Sunday, June 19, 2016

It was the summer of our discontent... (7 pics)

I've been prevented from writing new posts by a wild animal that confiscated by laptop :D

Not really. She is being fantastic! :)

What really bothers me is this terrible weather we are having this year. We haven't had any spring and still no summer. It just rains all the time. My plants are lucky if they get one hour of sunlight a day. I'm being very careful with waterings but several lithops are stretching nevertheless. I wonder what makes them do that exactly. If it's dark and they've been watered shouldn't they all stretch?

In this L. schwantesii container you can see that one plant is growing too long while others stay flat.

In this L. lesliei v. hornii (C15) container, one head (!) of a plant is stretching while the other does not. What makes it do that?

L. karasmontana likes to stretch no matter what, no surprises there. It is quite small and the shape will correct itself next year.

What I find strange is that another L. karasmontana (v. aiaisensis C224) in a nearby pot is as flat as it can be.

So what triggers it really? Unlucky watering timing? Or is there something more to it?

In other news, my Frithia pulchra has grown flowers again this year. Unfortunately I still have not seen them fully open because, as I said, there is no sunlight. They open just a little without it, and then close again...

Catching Anacampseros flowers proves to be difficult as well. I keep missing them! It's so annoying. I've missed the biggest and prettiest ones so far.

I'm complaining a lot today XD

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Conophytum herreanthus (4 pics)

Sorry for not posting much, I've been a little preoccupied lately by an acquisition of a rare mesemb of a feline variety :)

The weather is terrible here. It's like we've had fall weather since October, all darkness and rain. These days the sun comes out in the mornings (huge improvement) followed by heavy thunderstorms in the afternoons. How my plants are not cucumbers yet is a mystery. All my watering schedule is confused. I've watered almost all of the lithops by now but only once or twice to let them know they can start growing but also to prevent them from stretching towards the rare sunlight. If that makes any sense. I think it does not. Better dry than growing under these circumstances. I just feel bad seeing them shrivel. 

You know which plants don't care about all of that? Winter growers, especially conophytums. They are in sheaths and asleep. Who new German weather would support their resting schedule so well? You know who else doesn't care? The strange plant below. It's not sheathed as others but it's clearly resting.

I got it in February under the name of Herreanthus meyeri (H-637, Umdaus) and it's still listed as such at Mesa Garden. But it's actually a Conophytum herreanthus. Hard to believe this giant is a conophytum. Apparently Schwantes has considered it a separate genus but has not taken into account the behavior of seedlings and the flower structure. Also, back then the non-sheathing conophytums (like C. khamiesbergense) have not been well described, it seems. And so, as a revision, this plant is now a conophytum. Crazy. I haven't watered it since February and it doesn't show any signs of distress. The only thing it did is drying of the big floppy old leaves. I guess, it best be watered around end of august, with the other conos. 

Hope that proper summer will reach us soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cheiridopsis on a diet (4 pics)

A months ago I was struggling with the decision whether to keep watering the opportunistic Cheiris or diet them down to one pair of leaves. I decided that the smaller the plant the better, more natural looking and stopped watering. Some structure within the yearly growth cycle must be beneficial as well. I'm glad to report that the plants reacted very well to this treatment. Not only it improved their looks, it also shows that this is how they wanted to be treated to begin with. No, I'm not hearing voices in my head and my plants have not started talking to me. It feels right because the plants have reacted to the absent waterings in the way a plant preparing for rest would react. As soon as they noticed the drought they started using old leaves for resources. The newest leaves stayed firm and wrinkle-free while the old unnecessary leaves are shriveling. I hope to bring them to the state they had last July. If the plants had shriveled completely, old leaves and new, I would have aborted the mission.

Cheiridopsis brownii (MG 1365.4). Very close in looks to last July. I'm glad.

Cheiridopsis bruynsii (MG 1404.81).

Cheiridopsis excavata (MG 1375). Might be called Ihlenfeldtia excavata.

The strange Cheiridopsis meyeri v. minor have also reacted to the withdrawal of water by getting much closer to the looks they had last year. According to the books this is how it should be so I'm not questioning it. They look awful though XD

I've reduced watering to the huge Ch. denticulata as well but nothing can stop them now. They are pushing new leaves and even new branches like crazy no matter what I do.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Recent observations on Anacampseros (15 pics)

I'm getting excited about Anacampseros again :D

Seeing the seedlings grow and some of the adults with first signs of flower stalks is more than enough to rekindle the fascination. Growing Anacampseros is very new to me and there's a lot to observe and note to myself. 

First, please let me brag about my 2014 and 2015 seedlings, grown from own seeds, for just one moment. Both sets of seedlings have recently started looking like adults and it's just such a joy for me!

The fuzzy An. filamentosa ssp namaquensis are probably the closest I'm gonna get to owning a cat.

An. vanthielii have finally grown enough leaves to form neat rosettes. They will be quite large when they grow up.

Back to the observations, I've noticed an interesting growth pattern on a couple of my older and bigger plants. This An. vanthielii (mother to the above seedlings), for example, seems to abandon (or replace?) the tops of the stems while growing lots of new branches "from below" near the root.

The below An. telephiastrum are doing the same. It's a forest of new growth near the roots while the tops barely grow any new leaves. Although they do seem to re-use the tops for growing flower stalks.
This growing pattern seems strange to me but it is also very welcome. I'd greatly prefer it to the tendency of growing in hight while dropping leaves down below (looks like An. arachnoides enjoy doing that, from what I see). This results in ugly sticks and necessity of cutting and re-rooting. Or in going horizontally overboard. I really don't have room for that. So do your thing, little guys, I support you.

In other news - flower stalks! I see several around. It's pretty exciting :)
This An. lanceolata (An33 in atomic-plant catalog) is ahead of all others. Unfortunately I missed the fully open flower yesterday. Still sad about that. Stupid.

Other flower stalks are just starting to show.
Anacamoseros sp.

An. arachnoides (An106)

An. arachnoides (An208)

Also, the seedlings sown in February are still alive. Actually, I won't stop worrying about them until they grow first "real" leaves.

Some are already quite fluffy.
An. telephiastrum

Some even show a glimpse of first true leaves.
An. rufescens

An. filamentosa ssp. filamentosa (An150)

Other appear fine but are kinda stuck. I'll keep worrying about them until I see some action. Maybe it's the recent heat or maybe they're just too young. Time will tell.

An. filamentosa ssp. tomentosa (An156)

An. rufescens 'Sunrise'

I have many more seedlings but of a smaller varieties. I can't quite catch them on camera yet. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Delospermas on the balcony (8 pics)

Well, now I know, Delosparmas really like it on the balcony. All of the below plants have overwintered outside in the cold and are now enjoying direct unfiltered sunlight. No burns and lots of flowers and flower buds. I'm seriously thinking of moving all my Delospermas out there permanently. Except for D. sphalmantoides. And the "bonsais", I suppose. And D. harazianum is flowering just fine on the windowsill after a warm winter. But otherwise, these guys do enjoy fresh air :)

Delosperma sp. A variety called "garnet", I think.

Delosperma sp. A variety called "moonstone".

Delosperma sutherlandii

Delosperma lineare "golden nugget"

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Titamopsis primosii: first flower (3 pics)

Before I write a post on all the showy Delosperma flowers from my balcony I wanted to show you this one which is much more special to me. I grew this Titanopsis primosii from seed and am now very proud it has managed to grow such a large and beautiful flower. Or to bloom at all. The plant itself is quite tiny and I really wonder where it got the strength. After all, my grown up Titanopsis promisii have never ever flowered for me. 

It has been flowering for a week now but I couldn't see it as it only opened for a short time in the afternoon. Yesterday I could finally arrange a photo session with this beauty.

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'