Sunday, November 5, 2017

Focusing on the positive (8 pics)

It's been a while. I'm still here, just trying to sort some things out in my life and get a clearer view on it. It's not easy.

What else is not easy? Growing plants bug-free and healthy in an environment that just bets against me every time. I have disposed of several plants that were either too tasty to bugs or couldn't grow well on a windowsill. Some species just need a better climate (greenhouse) to grow well in the long run and I am not able to give them that at the moment. I admit defeat. Better not to dwell on it though but focus on the positive results instead and try to make them even better. 

Adromischus, for example have been doing fine this year. This red-ish specimen has expanded a lot thanks to the fact that it was not flowering. It is always a compromise here: If the plant is flowering all summer it is not growing new leaves and if it is growing leaves there is no strength left to grow that huge flower stalk. At least that's what I noticed on the windowsill. And I think I prefer new leaves over flowers in this case. This Adromischus marianae v. herrei had a nice red color after last year's winter. The new leaves should turn from green to red in a couple of months too, I suppose.



There is also finally some progress on the leaf cuttings.



Aloinopsis schooneesii, like any Aloinopsis in my experience, is constantly fighting bugs. Nevertheless, it has been growing new leaves and branches. This plant started as a three-leaf-set seedling, growing sets of 3 leaves for a while even after having developed a regular looking side branch. This year it suddenly grew a set of five leaves and then 2 sets of 3 leaves from out of it. This plant is full of surprises.



No surprises with lithops. Most of my plants are already showing new leaves but it will take months for them to fully digest the old leaves. I think I need to support them more with fertilizer next year. Normally I do not use any but if the weather allows it might be beneficial. They seemed kinda weak to me this past year. 



Also, just wanted to show you this little Sedum multiceps. I got it several months back. Normally I don't grow Sedums but this one was too cute. Apparently you can trim it into a bonsai tree.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Other news (8 pics)

So what else was going on on my windowsill in August?

Well, the most amazing and surprising thing was the awakening of Monilaria scutata seedlings! I couldn't believe they are alive after all this time. None of my other attempts to grow Monilaria went on this far. These must be some tough seedlings. First the "beads", then the "bunny ears". All by the book. Very exciting!



Then, I have transplanted Anacampseros karasmontana, the fluffy greenie. It has developed really fat roots and I wanted to give it more space.


It has flowered and developed seeds, too. Out of last year's seeds I already got a bunch of seedlings.


The older Anacampseros seedlings are looking more like adults every day. This Anacampseros arachnoides is very attractive when kept dry.



The white fluffy Anacampseros baeseckei are growing into towers. I do believe somewhere between fuzzball and the below is their best look. I have older and longer An. baeseckei and they started to look kinda strange. I might need to re-root them.



Anacampseros namaquensis are really hairy and really flat. Love them!


Avonia papyracea ssp papyracea, hatched in November last year, are still so small. Strong though. I have a good feeling about them.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Flowers in August (12 pics)

It's been too long! I've been mostly ignoring my plants this past month and consequently the blog. But I was still taking photos of the flowers whenever I could catch them. They are a rarity on the windowsill and always deserve attention. Luckily lithops flowers are still fully open when I come home from work (resulting in some dark and eerie photos as usual). And conophytum flowers last for several days making it possible to catch them on weekends. 

Conophytum flowers are a welcome change to the usual white and yellow of the lithops.

Here is some orange I've never seen before. Conophytum x marnierianum (MG1430.35)



Conophytum fulleri was flowering beautifully. 



Conophytum pellucidum v. pellucidum 'pardicolor' ex. de Boer. I've had other C. pellucidum flowering but didn't catch them.



Conophytum bilobum ''deodum'' (MG1419.3)



As for lithops, I've had some flowers on L. bromfieldii lately.

Lithops bromfieldii v. insularis 'Sulphurea' (C362)



Lithops bromfieldii sp.



Lithops gesinae v. annae (C078) was growing 2 buds but aborted them for some reason (a rainy week might have changed its plans).



Two Adromischus marianae v. herrei (green form) had grown impressive inflorescences that are hard to capture on a photo. 



Anacampseros are still flowering from time to time. These An. retusa seedlings, for example, growing more flowers now. Unfortunately they don't seem to want to open them. But they do produce seeds. 



And Crassula ausensis ssp. titanopsis is going crazy. The flowers are normally underappreciated so here are some close-ups :)

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!!

Snip.



Snip.



Snip.



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.



BONUS

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.