First New Plants of 2018

Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-1.

Hello Folks! I hope this post finds everyone doing awesomely well! We had a couple of thunderstorms pass by and this morning sure looks like a spring day. The first storm passed over around 10 PM but didn’t rain much. Then I heard another one at around 6 AM this morning but again heard no rain. I have no idea what happened in-between. When I got out of bed later I saw it had rained at some point. says it is currently 41° F with a high of 61° with more rain and a thunderstorm. I decided to put out the rain gauge.

The perennials that started coming up before are still the only ones I can see. They haven’t grown much, though, except for the Achillea millefolium and Catmint. I am still amazed the Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black” came back up and the Phlomis came up already instead of waiting until May.

I am somewhat behind in making a post for the new plants I brought home last Monday (March 19)… A couple of weeks earlier dad and I went to Wal-Mart and I snuck off to the garden center to see if they had any new cactus and succulents. Well, they did, but I am not sure when they came in. They were still in plastic sleeves and soaking wet. On the 19th, they were STILL in their sleeves and STILL soaking wet! When I started going over them, I found most of the sleeves were around the plants but the bottom was open. Some, however, were in sleeves with no way for water to drain out. They were still dripping with water which isn’t good for cactus and succulents, as anyone should know. Plus all the cactus had those ridiculous “strawflowers” hot glued to them.

Outside of the usual complaints, their selection was pretty good. I tried to not bring home to many, but I did rescue six plants. Four cacti and two succulents. 🙂 One thing I noticed right off the bat is NONE of the plants were labeled! GEEZ! That is one reason I didn’t bring more home than I did because I knew I would have to figure out what they were.

Aristaloe aristata (Haw.) Boatwr. & J.C.Manning

The above photo is the Aristaloe aristata commonly known as the Lace Aloe, Guinea Fowl Aloe or Torch Plant. Besides it being a neat little plant, it is very unique… It was originally named Aloe aristata by Adrian Hardy Haworth in 1825 BUT phylogenetic studies show this plant is NOT an Aloe at all but more closely related to the Astrolabes and four species of Haworthia. Because of its unique genetics, it has been given its very own genus… It is also only native to the southern tip of South Africa in the Cape Provinces, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesotho. One unique feature of this plant is the leaf tips are “tufted”… The leaves are slightly incurved and the white spots feel like sandpaper. There are already three offsets in the pot. The Aristaloe aristata has also received the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.


Gasteria sp. on 3-21-18, #419-4.

Gasteria sp.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find a Gasteria species commonly known as Ox Tongue, Cow Tongue or Lawyer’s Tongue. I have never grown any Gasteria before so this was a great find. Plants of the World Online list 22 accepted species of Gasteria but there are several species with unique differences. Some Gasteria species have leaves similar to Aloe while others leaves have given rise to the common name Ox Tongue with thick, rough leaves. A few other species have similarly shaped leaves but they are smooth like mine. That narrows down the search for what species this is even more. Then, when you take into consideration what species are commonly available, especially for Wal-Mart, that leaves only a few possibilities. One website says the most common species of Gasteria without “warts” is Gasteria maculata. Well, Llifle says Gasteria maculata is a synonym of Gasteria bicolor while Plants of the World Online says that name is a synonym of Gasteria oblique. HA! Llifle says Gasteria oblique is a synonym of Gasteria bicolor. 🙂 Since POWO is supposedly the most up-to-date, it is highly possible, I suppose, this plant is Gasteria oblique

While the leaves are definitely weird and feel like an old rubber tricycle tire, the flowers are also very unique. The base of the flowers are inflated, which gave rise to another common name, Lawyer’s Tongue… I can hardly wait till it flowers!!! The leaves are very hard and solid and the edges feel like a closed zipper. Smooth but rough. 🙂

The Gasteria I brought home was already pot bound with roots coming out of the drain holes. The pot has two larger plants plus a baby peeking through the soil. I already repotted this plant into a larger pot.


My new Oreocereus celsianus after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-14.

Oreocereus celsianus (Lem. ex Salm-Dyck) A.Berger ex Riccob

I also found a few Oreocereus celsianus who’s common name is Old Man of the Andes. I bought my first one in February 2016 but it passed on during the next winter. I was glad to find a couple to choose from at Wal-Mart. This one is 3 1/2” tall x about 2 1/2” wide without the fuzz and thorns. Removing the “strawflower” from this one was impossible…


Mammillaria elongata after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-13.

Mammillaria elongata DC.

There were several Mammillaria elongata to choose from. There were several Mammillaria species available, but trying to figure out what species you have can be a nightmare since so many look alike. So, when I find unlabeled Mammillaria they need to be unique so their names are easier to figure out. Mammillaria species are quite variable which only makes it worse. While there are several Mammillaria species that are similar to the one I bought, there are a few hints that narrow down the search. Especially when I sent photos to Daiv Freeman of the CactusGuide and posted to a couple of groups on Facebook. We all agreed this cactus is Mammillaria elongata as named and described by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in Mémoires du Museum d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris) in 1828.

The main stem, which the rest grew from, is 5 3/4″ tall and there are 12 “stems” in all. There are remnants of yellow flowers and perhaps some buds. 🙂

I have a question? What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the photo? This is like an ink blot test. To me, it looks like it is giving me the birdie… 🙂 Well, it would have a good reason. A few days ago I slung my pants across the bed and knocked it on the floor. Of course, it fell apart so I had to put all the stems back in the pot. They all stuck together because of the spines and every piece is touching the soil whereas a few of them had been attached to the main stem. GEEZ!


Cereus repandus var. monstrosus ‘Rojo’ after I brought it home on 3-19-18, #418-4.

Cereus repandus f. monstrosus ‘Rojo’

I finally found another Cereus repandus f. monstrosus ‘Rojo’! Although it looks much different than the one I had before, it is still definitely the cultivar commonly sold as Cereus peruvianus f. monstrose ‘Rojo’. Well, the history of the name of this plant is complicated to explain for sure and quite lengthy and it definitely needs a polygenetic test to be sure. There are many “monstrosus” forms of several species in the wild, but the cultivar ‘Rojo’ had some additional help by its creator which is why this plant is unique and unquestionably ‘Rojo’ no matter what shape it has taken… The infraspecific name I chose to use is also questionable because I don’t agree with Plants of the World Online… I refuse to call it Cereus hildmannianus without a polygenetic test. You can read my page about it if you like and maybe you will understand why. 🙂 Oh, yeah… This plant is 5 1/2″ tall.


Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) on 3-21-18, #419-12.

Mammillaria decipiens Scheidw.

I could not resist this odd-looking cactus and had no clue what it was. Drive Freeman of the CactusGuide said it is a Mammillaria decipiens commonly known as Bird’s Nest Pincushion which was backed up by a member of the Mammillaria Group on Facebook. I would not have guessed it was a Mammillaria species. Cactus of this type are referred to as nipple cactus. OUCH! There are a few subspecies of this one, but I am fairly confident is is not one of them. Each nipple or “tubercle” has several incurved white radial spines growing sideways plus a brown central spine that remind me of stiff pigs hair. Some photos of one of the subspecies show much longer radial spines but lack the brown central spines.

This is a smaller cactus, measuring only 1 1/2” tall x about 3” wide with a few offsets. The pot was only 2 3/4” diameter so I put it in a larger pot. I took many photos just to get a few good ones because this one wanted to be difficult…


Wal-Mart has their bulb and perennial bags out so I picked up this bag that said “Tennessee Ostrich Fern”… There wasn’t much information on the bag so of course, I had to do some research. I want some Ostrich Fern, which is why I bought the bag. A friend of mine in Minnesota has a lot of Ostrich Fern and I think they would look great along the chicken house and barn. However, when I did research, this fern is the Diplazium pycnocarpon which is the Tennessee Glade Fern… Not an Ostrich Fern like I am wanting. Well, I like most ferns so this will be OK for now. There are A LOT of fern species for sure and several with “Ostrich” in their common name.

Last fall I dug up the Caladium and Calla bulbs and put them in the basement for the winter. I had never brought in Caladium bulbs before so I am anxious to see if they will come back up. The Calla Lily bulbs are already beginning to root, so I better get them in a pot.

I promise to do the post about the birds next. Maybe I can get that done today since it is rainy. I have been steadily working on the pages to the right and I am sorry I haven’t read many of your posts lately. I think I need to set aside some time every day, or maybe one day a week just to read other posts.

So, until next time… Be safe, be well, stay positive and most of all GET DIRTY!

5 comments on “First New Plants of 2018

  1. Jim R says:

    Your weather is quite different from ours. On Saturday it started to rain early before sunrise. It turned to sleet and freezing rain for a while. By daylight there was some snow. By late afternoon we had 4-5″ of wet snow on top of the sleet and crusty ground.

    A lot has melted. But, it sure put the damper on feeling like spring was coming. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH NO! One morning last week there was a little snow on the old barrel lid where I feed the birds but nowhere else. I guess the lid was cold so it didn’t melt right away. We have had rain off and on today and there is more in the forecast. In 2013, maybe 2014, we had a good sized snow on May 1. It just varies from one year to another. We haven’t had hardly any snow here this winter. Not complaining… Winter isn’t about to give up without a few more fights. So, how have you and Melanie been doing? Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    The plants are all beautiful as usual. I hope it stays warm. Soon all the flowers will bloom.


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