Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

Nothing new with Nina or Sheba. Sheba got to smell things in an Iowa City park on Wednesday, whence the picture. Nina has possibly trampled her new Fittonia cutting to death already: it's wilted flat on the dirt. It's still the right color, though, so maybe it still has a chance.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Walkaways Part 13, and One New Plant (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing from where we left off this morning:

Adromischus maculatus.

I was not tempted by Adromischus -- I had one (different species) a long time ago, which didn't do well (probably a light issue). This is noteworthy, though, because I rarely see them for sale around here, and I don't think we ever got them at the garden center when I worked there.

Aloe nobilis.

Another former Aloe victim that I want to retry. I felt especially bad about the A. nobilis, because I've heard they're exceptionally forgiving and easygoing outdoors, for Aloes. In my defense, the offset I received initially didn't have roots, and I think never managed to develop any, either. So not 100% my fault.

Peperomia dolabriformis.

WANT. SO MUCH. It looks like Peperomia obtusifolia, if you smeared a quarter-inch (6 mm) of Vaseline on the tops of all the leaves and then folded all the leaves in half along the midrib so the Vaseline stuck to itself. I mean, the plant isn't greasy at all, but there's a translucent window down the center of the leaf that has that yellowish, waxy/jelly appearance of Vaseline. The plant is completely ridiculous, but I really want it.

Aloe x 'Firebird.'

Aloes and I get along well, my previous stories of aloicide notwithstanding, so they stand out to me in retail situations. I assume that's the reason why I bothered to get a picture of this plant; it doesn't look like much, and wasn't even aggressively ugly like the Aloinopsis. Surprisingly, the handful of images Google served up aren't much either. Too pretty to be ugly, too ugly to be pretty.

Pleiospilos nelii.

I understand why people would be interested in it, but I wouldn't trust myself not to overwater, and everything else being equal, I tend to like plants that are going to grow faster, rather than slower.

Anacapseros rufescens.

The Anacampseros I've seen before were bright pink, red and green, not dull purple like this. From looking around the net, I think this is a difference in variety, not in culture, with the brighter-colored version being a variegated form.

Aeonium x 'Irish Bouquet.'

I don't even think this is pretty. Who thinks this is pretty?

And finally, the plant I actually bought, which was perhaps a little bit foreshadowed in the post this morning (and maybe yesterday's, too, a little bit):

Sedum rubrotinctum 'Aurora.'

It was a really calculated choice. I've grown the species before, so care shouldn't be a problem, and Sedum rubrotinctum is sort of infinitely propagatable, so I should always have plenty to trade or sell. (Is it patented? How would I find out?)

All the plants in today's posts, by the way, were grown at Altman Plants, in Vista, CA. There's a complete list of what they have here, though I've seen relatively few of these in stores. I suspect the list may be somewhat out of date.

Walkaways Part 13, and One New Plant (Part 1 of 2)

Tragically, Lowe's has new succulents in, at the same time that I have no money to buy them. I did get pictures of a lot of plants, which is fifth next-best thing to buying,1 and I wasn't actually interested in all of the plants in the post, but having to leave a few of them behind really did hurt. (The blow is softened by the idea that I might be able to get some of them elsewhere, or elsewhen, and by the fact that the husband did buy me the one that I really really wanted.)

Part 2 will be posted this afternoon.

Crassula perforata variegata.

Not particularly tempted, owing to my previous bad experiences with the "stacked" Crassulas, but there's no denying it's very colorful and pretty.

Aloinopsis rubrolineata.

What an incredibly dull and stupid-looking plant. I want one. So much.

Though it was in the "mimicry" tray, along with Fenestraria rhopalophylla and Argyroderma. This suggests that I would probably find it difficult.

Aloe x 'Minibelle.'

I got an Aloe 'Minibelle' in one of the first trades I ever did, but somehow killed it. Never figured out what I'd done wrong. I'd like to try again at some point, though it's not urgent. I have some Aloes already that look something like this.

Argyroderma NOID.

I don't understand the appeal.

Sedum rubrotinctum NOID.

After a long, long period of struggling with a light-starved, leggy S. rubrotinctum, I finally started putting them in the basement under lights. They liked that. Since then, they're still not my favorite plant, but they've definitely moving up in my estimation.

xGraptosedum 'Alpenglow' / 'Vera Higgins.'

Mildly tempting. The whole Sedum / Pachyphytum / Echeveria / Sedeveria / Pachyveria area is full of some attractive plants, but I've had problems getting them enough light, and I grew disillusioned with them quickly at work, because it was impossible to move them around without knocking a bunch of leaves off, and they don't look so good when they're partly naked. But I'm not ruling them out forever, and this is an awesome color. (Note to self: get more lights and shelves.)

Aeonium arboreum atropurpureum 'Zwartkop.'

I think they're gorgeous plants, but I don't ever even consider buying one, ever since WCW told me years ago that she'd had one years before that, and it had fallen apart on her during the winter. All I needed to hear.

Aloe x 'Crosby's Prolific.'

Another one I would like to retry, despite having killed it before. Though the one I killed never had any of the reddish color this one does, so maybe it was mislabeled? Or maybe this is?

xPachyveria glauca.

This is just begging to be planted with an Agave victoriae-reginae. See the little outlines on the leaves where they were pressed together? SO CUTE.

Stay tuned for the remaining walkaways. That post will include the succulent I actually bought.

Oh! I should maybe also tell you that they had new cacti in as well, but I didn't take pictures of any of them, because all the cacti had glued-on fake flowers. (Most were cacti I already have pictures of, too.) I hate the glued-on fake flowers. Still. Why have the plant producers not bowed to my wishes yet? Is it because I'm hating too many things at once?2 I'm putting as much negative energy out there as I can, per The Secret. It should be working by now.


1 Best: buying. Second-best: buying cuttings. Third-best: stealing cuttings. Fourth-best: renting. Fifth-best: getting pictures.
2 Besides hating glued-on fake flowers, I hate glued-on rocks, plants that have been spray-painted and/or glittered, foil-wrapped pots, pots without drainage holes, and anything "lucky." And I'm probably forgetting a lot of stuff.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Random plant event: Sedum morganianum leaves sprouting

This has happened for me a number of times already -- it's totally expected, and barely counts as news. But:

1) Away from home for a lot of the day yesterday, so I didn't have much time to write a post.
2) This is my second-favorite thing about Sedum morganianum (the first being that it doesn't seem to be completely ridiculous about requiring super-intense light like Sedum rubrotinctum does).
3) It's sorta cute, if you're the sort of person who can find baby Sedums cute.
4) Which I am. One of those people.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Question for the Hive Mind: Large-Seeded Plant

Another plant ID question from e-mail. I'm pretty sure I've seen this plant on-line somewhere -- the enormous green seed is pretty distinctive -- but I couldn't come up with a name, if I ever knew the name in the first place.

So does anybody have any leads? I'm told the seed came from China, if that helps anybody. Pictures may need to be opened in a separate window to view detail.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Random plant event: Billbergia nutans offsetting

I've had this plant for about nine months now. It's been well-behaved. (Maybe a little quiet.) I received two unrooted plants, one of which had a developing offset on it; the offset developed, but one of the original two plants looks like it's thinking about dying (I'm not sure. A couple of the leaves in the center of the rosette died; those on the outside are still fine.), so up until now it's been a wash. But now, there's a new offset! A net gain!

Flowers would be nice too, but I have no idea if that's a realistic prospect at this point. Google says they're spring bloomers, so I suppose we'll have an answer by summer.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pretty picture: Schlumbergera 'Caribbean Dancer' reprise

You know, I was prepared to sort of dislike 'Caribbean Dancer.' I mean, it's pretty, but . . . I don't know. I just figured there had to be a trade-off: if it's really pretty, then it must be really disease-prone, or hard to bring into bloom, or something like that. But so far, except for whatever weird thing it was doing last summer, it's behaved perfectly. This spring's blooming isn't as impressive as last spring's, but 'Caribbean Dancer' is the only one of my six Schlumbergera varieties to rebloom for me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Milestone: 1 Kiloplant

As I mentioned yesterday, I did a lot of propagation on Thursday and Friday of last week. I also had to move a lot of plants around to make room for the new ones, so the spreadsheets are a huge mess and I'm behind on watering.

But. As the title said, I've hit a milestone in the number of official plants I have in the house: as of Saturday, we've reached a kiloplant. It's a fuzzy milestone, because depending on how you look at it, the plant count has both been well over 1000 for a long time now (cuttings and seedlings that I think might not make it don't get counted as plants on the spreadsheets, but they still have to be cared for like plants and take as much work as the official plants) and remains under 1000 plants still (though I'm reasonably confident that most of the new plants I started will survive, inevitably I'll realize that some of them were put on the spreadsheet prematurely, and they'll die), but according to the spreadsheet, for the moment, we've arrived.

Here's the graph:

I would say that 1001 is obviously too many plants, but I've been saying that I have "too many" plants since, like, 600 plants ago, and somehow I keep managing to find places for them and take care of them, so maybe it isn't actually too many. I'm not sure.

I considered trying to go around and get pictures of all of them to post, give each plant a chance to represent, as the kids say ("East Side Basement in the hizzouse!"), but even just trying to get a picture of one shelf at a time, that would take hours and hours to do, and there'd still probably be plants you couldn't see because of the camera angle or whatever, and they wouldn't even be particularly good pictures, probably. (What I would really like to do sometimes is take all the plants outside and put them in the yard so I could take a photo of all of them at once. However, not only would this require perfect weather, it would also literally take me all day to do. I've done the math. Even if the husband helped, I think, moving the plants outside, taking the picture, and then moving them all back inside would at least take most of the day.) So instead, I'll show you pictures of the new plants that put me over the top.

Years ago, I started a tray of Zamioculcas zamiifolia leaflet cuttings. (And when I say "years," I mean years: I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but I remember where the tray was located when we lived in the apartment, and the spreadsheet suggests November 2008.)

Many of the leaflets dried up and died, but I didn't dump the soil, because that doesn't always mean that there's no chance of getting a plant out of it. The leaflets form tubers at their base, which can stick around and grow (somehow) even after the leaflet's gone.

Still, though, I've continued to hang on to the tray, waiting. Every so often a batch of them would sprout, and I'd take them out and repot them, but I left the others. Then last fall, another batch sprouted leaves.

So yesterday I decided to once and for all see what was going on in there, pot up what tubers I could find, and free up that space for something else. It turned out that almost every single cell had a tuber in it, whether it was sprouting leaves or not:

The roots are supposed to be delicate and easily damaged, so I tried to be as careful as I could, but I expect I still probably ruined a few tubers during the transplant. Still, I put three or four in each pot, so I should wind up with moderately full-looking plants even if some of them do fail. They don't look like much right now, but I added some fertilizer when I watered, so hopefully the tubers that haven't produced leaves yet will get the signal and take off.

It's not a very practical way to get new Zamioculcas plants, obviously, waiting two years or more for almost nothing. But it's a way.