Thursday, April 30, 2020

Check out my Twitter Account

Hi guys,

You might have noticed that I don't post all that much here. I'll still be posting in the future but in the meanwhile, please feel free to browse my Twitter account (you don't have to be a member).

I post photos and stories on Twitter almost every day and it's a nice community of plant loving people, too. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Adromischus trouble-shooting (23 pics)

In general, Adromischus are not difficult to grow on the windowsill. Good light is beneficial but some types enjoy a shadier spot. I have a big and beautiful Adromischus cristatus growing on my kitchen window without any direct sunlight at all (I'm watering it very rarely as a compensation). Mealy bugs like them but not more than any other succulents. And the propagation by leaf cuttings is very easy.

The one serious problem they have is spontaneous rotting. Sometimes you see it coming but usually you don't. One day the plant looks fine and the next day it's mush with nothing to save.

This one's dead.

I have not yet figured out why this happens and so the only preventive measure I know of is taking leaf cuttings for backup copies in advance, like so.

This year I've encountered a new problem - they're having troubles during summer heatwaves. Normally Adros are flowering during summer months, which weakens them a bit, then comes the heat (and maybe some additional plague like mealy bugs) and they get so stressed they drop leaves. I thought I'd lose several this summer! This drying and dropping off leaves is actually not as bad as it looks. As long as nothing's rotting, it'll be fine. I panicked and removed all remaining healthy leaves for propagation on 4 plants. This may or may not have been a right move but I figured, if the plant is going to dry them off anyway, I'll take them and grow new plants out of them first. This way nothing is lost.

But, I did keep the leafless stems! While the leaves were rooting I put the stems away and forgot about them. Come September, all the bald stems started to push new leaves! They may not grow into well-shaped plants but, with Adromischus, each new fully grown leaf potentially means a new perfectly shaped plant grown from it. Don't throw away those stems!


The same plant today

Backed by this experience, I recently tried to "refresh" a couple of older plants. The bushy types of Adromischus that naturally have larger spaces between leaves tend to grow too long with age and then tip over. We don't want that. In the past, on one or two occasions, I removed the lower leaves and buried the plant deeper. This year I simply cut them in two. The top with younger leaves can be rooted again while the bottom regrows. 

Three weeks later

Got some leaf cuttings from it as well. Propagating like a champion.

Here are some other rooted tips, happily growing. But these were removed because I noticed the base of the root had started rotting. If you notice these things early this is how you save the plant.

My advice to you? As soon as a new Adromischus comes into your home, make a backup copy. It not only prevents you from fear of losing a plant, growing Adros from leaf cuttings is lots of fun, too. Just look at these cuties!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Transplanting Adromischus (7 pics)

The longer I grow Adromischus the more obvious it gets that they really don't like summer heat that much. The intense light isn't beneficial to them either when it's hot. I tend to ignore them in summer because looking at them depresses me. The green types lose their color, the rest is just sitting there deflating miserably while also not taking in water. Then they drop leaves or start rotting. Of course, there are flowers, but they weaken the plants additionally leaving them in a sorry state that mealy bugs like to exploit. And then September comes and the world is new again! They inflate their leaves and new growth appears everywhere, they get plump and happy and I realize I spend most of my time at the windowsill in the Adromischus corner. Fall and spring are the two seasons Adromischus look best!
It's also the time to re-evaluate their growing conditions and transplant those needing transplanting. For example, I had some greenies growing in a shadier place and they made it though the summer retaining their color while the rest all turned yellow. So, now all the greenies have been moved to the shade. It freed up some space for bigger pots, too. Which is convenient as at least two plants have outgrown theirs. 
I couldn't decide first, which one is going to move to a bigger pot this year, my old red-ish type plant or the green one they call A. marianiae 'alviolatus'. After a month of active growth both look great and could spread even more if given the opportunity.

By the way, this is the same plant as on the below picture, taken back in March 2018.

In the end I decided to move the alveolatus and, once the top layer of pumice was removed, it was clearly the right decision. Those roots have no more room in the old pot!

One root massage later the big root beard is revealed.

I wonder if it will fill out this 9 cm pot by next year :)

PS: I've grown several cute babies from its leaves, too.

Monday, September 9, 2019

What to do with those Haworthia offsets? (19 pics)

When I said "Haworthias are next" in my last entry, I meant it literally 😄

I've grown several Haworthias before but wanted to expand the "collection" a bit these couple of years to have a more or less diverse selection of plants. The problem is I like them all! The big, the small, the fat, the delicate, the little offset-babies, the massive round stand-alone rosettes and the "hens with chicks" - all kinds and in all growth stages. I wouldn't have the room for all of them because they are not only generally bigger then the plants I usually grow. Turns out they also grow much quicker than expected. The majority of plants I bought were very young or sometimes damaged but they quickly outgrew the awkward age and damaged leaves. Others just kept on growing and developing offsets along the way which, of course, I simply have to keep and see what they'll turn into. Luckily they don't require sunlight to be very intense and grow happily on my bedroom's windowsill.

As the plants grew bigger I was presented with a dilemma. What is prettier - a single rosette or a bucket full of Haworthia heads? You gotta decide early on and it all comes down to the question of leaving versus removing the offsets.

With some I was sure from the start what I wanted the plant to be. It was clear that the final destination of the fast growing Haworthia attenuata was going to be a big bowl. And now it's in a 25 cm container with some more room left to freely spread.

With others I was pretty sure they're better off alone.

Like this Haworthia limifolia. With this type of leaves how would an offset sufficiently spread?

Or this Haworthia pygmaea. It's way too pretty in its symmetry.

While it was not that hard to remove the H. limifolia offsets (I've given away so many over the years), I didn't have to face this situation with the H. pygmaea so far.

This year it decided to multiply. And the offset isn't even growing from underneath. Instead it's pushing new leaves from the middle. I won't be able to remove it safely so.. bye bye nice round rosette shape. I'm sure it will grow into something beautiful eventually but it will never be the same.

Same story with this Haworthia magnifica var. acuminata 'Grey Ghost'. So far, I have removed 6 offsets from it as they were conveniently growing from the bottom. The one that's growing now is more of a second head. I'll have to leave it and see where it goes.

Initially, my plan was to remove all green-ish offsets while keeping any all-white ones on the plant (it had one already but I stupidly removed it and it of course never rooted). The plant had other plans, oh well. I guess I'll lean into it and just let it do whatever it wants going forward.

I did get two very promising "almost" white offsets from it. They rooted and are coming along nicely. They might become more green as they grow though.

With this Haworthia magnifica fa. asperula I 100% support the offset growth. Got the plant cheap at a fair, with all those strange and damaged leaves. With the new perfect plant heads all around it, it will significantly improve.

Here's a good solution! Just grow 2 identical plants and have one as a single rosette and another run rampant.

Haworthia cooperi v. truncata

Maybe in the end it's not all that important and it is best to just leave the plant be and let it grow in whichever way it wants. A healthy plant will always be beautiful, no matter its shape and size. I like each and every one of them!