Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday flowers to lighten the mood (7 pics)

I wanted to post something on Crassula cuttings but in the end decided in favor of a flower post. Just some light Sunday afternoon entertainment :)

Lithops gracilidelineata I grew from seed has opened its first flower today and it's small and neat like the plant. It took it 8 years from seed to flower. I'm not complaining. Flowers are an exception, not the rule here. I never expect them but they are very welcome. 

Avonia quinaria ssp. quinaria has opened the only flower it produced this year. It had too many petals and I ripped one to allow it to open fully. Beautiful flower as always. I'm glad it opened at all... unlike other Avonias.

Avonia ustulata are producing many seed pods but the flowers never open. Any idea why? I assume not enough sunlight or maybe the fact that there is no direct sunlight in the afternoon. Unfortunately the same thing happens to the An. retusa flowers I was looking forward to. They open just a couple of millimeters wide and then close. The seed pods are nice and full though.

Anacampseros karasmontana, the greenie, has been flowering. Very very cute flowers. The round edges and the spread petals look similar to Av. quinaria's, a simplified version. And I really need to show you pictures of the roots underneath. They are quite remarkable! 

And of course the Frithia pulchra! Such intense colors.

In other news, Conophytums are starting to wake up. Every year it's a relief.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Delosperma's radical pruning (13 pics)

Brace yourselves! This is not for faint-hearted!

I have grown two Delosperma cooperi plants from seed in 2012 and when they were big enough the opportunity presented itself to grow them as little bonsai trees instead of letting them crawl around like Delosperma cooperi like to do. There's no room for crawling on my windowsill anyway. You can follow the development of these plants from the very start, if you are interested. 

They both started out very well, but while one of them has grown to be a real beauty (photos later), the other kinda got strange. In fact it has developed into this monstrosity.

Let's take a closer look. From certain angels it still looks roundish and okay.

But actually, those are just long limbs wrapped around themselves. That's not pretty. 

Let's see what we can do about it. It is going to be radical!!




Here we go! Much better. It's like a summer haircut. I think the branch with those longer leaves will be cut eventually but I will leave it for now. Once the leftovers start growing it should be a ball of leaves on a thick trunk. I'll keep you posted.

Now, what do we have here?

Let's cut and clean them into some neat little cuttings.

I ran out of pumice so the industrial cactus soil will have to do. They will probably root in it better anyway.

Mila approves.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

New lithops 2017 - Part 2 (13 pics)

To continue with the report on the new lithops acquisitions, here are some other newcomers.

Within L. olivacea there are the green L. olivacea v. olivacea species and the pink-ish L. olivacea v. nebrownii. I have one greenie so it was time to get some pink plants as well.

Lithops olivacea v. nebrownii MG1671.9

Among the L. schwantesii I own there are many greens and blues and lilacs but until now none of the yellows. Check!

Lithops schwantesii MG1729.15

Unfortunately there was no second plant of L. naureeniae in Essen but having one is also fine. This is the first time I'm growing it.

C304 Lithops naureeniae MSG2491

L. coleorum are also new to me. I got this adult plant to later grow together with my two seedlings.

C396 Lithops coleorum MSG2890

Also there are finally some of the C4xx range on the windowsill. Not that I was specifically targeting those. All courtesy of a very generous friend.

C412 Lithops fulviceps v. laevigata. I have several milky L. fulviceps v. lactinea and green "Aurea" plants. There are finally some reds among them.

C417 Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. immaculata. These are so nice and pale I barely recognize them as karasmontana. Very well-grown plants.

Ex C369A Lithops karasmontana ssp. eberlanzii "Purper" or "Purpur". No matter the name, the color is very unusual and I feel honored to get a chance to grow them.

Speaking of karasmontana, here is the Lithops karasmontana v. lericheana, otherwise known as The Croissant.

I also got two multi-headed plants. I have not had much luck with such plants before but decided to try again hoping I now have more experience. C010 Lithops lesliei ssp. lesliei v. lesliei is a very compact plant and shouldn't make any troubles.

The C042 Lithops bromfieldii v. insularis is of course bigger. But L. bromfieldii are usually happy and carefree so I'm not worried.


More flowers are coming!

One of the 2009 Lithops gracilidelineata seedlings is growing its very first flower. Wow, 8 years? Really?

And another of the C078 Lithops gesinae v. annae, too. I hope it is a good sign for the flowering later in the season.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Breaking news (2 pics)

This just in. The first lithops flower of the season!

Quite early. But L. gesinae v. annae (C078) always is. I had one blooming in June once. The precious little sun 💗

Also, one of the Delosperma cooperi seedlings (one of those bonsai guys) has flowered for the first time. It's kinda a big deal for me. I've been waiting for this for years! Finally!

New lithops 2017 - Part 1 (14 pics)

This year I feel like focusing more on lithops again. Needless to say, it means new acquisitions and more sowing later this year. Do I still have room for that? I do. How?! I am just as surprised as you are. Sometimes the windowsill feels like a plant-growing Tardis. The trick is to use small pots and plant as many plants as possible in each of them. If I only have one small plant of a certain species I would never give it a container all for itself. How wasteful is that! It can share it with at least one more plant. And they can be joined by others if necessary. I'm not a nursery and I have good records of what I grow so there's no need to separate everything.

I've bought some lithops and conophytums at the fair in Essen lately. The conophytums are still more or less in sheaths but the new lithops are ready for pictures. I think with the new purchases I have been favoring white-flowering species more than usual. Mainly because they are a challenge for me. Somehow I have difficulties growing them. By buying well-grown specimen the task becomes "keep them in good shape" rather than "get them into a good shape", which should be feasible.

For example, here are some L. karasmontana. I really like the yellow-orange kind and so I ended up with 4 of those. Neat shapes!

C227 Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (syn. jacobseniana) 

C327 Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (syn. mickbergensis) MG1631.3

Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana (syn. mickbergensis)

Lithops karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. karasmontana 'Top Red'

Lithops marmorata

C214 Lithops marmorata v. elisae

Some L. hallii and L. julii look so similar you can barely see the difference.

Lithops hallii MG1596.9

Lithops julii ssp. fulleri 

Of course I could not walk past beautifully grown L. lesliei and L. aucampiae

C302 Lithops lesliei ssp. burchellii

Lithops lesliei

Lithops aucampiae 'red wine' 

Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. groendrayensis were so fine I got three.

C069 Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. volkii   

C071 Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. dendritica (syn. pulmonuncula)

This is just part 1 of the new lithops introductions. I will post more pictures soon :)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Random seedlings report (13 pics)

It's always fun to grow plants from seed. Even if you know approximately what to expect you never know what their growth pattern will be or how the seedlings will turn out in the end. It is even more fun to grow something from seed that you have not grown before. Sure, most of the time you are just guessing how to care for such seedlings. And you do make mistakes. But this is all part of the fun of discovery and will help you understand the plants later.

I have tried growing Conophytums from seed before but they either didn't germinate or died right after. And so I consider my latest attempt the actual first try. They went through a couple of leaf changes and they are still alive. Being one year old, they went to sleep in the spring just like adults. But they were so very tiny! I really didn't want to let them do that, thinking they need to get bigger first. They didn't listen, of course, and were just doing their thing. I woke them up again recently and luckily all of them seem to be alive underneath the sheaths. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to wake them up a month early but that's also part of the experience.

Conophytum pillansii

I'm happy to report that Oophytum nanum seedlings (1 year old) are also slowly coming out of their slumber. I was really worried they wouldn't.

Below are Meyerophytum meyeri (MG1778.65) seedlings I grew last year. Another of the firsts. The plants have turned out to be easy to grow and very eager to branch out. I understand, as winter growers, they also should be in sheaths but I didn't let them do that out of the usual concern - too young and small for such a long time without water. I worry too much. These guys are tough.

I liked them so much that I sowed more this year. They make very cute seedlings (2 months old).

Meyerophytum meyeri (MG1778.65)

Meyerophytum meyeri v. holgatense (MG1778.7)

My youngest lithops seedlings are too small for photos so I will report on the second youngest bunches. I still have some of the seedlings of which I don't know the names. A couple of them look like L. olivacea. The rest I'm still not sure. They are uniform though and once they are bigger I'll probably be able to match them with my sowing list of around that time (most likely C266). We'll see.

L. dorotheae de Boer from the seeds of my own plants are also growing. You can even already see the characteristic lines and dots and colors.

This year I'm also growing Neohenricia sibbetii (MG1782.12) from seed. Mainly because my own adult plants are all cuttings of the same plant and I'd really like to be able to produce seeds. It might take years until they flower.

Can you guess what these tiny blobs are? That's right, Adromischus mariannae v. herrei. This is the first time for me to attempt them from seed. They look crazy! Just spheres with a root. Really hope I won't kill them. Very curious to see them grow.



Last year all my Delosperma harazianum got eaten by bugs and then froze on the balcony where they and the bugs were banned to. So now I'm starting again from seed. They are already beautiful (3 months old). Now to keep mites away from them...

And these are the red flowering Delosperma "garnet" seedlings. Because why not :)