Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

The Pellionia pulchra is really getting out of control. I have plans to replant the tank, honestly I do, and I feel like a terrible lizard father every time I look at it. Replanting is a big production, unfortunately, so it's difficult to find the time to do it.

Also still trying to get the availability list presentable, so the selling can commence. Not doing a terribly good job on that either.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Walkaways Part 18

None of these are quite as unusual as the Tillandsia dyeriana, but I thought they were interesting.

Anthurium 'Sensa.'

(close-up of flowers: new on left, old on right)

Anthurium 'Sensa' is the one I most wanted to buy, which makes little sense, really, since I already have a lot of Anthuriums, including a couple with similar spathe colors. I just have a hard time resisting Anthuriums, I think is the deal. It's still a nice color, though, and Anthuriums are particularly tempting to me now because I'm trying to cross mine and start seedlings, so I see a plant with a newly-emerged flower and all I can think about is all the pollen it's going to be producing, and how desperately I must have said pollen.

Sedum indicum var. yunnanense, crested form

Plant List says that the actual name is Sinocrassula yunnanensis. This didn't do a lot for me, though I suppose I can see how someone might find it interesting. From the internet, I see the main use of S. yunnanensis is as a rock garden plant (they're hardy to zone 7, googlegedly), but I ran into a few pictures of them in containers. They apparently never do much more than this, forming little clumps of rosettes.

Dieffenbachia 'Delilah.'

This picture didn't turn out anywhere near as well as I'd hoped it would. (There's a better one here.)

I probably shouldn't try to grow Dieffenbachias. It's not that I can't: with a few exceptions ('Camouflage,' 'Sterling'), they grow fine for me, as long as I keep them out of direct sun and warm, dry air.

Instead, the problem is that after growing well for a while, they'll reach the point where they're too tall and leggy to fit in their spot, or they're always threatening to fall over, or they just don't look good anymore, and then I have to decide what to do with them. I don't have the patience (or experience) for air-layering, so I've always just cut them back and tried to root the tops. Occasionally this has worked, but usually it doesn't. And the stumps are supposed to resprout: occasionally that has worked, but usually it doesn't. (Some varieties seem to be better about rooting and resprouting than others: 'Tropic Snow' does well, as does a NOID that resembles 'Triumph.') So 'Delilah' is appealing, but I think I'm going to have to wait on getting more dieffs until I've figured out how to air-layer them.

Adromischus maculatus.

I had a bad experience with a plant I think was an Adromischus, a few years ago when the plant obsession was just starting up. It stayed alive, but the new growth was weak and pale and it was obviously not getting enough light, so I gave up on it after about five months. I could probably do better now, because although I don't have southern exposure, I do have artificial lights. Perhaps someday.

Guzmania NOID.

Same plant, from top.

Finally, a Guzmania coloration I haven't seen before, and think is really pretty. No ID tag, though. Of course.

The good news is that Guzmanias are pretty easy to keep alive. The bad news is that their strong will to live means I don't treat mine particularly well, so they're not very big and they've never rebloomed. (I know about the apple trick. I just don't think my plants are strong enough to bloom, so I haven't pushed.) This is a fascinating (to me) variety, though: I really like the white/black/orange combination.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis NOID

No tag at all, but that's okay, since it's just a Phalaenopsis. I mean, I know Phalaenopsis cultivars have names too, but it's so rare to find one that's identified that I've more or less stopped expecting IDs.

As for the flower itself: I kind of like these varieties with the big dots, even if Phalaenopsis don't do much for me in general. Has anybody ever seen this in a color combination besides white and purple?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Somewhat last-minute grab bag

Okay, so I spent the first half of yesterday trying to work on yet another post about dyed orchids, because I saw something new about them and had All! These! Ideas! about what that signified. The further I got into writing about it, the more interesting it got, until: I realized that I'd been misreading something, and the whole case I was trying to build fell apart. Some of the post is probably still salvageable, but it may be a while before I can work on it again.

Which means I need something to write about, so here's a grab bag of recent random plant events, new plants that aren't actually new anymore, and unfinished business:

1. Philodendron bipinnatifidum sucker

I'm not sure this signifies anything particularly good; the parent plant (which started out as my mother-in-law's, and she gave it to him twelve years ago) dropped three out of four leaves at about the same time this side shoot began to grow. I worried that this meant it was giving up, but it's since produced a new leaf, so apparently it's going to stick with us a while longer. (The leaf shedding was possibly a response to being cold; it sits on the floor of the plant room.)

This doesn't mean a lot -- I don't intend to try to root the sucker separately or anything -- but it's an event.

2. Tacca chantrieri flower, close-up

Also not hugely significant, but this is the first time I've gotten the chance to take a photo of the flowers when fully open and not yet dying. (Previous attempts.) So that's what they look like.

Yep, still weird.

3. New plant: Euphorbia milii 'Candyland'

This is really stretching the definition of "new plant," since I got it last November. But I hadn't written anything about it yet, and have meant to, so here it is. This is a distinctly different kind of variegation from the other variegated E. milii I've encountered; that one was speckled, and this one has white margins. The flowers -- which I've not yet seen on my own plant -- are red. It's been a little pouty, not growing much since this photo was taken. I suspect it may be unhappy with the amount of light it's getting.

4. Springtails on a dead Cyclamen

The Cyclamen experiment is over. This is also fairly old news; it was pronounced dead on 7 January 2012. The cause of death was probably overwatering during dormancy.

I don't think I'm inclined to try Cyclamen again. It was fun getting it to rebloom the one time, and I do still think they're gorgeous plants, foliage and flowers both. It's just difficult to keep track of when I'm supposed to be watering and when I'm not. Plants with pronounced dormancies are untrustworthy. (The reader may, at this point, wish to pause for a moment to say a short prayer on behalf of my new-as-of-last-fall Amorphophallus konjac bulb.)

Also, this is the best picture I've gotten yet of springtails, which I've run across before, once when they were killing my Anthurium seedlings and baby ferns, and then again when they kept coming out of the drainage hole of our Dracaena sanderiana: I thought I'd posted pictures of the latter but apparently I never considered the photos I got good enough to post. (Also, if you're wondering: the D. sanderiana was originally the husband's, though I've been taking care of it for the past few years. I don't especially like it, and the husband actually has given me permission to throw it out, but it's one of those things: I don't feel like I can get rid of it unless it dies on its own, and it won't die on its own.)

Springtails aren't ordinarily a huge problem for indoor plants. I mean, I don't think there are any situations where they're beneficial, but they eat decaying organic matter, which is basically what potting soil is, so they generally won't do anything much to plants. The Anthurium seedlings and baby ferns suffered only because they were planted in vermiculite, and there was really no organic matter available for the springtails to eat except for the baby plants.

5. Murraya paniculata seed sprouts

Not a shock. We've seen this before, fairly recently, but in this particular case, I labeled the pot when I started the plant, so I know that germination took 28 days to reach this point. (This photo was taken 27 March 2012.)

6. Unfinished business: Furcraea foetida 'Medio-Picta' offsets

Among the plants that have responded strongly to being fertilized regularly are the Furcraeas. These two are both offsets from my parent plant, which I got in June 2009. Whichever one is oldest got started in May 2010, and hadn't really done much as of March 2011. The second one was potted up in July 2011, a year behind the other, which makes it odd that they're both so nearly the same size.

7. Question for the Hive Mind: the new Ficus benjamina

I've noticed that one of the shoots on the new Ficus benjamina has an unusual variegation to it, which none of the rest of the plant seems to have. It's sort of the reverse of the E. milii 'Candyland' situation, in that I've previously only seen marginal variegation on Ficus, not speckling, whereas with the Euphorbia I'd seen speckling, but not marginal.

I'm wondering whether this is a virus. There are, I know, some plant viruses that cause this kind of speckling in their hosts, though I couldn't find any photos of Ficus benjaminas that resembled this. The shoot in question has four leaves, all spotted more or less the same way, and it seems improbable that a virus in one tiny branch of a multi-plant pot would hurt anything much, so I'm inclined to leave it alone (or, possibly, try to propagate it, if it seems robust enough to cut back), but I'm wondering what everybody else thinks about this. Is it a virus? Might it be a virus? If it is a virus, how much should I care? And if it isn't a virus, then what the hell is it?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pretty picture: Miltassia Charles M. Fitch x Odontocidium Black Beauty

The tag just said "C. M. Fitch," but the internet says the C is for Charles.

I'm not sure why, exactly, but I kind of like this even though it's plainer than the orchids I normally go for. Perhaps it's just that the color is unusual.