Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Unfinished business: various

Excoecaria cochinchinensis.

I asked the question earlier, whether Excoecaria cochinchinensis (Chinese croton) is particularly susceptible to spider mites, like its namesake Codiaeum variegatum (croton). The answer is a pretty emphatic yes, as my plant somehow managed to attract an advanced mite civilization (They were already making steam engines!) despite not having any mites visible on the adjacent plants.

I figure I'm pretty committed to keeping the Excoecaria I have, for however long that lasts, but I won't buy another one.

The moral, I guess, is: don't buy any plant that's called a croton, whatever adjectives are in front of the word.

Dischidia ruscifolia.

Y'all didn't know that this was a question, because I didn't mention it (aside from a glancing reference at the end of this post), but I've been wondering for a while whether Dischidia ruscifolia was easy to propagate. I sent cuttings to a reader last summer, and s/he said yeah, piece of cake, just stuck them in water when they arrived and potted them up when they had roots, but I hadn't tried it for myself.

Well. I've tried it now, and if anything s/he overstates the difficulty: there were short roots visible within a week. I didn't bother letting them get longer; I figure anything that starts rooting in water that easily will root in soil even easier. I am now, as I said in the post, fond of D. ruscifolia at least on principle, and maybe even in actuality. It's impossible for me not to like a plant that causes no problems and propagates well.

Hatiora NOID.

The Hatiora NOID from this post, which shattered on me, and then flowered once while dying, is apparently not done for yet: I started four pots of shattered pieces of the plant, and all four have at least one rooted fragment growing in them now. It's still a serious decline from how it looked when it first got here (above), but at least I managed to salvage something:

It's possible that this is just setting me up for an endless cycle of shattering and regrowth, and I'd be better off if the plant had just died and been done with it, but until the plant demonstrates otherwise, I'm going to interpret this as an apology.

Ananas lucidus.

A very, very long time ago, I saw an Ananas lucidus for sale at the ex-job, which I found very, very appealing. I wanted it, but I didn't have any place to put something that big, and I think they wanted some completely ridiculous amount of money for it, like $50ish. So I told myself no, ignored my piteous cries and foot-stomping tantrums, and kept my fingers crossed that 1) they wouldn't all sell, 2) the unsold plants would eventually begin to offset, and 3) someone at the ex-job would separate off the offsets and sell them in a more manageable size and price.

Well, all of these things happened, though I'm afraid my crossed fingers are permanently deformed: I had to wait two years. But as of January, I now have one of my own. It's a little green, because they had it in too dark of a spot for most of the time it was there, but it's been coloring up again since I stuck it under a light:

Now that it's here, of course, I'm remembering how large they get, and questioning my judgment. But. You know. I'm always questioning my judgment.

Last, I am pleased to announce that I have finally been successful at germinating Schlumbergera seeds, following one failed attempt. The only thing I did differently was, I let the seeds dry out overnight after I separated them from the fruit pulp; in the first attempt, I planted them immediately.

It took longer than I was expecting -- for some reason I was thinking they were supposed to germinate almost immediately, but instead, I didn't notice seedlings until 5 March, sixteen days after sowing. In fact, it took them so long that I'd already written this part of the post bemoaning my inability to sow Schlumbergeras from seed, and having a sour-grapes reaction ("Like I need hundreds of Schlumbergera seedlings anyway -- I already have hundreds of Anthuriums, and it's not like the house is that big.") to my failure.

So now we have an interesting problem, which is that the Schlumbergera seedlings are supposed to be uncovered once they start to develop, and the Anthurium seedlings seem to do better if they have the higher humidity of an enclosed container, but they're both in the same container, and both are too small to withstand transplanting. Odds are, I'll let them fight it out and hope that one or the other grows fast enough to transplant. I have plenty of Schlumbergera fruits left, after all. And it really is true that I should probably focus on one genus or the other.

This isn't even all the seed-sprouting news I've got, but I have to leave something for later posts.


VA Paul said...

My Excoecaria cochinchinensis has been doing very well. no mites, however, i do spray mine down with neem everytime i bring it into the bathtube to be watered. I also found that it likes to stay on the moist side and will weep when it starts to try out a little.

Tom said...

I keep seeing Excoecaria and think "I want that" and then never buy it. Perhaps I'm my subconscious is smarter than me?

mr_subjunctive said...


Possibly. Other people do report that it's not that bad, so it might be more that I'm unlucky than that it's a bad plant. But on the other hand, this is the second time I've had to try to remove mites from it, and I've only had it for four and a half months. I'm not loving that pace.

MrBrownThumb said...

Waiting two years for the pups to be potted up is some dedication. I think I would've broken down a long time ago and gotten it.

Yoma said...

Are you sure it's Excoecaria? I'd suggest Clerodendron quadriloculare "Brendanii".

mr_subjunctive said...


I'm pretty sure, though I do see the resemblance; it's mostly the way the leaves are arranged (Clerodendron: in a whorl around the stem; Excoecaria: in two rows on either side of the stem) and the color (Clerodendron: a regular green-type green; Excoecaria: a weird washed-out olive green).

mr_subjunctive said...


It's easier when you can't afford to buy, for money and space reasons.