink flowers) is particularly pretty this year. It has grown many new branches and looks very happy. 

My four younger Avonia quinaria ssp. quinaria plants are actively growing right now, too.

I also have two Avonia quinaria ssp. alstonii plants (that's the white flowering kind). This one has really long branches.

This one has not been doing too well this year but is hanging in there. For a while it didn't seem to accept water and was shriveling. I think it's slowly getting better now though. The root is much firmer and new branches have started growing, too. It probably lost roots at some point which are now growing back.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Argyroderma crateriforme flower (6 pics)

I'm so happy and excited that this plant has decided to flower! :)

It is gorgeous and a bit crazy. Does the name crateriforme come from the inside of the flower?

I have never watched an Argyroderma flower bud develop and I found it very curious how different it is from the usual mesemb flowers I've had so far. Okay, maybe it's not that different but it definitely looks different to me. 

The mesemb flower buds I've seen on my windowsill so far were elongated with tips of the petals showing at some point before the flower opens. The Argyroderma bud started as something round and flat, almost looking more like a seed pod than flower bud. 

It grew larger and when the sepals parted a bit you could see that the petals are actually curved inwards, folded with their tips toward the "crater". 

It stayed like this for a while and then yesterday suddenly it "erupted" and the petals darted out. It stayed like this until today.

It was sunny today and the flower finally opened. I'm so glad I could witness it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Adromuschus clons (5 pics)

For a while now I have been wondering about price development for succulent plants these days. Prices are skyrocketing for no apparent reason. It's not like the plants have gotten more rare or have grown indestructible. Plants are not an investment. They die. Quite suddenly, too. No regular size plant that's not even old, even if it is extremely rare, should cost more that 20€ and seeds more than 5€. Why would you pay more? Some prices are ridiculous! Out of curiosity I've recently checked Ebay for Adromischus and saw a small plant that was visually nothing special going for 4500€. Why? And especially for Adromischus. It multiplies easily from a leaf, no effort required from the grower.

Fellow growers, let's share our passion, not kill it by making plants and seeds unaffordable.

So, apparently, I am not buying new plants anytime soon. More time to enjoy those I have, am I right? ;) In September 2013 I got one Adromischus marianae v. herrei (green form) and now I have three thanks to the convenient propagation method - leaf cuttings. Sure it takes time and sometimes it can take months for the new leaves to appear even if the root system is fully developed. But the result is a new perfect plant. The below plant looked like this in February 2014, like this in April 2014 and like this in August 2014. Now it has a size of an adult Adromischus and might bloom next year.

The smaller cutting still keeps it's mother-leaf and is a bit slower. In its defense, looks like it is growing two branches simultaneously.

After a time I acquired others but they were not growing too well. I have decided to get rid of them and try anew from their leaves. The one to the right on the above photo is a young cutting of something called Adromischus marianae v. herrei CR1263 and below are my newest cuttings of Adromischus marianae 'Little Sphaeroid'. Hopefully they will develop well in time.

Oh, and here is the initial plant I got the little greenies from. It looked like this back in 2013.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Breaking news! Argyroderma crateriforme growing a flower

I can not believe this is happening!

This senior citizen has caused me some worry in the past. When I first got it I worried about its poor roots. With time I learned it is actually normal and okay for these plants to economize on root development. Then, I worried about rotting. With such a beautiful beard of old leaf layers (how old might it be, I wonder) it might be rotting somewhere inside if drops of water linger too long. Having it grow in pure pumice and in the very top layer of it with all the beard on top to dry in the sun if necessary as well as extremely reduced waterings has reduced my fears as well. I worried it would abandon one of the heads, at some point, but it didn't. And so I thought keeping it alive was an achievement on its own. I never thought it would actually flower one day! I know it might be a bit too early and it might abort the bud but I'm too excited not to share this news :)

Some more flowers (3 pics)

So it looks like this fall has brought more flowers than expected. Quite some Lithops and Conophytums have been flowering and I can see three more buds growing. I guess, this flowering season was not worse than usual after all even though the weather was not suggesting that. 

Aren't these Lithops dorotheae flowers just the perfect little suns? Glad I could catch them in the evening this weekend.

A big surprise is this Faucaria tuberculosa bud. Really, this plants has been nibbled on by mites and overall neglected and it has never flowered for me before - but here it is, a flower bud. Thank you, little planty.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Transplanting for those who live dangerously (4 pics)

Okay, what I'm about to describe below is not the correct way of transplanting, in fact it's very risky and I would never do it with lithops and other mesembs because they rot easily. Yesterday however I was facing a challenge of transplanting over 60 Anacampseros seedlings (An. retusa fa. rubra, An44) from the 5cm container they were growing in. Basically it looked like this:

My goal was to give them more room to grow but at the same time not to use more than 4 new 5cm pots. Also, I wanted to do it quickly. Anacampseros are easy and don't rot when young (rotting sometimes happens to adult plants with thick roots) and I have way too many of them to worry.

The method is simple: fill up the new container with dry pumice, then water the top layer (really just as much as necessary, don't make the whole thing wet), poke holes into it and stick in the plants. 

This way you can fit up to 25 plants all neatly into one 5cm square pot quickly and with little effort.

Remember, if you're not afraid to lose plants and need to do the transplanting in a hurry this is the method to go for. BUT if you use it for mesembs the risk is very high - the seedlings might turn to mush the next day. I warned you! In case of Anacampseros, I have transplanted all my seedlings (hundreds of them) using this method a couple of months ago and had zero losses (you've probably seen the LQ pictures of my huge plantation over on Twitter). Young Anacampseros are low-maintenance.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The new Anacampseros free seed list! (2 pics)

Hi guys!

I finally found time to compile the Anacampseros seed list. If you are fascinated by these plants as much as I am make sure to check it out here or to the right under "new!"

Also, this is my 600th post. Congratulations to me :D