Fall 2021 Cactus Update Part 2… From The Back Porch

Cactus on the back porch on 9-22-21, #833-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am doing fine for the most part… I am just less motivated this time of the year but there are things I need to get done.

Before I begin with this post, let me just say I don’t think I have a green thumb. I like a wide variety of plants that have different but similar requirements. Hmmm… I just confused myself. For the most part, the potted plants on the front porch need a shadier area, and the plants on the back porch prefer full sun. This year a few plants were under the roof on the back porch so they wouldn’t be in full sun and only received morning sun. Some of the plants on the front porch would probably like the back porch better. Maybe next year… We have to get through the winter first. 🙂

Linda, from The Task at Hand, commented on the last post concerning cactus getting wet in direct sunlight. I mentioned in the post what LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) said, but I will quote here what the website says about the cultivation and propagation on the Ferocactus wislizeni page: “Use very draining soil, water during the aestival growth cycle (this plant need plenty of water) But needs to be avoided wetting the bodies of these plants while they are in sunlight. A wet cactus in the sunlight can cause sun burning which can lead to scars or even fungal infections and death. Needs full sun. Keep dry at 10”… Normally, much more is written about cultivation and propagation so I think he didn’t get finished or something went wrong which is why the information stops “at 10”. 10 what? LLIFLE is a very reliable source of information but experience is always the best teacher.

Many cactus have specific requirements in nature which is why they grow in certain areas. I am sure in nature cactus get wet followed by sun which possibly leads to scarring, infection, and death for some species. Other species may not be affected by getting wet in full sun. Personally, I don’t water any of my plants when the sun is on them or if the night temperatures will be cool (especially for cactus and succulents). This can be tricky when it comes time to bring the plants inside for the winter. Last year it was fairly dry when I brought the plants inside, but it was the opposite this year. We had cool temps and it rained. I wasn’t worried about the plants on the front porch because they were under a roof. The cactus on the back porch were in the elements getting wet when temps were around 40° F… Many cactus have no issues with temps even below freezing when they are in the ground in their native habitat because they go dormant. Some species go dormant in the heat of the summer. Some grow way up in the mountains… But, my cactus are in pots and their ancestors grow in many different areas from forests to deserts from high to low elevations. It is a lot different in pots in west-central Missouri than in their native habitat…

Jim, from How I See It, in his comment asked a very good question… “Are plants like these abundant from their places of origin? Do you ever encounter plants that should not be traded on the plant market because they are endangered, etc?’ My reply was that I normally check the IUCN Red List about their status in nature. Many of the species in my collection are not endangered but some are for a variety of reasons. While some species have been collected to near extinction in the past, those species are illegal to collect in the wild now. Some species become endangered due to growing agricultural needs and their environment changes. Many species have been collected and relocated to save them. The plants in my collection come from commercial growers and are likely grown from seed. Even so, it bothers me when I have a species that are endangered in the wild due to overcollection. Upon further research, I found out the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre says trade is controlled to avoid use incompatible with species survival with every species of cactus in my collection…

There are many species that shouldn’t be available on the market for several reasons. One is because they have requirements the average person can’t fill and eventually die. I have noticed in the last few years commercial growers sell seed-grown plants to Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, etc. that are very small that really struggle to survive. Most of the very small plants I have bought in the past few years, like in 2” pots, from Wal-Mart and from Ebay have died.

If you missed the previous post, Fall 2021 Cactus Update Part 1, is about the cactus on the back porch up to the Mammillaria. You can click on the plant’s name to go to their own pages for more information about the species and see all their photos.

Mammillaria decipiens (syn. subsp. camptotricha) (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) at 2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-12.

The Mammillaria decipiens (subsp. camptotricha) (Bird’s Nest Pincushion) did GREAT over the summer. The tallest plant in the cluster measured 2″ tall and the group expanded to 4 1/2″ wide. To think it was only 1 1/2″tall x 3″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on March 19 in 2018… It is really hard to tell, but I believe we have a few new offsets. There were five plants in the cluster when I brought it home and I think there are 12 now. I really like this species… This species has 19 synonyms and has been in 8 genera. Ummm… The subspecies name is a synonym…

The IUCN Red Lists says this species is stable in its natural habitat. Mammillaria decipiens are native to San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, and Queretaro in Mexico where they grow at an altitude between around 5,085 to almost 8,000 feet above sea level (1550-2150 meters).

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Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) on 10-28-21, #853-13.

The Mammillaria elongata (Ladyfinger Cactus) continues to go bananas. The longest stem in the center of the pot broke in half over the winter then died. Now the longer stems measure from 3 to 3 3/4″ long. I counted 39 stems and offsets and some are very tiny. There are even offsets growing along some of the taller stems. Hmmm… I should have taken a photo from a different angle but I was in a hurry. There was one stem with 11 offsets when I brought this plant home from Wal-Mart in 2018.

The IUCN Red List indicates this species in declining in its native habitat due to agriculture, aquaculture, industry, and mining.

LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says this may be the most common Mammillaria to be found. It occurs in more variations than any other Mammillaria species. It commonly comes in many color and spine variations. Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 52 synonyms and has been in six genera.

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Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) at 3 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-14.

As always, the Mammillaria hahniana did very well over the summer and grew to about 3 3/4″ tall x 3 3/4″ wide. It looks a little strange because it had rained so its wool was wet. This plant was only 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. I have really enjoyed this plant.

The two unlabeled cactus I brought home from Wal-Mart last December 2, that turned out to be different looking Mammillaria hahniana, died over the summer. In fact, all four cactus I brought home that day died… They were all very small…

The IUCN Red List says Mammillaria hahniana is of least concern in its native habitat.

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Mammillaria karwinskiana (syn. subsp. nejapensis) (Silver Arrows) at 4″ tall x 35/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-15.

The Mammillaria karwinskiana (syn. subsp. nejapensis) (Silver Arrows) did really well over the summer and grew to 4″ tall x 3 5/8″ wide. It didn’t especially like being photographed with wet wool since it had been sprinkling. I explained it was very important and I would take another photo of it when it starts blooming. It normally starts flowering up a storm shortly after I bring the plants inside. This plant has grown quite a bit from 1 7/8″ tall x 2 3/16 when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21 in 2018.

It is one of a few Mammillaria species in my collection that are dichotomous branching. That means it will split to form two plants.

Mammillaria karwinskiana (syn. subsp. nejapensis) (Silver Arrows) from the top on 10-28-21, #853-16.

I really like this plant and the way its wool weaves through its tubercles.

The IUCN Red List says this species is stable in its native habitat in Central and Southwest Mexico and Guatemala.

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Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) at 4 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-17.

The Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) did very well over the summer and grew to 4 3/4″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide. It was 3 3/4″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21 in 2019. This one is also dichotomous branching. I really like this cactus with its blue-green color and long golden spines. Its shape reminds me of a light bulb…

Mammillaria muehlenpfordtii (Golden Pincushion) from the top on 10-28-21, #853-18.

It has a few more buds to become flowers I will miss AGAIN. This plant was LOADED with buds that were ready to open on June 24. I checked every day to get a photo of its flowers and the next thing I knew the buds had turned to faded flowers. It has had buds multiple times but I have never seen them open…

The IUCN Red List says this species is stable in its native habitat in Guanajuato, Querétaro, and San Luis Potosí in Mexico. It lists no threats.

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Mammillaria mystax at 3 1/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-19.

The Mammillaria mystax is a very well-behaved cactus that has no issues. It grew to 3 1/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide over the summer and was 1 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ when I brought it home from Lowes on September 21 in 2018. It has very sharp reddish-brown tipped spines.

The Mammillaria mystax is a pretty straightforward plant with very prominent 4-6 angled tubercles. In the wild, it produces very long, entangled spines on its crown but that seldom happens in cultivation. This species divides dichotomously as well as possibly producing offsets. It will produce a ring of rose flowers with brown mid-veins in up to 3 rows which hasn’t happened yet…

The IUCN Red List says this species population is stable in its native habitat in South Central Mexico.

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Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) at 1 3/4″ tall x 4 3/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-20.

The Mammillaria plumosa (Feather Cactus) may look a little strange in the above photo because its “plumage” was kind of wet from the rain. It did very well over the summer and the largest plant in the cluster grew to 1 3/4″ tall. The entire cluster measured 4 3/8″ wide. It was 3/4″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide when I received it from a seller on Ebay on September 22 in 2019. I still have to smile when I look at the photo when it arrived all wrapped up in toilet paper. I must say, it has done great and was one of my better buys on Ebay. You would be amazed at how many cactus and succulents are listed.

The IUCN Red List states the population is declining and near threatened in its native habitat in Coahuila and Nuevo León in Mexico where it grows on limestone cliffs in sparse xerophytic shrubland. This species is illegally collected for the ornamental trade. The local community in the area also collects plants from the wild and sells them at local markets at Christmas time, as they are used to decorate nativity scenes.

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Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) at 6 1/2′ tall x 2 5/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-21.

The Mammillaria pringlei Lemon Ball Cactus) did very well again over the summer and grew to 6 1/2″ tall x 2 5/8″ wide. It has leaned over the summer AGAIN so I need to re-pot it and straighten it up. Many species of cactus are leaners and this one does it more than any other in my collection… This time the pot won’t stand up on its own. GEEZ! The Mammillaria pringlei is one of the most abundant bloomers I have. It produces a lot of flowers in multiple rows.

Mammillaria pringlei (Lemon Ball Cactus) on 10-28-21, #853-22.

Blooming again and it appears there is a fruit… Hmmm… A while back I received a comment from a reader who said she had purchased a Mammillaria karwinskiana in the spring and in the last month was producing magenta seed pods. She hadn’t seen any flowers and was wondering could there really be that much of a delay. Well, of course, I sent her a lengthy reply. 🙂 I told her I rarely see any fruit on my cactus, which is true because they need two plants of the same species to pollinate. Usually, I only see fruit on my cactus within a few months after I bring them home if they have been pollinated where they were grown. Mammillaria pringlei, on the other hand, has produced fruit several times and I don’t quite understand why… It could possibly be pollinated from the M. rhodantha since was formerly M. rhodantha subsp. pringlei… It is still considered a part of the Mammillaria rhodantha complex…

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists Mammillaria pringlei as vulnerable in its natural habitat. This is due to its restricted range, being present in only three areas. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) states it has experienced declines due to the collection of its flowers and even whole plants for Christmas decorations. Apparently, at one point this species was not found in any of the protected areas.

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Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion) at 4 1/8″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-23.

Who wouldn’t like the Mammillaria rhodantha (Rainbow Pincushion)? Those reddish spines would get anyone’s attention. This plant has always done well and grew to 4 1/8″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide over the summer. It has been a slower grower compared to the Mammillaria pringlei. It was 3 3/4″ tall when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. That measurement likely includes the spines…

“This one” blooms kind of strange… Sometimes it has an abundance of buds but only a few of the flowers will open. Then there will be holes where the old buds were.

Mammillaria rhodantha is a VERY variable species which has led to it having a whopping 132 synonyms. Thirty-five of the synonyms are forms, subspecies, or varieties of M. rhodantha

Mammillaria pringlei and M. rhodantha are also both species that divide dichotomously and also produce offsets.

The IUCN Red List says this species is stable and of least concern in its native habitat. It is a native of high-table lands in Queretaro, Michoacán, Zacatecas, Jalisco, and Hidalgo in Mexico where it grows in fertile soil.

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Mammillaria vetula (syn. subsp. gracilis) (Thimble Cactus) at 1 7/8″ tall on 10-28-21, #853-25.

This Mammillaria vetula (syn. subsp. gracilis) (Thimble Cactus) amuses me. I had one before in a good-sized pot that I gave up in 2014. When I went to Lowe’s to find a new one in 2018, I brought home the ‘Arizona Snowcap’. A few days later, I found this very small plant at Wagler’s Greenhouse with a few offsets along its stem.  I didn’t realize it was a Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis at the time because it wasn’t growing like the one I had previously and it only had one stem… When you find them at a garden center they are usually in a cluster.

The original stem grew a little taller over the summer and was 1 7/8″ tall when the above photo was taken. The offsets that grew on the main stem are still attached from last year. Before that, most of them fell off. I should take a photo from the top so you can see how many offsets there are in this little pot. It needs repotting anyway because I noticed the pot is broken… I have had those pots since 2009 so they are bound to be a little brittle. The plant was in too large of a pot when I brought it home so I put it n a smaller one. It kept leaning over so I put the marble next to it to hold it up. Now it thinks the marble belongs to him (or her).

Even though Mammillaria vetula is the accepted name of the species, it is most often labeled Mammillaria gracilis fragilis at garden centers. It has 24 synonyms including Mammillaria gracilis, M. fragilis, M. gracilis var. fragilis, M. vetula subsp. gracilis, and so on.

What sets this “subspecies” apart from the species is that it usually has no central spines where M. vetula has 1 or two. The species has at least 25 radial spines (up to 50 on mature specimens) where the subspecies only has 11-16. Mine has no central spines…

The IUCN Red List says the species is stable and of least concern in its natural habitat in Hidalgo, Guanajuato, and Querétaro in Mexico where they are found in pine forests at high altitudes.

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Mammillaria vetula (syn. subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ at 2 1/4″ tall on 10-28-21, #853-24.

The Mammillaria vetula (syn. subsp. gracilis) ‘Arizona Snowcap’ (Thimble Cactus) did well over the summer of 2021 and the largest plant in the cluster grew to 2 1/4″ tall… I brought this cactus home from Lowe’s on July 8 in 2018 when the cluster measured 2″ tall x 5″ wide. The pot was bulging and the spines seemed much thicker and more white than the “regular” Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis. The pot was labeled Mammillaria gracilis fragilis monstrose so I did some research. As it turns out, this plant was a monstrous form of Mammillaria vetula subsp. gracilis, likely a nursery-produced cultivar and possibly a hybrid, named ‘Arizona Snowcap’. Over the winter I took a couple of photos and a few of the offsets in the pot were nearly solid white and looked like little snowballs. Those plants died… In fact, half of the offsets died. I re-potted what was left and the rest have done pretty well.

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Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus), Lessor (left) at 6 1/2″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide, Greater (right) at 6 1/2″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-26.

The two Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus, ETC.) made it through the summer quite well. Lessor, on the left in the above photo grew to 6 1/2″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide. Greater, on the right, grew to 6 1/8″ tall and is the same width as last year at 2 3/8″ wide. Last year they had the same measurements… These two characters have grown quite a lit since I brought them home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. It was an accident that I brought two home, like usual when I bring two of the same species home, but I am glad I did. Watching these two side by side has been entertaining. Lessor was only 1 7/8″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide when I brought it home and somehow I didn’t measure Greater, which was taller. Last October they were the same size at 6″ tall x 2 3/8′ wide.

They are supposed to produce bright yellow flowers but I read they may need to be 10 years old… Five more years to go. GEEZ!

Parodia lenninghausii the Lessor’s offsets on 10-28-21, #853-27.

One of Lessor’s kids grew quite a bit over the summer…

The IUCN Red List doesn’t say anything about this species, but LLIFLE says they are abundant in their native habitat in Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil but many subpopulations have been extirpated… The species grows at elevations between about 985 to 4,265 feet (300-1300 meters) in hilly grasslands and in the shade of larger plants where they tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

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Parodia magnifica at 2 1/2″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-28.

The Parodia magnifica (Ball or Balloon Cactus) is a neat species that reminds me of the crown for Imperial Margarine. I did very well over the summer and still measured 2 1/2″ tall but it grew to 3 1/4″ wide. It was 1 3/8″ tall x 2 3/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29 in 2019.

Parodia magnifica is a native to Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil and are also found nearby in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. The IUCN Red List has them listed as an endangered species. They grow on hilly grasslands and on walls between cracks in rocks or in the shade of larger growing plants in deciduous forests. In this climate, they experience warm and cool seasons and grow in soil with plenty of organic matter from the decomposition of other plants. It is said Parodia magnifica can survive temps as low as 20° F if their soil is dry and they are not subject to frost.

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Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost) at 6 3/8″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-29.

I think the Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost or Organ Pipe Cactus) is a magnificent plant. It always does great over the summer and grew to 6 3/8″ tall x 3 1/8″ wide. It was 2 7/8″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. It stayed 2 3/4″ wide until this year (except it was 3″ wide in 2019). It has been a great all-around plant. The label said they grow to 20′ in time, but reliable sources say 13-16’…

The IUCN Red List says the population of Stenocereus pruinosus is stable and of least concern in its native habitat in Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, and Veracruz in Mexico. They grow at 2,600 to 6,200 feet (800 to 1,900 meters) above sea level where they can be found in tropical deciduous forests. They are known for their edible fruit.

Well, that is it for the cactus that were on the back porch and their pages have been updated…

I will go back to updating the pages to the right. It is sometimes hard to decide what to write about over the winter but I may do a wildflower series. Not that they are blooming now… 🙂 If you have any suggestions, I would like to hear them.

Until next time, take care, stay positive, and always be thankful!

Fall 2021 Cactus Update Part 1… From The Back Porch

Cactus on the back porch on 9-22-21, #833-2.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. It has been a strange fall for sure. I was able to let the potted plants stay outside until October 28 this year. While we did have a cold snap and a few light “F’s’, low’s through Wednesday will be 46-54° F. After that we go downhill again. If I wanted, and no one was looking, I could take the plants back outside again until Thursday… Well, maybe that wouldn’t be a good idea since it could rain.

I forgot to take a group photo of the cactus on the back porch before I brought them inside. It was kind of rainy and I was in a bit of a hurry. The Alocasia and Bilbergia nutans (Queen’s Tears) went to the basement and the other plants went on shelves. I already posted about them and was leaving the cactus until last. I already posted about the cactus on the front porch, which leaves those that are on the back porch.

Here we go in alphabetical order…

Acanthocereus tetragonus (Fairytale Cactus) at 5″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-1.

The Acanthocereus tetragonus did very well over the summer and grew to 5″ tall and is still 2 3/4″ wide. It probably would have grown taller but apparently, the top of the tallest stem broke off… Even at that, it is 3/4″ taller than when it was last measured on October 15 in 2020. It was 3″ tall when I brought it home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on October 18 in 2018. Mrs. Wagler had two HUGE plants but she said one disappeared… Likely out the other door when no one was around… Her plants of this species always look much better than this one because they aren’t outside in the elements.

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Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ at 9 3/4″ tall x 4 3/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-2.

The Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ grew another 1 1/2″ taller to 9 3/4″ and 1/2″ wider. It was 5 1/2″ tall when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on March 19 in 2018.

Cereus repandus f. monstruosus ‘Rojo’ from the top on 10-28-21, #853-3.

Always a neat plant from any angle… I have had absolutely no issues with this plant.

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Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ at 4″ tall x 7 1/2″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-4.

The Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ continues to do well and is STILL 4″ tall but has spread out another 1/2″ over the summer. STILL waiting for flowers… The cluster was 2 1/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. Back then it was called x Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and was a hybrid between Echinopsis and Lobivia… The Lobivia genus became a synonym of Echinopsis and its species were moved here and there. There were a few other genera that became synonyms of Echinopsis at the time.

The wife of one of my cousins has several old and LARGE clusters of Echinopsis that put on quite a show every year.

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Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora)(Desert’s Blooming Jewel) at 5″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-5.

What can I say? I am not sure why this particular Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora (Desert’s Blooming Jewel) has this fungal disease (or whatever it is). The six in the other pot are just fine and have been treated the same. It is A LOT worse than before. It is supposed to be caused by overwatering in cool temps. Any cactus can have this issue and Echinopsis are no more susceptible than any other. Even so, this plant has grown to 5″ tall over the summer. It was 3 7/8″ tall last October 15 and 3″ tall when I brought it home from Lowe’s on September 21 in 2018.

Echinopsis huascha (var. grandiflora) (Desert’s Blooming Jewel). The largest plant in the center of the pot was 6 3/4″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-6.

As you can see, the six in this pot are doing just fine and sending out offsets. The largest plant in the center of the pot was 6 3/8″ tall x 3″ wide. SOOO, it either shrunk or I mismeasured it last October… 🙂 The tallest plant in the center was only 3″ tall when I brought them home from Lowe’s on November 29 in 2018. Yes, the same day as the single plant because I goofed. Well, there was a pot of seven cactus in a pot that was on clearance because a bigger plant in the middle of the pot was dead. I repotted them and they have done great! I didn’t notice at the time the label in the pot said Trichocereus grandiflorus like the smaller plant I already had in my cart. If the one with issues doesn’t make it, I still have a pot of six plus the offsets.

The Echinopsis huascha is one of “those” controversial species that hails from Argentina. It has been in multiple genera with many species names becoming synonyms of Echinopsis huascha. When I last updated this plants page last December, Plants of the World Online listed 43  synonyms. They are updating their synonyms so if you happen to check on POWO now they currently list only five… So, I didn’t update the synonyms. Even so, no other database lists 43 synonyms of this species. The other problem with this species is that it is variable in growth, shape, size, spine length and color, flower color, etc. Even so, there is only one accepted infraspecific name. LLIFLE (and other websites) list the particular plants I have as Echinopsis huascha var. grandiflora. That name was invalidly published and somehow isn’t even listed on the International Plant Names Index as an invalid name… SO, I just put var. grandiflora in parenthesis. It isn’t legit. 🙂

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Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) at 8 1/2″ tall x 2 1/2″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-7.

The Espostoa melanostele subsp. nana (Peruvian Old Lady) seems to have shrunk 1/2″ to 8 1/2″ and is still 2 1/2″ wide. Well, that’s OK since it seems perfectly happy and healthy. I guess it took a break since it has grown from 2 3/4″ when I brought it home from Wal-Mart on February 1 in 2016. The subspecies name is legit with this one… 🙂

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Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus) at 2 1/2′ tall x 3″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-8.

The Ferocactus wislizeni (Fishhook Barrel Cactus) is a slow grower. It now measured 2 1/2′ tall x 3″ wide on the 28th which is 1/8″ taller than last year. It was only 1 5/8″ tall x 2 1/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on March 29 in 2019. I like the way its new bristles are a bright red. It doesn’t seem to be looking its best, though. I brought home a Ferocactus latispinus in 2016 but it didn’t live very long…

Information online says these plants need plenty of water during their active growth cycle but not to get their “bodies” wet while in direct sunlight. LLIFLE says, “A wet cactus in the sunlight can cause sun burning which can lead to scars or even fungal infections and death.” Well, I never water any of my plants when the sun is on them… What is a person supposed to do If it rains in the morning and the sun comes out in the afternoon?

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Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) at 2 3/8″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-9.

Hmmm… I need to take new photos of this one because its spines are definitely not red or that bright of green! Anyway, the Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) did great over the summer and grew 3/8″ taller to 2 3/8″ wide x 3 1/2″ wide. I really like this plant.

Gymnocalycium saglionis (Giant Chin Cactus) from the top on 10-28-21, #853-10.

The G. saglionis has been a great plant and it has no issues… Not a single blemish anywhere. I just have to have a talk with it when I take new photos… Well, I read where the spines are red when they are wet. While, yes, the cactus were wet when I took their photos on the 28th, this plant’s spines only looked red in the photo… There are photos online of this species with red spines because they are wet. 🙂

I really like this cactus and was glad to find a Gymnocalycium baldianum (Dwarf Chin Cactus) at Wal-Mart on December 2, 2020. It died over the summer…

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Kroenleinia grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus). Lessor (left) at 3 3/8″ tall x 3 1/4″ wide and Greater (right) at 3 5/8″ tall x 3″ wide on 10-28-21, #853-11.

The two Kroenleinia grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) are still the jokers of the bunch. Last October they were the same size at 3 1/2″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide. This time, Greater grew to 3 5/8″ tall x 3″ wide, and Lessor was 3 3/8′ tall x 3 1/4″ wide. I measured several times because they like to fool me and I am sure Lessor was wiggling… I still thought something was off with the measurements as I wrote this so I thought I would get them off the shelf and do it again. As I reached for Lessor, Greater smiled. I thought, “GEEZ! I have been suckered again”. I sat back down then thought I would call their bluff. So, I got back up and took Lessor from the shelf and measured him AGAIN. Sure enough, he was 3 3/8″ tall, give or take a hair, but I couldn’t see him being 3 1/4″ wide. Then, all the sudden he was 3 1/4″ wide. They have done very well despite their issues with crickets scarring them a few years ago and a blemish here and there. Lessor was 2 1/8″ tall x 2 1/4″ wide and Greater was 2 1/2″ tall x 2″ wide when I brought them home from Wal-Mart February 1 in 2016. They have fooled me several times over the years since I accidentally brought two home instead of just one.

Kroenleinia grusonii WAS Echinocactus grusonii from 1886 until 2014 when testing proved the species was more closely related to the genus Ferocactus. SO, they changed the name to Kroenleinia grusonii and now it is in a genus of its very own… all by itself. It always takes a few (to several) years for the new names to be officially approved. Kroenleinia is MUCH harder to spell and I STILL haven’t found the pronunciation… Dave’s Garden is behind…

Well, I think I will stop here and start working on part 2. I don’t want to put too many on the same post.

Until next time, take care and always be thankful!

 

The Stapelia gigantea Flower…

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-22-21, #849-22.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. After it was dark on Friday evening, I turned the light on the back porch to check on the bud on the Stapelia gigantea and measure it again. The last time I measured it a few days earlier it was 5 3/4″ long. Low and behold, one of the petals had opened and another one had started.

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-22-21, #849-23.

I checked on it several times during the night and there was no change.

THEN, THE NEXT MORNING…

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-23-21, #850-7.

Now, that is pretty exciting! Finally, after several years of buds falling off after I moved it in the house, it has bloomed!

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) at 13″ wide on 10-23-21, #850-8.

It measured 13″ wide…

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-23-21, #850-9.

You can read about these plants and watch videos, but seeing it in person is so much better. Those red lines are raised and they kind of remind me of ripples in a pond.

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-23-21, #850-10.

It is definitely hairy…

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-23-21, #850-11.

How neat is that?

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-23-21, #850-12.

SO, what does it smell like? When I first took a whiff I smelled nothing.

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, Starfish Flower) on 10-23-21, #850-13..

Then at 4:30, I went to check again. I opened the sliding door and I could smell a faint odor. Naturally, I stuck my nose right in the flower, and HOLY CRAP! It truly does smell like rotting flesh. Honestly, I won’t be doing that again. I have smelled so bad stuff in my life, but that is one I definitely won’t forget. GEEZ!!! Hopefully, the Turkey Buzzards won’t come to my back porch. 🙂

Seriously, it made me remember everything bad I have ever smelled and they now seem pale in comparison. I am VERY thankful the temperatures have been mild enough I didn’t have to bring it in the house! GEEZ! 🙂

There is STILL no chance of an “F” in the forecast.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!

 

Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) Bud…

Stapelia gigantea buds on 10-11-12, #842-1.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. The largest Stapelia gigantea buds are getting bigger!

Stapelia gigantea bud at 4 3/4″ long on 10-11-21, #842-2.

The biggest bud is now 4 3/4″ long. AWESOME! No “F” in the forecast the temps are getting cooler. The Weather Channel is forecasting a low of 39° F Saturday night, but the National Weather Service says 42°.

Until next time, take care, be safe, and always be thankful!

Stapelia gigantea Buds Getting Bigger!

Stapelia gigantea buds on 10-4-21, #840-6.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all well. It is getting exciting on the back porch as the Stapelia gigantea buds are getting bigger.

Stapelia gigantea bud at 1 3/4″ long on 10-4-21, #840-7.

The biggest bud is now 1 3/4″ long. There are several buds but some are quite small… Keep your fingers crossed (and maybe your toes). 🙂

There is no “F” in the forecast, so maybe they will continue to grow at least the bigger one open before I have to move the plants inside for the winter. Even so, when we do get an “F” it warms back up again. You just never know…

Until next time, stay well, be safe, and always be thankful!

Potted Plants Update #4: Plants on the Back Porch

 

Alocasia on the back porch on 9-22-21, #833-1.

Hello everyone. I hope you are doing well. The beginning of September was cool, then back in the 90’s, now it has cooled off again. Right now, the forecast says 90° F again on the 27th! I know what October usually brings but I am trying not to think about it. The plants will have to be brought inside for the winter… It kind of makes one wonder where the summer went. No need to complain about the weather because it wouldn’t do any good. 

This update is about the plants on the back porch. I originally took photos for this post on September 18 but I had to take a few more.

The top photo is the Alocasia on the back porch. From 2013 to 2019 I always kept them around the barrel that covers the old well in the “other yard”. They were in mostly shade with a couple hours of afternoon sun. They always did great there but I had to stretch the hose 150′ to water them. In the spring of 2020 I moved the Alocasia to the back porch because they needed re-potted. I didn’t get them all finished and they remained on the porch in full sun all summer. They did amazingly well so I put them on the back porch again in 2021. Who would have thought they would do so well in full sun in the heat of the summer without their leaves burning. Alocasia like kind of moist soil, but they dried completely out many times without any issues. I think if they were in more shade they would have grown much taller like they did in the other yard. That’s just my opinion…

Cactus on the back porch on 9-22-21.

Most of the cactus are happily sitting on a table on the northeast corner of the back porch. They have all done very well and enjoy the sun and heat. The Mammillaria pringlei has been leaning most of the summer and will get a good straightening soon. I am not going to photograph and measure all of the cactus until I bring them inside for the winter in October. It would be nice if the weather would hold off so they could stay out a little longer, but normally around the second week of October they have to come inside. It isn’t that far off… GEEZ! Typically, once we have an “F”, the temps warm back up and I can put them back outside for a while longer. You just never know…

I will take photos and measurements of the cactus as I bring them inside for the winter.

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Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe) at 12″ tall on 8-18-21, #827-4.

The Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe) are doing great on the back porch. I put them in their own pots a couple of months ago and then left them in full sun. They have grown from 6 3/4″ tall to 12″ since I brought them home in November last year and they both have a pup.

I really like Aloe and there are MANY on my wish list. I bought this plant unlabeled so I didn’t know what it was at first, but Aloe arborescens was on the list. I have been taking more of an interest in the smaller cultivars, but these plants will definitely not be small… I probably would have brought the pot home even if it was labeled and I knew how large they could become. Well, what can I say? I like Aloe, this species was on my wish list, and I couldn’t help myself. It really doesn’t matter if they are on my list or not, if I see an Aloe I don’t have and it isn’t too expensive, it will come home with me. There are now 585 species of Aloe so I have a long way to go. Not to mention all the cultivars and hybrids!

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Cyanotis somaliensis (Pussy Ears/Furry Kittens) on 8-18-21, #827-6.

I brought this neat little Cyanotis somaliensis (Pussy Ears/Furry Kittens) home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in March and it has done pretty well. I had it on the table under the roof for most of the summer, but when temps cooled off a bit I put it in full sun. Information online says anywhere from full sun to part shade so I thought I would give full sun a try. Well, even though the temps did drop at the beginning of September, they went back up in the 90’s again. I wouldn’t say this plant was too crazy about that…

This pot had no label, but when I saw it I thought it looked like a species of Tradescantia. It turned out to be a plant I hadn’t heard of before although it is in the plant family Commelinaceae with Tradescantia. There are 50 species in the genus and Cyanotis somaliensis is from Somalia… Who would have guessed that? I can hardly wait until it blooms because it will have very weird flowers.

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Delosperma echinatum (Pickle Plant) on 8-18-21, #827-7.

Go ahead and laugh if you want, but this Delosperma echinatum (Pickle Plant) isn’t going to join you. Let’s start from the beginning… I was at Wagler’s Greenhouse on June 18 when I saw this strange critter. Well, you know I had to pick it up. I saw it had been started from a stem cutting by the way it was growing and it needed to be tidied up a bit. It had no label but Mrs. Wagler told me it was a Pickle Plant. There was another much better-looking and bushier plant in the greenhouse but a lady had it in her hand…

I brought several plants home that day but I was in the middle of working on a friend’s planters and landscaping. Once I came back home, I put the Pickle Plant on the back porch, and a couple of others, while the rest went to the front porch. I didn’t get their photos taken until the 24th, and I still just have a draft page for the Delosperma echinatum… So, clicking on the name will get you nowhere at the moment.

SO, on August 20, I decided it was time I had better do something about the Pickle Plant… I had already horrified it enough every time I watered it… I kept telling it I was going to give it a new pot and give it a good trimming. It just kept growing as if it thought it needed to do better to avoid getting a trimming.

Delosperma echinatum (Pickle Plant) on 8-20-21, #828-3.

I’m not sure what this stuff is growers are using for potting soil this year. This plant was evidently one of “those” that Mrs. Wagler’s son brought from the auction. All of them I brought home and repotted have been in this spongy feeling mixture. It really soaks up water just like a sponge.

Delosperma echinatum (Pickle Plant) on 8-20-21, #828-5.

Once I cut the stem and took leaf cuttings, I cleaned freed the plant’s roots from that weird stuff and placed them all around in the pot. I didn’t even let them scab over for a few days like I normally would have. They seem fine even after 28 days. GEEZ! Time flies!

I guess I should say something about the Delosperma echinatum… It was first named Mesembryanthemum echinatum in 1788 and renamed Delosperma echinatum in 1927. There are a few other synonyms it has accumulated over the years…

This species hails from the Eastern Cape in South Africa. They produce greenish-yellow Mesembryanthemum-like flowers and their leaves and stems have these odd spiny water vesicles… Well, that’s what LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) call them… It is definitely a neat plant…

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The white-flowered Epiphyllum oxypetalum on 8-18-21, #827-10.

So, if you want to talk about strange plants, the Epiphyllum oxypetalum fits the bill. I am thankful to Tony Tomeo for sending these plants to me last December. They have done quite well despite a little neglect. Information online says they need consistently moist soil and to water them when the surface is dry. Well, there have been times when they were VERY dry and they just kept growing. Since they are epiphytic and lithophytic tropical/subtropical plants, in their native habitat they grow in trees and on rocks and get a lot of their moisture from the air. I suppose all the humidity we have during the summer kept them going.

I haven’t written a page for these plants yet because I have no idea where to start. Tony sent one huge mass of the white-flowered variety which I left intact when I put them in a pot. It has grown like crazy and is just simply weird… Farther down you will see a photo of two other white-flowered plants and one that will have fink and white bi-color flowers. The red-flowered plant slowly fizzled out. The bigger pot is on a table on the back porch (under the roof) with the Stapelia gigantea and Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri. They get plenty of morning sun and light shade the remainder of the day.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum flattened stems on 8-18-21, #827-11.

The strangest thing about the Epiphyllum oxypetalum is its multitude of weird stem shapes. What appear to be leaves are flattened stems. They are leafless plants.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum square stems on 8-18-21, #827-12.

Then there are these square stems…

Epiphyllum oxypetalum on 8-18-21, #827-13.

The plant to the left is a Stapelia gigantea… These 4-angled stems with hair are on the Epiphyllum oxypetalum. There are also five-angled stems that become four-angled closer to the tip.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum round stems on 8-18-21, #827-14.

Then there are the round stems… Some are quite hairy and they are very long.

The base of the Epiphyllum oxypetalum on 8-18-21, #827-15.

It has been very interesting watching this plant grow. Hopefully, it will bloom at some point…

Epiphyllum oxypetalum (white flowered) (right)) and pink and white (left) on 8-18-21, #827-16.

I take the plant shelf from the bedroom in the spring and use it for pots during the summer. It has also made a great place for the pink and white bi-colored and smaller white plants. The one on the left doesn’t have a strong root system and tries to fall out of the pot.

Smaller Epiphyllum oxypetalum (white-flowered) on 8-18-21, #827-17.

I don’t remember for sure, but I think the fatter stem had fallen off the bigger clump when I unwrapped the plants. It didn’t have any roots so I put it in a small pot by itself and over the summer it has grown offsets. What is strange is that this pot has been in full sun all summer and has dried out multiple times. It has not gotten sunburned or shriveled up from lack of moisture. I was very impressed when it started growing offsets when the original stem hasn’t grown a lick. This pot will be interesting to watch grow and I will no doubt learn a lot from it since it started out so small.

The Epiphyllum oxypetalum has several common names including Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus, Lady of the Night, Princess of the Night, Night-Blooming Cereus, Orchid Cactus, Night Queen, and Jungle Cactus. It shares a few of those names with other species in other genera. Of course, they are night bloomers… There are 14 synonyms from three genera and they are members of the plant family Cactaceae.

They are Mexican natives but have naturalized down into South America, parts of the United States, and MANY other subtropical and tropical parts of the world. They are very easy to grow and are popular throughout the world which has allowed them to escape captivity.

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Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) on 9-18-21, #831-1.

The Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) has been steadily growing all summer, but it really jumped in September. This is a really neat plant and a Kalanchoe that is really worth giving a shot.

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) at 12″ tall x 22″ wide on 9-18-21, #831-2.

It has grown to 12″ tall x 22″ wide but it may be that tall since it is leaning toward the sun. I rotated it again to lean in the other direction. I have put it in the full sun a few times which it doesn’t seem to mind. I have a tendency to keep my plants in a little shade when some of them would do just fine in more sun.

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) offset at 4″ wide on 9-18-21, #831-3.

The largest “plantlet” is now 4″ wide. If you have one of these it may be a good idea to set the pot on something to raise the plant a little to keep its leaves from touching the table. Putting them in a hanging pot would also be a good idea.

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Mesembryanthemum cordifolia ‘Variegata’ (Heartleaf Ice Plant) on 9-19-21, #832-5.

I first started using the Mesembryanthemum cordifolia ‘Variegata’ (Heartleaf Ice Plant) in 2019 in a friend’s planters and they did GREAT. I used them again this year and hopefully, they will be available for years to come. I decided I would bring home several from the greenhouse for my own planter this year. They branch out and fill in a planter very well and trail over the sides. If you have a bare spot all you have to do is break (or cut) a piece off and stick it in the soil and it will take right off. The red flowers really stand out but they close early in the afternoon. The flowers look bright red, but in the photos they are more of a pinkish-red… The flowers open in the morning and seem to be almost closed by noon even though the pot is in full sun all day. Even now that the day length is shorter, is still in the sun until a little after 5 PM. I prefer to take photos of plants when they aren’t in the sun…

This species was named Mesembryanthemum cordifolium by Carl Linnaeus the Younger (Carl Linnaeus’s son) in 1872. It was moved to the Aptenia genus (est. 1925) and renamed Aptenia cordifolia in 1927. It was returned to the Mesembryanthemum genus in 2007, but in 2009 several botanists suggested the move be reversed. I have to re-read my notes because I see where the Wikipedia article says it was moved back in 1997 when the whole Aptenia genus was reduced to synonymy… Now, where did I get 2007? Ahhh… The paper published about the change was written in 2007, so where did the author of the Wikipedia article get 1997? Oh well, he is still using The Plant List as a reference which has been out of date since 2013.

You know I get somewhat frustrated when a cultivar name is used instead of an infraspecific name (like subspecies, variety, or form). In this case, I have no clue where the variegated leaves even came from. The wild species has green leaves… Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) lists the scientific name for it as Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata hort. (“hort.” stands for “horticulture(al) use”). The trend is to use ‘Variegata’ to distinguish it from the species but where it originated I have no clue. I already said that. SO, I have to change my ways and stop calling it Mesembryanthemum cordifolium f. variegata. I had a discussion (through email) with a knowledgeable man (retired professor and trained at Kew) about the use of cultivar names as opposed to infraspecific names. The discussion was basically due to my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to intraspecific names being reduced to synonyms. 🙂 As far as this plant is concerned, I can somewhat agree it is likely a cultivar.

I have not seen any of these plants with labels in their pots but Mrs. Wagler just said they were Ice Plants. So, let me see. How many species are called Ice Plants in the plant family Aizoaceae?

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Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant) on 9-22-21, #833-3.

I put the Stapelia gigantea (Zulu Giant, ETC.) on the back deck in the spring of 2021 where it received morning sun and light shade the rest of the day. The back deck is in full sun except for 4′ or so that has a roof. The goal is to sneak it inside when an “F” is in the forecast in October and put it on a table just inside the sliding door. That way it will be in about the same light as it is outside and maybe the buds won’t fall off.

Stapelia gigantea on 9-22-21, #833-4.

The Stapelia gigantea is one of the only species I have bought specifically for its flowers. Even so, its stems are pretty neat. The stems are velvety-green, spineless, and have four ribs. The stems have tubercles that are laterally flattened and vertically joined. Each tubercle has a small rudimentary leaf which is short-lived and leaves a scar at the tip of the tubercle. The stems are considered determinate as they only grow to around 8- 12” tall (20-30 cm). Plants can spread 2-3’ wide if given a chance in pots or in the ground. If grown in pots, they will branch out and hang over the sides.

Stapelia gigantea buds on 9-22-21, #833-5.

When I took these photos on 9-22-21 I noticed a few buds. Keep your fingers crossed!

I think that is all for this post. It took a while to get finished because I was doing this and that. I needed to take more photos but it seemed to get too dark before I had time. I like the longer daylengths during the summer and I’m sure you do as well.

Now I will have to find something else to write about. I spend several hours a day working on the pages, but posting can sometimes be a challenge. I applaud all you folks that can write a post every day or every few days. Maybe I should give writing about other topics a shot. Hmmm…

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

 

 

 

Potted Plants Update #3: The Front Porch Part 3

Hyla versicolor (Gray Tree Frog) on the Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia) (Silver Squill) on 8-17-21, #826-29).

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well. This is the final update for the plants on the front porch. Cooler temps came in with September and we had a chance of rain Tuesday evening but we didn’t get a drop. We did get 1 1/2″ Saturday which helped. Today, Wednesday is supposed to get up to 82° F, 81 on Thursday, 88 on Friday, then back up to 91 Saturday and Sunday. GEEZ!

The top photo is of a small Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) that was snoozing in the Ledebouria socialis (var. pauciflora) when I was taking photos. There are A LOT of tree frogs here of all sizes and I have photographed them in some of the strangest places

Previously, I had posted photos of the Gray Treefrog on iNaturalist and a member said, “Hyla versicolor cannot be distinguished from Hyla chrysoscelis using photographic evidence.” Somehow I knew it wouldn’t be that easy… Apparently, Hyla versicolor has twice as many chromosomes as Hyla chrysoscelis and to find that out you would have to do a karyotype. Hyla versicolor is a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes, while Hyla chrysoscelis is a diploid with 24. Another way is to count the cells on their toe pads with a magnifying glass as H. versicolor has slightly larger cells. Well, maybe after looking at hundreds of both species you could figure it out. However, the easiest way is to listen to their calls. The trill of H. chrysoscelis is much faster with shorter intervals between the syllables. Ummm… We are talking about trill rates of 25-65 pulses per second… They used a spectrogram to tell the difference. Apparently, H. chrysoscelis is not supposed to be present in Pettis County but are in Henry County (which is 100 feet away). A tree frog that climbed up the side of the house next to my bedroom window for two summers was a Hyla versicolor (according to its trill rate). One night a few weeks ago, I went across the street to get a recording of the tree frogs because they were louder there. Oddly enough, the recording reveals Hyla chrysoscelis in the mix… Ummm… Henry County is across the street. At any rate, the treefrogs I submitted are listed as “Complex Hyla versicolor (Gray Treefrog Complex)” as members of the genus Hyla (Holarctic Treefrogs). Well, I listed them as Hyla versicolor and other members tweaked it a bit. 🙂

As before, the plant names are clickable and the link will take you to their own page. Their own pages have more photos, plant information, and some rambling about my experience with them. 🙂

HERE WE GO…

Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on the left at 22″ wide, and L. socialis (var. paucifolia) at 17″ wide on the right on 8-14-21, #826-34.

I don’ know what to say first about the Ledebouria socialis. For one, they are great plants and so easy to grow. Just give them a little water and they do great. Especially “that one” on the left… They prefer filtered light, light shade, or possibly part shade and do great on my front porch. Too much shade and their leaves will be longer (etiolate). They are natives of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa where they grow in evergreen woodlands and scrub forests. There are links at the bottom of these plants page, but I particularly enjoyed the PlantzAfrica.com write-up. The Pacific Bulb Society also has a lot of good information.

Several Scilla species were moved to the Ledebouria genus in 1970 based on their bulbs growing out of the ground, erect inflorescences, and small flowers with reflexed petals (tepals). There were several species that were determined to be the same as Ledebouria (Scilla) socialis even though the coloration of their leaves were somewhat different. Don’t worry, I am not going into a lot of taxonomic details. I already deleted two paragraphs then started over the third time trying not to blab so much. ANYWAY, the pot on the left is what I call Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) even though it isn’t taxonomically correct. The one on the right is Ledebouria socialis (var. paucifolia). They are the same species but different… The Pacific Bulb Society prefers calling them cultivars (Ledebouria socialis ‘Paucifolia’ and L. socialis ‘Violacea’) which is perfectly fine. Due to the definition of cultivar vs. variety, I prefer saying they are varieties rather than cultivars. Since this is my site, I can call them what I want. 🙂 I just put the variety name in parenthesis and I am good to go. ANYWAY, you can go to their page (they are both on the same one) if you want to read more and see more photos.

Both of these pots of plants are the same age (October 2019). I have to use it in a plural sense because both the pots are FULL of bulbs and plants now. ‘Violacea’ has grown so much faster it is ridiculous which is normal for the variety/cultivar.

Fruit on the Ledebouria socialis (var. violacea) on 8-17-21, #826-35.

While taking photos on August 17, I noticed what appeared to be fruit… They fell off but it was interesting because I had never seen that before.

Violacea ledebouria (var. violacea), or ‘Violacea’ is the most popular and make great houseplants. You can grow them as an evergreen plant or stop watering them during the winter so they will go dormant. The latter is the best so they will grow better leaves and flower the next summer. Actually, I have never let them go completely dormant because their bulbs shrivel so much it looks like they will die. 🙂 Mine only produce a few flowers, but it is the leaves and the plant in general that I really like. If you haven’t tried Ledebouria, it is high tie you did. There are 64 species and several “cultivars” of L. socialis. Get one or more of something different than mine so we can trade bulbs…

Let’s move on…

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Mammillaria compressa (var. bernalensis) at 2″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-36.

The Mammillaria compressa (var. bernalensis) is another controversial species I am not naming correctly. Maybe someday it will be correct without the parenthesis. 🙂 There are 42 synonyms and the species is highly variable. Actually, Mammillaria compressa f. bernalensis was attempted by the guy who named it Mammillaria bernalensis but was somehow invalidly published… I am calling it Mammillaria compressa (var. bernalensis) because descriptions of M. compressa do not match this plant. Mammillaria bernalensis, which is a synonym, matches perfectly. I am not sure why Mr. Reppenhagen called it a “form” instead of a “variety”. Well, I suppose there is very little difference.

I brought this pot of three plants home from Wal-Mart in December 2020 with a label that simply said “CACTUS”. Who would have thought they were a cactus? I’m not sure how long it took me to figure out the name and it wasn’t as simple as adding photos on Succulent Infatuation or the CactiGuide forum for a member to suggest an ID. It didn’t work… I think it took several weeks off and on to figure it out. Well, again, I will get carried away writing about what I already did on its page. You can just click on the name if you want to know.

ANYWAY, when I brought this pot of three home in December 2020, they all pretty much measured 1 1/4″ tall x 1 1/2″ wide. Now, the largest plant measures 2″ tall x 1 3/4″ wide (without the spines). The pot is on the front porch because information online says they sunburn easily if exposed to direct sunlight for too long. At some point, I need to put all three in their own pots. One of my favorite sites says this species is “not a quick grower” in one paragraph and that it is a “rapid growing species” in the next. This species is a clumper…

If you see a cactus online or in a store labeled Mammillaria tlayecac (in one way or another), it is absolutely incorrect. I thought I would throw that in for good measure. 🙂 It is quite interesting how that name came about…

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Mammillaria senilis on 8-17-21, #826-37.

I have some strange and interesting cactus in my collection but the Mammillaria senilis wins the prize. For one, although it has 9 synonyms, It has managed to keep the same name since 1850. While we are on the subject of names… The full scientific name is Mammillaris senilis Lodd. ex Salm-Dyck… That means it was described by Joseph Franz Maria Anton Herbert Ignatz Fürst und zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck in Cactaceae in Horto Dyckensi Cultae in 1850. Mr. “what’s his name” gave credit to Conrad Loddiges for first naming and describing the species. I wanted you to see the author’s full name. 🙂 

Getting back to this cactus… Being a Mammillaria it does have tubercles that are arranged in a spiral pattern. Areoles on top of the tubercles produce 30-40 very thin radial spines that are, um, 20 mm in length… That’s around 3/4”. My cactus was only 1” tall x 1 1/2” wide when it arrived from a seller on Ebay. It looked very very odd to have such long, thin, hair-like spines. It also has 4-6 white central spines with yellowish tips. The upper and lower central spines have tiny hooks that, in case you are wondering, stick in your fingers. The axils between the tubercles also have wool and bristles, but who can tell? There are other species of Mammillaria with hooked spines.

Several times I have noticed it sticking out of the potting soil, roots and all, just sitting on top. With other cactus, even though I may have to use gloves, all I would have to do is pick it up, dig a hole and stick it back in the potting soil. This one isn’t so easy because its hooked spines stick to everything. When I try to let go of it, it won’t let go. Forget about trying to get in the center of the pot. I didn’t measure it on August 17, but I really do need to do that and stick it back in the soil AGAIN… I am sure it is still alive because it does look a little bigger and it hasn’t shriveled up. 🙂

Mammillaria senilis grows “on” moss-covered boulders in pine forests at 7800-9000 feet (2400-2800 meters) above sea level in Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Sinaloa, and southern Zacatecas in Mexico. It does not appear to have a common name, but the species name, senilis, means “of an old man”…

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Mammillaria spinosissima ‘Un Pico’ at 3″ tall x 1 7/8″ wide on 8-18-21, #827-22.

I brought this Mammillaria spinosissima ‘Un Pico’ home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on April 3 when it was just 1 1/2″ tall. It has grown to 3″ already in just 4 months! Mammillaria spinosissima is a HIGHLY variable species with 107 synonyms. ‘Un Pico’ is a stable genetic mutation that only produces one central spine per areola but some spineless areoles are also present… Well, that’s what information online suggests. Photos online show plants with VERY long spines, but that isn’t the case with mine. While there are areoles with no spines, most have two recurved central spines. Hmmm… It may be back to the drawing board with this one although the photo on the label does look similar… With longer spines… Time will tell.

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Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) at 8 1/2″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-38.

The Opuntia monacantha var. variegata (Joseph’s Coat) has done remarkably well and is now 8 1/4″ tall. It has grown 3 1/2″ since I brought it home in March 2020. The top pad fell off earlier this summer but it grew another one to replace it. I’m normally not an Opuntia fan unless they are growing outside in the ground and I don’t have to do anything with them but avoid their spines. I remember one my brother had when I was a kid that had tiny glochids that I used to get in my fingers. You know how kids are? We have to touch everything and learn. Well, I guess I am still like that to a “point’… Get it? Point (cactus)? Hmmm… Well, I was trying to make a joke…

I really like this cactus because it is neatly variegated and kind of colorful. It is hard to get good photos of this one, especially close-ups. OH, it is a monstrous form which also makes it a neat plant to have in a collection. I really like cacti that have mutated and grow weird. 

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The green Oxalis triangularis on 8-18-21, #827-27.

The green Oxalis triangularis (False Shamrock/Wood Sorrel) I brought home in March has done very well over the summer. That is if I don’t let its soil dry out too much. When the Oxalis start drooping I know it is time to water the plants on the front porch. The Oxalis triangularis (subsp. papilionacea) is doing great except for one thing… Nathan started using the mosquito repellant and I told him to spray it in the house. I told him it would make the leaves on the plants turn brown and may even kill them. Well…The next thing I knew the Oxalis triangularis purple leaves started turning brown. Now how do I take a photo like that? The Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross) has done fair because it had an, um, watering issue. I also think it needs more sun. I put a pot of one of those in one of a friend’s planters and it has done GREAT! He waters his planters daily…

I really like the Oxalis in my collection but some people have issues with them becoming invasive. When I re-potted the Oxalis and put the Amorphophallus in their own pots, I dumped the old potting soil in the corner next to the back porch. I had combed through the old potting soil and thought I had found all the rhizomes. Within a week or so there were Oxalis triangularis in the flower bed. Not only that, somehow a stray Amorphophallus came up in the big pot of Oxalis. Hmmm… Sneaky… 🙂

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Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe). The largest plant in the pot measured 3″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-39.

The pot of three Polaskia chichipe (Chichipe, ETC.) have done very well over the summer on the front porch (even though they may have been fine on the back porch). The tallest plant now measures 3″, so it has grown 1/2″ since last October when I brought them home from Lowe’s. Information on Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says they are a slow-growing columnar species with many curved branches. It says they have short trunks and branch out freely at the top… They have a greenish, powdery-gray appearance, almost appearing variegated with a pattern similar to the Stenocereus pruinosus (Gray Ghost) on the back porch. The Polaskia chichipe is supposed to have only a short winter rest period which could be tricky… I’ll figure it out and I am sure we will get along fine.

There are only two species in this genus from Central Mexico.

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Rebutia fabrisii still at 1 1/2″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-40.

I really like this little cluster of plants with its soft spines! The Rebutia fabrisii is another species without a common name. This one has A LOT of rules but I think it will be fine. I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on March 29 (with a label) when the cluster was just 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. Ummm… It is still 1 1/2″ tall x 3″ wide. Information on LLIFLE (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says this species lives at a high altitude in Argentina where it does best in cool, dry conditions. It can go dormant in hot summers but resume growth when cool temps return in August. Hmmm… We had a fairly hot August but September has been nice. I noticed a few days ago it looks like this cluster is having a growth spurt. Its soft spines come from very small tubercles that look like little bumps.

This species supposedly has deep tap roots which protect it from fires that are set in its native habitat to promote grass growth. This is usually done before the rainy season when the plants are dormant and buried in the ground. Even so, the species has a very limited range of approximately 60 square miles (100 km2)… Hmmm… 60 square miles equals 38,400 acres.

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Sedum adolphi on 8-17-21, #826-42.

The Sedum adolphi (Golden Sedum) has grown more over the summer. I think “someone” has been knocking off its leaves as they walk by… I was planning on re-growing it this summer but I got busy with the garden and avoiding the heat and time just flew by. Now it is September and next month the plants will be moved inside. It will be fine over the winter as usual so I will wait until next spring.

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Sedum adolphi ‘Firestorm’ on 8-17-21, #826-41.

And, of course, the Sedum adolphi ‘Firestorm’ has been doing its thing over the summer as well. GROWING! It is a sprawler like the other Sedum adolphi and I also intended to re-grow it over the summer… They will both be clipped next spring. This one flowers over the winter where the other one never has.

Both of the Sedum adolphi are great plants and even a beginner can grow them. This is the only Sedum I have been able to grow inside and have not tried them in the ground. I do believe their leaves would be too tempting for grasshoppers and crickets… When I re-grow them in the spring I am going to keep a pot of each in full sun on the back porch. Hmmm… I said that last year.

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Sempervivum arachnoideum (left) and ‘Oddity’ on 8-17-21, #826-43.

OK, so I have grown several Sempervivum over the past 8 years… Not a lot, just 5 or 6 different species/cultivars. I have brought home a Sempervivum arachnoideum probably four times (2 cultivars and at least 2 unlabeled). I need to work on that page to include them all. I have had a Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ more times than that. Actually, I had one of those, and its kids, for several years before it went kaput. I had an amazing pot of S. tectorum for over a year and then I had to let it go… The Sempervivum ‘Killer’ did AWESOME outside in a planter for three years until it flowered. Since then its offspring have barely hung on. SO, this spring, I brought home the two in the above photo. They are still in the pots I brought them home in and they have done great. They usually have issues when I transplant them, so if they do better cramped up then so be it. 🙂 One time I had a beautiful Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ until I put it in a larger pot. It had A LOT of offsets that grew even longer stems in the new pot. The mother was so frantic her kids were leaving that she died… Then the kids died as well! OH, YES! There was also the Sempervivum heuffelii Hybrid… It was NICE but a bit strange. It had been a Jovibarba heuffelii until botanists decided it was a Sempervivum AGAIN. It was decided it WASN’T a Sempervivum because it reproduced by dividing. There were only three species of Jovibarba but they “had” different characteristics than Sempervivum. The other two Jovibarba species produced offsets known as “rollers”. 🙂 I bought that plant in 2014 and it was supposed to be hardy down to USDA Zone 3 so I put it in a planter… It didn’t return in 2015 and I haven’t seen it available since…

There are 52 species of Sempervivum and I don’t know how many are cold hardy here. Probably Sempervivum tectorum and its cultivars/hybrids are the most reliably cold hardy. Heck, my brother had them growing outside in St. Paul, Minnesota. I will figure them out. They DO NOT do well inside the house over the winter, although they have survived well in the basement. There is no “good thing” that should be given up on. Of course, I could just grow them as annuals and not worry about it…

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Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus) on 8-17-21, #826-44.

Last but not least by any means is the Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Paper Spine Cactus). I have had it as a companion since February 2016 and it is one of the most interesting cactus in my small collection. It has never had any issues of any kind. Sometimes one of the segments will fall off but I just stick it in the pot and it grows. One fell off a while back and I put it in the pot with the Kalanchoe marmorata temporarily. This cactus does need a larger diameter pot but not a deeper pot. Pots like that are hard to find unless I go buy one. I have such a large collection of pots but none fit its needs… A few of the “stems” have managed to get taller without the segments falling off. The only problem with transplanting this cactus is that it has those darn tiny glochids…

Believe it or not, I am finished with this post and the plants on the front porch. Of course, there are other plants on the front porch… Like at least 10 or so but who’s counting? I guess I need to take photos of the Geraniums, Tradescantia, Callisia fragrans (Grapdpa’s Pipe), Begonias, Bilbergera nutans (Queen’s Tears)… I think that’s all. Some are doing OK but some not so much. Working in the garden and trying to avoid the heat takes a lot of time and some plants need more attention (and water) over the summer. Cactus and succulents just keep doing their thing despite a little neglect. Even tropical plants can go without water to a point as long as it is humid… The Alocasia on the back porch in full sun are a great example.

The next post will probably be about the plants on the back porch.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful. Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments!

 

Potted Plants Update #2: The Front Porch Part 2

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Last week was definitely a hot one starting out at 97° F for a couple of days then just 91-93 for the remainder of the week. A few degrees doesn’t make much difference but it is very hard to want to go outside until after 6 PM. The heat and humidity seem so draining and not very motivational. A few times I walked to the shed and then went back to the house. The crabgrass has taken over the yard but who wants to mow? I didn’t get refrigerant added to the AC again because I get along OK with the ceiling fans. Sometimes it is cooler outside than it is in the house, though.

I have been working on this post since I finished the last one and there is still one more about the plants on the front porch. I was going to put the rest on this post but that might take another week to finish. I haven’t been working on the post as much this week because I seem to have gotten stuck re-watching Warehouse 13 as I am eating dinner. One episode led to another even though I watched them before. Now, it seems what I am watching I didn’t see before. Hmmm…

Anyway, as before, most of the photos on this post were taken on August 17. The Huernia schneideriana photos were taken on the 18th because I ran out of time on the 17th. The last photo was taken on the 28th after I whacked the taller Kalanchoe marmorata in half. As before, the plant’s names are clickable and will take you to their own page.

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ at 5″ tall x 9 3/4″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-23.

The x Gasteria ‘Flow’ has done very well over the summer even though we had a slight round of mealybugs late last winter. The mealybugs didn’t really affect this plant, they were just on it. It was sprayed a few times, given a bath, then monitored. It, along with a few other plants, was on an isolation table the last half of the winter. The weird thing was that this plant turned orange but its color came back after I moved the plants back outside for the summer. THANK GOODNESS!

The x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ is a great plant and one of my favorites. I really like its dark color and very rough leaves. I have had no problems with it for the most part and it would make a great plant for a beginner. I brought it home on October 17 in 2017 and it now measures 5″ tall x 9 3/4″ wide.

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Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ at 6″ tall x 5 3/4″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-24.

AHHH, YES! The Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ continues to do well and has really fascinated me. I brought this plant home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 8 in 2019 when it was only2″ tall x 2 13/16 wide. It has grown to 6″ tall x 53/4″ wide. Gasteria ‘Little Warty’ is a cross between Gasteria batesiana x Gasteria ‘Old Man Silver’ from Australian hybridizer David Cumming. Its leaves feel like VERY worn-out coarse sandpaper and are a combination of dark and light green. It is AWESOME! If you like Gasteria, you would love this plant.

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Gasteria sp./hybrid ? at 5 1/2″ tall on 5-17-21.

The Gasteria sp./hybrid ? is continuing to do very well. The largest plant was 6″ tall when I measured it on August 17. It is still 6 3/4″ wide and there were 9 offsets in the pot. This is a GREAT plant that wasn’t bothered by mealybugs at all over the winter. Its leaves are far too hard.

I brought this plant home from Wal-Mart, unlabeled, in March 2018, when it was just 2 3/4″ tall. It still hasn’t flowered so I am no closer to finding out whether it is a species or hybrid. It is likely a hybrid involving Gasteria obliqua (syn. G. bicolor) or its cultivars. Possibly with a little G. pillansii thrown in… An expert (one of the world’s foremost hybridizers) told me, “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 suppose it really doesn’t matter what it is, parentage-wise, but it would be nice to know. It seems such a great plant deserves a better name than ‘?’. All I really know is that it is a neat plant with very hard, smooth leaves whose edges feel like a closed zipper.

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x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ on 8-17-21.

Well, what can I say? The x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ is certainly doing well. A good friend and fellow plant collector from Mississippi, Walley Morse, send me several cuttings in 2019, including this x Graptosedum cultivar. Well, he didn’t say what it was but I put photos on a Facebook group and x Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ was the suggestion. I checked out photos online and decided that’s what I would assume it was. There are several x Graptosedum cultivars… It needs to be in more sun than it is getting on the front porch for its color to stand out. Maybe in more sun it wouldn’t get so “leggy” either. I am always somewhat reluctant to do that for some reason. My intention “was” to take cuttings and put a pot with a few in it on the back porch. Well, I can still do that…

I don’t have a page for this plant…

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Haworthiopsis attenuata ‘Super White’ at 3 3/4″ tall x 5 1/2″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-27.

The Haworthiopsis attenuata ‘Super White’ (Zebra Plant) is still alive and well. It is one of three plants from Succulent Market that were hiding in my bedroom over the winter. The other two plants from them bit the dust as a result of the little critters. This Haworthiopsis is one of 19 species of Haworthia that were transferred to the newly formed Haworthiopsis genus in 2013. The species is often confused with Haworthiopsis fasciata, but that species lacks tubercles on the upper surface of its leaves. Cultivars of H. attenuata are more readily available. Several online sources have this species listed as H. fasciata instead of H. attenuata because their sources have them incorrectly labeled… Oh, well. What can I say. I am just a little blogger and I kind of like it that way. 🙂

I had not grown any Haworthia species since 2009 (which I easily killed being a newbie at the time). When Nico Britsch of Succulent Market offered me a few plants if I mentioned his online store, I selected ‘Super White’ to give it a shot. This cultivar was developed by his grandfather to be more “white” and is said to tolerate lower light levels. Since last August when it arrived with five other plants, it has done very well and hasn’t had a single issue. It has grown to 3 3/4″ tall, which is an increase of 1/4″, and is still 5 1/2″ wide. The white tubercles are definitely a great feature of the species. They look like thick paint globbed on the green leaves. It has been difficult for me to get really good close-ups…

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Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairy Washboard) at 4 1/2″ tall x 5 3/4″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-28.

I’m not sure how many times I have used the word AWESOME, but this Haworthiopsis limifolia (Fairy Washboard) is AWESOME! It is also known as the File-Leaved Haworthia and Fairies Washboard. It measured 2 3/8″ tall x 3″ wide when I brought it home from Wildwood Greenhouse in 2019 and the clump has now grown to 4 1/4″ tall x 5 3/4″ wide. You can’t measure just a single plant when a species is a clumper. 🙂

I really like this plant’s hard-as-a-rock glossy dark green leaves and raised tubercles. The tubercles are also green and the shininess of the plant makes them appear somewhat a lighter shade.

I think it is best to keep the offsets with the parent plant when repotting smaller “Aloe-types”. They just do much better in my opinion. I have had small offsets of some of them fall off so I put them in their own pots and they grow VERY, VERY slowly and don’t do well. It is best to be careful and leave the offsets in the pot (at least until they get fairly large) They are “clumpers” so I guess they like a close-knit family.

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Huernia schneideriana (Red Dragon Flower) on 8-18-21, #827-18.

The Huernia schneideriana (Red Dragon) continues to do well and has been blooming all summer. It is carefree and happy and just keeps growing and blooming…

Huernia schneideriana (Red Dragon ) flowers on 8-18-21, #327-19.

I re-potted it in 2018 and it still seems OK. It might need a bigger pot next year and new potting soil is always appreciated. It isn’t easy to re-pot…

This Tanzanian native has some of the smallest and least colorful flowers of the species in the genus. I am absolutely not complaining because that’s how I made the proper ID once it flowered. I think they are great plants and if I had the funds I would buy more species… I would also buy species of the other genera of Carrion Plants which is what Huernia are. Although their flowers have an odor only appreciated by certain pollinating bugs, I have never noticed any smell at all. I have even taken a good whiff and smelled nothing… The Stapelia gigantea, on the other hand, might be a different story…

One might be tempted to mistake this plant for a hernia, but it is pronounced hew-ERN-ee-uh… Well, I am sure most people wouldn’t pronounce it wrong, but I have a tendency to call it her-NEE-uh…

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Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ (Stalactite Plant) at 6″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-30.

The Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ (Stalactite Plant) has grown 3/4″ since I took its last photo on July 21. Now it measures 6″ tall. ‘Fang” grows differently than the “other” Kalanchoe beharensis and isn’t so stiff. It is very interesting with its tubercles on the undersides of its leaves.

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Kalanchoe beharensis (Velvet Elephant Ear) at 5 1/2″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-31.

The Kalanchoe beharensis (Velvet Elephant Ear, Maltese Cross) is such a neat plant. It was 4″ tall on July 21 now it is 5 1/2″… It grew 1 1/2″! I really like this native of Madagascar… My thanks to Sandy Fitzgerald for sending it!

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Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) at 18″ and 15″ tall on 8-17-21.

I have said it before but I will say it again… A well-grown Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) is an AWESOME plant. I brought my first plant home from Wagler’s in 2014 and it did great. Then, after giving most of my plants up in 2014, I brought home the second one in 2015. It did great until it started growing weird. By 2017, it was a disaster… The main stem died but a few of the plantlets took off like mad. One of them grew much better than the others and grew into an impressive plant. Once it grew taller, I cut the stem (maybe half) and re-rooted it. It was like, “Ahhhh… That’s the way you do it.” 🙂 I had done that before with other plants but not the Kalanchoe. After I cut the stem and stuck it in the pot, it continued growing like nothing had happened. Then the plant bloomed and produced these two offsets. Being monocarpic, the main plant died.

You can start plants from the plantlets, but the offsets grow much better and faster. “Normally” they don’t produce offsets until after they flower which may take YEARS. It can take A LONG TIME to get them to look good from the plantlets and you may just want to throw them out the door. Once a good plant grows “so” tall, cutting the stems in half (more or less) is something you might have to do. Once they get taller and the lower leaves have fallen off, the plants look weird, they may start growing weirder, and the pot becomes top-heavy. The only thing holding it up now is the bricks around the pot. The plantlets can definitely be a pain in the neck and will fall off and attempt to grow in any nearby pot. I normally remove the plantlets on occasion to eliminate that problem. They just grow more…

One day “soon” I will put all four plants in their own pots and at least the taller one should be cut in half. Likely, there will be a post about it.

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Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) on 8-17-21, #826-32.

The Kalanchoe luciae (Paddle Plant) continues to do quite well on the front porch. When I wrote a previous post in July, there were 5 pots with a total of 16 plants (including offsets). To say they have grown over the summer would be an understatement. I have no idea what they will look like when I pick their pots up to bring them inside for the winter. They really like to sprawl to give the offsets an opportunity to grow. 🙂

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Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant), the smaller one, on 8-17-21, #836-33.

You know, sometimes we try plants that just have issues. Photos of Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) look great so when I saw a member on a Facebook group selling them in 2018 I had to have one. After all, it is a Kalanchoe and they do pretty well. It looked great when it arrived in April but went downhill fairly quickly. Come to think of it, I also bought a Sedum spathulifolium subsp. pruinosum ‘Cape Blanco’ from the same member and it did the same thing and eventually bit the dust. It was in April so they may have gotten too cold during shipping. GEEZ! ANYWAY, this Kalanchoe didn’t die, and hasn’t yet, but it has been a difficult species for me and used to drive me batty. It gew and offset then I had two of them to deal with. They grow a few leaves and the lower ones fall off and then they look weird. I cut their stems in half as needed and regrow them. They look like they might be doing better for a while then they look weird again. I am not a man who likes drama, so I told it as long as it lived I would keep trying to figure it out. It has been three years and I still haven’t figured it out…

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant), the taller plant, on 8-28-21, #830-1.

Normally the taller plant, which is the original plant (I think) looks the best while the offset struggles. This summer, it was the reverse. The smaller one looks better while the taller one looked plain weird. It grew to 10″ tall and just had a few smaller leaves on the top… 7″ of stem between the soil and lower leaves! SO, on the 28th I cut the stem in half. Once the stem scabs over I will stick it in a pot up to its lower leaves. The smaller one is now 5 1/2″ tall…

OH… The Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons) grew so tall I finally took cuttings. I didn’t throw away the stem which is still alive and has sprouted a new branch. Out of four cuttings, two survived and have taken root. At least they seem firm in their pots. One of those cuttings had no difficulty, but the stem of the other one rotted at first. I had to cut it off again and it finally rooted. They have been on the back porch in FULL sun over the summer which was also an experiment… They will be on a future post since they are on the back porch.

I will close this post and move on to part 3 of the plants on the front porch.

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, be thankful, and get dirty if you can.

 

Potted Plants Update #1: The Front Porch Part 1

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I started this post on Tuesday the 17th  and it has taken until the 22nd to get it finished. Actually, I just stopped because I really wasn’t finished. Taking photos led to taking measurements which I normally don’t do until October when I move the plants inside for the winter. There are times when a measurement or two (or more) are necessary in-between if a plant has had a growth spurt and needs to be complimented… Apparently, there have been several of “those” on the front porch. 

On Wednesday I decided to take a few photos of the plant groups on the back porch as a prelude to the next post (or one of the next posts), which led to more photos…

OH, we finally did get a good shower Friday night. We were teased several times over the week but all the drops missed the rain gauge. A friend that lives close to Green Ridge got over 2″ in an hour on Tuesday. Well, at midnight on Friday the wind started blowing and it poured! I went to the back porch and took videos for a possible YouTube post. If she wants to use them, they will be uploaded on the channel called JoyInUs!!!!!. Jocelyn is still working in Kuwait and she has just started her YouTube channel. She is getting off to a good start because she read ALL the directions. 🙂 She has to have a certain amount of followers and views before she can start earning. Anyway, after the initial storm, it continued to sprinkle all night. When I check the rain gauge there was 1 1/2″.

Here we go… Most of the photos were taken on Tuesday (the 17th) until it became too dark… The retakes that were taken on the 18 are thrown in, so the photos are kind of in alphabetical order but not necessarily from the same day… So, the photo numbers aren’t exactly in order. 🙂 If you click on the highlighted plant’s name you will be redirected to the plant’s own page. There are a few plants that don’t have a page yet…

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 8-17-21, #826-1.

Hmmm… Well, it is weird how the Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) seems to always be first when in alphabetical order. I guess it is strange to me because one of the plants that hasn’t done so great for me winds up at the top of the list. We have had our ups and downs for the past four years but it refuses to die… It certainly has the will to live. 🙂 It seems to have done better than usual over the summer which may be a good sign.

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Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ at 11 1/2″ tall x 20″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-2.

The Agave ‘Pineapple Express’ has done well and has grown to 11 1/2″ tall x 20″ wide. This is a great plant in every way… I am not sure how many offsets are in the pot now. At some point, maybe when I re-pot next time, I will have to put them in their own pots…

Agave (Syn. x Mangave) ‘Pineapple Express’ from the top on 8-17-21, #826-3.

I really like the dark green leaves with maroon spots! It is patented as x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ by Walter’s Gardens but x Mangave is now a synonym of Agave… That is because its ancestry includes Agave and ManfredaManfreda became a synonym of Agave… Hmmm… Maybe I should have checked to make sure it hasn’t switched back again.

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Agave univittata (var. lophantha) (Center Stripe Agave) at 17 1/2″ tall x 25″ or so wide on 8-17-21, #826-4.

The Agave univittata (var. lophantha) (Center Stripe Agave) has grown to 17 1/2″ tall x 25″ or so. When I added the measurement to my journal I noticed it was 27 1/2″ wide in 2020. I went back to recheck and noticed I had neglected to consider the oldest leaf on the bottom hanging downward. I kept it on the front porch in 2020 and this summer because it didn’t seem to like the intense sun on the back porch in 2019 summer. Well, it liked it but it seemed to have some sunburn issues. I think she wants the three lower leaves removed because of the brown on them. I am not sure because she doesn’t speak English. All I know is she isn’t happy about something and if I get too close she pokes me.

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Alocasia gageana (Dwarf Upright Elephant Ear) on 8-17-21, #826-5.

Even though not near as large as the other Alocasia, the Alocasia gageana (Dwarf Upright Elephant Ear) is a great species. They don’t require as much space as the larger species and this one multiplies QUICKLY! If you remove the offsets, the next thing you know they are all hurrying to fill their own pots. I keep these two pots on the front porch because they like it there. 🙂

Alocasia gageana (Dwarf Upright Elephant Ear) leaves on 8-17-21, #826-6.

The leaves are quite a bit smaller than the other Alocasia in my collection, but they are very nice. I have had this species since 2012 after I removed these weird plants coming up in a HUGE pot of the Philodendron bipinnatifidum I was keeping for friends of mine in Mississippi. Alocasia gageana has been used in the creation of many hybrid Alocasia

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Aloe x ‘Cha Cha’ at 3 3/4″ tall x 7″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-7.

The Aloe x ‘Cha Cha’ has done very well over the summer and has grown to 3 3/4″ tall x 7″ wide. It has grown 3/4″ taller and 1/4″ wider since October 6 last year. This is one of the plants sent to me by Nico Britsch of Succulent Market. I believe it is a John Bleck hybrid.

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Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ with a 13″ flower stem on 8-17-21, #826-8.

The Aloe x ‘Doran Black’, also from Succulent Market, has done very well over the summer and one of the plants has another 13″ flower stem. It has bloomed several times.

Aloe ‘Doran Black’ at 3″ tall x 6″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-9.

The two larger plants are 3″ tall and the two together are 6″ wide now. One of the larger plants in the pot died, but the smaller one is still going strong. So, there are still three plants in the pot. They have grown 1/2″ taller and wider since October 6, 2019.

Aloe x ‘Doran Black’ was hybridized by Dick Wright and named for the late nurseryman Doran Black.

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Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips at 5″ tall x 12″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-10.

WHEW! I thought the Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was a goner! Several Aloe came down with a case of mealybugs over the winter and the next thing I knew they were on ‘Lizard Lips’. (I know where they came from…) I sprayed it and put it on the front porch when temperatures permitted and kept it isolated in the living room. After a while, there was not a single green leaf and I thought it was dead. Fortunately, it came back to life and is actually looking better than it has for a few years. It’s a miracle! We have had our ups and downs and I don’t think this is a good hybrid for a beginner. There are 43 photos on its page…

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lps’ was the first Aloe I bought in 2009 when living in Mississippi and I brought it with me when I moved back here in 2013. I took an offset to Mrs. Wagler (Wagler’s Greenhouse) in maybe 2014 which was a good thing. I gave up most of my plants later in 2014 and then started collecting again in 2015. I made a dash to Wagler’s and brought this plant back home. 🙂 So, we have history and it would have been tragic if it had have died.

ANYWAY, I may talk more about bug issues later on… I don’t have bug issues and really never have until last winter. I am 99% positive where they came from and I learned a valuable lesson from the battle.

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Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) on 8-18-21, #827-5.

Well, the Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) is definitely looking much better than last October when I took its photo. Its leaves were brownish looking last summer and most of the winter while inside. It really perked up over the summer and has done quite well. Its longest stem is around 16″ long and the tallest plant in the pot is 5 1/2″ tall. I need to remove the dead leaves on its longer stems… What do you think? Maybe the dead leaves on the longer stems are kind of like getting gray hair for humans.

Aloe juvenna was one of the first Aloe I brought home from Wal-Mart in 2009 when I was living in Mississippi. I was at Wal-Mart in Greenville and saw a broken stem laying on the shelf. Well, I stuck it in my pocket and looked around for another one to see what the name was. I found a pot labeled Aloe squarrosa then later found out it was an Aloe juvenna. It is an interesting story you can read if you click on its page. I have had this particular Aloe juvenna since 2017 and it has grown A LOT!

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like Aloe and Aloe hybrids. According to Plants of the World Online, there are now 585 species in the Aloe genus.

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Aloe maculata on 8-17-21, #826-11.

GEEZ! I STILL haven’t removed the Aloe maculata offsets from this pot and put them in their own pots. Last spring (2019) before I put the plants outside, I took the HUGE plant in this pot loaded with offsets on the back porch to give it a good soaking. The temperature was fine and we were having sunny days. One night I left it outside because the temperature didn’t seem too cold. The next afternoon I could tell I had screwed up and the mother plant died. It looked like it had been boiled… It was 19″ tall x 42″ wide. I have another plant in a smaller pot with a few offsets (already) that also needs to be put in a bigger pot. Aloe maculata needs a big pot because they can get quite large. My first Aloe was their ancestor given to me by Kyle Hall’s grandmother, Brenda Jeter, in 2009 in Leland, Mississippi. I had hundreds by the time I left in 2013… SERIOUSLY. Go to this plants page and you will see.

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x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ at 5 1/2″ tall x 11 1/2″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-12.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ has been a great plant since I brought it home in 2019 from Wildwood Greenhouse. The owner moved his family to another Amish community and started a greenhouse there. I sure miss that guy because he had some great succulents! Anyway, this plant measured 5 1/2″ tall x 11 1/2″ wide on the 17th despite our issue with mealybugs… A lot of its lower leaves had already died (which was normal) but I had to remove them to make sure no bugs were hiding in them. The mealybugs didn’t seem to bother this plant, but they would get down next to the stem and were somewhat difficult to remove. I finally got the bugs under control after cleaning, spraying, and repotting. After that, a weekly spraying and inspection seemed to do the trick.

I really like this plant because of its nice dark green leaves…

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Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) at 6″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-13.

The Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) is an odd but neat plant. I just realized I don’t have a page for it yet, probably since it was a very small, single-stemmed plant when I brought it home from Wagler’s in November 2019. The plant in the middle is the original plant and its offset on the right is now just a hair taller. Hmmm… I don’t even remember it being in the pot when I moved the plants outside in the spring now it has another one coming on. Anyway, this plant (s) now measures 6″ tall which is about double what it was when I brought it home. I need to re-pot this one to get it back in the center. It seems to have moved over. Maybe she is trying to push her kid out of the nest. 🙂

I used to have a monstrose form of this plant that was AWESOME and it grew very large. I overwatered it during the winter of 2013 and it rotted… I have not found one since.

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Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ at 9 3/4″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide on 8-17-21.

The Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ is doing very well and has grown to 9 3/4″ tall x 9 1/2″ wide. We have had some brown scale issues, especially last winter, but it seems to be doing great now. It is 1 1/4″ taller than last October and the same width.

Crassula ovata are great plants but you have to watch for brown scale. You can pick them off with your fingernail and an occasional spraying with GardenSafe Fungicide 3 (fungicide, insecticide, and miticide) may be a good idea. It is OMRI listed and I rarely have issues using it on most succulents. There are exceptions with some cactus, however… Some people recommend using alcohol, but that isn’t safe for all plants either. I killed a Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia ‘Jitters” using a product that smelled of alcohol… It is best if you check your plants regularly and keep on top of brown scale. The plant I killed was infested when I brought it home although the brown scale was completely unnoticeable. When I started noticing the problem, I went to the nursery (when I lived in Mississippi) I brought it home from and her plants were MUCH worse than mine. Her daughter had been watering the plants and she had no clue. She ultimately had to discard all of them.

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Crassula perfoliata var. falcata (Propeller Plant) at 5″ tall x 5 7/8″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-15.

The Crassula perfoliata var. falcata (Propeller Plant) has done very well so far and has grown to 5″ tall. The end of the longer lower leaf on the bottom turned brown so I snipped the brown part off. That’s why it is 1/8″ narrower than when I brought it home on March 29. But, it grew an inch taller in about five months.

This is a neat plant but it can be a bit of a leaner. I used this glass ball to prop it up but now it is trying to lean in the opposite direction… 🙂

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Dracaena hanningtonii (Syn. Sansevieria ehrenbergii) ‘Samurai’/’Samurai Dwarf’ at 3 3/4″ tall x 6 1/8″ wide on 8-17-21, #826-16.

The Dracaena hanningtonii ‘Samurai’ has done GREAT and is now 3 3/4″ tall 6 1/8″ wide. It didn’t grow a lick the first 10 months after I brought it home in January 2020 until I measured again in October. It is great to see it has grown 3/4″ taller and 1/8″ wider. Its leaves are so stiff and hard I was beginning to wonder if it was artificial. Since it grew I am convinced it is real now. 🙂

It is still hard not to call it a Sansevieria since species in that genus were moved to Dracaena. It must be final…

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Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ ? at at 2″ tall x 4 1/2″ wide on 8-18-21, #827-8.

The so labeled Echeveria agavoides ‘Ebony’ has grown to 2″ tall x 4 1/4″ wide even though we got off to a rough start. I brought it home from Wagler’s on March 29 after debating with myself about it. Mrs. Wagler’s son, who actually owns the greenhouse, had bought a lot of succulents (and a few cactus) from the local auction. We have a big auction north of town where people sell produce and plants. I have never been to the auction myself, but I guess it is a pretty big deal. Anyway, I think I went to Wagler’s on March 20 primarily to check on the progress of the Schlumbergera gaertneri (Easter Cactus) and noticed the new succulents. I brought home a few, of course, including the Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri. It wasn’t until a few more visits I decided to bring home this Echeveria labeled ‘Ebony’. I had issues growing Echeveria here in the past because they need brighter light over the winter than what I could provide. I decided since I had the plant shelf in the back bedroom in a south-facing window I would give it another shot.

Well, once temperatures warmed up enough I moved the plants to the front and back porch. I keep an eye on the forecast in case nighttime temperatures were going to get too cold and I needed to bring the plants back inside. At any rate, after a few days, I noticed this plant’s leaves had burned, or perhaps it was because it was too cold. It looked as if the leaves had been wet and the sun scalded them. Well, that was virtually impossible because the temps were still fairly cool and plants on the front porch only get a little direct sun in the afternoon. Besides, in May, the sun is still not directly over the plants like it is later in the summer. At any rate, this plant was NOT very photogenic for a while. It started growing new leaves so I knew it would be OK and eventually the burned leaves would be at the bottom of the plant.

This is a photo of the label that is in the pot with the plant. It is a generic label that shows how the leaves are supposed to look if “well-grown”… I figured if I had it in enough light the leaves would darken if this plant was indeed an Echeveria ‘Ebony’. There were two reasons I had my doubts in the first place. One was that this plant was in a greenhouse getting plenty of light and its leaves should have already been darker. The second reason was that online sources of ‘Ebony’, and on Ebay, had them priced from $25-$150… I paid $1.50. I just checked and well-grown ‘Ebony’ are still similarly priced, including one listing for $150 (it looks AWESOME!). Plants without good color on Ebay from Succulent Depot are from $9-18 depending on the size of the pot. Maybe there are “fake” Echeveria ‘Ebony’…

Wonder what would happen if I put it on the back porch? Hmmm… I think not…

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Echeveria nodulosa (Painted Echeveria) at 5 1/2″ tall on 8-17-21.

The Echeveria nodulosa (Painted Echeveria) is still doing GREAT and has grown to 5 1/2″ tall. There are 197 species of Echeveria and MANY, MANY cultivars and hybrids. It is a very diverse genus and species can grow in rosettes or not. Leaves can be smooth, thin, thick, fat, or fuzzy depending on the species.

Echeveria nodulosa (Painted Echeveria) from the top on 8-17-21. #826-18.

I had one of these in 2017, I think, but I screwed up and put it in the ground (pot and all) in the bed behind the old foundation. I became very busy over the summer and the Marigold ‘Brocade’, also in the bed, completely took over. By the time I remembered it, the plant was a disaster and the crickets had pretty much eaten it up. I had a plan but it didn’t work out and nature took its course.

I really like this plant’s color and hope all goes well with it this winter when it is inside. We shall see… It will definitely be on the shelf in front of the south-facing window in the back bedroom.

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Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) at 11 3/4″ tall on 8-17-21, #826-19.

The Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) has grown from 8″ tall to 11 3/4″ tall since last October 17. It is 6″ taller since October 2019. I will admit it looks weird the way the stem is wide, then thin, then wide again. The cutting I brought home in 2019 was basically a branch with four side branches which is why it looks lop-sided. I am wondering if I should make five cuttings out of the whole deal and see what happens. It needs to be a stem that branches out and maybe if I snip the stems above where the brown is they will look better. Hmmm… What do you think?

Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) on 8-17-21, #826-20.

Even though it is somewhat weird, it is still a neat plant. I really like the combination of thorns and leaves. The leaves fall off over the winter when the plant is “somewhat” dormant. At some point, this plant will produce flowers AGAIN. It had the remains of wilted flowers when I brought the cutting home and I have been patiently waiting…

Euphorbia species that live in desert climates have adapted to conserve and store moisture like cactus. The genus and family are one of the most diverse and are found in almost every country. They contain toxic latex, as with all in this family of Spurges. The name “spurge” comes from “purge” because the latex has been used as a purgative… Hmmm… The latex has been used for a lot of things including on poison arrows and making criminals talk…………

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Euphorbia trigona (var. rubra) (African Milk Tree) at 10 3/4″ tall (not including the leaves) on 8-17-21, #826-21.

This is the Euphorbia trigona (var. rubra) (African Milk Tree) I brought home from Mast’s Greenhouse on June 18. I don’t go to Mast’s that often, maybe once a year, but I needed to go there to see what plants they may have left. I was working on a friend’s planters and I needed plants… Of course, I usually find something to bring home. Anyway, I noticed several flats with a few cactus and succulents sitting in water. It appeared they had been in the water for QUITE some time because there was algae in the water and you could tell from the sides of the pot where the water had evaporated… The first time around I passed them by because I thought their roots must be rotting. Well, I had seen this plant and it stuck in my mind. It was like it was speaking to me… “I need a home and you don’t have one of me…” Well, that sounds just too weird. It was more like I was thinking the plant is kind of neat and I never had one like it. Despite the fact it was soaked, and likely had been soaking for no telling how long, I walked back around and picked it up. I think it was the only plant I brought home from Mast’s that day

I am still working on this plant’s own page…

Euphorbia trigona (African Milk Tree) on 8-17-21, #826-22.

I repotted it as soon as I brought it home, and the soil was indeed dripping wet but there didn’t appear to be any sign of rotting. It measured 6 1/4′ tall (not including the leaves) when I brought it home and it is now 10 3/4″ tall. Succulent Euphorbias typically have a VERY small root system, so keep their soil wet for a prolonged period is a NO-NO.

The plant was unlabeled but I pretty well knew it was a Euphorbia of some sort because it looked like a cactus with leaves. To make figuring out the species easier, I posted a couple of photos of it on Succulent Infatuation on Facebook. One member suggested the scientific name was Euphorbia trigona rubra… There are a few other similar species but I think Euphorbia trigona is correct. The “rubra” part was a different story. Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) has a page for Euphorbia trigona with a very good write-up but there are no photos. A variety called “rubra” is not listed, but there is a link to a cultivar called ‘Royal Red’ which is what this plant could very well be… Llifle says this species does not flower, but someone made a comment that it does. Online, you will see this particular “variety” as var. rubra, ‘Rubra, and ‘Royal Red’. SO, what do I call it since it was unlabeled? How about Euphorbia trigona (var. rubra). Well, that isn’t an official scientific name, so I put the var. rubra in parenthesis. At least it is identifying this plant as being a shade of red. 🙂

Euphorbia trigona (var. rubra) (African Milk Tree) on 8-22-21, #829-1.

GEEZ! I am getting a little carried away with this plant. I had to take more photos. Just wait until part 3 where I talk about the Epiphyllum oxypetalum Tony Tomeo sent me.

When I took more photos I noticed how the leaves were all facing the same direction. Euphorbia trigona has three ribs, so the leaves on one of the ribs were facing inward… When I put the plant back on the table, I rotated it in the opposite direction to see if the leaves would change direction.

Euphorbia trigona (var. rubra) (African Milk Tree) on 8-22-21, #829-2.

So, Plants of the World Online lists 1,995 species in the Euphorbia genus. I read somewhere that less than half are considered succulent plants. The sides of this plant are very slick and shiny like glass and almost feel like plastic. I know it is real because it does have roots and has grown 4 1/2″ in just two months…

Euphorbia trigona (var. rubra) (African Milk Tree) on 8-22-21, #829-3.

Even though some Euphorbia species resemble cactus, there are differences… One is that cactus spines are modified leaves used for photosynthesis… Spines on Euphorbia are simply thorns. The thorns on this Euphorbia species are produced in pairs along the ridges and there are NO areoles like with cactus. The leaves emerge between the pair of thorns.

Probably all Euphorbia species produce leaves, but some don’t last that long and they vary considerably in size and shape.

I better stop talking about this plant or I will have to take more photos… I don’t very often use the word “cool”, but this plant is definitely chilly. 🙂

Well, I think I will end this post for now and start on part 2. There are 25 (or more) plants to go for the front porch… Part 3 will be about the back porch.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and GET DIRTY if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri Has It’s First Kid

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) on 7-19-21, #815-4.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Monday afternoon I noticed the Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) needed to be rotated. It is sitting on a table on the back porch under the covered part. It gets plenty of morning sun but is protected from full sun. Not that full sun would hurt it as long as it isn’t really hot. When I rotated the pot, I noticed something… I moved it to the propagating table to have a better look.

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) on 7-19-21, #815-5.

It has its first kid… Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri is “one of those” Kalanchoe that produces plantlets from its leaves, phylloclades, or whatever you choose to call them. The scientific community calls their leaves phylloclades, which are modified “branches” used for photosynthesis… To the rest of us, they are just odd leaves. 🙂

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) on 7-19-21, #815-6.

I found it quite weird the roots of the plantlets are pink… I guess it’s a girl. I wonder if boys have blue roots? Please don’t take that seriously. I doubt the pink has anything to do with gender.

Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Donkey Ears) on 7-19-21, #815-7.

The lower leaf on the opposite side of the plant is also pregnant. It appears another one is starting next to it. I will be keeping an eye on it…

The other Kalanchoe are doing fine except for the Kalanchoe orgyalis (Copper Spoons). It grew so tall, and I really liked the plant. It had a few branches so I decided I would cut the main stem and the branches off and start new plants. Well… The old main stem is growing a new plant but only one of the other cuttings has survived and it is iffy. Live and learn…

Kalanchoe beharensis (Velvet Elephant Ear) on 6-24-21, #803-11.

I finally have another Kalanchoe beharensis (Velvet Elephant Ear) thanks to a lady who read its page on March 14. In a comment, she said she could send a leaf which I readily accepted. She not only sent a leaf but also an entire rooted cutting which arrived on April 23… That was great because the leaf didn’t make it. The plant is doing great and is 4″ tall now. I was so glad when it arrived!

Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ at 5 3/4″ tall on 7-20-21, #816-2.

I decided to bring home another Kalanchoe beharensis ‘Fang’ from Wagler’s on April 3. She always had several to choose from but I had just not brought one home until then. She could have gotten her original start from me, but I am not sure. You can always tell ‘Fang’ from the other Kalanachoe beharensis because of the weird protuberances on the undersides of their leaves, which are also much smaller. When I took the photo on July 20 it was 5 3/4″ tall.

Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) on 7-20-21, #816-3.

Of course, the Kalanchoe x laetivirens (Mother of Thousands) is doing great. There are two plants in the pot that are offsets from the mother plant that flowered in January 2020. I had previously thought these baby factories were Kalanchoe daigremontiana but discovered I was mistaken. The leaves of that species have purple markings on their leaves while Kalanchoe x laetivirens just have green leaves. There are a lot of photos online of plants with mistaken identities… I need to get the two plants in this pot separated and may have to regrow them. They are getting quite tall and will start looking very weird soon if they aren’t regrown. These plants look AWESOME when they are grown well.

Kalanchoe luciae (Flapjacks) on 7-20-21, #816-4.

I really like the Kalanchoe luciae (Flapjacks, ETC.). They are easy to grow and undemanding except they like some space so they can sprawl a bit. I like their thick, leathery leaves and the white bloom on their stems (and leaves). I have had this species since I brought a plant home from Wal-Mart in 2016 so we have history. There are 5 pots with 16 plants (including offsets)… GEEZ!

Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) on 7-20-21, #816-5.

The Kalanchoe marmorata (Penwiper Plant) is still hanging in there waiting for me to figure them out. I ordered a plant from a Facebook member and it looked so great when it arrived in April 2018. It just went downhill from there and we have definitely had our ups and downs. Even though the plant had issues, it sent out an offset. The plant’s page is supposed to be a journal and if you read it will see the issues we have had. We made an agreement in 2019 that if it didn’t die I would continue doing the best I can. Well, both plants are still alive and now the smaller one (the original offset) is looking better than the taller one. The taller one looks weird AGAIN and the stem needs cut off and regrown. Hopefully, I will eventually figure out the Kalanchoe marmorata. I can’t help but think there is something it needs I am not doing… It’s a Kalanchoe, for crying out loud!

That’s all for this post! Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Always be thankful and GET DIRTY!

 

 

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…