Thursday, May 23, 2013


Haven't done any LOLplants for a while, but a reader e-mailed me this last week and I found it amusing, so here you go.

For those who don't know, this is an example of guttation. Guttation tends to freak out people who haven't seen it before, but by itself, it's harmless. The PATSP post about guttation can be read here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Random plant event: Leuchtenbergia principis

I started a batch of Leuchtenbergia principis seeds on 8 May. I wasn't sure what percentage would germinate, so I started a lot (56, which isn't even half the number I got1). I noticed the first seedlings on 15 May, and new ones keep popping up. So I will soon have way, way too many baby Leuchtenbergias, with enough seeds to make way, way more.

So far, they don't look like much,

and Leuchtenbergias are slow-growing plants besides, so they'll probably continue to not look like much for quite a while, but that's just a guess. In any case, things seem to be working as intended so far, so that's something.

Readers who have always wanted to grow a Leuchtenbergia principis but have never been able to find one for sale (which I assume is probably most of you), let me know: I can probably hook you up with some seeds. I don't know how delicate the seedlings are yet, but mature plants are very easy to grow as long as you can supply them with adequate light.2 Hopefully the seedlings won't be significantly harder to deal with.


1 I'd ordered 100 from, and at first they sent 25. So then I sent a hey-wait-a-minute-that's-not-what-I-ordered message, and they sent another 100, like, immediately. Plus both packages contained more than the stated number of seeds, so I wound up with I think 131 seeds overall, from an order of 100.
2 Leuchtenbergia rates a 2.0 on the most current incarnation of the PATSP scale, virtually all of which is due to their need for stronger light than most people can easily provide indoors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light -- Part L

Still have a lot of these photos stockpiled from . . . I don't even know how many years ago. Long time. I should probably try harder to burn through those, 'cause I'm still taking new pictures, and at this rate I'll never actually end up posting them.

(The previous transmitted light posts can be found here.)

Tetrastigma voinieriana. Alas, my Tetrastigma was lost in the big scale purge in February. It didn't have scale: I just got tired of it. It was top-heavy, and I couldn't actually let it climb anything like it wanted to, because I wouldn't have been able to take it to the tub to water it, and it had never grown very well, so out it went. I can't say I miss it much, though it's not particularly a bad plant, just not well-suited to my growing situation here.

Platanus occidentalis, autumn. I think sycamores are my favorite outdoor trees. Though tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is competitive. This particular photo does a terrible job of showing why it's my favorite tree, but that's not really what I was trying to do in the first place so whatever.

Strelitzia nicolai.

Fothergilla x 'Mount Airy.' This was obviously taken at the ex-job; we don't have a Fothergilla here.

Ligularia stenocephala 'The Rocket.' Same here, though I have run into Ligularias occasionally in houseplant books, and have always wondered how well they'd really grow indoors.

The only time I've ever seen anyone come close to trying is when we kept one in the greenhouse at work for a while; it produced some flower buds, which was exciting, but then the actual flowers turned out to have thrips, so they were all twisted and stunted and gross. The whole affair was pretty disappointing.

Plectranthus amboinicus, variegated. I'd like P. amboinicus better as a houseplant if it didn't try to get so big so fast.

Dieffenbachia 'Starbright.' One of the four or five Dieffenbachias I still own. Most of them get thrown out once they get too tall and leggy for me to deal with: either I decide I don't like them and just throw them directly out, or I'm emotionally conflicted about throwing them out, so I try to cut them back and root the cutting, but they don't resprout and the cutting doesn't root and so then I throw them out.

I've always loved the way Dieffenbachias look, and obviously they make for great transmitted light pictures, and it doesn't hurt that they're kind of dangerous -- I like the dangerous plants -- but overall? I don't find them worth growing. The exceptions are the really huge cultivars like 'Tropic Snow' and 'Tropic Rain,' which do well enough for me, and resprout consistently when cut back, that I don't mind having them around.

Pilea 'Moon Valley.' I don't know how many times I had to attempt a photo of 'Moon Valley' before I got this one, but it was a lot. So this is probably my favorite from this batch, whether or not it deserves to be.

Aglaonema 'Sparkling Sarah.' My original plant, which had three individual plants in it and looked decently full, is not as attractive as it used to be, though that's my fault, not the plant's -- I accidentally broke one of the canes off. It's still one of the better red/pink Aglaonemas in my experience.

Caladium 'Fire Chief.' Not a houseplant (though don't think I haven't tried, more than once), but the photos are almost always great.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pretty pictures: Cattlianthe Wasp Nest 'Red Red' HCC/AOS x Cattleya Tokyo Magic AM/AOS

I think all the relevant commentary for this one is covered in the post title.