Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New plants

I have about six long, talky blog posts in progress at the moment, but I'm also going through one of those spells when I'm unhappy with everything I write, so it's maybe going to be a while before any of them get published. In the meantime, I've bought two more plants, that aren't even Anthuriums, so let's look at those.

First up is a Huernia.

Two reasons for this purchase: 1) stapeliads are the best,1 and 2) it was $5.2

They had several specimens of this particular plant, one of which was flowering already. I didn't buy that one because there were aphids all over the flower. (Fortunately, there were several other specimens available.) I tried to get a flower photo anyway, but it didn't turn out well.

I'm a little hesitant about the ID; it was tagged as H. oculata, which has the most amazing flowers, but the flower doesn't match very well. In particular, that part at the center should be a lot lighter and more uniform in color. A little mottling is one thing, but that picture above is a lot more heavily patterned than I feel H. oculata ought to be.

I couldn't find any flower photos that matched any better, so it's possible that the one I took a picture of was immature, distorted by the aphids, or otherwise atypical, but in any case I'm not ready to say for certain that I have H. oculata. My plant has a few tiny flower buds on it, so we'll see what those look like.

I'll also keep an eye out for aphids. I had aphids on the Huernia zebrina last summer. They appear to be a common stapeliad problem.

The other plant I got at Reha's was Mangave 'Bloodspot.' This may or may not turn out to be a good idea; one of my two Mangave 'Macho Mocha' specimens lost a lot of leaves during the winter and is presently on the verge of death,3 and 'Macho Mocha' is, I think, the only Manfreda, Agave, or Mangave I have that hasn't had scale problems yet. So this is possibly a group of plants I should be more wary about. But you know how it is.

It was only $8, so if the purchase turns out to have been a bad idea, it was at least not a very bad idea. And I assume I'll get to enjoy it outside for a summer first.


1 Stapeliads are Stapelia, Huernia, Orbea, and related plants. Those three are the most common in cultivation, but there are a bunch of others. Especially notable among the others is Edithcolea grandis, which gets attempted a lot because the flowers are impressive, but it's apparently difficult to grow.
I say they're "the best" because a few of them do extremely well for me. Huernia schneideriana (which I got from Liza) and Stapelia gigantea are a couple of my favorite plants. H. schneideriana bloomed all winter long even though it wasn't receiving that much light; S. gigantea has all kinds of fun textures and smells and is one of the easiest plants I grow.
2 Let's hear it for Reha's Greenhouses. They're also about $6 cheaper per bag than the ex-job on the brand of potting soil I like, which I wish I'd known before buying a bag at the ex-job.
3 The one that's doing poorly was about 8 inches from an obstructed west-facing window, and also probably stayed wetter longer because it was in a larger pot. The other one was on a south-facing windowsill, so it got a lot colder, but it also probably dried out faster and saw more sun.


Ginny Burton said...

Yellow aphids? I've never seen any that were other than pale green.

Liza said...

There's a succulent sale here this weekend, and I'm hoping to find some good plants. Minus the gross aphids.

Pat said...

If you check out the H. oculata images at you will see the usual ridiculous variation of flower patterns that most of them have. Yours is well within the range. I can't link directly.

Edithcolea is supposed to be easy if you keep it very hot. I am getting one in a month and hope not to let it go below 20°C.

Unknown said...

Yellow aphids are not uncommon on some succulents here in Australia. I find them particularly irritating on the flower stems of Adromischus species, where they can easily wreck the entire inflorescence. I must admit to not having thought about their colour much, but I always thought it had something to do with the "colouring" chemicals in the plants they feed on. Apparently the truth is more complex (see: ) but they certainly come in many colours - I have personally seen black, grey, green, yellow and orange aphids over the many years I have been a gardener.

Now, onto the plants - these are my kind of plant! I adore Asclepiads and also Agaves and their near relatives. I have a particularly soft spot for Manfredas and Mangaves. Mangave 'Bloodspot' is a plant I have long coveted but never seen in the flesh - It doesn't seem to be available here in Australia at present, and it is beyond my finances to import any live plants from overseas. Australian plant quarantine fees are $4 per day per plant for a minimum of 3 months and that's AFTER you pay the initial assessment fees and charges. Still I can dream I guess - I can't understand why any commercial grower here who has ever seen this plant doesn't jump on it as it is so attractive.

Asclepiads, at least, CAN be found here in OZ from the network of hobby and specialist growers, if not very much commercially. I'm quite fond of Huernias in particular, and have grown quite a few species year round out of doors (I'm zone 10a). I find H. zebrina and some of the Carrallumas and Stapelias a bit cold sensitive in the winter, but most of the commoner ones do well here if kept dry when the overnight temperatures go under 10C/50F. It can be tricky when to decide to stop watering though - quite a few species flower in the autumn or early winter and an early cold snap can cause problems. I recommend H. keniensis, H. pillansii, S. grandiflora, and S. olivacea in particular as being easy to grow and flower.

For those readers of PATSP who just can't get enough Asclepiad pictures - check out and also both sites are quite amazing.

Ciao, Kaelkitty