Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spring update on Conophytums - part 2 (14 pics)

This rainy, cold, dark Sunday morning (hence the dark photos) I thought it'd be nice to post an update on my Conophytums going to sleep. In fact, it is so cold and uncomfortable (we've had -2° last week!) I'd rather wrap myself in sheets and sleep all day, too. 

Last post was one month ago. Make sure to check it out for comparison. Almost all of the plants are prepared for summer heatwave now (even though any kind of warm weather feels like sci-fi at this point). By the way, I can't believe how long I've struggled against growing Conophytums, considering them too boring for any attention. Now I'm quite fascinated by them and would love to grow more. And try them from seed, too. The watering schedule might appear confusing at first but you do figure it out eventually, after a couple of years. If I have a chance this year I'd like to get more C. pellucidum (the white flowers are unusually mat instead of silky) as well as something fuzzy or a species with larger heads for diversity. 

Conophytum pellucidum v. pellucidum 'pardicolor' ex. de Boer

Conophytum pellucidum ssp. cupreatum v. terrestre

Conophytum uviforme ssp. uviforme

Conophytum uviforme ssp. decoratum

Conophytum minusculum

There's a two-headed plant to the right. Can you see it? ;)

Conophytum ricardianum

Conophytum meyeri 'Leopardium'

Conophytum khamiesbergense

Conophytum fulleri

Conophytum ectypum ssp sulcatum

Conophytum angelicae ssp. tetragonum

Conophytum bilobum 'christiansenium'

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lithops experiment part 6 (2 pics)

Seeing that my last post about the troubled L. pseudotruncatella was back in December it's time to update you on their progress.

Yes, they are still quite ugly. My hopes of getting them into good shape within one regeneration cycle were too much but hey, no rush. Simple survival goes first. On the survival front I guess they are at 50%. The best looking plant out of three has perished - go figure! Another has lost one head. The balance is two plants, one and two heads.

It's almost May and they've been watered twice so far. They react well to water and, even though they are still way too long, they don't get any longer but bigger and more substantial instead. I intend to be very strict with them so they'll need their strength later. Long way ahead of them.

You can read up on the lithops experiment here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Much anticipated flower

I have something to be excited about these days. This is my own Titanopsis primosii seedling :)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Haworthia limifolia: Stray observations (3 pics)

Plants can have very different appearances depending on the conditions they grow in. While potting the plant from yesterday's post I wondered at how different it is from its own cutting that has been growing at my place all this time when the other was at my parents'. 

They are the SAME plant! Literally. The "piece" to the left was grown with little water (due to absent roots) and looks more like a H. limifolia to me, actually, long, thin, slightly curved leaves. No idea about the light conditions. The one to the right has been watered and repotted regularly while growing in a sunny spot. It has short thick leaves that barely "spin". If I didn't know better I would think they are different kinds of Haworthia. Can't say which appearance is better or healthier or more natural. Crazy plants.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Haworthia limifolia in a little bit of trouble (7 pics)

A couple of days ago I got an inquiry from someone who was worried about their Haworthia limifolia's wellbeing but only today I realized that I actually have a plant matching the description at hand! Every once in a while my mother, who deeply dislikes succulents because they are not flashy-showy enough, brings me back some plants she had in her custody during my last years at the university. She tends to unwittingly mistreat the plants she doesn't like, never listening to my suggestions. Her flower garden looks amazing though. Well, some of the succulents she brought were ready for the plant heaven. Among the others was a Haworthia limifolia I set aside to inspect further later, as it didn't look bad to me. In fact, it is the same plant I wrote about in this post.

I followed my own advice and pulled it out of the pot. Actually I didn't even have to pull because the roots were all dead and it was not clinging to anything. I'd say this is how overwatering looks like. The roots just rot away. 

Just to remind you, this is how Haworthia limifolia's roots can look like when grown in pumice.
This plant is a cutting from the plant above, by the way.

*scroll... scroll... scroll... scroll...*

No roots left, it seems. But wait! What is that? ;)
If you pull away the dry bottom leaves you will see fresh new roots growing. I'll pot the plant and its cutting separately. There will be more roots than plant in no time.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Cheiridopsis meyeri v. minor or a different genus entirely? (2 pics)

This Cheiridopsis meyeri v. minor (MG 1385.9/SB766) is pretty different from the others. In fact, it is strange to me that someone named it Cheiridopsis at all. Maybe my information is outdated?

Firstly, it clearly has type A and type B leaves like those of Mitrophyllum or Monilaria. One pair is scissor like, the other is conjoined at the top to form a round bead. Secondly, it seems to follow a Mitrophyllum-like yearly growing pattern. It grows scissor leaves in the fall, followed by the conjoined round leaves and then, in spring, it slowly dries all leaves and completely sheaths over in summer.

My plants are a bit longish due to lack of light. And, since I realized its growing schedule is different from my other Cheiridopsis way too late, I only stopped watering recently, while I should have done it a couple of months ago if not earlier. For a long while I thought it needed water because it wrinkled, when in fact it was just preparing to sleep. Stupid me.

It is really important to know exactly how our plants are growing to support them accordingly, independent of the name. In this sense, can someone tell me whether this is a Cheiridopsis or not? I'm going to treat it like a Mitrophyllum, or Antimima maybe. I'm sorry I haven't realized it sooner, little planty.

Btw, I'd put Cheiridopsis peculiaris into the same category which should not be related to the common Cheiridopsis in terms of care.

Cheiridopsis on the windowsill (8 pics)

I have mentioned before that Cheiridopsis grow very well on a windowsill, in my unexperienced experience. They don't make any troubles and, unlike other mesembs, are able to grow to a large size under insufficient light conditions without losing attractiveness or having growth problems later. They grow here in small 5x5cm pots in pure pumice (no plant food) with little but regular watering throughout the year. This last part is what confuses me. They do seem to be opportunistic and will grow without a resting period if watered. They also retain two to three pairs of leaves at a time and there seem to be no need to let old leaves dry off before encouraging new growth. That's all fine and well, but I'd be more comfortable if they were on a fixed watering schedule. Maybe I'm thinking too much and should just accept their growing pattern and simply care for them as I did so far. It surely does not hurt. Except for the fact that they never flower ;) There's a chance that fixed watering schedule in support of a somewhat regulated yearly cycle might help with that. 

You already know the Ch. denticulata I've been growing since 2013. The plants are huge. Can't even fit them on a photo. I constantly feel the need to give them bigger pots but they seem to be fine just with occasional fresh substrate. Note that they are this "fat" without any fertilizer. They get watered a little only when they get wrinkly. I let them have two pairs of leaves at a time but try to water less when third is coming. They have enough resources to support it.

This Ch. cigarettifera however is the newest member of my Cheiridopsis gang. I just got two plants in February and am relieved they react to water. They seem to grow on stilts!

The guys below are some of those I got last year. They have all developed well since then. However, looking at last July's photos it seems that they were grown much stricter. Sure, they come from a greenhouse with much better light. But it seems to me they were allowed to have only one pair of leaves in Summer. Mine have two now. Does it mean I have to starve them from now on to achieve the same look this July that they had last July? It might be beneficial for the leaf color but it will break my heart at the same time. Tough decision.

Cheiridopsis brownii (MG 1365.4)

Cheiridopsis bruynsii (MG 1404.81)

Cheiridopsis excavata (MG 1375) This one might be called an Ihlenfeldtia excavata .

Cheiridopsis seem to be easy from seed, too. These are my own seedlings of Ch. pillansii (MG 1401.5), now exactly 2 years old. Out of 8 seeds 7 germinated and I still have all of them. Would recommend them to newbies ;)

Here are Ch. pillansii (MG 1401.5) I sowed from the same bunch of seeds almost two months ago. Cute babies!