Saturday, December 9, 2017

Random winterly observations (7 pics)

My windowsill is so depressing in winter.

I mean it. Forget the conophytums - even winter-growers look weak and sad, as if they had given up and decided to go back to sleep right after waking up. And it is so dark outside I can not even give them a boost of fertilizer. Knowing my conditions they will simply go straight from weak and thirsty to weak and stretched. Lithops are looking scruffy due to leaf change. That's normal. But not exactly pleasing to the eye. Anacampseros are all in their winter mood of "goodbye cruel world". It doesn't help to remind myself that they'll recover in the spring, because... what if they won't? And all the green color and stretching that seems to be everywhere I look. Annoying.

Do I whine like this every winter? Quite possibly. Do I get exited and enthusiastic when spring comes? Absolutely!

So let me report on Avonias today. They seem to be the only plants in good shape these days and make me smile whenever I check in on them.

First, just look at this magnificent beast!
I still have this year's seeds of this plant. Email me if you're interested. They are only viable when fresh.

I haven't had much luck growing Avonia from seed. They germinate fine but then dry up before they can gain any weight to support themselves. So far I've managed to grow only two specimens of Avonia albissima multiramosa (kids of the plant above) from seed to relative adulthood.

You can actually see the line when I stopped pushing them to grow and started withholding water. The upper parts are dense and white and pretty as they should be.

Another bunch of Avonia seedlings are these Avonia papyracea ssp. papyracea. They are now one year old and not quite yet out of the woods. I'm still pushing them to grow with frequent waterings. The larger the species, the easier it is to grow it from seed. Av. papyracea are rather large.

I have several Avonia ustulata plants. They seem to like my conditions. As for the plant below, I'm going to cut off the longest branch (it bothers me aesthetically) and root it. Wish me luck.

While taking these pictures, I was thinking "Why am I doing this? They look the same as last year." And so out of curiosity I went into my old picture folders and it turns out I was wrong. They really do grow! Check this out.

Here are the same Avonia quinaria ssp. quinaria kids, growing in the same pot. Okay, there is a difference of almost 2 years between those photos, but still.

The progress of the below Avonia albisima v. grisea is more impressive as it shows how the plants have grown since May. On the second thought maybe I shouldn't have let them do that seeing that they are more green now. Or maybe with my light conditions they would have gotten green no matter what.

And the branch of this Avonia recurvata has really grown since the beginning of the year. And there's a second one growing above it.

Things are happening after all.


  1. And considering I have NO Avonias growing to look at, your photos look like succulent heaven. :) The Avonia quinaria plants are marvelous. Sure they may grow slow, but what's the hurry. The Avonia albissima multiramosa make me smile too; I told you photos of your plants would make me smile. Beautiful little white worms. With you light conditions these plants are exceptionally nice. I know not everything looks great, but every grower has that problem. It just that some will not admit it. This time of year I do most of my plant work in the basement, where there is heat and light. I have a bucket there for plants that have died, or pieces of plants that have failed. I would like to say the bucket is usually empty, but it's not. I especially had trouble with some of my newer haworthia hybrids. Before they really develop a good root system they can be easily over or under watered, and some just don't make it. But, some do, and I always like to remind myself of the successes.

    I've told you this before but it bares repeating; you have a marvelous skill in adapting your culture to your "not so perfect" environment. When I worked with commercial growers, they had to, and were able to, change their environment to suit their plants. You, and many other amateur growers, can't do that. You have to work with what you have, and you do it very well. Hey, thanks for the photos. As I mentioned, I have NO Avonias, so I get to see some nice ones thanks to you. Hope your Sunday is Super - no matter what the weather is. Hello to Mila. *myak myak* ^__^

  2. Thank you! I'll send you some seeds soon to remedy your Avonia deficit :D They'll do great under artificial lights. I must say for plants that are not that popular among layperson-growers they are very resilient. In several years of growing them I have lost only one plant (because I buried its caudex-root: mistake never to be made again!). The Av. quinaria plants flower almost every year. Av. albissima multiramosa has produced its latest seed pod this week. It just goes on and on. Wonderful plant. I want to grow more of the wormy Avonias from seed but need practice. They look best when grown in bunches (high hopes for those Av. papyracea kids).

    You're absolutely right about reminding ourselves of our successes. Sorry to hear about your Haworthias but that's plant growing for you. Some will wither, some will thrive. Losses can not be avoided. Sometimes plants die without any reason you can find. But sometimes those losses give you ideas on how to do things better next time. And sometimes we have to give up on certain species if the conditions don't allow growing them successfully. With others however, practice makes the master :)

    Hope your Sunday is great, too. I'm passing on myak-myak from you to Mila. She says myak-myak back to you!

    Thank you as always for encouraging me!