I've been reading up on some species in Mesembs of the World (strange name for a book about plants that naturally grow in only one part of the world) and Succulent Flora of Southern Africa. Both books have wonderful illustrations telling more than words but as usual there is next to nothing about care in cultivation. A book on that has yet to be written. Still, using the discription you can try to guess and then handle the plants accordingly. That's when experimentation under carefuly observation begins.
Intrigued by the looks of the Mesembs below I bought them at the recent C&S market in Essen. I've never grown Ruschia, Antimima or Braunsia before and know nothing about them so at first I waited to see how they'll react to the new conditions (they are greenhouse grown). I haven't seen any big changes in the looks except for getting wrinkled in the sun and returning to the old shape when watered. Carefully watered. Because I really don't know what I'm doing here. So let's see what we can interpret into something useful from the articles in the books.
The articles on Braunsia are pretty short (same as others). The specimen I have is Braunsia geminata (SB1397/MG1353.4). Combined with The New Mastering the Art of Growing Mesembs by S. Hammer this is what I learnt that might be useful: It can get up to 30cm tall, grows primarily in winter (in SA or here?), flowers pink or white (there are way too many "or"s in Succulent Flora of Southern Africa, not helpful), dries out quickly (the photo in Mesembs of the World shows a very very wrinkly plant). According to S. Hammer it flowers in winter to spring (which is basically all year long?), in Mesembs of the World they (probably also him) write "flowering from midsummer to early winter (Jan to Jul in SA)". So no idea, will have to find out myself. In fact, every indication of time of the year in the books is unclear because you don't know whether it's southern or northern hemisphere. Can be propagated from cuttings.
Moving on to Ruschia, a significant part of the articles is about how it's been mixed up with Antimima before (irrelevant to me). Mine is Ruschia sp. (MG1852.222). As per S. Hammer, "watered amply, they retain more lower leaves while adding new ones on top; starved, they will favor the new, and abandon the old yellows" which is quite good piece of information meaning that we can regulate the looks depending on what we as growers find more attractive. I guess the former will look better throughout the year while the latter will increase chances for flowers. Daytime flowers seem to be mainly pink and sweet-smelling and can be expected anytime in the year with peaks in spring and fall. No useful info in SFSA.
Antimima seem to be winter-growers (meaning kept dry in summer), flowers pink-red before spring, strongly scented and sometimes growing on "sticks". The whole "1-to-3-type leaves" got me confused. The one I have is Antimima fenestrata (MG1319.42) and the sheaths are wrapped around the new green leaves. Accordning to MotW the "leaves are either of one type only, or of two, rarely three" but nowhere is indicated which species is which. It says, the first leaf pair forms a sheath which tells me that mine must have two. Okay then, it might be Monilaria-like so it should start growing soon. It says in SFSA "attractive genus which deserves more attention". Right. Then why not write something about it? No useful info in SFSA.
That's what I got so far. I wished the articles had less descriptions of plants' looks. The plants are right there on the photos! We can see how they look like. Why repeat it? To fill the pages? Fill them with more photos then :D
In this sense, do you have any tips and tricks for me? :)