Friday, October 31, 2014

How It All Began

In November 2006 I visited a botanical garden with my mother.
In the cacti and succulent house I stopped next to a patch of stones that had a name tag sticking in it. I wondered who would put a name tag on stones or what might have happened to the plant that used to grow there... and then I realized that there actually were plants growing there, they just looked exactly like the stones surrounding them.

They turned out to be flowering stones (or Lithops) and I was so fascinated by them that I went home and bought my first ever plant seeds - Lithops seeds.

That day in the botanical garden my love for plants and for growing things on my own window sills was born.

Desert Rose At Sunset

Desert Rose at sunset (an iphone photo)

Adenium obesum on August 8, 2012

... and the next day

Adenium obesum on August 9, 2012

Cactus Uni

The cactus and succulent nursery at our university.

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. ;)

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