Thursday, May 25, 2017

Avonias (15 pics)

Avonia and Anacampseros are closely related, both belonging to the family Portulacaceae. They even were considered as sub-genera of the genus Anacampseroteae at some point before giving them generic status. It seems that's why the naming is such a mess. Even though there are many similarities the overall look of Avonia is very different from Anacampseros. Where Anacampseros have their fluff Avonias have scales. The fleshy leaves and the round bushy shape belong to Anacampseros while Avonias have worm-like branches and the leaves behind the scales are so tiny that you won't even see them.

Both do well in windowsill environment. Same as Anacampseros, the less water you give to Avonias the better they'll look. My Avonia dealer pointed out to me I need to show more tough love but it's hard. Let me introduce you to my plants. The naming details are in the file names as usual.

Avonia ustulata are very interesting to me. According to the internet picture search these can grow into little bonsai trees. They grow a thicker stem and then branch out mostly from the same point. It would be nice to get them to a size when they look like little trees.

The above plants are last year's purchases but I also have one I've had longer. 

By the way, Avonias dry off old leaves which appears to be normal. Not very pretty though. The above plant is sharing its pot with this Avonia recurvata, for example. I really like the messy look of its scales. It would look great if I had several. Unfortunately it doesn't give me any seeds and the branching is very slow. It has just started with a second branch at the base.

Then there's this tiny thing called Avonia harveyi. Is it growing at all?

Here is another strange one. Avonia ustulata, with a different locality than those above. It does not look very happy but at least I can see new branches starting.

The below Avonia albissima v. grisea plants look nice. Very white and dense. That's how it should be.

And of course the Avonia albissima multiramosa (there are 2 plants in there if I remember it correctly). Always growing flowers and converting them into seed pods directly without ever opening them.

And of course there are the Avonia quinaria. It doesn't feel like an update on them because they look the same every year to me.

For me, worm-like Avonias look the best when potted in groups of same age plants (or when a plant is very old and branched). This is something you can only achieve when you grow them from seed. I've been mostly failing at that so far. Good thing my Avonia albissima multiramosa is providing me with seeds every year to practice. And embarrassingly I only have these 2 seedlings to show for it. But how cute are they!!

The difficult part of growing them from seed is that they are slow-growers. In case of Anacampseros it takes months for them to start growing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd real leaf. Now imagine Avonia with the leaves so tiny you can barely see them. But the timing is the same. They stay very small for a very long time. You try to support them with watering and occasional food but for the smaller species it does not seem enough. I need to develop better skills in it. The larger species seem to be easier from seed. The Avonia papyracea ssp papyracea sown last November are doing very well and at the age of 6 months already have several leaves. Yeah, that's called "fast growth". Anacampseros telephiastrum sown the same time only show 2 leaves now so yes, that's fast.



    It's been seven months since I planted the seed you sent me.
    It is a seed that has traveled long distances but it seems to be growing well.
    If these are bigger, I'll show you again~.

    1. Hi J!
      They already look like something :) These plants can grow well for a while and then take a break and after a couple of months have a growth spurt again. Some of my two year olds are growing flowers this year.