HAPPY EASTER! Plus A Few More Plants…

Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus)

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE! The Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) at Wagler’s Greenhouse bloomed right on time for Easter.

Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus).

I think it was worth the wait, how about you? I went to Wagler’s several times in the past week to check on it and always found something to bring back home…

Wagler’s has A LOT of plants getting ready to go. They have sold quite a few already but the rush for plants hasn’t started yet.

Click HERE to take you to the Schlumbergera gaertneri page.

New Plants on 4-3-21.

When I went out on Friday the greenhouse was closed for Good Friday. The door was open so I went in anyway. Three of Mrs. Wagler’s granddaughters came in for a visit while I was taking photos of the Schlumbergera gaertneri. I wanted to take their photos but I knew that was a no-no. They are Amish… There are five girls in their family and they recently had a baby brother. The oldest of the three may be around 5-6 years old.

One of the girls is very talkative and I told her I found a cactus I wanted but they were closed. I told her I could take it and come back and pay tomorrow. She said, “We can hide it.” She took the cactus from my hand and found a good spot.

Mammillaria spinosissima ‘Un Pico’.

Mammillaria spinosissima ‘Un Pico’

SO, why did we have to hide it? Well, a few days ago when I went there were maybe 40 of these plants. When I went out on Friday, there were none left where they had been. I looked around, before the girls came in, and found only a few left in a different spot. I didn’t pick one up before because I wanted to check to make sure I didn’t already have a Mammillaria spinosissima. Well, I knew I didn’t have one by that name, but I wanted to make sure the name wasn’t a synonym of one I already had. I looked the plants over already and it sure didn’t appear to be one I had, but I also know that had gotten fooled before by “variable” species… Luckily, these were labeled because they came from grower somewhere.

Now as far as the species goes, it can be somewhat variable. The species name, spinosissima, should indicate it is very spiny. BUT, if you look at this cultivar ‘Un Pico’ is doesn’t have many spines… The other weird thing is the common names of Mammillaria spinosissima is supposedly Red-Headed Irishman and Spiny Pincushion Cactus… Some descriptions of the cultivar say it only has one spine per areola, which is where it gets its name. Well, there is more than one spine per areole, but only one central spine…

Echeveria nodulosa (Painted Echeveria).

Echeveria nodulosa (Painted Echeveria)

Well, I screwed up only a little… I had one of these in 2016 but I put in the flower bed behind the old foundation. I had left it in its pot so I could easily remove it if it didn’t work out. HOWEVER, I got very busy over the summer and the flower bed grew up and I completely forgot about it. Then one day it dawned on me one day I had forgotten about it. I went to check on it and apparently had become a favorite meal for crickets. I put the pot back with the other plants on the table but it didn’t recover… I have been seeing several of these at Wagler’s for a few years so I thought I would bring another one home and take better care of it.

BUT, I was thinking it was a Kalanchoe… There were no labels in the pots at Wagler’s to remind me because she takes cuttings from her own plants. I came home, took the photos, and when I was updating my list there was no Kalanchoe nodulosa from before. No past photos either… Hmmm… I scratched my head a little and did some hunting. GEEZ! It is an Echeveria

Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’…

Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’

I brought home my first Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ when I lived in Mississippi and brought it with me when I moved back to Missouri in 2013. I gave up most of my plants late in the summer of 2014. Mrs. Wagler always has several of these, and I may have given her the start, but I just never brought any home. SO, I decided I would go ahead and bring one home. You can’t have too many Kalanchoe but I am working on it…

Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’.

Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ is the one that is also called the Stalactite Plant because of its weird “protuberances” that grow from the undersides of the leaves.

Sempervivum arachnoideum (right) and Sempervivum ‘Oddity’.

These are the two Sempervivum I brought home on Tuesday I didn’t post about yet. I have had both of these before, and Mrs. Wagler’s ‘Oddity’ came from a start I gave her several years ago. I really like its tubular leaves.

Sempervivum ‘Oddity’.

Sempervivum ‘Oddity’

Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ was developed by Sandy McPherson and introduced in 1977. It won the 1978 Best Bronze Award for best new variety. Information suggests it is possibly a mutation of Sempervivum x comollii, which is thought to be a natural hybrid between Sempervivum tectorum x Sempervivum wulfenii where the two species grow in the same area.

I bought my first ‘Oddity’ in 2013 and it did very well for several years then fizzled out. I brought my second one home from Wagler’s in 2016, possibly of a descendent of a plant I gave Mrs. Wager earlier. It didn’t do well and died soon after… I brought a third one home from Lowe’s in 2018 and it did absolutely great but didn’t survive the winter inside. These are NOT reliably winter hardy here… SO, this will be my fourth attempt. I am sure it will do well over the summer, but the trick is getting them to survive over the winter inside…

Sempervivum arachnoideum (Cobweb Houseleek).

Sempervivum arachnoideum

The third time is the charm, right? I brought home my first Cobweb Houseleek in 2014 labeled Sempervivum arachnoideum ‘Cebenese’ and it didn’t survive… Then, in 2019, I brought home one that was more colorful from Wildwood Greenhouse labeled ‘Berry Bomb’ that was introduced by Chick Charms. Well, it was really a ‘Cosmic Candy’ that Chick Charms relabeled… Anyway, it did great until the intense sun burned it to a crisp on the back porch over the summer. Yeah, I know. I screwed up and wasn’t paying attention. The new one, which is unlabeled, will go on the front porch where it won’t be in full sun.

Over the years I have tried several Hens and Chicks that just fizzle out. The only one that has lasted outside for several years is the cultivar named ‘Killer’. It has survived the winter again and will be in future posts. It is hard to find a reliably hardy Semp around here unless you get them from someone who has a few to spare from their yard.

I think that wraps up this post.

I hope you have a great Easter and maybe can spend time with family. This is the second Easter with COVID in our midst. Most families didn’t have much of an Easter last year because of the lockdowns. This community even had an Easter celebration for the kids at the park on Saturday and we had a parage in town. Both were canceled last year…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. I hope you are all well and continue to stay well. Always be thankful and count your blessings. It is time to GET DIRTY!

 

Went To Take Photos, Brought Home 5 Plants…

New plants from Wagler’s Greenhouse.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I haven’t posted for a while because I really haven’t had much to talk about lately. The weather has been nice but very windy. I was finally able to clean up some of the limbs and brush in the yard last week. Now the yard needs to be mowed already.

The last time I went to Wagler’s her Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) was starting to bud and she thought the flowers would be open in a couple of weeks. So, Monday I went with my camera to check. Well, unfortunately, the flowers hadn’t opened yet.

Of course, I had to look around and I found a couple of interesting plants in one of the front greenhouses (the one with the cactus and succulents). Well, I went to the back greenhouse and there was another table with succulents they had bought for resale. Ummm… I found three more. 🙂

So, let’s begin…

Crassula perfoliata var. falcata (Propeller Plant) at 4″ tall x 6″ wide after I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 3-29-21, #785-2.

Crassula perfoliata var. falcata (Propeller Plant)

Three of the five plants are members of the plant family Crassulaceae. Several years ago I had a Crassula cotyledonis that didn’t do so well. One of its common names was Propeller Plant and it was sometimes confused with the Crassula falcata. I had seen these online but never in person until Monday when I went to Wagler’s where there were only two to choose from. Well, I promptly grabbed one. The plant was unlabeled but I definitely knew what it was.

The scientific name was changed to Crassula perfoliata var. falcata (J.C.Wendl.) Toelken thanks to Hellmut R. Toelken in 1975. It was first named Crassula falcata by Johann Christoph Wendland in 1798. Some websites have it listed as Crassula perfoliata var. minor but according to Plants of the World Online, that name is a synonym along with 18 other names…

The Crassula perfoliata var. falcata is native to South Africa and produces a cluster of bright red flowers. Besides its common name Propeller Plant, it is also known as Airplane Plant, Buddha’s Temple, Red Crassula, and Scarlet Paintbrush.

Cyanotis somaliensis (Pussy Ears) after I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 3-29-21, #785-4.

Cyanotis somaliensis (Pussy Ears, Furry Kittens)

I spotted this neat little plant that looked similar to the Tradescantia but was more of a succulent with hairy-fringed leaves so I gave it a look and decided to bring it home as well. The reason it looks similar to the Tradescantia species I already have is because it is in the same family, Commelinaceae. It will produce purplish flowers from the ends of the stems just like the Tradescantia, but this one’s flowers are more frilly. Well, it will have the same petals, but they also produce a mass of stringy looking, umm, ?. We will have to wait for flowers to be able to explain it. 🙂 There isn’t much online about this plant except from online stores. Apparently, it is an evergreen perennial that make good houseplants, similar to Tradescantia… One site says they have grown it for many years and it has yet to produce flowers. I am sure a little Miracle Grow will help. 🙂

I have never seen this plant available before but there are 50 species in the genus. Cyanotis somaliensis was named and described by Charles Baron Clarke in 1895 and is a native of northern Somalia in East Africa.

Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ at 1 1/2″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide after I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 3-29-21, #785-6.

Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’

Well, I have to admit I was beginning to get a little carried away when I decided to bring this Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ home. I like Echeveria but they haven’t done well here for me here over the winter because I didn’t have adequate light. But, since I now have a plant shelf in front of a south-facing window I decided I would give this one a shot. Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ will have reddish margins and reddish-purple tips. That is a characteristic of the species and not necessarily just the cultivar ‘Ebony’.

Echeveria agavoides was first named and described by Antione Lemaire in L’Illustration Horticole in 1863 and it is native to Northeast and Southeast Mexico. The original Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ was wild collected from a habitat near Coahuila, Mexico, by John Trager and Myron Kimnach. It was first distributed by the International Succulent Introduction (ISI 92-44).

This plant may not be an Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ because I have my suspicions. Mr. Wagler bought several cactus and succulents from the local pant and produce auction and several plants labeled Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ were among them. The tags were generic… Anyway, it makes me wonder why a grower would be selling ‘Ebony’ at an auction when they are $25 and up on Ebay? I paid $1.50… 

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) at 5″ tall x 13 3/4″ wide after I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 3-29-21.

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears)

AHHH YES!!! A while back when I was doing some research about the Kalanchoe x laetivirens, I was on a website called Sucs For You and read about the Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnerieri (Donky Ears). I drooled… When I first spotted this plant at Wagler’s, actually there were only two of them, I thought it was possibly an actual Kalanchoe daigremontiana. Well, the plant I have that I thought was a Kalanchoe daigremontiana turned out to be a Kalanchoe x laetivirens, both have the common name Mother of Thousands and I have posted about it many times. ANYWAY, it seems I was always stuck deciding what species it was because of conflicting information online. Then I figured out that Kalanchoe daigremontiana actually has purplish streaks on its leaves and mine does not. SO, I had to change the name of my plant.

Besides Donkey Ears as a common name, it also goes by Life Plant, Palm Beachballs, and Velvet Ear Kalanchoe.

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) leaf on 3-29-21, #785-9.

Once I brought this plant home, I gave it a better look… I am 99% sure it is a Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri… Well, maybe 99% is an exaggeration. I went back to the website, Sucs for You, and then looked at other photos of smaller plants online and I think I actually found a Donkey Ears. WHAT A FIND! I am a classic car buff, too, and it reminds me of what they call a “barn find”. Well, this plant wasn’t in a barn, so I’ll call it a “greenhouse find”. 🙂 I just never know what I will find at Wagler’s.

ANYWAY, the Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri will produce flowers similar to the Kalanchoe x laetivirens, which could take QUITE A WHILE. It will grow HUGE leaves!

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri Raym.-Hamet & Perrier is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Kalanchoe. It was named and described as such by Raymond-Hamet and Joseph Marie Henry Alfred Perrier de la Bâthie in Annales des Sciences Naturelles in 1912. The species is native to Northwestern Madagascar. It was introduced as a garden plant, it is now naturalized in tropical areas in the Amazon, Africa, Asia, Australia, and elsewhere in the tropics and in Florida… 

Rebutia fabrisii after I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 3-29-21, #785-13, #785-13.

Rebutia fabrisii

Then I spotted this pot with a cluster of Mammillaria-looking offsets with a label. Hmmm… It said Rebutia fabrisii… I thought that was interesting because it wasn’t a Mammillaria and I didn’t have any Rebutia. There were a lot of pots to choose from so I brought this one home. 

Rebutia fabrisii was named and described as such by Walter Rausch in Kakteen und Andere Sukkulenten in 1977. The species has a very limited range near Jujuy in Northwest Argentina. Llifle says this species produces deep red flowers but the photo looks more like bright orange-red. There is also a yellow-flowering variety called Rebutia fabrisii var. arueiflora and a smaller variety called Rebutia fabrisii var. nana although both are considered synonyms of the species at this bump in the road. 

Apparently, this species has no common name… 

Mrs. Wagler’s Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 3-29-21.

So, as I mentioned, the reason I went to Wagler’s was to get a photo of the Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus). Jim of How I See It was kind enough to send photos of his with flowers and it was AWESOME! 

Mrs. Wagler’s Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 3-29-21.

The cuttings Mrs. Wagler gave me a while back really struggled so she gave me another pot a few weeks ago. Her plant, the original one with the buds, would be MUCH bigger but she keeps taking cuttings. I guess that’s what you do when you are in the plant business. It will be quite a treat when the flowers open and I can see what they look like in person.

I went back out to Wagler’s today, Tuesday, to tell her what I found out about the Donkey Ears. The flowers still hadn’t opened… I did look around quite a bit more and, umm… Yeah, I brought home a couple more plants. I couldn’t resist bringing home another Sempervivum arachnoideum and another Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ (anyway it has the tubular leaves.

I didn’t add their photos when I wrote this post because of an issue… I first uploaded all the photos for the plants I brought home on Monday and all was well. Then, when I went to finish the post on Tuesday, apparently WordPress had made another upgrade and the old Classic Editor was gone AGAIN. I finished the post then chatted with a WordPress Support member for A LONG TIME. They explained how to use the NEW Classic Editor then made a support ticket. Then I received an email from a support member that explained how to fix the issue so now I am back with the OLD Classic Editor again. THANK GOODNESS!!!

SO, until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful, and stay well. It is getting about time to GET DIRTY around here. 🙂

 

Schlumbergera truncata Flowers In February!

Schlumbergera truncata, the yellow-flowered plant, on 2-23-21, #782-3.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The temps are much better now after our cold snap and spring is right around the corner…

I may not always be the most observant fellow but I do usually notice when something is weird. I have the two Schlumbergera truncata that flowered in November on the kitchen windowsill. The others were in my bedroom on the new plant shelf, including the Schlumbergera russelliana and Schlumbergera gaertneri. They are all doing great except the Schlumbergera gaertneri which is having its ups and downs. I think Mrs. Wagler took the cuttings at the wrong time of the year. ANYWAY, I notice the plants on the kitchen windowsill more than the others, especially when I am at the sink. I guess I hadn’t been paying as much attention as I thought because on February 23 I just noticed two HUGE buds on the yellow-flowered plant. I guess I didn’t notice because I never expected that to happen in February, especially since it flowered in November…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday (Cactus) on 2-23-21, #782-4.

Hmmm… Mid-February was kind of rough with miserable cold, snowy, and cloudy days. I suppose the cloudy days triggered the yellow-flowered plant to bud. The red-flowered plant didn’t do it and neither did the Schlumbergera in my bedroom. I decided to move the plants from the bedroom to the kitchen windowsill to get more light and see what happens. Remember, I mentioned before that lowering the light and temperature will trigger them to bud any time of the year. The kitchen is also cooler than my bedroom…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 2-26-21, #783-1.

On February 26, one of the flowers on the yellow plant had opened…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 2-26-21, #783-2.

For me, this is a first for a Schlumbergera truncata to flower in February…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 2-26-21, #783-3.

Right next to one of the fruits from the hand-pollinating experiment… The two fruits on both plants are steadily growing. As you can see, the old flowers hang on to the fruit whereas they just fall off if they weren’t pollinated.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 2-26-21, #783-4.

Then today when I was taking photos, I also noticed there are tiny buds on the red-flowered plant as well. I took about 20 photos of that plant, back and forth from the kitchen to the computer several times, to get that photo! Finally, I got one that was good enough. 🙂

All the plants are doing pretty good, well at least the cactus and succulents… Almost everything is dormant or semi-dormant. I have had some issues with mealy bugs or some kind of white scale on, um… the new Aloe. The supposed to be ‘Blue Elf’ that wasn’t a ‘Blue Elf’ got them first then the new Aristaloe aristata was LOADED. It passed them on to the old A. aristata. I sprayed, cleaned, repotted, etc. several times. Giving plants a bath with LOTS of leaves like the A. aristata is quite a chore and they absolutely hate it (especially this time of the year). A few other plants got a few, but they were all in quarantine so most of the succulents were fine. Even if the Kalanchoe luciae had mealy bugs it would be impossible to tell with all the chalky bloom on its stems. They are fine as far as I can tell. The ‘Blue Elf’, which looked more like a ‘California’ died first, then the old Aristaloe aristata. That wasn’t funny… Then the new Aristaloe aristata was LOADED AGAIN. I am not sure how many times I sprayed it but it was getting very frustrating. How was I going to keep the other plants from continually getting bugs if I couldn’t get rid of them on that plant? SO, partly because I was still a little upset that the old A. aristata died and partly because I was just fed up, I threw it out the back door… Enough is enough! I have grown plants for a long time and never had any bug issues to speak of. I know where they came from… The other three of the five plants from the same source are perfectly fine and were not in the back bedroom…

ANYWAY, other than that, all is well… I am almost finished updating all the plant pages in phase 1 then I will go to phase 2… The wildflower pages… 🙂

I hope all is well with you in your neck of the woods. 🙂

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, stay well, be thankful, and GET DIRTY!

Correcting Mr. Muehlenpfordtii…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion).

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. All is well here for the most part. I am sure if I looked hard enough I would find more that needs attention. Christmas came and went like any other day, and I was able to sneak my birthday by without hardly anyone noticing. Soon New Years Day will come and go as well. I stopped making resolutions because they seemed to linger on for the whole year only to have some of them repeated for the next year.

Anyway, this post is about the Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii. His common name is Golden Pincushion, but I have been calling him Mr. Muehlenpfordtii. He is doing great, but he is a bit of a leaner. I think he must have fallen asleep while standing up and he just keeps leaning more. I got tired of looking at him like that and was concerned he might just fall over and roll off of the shelf and onto the floor, so I decided I better straighten him up…

With spines like this, he needs some respect and careful handling.

 

He is getting a little gray on the bottom, but I guess that is normal. His white radial spines are so closely packed together I can’t tell what color he is down there. Information says Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii has between 24-50 radial spines per areola, not to mention the long central spines…

 

Mr. Muehlenpfordtii isn’t a guy you just want to grab and hold and a hug is out of the question. I just let him lay comfortably in my hand and pulled the pot off. Besides, he is sleeping and I definitely didn’t want to wake him up… It would be like exciting a Porcupine…

 

As always, the potting soil the cactus and succulents are in gets very hard this time of the year when it dries up. The peat dries and shrinks and seems to squeeze their roots. So, even though most people probably re-pot in the spring, I like to do it in the fall and winter so their potting soil will be loose and airy. I removed most of the old potting soil without breaking many roots…

 

I decided I would increase his pot side as well. He was in a 4″ diameter x 3″ tall pot and the new one is 4 1/2″ diameter x 4″ tall. Depending on the cactus, increasing the diameter of the pot by 1/2-1″ is plenty because they grow fairly slowly and don’t usually have a big root system. I started using a 50/50 mix of Miracle Grow Potting Soil and 1/8″ pumice for the cactus and succulents in 2018 and it worked very well. I had been using 2 parts potting soil with 1 part additional pumice and 1 part chicken grit for many years. I liked the pumice pretty well, so when I ran out I ordered 1/4″. There are a lot of pretty elaborate potting soil recipes online but they do just fine with a simple concoction as long as the soil is very well-draining and doesn’t hold water for a long period of time. I always like the water to drain out of the bottom as fast as I pour it in from the top.

Now when Mr. Muehlenpfordtii wakes up he will be in a new pot with fresh dirt. 🙂

Most of the cactus still need re-potted as well as some of the succulents. I continually update the plant pages (to the right) over the winter months and am making a few changes in appearance. It seems I have an idea that changes somewhat from page to page then I have to start over to update the change on the pages I already updated. 🙂

I think I will talk about Aloe next…

OK, that’s enough for now… Until next time, be safe, stay well and positive, and always be thankful. If you can get dirty… GET DIRTY! 🙂

Surprise FINALLY Arrived

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. It has been cool and cloudy the past several days and we had a little snow yesterday evening. By the time I got out of bed, it had almost all melted.

I went to get the mail and was surprised by a box… Hmmm… I wonder what this is? The box is actually bigger than it looks in the photo.

 

I put the box on my bed and opened it only to find it stuffed with paper… Hmmm…

 

HOLY COW! PLANTS!!!

 

Well, I knew what was in the box because I had been expecting it. Tony Tomeo, a fellow blogger and friend that you may know, offered to send a few Epiphyllum and I couldn’t very well refuse. I have not grown any, so it seemed like a great opportunity to give them a shot. I am barely trying to give a good enough reason to acquire more plants even though I personally don’t need a reason or excuse. 🙂 But if someone were to ask why… Truthfully, no one comes for a visit so I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. That’s a good thing, because if anyone was to come and ask “why” I would probably just look at them rather blankly. It’s isn’t like I am a plant hoarder. 🙂

Information from the tracking number Tony sent said they were supposed to be here on Monday. Monday came and I went to the USPS website and put in the number. The first several times I tried, it said “the service wasn’t available at the moment” or something to that effect. Finally, it said Monday was the expected delivery date but it could be delayed… Well, by that tie my mail had already arrived and there was no package. I stopped by the post office later in the afternoon and gave the clerk the tracking number and he said packages are 4-5 days behind… He said if I didn’t get it by Thursday to come back… GEEZ! Luckily, the plants arrived safe and sound although very cold but they seem OK.

The plants were all wrapped very well so they couldn’t help but arrive safe and sound. The largest group is a white cultivar Tony said were his favorite and they produce very big and fragrant white flowers.

 

One group is a white Epiphyllum oxypetalum, one is a red cultivar, and the other is likely the pink and white cultivar Tony mentioned. Now, I will put them in pots so they can do their thing…

I want to thank Tony for sending so many plants and giving me the opportunity to try something different. Variety, you know, is the spice of life. 🙂 It is so good to have friends that help with a good addiction in a positive. Plant collecting is a great hobby and is no different than some people collecting baseball caps and cards, antiques, old tools, teapots, oil lamps, coins, stamps… Well, you get the picture.

If you don’t know Tony Tomeo, pop on over to his blog by clicking HERE. He is very well experienced and knowledgeable in the horticulture field and always has interesting posts and plenty to say.

Well, I better close this post so I can do some potting. I am also in the process of repotting the cactus and succulents. I know “most people” probably do it in the spring, but I like to do it in the fall and winter because their potting soil gets very hard once you stop watering. From the time I bring the plants inside for the winter in mid-October until sometime in late April to early May, the cactus and succulents get barely any water. Because of that, the peat in their potting mix gets VERY HARD so I re-pot with fresh so it will be nice and airy. I mix Miracle Grow Potting Soil 50/50 with pumice. I used 1/8″ before but I have switched to 1/4″.

Until next time, be safe and well, stay positive, and always be thankful. Always try to get as dirty as you can even if it is inside. 🙂

IT WORKED! WE HAVE FRUIT!

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday cactus) on 12-13-20, #770-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The Schlumbergera truncata are doing very well on the kitchen windowsill. I have been watching them for signs that the hand-pollinating experiment worked…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the yellow-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-2.

As the flowers started wilting I started watching and waiting to see what would happen next. As the days passed by, I could see that something a little different was going on with the wilted flowers. The flowers I hadn’t pollinated just fell off but the ones I did remain on the plants.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the yellow-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-3.

The next thing I knew, a small swelling appeared which continued to get larger. WE HAVE FRUIT!!!

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-4.

The two flowers I hand-pollinated on the red-flowered plant did the same…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red-flowered plant, 12-13-20, # 770-5.

Now I have to wait for a year before I can remove the fruit and seed to see if they will germinate. Just an experiment…

Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 12-13-20, #770-6.

The new Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus), also on the kitchen windowsill, is doing well and its new segments are starting to grow. They looked a little strange at first because they were almost black…

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 12-13-20, #770-7.

The new Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) has perked up nicely and is also doing quite well. It looks like only three upper segments dried up (which I removed after I took the photo).

On Monday, I am supposed to receive the package sent by Tony Tomeo… SO, I am anxiously waiting…

Until next time, be safe, stay well and positive, and always be thankful.

 

Four New Cactus, Two New Species

New cactus from Wal-Mart after I brought them home on December 2 (2020). I identified the plant on the right front as Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus), and the one in the rear on the right as Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple Cactus). The two on the left… Mammillaria ?.

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I went to Wal-Mart on December 2 to do a little shopping but mainly because I needed more saucers to go under pots. A lot of the old ones had gotten worn out plus I needed a few more. While I was in the plant department I decided to check out the “cactus corner” where they keep the cactus and succulents. As usual, they were over watered and otherwise neglected. Anyway, I found four that I decided to bring home.

I knew one was a Gymnocalycium and the other three were Mammillaria species. The label on the side of the pots…

The labels were mostly uninformative and basically just said “CACTUS” with a little growing information. Labels like that don’t give you much to go by. Even if there was an outdated name it would have been much better. The grower is the same as the last plants I bought at Lowe’s. Finding their correct names is a lot more difficult especially when it comes to Mammillaria… They were in 3 1/2″ pots, though, and all had plenty of room to grow.

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) at 1 1/6″ tall x 2″ wide on 12-2-20, #767-2.

The Gymnocalycium was fairly easy to identify because I already have a G. saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) that I had brought home from Lowe’s in March of 2019. It is a great plant, so bringing this one home was a no-brainer. With only 61 species to choose from in the genus, it wasn’t that difficult to figure out this plant was a Gymnocalycium baldianum commonly known as the Dwarf Chin Cactus. It is very small at only 1 1/6″ tall x 2″ wide.

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Speg.) Speg. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Gymnocalycium. It was named and described as such by Carlo Luigi (Carlos Luis) Spegazzini in Anales de la Sociedad Cientifica Argentina in 1925. It was previously named described as Echinocactus baldianus by Mr. Spegazzini in Anales del Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires in 1905. The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) has more than 2,700 records for plant names of which Mr. Spegazzini is either the author, co-author, or involved in the basionym.

The Dwarf Chin Cactus is a native of the Catamarca Province of Argentina where it grows in a fairly restricted range. Its major threats are collection and fires.

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-3.

This species is rather small, growing to only 3-4″ tall x 3-5″ wide, and can be grayish-brown to blue-green, sometimes almost bluish-black. They have 9-10 rather broad ribs with prominent tubercles divided by deep axils. The areoles on the end of the tubercles have a small tuft of wool and 5-7 very short, somewhat recurved,  radial spines. It looks like there is a smile between each tubercle… There is a name for that but I forgot what it… I read about that as a distinguishing feature of another species. 🙂

Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-4.

The apex of the plant is concave or “sunk-in” which is a pretty neat feature of most cactus. As plants grow, they just kind of unfold. Always constantly moving, but every so SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLLYYYY…

Gymnocalycium baldianum has received the Royal Botanical Society’s Award of Garden Merit. 

Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple Cactus) at 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide after I brought it home on 12-2-20, #767-13.

The second plant that was fairly easy to identify was the Mammillaria nivosa whose common name is Wooly Nipple Cactus. It was easy to identify because I put photos on a Facebook Group and a member told me what it was. I didn’t feel like going through Mammillaria photos to figure it out. Most of the photos show their flowers and not the plant itself… This plant is 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide and can grow up to 10″ tall.

This species is fairly unique because of where it is native. While most cactus are native of Mexico through South America, this one is found on several islands in the Caribbean. Its native habitats are declining due to urbanization and tourism but it is also found on Mona Island which is a protected nature reserve.

Mammillaria nivosa Link ex Pfeiff. is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Wooly Nipple Cactus. It was named and described as such by Louis (Ludwig) Karl Georg Pfeiffer in Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum hucusque Cognitarum in 1837. It had previously been named and described by Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link but his description wasn’t validly published. Mr. Pfeiffer then used his name and description giving Mr.Link the credit.

Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-14.

In the wild, Mammillaria nivosa can be found as solitary plants, but usually grows in colonies and readily offsets to form a small mat. Plants are dark green but turn a bronze color in more sun. Plants are globe-shaped and cylindrical with obtusely conical and laterally compressed tubercles.

Mammillaria nivosa (Wooly Nipple Cactus) on 12-2-20, #767-15.

Its tubercles have wooly areoles that usually produce one central spine and 6-13 radial spines. The spines are bright yellow to dark brown and are approximately 1 1/2″ long, point away from the stem, and are VERY stiff and sharp. There is ample wool in the axils between the tubercles as well. This plant does well in sunny to partly shady areas, but bright light is supposed to bring out the bronze color, encourage flowering, and heavy wool and spine production…

NOW FOR THE OTHER TWO PERPLEXING PLANTS…

One of the members on the Facebook group suggested the other two were Mammillaria hahniana. My thoughts and reply were, “I already have a Mammillaria hahniana and it looks nothing like these two.” I posted a photo of my Mammillaria hahniana and received several “likes”. No one else had any other suggestions so after a few days I posted photos on three other Facebook groups. NOTHING. I was pretty surprised no one had any other suggestions. That never happens! SO, I revisited my Mammillaria hahniana page and went to the description on Lifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms). There were also quite a few photos online that sort of revealed my screw up… Mammillaria hahniana is A “VARIABLE” species. OH, I had already sent photos to Daiv Freeman of the CactiGuide explaining the ordeal and I received no reply from him either. That also never happens. It was like his silence was telling me I had it already figured it out. GEEZ! The reality of having brought home two more Mammillaria hahniana was setting in… The goal is to collect more species not more of the same… You can clearly understand how that can happen when there are “variables” involved. All three plants are completely different… After thinking about it, I was OK with having three Mammillaria hahniana, since they show the variations of the species. I named them Unos, Dos, and Tres. 🙂

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #2 (Dos) at 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide on 12-2-20, # 767-6.

The first one in question, Dos,  is sort of club-shaped and a darker green. It measured 1 3/4″ tall x 2″ wide and is very hairy…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #3 (Tres) at 1 1/8T tall x 2″wide on 12-2-20, # 767-10.

Tres is shorter than Dos at 1 1/8″ tall but it is also 2″ in diameter. When I measure cactus I ignore the spines and focus on the body (stem) of the plant. Tres is kind of squat and globe-shaped like a pumpkin. It is kind of more bluish-green in color which can throw you off a little… The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii in my collection is a bluish-green and AWESOME!

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #2 (Dos) on 12-2-20, # 767-7.

From the above close-up of Dos, you can see hairs, wool, and spines. There is just a little speck of wool growing from the axils between the tubercles. Some of the “hair” is also coming from the axils but you have to get a magnifying glass to tell. The areoles on the tip of the tubercles have 1-4 very short central spines and 20-30 hair-like radial spines… Some are very short and others VERY LONG. Information on Llifle says these hair-like spines can be from 5-15 mm long which is just over 1/4″ to just over 1/2″. Some of the longer hairs on this plant are nearly 1″ long which I think are coming from the axils. Dos has more of a flat top similar to Unos…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #2 (Dos) on 12-2-20, # 767-8.

The apex of Dos (#2) is clearly concaved with a lot of wool in the center. The areoles also have more wool around the top of the plant but seem to disappear somewhat farther down the stem (as the plant grows).

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #3 (Tres) on 12-2-20, # 767-11.

Tres has A LOT more and larger tufts of wool in its axils, especially around the top, and its hair is not as long.

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) #3 (Tres) on 12-2-20, # 767-12.

From the top, Tres looks A LOT different than Dos. The concaved apex is barely visible from all the wool. The hair-like radial spines and axil hair give Tres a cobwebby appearance.

The Mammillaria hahniana trio. Unos in the back, Dos on the right, and Tres on the left on 12-5-20, #768-1.

Once I came to the conclusion that it was definitely possible the two new Mammillaria were M. hahniana, I took all three plants to the back porch for a photoshoot. I brought Unos home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, when it was just 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide. On October 15 (2020) when I moved the plants inside it measured 3 5/8″ tall x 3 5/8″ wide.

Mammillaria hahniana Unos, Dos, and Tres from the top on 12-5-20, #768-2.

From the top view, Unos, Dos, and Tres look nothing alike. You can certainly tell how someone would think they are three different species. Am I sure they are all three Mammillaria hahniana? NOPE! Unfortunately, the description of Mammillaria hahniana fit all three. Umm, the two smaller ones more than Unos. Unos has transformed into a massive ball of wool!

Click on Mammillaria hahniana to view “their” page…

The next post will be short, but I have a big surprise coming in the mail very soon…

Until next time, stay well, be safe, stay positive. Always count your blessings and give thanks. You are unique and special. If you can and are able, go outside and get dirty!

 

New Plants Arrived!

NEW PLANTS! Schlumbergera russelliana in the center, Mammillaria senilis on the right, Parodia crassigibba on the left on 11-30-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post continues to find you well. We had a cold spell but it didn’t get quite as cold as the forecast said. The north wind picked up over the weekend and I begin to wonder… I covered the Phlomis and put the plastic on the windows in the chicken house. It was a nice sunny day and rather pleasant but it is supposed to be in the 20’s (F) at night for several days with daytime temps between 41-50° F. Chance of rain on Thursday and partly cloudy through Monday… 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I ordered a few new plants from Succulent Depot on Ebay. The order confirmation said they would be here on December 3 but they arrived on November 30. I debated whether or not to add one of those heat packs to the order but it looks like they came through fine. 

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-10.

I knew the Schlumbergera russelliana was coming as a rooted cutting, but I was surprised when this many came and how big they actually are. There were five nicely rooted cuttings. They look like they got a little cold in transit but hopefully, they will be OK. The top segments may not make it… By the time I finished this post on Wednesday evening, the top segments are very droopy and the tips are drying. The lower segments look fine, though… 

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-11.

This is either a genuine Schlumbergera russelliana or perhaps an x buckleyi hybrid (The Buckley Group). The seller has them listed as Schlumbergera bridgesii, which is sort of what they are, except that name is now a synonym of S. russelliana. This species is normally considered the true Christmas Cactus because it flowers a little later than its cousin Schlumbergera truncata. As I mentioned in a previous post, Schlumbergera truncata (and the Truncata Group) are called Thanksgiving or Holiday Cactus. For both, flowering is triggered by decreasing day length and temperature. I am not sure if they will flower at the same time if they are treated the same or not. Both will flower any time of the year if their light and temperature are controlled. The x buckleyi hybrids (The Buckley Group) are a cross between the two species but are more like S. russelliana in appearance. Their segments are “scalloped” rather than having hooks or claws like S. truncata or the Truncata Group. Their flowers will look similar, but they hang downward rather than being held more or less horizontally.

Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus) on 11-30-20, #766-12.

I had ordered a new bag of pumice from General Pumice a few months ago but I hadn’t even opened the box. I had forgotten I ordered a larger size, I think 1/4″, so when I opened the box I was a little dumbfounded for a minute. Anyway, I mixed Miracle Grow Potting soil with the new pumice, 50/50 and potted the cuttings right away. When I was putting the cuttings in a pot, I decided I would take two of the cuttings to Mrs. Wagler. She was very happy to get them. A few more of her S. truncata have opened, but most are still in bud. I told her about how easy it was to pollinate the flowers and she was curious, so I showed her how to do it. Then I explained if it worked the fruit would stay attached when the flowers fell off. Then, after a year, you can squeeze the seeds out of the fruit and plant them. If they come up, it would take 2-4 years for them to flower… She agreed that was a long time to wait to see what happens.

Normally, when buying plants on Ebay I don’t look to see what else the seller has for sale. It is too tempting. This time, however, I did. Succulent Depot has several hundred listings for different plants and I found a couple I thought I would like. Of course, the reason I chose them was because I didn’t have any like them and/or they were weird… Strangely, neither one of them have common names… I think that makes four cactus in my collection without common names… 

Mammillaria senilis after it came in the mail at 1″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide on 11-30-20.

There wasn’t much of a description on her listing about the Mammillaria senilis but I could tell it wasn’t any ordinary Mammillaria. Just look at those LONG, THIN, HOOKED spines! This plant came in a 2″ square pot and it measured only about 1″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide (ignoring the spines). It came wrapped in a newspaper but the cactus had been covered with tissue (like what you blow your nose on). When I was removing the tissue, the hooked spines stuck in my fingers. While I was pulling my fingers off of one hand, they stuck on my fingers on the other hand. They don’t just poke, they hang on… 🙂 I could have carried the plant around hanging by my fingers.

The species name is pronounced SEE-nil-is and it means “Of an old man”… Well, he wasn’t bald. 🙂

Mammillaria senilis on 11-30-20.

Besides having 4-5 central spines (upper and lower with hooks), it also has 30 to 40 radial spines PER tubercle!!! Its tubercles also have wool and bristles. It grows from 6-8″ tall x around 4″ when mature and branches basally to form clumps. There are actually several species of Mammillaria with these hooked hairs (unless “they” decide they are all the same species eventually). Maybe make a new genus called Hookalarria. 🙂 You saw that first here on the Belmont Rooster, so it will be Hookalarria L.Mil. 🙂 

LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says Mammillaria senilis grows on moss-covered boulders in pine forests in Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sinaloa in Mexico around 7,800 to over 9,000 feet (2400-2800 meters) above sea level. Hmmm… We are only 912 feet above sea level here! Growing at that high of an altitude, they are cold hardy down to around 20° F (-5° C) with reports as low as 14° F (-10° C) and lower.

The great thing is that this plant is supposed to have LARGE bright red-orange flowers. Then again, if it is Mammillaria senilis var. albiflora, it will have whitish flowers. It could also have yellow flowers. GEEZ! Since it is small, I am not counting on flowers for quite a while… Maybe by then it will make up its mind. I will put a label in the pot that says “THINK RED” to encourage it.

Parodia crassigibba after it arrived in the mail on 11-30-20, #766-6.

Well, this one isn’t near as exciting or dangerous. The listing was for a Parodia werneri but that name is now a synonym of Parodia crassigibba. You would think when they choose a name they would go for the one that is the easiest to pronounce. I think par-ROH-dee-uh WER-ner-ee is much easier to say than par-ROH-dee-uh krass-ih-GIB-uh. This plant is sold under both species names… 

This plant is only 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide… 

Parodia crassigibba at 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide on 11-30-20, #766-7.

This cactus started out its life growing in somewhat rocky soil in the Rio Grande Do Sul area in southern Brazil. Minding its own business and getting along happily until its life was turned upside-down. The area started being converted into agricultural land for crops and grazing and now it is an endangered species. For many years, teams of researchers scoured the area naming and renaming many species of cactus. It was a disaster! 

I wrote several paragraphs several times about this species name. I kept deleting it because I thought it was a bit too much. Then I kept doing it… That’s why it has taken me so long to finish this post! Personally, I think they accepted the wrong name but I am not going to go into the whole ordeal. Maybe on its own page when I get it finished. It is a perfect example of how many explorers/researchers/taxonomists, etc. had their own opinions and gave them several different names in multiple genera. The Parodia genus is complicated… 

ANYWAY…

Parodia crassigibba on 11-30-20, #766-9.

This is one of the smaller growing species of globose shaped cactus. Mature specimens only grow to about 6-8″ tall (depending on which website you look at). The species grows 10-16 ribs (mine has 13), and has broad, chin-like tubercles between the areoles (Hmmm… That’s what the experts say, but I thought areoles grow on top of the tubercles…). It has 6-14 radial spines that are somewhat appressed and, if there is a central spine present, it points downward. You can actually pick it up without getting stuck. It is normally a solitary growing cactus, meaning it doesn’t normally grow in clusters, BUT sometimes it does. Hmmm… 

I will end this post now because I went and did it again. I brought home four more unlabeled cactus from Wal-Mart on December 2. I have two figured out, but the other two are complicated. They are making me wonder about my Mammillaria hahniana… I may have been calling it the wrong species since 2016. GEEZ!!! Surely not. 🙂 I will say it again, I do not like the word “variable”. 

UNTIL NEXT TIME… Be safe, stay well, and always think positive. Be thankful and roll with it. 🙂

NEW Schlumbergera-Holiday Cactus

Three new Schlumbergera from Wagler’s Greenhouse after I brought them home on 11-17-20. A red and yellow Schlumbergera truncata in the back and a Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) in the front.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. As I am writing this post, it seems I have multiple tabs open in two windows. Normally, I just have one window with multiple tabs open but I had to re-read what I had already read before and didn’t want to get more confused all over again. Well, I had it figured out before, but then I ran across another website that was somewhat controversial. SO, I had to re-read some of the previous information again. Finding consistent accurate information on plants that are popular on a seasonal basis is tough!!! The only time most people pay much attention to them is when they are flowering and the rest of the year they just throw a little water on them. Ummm… I might be guilty of that on occasion myself. Hmmm… Maybe I am just talking about myself. Maybe I should delete the last few sentences. Ah, heck. I’ll just go with it. Only a handful of people will read it anyway. 🙂

I snuck this photo when I went back to Wagler’s on the 23rd before Mrs. Wagler came to the greenhouse. The photo may disappear later. 🙂

As I mentioned in the last post I went to Wagler’s Greenhouse on November 17 to see if she had any peach flowering Schlumbergera truncata. I was very surprised to see that she had A LOT of Schlumbergera truncata but not any peach. She had a lot of pink, red, and yellow. No peach, orange, or white… I picked out a yellow and another red one. I picked out another red one because mine isn’t flowering and it is a smaller plant. THEN she said,

“I have a few Easter Cactus in the back that are different. You can have one of those if you want one.”

I had just been doing research on the different species of Schlumbergera so I hoped she really did have a genuine Easter Cactus. I followed her to where she had them and she picked up a pot with three cuttings and handed it to me. SURE ENOUGH, I was holding a genuine Schlumbergera gaertneri!!! She had a few other pots with three cuttings in each one and another pot she had taken the cuttings from. MAN!!! Personally, I think she should hide them all.

GENUINE Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) on 11-18-20, #761-1.

You may be laughing, but this is an important find. Now, I am laughing. 🙂 The segments are different with this species as they are thicker and the margins are wavy (scalloped) and have no “teeth” or “claws”. They have different flowers as well. You can go to the page I wrote for Schlumbergera gaertneri if you want to read more about the species and see more photos of the segments (close-up) by clicking HERE

Schlumbergera gaertneri is one of many species of controversy. It has been in five other genera since it was first named Epiphyllum russellianum var. gaertneri by William Regal in 1884, then became its own species in 1890. Although it was first moved to the Schlumbergera genus in 1913, it was renamed five more times! Its most recent name was Hatiora gaertneri (1953) but DNA testing proved it should in fact be Schlumbergera gaertneri.

Many stores may sell Easter Cactus during Easter that are actually Schlumbergera truncata, S. russelliana, or x buckleyi hybrids they have forced to flower for Easter sales. You can tell by the segments and fowers.

Schlumbergera truncata, the yellow-flowered pot, on 11-17-20, #760-2.

The yellow-flowered Schlumbergera truncata I brought home looks very nice. Mrs. Wagler said the flowers will be kind of a creamy color, not bright yellow.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red-flowered pot, on 11-17-20, #760-3.

There are two plants in this red-flowered pot. She said this one’s flowers will be kind of dark pinkish-red.

Schlumbergera truncata, yellow-flowered plant, on 11-18-20, #761-9.

This bud on the yellow-flowered plant is sharing the same areole as a new segment.

Schlumbergera truncata, red-flowered, on 11-18-20, #761-11.

I like the way the buds just push their way out of the areola. You can clearly see the segments have “teeth” or “claws” on the Schlumbergera truncata. That’s where one of the common names “Crab’s Claw” comes from.

Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus), the biggest in the pot, on 11-18-20, #761-2.

You can see the difference in the segments with the close-up of the largest cutting of Schlumbergera gaertneri. The edges are scalloped or wavy with no claws… I don’t know what that pink thing is sticking out of the areole on this one is. Surely it isn’t a bud since they don’t flower until around April… HMMM…

Then it happened… ON Monday morning, the 23rd, I was greeted with this when I went to make my coffee…

Schlumbergera truncata, yellow-flowered on 11-23-20, #762-1.

Well, that was just AWESOME!!! 

Schlumbergera truncata, yellow-flowered on 11-23-20, #762-4.

I think it not being pink made it even more AWESOME! It’s a guy thing because I think pink is girly.

Schlumbergera truncata, red-flowered on 11-23-20, #762-6.

The red-flowered plant is just about ready to spring open but there seems to be a lot of white for it to be red…

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-1.

Then, Wednesday evening, I noticed one of the red-flowered plant’s flowers had opened. I decided to wait until Wednesday morning to take a photo. By then, there were two more almost open.

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-2.

Well, it isn’t exactly red. IT’S BICOLOR! 🙂

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-4.

The flowers have no issues when it comes to showing their reproductive parts. The above photo shows the stamen with the stigma on the end and filaments with anthers loaded with yellow pollen. If this were a Schlumbergera russelliana or any of the x buckleyi hybrids, the pollen would be pink. I have never seen a flower of any type with pink pollen… Some stigmas open up to a star-shape when the ovaries are receptive.

Schlumbergera truncata on 11-25-20, #763-6.

Somewhere at the base of the floral tube, where the flower emerges from the areola of the segment, is where the ovaries are. At the point where the ovary is, with Schlumbergera truncata, the floral tube bends upward. I think it is where the first set of petals are. After that point, the flower bends downward somewhat but it still held more or less horizontal. With S. russelliana and the x buckleyi hybrids, the floral tube bends downward at the point where the ovaries are and the flowers hang downward.

Pollinating Schlumbergera is pretty simple since all the necessary parts are right out in the open. All you have to do is rub the pollen from the flowers of one plant on the stigma of flowers from another plant. The stigma is somewhat sticky so the pollen sticks to it. You can cross-breed S. truncata with S. russelliana very easily which is how the x buckleyi hybrids came about. I tried it out for the heck of it and rubbed pollen from the flowers of the yellow on the stigmas of the red one and visa versa. Even the stigmas are not opened up, it will probably still work. Don’t know for sure because I never tried it before. If it works, I think the stigma is supposed to swell up. THEN when the flower wilts, the fruit the ovary produces will remain intact. After a year, the fruit can be removed and the seed squeezed out, allowed to dry for a few days then planted. The seeds will germinate in maybe 2 weeks. Plants from the seed will flower in 2-4 years… NOT that I want to go through all that when I can just take cuttings that will flower MUCH sooner. But, it is an experiment…

What else do I need to talk about? Hmmm…

Schlumbergera is a genus of nine species from southern Brazil in the Cactaceae Family. It is weird for them to be in the cactus family since they grow on trees and rocks. The plants we grow as houseplants come in multiple colors and are likely cultivars rather than the species. Species of Schlumbergera have been moved around a bit like most other species of plants.

Schlumbergera are easy to grow in a similar potting soil as other cactus (or regular potting soil or a similar mix as orchids and bromeliads) but their watering requirements are a lot different. Their soil “should” be kept fairly moist but never wet. Just check occasionally, and when the top inch or so is dry, give it a little water. As with other cactus and succulents, they require more water during the summer when it is warmer and they have better light. Inside during the winter, you can slow down a bit. I am used to neglecting my cactus and succulents during the winter, so I will have to check these guys more often. Maybe I will keep them in the bedroom once they finish flowering so I will be reminded I need to water them more often. BUT, they are drought-tolerant, so if I forget them it will be OK. Their leaves will shrivel a little but they perk back up.

Holiday Cactus need light shade to partly shady areas and should NEVER get full sun. They are an ideal houseplant! They can be forced to flower just about any time of the year, but you have to experiment with that. Light and temperature have to be controlled to do that…

I did go ahead and order the Schlumbergera russelliana (Christmas Cactus, ETC.) from a seller on Ebay plus a couple of other early Christmas presents to myself. Hmmm… Well, I may as well tell you… The listing on Ebay was for Schlumbergera bridgesii but that species is a synonym of Schlumbergera russelliana… The plant is likely to be small so it probably won’t flower for Christmas. 🙂

OK, I think I am finished now… I will probably think of something later. It only took four days to finish this post

You can view the page for Schlumbergera truncata HERE and Schlumbergera gaertneri HERE. Information about hand pollinating is on the Rainy Side Gardens website which you can read about by clicking HERE.

Until next time, be safe, stay po, stay well, be thankful, and GET DIRTY if you can. 🙂

 

Fall 2020 Update Part 6: Cactus & Succulents

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)>>>>

Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata) (Joseph’s Coat) at 6 1/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-83.

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? 🙂

Opuntia monacantha (var. variegata) (Joseph’s Coat) on 10-15-20, #747-84.

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!

<<<<Parodia lenninghausii>>>>

Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus), both at 6″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-89.

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!

Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus) with kids on 10-15-20, #747-90.

“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.

<<<<Parodia magnifica>>>>

Parodia magnifica (Balloon Cactus, ETC.) at 2 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-91.

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 (Balloon Cactus, ETC.) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-92.

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’>>>>

Dracaena hanningtonii (Syn. Sansevieria ehrenbergii) ’Samurai’/‘Samurai Dwarf’ at 3″ tall x 6″ wide when I brought it home on 10-15-20, #747-93.

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…

<<<<Schlumbergera truncata>>>>

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) flowering on 11-9-20, #759-1.

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…

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus), the red one, on 11-15-20, #759-2.

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 truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 11-15-20, #759-4.

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.

Schlumbergera truncata (Holiday Cactus) on 11-15-20, #759-5.

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’ on 10-15-20, #747-94.

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.

Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ on 10-15-20, #747-95.

‘Firestorm’ surprised me last April with a lot of flowers so hopefully, it will do that again.

<<<<Sedum adolphii>>>

Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) on 10-15-20, #747-96.

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.

Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) on 10-15-20, #747-97.

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…

<<<<Stapelia gigantea>>>

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) on 10-15-20, #747-98.

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.

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) bud on 10-15-20, #747-99.

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…

<<<<Stenocereus pruinosus>>>>

Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost) at 5 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-100.

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. 🙂

Stenocereus pruinosus (Grey Ghost) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-101.

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) on 10-15-20, #747-102.

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.

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-103.

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…

Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-104.

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…

<<<<Aloe arborescens>>>>

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe) at 6 3/4″ tall x 6 1/2″ wide on 11-11-20, #758-1.

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. 🙂

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe, Etc.) on 11-11-20.

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…

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe, ETC.) from the top on 11-11-20., #758-3.

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…

<<<<Polaskia chichipe>>>>

Polaskia chichipe (Chichituna, ETC.) on 11-11-20. The largest plant is 2 1/2″ tall and the cluster is 3 1/4″ wide, #758-4.

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…

Polaskia chichipe (Chichituna, ETC.) from the top on 11-11-20, #758-5.

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.

Polaskia chichipe (Chichituna, ETC.) on 11-20-10, #758-7.

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.

 

Fall 2020 Update Part 5: The Mammillaria Group

Part of the cactus collection in front of the sliding door in the dining room on 11-1-20, #754-6.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This post is about the Mammillaria species in my small collection of cactus. Mammillaria species come in all shapes and sizes and are very easy to grow and some flower off and on throughout the year. I took most of the photos in this post on October 15 as I was bringing the plants inside, but I had to take a few more on November 1 and 6… The longer it takes to finish this post the more photos I will probably take because of the flowers…

Plants of the World Online currently lists 164 species in the Mammillaria genus, which is up two from my last update. Although The Plant List is no longer maintained, even though it is still online and viewable, listed 185 accepted species, 93 accepted infraspecific names (varieties and subspecies), a total of 519 synonyms, and 448 unresolved names. So many species were given a multiple of scientific names over the years and it was quite an undertaking to resolve the issue. It will no doubt be a continual work in progress, even as new species are added. The Mammillaria genus alone has 20 synonyms… That is 20 previous genera whose species have been transferred to Mammillaria or attempts made to relocate them.

So, why do I like Mammillaria species? For one, there are a lot to choose from, they are easy to grow, they come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, many freely flower, and some are just downright weird. All Mammillaria have one particular thing in common that makes them stand out. They have pronounced tubercles arranged in a particular manner, kind of looks like they are spiraling upward… If you have a cactus with pronounced tubercles, it is very likely a Mammillaria.

If you want further information about any of the Mammillaria in this post, or to see more photos, click on their name under the photos in green. That will take you to their own page.

Here we go…

<<<<Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha)>>>>

Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha)(Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 1 3/4″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-64.

I brought this AWESOME Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) home from Wal-Mart in March 2018 because it was weird and I didn’t have one. It has done very well over the summer and the tallest plant in the pot was 1 3/4″ tall and the cluster measured 4 1/4″ wide on October 15. Like all cactus, they swell and shrink as water is available. I watered the cactus the day before I brought them inside because I thought they would swell somewhat before I took measurements. Apparently, I should have done it several days before that… Sunday, as I was taking photos of few of the Mammillaria with flowers, I noticed the biggest one in this pot looked bigger than before. SO, I went and got the tape measure and it was 2″ tall! GEEZ! That’s 1/4″ taller than it was on the 15th!

That isn’t the first time that happened. When I was writing the post Cactus Talk & Update… OUCH! in December 2018 several had done that. They hadn’t been watered since October but they were swelled up.

Getting back to the Mammillaria decipiens… It was cramped up in a 2 3/4″ diameter pot when I brought it home and the cluster of plants was 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. The pot was literally bulging and the plants were hanging out over the top somewhat.

After doing a little research, I found out this cactus was a subspecies called Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha. The species has 5-11 radial spines per tubercle that are a whitish color and the spines are shorter. The subspecies have 4-5 radial spines per tubercle that are longer and bristly… Describes the one I brought home perfectly. BUT, “those in charge” have decided the subspecies is a synonym of the species. HOWEVER… Since the subspecies name was validly published in 1997, I can go ahead and use it if I choose. 🙂

This species got around A LOT and has 19 synonyms covering seven genera…

<<<<Mammillaria elongata>>>>

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) at 6 1/8″ long/tall x 7″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-66.

Hmmm… As you can tell, the Mammillaria elongata (Lady Finger Cactus) is doing well. This has been an interesting cactus and I have had no issues with it. We got off to a rocky start but that was my fault. This plant, or cluster of plants, was stuffed into a small pot which I accidentally knocked off on the floor a few days after I brought it home in March 2018. Of course, most of the offsets fell off. I stuck them back in the small pot the best I could at the time. It had no side effects and didn’t even get upset. To say this species freely offsets would be an understatement. Even the kids have kids…

On October 15 when I brought the plants inside, the longest or tallest, umm… The main stem in the center, the mother plant, measured 6 1/8″ long, or tall, whichever you prefer. The entire cluster was 7″ wide. After I remeasured the Mammillaris decipiens I wondered about this plant. In fact, last year it was over an inch longer in November than it was in October, up to 7 3/8″! This time it is 6 1/8″ long??? I remeasured it again when I was putting the measurements on the journal and it definitely was 6 1/8″. So, for the heck of it, I remeasured it AGAIN as I am writing this post. Hmmm… 7 3/4″!!! Believe it or not, I do know how to use a tape measure and I am not going to fall for this Mammillaria conspiracy. They did this to me last year…

<<<<Mammillaria hahniana>>>>

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 5/8″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-67.

Several Mammillaria species have a lot of wool like the Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus). I have had this cactus as a companion since I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. It was only 1 7/8″ tall x 23/8″ wide when I brought it home now it is 3 5/8″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide. NO, I am not going to measure it again to make sure…

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) on 10-15-20, #747-68.

The Mammillaria hahniana is quite a bloomer and may surprise you anytime throughout the year. Most Mammillaria species are sort of concave at their apex and their spines just kind of unfold as they grow. Mammillaria hahniana is sort of flat-topped and you can clearly see how concave it is in the center. This species is rather globe-shaped when young but can become more columnar with age. Over time they can form good-sized colonies but I don’t think they divide dichotomously.

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-1.

I had to take the above photo on November 6 because it has more buds. It will continue growing more, maybe in 2-3 rows. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) lists several subspecies and varieties of Mammillaria hahniana but none are currently accepted even though they were once validly published. They all have certain peculiarities in the quantity and size of spines (central and/or radial), wool, flower color, etc. One even has white flowers. While it may be true they are the same species, these characteristics set them apart so I personally think the intraspecific names should be used to distinguish them from one another. When young, they might look very similar, but these different “features” become more pronounced with age.

<<<<Mammillaria karwinskiana>>>>

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 3 5/8 tall x 3″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-69.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) is a great little cactus that has gotten more wooly since I brought it home from Lowe’s on 9-21-18. It was 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16″ wide when I brought it home and now it is 3 5/8″ tall x 3″ wide. If you find this plant at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart it is likely to be labeled Mammillaria nejapensis which is a synonym. In fact, this species has 60 synonyms!!! Ummm… There were only 45 the last time I updated its page last December. GEEZ!!! Where did they all come from? OH, I know… POWO has been uploading a lot of names from the International Plant Names Index (IPNI) they didn’t have in their database. Maybe that’s why…

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) with lots of wool for the winter on 7-15-20, #747-70.

The tufts of wool on the Mammillaria karwinskiana reminds me of tiny rabbit’s feet (you know, the rabbit’s foot keychains).

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) with flowers on 11-1-20, #754-2.

It started flowering more shortly after I brought it inside. I am glad its flowers aren’t pink… Maybe this one is a guy.

<<<<Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii>>>>

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) on at 4 1/8″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-71.

I really like this Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) with its club-shape. I brought it home from Lowe’s when it was 3 1/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide in September of 2018. It had fallen over on the discount rack and was completely out of its pot. I picked it up and looked at it, put it back in its pot, then put it in my cart. There was barely any soil left because it had fallen out and onto the floor. This plant likely would have been thrown out and I certainly couldn’t let that happen… I liked its shape, its silver-bluish-green color, and the combination of very long and short spines. Sounded like a win-win for both of us so I bought it home.

The label said it was a Mammillaria celsiana but that species has been determined to be a synonym of Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii. This is one of several Mammillaria I now have in my small collection that divides dichotomously. That means the plant itself becomes two, then two becomes four, and so on. Well, the information says they do that when they “mature” which I have no idea when that will be. 🙂 Until they divide, they are said to be a solitary species. It doesn’t seem to mind its neighbors, though. They are always teasing the cats, trying to get them to jump on their table…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-72.

Information I have read says this is a summer bloomer but it is flowering now like it did last October. If it bloomed in the summer I missed it. Some Mammillaria flower just about anytime during the year. I told him “guys aren’t supposed to like pink.” He replied, “Who said I am a guy?” GEEZ! Some Mammillaria species are a bit of a smart aleck…

<<<<Mammillaria mystax>>>>

Mammillaria mystax at 2 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4: wide on 10-15-20. #747-73.

The Mammillaria mystax is a very neat and tidy cactus that hails from central and southwest Mexico. Ummm… There is still no common name given for this cactus. It has done very well since I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21, 2018. It has grown from 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide to 2 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. Even in nature, this species only grows to 6-8″ tall.

I think it is odd how the central spines close to the top are longer than the central spines farther down. Do they shrink as the plant grows or does it grow longer spines as it matures? I am learning that some species of Mammillaria change quite a bit as they age which led to many subspecies and variety names. I know, I know… I am repeating myself. Mammillaria have a tendency to make one talk to themself.

Mammillaria mystax has 28 synonyms now. The featured image on Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) for Mammillaria mystax shows a cactus that was formerly Mammillaria casoi with long, entangled spines… Supposedly, this species is highly variable. Hmmm… I don’t get it but I guess I don’t have to understand to be confused. 🙂

Mammillaria mystax from the top on 10-15-20, #747-74.

Hmmm… Still, no sign of flowers or buds but it is still a neat plant. Look at those spines! I like it because it is such a neat little ball of thorns plus I have to find out what this one will do as it matures…

<<<<Mammillaria plumosa>>>> 

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 3/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-75.

The Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) is quite a neat clump of fuzz. I bought this cactus from an Ebay seller in September 2018 and I will never forget how it arrived. It was like a little ball all wrapped up in toilet paper. The cluster was only 2 1/4″ wide and the largest plant, the big one in the middle, was only 3/4″ tall. It has done quite well and now the biggest plant is 1 3/8″ tall and the cluster is 3 1/4″ wide. Or at least it was on October 15. It is a VERY slow spreader and I think I can barely see two very tiny offsets starting to peak through.

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-3.

I took a couple more photos of the Mammillaria plumosa to show its flowers.

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) on 11-6-20, #755-4.

This hole has been here for a while and I think it is where a flower was last year. Maybe I need to comb it. 🙂

If you ever get a chance to get one of these, I think you will like it. Check on Ebay.

<<<<Mammillaria pringlei>>>>

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-76.

The Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) is the third oldest Mammillaria in my collection. I brought it home from Lowe’s on April 24, 2017, but apparently, I didn’t measure it until October 17 when I moved the plants inside for the winter. At that time, it measured 4 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ with the spines. Since 2018, I always measure the cactus body and ignore the spines he best I can. Anyway, this cactus always does well and on October 15 it measured 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. Hmmm… That is the same width as last year BUT I am not going to remeasure it now because I have a sneaky suspicion it will be different. I don’t want to get caught up in remeasuring the Mammillaria again, even though I am curious… Maybe I can do it when they are sleeping so they won’t say, “AH HA! I knew you couldn’t resist.” 🙂

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-77.

Mammillaria pringlei is quite a bloomer. It flowers off and on during the summer but really puts on a show in the fall.

Mammillaria pringlei is one of the only species of Mammillaria with yellow spines. They look more white in the photo because of the light.

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) on 11-1-20, #754-3.

I took another photo of the Mammillaria pringlei on November 1. I just had to do it. She asked, “where is your tape measure? Hiding in your pocket?”

This species was once considered a subspecies of Mammillaria rhodantha (next one on the list) then included in the Mammillaria rhodantha Group…

<<<<Mammillaria rhodantha>>>>

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-78.

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) is quite a cactus! Its reddish spines make it a very attractive show-stopper. This was one of my first cactus from Wal-Mart when I started rebuilding my collection of plants in 2016. Until then, I previously had quite a few succulents but not that many cactus. I realized that many succulents I had in Mississippi where I had five sunrooms did not like the low light during the winter here. SO, when I started collecting plants again I went for more cactus because they can handle low light during the winter. I didn’t measure the Mammillaria rhodantha when I first brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016, but it was 3 3/4″ tall x 3″ wide (including the spines) on October 17. On October 15 when I brought the plants inside it measured 4 1/4″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide. Hmmm… That is a little shorter than last October when it measured 4 1/2″ tall. Like I mentioned, that is probably because I watered the cactus the day before and they hadn’t “swelled” yet. Even in the wild, Mammillaria rhodantha only grows from 6-12″ tall, so it likely grows fairly SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW.

The species is variable and some Mammillaria rhodantha have yellowish or whitish spines.

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-79.

The Mammillaria rhodantha typically flowers from spring through fall, but this one didn’t flower well until last year. It seemed to be loaded with buds at times but they never grew or opened. Other species in my collection start flowering in one spot then kind of go around the circle. This one will produce buds but the flowers open without a system.

My last update of this species own page was in November 2019 when Plants of the World Online listed 115 synonyms of Mammillaria rhodantha. Now there are 132!!!  78 species are other Mammillaria that were decided were actually Mammillaria rhodantha. There are 35 varieties, subspecies, or forms of Mammillaria rhodantha named that were once valid accepted names. An additional 54 are from when some of those infraspecific names were species in other genera as well as Mammillaria, some fairly recent and some very old names. That doesn’t include names that were not validly published… Mammillaria pringlei was also once considered a subspecies of Mammillaria rhodantha, and apparently, there are variants of it with yellow and whitish spines… Hard to explain it, but there are, or were, six other genera that many species of Mammillaria were in at one point. Heck, most of the older named species in any genera of cactus started out in the genus simply called Cactus

<<<<Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis)>>>>

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) at 1 3/8″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-82.

The Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) (Thimble Cactus) is hanging in there to be a good parent. Some of its kids stayed attached better the past summer and the ones that fell off are taking root. This is “one of those” you have to handle with care but not because of its spines. The offsets fall off very easily which is why one of its past scientific names, “fragilis”,  was very appropriate. I had a fairly large pot of this one before, but I hadn’t really been to Lowe’s or Wal-Mart that much to find another one. When I did go to Lowe’s and was looking for one like before, I choose the “Arizona Snowcap’ (below) instead. Then when I went to Wagler’s Greenhouse to take plants in September 2019, I noticed a very small cactus with a few tiny offsets sticking out of it. I looked at it and realized it was a Mammillaria but it didn’t quite look familiar. Well, I brought it home and it turned out to definitely be a Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. I was always used to seeing them available in clusters not as a single specimen. It did perfectly fine over the winter and the next summer and grew quite a bit, well, the offsets did. By the time I moved the plants inside for the winter, most of its offsets had fallen off. Then it was a little plant AGAIN! Fortunately, as I said, most of the offsets it grew since then have managed to stay attached. It measures only about 2″ tall which is pretty good considering… Umm… Considering it was 2″ tall last October. 🙂 Actually, to be honest, it was only 1 1/2″ tall on October 15 but I did measure it again a few days later and it had swelled to ALMOST 2″. 🙂 🙂

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) with a flower and several buds on 11-6-20, #755-6.

I had to get another shot of this plant on November 6 because it was waving its flower at me. It wants me to also tell you about the marble in its pot. After I brought it home from Wagler’s it kept growing toward the light and almost fell over SO, I put the marble next to it to hold it up. I was going to take it out of the pot, but apparently, it got so attached to the marble it wanted me to leave it. I guess it is like a pet rock or maybe it is afraid it will need it again…

Plants of the World Online lists Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis as a synonym of Mammillaria vetula (1832) even though there are differences. One difference is that Mammillaria vetula has 1-2 central spines and 25 radial spines. The subspecies does NOT have central spines. I choose to continue to use the subspecies name because it was validly published and accepted in 1997. It replaced the name Mammillaria gracilis (1838). The industry still sells this plant as Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis which was named and accepted in 1929.

<<<<Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’>>>>

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ at 1 1/2″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-80.

The Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ did great over the past summer and now, FINALLY, is looking like this cultivar is supposed to again. When I found this cluster at Lowe’s on July 18, 2018 it was a 2″ tall x 5″ wide cluster of balls hanging over the sides of a 3 1/2″ diameter pot. The reason I chose this cultivar over the regular Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis was because many of the balls were covered with thick, white spines and I hadn’t seen any like it before. Well, it was just flat neat! I brought it home and took photos. Of course, I put the cluster in a larger pot. Over the next summer, 2019, the plants that were more white died off!  After I moved the plants inside for the winter I removed the dead plants and kind of spruced up the pot a little.

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 10-15-20, #747-81.

Fortunately, over the summer, the cluster is looking GREAT! As you can see in the above photo, one of the plants has a circle of buds.

Mammillaria vetula (subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 11-6-20, #755-5.

I took another photo on November 6 after most of the flowers had opened. It is really neat to see such a small plant have a circle of flowers.

According to LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms), this cultivar is a monstrous form, or mutation, of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis that is not found in the wild. They say it is of garden or nursery origin and perhaps a hybrid…

Well, that’s it for the Mammillaria update and it only took about three days to finish. Seems like a week! 🙂 I can get the remaining 10 cactus and succulents in the next post.

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful! I hope you are all doing well…

Fall 2020 Update Part 4: Kalanchoe and Ledebouria

Kalanchoe luciae with friends on the shelf in front of a south-facing window in the back bedroom on 11-1-20, #754-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Since the “S” we have had rain. Last week was rainy for several days then the sun finally came out. This post is for the Kalanchoe and Ledebouria in my small collection and most of the photos were taken on October 15 when I brought the plants inside for the winter. I learned a few things while making this post that calls for a little further research… My Kalanchoe daigremontiana may NOT be a Kalanchoe daigremontiana after all. Hmmm…

All the plants on this post have their own pages which you can view by clicking on the name in green under the photo.

<<<<Kalanchoe x laetivirens>>>>

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) on 10-15-20, #747-51.

The Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) has definitely been a plant I have had to grow with. It is kind of like being in a relationship with someone that starts out interesting then it just kind of gets weird. It wasn’t perfect in the beginning but you expected them to just grow with you and blossom. When they didn’t do what you expect, you kind of neglected them then they just stopped being the best they could be for you or themselves. You felt they were just hanging in there until you paid attention and gave them what they needed from you. Well, then I figured out what this relationship needed. Like any good and lasting relationship, you have to take care of it and then it will blossom and be great. Well, at least we hope so. Love is about devotion, honesty, loyalty… It is giving and receiving at the same time. Gardening is the same way, as is anything worthwhile. You get more of what you give sometimes, and you do have to give. The Kalanchoe x laetivirens is definitely a plant that you will either love or hate. You will love it if you know how to take care of it, and hate it if you don’t. So many of these plants are sold and given away only to have them neglected then discarded. If you follow a few basic rules, they are great plants and there is hardly a more beautiful plant than a well-grown Kalanchoe x laetivirens. I brought my first one home from Wagler’s in 2014 and it became a beautiful plant. After I gave up most of my plants in the late summer of 2014, it wasn’t until late in 2015 that I started to rebuild my collection. One of the first plants I brought home was another one of these plants. It started out great and it was a nice plant, too. However, in 2016 it started getting tall and strange. By 2017 it was tall and straggly and its leaves were smaller. It was NOT a pretty sight… Not to mention all those darn plantlets that were coming up everywhere!

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) platelets on 10-15-20, #747-52.

Over the years I have figured out to remove the plantlets when I bring the plants inside. They fall off and come upon every pot close by. I have found them in pots that weren’t even close. Like kids, if you want them to grow into nice plants you have to give them attention, too. Removal of the plantlets is kind of like birth control. Just think of how many babies are born every year that weren’t planned… I have no clue where that came from… GEEZ! According to the experts, the leaves of these plants are not really leaves…They are actually phylloclades which are flattened branches modified for photosynthesis.

Kalanchoe x laetivirens is a native of Madagascar and is listed as an invasive species in several parts of the world. It can produce over 16,000 seeds per fruit not to mention the plantlets!

ANYWAY…

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) on 10-15-20, #747-50.

NICE! Well, I suppose I better tell you the whole story. The two plants in this pot are actually offsets from the parent plant… Here it goes…

The strangest thing happened to my Kalanchoe x laetivirens last winter. In January, I went into the bedroom where the plants are and it had buds. I had seen flowers of them online but this was the first time mine had ever bloomed. OK, I will show you…

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) flowers on 2-21-20, #670-2.

I was shocked! A week or so after I saw the buds I moved the plant to my bedroom with the plants in there so I could keep an eye on it. After the flowers faded I just left the stem attached to see what would happen next. Over the summer I was pretty busy with the garden and this and that and I more or less didn’t pay much attention to the plants on the front porch. After all, they were succulents for the most part and they would be OK. And they did just fine… The main plant just kind of fizzled out, because this species is monocarpic, but two NICE offsets came up next to it… NOT plants from the plantlets (there were several of them too), but NICE big plants… So, the plants in the photos are those two offsets.

So, what became of the old flower stem?

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands), where the flowers were, on 10-20-20, #748-1.

The flower stem had fallen over but it produced MORE plantlets where the flowers had been. What else did you expect from this plant? I didn’t notice any fruit or seed pods, but this plant can produce over 16,000 seeds per fruit.

All parts of this species contain a very toxic steroid known as daigremontianin but many commercial drugs are produced from compounds of this plant (from Wikipedia).

Although Kalanchoe x laetivirens is the accepted name at the moment, sometimes it is Bryophyllum x laetivirens. For a while every time I checked it had changed from one name to the other. I left both names on the captions on its page so I wouldn’t have to keep changing it. It miraculously hasn’t changed since I last updated its page in October 2019. There is even confusion online about this plant, and some have it confused with Kalanchoe delagoensis. 

I had been calling this plant Kalanchoe daigremontiana since I brought the first one home in 2014. I had to do some did some further research because I just read Kalanchoe daigremontiana is supposed to have purple markings under its leaves which mine does not have. How come I never saw that before? Another accepted species, Kalanchoe x laetivirens, is very similar with no purple markings under the leaves. Hmmm… Even though POWO says it is an accepted name, Wikipedia says is it likely a hybrid between Kalanchoe daigremontiana x Kalanchoe laxiflora, therefore, lists it as Kalanchoe x laetivirens. It’s odd how original research led me to believe this plant was a Kalanchoe daigremontiana and I thought it was correct all this time. I had to change the name on a lot of captions, posts, and its own page…

<<<<Kalanchoe luciae>>>>

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-53.

Kalanchoe species come in a wide array of sizes and leaf shapes and Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) is a great example. I brought home my first Kalanchoe luciae from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. I have never had issues with this species and it doesn’t proliferate like its life depends on it. I have four pots and they all have offsets. Actually, the top pot has three offsets of the original plant which was cut off and is now in the pot on the left. The original plant grew a long stem and was hanging out of the pot. I thought that was kind of neat so I left it like that until  I need to cut the plant in the pot on the right off and regrow it. It keeps wanting to fall out of the pot. Ummm… There seems to be a pot missing.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-54.

The leaves of Kalanchoe luciae are kind of ovalish, light green, with kind of chalky undersides. When in good light, the leaves get kind of a reddish-orange-peachy glow. There is a similar species, Kalanchoe thrysiflora, which share some of its common names but the leaves don’t take on the color in brighter light. The industry sells plants with the name Kalanchoe thrysiflora that are really Kalanchoe luciae. I guess they think they can sell more plants like that and it is a good trick. Most people would never know the difference, but K. thrysiflora is actually a rarer plant and unlikely found in stores. So, if you have a plant labeled Kalanchoe thrysiflora and its leaves turn a reddish color in the sun, you actually have a Kalanchoe luciae. Oh yeah, cooler temps in the winter can also promote the leaf color. Flowers are also different between the species. K. luciae flowers do not have a strong scent while those of K. thrysiflora are strongly scented.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-55.

The stems have this neat chalky stuff called “bloom”. The bloom will actually rub off.

Common names for this plant include Flap Jack, Red Pancakes, Paddle Kalanchoe, Northern White Lady, Pancake Kalanchoe, Flipping flapjacks, White Lady, Flapjacks, Dog Tongue Plant, Paddle Plant, Paddle Leaf, Desert Cabbage, and maybe more… Kalanchoe thrysiflora share some of these names.

Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-56.

Ahhh, there you are. This pot was hiding among the smaller succulents on the right side of the table. This is the one I experimented with last summer in full sun on the back porch. Its leaves turned a bright reddish-orange. The right side of the table seems to get more light so it is glowing.

Kalanchoe luciae are easy to grow and are low maintenance. Once they lose a lot of lower leaves just cut the stem a few inches from the lower leaves, let the stem scab over for about a week, then put it in the soil up to the leaves. That’s it!

Give them regular watering over the summer but very little during the winter. Only give them a little water when you notice its leaves starting to wrinkle and get somewhat soft.

Keep them in as bright a light as possible over the winter otherwise, they will stretch a bit. If this happens, just whack off the stem and regrow the plant in the spring. This is true for A LOT of succulents and other plants as well.

<<<<Kalanchoe marmorata>>>>

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-57.

The Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) has been simply weird. I bought this plant from a member of a Facebook group and it arrived beautifully in April 2018. The seller shipped it bareroot and it was beautiful and LOADED with leaves. I put it in potting soil thinking all would be well. It wasn’t. This plant went into shock and lost all but four leaves on top of the stem. Even so, it grew an offset. Since then, it has survived but it is still weird. Last summer I cut off the stem in half and put the offset in its own pot. Sometimes they look like they are getting somewhere but not really… The offset stays short while the other one has grown to 7″ and the leaves fall off as it grows. I am going to have to cut off the stem again this spring (if I can wait that long).

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-15-20, #747-58.

It looks good on the top. I will figure out what this plant needs one way or another… Llifle says this is an easy plant to grow. Hmmm… I really want to like this plant because of its interesting leaves. After all, that is why I bought it.

<<<<Kalanchoe orgyalis>>>>

Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) at 25″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-59.

The Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) I brought home from Mast’s Greenhouse in June 2018 has been pretty entertaining. Apparently, I didn’t measure it when I brought it home, but it has grown 6 1/2″ taller than last October to 25″. It seems a little strange for a 25″ tall plant to be growing in a 6 1/2″ pot and it is somewhat top-heavy. I have found it laying on its side a couple of times this past summer when the soil was dry even though I keep bricks around the pots. It was like the wind just lifted the pot up and then the plant fell over but luckily it had close friends to catch it so it never fell on the porch floor. I have a heavier, more decorative, clay pot that might be a good idea for this plant. It is a little too big so I may have to do some improvising… Even though this plant is 25″ tall, it doesn’t have that much of a root system so you have to be careful not to put it in a pot with too much soil.

Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) on 10-15-20, #747-60.

One of the common names for this species is Copper Spoons due to its spoon-shaped leaves of a coppery-brown. As the leaves get older the color changes to a browner tone. The leaves are kind of fuzzy like mohair seats but they don’t smell like a wet dog when they are wet.

I hate to do it because I like watching this plant get taller, but at some point, it may need to be whacked in half. The two lower branches are growing, but there are upper branches that are not getting with the program…

Now, for the Ledebouria… 🙂

<<<<Ledebouria socialis>>>>

Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia) on 10-15-20, #747-61.

If you haven’t tried Ledebouria socialis (Silver Squill, Etc.), I suggest you do. These are great plants and very easy to care for. Plants of the World Online still doesn’t recognize the varieties of Ledebouria socialis but I include the variety name in parenthesis because there are definite differences. Although Ledebouria species are grown by many succulent enthusiasts, they are bulbous perennials in the Asparagaceae Family (Llifle still says Hyacinthaceae). The variety above could possibly be the “original” species and the others may have “evolved” from it. The species was also named Scilla socialis, Scilla paucifolia, and Ledebouria paucifolia. Scilla laxa is also a synonym. It was first in the Scilla genus, which is still genus, but some differences determined they are Ledebouria. The Pacific Bulb Society has a lot of information about this genus which you can find a link to on the plant’s page. The information they provide is somewhat out of date, name wise, but it makes for an interesting read. Ledebouria species are natives of South Africa.

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on 10-15-20, #747-62.

The Ledebouria in the above photo was previously named Scilla violacea and Ledebouria violacea but most botanists decided it should be a synonym of Ledebouria socialis. Even so, it is different in several ways from the others. For one, the leaves have larger and darker spots with violet undersides. This one also grows and spreads like crazy compared to the other. I had to ut it in a larger pot last year because it had gotten so cramped in the other. It still has some growing room in this one…

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on 10-15-20, #747-63.

This one didn’t flower this summer and I think that is because I didn’t move them to the cooler bedroom early enough so they could go dormant properly. I had them in my bedroom for a while then noticed they just kept growing and the new leaves were long and skinny. Well, that’s what information said they would do if they weren’t allowed to go dormant. They will continue growing and not flower if you don’t move them to a cooler spot and stop watering them. I didn’t put them into the other bedroom until December last winter but they are already in there now. Just since I moved them inside on October 15, they have grown new leaves that are already long and skinny. NO MORE WATER!!! So, now what will happen is the leaves will start dying off, which will take a while, then the bubs will start to shrivel. That process may take a couple of months. Then I will say, “HOLY CRAP”! Then I will be tempted to give them water. So, this will be my first winter with them properly forcing them to go dormant. We shall see what happens…

I will end this post now and get ready for the next one. It will be about the Mammillaria species in my collection.

This week’s forecast is bright ad sunny so I wonder what I can get into. I have gotten all the nails out of the boards I will use to build the new plant shelves, so that will be the main project for the week.

Until next time, take care, be safe, stay positive… You know the drill…

Fall 2020 Update Part 3: Cactus & Succulents Part 3

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) on 10-28-20, #753-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I don’t want to talk about the weather except to say the “S” is all gone and it is supposed to get up to 42° F today.

The above photo is the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla). I always forget about it, the three Sedums, and the Sempervivum ‘Killer’ that are outside in the bed in the “other yard”. They stay outside, of course, and I suppose the cactus and succulent updates are about the plants I bring inside. But still, I shouldn’t exclude the plants that go through the winter outside… As I was taking the above photo, I started to pick off some grass clippings and leaves that had got stuck in its spines. It said, “Leave it there”, and gave me a little poke to let me know he was serious. Well, it is always serious…

If you want to go to the plant’s own page for more information, click on its name under the photo in green.

<<<<Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana>>>>

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) at 9″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-30.

The Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) is quite interesting. It has grown A LOT since I bought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. It was only 2 3/4″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide at the time and now has grown to 9″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. It would definitely be top-heavy so keeping the pots-side-by-side keeps it from falling over. The subspecies name is accepted for this plant and the species is not as hairy.

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana on 10-15-20, #747-31.

Of course, the most interesting feature of the Peruvian Old Lady Cactus is its hair. This plant may look soft and cuddly, but under the hair are a lot of spines. So you still have to handle with care.

<<<<Euphorbia mammillaris>>>>

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) at 8″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-32.

The Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob, ETC.) is a very interesting plant. I brought this plant home as a cutting on March 29, 2019 when it was quite small. The cutting had a main stem with four side branches on one side which kind of makes it look a little lop-sided. I thought about removing the side branches and letting them grow into four separate plants but so far I haven’t done that. Last October 11 when I moved he plants inside, the main stem measured  5 3/4″ tall and this year it has grown to 8″ tall. Information online says it is a fast grower and it will reach as high as the ceiling. Well, that may take some time.

Euphorbia is one of the most diverse of all genera and includes species of cactus, succulents, perennials, wildflowers, trees, and shrubs… I probably missed something.

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) on 10-15-20, #747-33.

I really like the combination of leaves, thorns, and the geometric shapes of the tubercles. I have had a few other Euphorbia species that have been a lot more delicate. You never know when you try a species if it will work out or not.

<<<<Ferocactus wislizeni>>>>

Ferocactus wislizeni at 2 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-34.

The Ferocactus wislizeni is a neat cactus that gets a reddish glow in the sun. It has prominent ribs and long enough spines to keep any cat from sticking its nose where it shouldn’t be. I brought this cactus home from Lowe’s on 3-19-20 when it was just 1 5/8″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide. It has now grown to 2 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide.

This species was first put in the Echinocactus genus in 1848 then moved to Ferocactus in 1922. Several other species were determined to be synonymous with Ferocactus wislizeni. It is believed that the spines of this species were once used as fish hooks which led to one of its common names, Fishhook Barrel Cactus. I had a similar species of fish hook cactus with much more curved spines but for some reason, it didn’t live long. I haven’t found a replacement yet…

Top view of the Ferocactus wislizeni on 10-15-20, #747-35.

New spines are reddish with a lot of wool on the areoles. Quite neat, I think…

<<<<x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’>>>>

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ at 5 1/4″ tall x 10″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-36.

I think x Gasteraloe are great plants and x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ is no exception. ‘Flow’ is my fourth x Gasteraloe and the only one I have now, but not because the others died… This is one of the first plants I brought home when I “started over” in 2016 but I can’t remember where I got it. Lowe’s or Wal-Mart probably. I don’t have any measurements for it until October 17, 2017, when it measured 4″ tall x 6″wide. It is currently 5 1/4″ tall x 10″ wide which is a little smaller than last year. Hmmm… Well, leaves die and new ones grow so that isn’t uncommon when a plant has reached maturity. This plant flowered last year but not this year. I could have missed it since I was busy, but that is unlikely…

I haven’t really figured out the exact lineage of this plant and there isn’t a lot about that online. Most websites say it is an intergeneric hybrid between Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa and an unknown Aloe species. Others say it is a cross between Gasteria and Aristaloe aristata… The leaf coloration certainly resembles Gasteria carinata var. verrucosa but of course, it grows much more like the Aristaloe aristata (which was previously Aloe aristata).

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ with new offsets on 10-15-20, #747-37.

This plant had four nice, good-sized offsets but when I repotted it in September 2018 I gave the offsets their own pots. Well, that didn’t work so well because the offsets aren’t ding so well. In fact, they are now MUCH smaller and barely surviving. ‘Flow’ now has a few more offsets which I will NOT be removing…

<<<<Gasteria ‘Little Warty’>>>>

Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ at 5 1/4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-38.

The Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ did very well over the summer and is now 5 1/4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide. I removed an offset when I reported it last year and it is doing very well, too. I forgot to take its photo but it is now 2 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. I brought this plant home unlabeled from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 8, 2019 when it was 2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide. Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ is a result of a cross between Gasteria batesiana x Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’ from Australian hybridizer David Cumming. It has neat rough leaves…

The family that owned Wildwood Greenhouse relocated to another Amish community and I was sorry to see him go. His greenhouse wasn’t as large as the other three, but he had great plants and quite a selection.

<<<<Gasteria sp. ?>>>>

Gasteria sp. at 4 3/4″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-39.

This is my first Gasteria sp. that I brought home from Wal-Mart on March 19 in 2018. I thought it was AWESOME and I still do. Some Gasteria species have smooth leaves and some are bumpy. This one has smooth leaves but I have never figured out the species or possible cultivar. Believe me, I tried. I was told by an expert it is possibly an unnamed hybrid. It is plain and simply a mystery. So, I stopped trying to figure out its name and am just enjoying its companionship. I repotted it last year when it had two offsets in the center. It must have approved because now there are SEVEN. This plant has smooth leaves that are kind of a silvery-green on top and speckled on the bottom. The edges of the leaves feel like a closed zipper, kind of smooth but rough at the same time. The tallest plant in the pot measured 2 3/4″tall x 3 3/4″ wide when I bought them home and it now measures 3 7/8″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide. NICE!!!

<<<<x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’>>>>

x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ on 10-15-20, #747-40.

The x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ from my friend Walley Morse of Greenville, Mississippi is still doing very well. He sent it to me, along with another succulent and cuttings from Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) in 2018. The other succulent didn’t survive nor did I figure out what its name was. Of course, the Purple Heart is doing very well… Walley goes to a lot of plant shows in the spring and brings home a lot of plants. He has an AWESOME yard and we traded plants quite a lot. He wound up with two carloads of my plants when I moved back to Missouri in February 2013. He didn’t know the name of this plant so I put photos on a couple of Facebook groups specializing in succulents, It was suggested it was an x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’. Close enough. 🙂 It will definitely need to be regrown next spring… Ummm… I don’t have a page for this plant yet.

x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ on 10-15-20, #747-41.

There are A LOT of x Graptosedum cultivars and they are very popular. They are very easy to grow and propagate very easily from stem and leaf cuttings. This particular cultivar is the result of crossing Graptopetalum paraguayense and Sedum adolphii. Information online says they grow in a rosette form like an Echeveria… Hmmm… If you know anything about succulents, that is a very vague statement. Many succulents may start out growing in a “rosette form” but then start growing stems that can get quite long. Many Echeveria species do that. Both of the parents of this cultivar do that as well… They do OK in part shade, but more light brings out the color the best. Not enough light will also cause them to stretch, especially during the winter months inside. I keep most of the succulents in the south-facing in the back bedroom where it is cool over the winter for that reason.

<<<<Gymnocalycium saglionis>>>>

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus at 2″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-42.

I really like the Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus). It is one cactus that you definitely have to measure to see if it is growing because it seems to just sit there. It doesn’t talk much or move around. It is always right where I saw it before so I never have to look for it. It was 1 1/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29, 2019. It has grown to 2″ tall x 3 3/8″ (not including the spines).

This cactus is “possibly” the subspecies Gymnocalycium saglionis subsp. tilcarense which has longer spines than the species. Like so many other species and varieties of legitimately published names, the subspecies is considered a synonym of the species even though uniquely different. The subspecies, in this case, have longer spines and the flowers have shorter floral tubes. The species is found throughout much or Argentina whereas the subspecies is only found near Tilcara. I hope someday those in charge will recognize more subspecies and varieties once again…

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-43.

With spines like it has, he really doesn’t get much lip from anyone. With such large recurved spines, if it were to fall off the table it would roll. Its large tubercles with a little wool make this cactus even more appealing. Did I mention I like this cactus? I always like finding unusual cactus to bring home.

<<<<Haworthiopsis limifolia>> 

Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairies Washboard, ETC.) at 4″ tall x 5 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-44.

The Haworthiopsis limifolia is a very neat all-around species. It gets its common names Fairies Washboard, Fairy Washboard, and File Leaved Haworthia from its raised transverse ridges. I brought this plant home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 19, 2020 when it measured just 2 3/8″ tall x 3″ wide. It is now 4″ tall x 5 1/4″wide.

Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairies Washboard, ETC.) on 10-15-20, #747-45.

It is hard to get a good photo of the ridges to really show the detail. It is very neat!

<<<Huernia schneideriana>>>>

Huernia schneideriana on 10-15-20, #747-26.

HMMM… Every time I walked by the Huernia schneideriana (Carrion Plant, Red Dragon Flower)) on the front porch all I could say was, “GEEZ!” This plant is something else! It flowers almost non-stop. I think the only time it doesn’t have flowers is for a short period in the winter when it is inside. The rest of the time it is LOADED. Mrs. Wagler, at Wagler’s Greenhouse, has a HUGE pot of these and I brought home my first start from her in 2014. After giving up most of my plants later that summer, I brought home my second one in 2015. It was unlabeled but Kate of talltalesfromchiconia, said it was a Carrion Plant. I had to wait until it flowered in October 2015 to confirm the species. I was excited when it flowered but somewhat disappointed that it wasn’t one of the more colorful species with larger blooms. But, I am over that now…

Huernia schneideriana on 10-15-20, #747-47.

The flowers of this species of Huernia are fairly small compared to most and are not as colorful. Some species would make you drool… The good thing about this one’s flowers being small is that you don’t notice the foul odor. It is a Carrion Flower… Later in the updates, I will be posting about the Stapelia gigantea, which has not bloomed… But there is a bud.

Well, that’s it for this post… The next update will be about the Kalanchoe and Ledebouria.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. I hope you are doing well and coping with the virus issues. We have a lot to be thankful for otherwise. Thanks for reading this post and I always appreciate your comments. I am sorry I haven’t been keeping up with your posts but I will try. I get busy doing this and that then get tired and don’t want to read anything. I hope you understand and accept my apology.

 

Fall 2020 Update Part 2: Cactus & Succulents Part 2

Hello everyone. I hope this post finds you well. This is the second part of the Fall update with more photos and measurements from October 15 when I moved the plants inside.

The former Western Auto building is being torn down so I decided I would get some boards from the building to make a couple more plant shelves. The shelves will replace the tables I have been using in the two front bedrooms. I may write a post about the old building in a future post… I think the old building, which is on one corner of Main and Benton Streets, was originally a bank (there was once a bank on all four corners). After the bank closed, the building was rented by Western Auto in 1938. The building itself is 140 years old. I may do a future post about the building so maybe I should take a few photos before it is completely gone… When I was in the building last week I was amazed by the number of laths on the walls and ceiling. Can you imagine how long it took to put them there?

OK, enough about the building. I am updating the plant’s pages as I go along and you can go to them by clicking on their names under the photos (not in the captions).

Let’s get started with…

<<<<Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’>>>>

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ at 2 3/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-18.

The Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ is still alive and well and looking very good. This controversial little gem is very-slow growing and has FINALLY made it to 2 3/4″ tall. It was 2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016 and has remained 3 1/2″ wide… I brought home my first ‘Ming Thing’ from Wal-Mart in Greenville Mississippi in 2009 when I was living at the mansion in Leland. I was glad to find another one to replace it, although MUCH smaller. I really like this cactus because it is so odd-looking being a monstrous form of the species. It has been doing much better since I started putting the cactus on the back porch during the summer. The crickets really did a number on this poor guy where it was before but it has healed nicely.

<<<<Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus>>>>

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles)at 8 tall x 6 3:4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-19.

I must say the Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) has done much better over the summer on the front porch. I brought this plant home from Wal-Mart on January 28, 2016 and it was in a plastic sleeve and it was soaking wet. I removed the entire plant, dirt and all, from the pot and let it dry out for a few days. It has a lot of scars from crickets in 2017 but they haven’t been a problem on either the back or front porches. It has had issues growing because new growth from the scars on top of the stems are more fragile. When it was on the table on the back porch sometimes a cat would hit the top of the plant and knock new growth off while jumping on the railing. This summer I had this plant on the front porch in less sun and its color is looking much better. It actually grew 1 1/2″ taller and 2 1/4″ wider over the summer to 8″ tall x 6 3/4″ wide. Bravo!

This is the species that gets confused with the Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’. Both are miniatures of their species. I am not sure if Fairy Castles is a cultivar or a common name of Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. It is a common name, but it may be a cultivar name as well since this subspecies can grow to 33′ tall in the wild… The species, Cereus hildmannianus, is usually a spineless cactus and there is an AWESOME monstrose form.

I could go on but I better move along because I really have no idea what I am talking about… I am not sure anyone really does. It would be great to see both species in the wild…

<<<<Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’>>>> 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 8 1/4 tall x 4 1/4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-20.

I really like the Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’. I brought my first one home from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi while I was living at the mansion in 2010. It looked nothing like this one and was much bigger around but not this tall. I brought this one home from Wal-Mart on March 19, 2018 when it was 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3 3/8″ wide. It is now 8 1/4″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide. So, it grew 1/4″ taller and 1/2″ wider in the last year. The industry is still using the name Cereus peruvianus f. monstruosus ‘Ming Thing’ although Cereus peruvianus has been considered a synonym of Cereus repandus for a while. Plants of the World Online lists 28 synonyms of the species…

<<<<Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’>>>>

Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 8 1/2″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-22.

The Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ did very well during the summer despite a little neglect. I brought this unlabeled plant home from the Kuntry Store (one of the Amish owned stores) on May 5, 2018. I was hoping it was a ‘Lady Fingers’ like I had before but it has turned out to be ‘Gollum’. At least it seems to be ‘Gollum’. Some of the leaves look like ‘Lady Fingers’ but most of them look like the photos of ‘Gollum’. Anyway, it measured 8 1/2″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide which is an inch taller and 1/4″ wider than a year ago. I neglected to measure it when I brought it home but it was MUCH smaller. The leaves are much different than the classic Crassula ovata (Jade Plant, ETC.) which gives them their uniqueness.

<<<<Crassula tetragona>>>>

Crassula tetragona (Miniature Pine Tree) at 9 3/4″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-23.

My first Crassula tetragona died last winter for some reason. I had brought it home from Wagler’s in September 2018 and it grew to 16 1/2″ tall. When I finally gave up on it recovering I went to Wagler’s and brought home another one on March 28, 2020. She has a HUGE plant she uses for cuttings but she only had one smaller one. Its stem is crooked because it was growing sideways (I turned the pot so you can’t tell) but it was a nice plant otherwise so I brought it home. It measured 7 3/4″ tall at the time and now it is 9 3/4″ tall. It grew 2″ over the summer. It is quite common for the leaves to fall off and root in the pot as you can tell in the photo.

<<<<Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus)>>>>

Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus) at 3 1/2 tall x 2 3/4 wide on 10-15-20, #747-24.

When I measured these two characters they seemed to be the same size… The Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus) (Golden Barrel Cactus) are always joking around with me so I thought they were doing it again. The green pot is a little shorter than the other one, but oddly enough their measurements were the same. Usually one is a little taller and one is a little wider but I measured several times and I kept coming up with 3 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide for both of them. Last year one was 3″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide and the other was 2 7/8″ tall x 3″ wide. I always called one “Greater” and one “Lessor” but I can’t tell which is which. When I ask them which is which they point their fingers at each other. I always ignore the spines when I measure cactus otherwise they would be much bigger. They are intimidating enough as it is. Oh yeah, and if you water them a lot a day or so before you measure them they will be bigger than if they have been dry for a while. Maybe that’s just my opinion…

Echinocactus grusonii (var. albispinus) from the top on 10-15-20, #747-25.

These spiny guys always show a little color on their heads but their spines are whiteish. The species has smaller spines and are more yellow. Plants of the World Online listed “var. albispinus” as a synonym mainly because the variety name was invalidly published in 1981. When you sit the different varieties of a species together you can definitely tell there are differences which should be recognized with different variety names. Just makes sense but they didn’t ask me… I have had this discussion with “the guy” and I am told I can call them what I choose. GEEZ!!! Are there no rules? 🙂 Maybe I better check the link on the page for this plant to see if the intraspecific name is accepted yet…

WHOA! WAIT A MINUTE!!! 

I just checked the link for the species and the name has changed!!! Echinocactus grusonii is now Kroenleinia grusonii!!! How did that happen?

OK, so with that, I am going to bed. I was on a good roll and it is late. I was going to finish this post before I went to bed then I hit this snag. GEEZ! Now I will have the THREE “W’s” on my mind while trying to sleep… WHY, WHO, AND WHEN.

DAY TWO…

The history of this species is interesting because it is one of very few that have had the same name since it was named and described the first time. It was named by H. Hildmann was back in 1886 and has remained unchallenged. The genus, Echinocactus, was named in 1827 and there were never very many species included. My last update on this species page was October 11, 2019 when I added the photo from when I moved the plants inside. There were still only six accepted species in the genus and Echinocactus grusonii only had three synonyms. Two of the synonyms were other Echinocactus species that were determined to be E. grusonii and the third synonym was… you guessed it… Kroenleinia grusonii (2014). Even though the later name was validly published due to findings from testing, there is a lengthy process and it sometimes takes SEVERAL YEARS for the name to be “officially” accepted. Testing proved that Echinocactus grusonii was actually more closely related to the genus Ferocactus than Echinocactus and was given its OWN genus… So, the new scientific name is supposedly…

Kroenleinia grusonii (Hildm.) Lodé

It was named and described as such by Joël Lodé in International Cactus Adventures in 2014. Joël Lodé has quite a website called Cactus Adventures International and has written several books and… Well, there is A LOT of information on his website. His latest work is “Taxonomy of the Cactaceae” which seems to be an ongoing series. So far I think there are four volumes. The first two are mentioned on his website and include a total of 1,436 pages and over 9,500 photos. He has been publishing journals since 1988 but only in English since 1996.

So, now I guess I have a little updating to do…

<<<<Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’>>>>

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 4″ tall x 7″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-26.

Hmmm… The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’… Somehow I am at a loss for words whenever I look at this cluster. Every time I pick up this pot I look at and say, “Yeah, I know.” I don’t really know but I am just trying to be supportive. When I bought this plant from Walmart on February 1, 2016 it was only 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide. There were a few small, umm, offsets clinging all the way around it. The tag said it was an x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and that it was a cross between Lobivia and Echinopsis. Well, the Lobivia genus became a synonym of Echinopsis quite some time ago and most of the species in the genus were determined to be synonymous with various Echinopsis species. At first, some of the species were transferred to other genera, but later they also became synonyms of Echinopsis. SO, as it turned out, ‘Rainbow Bursts’ has been an Echinopsis the whole time. Of course, the industry is still selling these incorrectly labeled plants. The interesting thing is I have no way of telling what species of Echinopsis it is. Echinopsis species flower in several different colors and they are spectacular. There are posts online from several people who bought this plant with photos of various colors of flowers. Llifle lists Echinopsis ancistrophora subs. arachnacantha that produces flowers of various colors that used to be Lobivia arachnacantha… This is a fairly new listing on Llifle because it wasn’t there before. Plants of the World Online does not list this subspecies as an accepted name.

<<<<Echinopsis huascha>>>>

The smallest Echinopsis huascha at 3 7/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-27.

I checked to make sure this is still the correct name. The smaller Echinopsis huascha (Desert Blooming Jewel or Torch Plant) in the pot by itself measured 3 7/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide. So, it grew 5/8″ taller and lost a little around the waist. It’s not uncommon for cactus and has a lot to do with the amount of water they have retained. This plan measured 3″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 2, 2018. I accidentally took a photo of its bad side. Hmmm… Brown spots can be caused by several things but this looks like possibly fungal lesions that can be caused by cool, damp weather.

 

The pot of six Echinopsis huascha. The largest plant in the center measured 6 7/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-28.

The pot of six Echinopsis huascha are all doing fine and have grown a lot. The largest plant in the center measured 6 7/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I measured it on October 15. It was only 3″ tall when I first measured it on November 29, 2018 when I took the plants outside for a photoshoot.  It is weird, but in the above photo, you can’t tell how big they are really getting. Well, let me take another photo and sneak it in…

 

Echinopsis huascha inside 10-23-20, #750-2.

A few of the plants are nearly touching and this is an 11″ diameter pot. I spaced them out evenly in the beginning and a few are growing really fast.

 

Echinopsis huascha offset on 10-15-20, #747-29.

The big plant in the center has a kid… I am a grandpa again. GEEZ! But, the baby is not growing on the side like E. ‘Rainbow Bursts’.

My Echinopsis huascha companions resemble the description Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) gives for Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora but that infraspecific name wasn’t validly published. Plants of the World Online currently lists 43 synonyms of the species (up one from the last time I updated its page). This species has moved from one genus to another since it was first named Cereus huascha by Frédéric Albert Constantin Weber in 1893. When I brought the plants home the label said they were Trichocereus grandiflorus hybrids. Hmmm… Anyway, it was given its current name in 1974.

The reason I have so many of this species is because I kind of screwed up. I was shopping for new cactus at Lowe’s and found the small one on a discount rack. Then I walked around a little and found a big pot of six cactus and a bigger one in the center that was dead. The whole pot was discounted quite a bit so I put it in my cart as well. When I got home I saw the label on the big pot was the same as the smaller one…

OK, I will stop here and get ready for the next post. It is 2:22 AM.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive, stay well, and always be thankful. COVID is in our midst. 🙂

Fall 2020 Update Part 1: Cactus & Succulents Part 1

Bare plant table on the front porch.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. The time of the year has come where I had to bring the potted plants (104) inside on October 15 because an “F” was in the forecast. As usual, we get a ZAP then the temps warm up again. Sometimes I put the plants back outside but that depends on the long-range forecast. It has been very windy for many days and it has been very dry. Monday we had a little shower and a little more yesterday. This morning it has rained quite a lot with thunder and lightning.

This post begins the cactus and succulent update where I photograph and measure the cactus and succulents. I have been measuring plants for probably 10 years, mainly the cactus and succulents. I like doing that because cactus grow so SSSSLLLLOOOOWWW and measuring them is a good way to tell how well they progress from one year to the next.

There will be several posts because I can’t possibly put them all on one… I think I will start the updates in alphabetical order… If you click on the highlighted name of the plant it will take you to its own page (except for a couple that I haven’t made a page for yet).

<<<<Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’>>>>

Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’ at 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-1.

First on the list is the Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’. This particular “cultivar” could be a monstrous form of the species. The species can grow to around 23′ tall with stems as long as 10′. Monstrous forms mutate in several species of cactus either in nature or from human intervention and normally grow much slower and remain much smaller than the species. I brought this particular plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 9-13-18 when it was only 3″ tall x 2″ wide. It now measures 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide.

Some have this plant confused with Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) which I will discuss later…

<<<<Adromischus cristatus>>>>

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-15-20, #747-2.

Hmmm… That’s all I can say about the Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie). I brought this plant home from Lowe’s on April 23, 2017 and it has been weird. Of course, it looked much better when I brought it home, in fact, it was a very cute plant… It went downhill over the first winter and I thought surely it would die. It didn’t die but it didn’t do much of anything else either. It survived the summer AGAIN so I brought it back in the house for the winter. I guess as long as it wants to live I will support its cause… I have repotted it and provided what it supposedly needs but it doesn’t do anything but survive… Maybe I should talk to it more… 🙂

<<<<Agave univittata>>>>

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) at 13″ tall x 27 1:2 wide on 10-15-20, #747-3.

I kept the Agave univittata (Center Stripe Agave) in a sunnier spot on the front porch this summer instead of the back porch. I tried it on the back porch last year and its leaves seemed to burn a little and left them brown. When I brought this plant home from one of the local Amish greenhouses in 2016 I thought it was going to be a miniature. Well, it was unlabeled and the leaves were short and broad. I have had several HUGE Agave species in the past when I lived in Mississippi and I really liked them, but here my space is limited especially in the winter. As it turned out, this Agave is not a miniature but they don’t get huge. Information suggests this species grows to 12-18 tall x 12-24″ wide. Hmmm… This plant measured 13″ tall x 27 1/2″ wide when I brought it inside. I really do think these leaves should be broader in correct light but I can’t seem to find the sweet spot… It either gets too much sun or not enough…

It is highly possible this plant is NOT an Agave univittata after all. The species has 20 synonyms including Agave lophantha which has several well-known cultivars including ‘Quadracolor’. Several Agave species are variable and its leaves can be a solid color, bi-color, or even tri-color. In the beginning (sometime after creation) these different colors were given separate species names, which were later changed to varieties. This plant here was originally thought to be Agave lophantha, whose common name was the Center Stripe Agave. Later, it was decided it was a variety of Agave univittata. Now even the variety is supposedly a synonym and they just say leaf color is variable. GEEZ!!!

I still use the name Agave univittata var. lophantha because it has a center stripe. It is/was a legit scientific name that was applied to this variety in 1959 even though it is now supposedly a synonym… At one point it was even Agave lophantha var. univittata (1914). After all, this is my blog and I can call it whatever I choose. 🙂 Agave lophantha goes back to 1829 and Agave univittata only dates to 1831… I better stop there.

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) on 10-15-20, #747-4.

Most Agave species have a VERY sharp needle on the end of their leaves and spines along the margins. Did I mention they are very sharp?

<<<<Agave/x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’>>>> 

Agave/x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at 9″ tall x 13″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-5.

I always wanted an x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ but I didn’t see paying the price some online stores were charging for them. Fortunately, I was able to find this Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2019. x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ was introduced by Walters Gardens in 2016 and was bred by Hans Hansen. It is a cross between x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ and x Mangave ‘Jaguar’. It was 4 1/2″ tall x 9″ wide when I brought it home and now it is 9″ tall x 13″ wide. It has the potential to grow 18″tall x 24″ wide… Ummm… I don’t have a page for this one yet.

Agave/xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’ on 10-15-20, #747-6.

I just love the spotted leaves on this plant! It has done very well and is maintaining a nice habit.

The xMangave is, or was, an intergenetic cross between Manfreda and Agave. Unfortunately, those in charge have decided the genus Manfreda is now a synonym of Agave despite its several differences. I had been corresponding with a man from Walters Gardens about a few plants when I bought this one. I mentioned the xMangave was now a synonym of Agave and had no reply. I have now gotten acquainted with a more enthusiastic fellow from Proven Winners, which is a division of Walters Gardens. I wonder what he has to say about name changes. Well, maybe I should wait.

I have to admit I was very excited when I found this plant as an x Mangave but not so much as an Agave. I am not certain if I am ready to call it Agave ‘Pineapple Express. There is something about it being an intergenetic hybrid that makes one tingle. Besides, Agave doesn’t have spotted leaves!!! 🙂

<<<<Aloe juvenna>>>>

Aloe juvenna on 10-15-20, #747-7.

In 2009 I was plant shopping in a Wal-Mart store in Greenville, Mississippi and I saw a piece of a plant on the shelf. I looked around and found a similar potted plant labeled Aloe squarrosa. In 2012 I brought home another similar plant labeled Aloe zanzibarica (Zanzibar Aloe). When I was doing research for the blog I found out there was no scientific name for Aloe zanzibarica and my Aloe squarrosa was actually an Aloe juvenna. In fact, both plants were Aloe juvenna. I gave up those two plants but found the one I have now from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017. I think I may have given her this plant in the first place. Anyway, Aloe juvenna are easy to grow and pretty carefree. They are happiest when you leave the colony all together in a pot. You can propagate this one from offsets as well as stem cuttings although it may take them a while to root… Normally, this plant is nice and green if you don’t give it too much sun but for some reason, it started looking a bit off last winter…

<<<<Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’>>>>

Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ on 10-15-20, #747-8.

I have the longest history with the Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ than any other succulent here. When I was living in Mississippi, a friend of mine brought me a couple of offsets from his grandmother’s Aloe (spring 2009). I didn’t know what species it was at the time, so I called it Aloe ‘Kyle’s Grandma’. I had even met his grandmother yet but they all liked it that I named the plant after her. I named a lot of plants after the people who gave them to me. Anyway, at first, I found out this Aloe was Aloe saponaria, which it was at the time. When The Plant List first came online in 2010 I found out Aloe saponaria was a synonym of Aloe maculata. As usual, were a few differences between the two species, mainly having to do with their inflorescence (flower cluster). I was told, of course, the species is variable… Whatever you choose to call them, Aloe maculata is a great plant that freely offsets. I have literally potted HUNDREDS of these plants and gave them away to friends or anyone that wanted one. These plants will get HUGE and prefer their offsets to be removed from the pot. If you don’t do that you will have a big problem… The main plant in this pot grew to 19″ tall x 42″ wide by the time I moved the plants inside on October 11 last year. Unfortunately, it died in the spring before I moved the plants outside. I had screwed up and put the pot on the back porch one fine sunny day before spring arrived. I am not sure if it got too cold or if it was too much sun all at once. Whatever happened, it died leaving behind a bunch of orphans… I intended to put them in their own pots but got so busy I didn’t have time… So, here they are still in the pot on October 15… If you want to read more about this plant and my history with them, click on the name above.

<<<<Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’>>>>

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ on 10-15-20, #747-9.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was the first Aloe I purchased when I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi.  I brought it home from Lowe’s in 2009 and we have had our ups and downs… I gave an offset to Mrs. Wagler (Wagler’s Greenhouse) in 2013 and I was glad I did. After I gave up a lot of my plants in 2014, I had to start over again in 2015. Well, I brought home the offset I had gave to Mrs. Wagler the year before… 🙂

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was hybridized by John Bleck using the offspring of Aloe descoingsii x Aloe calcairophila and crossing it with Aloe bellatula. It is a nice miniature Aloe that offsets like crazy which can pose some interesting issues… The pot gets so full it becomes hard to give it enough water… I gave the plants a good dose of water the day before I moved them inside, but this pot is very light and feels like it had no water at all. GEEZ!!! However, even though it looks sad, it is flowering so it is happy. 🙂

The cluster of plants is approximately the same size as it was in 2019 with nothing exciting to report. Right now it is flowering again which it does periodically throughout the year, inside or out.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ 10-15-20, #747-10.

Shriveling of its leaves is fairly common when it needs water or if it is getting too much sun. If it does this because it is cold and wet, you have an emergency on your hands. That was a problem I had with it a few times when I lived in Mississippi but I was a newbie at the time. During the summer, water once a week if it needs it, but no matter what, control yourself during the winter. One reason my succulents are in the back bedroom is so I won’t be looking at them every day and be tempted to water them too often. Once or twice during the winter is enough…

Not all Aloe species and hybrids are easy to grow. I have lost a few over the years because they were weird…

<<<<x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’>>>>

x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ at 5 3/4″ tall x 10″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-11.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ is a great plant for sure. It is an intergeneric hybrid between Aloe speciosa and Haworthia cymbiformis. I brought this plant home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 9, 2019 when it was 3 1/2″tall x 6 1/8″ wide. I put it in a larger pot on November 13, 2019 and it has done very well. Now it is 5 3/4″ tall x 10″ wide. I really like this plant and its dark green leaves.

I keep getting confused between intergeneric and intergenetic. When I think of “generic” it reminds me of generic brands of food and drugs. Intergeneric is the hybridization between two genera while intergenetic deals with genes. The “x” before the plant name indicates it is an intergeneric hybrid… I checked to make sure Haworthia cymbiformis is still a Haworthia species. 🙂

<<<<Aristaloe aristata #1>>>>

Aristaloe aristata #1 on 10-15-20, #747-12.

I brought this Aristaloe aristata home from Wal-Mart on March 19, 2018 and it always did well until I messed up. I put it in a larger pot in November 2019 which probably would have been fine. But, toward the end of the winter before I moved the plants outside in the spring, I gave several of the more root-bound Aloe a good soaking. Well, I did it with this one too which I shouldn’t have done since it was in a new and deeper pot. As a result, the lower roots rotted and it started going downhill. I put it in a shallower pot and removed its three offsets and it started slowly recovering. Not knowing if it would recover is the reason I had Nico from Succulent Market send the new one (which I wrote about a couple of posts ago). I didn’t measure this plant this time around because it had shrunk A LOT since so many of its lower leaves died. Right now, the plant from Nico is bigger than this one… OUCH! Live and learn…

<<<<Austrocylindropuntia subulata>>>>

Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) at 4 1/2″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-13.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata is definitely a mouth full and you can’t say it really fast three times. I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in November 2019 when I went out to see if she had more Christmas (Holiday) Cactus. The one I brought home from her earlier had a peach label and it turned out to have pink flowers… Anyway, she didn’t have any more peach but I did bring this delightful little Eve’s Needle home. It was very small at the time but it has grown to 4 1/2″ inches. I had a HUGE Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. cristata (Crested Eve’s Needle) but it died in over the 2013-2014 winter. It was AWESOME and I haven’t found a replacement so far.

I don’t have a page for this plant yet…

Well, I got through the “A’s”. There are no “B’s” so I will start with the “C’s” through part of the “E’s” on the next post.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well and always be thankful…

 

Plants From Succulent Market

Plants from Succulent Market on 8-27-20.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am very tardy in writing this post about the plants I received from Succulent Market on Augst 27. I did sneak in a photo of the box they came in the day they arrived but didn’t say anything about them. I was contacted by Nico Britsch of Succulent Market on July 30 but I didn’t notice his message until August 3. I check my comments sometimes several times a day, but rarely checked the feedback. Well, that’s where his message was. It was like one day I just decided to check the feedback and low and behold there were 20 messages.

He said: “Hi, my name is Nico Britsch and I am a third-generation cactus and succulent farmer. I admire your work to share your gardening knowledge and experience with your followers. The reason I am emailing you is because I have recently launched a website called Succulent Market. It is a website that sells my family’s cactus and succulents online. My family has been growing cactus and succulents for over 50 years and I am trying to get the word out about this new service that we now offer. If you like I would be more than happy to send you guys some of my family’s cactus and succulents. Just let me know what you want and I’ll send a package over! You can check out my family’s website at: https://succulentmarket.com/. If you like my family’s cactus and succulents maybe you could share our website with your followers with a blog post? Regardless I thank you for your time and consideration. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions. Best, Nico Britsch”

Well, as you might expect, the part about sending plants caught my eye. So, I checked out his website and read about the history of his family’s business. At first, I was somewhat reluctant to get very involved after visiting his website, Succulent Market...

I have ranted a lot about the industries mislabeling plants and his site was no different. Genus and species names not italicized, out of date plant names, and so on. I sent him a lengthy email and he replied with his story. I then realized he had a dream and I had an opportunity.

Nico’s grandparents, Hans and Gretel Britsch, started Western Cactus Growers in 1966. As botanists and immigrants from Switzerland, Hans and Gretel started Western Cactus as a mail-order company. Their son, Thomas, entered the business in 1988 and expanded it into an international wholesale enterprise. Nico, the third generation, launched the Succulent Market website in 2018 to bring the family’s wholesale business to the public online.

Nico started Succulent Market while he was a sophomore in college to earn extra money. Now that he has graduated he plans to pursue his own company full time. While his website does have that “industry look”, it is tastefully done and very easy to navigate. When you click on something you are directed right to where it is supposed to go. He offers a very good selection of individual plants, in bulk, cuttings, supplies, and a lot of tips and information. Now, if I can just get him to work on the plant names. 🙂

At first, I told him I didn’t need any plants because of my limited space, but then I checked out his selection of Aloe… I told him I didn’t have adequate light for succulents except for one room. He then mentioned the Haworthia fasciata ‘Super White’ his grandfather had selected over many years. He said their “Super Whites” have wider stripes are more resilient indoors with very little light. Then he asked if I would like him to send me one… Then, I looked at the Aloe selection on his site… I mentioned several in the next email and the next thing I knew I had an order confirmation for five plants…

The box arrived safe and sound and in very good shape. I opened it and saw it stuffed with paper… I will admit, I wasn’t jumping up and down for joy because a plant I ordered finally arrived. When I buy plants online they are rare finds, something I can’t find locally from someone from Ebay or a Facebook group. Opening the box to see how they are packed is almost as interesting as what I ordered. I never will forget the Mammillaria plumosa rolled up in toilet paper. Anyway, here the box is stuffed with paper.

His website says: “Each one of our cactus and succulent for sale is packaged by hand with love and care. We utilize craft and crinkle paper to protect your cactus and succulent order during delivery. Your potted succulent orders are carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and stuffed in crinkle paper.”

I removed the paper and this is what I first saw. Five plants peering up at me wondering what was going to happen next. My face was the first thing they saw after a long trip from California in a dark box. I looked at them for a while because I wasn’t expecting such HUGE plants in 4-inch pots. Well, the website did say they ship their plants in 4″ pots, but I was still surprised. The plants looked great! The pots were stuffed in the box so tight they couldn’t possibly move around. Quite a bit of soil had come out of one pot, but other than that they were perfectly fine with not one single broken leaf. I took the plants out and took their photos then tried to put the pots back in the box so I could carry them to the front porch. I could not get them back in the box… I have no idea how they managed to put five 4″ pots in the box without damaging any leaves

Nico said he is continually experimenting with better ways to ship plants. I told him I had ordered plants for many years and they are all shipped in a variety of ways. I suggested he order plants from a few sources to see how they do it. Shipping cactus and succulents, especially larger succulents, is not like shipping many other plants. They have fleshy stems and leaves and you can’t just fold them up and wrap them. No doubt, there are probably companies that make boxes and shipping supplies for plants.

This is the first time I have received succulents in the mail that weren’t damaged in some way. Cactus ship much better. Normally, I photograph and measure new plants as soon as they arrive or after I bring them home but I didn’t measure these until October 6.

Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ from Succulent Market at 7 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 6-20-20, #746-1.

I had a pot of Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’ for several years and they really did great. I like their growth habit and the bluish hue of their leaves. They are somewhat slow to offset which isn’t a bad thing. Some Aloe’s offset A LOT and need to be repotted often. There were three of these in the same pot before and they look much better that way because of their upright growth habit. The problem is… This plant doesn’t look like my former Aloe x ‘Blue Elf’. It looks more like photos of Aloe x ‘California’ online…

Aloe x ‘Cha Cha’ from Succulent Market at 3″ tall x 63/4″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-2.

Information online says Aloe x ‘Cha Cha’ is a rapid grower to 6-12″ tall and wide. This should be interesting because it does not look like a plant that would grow to that size… I can already tell it will be quite a clumper and I need to resist the urge to remove its pups. Some Aloe do much better with their pups removed while others don’t like it. This may be a difficult Aloe but time will tell.

Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ from Succulent Market at 2 1/2″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-4.

This one is an Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ and it looks really great. A few years ago I bought a small pot of an unlabeled Aloe that looked similar that I kind of decided was Aloe x ‘Wunderkind’ developed by Brian Kimble. There are several miniature hybrid Aloe that are similar to the Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ developed by several well-known hybridizers. This will definitely be a miniature plant and I was pretty excited with I saw a few buds already. Aloe ‘Doran Black’ has very good reviews and if you are looking for a nice miniature, it should be on your wish list. I accidentally killed my Aloe x ‘Wunderkind’ when i watered my plants in the morning instead of later in the afternoon when they were in the shade. It completely boiled once the sun was overhead…

Aristaloe aristata from Succulent Market at 3 1/2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, # 746-6.

Aristaloe aristata… I already have one of these but it started ailing after I removed its pups and put it in a larger pot. I thought I would die over the summer but it seems to be doing better. The plant I already have was getting very wide with several pups so I definitely needed to repot it. But, the pot I put it in was too deep and it didn’t like that. Some Aloe have an extensive root system and need deeper pots while others do not. I have learned that miniature Aloe’s need shallower pots and kind of like cramped quarters. My Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ drives me crazy for this reason!!! This particular species was moved from the Aloe genus into a genus of its own a couple of years ago but the industry continues to call it an Aloe. It was originally named Aloe aristata by Adrian Hardy Haworth in 1825 but testing showed it was not an Aloe. It was given the name Aristaloe aristata by James S. Boatwright and John Charles Manning in 2014. So, now its scientific name is Aristaloe aristata (Haw.) Boatwr. & J.C.Manning. A little useless information for you. 🙂 I really like this species with its very pointed leaves ending with kind of a string. The species name “aristata” comes from the Latin word meaning “bristly” or “awned”. Its common name is Lace Aloe, Guinea Fowl Aloe, and Torch Aloe. It is a good grower that will fill a pot pretty well in no time. Just don’t put it in too deep of a pot or you may be sorry…

Haworthiopsis ‘Super White’ from Succulent Market at 3 1/4″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide on 10-6-20, #746-8.

Last but not least in any way is the Haworthia ‘Super White’. This is the Haworthia fasciata Nico said his grandfather selected over a period of time to tolerate low light levels. It was selected to have more “white” on its leaves thus making it better in low light situations. I have not grown Haworthia species or cultivars for many years, since 2009, and had difficulty with them which is why I have been reluctant to bring any home. Well, I was a succulent newbie back then and my choices were difficult species to grow in the first place.

Actually, and I am no Haworthia expert, but from doing some research I think this Haworthia fasciata is actually Haworthia attenuata. Their leaves are different…

BUT, actually… I have to break the news to Nico. This Haworthia fasciata, or Haworthia attenuata, ‘Super White’ is no longer a Haworthia species. Like the Haworthia limafolia I brought home last year, the Haworthia fasciata (AND H. attenuata) was transferred to the newly formed Haworthiopsis genus by Gordon Douglas Rowley in 2013… Mr. Rowley authored and co-authored over 300 publications including 20 books. He named many plants, cactus and succulents becoming the focus of his life after the mid 1940’s. He passed away on August 11, 2019 at the age of 98.

So, I am going to give this ‘Super White’ a shot. I have passed over many similar-looking Haworthia over the years so this one will be my first of this “type”. I have no clue what I am talking about.

I know I get a little carried away sometimes with I talk about plant taxonomy but I enjoy doing a little research.

I just want to finish this post by saying if you want some really great plants you should head over to Succulent Market. While most online stores ship very small plants in 2-2 1/2″ pots, this company ships larger well-grown plants in 4″ pots. While most people probably pay no attention to details like non italicized scientific names and improper names, some do and may not buy from online stores because of that. Then again, I can’t italicize the plant names on the list to the right nor in the titles… But, Nico is very young and is the 3rd generation of a well established and experienced company. Hopefully, he will take the initiative and work on the names on his website (and a few other areas) and will be a great success. He is in a competitive business and he should do something to make his site stand out above the rest.

Unfortunately… We have an “F” in the forecast for Thursday night so I will have to start preparing to bring the potted plants inside. Fortunately, I did not add many new plants in 2020. I am considering building maybe two new shelves for the other two bedrooms like I did in the back bedroom. Using tables just doesn’t cut it. The old Western Auto building is being torn down and a good friend is helping with that project. I am hoping I can get some boards from it to make the new shelves. I like using old lumber especially if there is some known history behind the boards…

So, I better end this post and start preparing to bring the plants inside. I probably won’t bring them inside until Thursday because the forecast might change. I noticed last night three different weather websites all had different temps predicted, anywhere from 32-34° F. Yesterday, one site said there would be an “F” but today it doesn’t say that… GEEZ! Today’s high is 86° which is probably going to set a record. Tomorrow’s low may also set a record… You never know especially this time of the year.

So, until next time, be safe, stay positive, give thanks and GET DIRTY as much as possible…

Cactus & Succulent Update #5

Group photo for Cactus & Succulent Update #5 on 11-24-19.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. This is the fifth and final cactus and succulent update which I started on November 23rd. The temperature got up into the mid 50’s on the 24th so I decided it would be OK to take the plants in this post outside for a photoshoot (Grammarly continues to argue with itself whether it is photo shoot or photoshoot). I didn’t list the plants in the caption because they are kind of mixed up and there a few that there are several of.

 

Plant shelf in the back bedroom in a south-facing window on 11-24-19.

I repotted several and whacked the Kalanchoe x laetivirens stem in half s you can see in this photo (bottom left). Although the Kalanchoe orgyalis is also very tall I just put in a larger pot. It was on the bottom shelf and was almost touching the one above it so it is now on the floor between the shelf and window. On the second shelf, on the right, you can see the Huernia schneideriana has some pretty long stems. The room stays fairly cool and the plants get plenty of light from this south-facing window. Hmmm… It seems I forgot to put the other four smaller Kalanchoe x laetivirens back on the top shelf…

Most of the photos on this post were taken on October 11 when I moved the plants inside for the winter (the first time), but I had to take a few more for this post.

 

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) after being whacked in half and repotted on 11-24-19.

Well, I didn’t take photos of the Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) on October 11. I suppose that’s because they dive me nuts and didn’t need the added attention. I was going to take a photo of all of them together for this post but then decided against that as well. This evening I decided to whack the stem in half and stick most of it back in the pot. It was at least 20″ tall now it is 11″ again. I always remove the plantlets from the leaves when I move the plants inside. Actually, they aren’t leaves but only look like leaves…  To say I have five of these plants would be an understatement because several are growing in other pots as usual.

Click HERE to view the Kalanchoe x laetivirens page.

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Kalanchoe luciae on 10-11-19.

The Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) are really neat plants. You may have heard it called by other names because it has many including Flipping Flapjacks, Red Pancakes, Paddle Kalanchoe, Northern White Lady, Pancake Kalanchoe, White Lady, Flapjacks, Paddle Leaf, Desert Cabbage, Paddle Plant, Dog Tongue Plant, and Flap Jack. They don’t seem to grow that tall and like to lean a bit then they grow roots under the lower stems when they are ready to repot. I guess in the wild when they get a certain height and lean far enough they take root in the soil. The leaning stem on the plant to the left is the original plant and it is three years old. The roots on the stem are under the leaves right in the curve. All the other plants were offsets from it. 

 

Kalanchoe luciae from the back porch on 10-13-19.

I took this Kalanchoe luciae to the back porch for a shot on the 13th because it hadn’t been incuded in the above group photo. It had been growing on the back porch in full sun with the cactus during the summer to see how it would do. I knew the leaves would turn this color because the original plant was in brighter light in 2016. Pretty neat huh? I repotted all the smaller pots of Kalanchoe luciae this evening except the older one which had been done earlier. Another thing I like about these plants is their chalky white stems…

 

All the Kalanchoe luciae on 11-24-19.

I took a group photo of all the Kalanchoe luciae while the plants were outside for their photoshoot.

Click HERE to view the Kalanchoe luciae page.

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Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 10-11-19, #639-49.

Hmmm… The Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) and I have made an agreement. As long as it doesn’t die I will keep doing the best I can. I bought this plant from a member of a Facebook group in April 2018 and it went into shock and darn near died. It lost all but two of its upper leaves but started doing much better and growing more leaves within a couple of weeks. Then, the next thing I knew, it sent up an offset. I cut the top off the old plant after a while and then stuck it in the same pot because it looked so weird and the stem was growing roots under the surviving leaves. I put the offset in a different pot… Then, the stem I stuck in the pot started growing roots on its stem and the old stem started growing leaves under the cut… After the above photo was taken, I removed the stem cutting and put it in another pot. Then, when I took the plants outside for a photoshoot for the group photo, I noticed the original stem had died…

 

Kalanchoe marmorata on 11-24-19.

I decided to take a new photo of what they look like now. The plant in the smaller pot was almost completely out of the potting soil… So, we have had our ups and downs but I hope they survive the winter.

Click HERE to view the Kalanchoe marmorata page.

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Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) at 18 1/2″ tall x 10″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-50.

The always AWESOME Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) has done very well and was 18 1/2″ tall x 10″ wide when I brought it inside on October 11. It has grown a little since this photo was taken. I decided it needed a larger pot so I did that before putting it back in the bedroom. It had grown a little since I brought it inside and the larger pot added a little more height as well. It wouldn’t fit on the lower shelf anymore and I didn’t want to raise the second shelf again, so I put it on the floor between the shelf and window. The bottom of the window is only 10″ from the floor so I think it will be fine.

Kalanchoe does not seem to have an extensive root system, so most of the time you can just replace the soil and leave them in the same pot. If they are very tall, you have to consider pot size to keep them from falling over.

Click HERE to view the Kalanchoe orgyalis page.

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Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia) on 10-11-19.

Hmmm… OK, I am not going to vent about the scientific name for the Ledebouria socialis on this post. I need to rewrite their pages or maybe completely redo it and put them both on the same page. Whether you choose to call this one Ledebouria socialis, Ledebouria socialis ‘Paucifolia’, or Ledebouria socialis var. paucifolia is fine by me. 🙂 They were previously in the genus Scilla… Until 1970. Common names include Silver Squill, Violet Squill, Leopard Lily, South African Scillia, Bluebell, and Wood Hyacinth.

 

Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia) leaves on 10-11-19, #639-52.

The leaves of this one are silvery green with darker green spots. But seriously, why am I calling this var. paucifolia?

 

Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia) bulbs on 10-11-19, #639-53.

They grow from bulbs and this one doesn’t spread as much as the other.

 

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on 10-11-19, #639-54.

The other one, which you can call Ledebouria socialis ‘Violacea’, Ledebouria socialis, or Ledebouria socialis var. violacea (as I call it)… Hmmm. I’m doing well not putting in my two cents but it is very difficult. In the spring I removed a bulb for the guy in Alabama that was supposed to do some plant swapping with me. The exchanges never happened and now that one bulb has turned into 6… It has produced most of them since I moved the plants inside for the winter. They have gone NUTS and they should be thinking about dormancy.

 

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) leaves.

This “variety” or “variation” of Ledebouria socialis has the same silvery-green leaves with larger darker green spots. The undersides of the leaves are kind of a maroon color. It was formerly known as Scillia violacea, Ledebouria violacea, and the Pacific Bulb Society calls them Ledebouria socialis ‘Violacea’. I call them Ledebouria socialis var. violacea because they are NOT a cultivar… OOPS! The Pacific Bulb Company lists several, umm, varieties of Ledebouria socialis which used to be species.

 

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) bulbs. That is not mealybugs in the photo. I checked and it’s perlite. 🙂

This one has definitely spread a lot more and makes a nice full pot. Both flowered this past summer.

In all, if you haven’t tried Ledebouria socialis I recommend you do. They are cold hardy in USDA zones 10a-11 (30-40° F) but make great potted specimens where not hardy. You water them normally during the summer, but should not water them during the winter. I am trying to decide when to stop… Mine arrived from a seller on Facebook on October 13 (last year) and I don’t think I watered them until spring. If you continue to water them they will produce longer and narrower leaves during the winter and may not flower the following year. I think the trick is to get them not to grow over the winter so they will do it in the spring. They should also be in a cooler room. So, I suppose I need to stop watering them and put them in the cool bedroom since they are beginning to grow long and narrow leaves… If you give Ledebouria socialis a try, make sure you plant them with 2/3 of their bulbs exposed.

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Parodia lenninghausii at 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide (right) and 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide (left) on 10-11-19, #639-77.

The two Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus) are looking and doing great as always. The smaller one in the green pot is now 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide. It has grown a lot from 1 7/8″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide since I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016. The taller one in the red pot is now 5 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide. It has always been about 1″ taller than the other.

 

Parodia lenninghausii from the top on 10-11-19, #639-78.

They still have the neatest hairdo.

 

Parodia lenninghausii with its baby on 10-11-19, #639-79.

I was happy to see the smaller plant had a baby when I took the above photo on October 11. I noticed today it has another one right next to it.

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Parodia magnifica at 2 5/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-11-19.

The Parodia magnifica (Ball Cactus, Baloon Cactus) is a nice little cactus that is doing well. It is now 2 5/8″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide. It has grown 1 1/4″ taller and 1/4″ wider since I brought it home from Lowe’s in March. That is 1 1/4″ in only seven months!

 

Parodia magnifica in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-21.

It was strange posting the photo from October 11 when I had already posted it in its new pot. In case you missed it, I am sharing it again. With more room, I wonder how much it will grow after another year.

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Sedum adolphii (Golden Sedum) on 10-11-19, #639-85.

The Sedum adolphii has done very well since I repotted it in August 2018. Its common names include Golden Sedum, Coppertone Stonecrop, Stonecrop, Coppertone Sedum, and Nussbaumer’s Sedum. It is synonymous with Sedum nussbaumerianum so if you have one by that name is it correctly Sedum adolphii. The industry sells them by both names and one time, in 2012, I bought one of each not realizing at the time they were the same. After I gave up most of my plants in 2014, I found this Sedum adolphii in 2016. They are pretty easy to grow in pots and have to be brought inside for the winter where they continue to do well. Many Sedum species do well in pots but dislike being inside. I have grown MANY species over the years that have done well and others that didn’t survive…

 

Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ on 10-11-19.

The Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’ is one of several cultivars of the species. It has done well despite not really wanting to be on the front porch. If I had it on the back porch in full sun its true colors would have come out better. Right now, being in a south-facing window inside, its leaf tips are taking on more of an orange color. So, next summer, I will put both pots on the back porch to see how they do.

 

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) on 10-11-19, #639-86.

OK, I know the Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) looks a bit crowded. It looks crowded because it is crowded. I received six cuttings from a seller on Ebay last October and made the mistake of putting them all in the same 5 1/2″ diameter pot. Well, I had never grown a Stapeliabefore so I had no idea what would happen. I thought about taking a few to Mrs. Wagler (Wagler’s Greenhouse) but decided I would wait until I saw how they did. Remember, the post from November 22 I mentioned I took her cuttings. 🙂

 

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) on 10-11-19., #639-88.

I think there are more than six in the pot now. I removed the two branches hanging over the sides and made four cuttings from one and gave them to Mrs. Wagler. I wouldn’t have necessarily cut the branches off but I thought they might break off. When I was taking the cutting I learned there would have been no chance of that happening. They are VERY tough! It is strange how offsets in the center of the pot have no branches while the ones closer to the edge do. It is like they think if they branch out one may reach the ground…

 

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) buds on 10-11-19, #639-87.

Of course, the obvious reason I bought the Stapelia gigantea was for it’s AWESOME 10″ flowers. So, I was very excited when I saw buds! I wish I was posting photos of its flowers instead of just buds. BUT, unfortunately, after I moved the plants inside, the buds fell off. They started growing new ones but one day I noticed a few mealybugs on the buds and on the top of a few stems. Do you know how long it has been since I had bugs? Well, I mean on the plants inside the house. Of course, I have bugs outside during the summer. 🙂

Stapelia are Carrion Plants like the Huernia schneideriana I have had for several years. It also came from Mrs. Wagler. While my Huernia has very small maroon flowers, the other species have much larger and very colorful flowers. I went to the Llifle website to ID mine and became hooked. There are several genera of plants known as Carrion Plants that have similar flowers but their stems are somewhat different. As I have found out they are very easy to grow. While the Huernia doesn’t tell me when it needs water, the Stapelia does. Its soft, fuzzy stems get kind of spongy feeling and when it doesn’t need water they are more stiff.

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Stenocereus pruinosus at 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-89.

I have to whisper, but the Stenocereus pruinosus is one of my favorite cactus. It has several common names including Gray Ghost, Organ Pipe, Pitayo, and Pitaya of October (de Octubre). They are highly prized for their fruit and widely cultivated in Mexico in the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, Guerrero, and Chiapas. It was only 2 7/8” tall x 2 3/4” wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016 and now it is 4 3/4″ tall 2 3/4″ wide. It has been a while since I repotted it so I will do it in the spring. I somehow ran out of pumice…

Llifle says Stenocereus pruinosus “is a large shrubby or tree-like columnar cactus to 4-5(-7) m tall, usually with one or more, definite trunk(s) from which little-branching stems arise from the base for a distinctive V-shape.” Well, we have a ways to go…

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Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 10-11-19, #639-91.

Last but not least, Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) is still doing its thing. I started out with this Paper Spine Cactus as a rescue when I was cactus shopping in February 2016. I spotted a piece that had fallen off so I put it in my pocket and brought it home and we have been friends ever since. It doesn’t grow that tall because the top segments keep falling off and taking root. Sometimes they get lost so I think I will put it in a wider pot. Maybe they won’t wander off then. It is interesting to transplant…

That is finally it for the cactus and succulent update. I have other plants to post about so we shall see what happens next.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Don’t forget to be thankful and get dirty every chance you get. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Cactus & Succulent Update Part 4: The Mammillaria Collection

Mammillaria Group Photo on 11-16-19. Back row from left to right: Mammillaria pringlei, Mammillaria elongata, Mammillaria decipiens (in a new pot), and Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’. Middle row from left to right: Mammillaria rhodantha, Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii, Mammillaria hahniana, and Mammillaria karwinskiana. Front Row from left to right: Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, Mammillaria mystax, and Mammillaria plumosa (in a new pot).

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you well! Part four of the cactus and succulent update is about the Mammillaria species in my small collection. Mammillarias are among the widest genus of cactus collected for many reasons. Most are very easy to grow and there are a lot of species to choose from. Plants of the World Online currently lists 162 species. As with the previous three updates, these photos were taken on October 11 when I moved the potted plants inside for the winter.

HERE WE GO…

 

Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-56.

The Mammillaria decipiens (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) always amazes me. It seems like every time I put it in a wider pot it wastes no time filling it up. It was 1 1/2″ tall x 4″ wide on October 11. It was squished in its pot when I brought it home from Wal-Mart at 3″ wide in March 2018. But, the weird thing is that is shrunk 1/2″ in height. 🙂 I think the subspecies for this plant should be Mammillaria decipiens subsp. camptotricha although it is not “currently’ validly recognized. Hmmm… I have been saying that for a while now. I really like this plant because of its long tubercles, the spines that seem to form a web across the entire clump, and the fact that it produces a lot of flowers. There weren’t many flowers when I took this photo on 10-11-19 but there were later. It isn’t uncommon for it to have a few during the summer as well.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-11-19, #639-58).

The Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus, Golden Stars) is one of the weirdest cactus in my collection. Sometimes the main stem is leaning over (one way or the other) and sometimes it is straight up. I mentioned before we had a rough start when I accidentally knocked it off the plant table only a few days after I brought it home. Most of the offsets fell off so I just stuck them back in the pot, which was barely big enough at the time. I spaced them out better when I repotted then the main stem got even with so many more offsets. The other weird thing is the measurement… I didn’t take a measurement when I took the photo on 10-11, but I did a few days later when I took photos of its flowers. There were only a few buds when I took the above photo, but on October 19 through early November there were A LOT! Anyway, the measurement I typed in said 6 5/6″ tall… What in the heck did that mean? SO, I decided to take another measurement when I was writing this post. The main stem was standing straight up and the measurement was 7 3/8″. GEEZ! I stood the stem up before to take the measurement so I would be close to accurate. It isn’t uncommon for cactus to shrink and swell when they have ample moisture so it isn’t uncommon for their measurements to be a lot different in just a short period of time. The central stem measured only 4″ tall when I brought it home in March 2018 and the cluster was 3 3/4″ wide. I didn’t measure the width this time because the stems move around so much. I thought maybe they lean toward the sun but sometimes they seem to be leaning toward the shade… Like I said, this plant is weird…

To view this plants page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 1/4″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-59.

The Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is a very neat plant to grow with all its wool. It produces quite a few flowers off and on and right now has a few more buds. It measured 3 1/4″ tall x 3 3/8″ wide on 10-11-19 and I am not about to remeasure it again until next year. It was only 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1, 2016.

Click HERE to view the Mammillaria hahniana page.

 

Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) at 3 1/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-61.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (Silver Arrows) is another fairly wooly cactus companion. It seems a little strange posting this photo since I posted a later photo of it with flowers already. Right now it has 11 buds and flowers. OK, I will go take a photo right now and show you…

 

Mammillaria karwinskiana flowers on 11-14-19, #660-1.

You can’t see all the flowers and buds, but there are 11. Pretty neat how they are facing the inside of the house instead of being toward the sun.

Anyway, on October 11, the Mammillaria karwinskiana measured 3 1/4″ tall by 2 3/4″ wide. Hmmm… I just double-checked. 🙂 At least it said “about” what it did before. This plant has grown AAAALLLOOOTTT taller! It was only 1 7/8″ tall when I brought it home from Lowe’s in September 2018 and 2 3/16″ wide.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-64.

This is a BEAUTIFUL plant! The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) has this two-tone glow going on. A silvery-white-greenish glow overlaid with a golden glow. It almost looks like it has a halo. It is a bit of a leaner and I kept taking it out of the pot and straightening it up. I realized it is normal and many cactus lean toward the south so I just turn the pot once in a while. You can’t do that in the wild and some large cactus eventually fall over.

Currently, or at least on October 11, this cactus measured 3 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. I found this plant out of its pot and laying on its side on the discount rack at Lowe’s in September 2018. I picked it up and thought its club shape looked pretty neat so I brought it home. It has only grown 1/2″ taller and 3/4″ wider since I brought it home even though it seems like it has grown a lot. Hmmm…

The other thing about this plant that you can’t see (because I hide it) is the clump of hot glue STILL stuck to its side. Normally the strawflowers are stuck to the top. If you look close, you can see like a ridge in the center of the plant that goes all the way around it. That is where the clump of glue is stuck to its “skin” on the other side… Just another reason companies should stop using hot glue to stick the dumb strawflowers on cactus. It’s completely ridiculous! Maybe we should all send emails to Altman Plants (thecactuscollection.com). They are the largest producer of cactus and succulents in the United States.

Click HERE to visit this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria mystax at 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-67.

The Mammillaria mystax is indeed a humble little plant. It is very quiet and polite, doesn’t get excited, and it never causes any problems. As long as you give it what it needs to live and grow it will be happy and do just that. Nothing else. 🙂 So, what makes this plant special? Well, it is one of several species that divide dichotomically. It also has these strange trichomes (hairs) that grow between the tubercles that the others in my collection don’t have.  It measured 1 3/4″ tall by 2 1/4″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s in September 2018. By October 11 it had grown to 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page.

 

Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-69.

My feathered friend, the Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus), that I bought from a seller on Ebay in September 2018 has done quite well. The cluster of plants was 3/4′ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when it arrived and now has filled its pot at 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. It produced several good-sized flowers since the above photo was taken that are sort of similar to Mammillaria karwinskiana without the reddish color. It needs a new pot now… OH, it is one of only a few cactus to receive the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Click HERE to view this plants own page.

 

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19 #639-71.

What can I say about the Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus)? For one, it is a leaner that I keep turning around. It is a very nice looking plant that I brought home from Lowe’s in October 2017. It flowers freely and abundantly and always looks great. I think it was my first cactus that flowered in 2017. It is now 5 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide which is around an inch taller and wider than when I brought it home. It is very similar in many ways to the Mammillaria rhodantha and was once named Mammillaria rhodantha subsp. pringlei.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-73.

There is no mistaking the Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) with its rusty red central spines and white radial spines. It has always been an attention getter. It is a very stately plant, in my opinion, along with Mammillaria pringlei. This one does lean a little but not as much as M. pringlei. It doesn’t produce that many flowers but the spine color make up for it. Maybe because it realizes its pink flowers don’t look that good with the color of its spines. What color would look good, anyway? It is now 4 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide. Apparently, I didn’t measure this plant when I first brought it home from Wal-Mart in February 2016 then I screwed up and measured the cactus “with” the spines in 2017. It is one of my oldest cactus since I started recollecting in 2016.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis at 1 1/2″ tall on 10-13-19, #641-4.

Hmmm… Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis (Thimble Cactus). OK… I brought home my first “colony” of Thimble Cactus from Lowe’s in April 2013. It grew by leaps and bounds but, unfortunately, I gave up most of my plants in the summer of 2014. Then, when I took plants to Wagler’s Greenhouse last year I found this very small plant. I didn’t even recognize it as a Thimble Cactus at first. The main plant was very small and had several kids growing from it which have all fallen off but one. I now remember how the colony of the first pot grew so fast… Now, at only 1 1/2″ tall, it is building a successful family.

If you have a pot labeled, or find one labeled, Mammillaria gracilis fragilis or something of the sort, it is this plant…

If you click o this plant’s own page HERE, you will see photos of the previous colony I had as a companion and what this one will become like.

 

Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ on 10-11-19, #639-74.

I look at the photo of the Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis ‘Arizona Snowcap’ and find myself at a loss for words. I know what I want to say, but there are no words for the definition. Have you ever had that problem? A definition with no words? I think the photo is the definition of GEE WHIZ! OK, I had been to Lowe’s to buy potting soil in July 2018 and ran across a pot with this “cluster” plus a pot of the, umm, M. vetula subsp. gracilis (like the one in the previous photo. I am whispering because I don’t want it to hear me). I left the other pot behind and brought home the one labeled Mammillaria gracilis v. fragilis monstrose… That is what Altman Plants calls it for some reason. Yes, ‘Arizona Snowcap’ is a monstrose form of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. It has an ABUNDANCE of shorter white spines than the “regular” subspecies. Now, when I brought my pot home, it was bulging and overflowing. I saw photos online of plants that were nearly solid white, like snowballs and I wondered why the pot of plants I brought home was not that solid white. After I repotted it/them and they begin to spread out a bit and do really well over the summer. They looked great and very happy but still, they didn’t look like the photos online. Then, in October (2018) I noticed a completely white plant. I thought, “WOW!” Then afterward, a few others started becoming more white. The weird thing is that the whiter offsets died after I moved the plants outside for the summer… Hmmm… I am going to do some work on this pot so it will look better…

Oh yeah, the tallest plant in the colony is 2″ tall. As with the regular Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, they don’t grow that tall but they freely offset from the bottom and sides. Offsets fall off and form a larger colony.

To view this plant’s own page, click HERE.

That is it for part 4 and there will still be one more plus the repotting post. Then what? 🙂 What would you like for me to post about? I will be working on updating the pages for the cactus on this page, so if you click on the link you may not see current photos. It takes a lot of time to update as I go and may take several days to finish.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Go outside and take a deep refreshing breath and say “THANK YOU!” Do it twice more. 🙂 If you can get dirty, do it…

 

CACTUS AND SUCCULENT UPDATE PART 3

Plants in the Cactus and Succulent Update Part 4. Back row left to right: x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’, x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’. Middle row left to right: Gymnocalycium saglionis, Haworthiopsis limifolia, Gasteria sp. ?, Espostoa melanostele. Front row left to right Gasteria ‘Little Warty’, Ferocactus wislizeni, and Euphorbia mammillaris. Not pictured in the group photo is the Huernia schneideriana.

Hello everyone! I hope this finds you all well. It is a little strange I am still working on the October 11 update and it is November 14. I still have the 11 Mammillaria and eight other cactus and succulents to post updates about.

The weirdest thing is the Phlomis ‘Edward Bowles’. I always cover it up with a big pot when we are expecting an “F” and keep it covered all winter when cold temps persist. I covered it when we had the “F” on October 11, but forgot about it when we had the “S” and cold temps on the 29th. I noticed a few days ago it was the only plant not affected by the “F’s” and cold.

The daytime temps the past few days have been pretty nice, although a little breezy. I was able to take the plants in this post to the front porch for a photo shoot. All except the Huernia schneideriana because it is on the plant shelf in the bedroom all situated for winter. It is the last plant featured in this post and you will understand why I didn’t move it when you see it.

Without too much to say about anything else at the moment, let’s dive right into the post…

 

Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) at 7 1/4” tall x 2 3/8” wide on 10-11-19, #639-26.

In the above photo, the Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) is proudly showing off her hairdo. Not that it is new, but there is an inch more of it. She grew to 7 1/4″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide since last October which is 1 ” taller and 1/4″ wider. She was only 2 3/4” tall x 1 3/4” wide when I brought her home from Wal-Mart in February 2016. I am glad to see the subspecies is also an accepted name.

To view the page especially for this cactus, click HERE!

 

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) at 5 3/4″ tall on 10-11-19, #639-27.

The Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) has done very well and the main stem has now grown to 5 3/4″ tall. The upper parts of the stem and side branches are covered with small ephemeral leaves and the few spines still persist at the lower level. There were remains of flowers on the top of the cutting when I brought it home in March (2019), so hopefully, it will flower soon. The hexagonal tubercles swell when it has ample moisture and shrink during dry periods. There isn’t much online about this plant but most information says they grow 13-15″ tall. Ummm… Llifle says up to 35 cm but it also says they are “moderately fast” growers and “will become large landscape masterpieces in 3-5 years” and “young plants are happy growing indoors where they can easily reach the ceiling.” Hmmm… I don’t about your ceiling, but mine is slightly higher than 35 cm.

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page with more photos.

 

Ferocactus wislizeni at 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-31.

The Ferocactus wislizeni (Arizona Barrel, Candy Barrel, Southwestern Barrel, Fishhook Barrel, Biznaga de Aqua…) is a very interesting plant to watch grow. Not that you would want to sit and watch it. 🙂 Earlier in the summer it started doing something weird as it was growing new spines. It almost looked like it was growing three apexes. Actually, it was growing new tubercles on three ribs at the same time. Of course, all cactus do this but this one caught my eye because the spines were red and prominent. I also like the odd shape of the ribs and the purplish color on top. It has grown to 2 1/4″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide now. It was 1 5/8″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29. So, that is pretty amazing. It will be even more amazing when it flowers but that may take some time… This is a long-lived species, from 50-130 years, so I may have to give it to someone in my will. Hopefully, it will show me it’s bright orange flowers in my lifetime. Llifle says specimens up to 9′ have been recorded. Interestingly, in the wild, these plants lean toward the equator which can cause them to fall over after a lot of rain as the soil becomes loose.

 

Ferocactus wislizeni from the top on 10-11-19, #639-32.

The spines grew quickly, to say the least… I am so glad the hot glue stuck to the top of this plant is gone and it caused no permanent damage. I can’t say the same for some.

To view this plant’s own page click HERE

 

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ at 5 1/2″ tall x 10 1/2″wide on 10-11-19, #639-33.

The x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ has done quite well this past summer and has grown. She produced her first flower this past summer as well. This plant is now 5 1/2″ tall x 10 1/2″ wide. I removed the offsets in this pot in 2018 and they and been somewhat “iffy”. One of the things we do we later think maybe we shouldn’t have done. Umm, notice I said “you” because I certainly wouldn’t want to blame myself.

I bought this plant unlabeled and posted its photo on Succulent Infatuation for ID. A member suggested it was x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ and several others agreed. So, that’s what I have been calling it. A while back a blog reader asked what the difference was between x Gaseraloe ‘Flow’ and Aloe beguinii. Well, I had no clue so I looked up that species online. Oddly enough (laughing), some of the online images look like this plant and some do not. Then, when I posted update #1, a reader commented that the Aristaloe aristata was a Lizard Tail and not Aristaloe aristata. “What in the heck is a Lizard Tail?” So, I did a search for “Lizard Tail Aloe” and all I found were images and information of some weed. Well, maybe not a weed, but you know what I mean… When I was updating the page for this plant for this post, out of curiosity I looked up Aloe beguinii again… Low and behold, the common name is Lizard Tail!!!

Sometimes plant ID can be very tricky especially with cultivars and hybrids. What is worse is when we buy plants that are unlabeled. Noticed I said “we” again… “WE” have to rely on others for help and do online searches to figure out the name. Not all information online is 100% accurate and only part of the images are the plant in question. Some are just photos of plants posted on websites that have nothing to do with plants. Being “slightly” familiar with who the suppliers are for the local greenhouses, Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart make it a little easier. Once I get an ID suggestion, I check out the company’s websites to see what similar plants are currently available. Sometimes that is a dead-end… Knowing what is on the market during the time period “you” buy unlabeled plants is important. However, plants with certain cultivar names now could be the same plants with different cultivar names several years ago offered by other growers. Unpatented names are renamed and so on… So, it is a gamble that what we call plants is actually what they are. Just think how many species have so many different common names, and even several scientific names… Then there are times when I have brought home unlabeled plants from local greenhouses. Plants that have been given to the owner by others that were given to them and so on… Passalong plants are great!

I have said it many times but I will say it again. I am not a plant expert. I just like growing plants and writing about them hoping to spark interest and maybe help someone along the way. I always try to share links on the plant pages to websites that have been written by those more knowledgeable than me.

 

Gasteria sp./Hybrid at 3 7/8″ tall x 6 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-35.

I really enjoy this Gasteria sp. (Ox Tongue, Cow Tongue, Lawyers Tongue…). It is only fairly attractive but it is weird. Its leaves are very stiff, almost plastic-like. I still haven’t figured out the species and is quite possibly a hybrid. It is just strange how it showed up at Wal-Mart. The two times I posted for an ID on Succulent Infatuation all I received were “likes” or someone telling me it was a Gasteria. I already knew that! I may be able to get a suggestion from a particular hybridizer… Hmmm… Maybe I should meditate with it in my hands. Whatever its name may be, it has grown. Currently, the two plants together are 3 7/8″ tall by 6 1/2″ wide. They were 2 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide when I brought them home on March 19, 2018. Wow! That’s 2 3/4″ wider!

I sent a message to Kelly Griffin a few days ago, one of the foremost Aloe hybridizers who just happens to work for Altman Plants. He said, “I don’t see it as a species but it does look a little bicolorish. (I assume by saying “bicolorish” he meant Gasteria bicolor, which is a synonym of G. obliqua). We found pillansii in the wild with this milky leaf color. I would suggest it is a hybrid but certainly, without a flower, it is difficult to determine provenance or even narrow it down. Many growers sell both species and hybrids. It very could well be from our nursery as we supply plants for Wal mart and HD and Lowe’s.”

I also just received approval to become a member of Succulent Dreamers. It is a Facebook group with over 100,000 members. I posted photos of this plant so we’ll see if they have any suggestions. Over 200 people have joined in the past month. If you do join this group or Succulent Infatuation, be prepared to drool…

UPDATE: After several days of posting photos of the above Gasteria, only two “likes” and no comments! Weird with over 100,000 members. Some days there are a lot of new posts and maybe mine was posted on an inactive day. Then it was overrun by new posts. I will repost…

Click HERE to view this plant’s own page…

 

Gasteria ‘Little Warty” at 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-34.

The Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ and its kids are doing GREAT. Their leaves are definitely not smooth. The main plant has grown quite a bit since I brought it home from Wildwood Greenhouse in May. It is now 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide. It was only 2″ tall x 2 3/16″ wide! The offsets fell away from the main plant when I repotted it so I put them in their own pot. Together, they have also grown to 1 1/2″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. I repotted it mainly because the plug wrapping was sticking out above the soil and I wanted to remove the netting. I don’t like it. 🙂 Most commercial growers use plugs to grow their young plants in then greenhouses that buy plugs put them into pots. If I owned a greenhouse I would remove the plug wrapping… From what I have noticed, it is an ordeal for the roots to grow properly. I always remove the wrapping once I know it is there. The roots of some plants grow through the small holes in the wrap with no problem, but others have some difficulty and the roots become very cramped up.

Click HERE to view the Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ page. Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ is a cross between Gasteria batesiana x Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’ from Australian hybridizer David Cumming.

 

x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset on 10-11-19, #639-38.

The x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ is doing very well. Much better since I have found a proper name for it. My plant collecting friend from Mississippi, Walley, sent me a rooted stem in July 2018. It was pretty tall and the top part broke off. The leaves were green at the time he sent them, but with more light their colors came out. Eventually, I took leaf cuttings and left them on the back porch in full sun. They grew nicely and they have turned into a great looking pot of plants. One they looked like this I was able to find a positive ID. Well, I posted the photo on a Facebook group and several agreed x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ was the name. I checked Google Images and it looks good to me. That may not have been its original name, but that is what it is now. 🙂 You can look at photos of many x Graptosedum cultivars and they basically look the same. I don’t have a page for this plant yet…

Walley is an avid plant collector and travels to plant shows and many nurseries buying plants every year. His yard is incredible! Walley is an older gentleman whose wife passed away a while back. Then he started dating… I believe he may have found the right one because they have been spending a lot of time together and traveling for several months. So, I don’t know what his yard looks like now since he had other interests. I haven’t talked to him for a while, but I see his posts on Facebook. He is having a good time and that is very important. 🙂

 

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) at 2 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-39.

I really like the Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus). How can you not like a plant that looks like this?  It is possibly the subspecies Gymnocalycium saglionis subsp. tilcarense described on Llifle. Plants of the World Online, however, says the subspecies is now a synonym of the species. I still don’t get it. I think maybe the botanists (and many others) that are trying to straighten out the multiple scientific name issue haven’t gotten around to approving many of the infraspecific names. I am sure there is a logical explanation. They were already approved at one point. I turned around and started telling Jade (the cat laying on my bed) my opinion. She looked at me like I was going to say something brilliant then laid her head back down and ave a big sigh. Hmmm… Not even the cat cares what I think about it. 🙂

ANYWAY! This AWESOME cactus now measures 2 3/4″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. Of course, you can see that in the caption. Hmmm… I guess I need to say those were its measurements on October 11 since it is already November 13. How many more days will go by before I get this post finished?

This plant DOES have its own page which you can view by clicking HERE… There are more photos.

 

Haworthiopsis limifolia at 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-42.

The Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairy Washboard, File Leafed Haworthia) is looking very interesting as always. It measured 3 1/2″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on October 11 and measured 2 3/8” tall x 3” when I brought it home from Wildwood Greenhouse in May. It is a really neat looking plant with the raised ridges on its leaves. Llifle lists several varieties of this plant but there are none listed on POWO. I have not repotted this plant since I brought it home because it was in a large enough pot already. I think it was probably bought as a plug then repotted at Wildwood… SOOOO, I should have checked to see if its roots are bound up inside a net. Hmmm… I didn’t think about it until I updated ‘Little Warty’s’ page…

You can view the Haworthiopsis limifolia page by clicking HERE.

 

Huernia schneideriana (Dragon Flower, Carrion Plant) on 10-11-19, #639-43.

Hmmm… To say the Huernia schneideriana (Dragon flower, Carrion Plant) has been growing would be an understatement. I kept it on an old milk crate along the wall on the front porch because it doesn’t like to much sun. It must have like this location because…

 

Huernia schneideriana (Dragon Flower, Carrion Plant) on 10-11-19, #639-44.

It is LOADED with flowers!

 

Huernia schneideriana (Dragon Flower, Carrion Plant) on 10-11-19, #639-45.

The flowers usually grow from the lower parts of the stem but…

 

Huernia schneideriana (Dragon Flower, Carrion Plant) on 10-11-19, #639-46.

These appear to be growing on the outside of the pot. That is because they are growing from a branch… The flowers are supposed to smell really bad which is where one of the common names comes from. They are so small who could tell.

I have had this particular plant since 2015 To view its own page click HERE.

Hopefully, someday the Stapelia gigantea will flower as much as the Huernia. Their flowers are HUGE so they might stick up the house.

That’s it for the third update! I still have two more which will be a little weird… I repotted a few cactus and succulents so it kind of screwed up the October updates. Hmmm… This is November. 🙂 I suppose I can continue with the updates and pretend I didn’t do the repotting yet. LOL!

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Keep warm or cool depending on where you are.

 

 

Fall 2019 Cactus & Succulent Update Part 1: A’s

Acanthocereus tetragonus (Triangle Cactus) at 4 1:2 T x 2 7:8 W, 10-11-19

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I decided to break the cactus and succulent update into several posts instead of making one long post. They are all inside now except for the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla), a few Sedum, and the Sempervivum x ‘Killer’ that always overwinter outside. Hmmm… I forgot to take their photos. In the midst of the updates, I will probably make a few posts to highlight specific plants.

On October 11 I moved all the potted plants inside as I mentioned earlier.  As always, once we get ZAPPED the temps warm back up. So, I moved the cactus and most of the succulents back outside for a few days again. I even put the Alocasia that was on the front porch back on the front porch. 🙂

Now, on with the post. In alphabetical order… Just click on the name of the plant if you want to view their pages. I may or may not have all their pages updated. If you do go to their pages and happen to click on the link to Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) at the bottom of the page, you may notice it isn’t working well… I sent an email to who I think maintains the site and at least now it does open but it is still not functioning properly. Hopefully, he will get the issue solved because it is an AWESOME website.

The above photo is the Acanthocereus tetragonus commonly known as Triangle Cactus, Fairy Castle, Barbed Wire Cactus, Sword Pear, Dildo Cactus, and Night Blooming Cereus. Some of those names are also associated with other cactus. The species is often confused with Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. Very similar in several ways, but different in many. I had a cactus in 2015 that I gave up on identifying because it was similar but different… Now I think it was probably an Acanthocereus tetragonus, too. They grow very large in the wild, but smaller monstrous forms are what is generally found in the retail market. So, while the native plants are called Triangle Cactus and so on, someone gives the miniatures smaller names like Fairy Castles. That gets very confusing for people when they buy unlabeled plants or have generic tags that say “Cactus”. Then they get confused between Fairy Castles and Fairytale Castle which are two different species.

I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in September 2018. It measured 3″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought it inside last October 10 and now it is 4 1/2″ tall x 2 7/8″ wide. The offsets have grown quite a bit as well. It was in full sun on the back porch all summer so it has a nice tan. Hmmm…

 

Adromischus cristatus (Crinkle Leaf Plant, Key Lime Pie) on 10-11-19, #639-3.

Ummmmmmmmmmmm……… I know the Adromischus cristatus (Crinkle Plant, Key Lime Pie) doesn’t look all that hot, but it is better than it has been for a long time. It was very small and cute when I bought it from Lowe’s in April 2017 and grew to 4″ wide by October 17 when I moved the plants inside. Over the winter it became very weird and kind of went dormant. It got down to almost nothing and I expected it to die. When I repotted it in 2018 it didn’t seem to help much. I thought surely it would die again during winter. But, guess what? It didn’t die. So, I repotted it a few months ago and it perked up. Hopefully, it will survive the winter without losing most of its leaves and do even better in 2020. The only thing different was adding pumice (50/50) instead of additional perlite and I didn’t add any chicken grit. Using pumice takes the place of amending with additional perlite and grit.

 

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) (Center Stripe Agave) at 13″ T x 26″ wide on 10-11-19, #639-4.

WELL… This past summer the Agave univittata (var. lophantha) (Center Stripe Agave) has been in full sun on the back porch. I always had it in light shade during the summer pretty much since I brought it home in July of 2016. Back then it had much broader and shorter leaves and I thought perhaps they grew longer because it wasn’t getting enough sun. But, even in full sun, the new leaves this past summer grew long as well. So, maybe this is normal… Maybe that is a good thing because it would look weird with long leaves on the bottom and short, fat leaves on the top. Of course, there are a few Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) growing in the pot. Oh, the Agave now measures 13″ tall x 26″ wide.

 

Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ at 4 1/2″ T x 9″ W on 10-11-19, #639-75.

For many years I wanted to try an x Mangave so I was happy to find a few ‘Pineapple Express‘ to chose from at Muddy Creek Greenhouse on June 13. “Pineapple Express” was a 2016 introduction from Walters Gardens and is a cross between x Mangave ‘Jaguar’ and ‘Bloodspot. The x Mangave are/were created by crossing Agave species with Manfreda species. Well, that is until someone had the audacity to decide the genus Manfreda is synonymous with Agave… That is weird because there were several differences between the two genera. Hmmm… In time, this plant will grow to 18″ tall x 24″ wide but for now it is just 4 1/4″ tall x 9″ wide. I can tell it has grown since I brought it home but somehow I forgot to measure it then. If you think that is strange, I haven’t got a page for it yet!

 

Spotted leaves of the Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ on 10-11-19, #639-76.

I really like the spotted leaves which may come from Manfreda maculata, I mean Agave maculata. 🙂

 

Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) on 10-11-19, #639-5.

I have had Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) since 2009 when I rescued a broken piece from Wal-Mart in Greenville, Mississippi. I was Aloe newbie at the time and I thought it was strange it took it almost a year to root. I brought home the above Aloe juvenna from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017 and the longest stem in the clump is now 14″ long. This is one plant you want to keep in the right amount of sun. To much shade and the leaves stretch. To much sun and the leaves burn… I think the front porch has been a good spot in the summer with a south-facing window in the winter.

 

Aloe maculata at 19″ T x 42″ W on 10-11-19, #639-6.

Hmmm… This is what happens when your Aloe maculata is happy! Give it a little attention by complimenting it once in a while and put it where it can be noticed and it will be very happy. It grew its first flower this summer. It’s grandmother, not sure how many greats to add, was given to me by a good friend when I was living in Leland, Mississippi in 2009. I didn’t know the name at the time, so I called it ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ because the offset came from Kyles’s grandmother. The plant in the above photo had growing issues for a while because it wasn’t getting much attention by the shed where the plants used to be. Once I had to move the plants to the front porch last summer because of the Japanese Beetle invasion, I started paying attention to it more. I gave it a new pot and new soil and put it by the steps and it took off. This past summer it has grown like crazy to a whopping 19″ tall x 42″ wide. I need to get the pups out of the pot soon! It is quite a show stopper!

 

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ at 6″ T x 12″ W on 10-11-19, #639-7.

OH, the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’! My second Aloe in 2009 was a ‘Lizard Lips I bought from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi. I had it until I gave up most of my plants in 2014 but I found another when I started collecting again in 2016. Luckily, I had given an offset to Wagler’s Greenhouse so this clump could actually be that offset. It has been a great miniature Aloe, but we have had to learn a few things about each other over the years. My original plant almost died every winter but barely hung on somehow. Apparently, although it was in a beautiful glazed pot, it didn’t like it. Attention is not so much of a requirement (it doesn’t like hugs like Aloe maculata) just as long as you water it when it is thirsty and give it the right amount of sun. It particularly seems to like a bigger pot AT LEAST once a year although it didn’t get one yet in 2019. The potting soil has to be VERY well-draining because it absolutely does NOT like wet feet. That is no problem because there are so many leaves barely any water gets into the soil. It is also a prolific bloomer, sometimes up to 8 stems at the same time. Currently, the clump has filled the pot and measures 6″ tall x 12″ wide.

 

x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ at 4 1/2″ T x 8″ W on 10-11-19, #639-9.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ has been a delightful little plant for sure. It is a hybrid of Aloe speciosa and Haworthia cymbiformis. It has grown A LOT and is currently 4 1/2″ tall x 8″ wide. I notice it definitely needs to be repotted. It was 3 1/2” tall x 6 1/8” when I brought it home from Wildwood Greenhouse in May. It appears this plant will be quite a clumper…

 

Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) at 4 1/2″ T x 8 1/4″ W on 10-11-19, #639-10.

The Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) is always bright and beautiful! It has always been happy and carefree since I brought it home from Wal-Mart in March 2018. It was originally named Aloe aristata, but phylogenetic studies show the Aloe genus is polyphyletic and this unusual species IS NOT an Aloe. It is closely related to the Astrolabes and to the four Robustipedunculares species of Haworthia. Because its genetics are unique, this species was put a new genus of its own. It was 2 3/4” tall x 4 1/2” wide when I brought it home and now measures 4 1/2″ tall x 8 1/4″ wide. This plant grew quite a lot over last winter inside, so I think I need to give it a larger pot…

Well, that’s it for the A’s. I hope you enjoyed this page as much as I have enjoyed these plants as companions.

Until next time, take care and be safe!

Cactus Talk & Update… OUCH!

Family Photo on 12-15-18, #539-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I have been wanting to talk about cacti, so I started this post with the first set of photos on November 29. It was a nice spring-like day that I wish every day during the winter was like. I took all the cactus outside, a few at a time, to take their photos then put them back in the house. I have only 25 pots of cactus representing maybe, umm, 23 species. There were three times I accidentally bought two of the same species and didn’t realize it until I was home taking their photos and writing about them. Oh yeah, then there is the small fellow that is apparently a Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis… I guess that kind of makes 22 species. After selecting the best photos I wound up with 36. Then I took close-ups on December 1 and a few after that. I had also completely forgotten about the Cylindropuntia imbricata that was outside, so I had to take photos of it on December 3.

Cactus are among the easiest of all pants to grow, at least in my opinion, and they don’t take up a lot of space. You learn how to handle them so you won’t get stuck and it helps to have hard skin (and sometimes leather gloves). I always measure my cactus when I bring them inside for the winter because they grow kind of slow. I did that on October 10. I measure them because I want to compare the measurements from the year before and when I bought them. I know they are growing, too, because I have upgraded them to larger pots.

For some reason, cacti remind me of what one of my all-time favorite philosophers had to say. 

Doing nothing often leads to the very best of everything.

Winnie The Pooh

If you think about, cactus at times seems to just be sitting there doing nothing. They don’t have leaves like other plants which can tell you a lot of things. Leaves can tell you when a plant is happy, when the plant needs water, when it is dying, etc. Well, some cactus species do have leaves and their spines are actually sort of modified leaves in a roundabout way. Evolution… 

CACTUS ANATOMY

One of the major reasons I am writing this post is to show some of the differences between the species I am currently growing. I found a good illustration online from Science-art.com but the artist was no longer on the website. The site manager gave me the artist’s email address but I haven’t heard back from him. With some advice and inspiration from Jim Ruebush (How I See It), I made an attempt to create my own… I am not an artist but Jim suggested I try using the Preview on my iMac. I only use Preview to view photos and didn’t know what else it could be used for. After five years. 🙂

 

Well… Ummm… The photos are MUCH smaller once I posted them than they were on the screen so you can’t hardly see where the lines are going. I had an idea in my mind that I had to try and make work. I had to make the photos smaller and they had to be a certain distance apart or it wouldn’t work. I hope it is understandable. A cactus is a lot more than just a plant with a lot of sharp needles. They are very complex and through MANY years of evolving have developed their own special way of surviving in their environment.

With the diagram above, the definitions below, and descriptions of each plant on this post, I hope you will have a better understanding of how unique and easy to grow they really are. I must say I learned A LOT while writing this post. The definitions are basically for the plants I am growing (for the most part).

DEFINITIONS OF WORDS IN THIS POST:

These are just a few words from the CactiGuide glossary and maybe not all used in this post. Umm… I added a few comments along the way.

Acicular (subulate-acicular) Spines: Thick spines, more or less flattened, straight or slightly curved. Information uses Ferocactus pilosus as an example but I think my Echinocactus grusonii is another example.

Areole-Unique to cacti (as far as plants go), the areole grows from the end of the tubercles. The areoles on some species are sort of woolly or “felted” and is where the central and radial spines grow from. Glochids from some species also grow from the areoles as with Opuntia species (Prickly Pear).

Apex-the center top part of the stem. In many species the apex is concave. I guess the center of everything is the apex, huh?

Axil-The axil is a little more difficult to describe. An axil surrounds the apex but there is also an apex around the tubercles. It is kind of like a valley between two hills or mountains. The axil around the apex is where the spines appear to unfold as the plant grows. Kind of like a new beginning on both sides (with no end in sight). 🙂 I think the area between the tubercles and ribs (depending on the genera and species) is also an apex. Not 100% sure about that though.

Bristle-Stiffened hair. This is interesting… The description of one of the cactus is stiffened hair around the apex. When I think of stiffened hair I think of a pig’s hair.  I look and I only see spines… I guess if I actually saw stiffened hairs now I would know they are bristles. 🙂

Cactophile-Hmmm. Says a person who likes cacti.

Centripetal-Tending inwards to the center or axis… I guess this is like where the spines around the axil (by the apex (top of the plant)) are pointing inward.

Central Spines-The spines coming from the center of the areole.

Diumal-flowers that only open during the day.

Glochids- are the dreaded tiny spines that come off very easily and get stuck in your skin. They are very irritating because they are very hard to remove. You can’t see them, but you can feel them. Information says glochids are modified leaves that conserve moisture. (Barbed spines or hairs, mostly small and brittle; often in tufts, characteristic of the Opuntioideae.)

Imbricate-Overlapping. As with the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla).

Orthostichy-Arrangement of nodes, areoles and so on in a vertical row (see Spirostichy). As with vertical growing, columnar cactus with ribs whose areoles grow one above the other.

Parastichy-Secondary spiral in phyllotaxis. I think this is where some Mammillaria species appear to have spirals going in two directions.

Phyllotaxis-Mode of arrangement of leaves in relation to the axis. The dictionary says the arrangement of leaves on an axis or stem.

Pruinose-Frosted appearance with a white powdery coating. The Stenocereus pruinosus may be a good example.

Radial Spines-The spines arranged around the edge of the areole. Some species have no radial spines while others have an unbelievable amount. Some species have hair-like radial spines while others are thick and very sharp. Spines can also be curved inward.

Recurved-Spines that are curved backward.

Reflexed-Spines that are curved downward. Some species have central spines that are curved in both directions.

Reticulate-Spines that are very long that criss-cross forming a net-like appearance around the plant. As with the Mammillaria decipiens.

Rib-Whereas Mammillaria species have tubercles, most other cacti have ribs that the areoles grow on. Some are fairly straight while others are wavy. Ummm…  Wavy edges are called “sinuate”.

Spines-The CactiGuide glossary says, “Sharp-pointed, hard or woody structures, derived, in cacti, from leaves.” Hmmm…

Spirostichy-The arrangement of nodes, areoles and so forth in spiral rows (see Orthostichy).

Stem-The body of the cactus.

Tubercles-Umm… The dictionary says, “In anatomy, a tubercle is any round, small eminence, or warty outgrowth found on external or internal organs or a plant or animal.” The photo shown is of a Mammillaria. In this case, tubercles are produced by the Mammillaria species and are sometimes referred to as nipples. I would hardly call nipples a warty outgrowth.

Wool-A dense covering of fine soft hairs. GEEZ!

POTTING AND RE-POTTING

Different potting soils on 12-15-18, #539-2. Back row from left to right: Miracle Grow, Berger BM 1, Sta-Green. Front row: Timberline and Just Natural Organic Garden Soil.

Potting soil is definitely not created equal. Most commercially available potting soil contains a lot of peat (in one form or another). One of the most frequently asked questions from beginners is about the potting soil for their cactus. If you get online you can find a lot of recipes and some get a little elaborate. For many years I stuck with 2 parts of potting soil with 1 part chicken grit and 1 part perlite. I always wanted the water to drain out almost as fast as it was put in.

The above photo shows five different mixes I have used. Miracle Grow Potting soil works very well for potted plants and has a lot of coarse material. I have used it a lot amended with additional perlite and chicken grit (2-1-1). I also like Schultz Potting Soil for cactus and succulents because it has much less big chunks of bark. Both Miracle Grow and Schultz have timed-release fertilizer. I bought a BIG bag of Berger BM 1 from one of the local greenhouses which is a premium blend used by a lot of greenhouses. There are absolutely no chunks of anything and it has A LOT of perlite and NO fertilizer. For the most part, greenhouses foliar feed their plants so they don’t need a mix with fertilizer. Sta-Green is very interesting. Kind of chunky, very little perlite, visible fertilizer, and VERY BLACK. I bought the bag of Timberline several years ago and when I amended it with grit and perlite it became hard as a brick after watering. I think it is mainly due to the high sand content. There is no list of ingredients on the bag. I bought the All-Natural Organic Garden soil this spring because the bag had a hole in it so I got it very cheap. It is GREAT but not for cactus… I use it when I mix soil for the Alocasia and some of the other potted plants and it has some very good ingredients. I experimented with these different types to see how fast they dry out and re-absorb water. Even though the Berger dries out quickly, it also re-absorbs better than Miracle Grow. The Sta-Green took longer to dry out and seemed to re-absorb OK. The hardest to re-absorb once it was completely dry was the Miracle Grow. So, which one was best for cactus? I would have to probably say none of them… As far as cactus is concerned, there is something wrong with all of them. I didn’t buy any Schultz Potting Soil this past year but perhaps I will use it again in 2019. I am seriously tempted to try dirt… Get it from the molehills, add the pumice, maybe some grit… Maybe that wouldn’t be a good idea but you never know until you try… If you get right down to the nitty-gritty, in the wild, not all cactus grow in the same type of soil. Also, contrary to what many might think, even though many cactus grow in the desert it doesn’t mean their soil is not fertile. As long as their potting mix absorbs fast, drains well, drys out soon, and remains loose, I don’t think they really care what they are growing in. Maybe we are the ones with the issue…

Cactus and succulents need a very fast draining mix. All potting soil, when it is fresh from the bag, absorbs water and drains well. You water your plants on a regular basis over the summer and all is well. BUT, when you allow the soil to dry out it becomes very difficult to get it to absorb again. This is because peat (in one form or another) is the main ingredient. Peat is the main ingredient in potting soil because of its water retention ability. Water retention is NOT what cactus and succulents need. What they do need is a mix or recipe that absorbs and drains quickly, will dry out soon, and re-absorbs quickly and so on time after time. That is where it gets complicated.

I have no problems over the summer because I am continually watering all the plants. For the most part, I water the cactus and succulents at the same time but I just don’t give them as much. I just go over their pots fairly quickly instead of holding the wand over it until it is fully saturated and flooding out the bottom. Well, the cactus pots are smaller for the most part and so it doesn’t take as long either.

The problem arises over the winter when I am not watering the cactus or succulents as often. Let’s just make it simpler and talk about cactus without getting into succulents. While cactus appreciate normal watering during the summer months, they don’t really need much, if any, during the winter. As a result, their mix always becomes hard. You may notice once the potting soil dries out it has pulled away from the sides of the pot. So, when you do water it runs down the side of the pot instead of re-absorbing into the mix.
They need their soil to be loose, light, and airy.

One of the other questions is when to re-pot which I will talk about in a minute…

 

PERLITE (left) VS. PUMICE (right)

When I started following a few cacti and succulent groups on Facebook, they recommended using pumice instead of perlite. They also don’t recommend using a “peat-based” potting soil. OK, now that is hard to do. The other thing is that pumice was nowhere to be found locally. Many of the cactus and succulent enthusiasts also use a product called Dry Stall which is pumice for a fraction of the cost. (There is another product called Stall Dry which is diatomaceous earth). Well, I checked for Dry Stall locally and it was nowhere to found either. I called the company and they said there were no distributors past a certain point (but I forgot what she said). I found it online and it only cost around $14.00 for a 40# bag but the shipping was $64.00. So, I wound up buying a 15# bag from General Pumice from California. It was $27.00 with free shipping. You can get it on Ebay from people who sell it in smaller quantities. If you only have a few cactus and succulents you may not want to buy a big bag. BUT, you also have to consider growing cactus and succulents is very addictive when they do well…

Now, what is pumice and what is perlite? Perlite is an ingredient in all potting soil mix along with vermiculite and a lot of other stuff. Perlite is a volcanic glass that is heated to 1,600° F so it puffs up to 13 times its normal size. Water is retained in its tiny pores which it releases later. Of course, since it is very lightweight, it can float to the top of a soil mix. It kind of reminds me of styrofoam balls… It can also be crushed if you squeeze it. The Gardening Know How website says perlite can cause fluoride burn on houseplants…

Pumice is a porous volcanic rock and, like perlite, has tiny microscopic pores on its surface that absorb water. Pumice, however, is not heated or puffed up. It also contains vitamins and trace minerals that go into the soil as the moisture is released. In texture, it seems similar to grit, it does not decompose, and never needs to be replaced. It will not float to the surface like perlite but stays where it is supposed to, with the plant’s roots.

I had been itching to try out the pumice so I repotted a few cactus when I moved them on October 10. That’s when it struck me… All this time I had been having problems with the soil in the cactus and succulent pots getting very hard over the winter (as I mentioned earlier). I realized repotting the cactus when I bring them inside would mean their soil would be loose all winter. 🙂

Since potting soil already contains perlite and the pumice seemed similar in consistency to the grit, I wondered why I had to even use the grit. I asked the “guy” at General Pumice what size he recommended (since they have three sizes) and what he suggested as the ratio to use with potting soil. He recommended using it 50/50. So, for the most part, that’s what I did… Now the soil is nice and loose for the cactus and I also re-potted a few of the succulents.

I have been asked when is a good time to re-pot cactus and what size of pot. Typically, I would have said spring for several reasons. If you use a potting mix, such as Miracle Grow with a timed-release fertilizer, they don’t need fertilizer during the winter months. However, since you won’t be watering them over the winter, that really doesn’t make that much difference since it is the watering that releases the fertilizer. But, since I repotted most of the cactus on October 10, I guess I have switched gears a little. I guess the best time to re-pot is when they need it. If their pot is getting crowded then they need re-potting. As far as pot size goes you have to look at several things. One thing you have to consider is that cactus doesn’t typically have much of a root system. Many times I have been fooled, though. Typically, their mass of roots is right under the plant so they don’t need a much wider pot than the width of the plant and only a couple of inches deeper than their roots. To much extra soil means water that is not being absorbed by the roots which can lead to rotting… Typically, when I re-pot, I only increase the size of the pot by an inch or so, more or less. It just depends on the plant and how fast it grows and what its roots look like when you remove it from the pot. If you are using potting soil with timed-release fertilizer, the fertilizer is only good for a period of time. So, re-potting in the spring will give you fertilizer for the growing period and you don’t need it after that. GEEZ! I am confusing myself… Now, plants that grow taller rather than wider need a wider pot because they can become top-heavy and fall over. Finding the right pot on hand can be difficult sometimes. Pots for bonsai would seem to be a good choice because they are shallow and usually wider. Not sure, though, because I have never tried a bonsai pot…

I almost forgot to talk about light… For a long time, I have been pretty much growing my cactus in light shade under the Chinese Elm in “the other yard”. When plants are grown inside over the winter, they have to be introduced to more light gradually. The elm tree was great because it provided a shady spot early. Then as the beetles at the leaves, they automatically get more sun. I had to move them this summer because the Japanese Beetles were so bad and they started sampling the plants. So, I put the cactus on the back porch in full sun and they did very well. Most cactus do well in full sun to light shade and some even in part shade. Succulents that aren’t cactus (since cactus are succulents) are a little more tricky and the different genus and species require different light levels. Some need full sun to perform best while it will burn others.

Now for my spiny companions… From A-Z. Please forgive my continual rambling about scientific names. 🙂

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Acanthocereus tetragonus

Acanthocereus tetragonus… Fairytale Castle.

I picked up this little Acanthocereus tetragonus from Wagler’s Greenhouse in September when I took a few plants to them. Of course, it was unlabeled… You can view this plant’s own page by clicking HERE. There is A LOT of confusion between this plant and the Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. In the wild, both species are tall growing, ribbed and columnar plants. Both also seem to have “miniature” versions with the same or similar common or cultivar names. Both are listed as “Fairytale Castle”, “Fairy Castle”, “Fairy….” You get the point. The miniature “forms” were found in cultivation, not in the wild. “In cultivation” means in someone’s collection, a flower bed, or a greenhouse, etc. Maybe their growth was stunted because they were in a small pot. Who knows.

 

Getting a good close-up of this cactus wasn’t easy because it is so small. Its stems are five-sided with areoles having tiny tufts of wool with very short spines. Information suggests this plant needs plenty of space and deep soil. It is supposed to branch out profusely and form large clumps… At only 2 7/8″ tall we have a ways to go. It is currently 2 7/8″ tall. I didn’t re-pot this cactus when I moved them inside because it was re-potted after I brought it home. You can see the perlite on top of the soil…  I gave this plant a little more room than I normally would a smaller cactus. 1 3/4″ between the base and the side of the pot.

One confusing thing when doing research about this plant is that several websites have the two plants confused (even though they are probably confident). Some list it as one name with photographs of the other. I have both now, so I can definitely see a difference. One website lists this plant as Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairy Castles” and said after ten years it was only 16″ tall. The photo is of a very nice what appears to me to be a Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus. Even one of the pages on Dave’s Garden… OK. I will stop…

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The Cereus Group…

The genus, Cereus Mill., was named and described by Philip Miller in the fourth edition of Gardener’s Dictionary in 1754.

Cereus in the wild are typically very large, ribbed, and columnar growing cactus, but there are also species that are epiphytic. Plants of the World Online by Kew currently list only 25 accented species of Cereus. They are still uploading data so this could change. Version 1.1 (2013) of The Plant List named 48 accepted species (plus 4 of infraspecific rank), a total of 254 synonyms, and 456 still unresolved. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) list 136 Cereus species (both accepted and synonyms mixed up) and a WHOPPING 691 former species that have been moved to other genera!

The tree-like Cereus species look so much alike and even similar to species of other genera. Actually… There used to be MANY more species in the Cereus genus because their true identity was unknown at the time. The species that still remain in the genus all have certain characteristics only known to Cereus. Other species have been moved to several other genera. One author wrote, “Inclusion by lack of exclusion has made for a very messy and unsatisfactory group.”

 

Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ on 11-29-18, #534-3.

I bought my first Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ in 2009 while living at the mansion in Mississippi. It was fairly large and the pot was bulging. While re-potting in 2010 I noticed it could be divided. So, I did that and wound up with three pots. Dividing cactus like that is not necessary and is probably best to allow them to grow as they choose (which is my own opinion and I was a newbie at the time). I bought my current ‘Ming Thing’ on July 19, 2016. It currently measures 2 1/8″ tall  3 1/4″ wide. It grows EVER SO SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWWLLLLYYYY…

There are several species of Cereus that develop strange looking “monstruosus”,  “monstrous”, or “crested” forms in the wild. Some cultivars, such as ‘Ming Thing’, have also undergone further, ummm, manipulation in cultivation. The species, Cereus forbesii, is a fairly large, columnar, tree-like cactus that grows in a wide variety of habitats in several countries in South America.

Cereus forbesii C.F. Först. was named and described by Carl Friedrich Förster in Handbuch der Cacteenkunde in 1846. It was FIRST documented by Christoph Friedrich Otto (with other authors) in Cactaceae in Horto Dyckensi Cultae in 1844. I wrote a much longer summary of the accepted scientific name of the species but decided to delete it. I outlined the confusion on the plant’s own page and you can read about it HERE if you choose. I was beginning to get confused AGAIN.

 

A closer look at Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ on 12-1-18, #535-2.

The common name on the tag says “Curiosity Plant”. That name says a lot because it is definitely curious looking. Kind of reminds me of closed hands with the fingers curled inward (facing upward). I have found Cereus forbesii f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’ to be undemanding and very easy to care for. The scars on this plant are from hungry crickets…

Ummm. “Curiosity Plant” is not necessarily a legit common name. ‘Ming Thing’ may not be a “registered” cultivar name. Come to think of it, Cereus forbesii f. monstrose isn’t even an accepted name either… Maybe someday. 🙂

 

Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus on 11-29-18, #534-4.

I bought this Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles, Peruvian Apple, Queen of the Night, ETC.) from Wal-Mart on January 28, 2016. We have had our ups and downs and at one point I thought it was going to die. It has also had its battles with crickets. For some reason, it isn’t the bright green it was when I first brought it home although it seems to be OK now. You can view this plant’s own page by clicking HERE. At 7 1/4″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide, it has grown 1 1/8″ taller x 1 1/2″ wider than when I brought it home.

I have to do some tweaking on the plant’s page because I am somewhat confused… I wasn’t confused until I did research on the Acanthocereus tetragonus… They are both cited as being Fairy Castles. For a while, I was content in calling the Acanthocereus tetragonus Fairytale Castle and this one Fairy Castles. Oh, I better stop right here or I will be repeating myself AGAIN…

 

A close-up of Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus on 12-1-18, #535-3.

I took A LOT of photos of this one to get a good close-up. I do have somewhat of an issue with this plant being a Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus although several experts have agreed that is what it is. It is supposed to have longer spines while the “species” is almost always spineless. My plant’s stems are somewhat spineless and what spines it does have are very thin and hair-like. Its areoles also have small wooly tufts mainly on newer growth and almost absent farther down the stem. The species is found in several countries in South America while the subspecies is only found in Uruguay. Of course, as I mentioned, they are MUCH taller in the wild than this miniature version… Some websites write Fairy Castles as a cultivar name and others as a common name. I am more likely to agree with it being a cultivar name since it is not a common name of the species or subspecies in the wild which grow MUCH taller. So, why didn’t I write it as a cultivar name? I have no clue…

Comparing the photos of the Acanthocereus tetragonus and Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus, can’t you see the difference?

 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 11-29-18, #534-5.  

This is the Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ I bought from Wal-Mart in March. It looks MUCH different than the one I bought while in 2009 in Mississippi. Both their labels said Cereus peruvianus monstrose ‘Rojo’. Cereus peruvianus has been a synonym of Cereus repandus for quite a while… Oh, wait a minute. I told you wrong… Cereus peruvianus (L.) Mill. is the synonym of Cereus repandus (L.) Mill. (how many periods after an abbreviation with a period?). Cereus peruvianus R.Kiesling became a synonym of Cereus hildmannianus K.Schum. (along with 26 other synonyms with Cereus validus Haw. being one of them, which is weird because it was also a synonym of… Someone please slap me!). Cereus peruvianus C.F.Först. became a synonym of Stenoereus eburneus (Salm-Dyck), which was previously Cereus eburneus Salm-Dyck, became a synonym of Stenocereus griseus (Haw.) Buxb……. Ummm… I was about to start writing about Cereus validus but that is another confusing story which would get Dave’s Garden into the mix…

OK, Dave’s Garden says Cereus forbesii ‘Ming Thing’ (above) is Cereus validus f. monstrose ‘Ming Thing’. How can that be? Plants of the World Online says Cereus validus is a synonym of Cereus hildmannianus. GEEZ! I forgot about the author’s names. Maybe several botanists named different plants the same name again. That’s how some species seem to have the same synonyms but their author’s abbreviations are different.

But, I am getting off-topic AGAIN… No wonder it takes so long for me to write a post and they are so long… You can view this plant’s own page by clicking HERE.

 

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ up close on 12-1-18, #535-4.

Umm… Like I said, this one is much different than the one I had before. This one is more of an upright grower that is branching out. You can see the stems are kind of strange with no apparent pattern to the arrangement of their tubercles. Its areoles have small brownish radial and central spines and newer areoles have small tufts of wool.

 

A closer look at the Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ on 12-1-18, #535-5.

Its spines are thin and wiry. You can run your finger down them and not get stuck.

I really like this cactus and I think I could easily fall for buying more. I think when you get into the monstruosus forms it becomes addictive. I am not a fan of the crested forms, though. When I moved the plants inside for the winter on October 10, it measured 6 7/8″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. It was 5 1/2″ tall x 3 3/8″ when I bought it on March 19!

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Cylindropuntia imbricata