Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Avonia flowering (22 pics)

It's that time of the year again! No, not the cherry blossoms time. It's Avonia quinaria time!

But before we get to that, there's more Avonia news I'm probably even more excited about. This year, for the first time, I was able to catch the worm-like Avonias flowering, too. I was convinced they would never open their flowers under my growing conditions, producing seed pods out of flower buds directly. I don't know what happened but this year I could witness the actual flowers. Maybe I was not paying enough attention before (I thought I did!) or maybe this time the heat wave was bringing my windowsill closer to the growing conditions of a greenhouse. Or maybe now that I have more Avonia plants the chances of catching one blooming are higher. Also, while Avonia quinaria open their flowers around 6pm, other Avonias seem to open them around 2pm or 3pm, reducing my chances of seeing them further. Luckily I was on holidays :)

My old Avonia albissima ssp. multiramosa apparently has small, greenish flowers. Good to know. In all those years I'm seeing them for the first time.

This other Avonia albissima has rather large and showy flowers. The fact that the sun is shining on these flowers means they opened before 2pm. 

Avonia grisea (Av133). Very delicate.

Avonia papyracea. The round white petals look like scales. No wonder the flowers are difficult to spot. Especially if they are facing the light source and not the beholder.

Now to the quinarias. Their flowering is always an event! 

The two of the pink-flowering Avonia quinaria ssp. quinaria plants have flowered a while ago, of course not at the same time, that would be too nice of them. And even now I have one pink plant growing flowers. So much for synchronized flowering.

One of them is producing flower with different number of petals within the same flowering season. It's been doing that last year as well. But hey, I've had Avonia quinaria flowers with 4 petals before, too. The regular number is 5. 

I could still get some seeds out of them. While passive self-pollination is very unlikely, I find that brush-assisted self-pollination leads to seed pods more often than you'd think. I even have one seedling to show for it. It's not the only one that germinated but the only one left. I'm not that good at this yet. But seeds produced by selfing are definitely viable.

Speaking of abnormalities. I have this really strong and healthy white-flowering Avonia quinaria ssp. alstonii. It has grown all those branches and I was expecting it to flower nicely. Weeks go by - nothing happens, no buds. You see, normally, the buds would grow from the tips of the branches and then those branches would fall off. Just when I thought there will not be any white flowers this year, the plant started growing buds from its stem! Well, not  from the stem, but from the new and very short branches it grew just so that it can grow flowers. For some reason it wanted to keep all the long branches and that's kinda clever. Why grow long branches for flowers just to drop them off afterwards? That would be wasteful. Better to quickly grow something short instead. Well, it grew 11 flowers in the end and I got my white flowers after all.

And here's another strange thing - one flower opened completely without anthers.

I tried to take some artistic photos, with a proper background. Too bad I didn't have anything black :)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Adromischus propagation (13 pics)

It's not easy to find information on Adromischus propagation in general. Actually, there is basically no information at all. These days I have been trying to figure it out on my own.

I have to say, propagation by leaf cuttings is rather straightforward. Even a complete newbie like me can successfully get backup copy plants by sticking leaves into pumice. It is recommended to leave the substrate with leaf cuttings dry, however, I do water it a little. It's risky and so far I have lost one healthy leaf to rot but I think roots come out quicker this way. So if you follow my example, do it at your own risk. Roots normally come after a couple of weeks already. For leaves you might have to wait much longer. Once the new leaves come you're on the safe side.

If you want to propagate your plant it is better to take a bigger healthier leaf. I know, you don't want to ruin the looks of the mother plant (those leaves grow very slowly) and would probably take an older uglier leaf from the bottom. That's no problem. Just don't wait too long, not until it gets shriveled and spotty. It still has to be firm, big and fresh and full of water (water the plant several days before snipping off the leaf if necessary) to give the new plant a better start. The new plant will feed of this leaf for up to one year. The bigger that first leaf the quicker the new plant will grow.

So here are some of this year's cuttings.

These are the leaves of an Adromischus marianiae "Little Spheroid" plant that arrived in spare parts in April. After approximately 4 months there are now new leaves showing. But make no mistake, these are only 5 out of the 14 leaves planted. All the rest of them don't show any new growth at all, although they have grown massive root systems.

As you can see, the roots are very well developed and the plant makes sure to grow all this bulk before it starts growing leaves.

Here is a leaf cutting from another "Little Spheroid" plant. The initial leaf was bigger and, even though it was planted later than those kids above, the resulting plant is much stronger and much further along.

Here are the 4 Adromischus marianiae v. herrei "Lime Drops" leaves I planted back in April.

This one seems not to recognize gravity as a growing guide. It's all over the place. Roots grow upwards, leaves grow downwards. I didn't even know how to plant it best. Maybe I should have cut off one of the roots and planted it sideways. 

This Adromischus marianae v. herrei Alveolatus, Kinderle was planted end of May and has just started growing new leaves.

They are all so small at the moment. It's hard to imagine they will look like their mother plants at some point. But the growth spurt will come eventually. Below is a plant I grew from a leaf only last year. After 1,5 years it looks like a perfect adult plant.

I plan to write about Adromischus propagation by seed soon, too. Or rather the pollination part of it. Growing them from seed is not particularly difficult but you need to be very patient. Below are 15 months old seedlings. They still look like nothing. Cute though.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lithops portraits 2018 (15 pics)

In case you haven't noticed I'm on vacation :)
Which means finally time to take care of my (mostly plant related) hobbies. And I don't have to tell you how much I enjoy the company of my cat. All of it is so relaxing. Playing with Mila, checking on the plants, napping with Mila, taking some plant pictures. It's the paradise on earth. I hurt my back recently (which sucks) but it gives me a legit excuse to just be lazy and enjoy myself.

Now I'm just gonna spam you with some Lithops photos :D

L. ruschiorum. Love their new faces.

L. marmorata. Very slow old leaf digestion.

L. marmorata 'Polepsky Smaragd'. Good shape and color is only possible by very careful watering.

L. localis. These guys start to stretch as soon as I start thinking of watering them. They are tiny but it's the only way to keep them alive.

L. aucampiae are more difficult than you think. I've killed a lot of them so far. This is a really nice specimen though.

L. bromfieldii v. mennellii. Love the texture.

L. lesliei ssp. burchellii (C302). Love the fluid pattern.

L. lesliei ssp. lesliei v. venteri. Nice and flat. Got them as adults in 2011.

L. lesliei ssp. lesliei v. venteri 'Ventergreen' (C001A). These are 7 year old seedlings.

L. lesliei ssp. lesliei v. lesliei 'Albinica' (C036A). Got them in a hardware store in 2012.

L. lesliei ssp. lesliei v. lesliei (grey form) (C008). Got them in 2010.

L. bromfieldii v. insularis (C042). I haven't had a very good experience with multiheaded plants in my environment. But L. bromfieldii are hard to kill so I gave it a try last year. It regenerated fine so it should be okay now.