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.
I checked on it several times during the night and there was no change.
THEN, THE NEXT MORNING…
Now, that is pretty exciting! Finally, after several years of buds falling off after I moved it in the house, it has bloomed!
It measured 13″ wide…
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.
It is definitely hairy…
How neat is that?
SO, what does it smell like? When I first took a whiff I smelled nothing.
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Then there are these square stems…
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.
Then there are the round stems… Some are quite hairy and they are very long.
It has been very interesting watching this plant grow. Hopefully, it will bloom at some point…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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…
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…
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”…
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.
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.
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… 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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…
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…
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.
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!
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.
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. 🙂
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…
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.
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…
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.
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…
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 Manfreda… Manfreda became a synonym of Agave… Hmmm… Maybe I should have checked to make sure it hasn’t switched back again.
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.
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. 🙂
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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… 🙂
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…
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…
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.
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.
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?
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…………
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…
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. 🙂
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.
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…
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.