Friday, October 10, 2014

Something Pink And Beautiful

I love how there are so many plants that blossom during fall and winter. It turns these otherwise dreary and gray seasons (even though right now we have brilliant sunshine here in Germany) into beautiful and colorful times.

My kitchen windowsill will soon be a collection of pink, red and white (I have yet to obtain a yellow one) blossoms of several different Schlumbergera plants. And what can I say? I just love them!

The pink ones were the fastest this year, closely followed by a red one with a single pioneer blossom that will open today or tomorrow. The white ones are not that far behind but they are generally the last ones to flower.


Pink Schlumbergera flower on October 4, 2014


Pink Schlumbergera flower on October 4, 2014

Comparing Offspring and Parents

In October 2009 I did this:

Lithops julii and Lithops marmorata after cross pollination on October 25, 2009

The resulting seeds were sown in May 2012 and (even though only one of them survived)... here is the result:


Lithops julii x marmorata on October 3, 2014

Looks a lot like his mama, doesn't he?

In my last post on this topic "julii x marmorata take after their mother" I also showed you a second Lithops, which I assumed to be julii x marmorata. But now I'm not so sure anymore.
Like I said, I also sowed hallii in that same pot and by now I must say that this second one looks more like a hallii to me than a julii.


Lithops hallii or Lithops julii x marmorata ???

I could really kick myself for sowing two different types of seeds in one pot. Especially in a pot where it's so crucially important to know exactly what kind of plant it is.

But, well, we all learn from our mistakes and this way at least it stays interesting. ;)

PS:
No, I did not overlook that little one in the last picture. But I have no idea who or what he/she is. It's still too small to say anything about markings and such. I don't even know if this one has been there from the beginning or if it is some late germinator (what a word...) that somehow managed to germinate even without the constant moisture and warmth they had directly after I sowed them.
I just hope that he'll survive and in a couple of years he'll be big enough and we'll be able to tell what his last name is.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matucana Madisoniorum - I See Red

Taking pictures of my Matucana madisoniorum when it flowers is a challenge I have not yet mastered. I have taken so many great pics of my Echinopsis and my Adeniums and so on.

But this one... I just don't know what to do with all that RED.








Matucana madisoniorum flowers on October 3, 2014

Unfortunately the flower doesn't stay open for too long. Usually it's only open one or two days and then it withers and dries up.
I have missed several flowers of this little plant and only found dried up remains a couple of days later.
Also I have not yet found out around which time of day the flower is fully open. Every time I take pictures of one, it's always either just starting to open or already getting ready to close again.

I have two (or three? not sure right now) other Matucanas, all of which look distinctly different from this one. This one is quite big but thornless and it flowers. The others are smaller, have thorns but have not flowered once. I have no idea why they are so different, but I would love it if one of the others flowered as well, because I'd like to pollinate them.

I have also seen that there are white and yellow flowering variants. That would be a great addition to my windowsills as well. I think I'm going to see if I can find seeds of those somewhere or a small plant in one of our bigger garden shops.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Adeniums Moving To A New Home

My little photo session a few days ago has kind of triggered the green thumb again and yesterday I took the time to repot some of my plants... most of which were way overdue for a new and bigger pot.

Among them were my little Adeniums. They had to come out of the old pot, which wasn't a pot at all but a plastic tray in which they had germinated and wasn't by far deep enough. So I knew what I would find when I took them out of there: their roots had grown sideways instead of growing down as they were supposed to.


Adenium obesum "Dark Love" out of their pots on October 3, 2014

But they are still young so the damage isn't too bad, they have not yet started to grow those fleshy, thick roots that grow down into the ground like carrots.

But my problem was that I didn't really have a decent sized pot for them. I would like to set them into those Lechuza pots as soon as possible because I know that they like those, even at that young age. But the pots I had were too big for that matter.

In the end I came up with both a compromise and a solution.
I put three Adeniums into one Lechuza pot. They won't be big enough to supply themselves with water from the reservoir for a long time, but that doesn't matter - I can just keep watering them from the top as long as they need it.

My other worry was that once their roots started to grow they might get entangled with each other. To prevent that I took parts of an old plastic pot that I had to cut open to rescue a Dracaena's roots out of it, cut four pieces out of it and put them into the Lechuza soil - two for each pot - as a root barrier of sorts, separating the three adeniums.
I did not take pictures of that, but I guess you get the general idea.

These are my Adeniums in their new pots now:


Both Adenium pots together on October 3, 2014


Three Adenium obesum "Dark Love" plants in one Lechuza pot on October 3, 2014


Front left: Adenium obesum "Chagiara", Front right and back: Adenium obesum "Honey" on October 3, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New Little Adenium Obesum Plants

Last year during the late summer months - when the reasonable home gardener knows very well that it's already too late to sow new plants, *insert rolling eyes here* - I was browsing through ebay and stumbled upon Adenium obesum seeds.

As you all know I have already sown Adeniums from seed successfully.
These three specimens still thrive on my windowsills, one of them flowering twice a year, the other two stubbornly turning a deaf ear whenever I talk to them about maybe growing a flower bud or two. *insert another set of rolling eyes*

So I thought it might be time for another try at sowing Adeniums.

Now, I have to admit that I got a little carried away.
I KNOW perfectly well that when you're buying seeds, the flower color of the mother plant is no reference to what the child's flowers will look like.
But the images of the flowers were so stunning (I also successfully ignored the thought that they might have been photoshopped *roll...*) and the price was reasonable so I HAD TO give in and I bought seeds.

I saved the images that came with the ebay auction, but since I don't own the copyright, I can't post them here. But I can do my best to describe them to you.

I bought three sets of seeds:

Adenium obesum "Chagiara"
This is a purple flower with a bit of white. The gullet (or pharynx or whatever this is called in botany) is purple and the flower petals are broadly lined by purple, too. But the middle parts of the flower petals are white. The flower petals are round-ish and the plant's leaves are pointy.

Adenium obesum "Dark Love"
The "Dark Love" has a dark red/pink flower that's almost black. The gullet, however is white with only narrow dark red stripes. The flower petals are dark red (or dark pink) in the center around the gullet and then quickly merge into almost black towards the middle and edge of the petals.

Adenium obesum "Honey"
The "Honey" has a honey colored flower with orange veins and outer petal rims. The gullet is yellow with a green tinge and pronounced orange veins running down it. The stigmata are yellow with orange stripes.

I know my plants won't have flowers like the ones I described here, but even if they have only a margin of these features left in them, they will be interesting and very gorgeous flowers.


And now for my little plants that came from these seeds:

The Chagiara is the only one that survived from my first try in August 2013. but it didn't really grow well during the winter so it's now exactly as well developed as its younger siblings from spring 2014.

Young Adenium obesum 'Chagiara' plant, photo date 2014-09-30
Adenium obesum "Chagiara" seedling on September 30, 2014 - sown 2013-08-25

The "Honey"s have been sown in April of this year and I am astonished to see how well developed they are, given the fact that they are only half a year old.

Young Adenium obesum 'Honey' plant, photo date 2014-09-30
Adenium obesum "Honey" seedling on September 30, 2014 - sown 2014-04-05

Young Adenium obesum 'Honey' plant, photo date 2014-09-30
Adenium obesum "Honey" seedling on September 30, 2014 - sown 2014-04-05

The "Dark Love"s have also been sown in April of this year. I don't know if it's because they got more direct sun than the Honeys or if it's just in their nature... but just look at their red bellies!

Young Adenium obesum 'Dark Love' plant in pumice soil, picture date 2014-09-30
Adenium obesum "Dark Love" seedling on September 30, 2014

Young Adenium obesum 'Dark Love' plant in pumice soil, picture date 2014-09-30
Adenium obesum "Dark Love" seedling on September 30, 2014

Young Adenium obesum 'Dark Love' plant in pumice soil, picture date 2014-09-30
Adenium obesum "Dark Love" seedling on September 30, 2014

Close-up of Adenium obesum 'Dark Love' seedling leaves, photo date 2014-09-30
Close-up of Adenium obesum "Dark Love" leaves on September 30, 2014

Close-up of Adenium obesum 'Dark Love' seedling leaves, photo date 2014-09-30
Close-up of Adenium obesum "Dark Love" leaves on September 30, 2014

Close-up of Adenium obesum 'Dark Love' seedling leaves, photo date 2014-09-30
Close-up of Adenium obesum "Dark Love" leaves on September 30, 2014

Five young Adenium obesum plants in a plastic tray, picture date 2014-09-30
Group picture with Adenium obesum "Honey" in the foreground (2x) and Adenium obesum "Dark Love" in the background (3x) on September 30, 2014

Lithops Lesliei - A Fountain Of Gold

Lithops lesliei, in my opinion, are among the most common and uninteresting looking Lithops. Here in Germany they are the ones most often sold in hardware stores and gardening centers and everyone seems to have one.
It's mean to say this, but I think they are ordinary.

And then they start to flower and there is this fountain of yellow and gold coming from them, large flowers that cover the little plant completely.
And all of a sudden there is nothing ordinary about them anymore.

The color of these flowers is so rich they seem to glow on their own, even in the shadows. And when the sunlight hits the flower, the sparkling and shimmering hightlights dancing on the petals are mesmerizing.

It is unfair that these Lithops only get my full attention once a year when they flower. But fortunately they don't demand a lot of attention the rest of the time. They are very uncomplicated and undemanding little pals.

Close-up of a yellow Lithops lesliei flower, picture date 2014-09-30
Lithops lesiei flower on September 30, 2014

Two yellow Lithops lesliei flowers with a bit of the plant body visible at the bottom, picture date 2014-09-30
Two Lithops lesiei flowers on September 30, 2014

Lithops Julii Coming To Life

Sometimes I think Lithops live for the fall.

They sit on my windowsill all through the year and even when they grow a new pair of leaves it does not seem like such a big deal... but once they start to flower, that's when all the life force gathers in these little plant balls and explodes through their fissure into a gorgeous flower.

(Sorry for being overly prosaic today, but I haven't had the chance to look at my Lithops properly in a while.)

Side view of white Lithops julii flower with blurry yellow Lithops lesliei flowers in the foreground, picture date 2014-09-30
Lithops julii flower with a blur of Lithops lesliei flowers in the foreground on September 30, 2014

White Lithops julii flower with two yellow Lithops lesliei flowers in the foreground, picture date 2014-09-30
Lithops julii flower with two Lithops lesliei flowers in the foreground on September 30, 2014

White flower on Lithops julii, picture date 2014-09-30
Lithops julii flower on September 30, 2014