Thursday, August 4, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast, Part 3

I've had a wouldn't-it-be-nice sort of project to get all the plants photographed this summer, or at least to try to get decent pictures of 1) the species/varieties for which I have no good photos already or 2) the ones that have grown significantly since the last time I took pictures. For most of the summer, though, I've been thwarted by the weather, lack of time, or whatever.

Then a couple weeks ago, we got a run of three days that weren't completely unbearable outside, and I dragged plants around and got like 1000 photos (literal) to sort through, which kept me occupied until . . . well, until basically now.

And then I thought: oh, wait, what was I going to do with all these pictures again?

So this post is an attempt to justify the photos I've taken already, as a way of psyching myself up to take more (hopefully the weather will cooperate Thursday and Friday mornings). Also, I thought that people who had sent me plants in the past might be interested in how they were faring here.

So. This isn't a comprehensive list, both for space reasons and because I don't have all the plants photographed yet. You shouldn't assume that if a plant you sent me isn't on this list, that means it's dead.

Though in some cases, yeah, that's what it means.

Philodendron mexicanum

May 2010. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

I didn't have much hope for this one when it first arrived; the original sender said it had been accidentally severed from the main plant and wasn't rooted or anything: basically just the two leaves you see in the photo plus a little bit of stem.

Dec 2010. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

But it rooted like a champ anyway, and seven months later, it was an established plant that was outgrowing its spot in the basement.

Jul 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

It's not a common plant in the trade, and I'm not sure why, because it seems to be easy enough to grow. I could see how it might have a problematic habit (it's a climber, so I suppose it might suffer a bit if you don't have something for it to climb), but I'm still enjoying mine.

Anthurium schlechtendahlii

Aug 2010. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

If I thought Philodendron mexicanum was hopeless when it arrived, I was almost angry about receiving Anthurium schlechtendalii. Surely these tiny seedlings were never going to survive, and this was a waste of time.

Feb 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

And yet. I kept it in the basement, under lights, and kept it covered to maintain high humidity, and it actually did quite well there. Eventually it outgrew the spot in the basement, so I moved it to the husband's office (also under lights) and kept it in a large V-shaped vase with a plant saucer on top, and it soon outgrew that spot as well.

Jul 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm) though it has since been moved to a 6 in / 15 cm pot.

So now it's in the living room, without any covering, and it's going to have to make do with the humidity levels it finds in there.

I can't say A. schlechtendalii has been free of problems -- it insists on playing with spider mites, even though I've forbidden it from doing so and explained at length how they're a bad influence. The leaves have also been yellowing in the last few months, which may or may not be mite-related (also possible: too much light, nutrient over-/underdose). Still, though, this is the best I've ever managed to do with any of the foliage Anthuriums, and damned near miraculous considering the starting point.

Sansevieria hargesiana

May 2010. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

I received Sansevieria hargesiana when at a particularly low point in my Sansevieria-growing confidence level, but it's survived me anyway.

Jan 2011. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm) though it has since been moved to a 4 in / 10 cm pot.

This is a plant I don't have a good July 2011 photo for, but it hasn't changed that much since January (the plantlet on the right is perhaps slightly bigger now), so this still works. My confidence level is slowly edging back up again, but Sansevierias still make me nervous.

Euphorbia flanaganii var. cristata

Sep 2010. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

The Euphorbia flanaganii var. cristata from Cactus Jungle has had some ups and downs; it didn't do much for quite a while after arriving, possibly because I was scared to feed it much.

July 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

It's done better since I started using the fertilizer containing trace elements. (This is a common feature of my relationships with Euphorbias -- unlike some plants, they won't try to grow if the nutrients aren't there. Almost all of my plants have begun new growth this spring or summer, even the ones that had done nothing for years prior.) I did have to cut off a piece that was dying at one point this spring, but other than that, it's been a pretty quiet, well-behaved plant.

Pereskia godseffiana

May 2011. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

This was a very recent acquisition -- I've only had it two months -- but I'm pleased that it has, in fact, decided to root and grow.

Jul 2011. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm) though it has since been moved to a 4 in / 10 cm pot.

Not surprised. Just pleased. Pereskias are apparently very easy to root; everyone says so.

The cutting's even grown a new set of tiny, bright pink leaves since the second photo was taken.

Agave americana

Aug 2010. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

Agave americana may become a problem in the near future. I knew they got big, but I didn't think this one would get so big, so quickly.

Jul 2011. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

I don't really have a suitable spot for it at the moment, so I guess I'll have to keep my fingers crossed that it slows down until I do. It was never likely to reach full maturity inside the house, but I would like to have it a couple more years, at least.

Agave americana medio-picta alba

Aug 2010. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

The variegated version, on the other hand, is growing much more slowly. I mean, yes, I expect it to be slower, because it doesn't have as much chlorophyll to work with, but it's a lot slower than it should be. It even gets some full sun, which the non-variegated one doesn't. (The non-variegated one is in the basement under plant lights, so it may have more consistent light, and maybe even brighter light, but they should still be pretty comparable.)

Jul 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

It's still grown, though. I can't complain. Agaves are unpleasant to handle and will eventually get too big, but they're really very cooperative houseplants otherwise, if you have enough light for them.

Begonia 'Tiger Kitten'

Aug 2010. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

Begonia 'Tiger Kitten' arrived in rough shape (plants with brittle, fleshy leaves like Begonia, Episcia, Saintpaulia, etc. tend to be difficult to ship), so I wound up cutting one of the leaves into sections and starting new plants in vermiculite. The original died, but several of the leaf-sections grew. Unfortunately, only one survived being transplanted to soil.

Jul 2011. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

That one plant, though, is doing well. It looks a bit darker and less colorful than the original (it's probably getting too much light), but at least it didn't die. Rhizomatous begonias are a decent substitute for rex begonias -- they're considerably less fussy, and look close enough as far as I'm concerned.

Eriobotrya japonica

Aug 2010. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

Eriobotrya japonica (loquat) hasn't done much since arriving, and I'm not sure if that's because it's naturally a slow plant, or if I'm doing something wrong.

Jul 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

I've been warned that they're prone to spider mites, but so far that hasn't been a problem for me. I haven't really had any problems at all, actually, aside from the slowness.

Ceropegia woodii, variegated

Aug 2010. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

I had some concerns about this one, because previous attempts to root Ceropegia woodii either failed immediately, or succeeded so slowly that by the time there was new growth, I didn't care anymore. This was pretty slow, too, but once it got going, it made up for the lost time.

Jul 2011. Pot: 3 inches (7.5 cm).

Such a strange little plant, though.

Hoya obovata

Jan 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

Hoyas are kind of upsetting me lately. They grow great for a year, two years, three years, and then suddenly die for no reason. This has now happened with H. carnosa 'Krimson Queen' (though I managed to salvage cuttings, which are doing well), H. pubicalyx (no salvaging possible), and most recently H. tsangii 'DS-70' (we'll see if cuttings can be salvaged; so far about 25% have died too). I don't know why this keeps happening, but it's a pattern now.

Jul 2011. Pot: 4 inches (10 cm).

So I'm scared for H. obovata. Its behavior here has given me no reason to worry so far; it's a champ, in fact. On the other hand, it's a Hoya, so I worry anyway.

Breynia disticha 'Roseo-Picta'

Nov 2009. Pot: 6 inches (15 cm).

I didn't get a picture of my Breynia disticha when I first got it (October 2008), but I'd estimate it was about half as tall as in the above picture. It's always been a steady grower, if not a particularly fast one. During last winter and spring, I cut it back a few times (to get cuttings to root) and started feeding it differently, and it's responded and responded and responded:

Jul 2011. Pot: 8 inches (20 cm), though it has since been moved to a 9-10 inch / 23-25 cm pot.

There have been a few short-lived problems with spider mites, and it drops a lot of leaves whenever I let it get too dry, but neither has been particularly serious. I'd like it if I could get it to produce the multicolored leaves I know it's capable of, but even without that, it's getting to be a favorite plant.


Ginny Burton said...

I gave you the Eriobotrya japonica unless you got more from another source. It is, indeed, a slow grower when it's inside. I suspect it is also pot bound. Every time I dig one up to trade, I'm astonished at how fierce the roots are.

I don't know who told you about spider mites; I've never seen any and I have grown dozens of these from seed. Most of mine end up outdoors, but their first year is inside and they are trouble-free.

mr_subjunctive said...

Ginny Burton:

No, it was yours; I'm just letting people decide for themselves whether they want to acknowledge being the source of the plants.

I haven't checked to see if it's potbound, so I suppose I ought to do that the next time it comes up for watering.

The spider mites warning came from a commenter here a while ago; I don't remember who or which post, but I consider it nice to know what I should be watching for (especially since I never seem to be able to get rid of mites in the house completely). Hopefully it will never be an issue, though.

Anonymous said...

I have my A. schlechtendahlii outside in the shade, they grow much faster and the leaves are much darker.
You might also want to separate the seedlings into their own pots too.

orchideya said...

This is exactly what I am trying to do with my orchids now. Photograph each and every to keep inventory of what I have and track down what happens with them overtime. Quite a job, especially considering that I am never fully satisfied with the pictures outcome and list grows faster then it should:)
You have great plants.

Tom said...

I had really good luck with my Eriobotrya (until I went to PA for 6 months and my mom didn't water it once...), it did happen to be fairly slow growing as a houseplant so I don't think that's too abnormal.

Pat said...

I might have told you about the spidermites loving loquats. Always a problem indoors for me but no problem outdoors. Your spidermites may be a different breed over there, of course.

Karen715 said...

The Sansevieria hargesiana looks great! I'm not surprised that it turned out to be a confidence builder. I've had the parent of your plant for about 11 years. It has been abused to hell and back, and still looks pretty good.

Tigerdawn said...

There are several on there that I really like. I hope you are successful with them so I can buy babies in the future!

I always find it interesting when people have trouble with hoyas. I find them very forgiving. I am developing a new theory that they can only handle indoor conditions for so long before they want to grow outside for a while. It seems that the common problems are always too wet/dry and too hot/cold but then there's the group like you that does great, until the plant just...fails. My Mom is in this category too. She just lost H. lacunosa 'Royal Flush' after it grew great for well over a year.

Anyway. Is that agave hardy to zone 7? I might be able to provide a retirement home... I'm collecting Zombie resistant plants in preparation for next year anyway. :-)