Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I finally finished the shelf for the front bedroom. I have put some plants on it already but I may make a few changes. I may put the cactus that are in front of the sliding door in the dining room on this shelf and put the Alocasia gageana in the dining room. The Alocasia gageana don’t really like the basement but they did OK in the dining room before. They didn’t seem to like the front window last year. The cactus will be fine either place because they aren’t that particular during the winter. The bigger Alocasia do fine in the basement and aren’t near as particular as A. gageana. But they are all still in the dining room and on the island/bar (whatever you call it) between the kitchen and dining room. The two pots of Alocasia gageana are on the new shelf in my bedroom. They are already stretching because they were in the living room practically in the dark. I put them outside again for a few days when it was warm but had to bring them back in because temps dropped from 70° F to 28. This past week has been nice, though.
This is the final cactus and succulent update. BUT, I have a confession to make. I had to go to Sedalia, about 28 miles away, and stopped by Lowe’s for a few things. I had to go to the plant department to check out the discount rack. It was STILL outside when temps were dropping all day. The door going outside was open and the cold air was coming in on the plants that were inside. I went to the outside area and the cactus and succulents on the discount rack were in terrible condition. I looked at the plants inside and the cactus and succulents looked OK but I didn’t see any I wanted. The industry, namely Altman Plants, has a new thing with their labeling, which I also noticed at Wal-Mart. They aren’t even putting the name of the plant on a lot of the labels. Before, even though the name may haven’t been up to date, at least it was a name… Anyway, I did find two plants that caught my eye I decided to adopt… An Aloe arborescens and Polaskia chichipe… 🙂 I think they make 67 different cactus and succulent species/cultivars. 🙂
<<<<Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata)>>>>
This Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata)(Joseph’s Coat) is one of the newer cactus in my collection. I found it at Wagler’s Greenhouse on March 28, 2020, when I was there for a visit. It looked particularly strange and I didn’t recognize what it was at the time. Without really looking it over, I picked it up and brought it home. Mrs. Wagler has quite a collection of plants she takes cuttings from and other people must bring her plants as well. I don’t know how many I have taken to them and we aren’t keeping track. If I see plants I want that are from their stock she never charges me. I think sometimes that makes some of them harder to resist…
Once I got it home I looked it over while I was taking photos. This was one puzzling and weird creature but I noticed it looked kind of Prickly Pear-ish. Its main stem was wide and flat like a long, skinny pad. It also appeared variegated… Hmmm… I wasn’t about to get online and look through photos of the Opuntia species because there are 132. SO, I took photos and posted them on the Facebook group called Succulent Infatuation. Normally, it doesn’t take very long for someone to give me a suggestion. This time, a member said it was Opuntia monacantha var. variegata and they were correct.
Of course, as with most varieties and subspecies these days, Opuntia monacantha var. variegata is considered a synonym of Opuntia monacantha even though its name and description were validly published in 1874 in The Gardeners’ Chronicle… Well, the author’s name is “Anon.” which could be anonymous. Even so, it was in The Gardeners’ Chronicle!!! I can call it what I want anyway since this is my blog, right? 🙂
When I brought this plant home it was 4 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide. On October 15 when I moved the plants inside, it was still 2 1/4″ wide, but it had grown to 6 1/4″ tall. The lower, um, branches or whatever is sticking out all over it, have gotten longer and flatter.
LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) list this plant as Opuntia monacantha f. monstruosa variegata which isn’t even listed as a synonym on Plants of the World Online. LLIFLE says this is a monstrous form of the species and is one of very few naturally occurring white variegated cacti. It says it is a dwarf, teratological variant of the larger Opuntia monacantha. This variegated variety can be variegated or marbled with white, creamy-white, yellow, green, and sometimes with pink in various patterns. Being a monstrous form, it looks nothing like the species. Apparently, this critter will grow to maybe at least 20″ tall, but it could grow to about 3′. The species, well, that is a different story. They are a bushy or tree-like species that can grow from 6 to 20′ tall. I don’t see how one can grow that tall without falling over… The Prickly Pear that grows here and when I was in Mississippi just kind of sprawled out over the ground and seldom are over 4-5 feet tall.
I really like monstrous forms of cacti because they are weird. They seem to be forms of their species that have decided to go their own way but most are “created” by humans. This one grows like this in the wild… It will be very interesting to watch this plant grow and do its thing… Thank you, Universe!
Something strange happened over the summer with the two Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus). I always called them “Greater” and “Lesser” because one was always tall than the other. Yeah, I know, I named the two Echinocactus grusonii (now Kroenleinia grusonii) “Greater” and “Lessor” because of the same reasons. The same thing happened with these two that happened with the other two. They are both the same size now! “Greater” on the right was always taller and thinner but they are both 6″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide now. Last October 11, “Greater” was 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide, and “Lessor” was 5 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. Weird! I brought these two home with me from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, and I didn’t realize I had two until I got home (the same as with the Echinocactus/Kroenleinia grusonii…). I forgot to measure “Greater” at the time, but “Lesser” was only 1 7/8″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide. SO, they have grown A LOT!
“Lessor”, on the left, had these two kids last year but now “Greater” also has one. I thought they were guys… Maybe they are like Penguins… One of “Lessor’s” kids has really grown over the summer. I hope the kid has better grooming skills…
Normally, these two joke around a lot with me, but I think parenting has made them more serious… They are great plants and I congratulate them on their offsets.
The Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus, ETC.) is a great little cactus with no issues. I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29, 2020, when it measured only 1 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide. The weird thing is that it measured 2 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on October 15. Hmmm… It was 2 5/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide last October 11. Well, that just seemed odd so I measured it again a few days later and it was the same. I checked AGAIN on November 13 and noticed the potting soil on one side of the pot is lower than the other. SO, I measured it again from the low side and it STILL says 2 1/2″ tall soI must have measured it from that side before. Then I measured its width for grins (in private) and it was 3″ wide!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to recheck three times! I mentioned before I watered the cactus the day before I moved them inside and I think they swell after they get water. Does that mean it takes a month for them to swell? HMMMM…
ANYWAY… I really like this cactus. It reminds me of the crown on the package of Imperial margarine. Remember the old commercials on TV? The man on the commercial takes a bite of something with Imperial margarine on it and the horn sounds and then a crown appears on his head. 🙂
Parodia magnifica has the same interesting hairdo as Parodia lenninghausii. But this one has fewer ribs and tufts of wool on the areoles than stream down the side a little. I have one photo on its page that shows it a lot woolier.
<<<<Dracaena hanningtonii ‘Samurai’>>>>
I brought this neat Sanseveria ehrenbergii ‘Samurai’ home from Wal-Mart on January 8, 2020. It was 3″ tall x 6″ wide then and it was still the same size when I brought the plants inside on October 15. Oddly, it has grown 1/4″ since I bought it inside until now, which is November 14. I started this post on November 11 and no telling how much longer it will take. Anyway, this plant is very interesting with its short, wide, thick, rough, boat-shaped leaves with a very sharp needle at the tip. The actual species of this dwarf form get pretty large and it leaves are much different. The species is found in several countries in East Africa while this smaller version is supposedly only found in Somalia. Yes, it is naturally occurring and I highly doubt the name ‘Samurai’ or ‘Samurai Dwarf’ are registered cultivar names. LLIFLE has a page for a dwarf form called ‘Banana’ because someone thinks the leaves resemble a banana. That is also the one on Dave’s Garden… The name ‘Samurai’ probably comes from one of the common names of the species, Sword Sansevieria.
I would have probably been finished with this post on the 14th but I hit a snag… I hadn’t wrote a page for this plant, so I decided I would go ahead and do it while I was writing this post. I started out as usual writing the title, adding the photos, then going to the bottom of the page to add the websites to copy and paste links to for further information. All was well UNTIL I went to Plants of the World Online and did a search for Sansevieria ehrenbergii. Right before my eyes, it said Sanseveria ehrenbergii was a synonym of Dracaena hanningtonii. I WAS SHOCKED!!!
Trust me, I wrote many paragraphs and deleted them several times before I am making the short version… If you want more details, click on the plant’s name above.
In short, based mainly on testing, it was decided that species of Dracaena, Sansevieria, and I think the Pleomele should all be in the same genus. This controversy has been going on for many years, umm… Probably since the late 1800’s. In fact, most species of all three have synonyms that were once in the other generas. Before the testing was started, they based their arguments on flowers, fruit, leaves, how they spread, etc. Testing basically stopped all the arguments and genera with hierarchy won the prize. Dracaena was chosen over Sanseviera because it was named in 1767 while Savsevieria was named in 1794. Some species of Dracaena had the same species name as species of Sansevieria such (Dracaena trifasciata and Sansevieria trifasciata). Other species that were the same had different species names, such as the case between Dracaena hanningtonii and Sansevieria ehrenbergii. Same plant but it had two different species names. In fact, the species has seven synonyms from four genera.
Getting back to the plant… It was weird over the summer because it rejected the tag that came with it. It was this dangly tag that said Sansevieria ‘Samurai’ stuck on a stick in its pot. I put it back in the pot several times only to find it out of the pot again after a few days when I checked on the plants. The plant would have this odd grin like it had a dirty little secret…
OH, I went online to see if I could get more information about the name change and ran across this very good video by Summer Rayne Oakes. She not only talks about the name change, but she discusses the testing and even has an interview with a researcher and a member of the staff from the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. It is very good…
Moving right along…
Many cactus and succulents have amazing flowers, some downright incredible that make you drool. Well, I am not drooling over pink flowers… The Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) blooms at the time of the year when most plants are going into dormancy. They have several common names that apparently reflect when they flower such as Holiday Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, and Easter Cactus. Other common names include Crab Cactus, Zygocactus, Lobster cactus, Claw Cactus, Linkleaf, Yoke Cactus, and Crab’s Claw Cactus. Decreasing day length and cool temperatures trigger their flowering period, so here in North America, they may start budding in mid to late October or a little later. They flower in May in their native habitat in the mountain forests and jungles in Southeastern Brazil. They are available in a variety of colors including red, pink, peach, purple, orange, white, or multicolored.
I always wanted at least one of these, but I didn’t want one with pink flowers. When I lived in Mississippi, one of my neighbors, who also collected plants and had an AWESOME yard, offered me one of these plants. I couldn’t refuse even though she said it would have pink flowers. I gave it to a friend of mine when I moved from Mississippi in 2013 and didn’t see any available until 2019. I had gone to Wagler’s Greenhouse to take plants in September and she had quite a few pots. The pots were labeled with the color they were supposed to be so I brought home one that said peach. It only had two flowers but they turned out to be pink. I went back to the greenhouse to see if she had more, but this guy from out of town kept buying all she had so there were none left. This past summer I found a few there and brought home one with a tag that said red…
The one that is supposed to be red hadn’t flowered and maybe won’t until next fall. I thought it had a few buds earlier, but they either fell off or turned out to be leaves (which aren’t actually leaves).
Schlumbergera species have leafless stems called cladodes that act as photosynthetic organs. The cladodes are made up of flat segments that have 2-3 teeth along their edges and ends. The species gets its scientific name, “truncata” from the word “truncated” meaning “cut off” or “abruptly cut off” because the tips look cut off rather than being round or pointed. The areola between the two teeth on the ends have brown wool and bristles and is where the flowers and new segments appear.
I never noticed the brown wool before, but the red one is quite wooly between the teeth at the tip. The red one also has darker segments and over the summer the whole plant was a shade of reddish-brown. Now it has these weird little aerial roots.
The Schlumbergera truncata are fairly easy to grow plants. I am not sure why they are in the Cactaceae Family because in their native habitat they grow on trees (epiphytic) or on rocks (epilithic) in high altitudes in a small area of the coastal mountains of southeast Brazil. They seem to grow in just about any type of potting soil but prefer a similar mixture as used for orchids, bromeliads, or other epiphytic plants. During the summer they like regular watering but likes their soil to slightly dry out between watering. They need a little more while they are flowering, but afterward not so much, maybe a little once a month over the winter.
I did sneak out to Wagler’s Greenhouse on Tuesday (Nov. 17) to see if she had any new Schlumbergera… You will see what I brought back in the next post. 🙂 🙂 🙂
<<<<Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’>>>>
Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ did very well over the summer as expected. I was going to put the two Sedum adolphii on the back porch in full sun over the summer but I forgot about it. This cultivar of Sedum adolphii was introduced in 2014 from the Huntington Botanic Garden and I picked this one up from Lowe’s in July 2018. It was very small then… Sedum adolphii is the only Sedum species I have been able to grow inside with any luck. They have no issues inside or out whatsoever and make the transition with no ill effects.
‘Firestorm’ surprised me last April with a lot of flowers so hopefully, it will do that again.
Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) has been a great companion and has hung in there since I brought it home in 2016. I brought my first one home in 2012 when I was in Mississippi and brought it with me when I moved here in February 2013. I had it until I gave up most of my plants in 2015, but found another one in 2016. In 2017 this plant was completely neglected because I was busy doing this and that. Grass grew in its pot and it lost a lot of leaves. It survived the winter SO, I put it in a better pot, took several leaf cuttings in the summer of 2018 and it has done very well since. I told it I would never let that happen again.
I have always had the Sedum adolphii in light to part shade either under trees or on the front porch. I think they would fine, if not better, on the back porch in full sun. I am just somewhat hesitant… Maybe I will take some cuttings or cut their stems off and regrow them. I think they would stay more compact and their leaves would be bigger…
HMMMMM…….. The Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) had done very well over the summer and has filled the pot. I am kind of at a loss for words when it comes to writing about this plant. I ordered cuttings of this plant from a seller on Ebay which arrived on 10-9-18 (but it seems like last year). His offering was for five cuttings, seven came, and I put them all in the same pot. I realize now I should have put them in separate pots, or at least maybe put 3-4 per pot. Although this plant is considered a succulent, it and the Huernia schneideriana are both carrion plants and members of the Apocynaceae (Milkweed) Family. This one has soft, fuzzy stems that grow upright while those of the Stapelia are not fuzzy and grow long and hang down. I guess they aren’t really fuzzy fuzzy. Feels like felt.
Of course, the main reason wanted this plant was for its HUGE flowers. It had several buds last year before I moved the pot inside which dried up and fell off once the plant was inside. I noticed ONE bud in September which also dried up. SO, I need to do some experimenting… How do I keep the buds from aborting? Hmmm… I think I will divide this pot and put them on the shelf in the back bedroom. They will be in front of a south-facing window and the bedroom stays cool… I will have to keep an eye on it because last fall it had a few mealybugs… We shall see…
I took Mrs. Wagler a cutting that had been hanging over the side in 2019, so when I went there on Tuesday I asked her if hers flowered. Her reply was, “OH, I didn’t know they flowered.” HMMMMM… She went back to her house to bring it to me to make sure we were talking about the same plant. She brought out a pot of what looked like 4-5 cuttings stuck in potting soil. Yeah, it was the right plant, but I was wondering what happened to “the plant”. She said she kept taking cuttings and potting them up and people kept buying them. HMMMMMM….. She is Amish so I couldn’t say “HOLY S—T!!!” I did explain the flowers to her AGAIN…
Then she asked about the bulbs of the plant that smelled bad. She said I had given her several plants but people kept buying them and she only had one bulb left. She reached in a pot and pulled out a small Amorphophallus bulb… DOUBLE GEEZ!!! MAYBE TRIPLE!!! To think I got my start from her in the first place and she only has one small bulb (rhizome or whatever you prefer to call it… I can’t even think right now).
NOW, WHERE WAS I? Oh yeah, Fall 2020 Update Part 6…
The Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost, Oregon Pipe, ETC.) continues to do well and is now 5 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. It was 2 7/8″ tall x 23/4″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. Last October 11 it was 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide, so it grew taller but is still the same diameter. I checked and it hasn’t swelled anymore since I bought it inside. 🙂 This is a neat cactus anyway you look at it but I still wouldn’t want to give it a hug… It is a bit pokey. 🙂
Cactus are very interesting from the top and this one is no exception. I like the way it gets a purplish glow when it has been in the sun.
One more, I think… 🙂
<<<<Tephrocactus articulates var. papyracanthus>>>>
Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus)… I brought a small segment home from Wal-Mart on February 9, 2016 that had fallen off when I was looking at the cactus. I put the segment in my pocket because I figured it would just get thrown away. I didn’t steal it, I rescued it. 🙂 Anyway, I think it is pretty neat with the papery spines. This cactus is very fragile because the segments fall off very easily. I usually don’t measure it because it rarely gets very tall. I decided I would have a look at it while I was updating its page, and one plant has managed to branch out with two segments on one side and one on the other. So, I measured it and it is 3″ tall (the side with three segments) and the lowest segment is about 1 1/2″ in diameter. That is the biggest, so it is likely the original segment from 2016. Several plants in the pot have two segments. I think I need to put it in a larger pot since I haven’t done that in a few years. Then the segments can fall off and the colony will get bigger. GEEZ!!! Well, if I don’t they may fall into its neighbor’s pot or on the shelf. If I have it in a larger pot they won’t go very far. They spread in the wild when cattle or wildlife walk through a colony and the segments break off and get carried away in the fur.
This is not a very good photo, but you can see this plant’s tubercles and glochids. Glochids are those tiny little spines that get stuck in your fingers that are nearly impossible to get out. Some species of Opuntia (Prickly Pear) have those and I remember them well when I was a kid. I don’t remember who had one, maybe my grandma, but I got them in my fingers and I didn’t like it very well. It was one of those with the pads that didn’t really have long needles, but it had those darn fuzzy glochids. I have never brought any of those home…
Ahhh, here is a better photo of the top of one of the segments. You can see a little wool around the areoles and the glochids. The bigger spines are no problem. Other varieties of this species don’t have the papery spines. Of course, only the species is recognized as accepted, but the variety name was validly published in 1953 by Carl Backeberg when he also named the genus. It has been previously named Opuntia papyracantha in 1872. The species has 45 synonyms and has been in 3 genera. 21 are different species and varieties of Opuntia, 21 Tephrocactus species and varieties, and 3 Cereus species. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) describes six varieties of Tephrocactus articulatus including two of this variety. One of the Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus has more raised tubercles… Of course, all six varieties are synonyms of Tephrocactus articulatus under the APG III System.
OK, now I am finished with the Cactus and Succulents.
WAIT A MINUTE!!!
I almost forgot about the two new plants I brought home from Lowe’s ON NOVEMBER 10…
After I had been outside in the garden center at Lowe’s on November 10, I came back inside and looked at the plants again. Their selection wasn’t that great, but after all, it is November, right? As I was leaving the area disappointed, I noticed more plants. I had already seen several Aloe vera, but I didn’t need any of those. If I wanted Aloe vera, I could get them from Mrs. Wagler. Then I spotted these odd-looking critters that looked like some kind of strange Aloe with teeth. The tag didn’t say what they were because there were no tags at all. They were in these gold-colored metal pots, supposed to be decorative. I took the pot it was in out of the metal pot to see if there was a tag… All the tag says is 11.00-OZ SUCCULENT METAL. Hmmm… By the time I got home, it was dark and I couldn’t take photos outside. I did take a couple but they will be on this plant’s page when it is finished. ANYWAY, I put the photo I took on the Facebook group called Succulent Infatuation. When I checked the next morning a member said it was an Aloe arborescens. AHHH! So that is what an Aloe arborescens looks like?
I had seen photos of these online but really never paid much attention to them until I brought one home. 🙂
SO, what is an Aloe arborescens? Well, apparently, they definitely aren’t miniatures… Information online says they are a tree-like species of Aloe that can grow to around 10 FEET TALL! Hmmm… The things you learn after the fact. 🙂 I am pretty sure they won’t get that tall in a pot. Aloe arborescens also has the third largest distribution among the genus…
Besides having these teeth, Aloe arborescens is prized for its flowers that attract birds, bees, and butterflies. One of its common names is the Torch Aloe… Information says they flower in the winter which is something I have to see. I have a few miniature Aloe that are flowering now but to see a big one flower in the winter in the house? Hmmm…
The other plant I brought home from Lowe’s on November 10 might be a Polaskia chichipe. At least that is what a member of Succulent Infatuation suggested. I am not 100% sure because the plants in this pot have 7 ribs while information on LLIFLE and other sites say they are supposed to have 9-12. HOWEVER, when checking images online, many had as few as 6 ribs. HMMMM… Some sites say the species has 9-12 ribs while they show photos of plants with 6. 🙂 I think they buy plants to sell and think it is one species and might be another. Who know since so many look so much alike. I sent photos to Daiv Freeman of the CactiGuide and SucculentGuide to see what he thinks…
The pot’s label just says 11.00-OZ CACTUS W/DECO FLOWER. The second line says Cactus w/ Decorative Flower / Cactus ssp…… GEEZ! Altman Plants grow A LOT of plants for the industry and it seems like they have completely given up on properly labeling them. Maybe they got tired of enthusiasts complaining about them using old names. Perhaps they realized the scientific names of some are changing and they can’t keep up. Even an old name pointed in the right direction but no name is even more confusing. Even just a common name would be great! If they should stop anything, it would be to stop using hot glue to stick those darn strawflowers on their cactus. The tallest plant in the pot had one on it but it was already about to come off. I removed it without difficulty but there is still a little damage. It will be OK, though. As the plant gets taller you might not even notice the scars.
If these guys are definitely Polaskia chichipe, they are native to central and southwest Mexico where they grow up to 15′ tall, are short-stemmed, and have multiple branches. They produce pinkish-white or yellowish-green flowers and are highly prized for their fruit.
OK, NOW I am finished with this post and will start working on the next post about what I brought back from Wagler’s on Tuesday. :
Until next time, stay well, be safe, and stay positive.