Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Thirsty lithops (6 pics)

I'm posting some pictures of thirsty lithops on demand :)

I have just taken them so these are examples of thirsty lithops that do NOT need to be watered. It's November and this is how they should look like this time of the year. No need to feel sorry for them.

However, if you see them like this in the time period from April to September (October, if still sunny), and the surface is soft to the touch, it's a clear sign that the plant needs and should get some water. There is an exception when it's very very hot in Summer and the plants get wrinkly but the surface stays hard as stone - this means they went into a heat induced sleep and should not be bothered. They can be watered when in doubt but they most likely will not react until the heatwave is over so they better be left alone.

Here are the typical signs of a thirsty plant:

1. The sides get wrinkly. Easy to see on those that grow in a longer shape naturally (olivacea or dorotheae or julii)

2. The plant tries to bury itself. This you can see on short-bodies plants (lesliei or bromfieldii). They look like pies with a crust from above. You'll see the wrinkles on the sides if you dig them up a bit.

Of course in Summer you don't need to wait for this level of dehydration and can water much sooner if it's sunny. However, a grown up plant can take it and you can go on a 3 week vacation no problem. Once watered they will return to their normal shape in a day or two.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lithops don't waste time (5 pics)

Winter has started very early this year. It's gloomy and cold. The plants feel it and react to it: winter growers waking up, seeds germinating eagerly, and lithops are already recycling their resources. I've stopped watering most of them a month ago. They will get water again once they regenerate and it's warm and sunny again outside the window. April maybe. Yes, this means even if they fully regenerate earlier they still won't get water if there's not enough sunlight. No need to wake the roots if the light is not sufficient, unless absolutely necessary (young or small plants that grow visibly thirsty).
In my experience, it will take them a long time anyway :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lithops experiment part 4 (2 pics)

I thought I'll update you on the lithops rescue mission.

As you might remember these plants were seriously overfed while not receiving enough light (bottom shelf inside a hardware store) and I would normally leave them there because they would die anyway, no matter your good intentions. However this time I decided to get them as an experiment on how lithops plants at this stage of maltreatment might be rescued or even returned to the normal size and look with time. The idea was to withhold water until the new leaves of a much smaller size emerge. Which means these plants are now being without any water since June 18. I'm still far from being convinced that the mission will be successful. I reckon, once I can detect new leaves growing they might have a chance.

At the moment the plants are very wrinkled and have lost at least half of their size. Which was the goal from the start (just realized this was the exact wording in the first entry in June!). Now if the new leaves are already growing inside it will be much easier for them to consume the old leaves and come out safely the normal way, not through the sides. I have no means of knowing whether the new leaves are growing in the shorter plants but the cucumber (to be fair it really has improved over the months) is quite soft and when I squeeze the sides I actually can feel where the new leaves start already. It was a massive relief! Several more months and we will know the fate of these plants. I'll keep you updated.

Please see the previous related entries under tips and tricks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The last lithops flower and a butterfly (2 pics)

Well, looks like this is the last lithops flower this year. There weren't many but I'm happy with any I can get. The next excitement is watching the winter growers waking up and maybe even flower as well as checking up on seedlings. I've sown a lot recently and plan on sowing more soon. Watching those tiny blobs grow is a very special joy.

In unrelated news, I finally went to the Butterfly Garden in Grevenmacher, Luxembourg (ca. 30 min away from Trier). Oh pardon, I meant of course Jardin des Papillons ;) It's quite small but nice and very very warm. Like a little piece of Summer. Too bad it closes in Winter or I'd go regularly just to warm up. I took great many pictures but it was difficult to take good macros because they move so much. Surprisingly the only pic of which I thought the camera would never focus was the quite sharp one below with this very friendly and curious papillon. I feel like a flower now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chasmatophyllum musculinum's singular beauty! (2 pics)

These two plants catch my attention every time I'm at my windowsill and the sun in shining. With such beautiful leaves who needs flowers? :)

These two Chasmatophyllum musculinum plants are this Summer's newcomers on the windowsill. I hope to be able to give them a good home. So far they look happy, react to water and grow new leaves and branches eagerly.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Even more spheroid flowers (7 pics)

This past weekend I could finally enjoy the lithops flowers and take some pictures. You're probably fed up with my attempts of setting up lithops flowers in a romantic but dark atmosphere but I like it. Also, it's best I can do without any equipment in the dark afternoons we are having these days :)

I got several L. verruculosa v. verruculosa C120 this summer. It never worked for me to grow them from seed so adult plants that are small in size might have a better chance. So far so good. And now even one flower has fully developed and opened. L. verruculosa is one of those rare lithops that have neither yellow nor white flowers, but these creme colored ones. Very pretty.

In contrast to that, here is one of my oldest plants flowering, L. gesinae v. annae C078. The first lithops flower featured in this blog was from this very plant. I've had it for 7 years. 

And here is one of the karasmontanas left that I purchased sometime in 2011, L. karasmontana ssp. karasmontana v. aiaisensis C224. It has produced many seeds in the past and I've recently sown some to give it a mate in the future.

I've mentioned before that the direction of my windows in the new apartment is slightly more to the east than in my old one. It means more sun in the mornings but it goes away earlier in the afternoons. Lithops flowers still open fine without it but it has an interesting effect on the stems. Some tend to grow into gramophones. I don't mind.

Other flowers are at their end and it has a certain beauty to it, too.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

More spheroid flowers (5 pics)

Conophytum flowers truly give variety to my windowsill. I'm so used to yellow and white flowers it's totally strange to see other colors. 

C. ectypum ssp. sulcatum is enjoying the rare sunlight.

C. uviforme ssp. uviforme is flowering at night when I don't see it (I sleep at night you know). But I'm glad it likes the new environment well enough to grow so many buds.

This is, however, the best I could do taking a picture of C. angelicae ssp. tetragonum...

The L. dorotheae de Boer is flowering for the first time since I got it in Japan 2010. Only one of them unfortunately, that's why I pollinated with the regular C300. If it worked maybe there will be some dark chocolaty seedlings among the offspring.

And one of the Tanquana hilmarii flowered for me again this year. It has the silkiest and shiniest petals but only to be admired "live" :)

PS: I decided not to put plants names directly in the photos. I don't think it's pretty. However you can still see the names in the file names when you click on them. I'll do my best not to forget to mention the names in the blog posts themselves in the future, too.