Anybody remember that Euphorbia fungus I've been having trouble with since forever? The one that makes the fuzzy white patches on Euphorbia, Pedilanthus, and Synadenium but not on anything else, and that doesn't go away after being sprayed with rubbing alcohol, peroxide, copper sulfate, or chlorothalonil? This stuff?
I think I may have figured out how to get rid of it. The secret might be strong sprays of tap water. Damaged leaves stay damaged, of course, but they don't grow new patches of fungus. I hadn't tried this previously, because usually the equation is fungus + water = more fungus. In fact, I'd been taking extra care not to get water on the affected plants. The only reason I ever tried spraying the plants with water was because I'd gotten so discouraged that I gave up on ever stopping it, so I figured I may as well make it worse so I could justify throwing the plants out.
Rain doesn't work, though: the fungus got worse on the plants that were outside last summer. Must be the chlorine?
The only plants that washing doesn't seem to be adequate for are the Pedilanthuses. Of the three I still have (P. tithymaloides, P. 'Silver Star,' and P. 'Jurassic Park 2'), 'Jurassic Park 2' seems to be cured, 'Silver Star' might or might not be -- it's hard to tell, because there was a lot of leaf damage, and the leaf damage is the same color as the fungus itself -- and P. tithymaloides is still having problems.
The Hippeastrum seedling I got three years ago from Kenneth Moore is 1) going to bloom, and 2) offsetting. I'm not sure I even knew that Hippeastrums made offsets before this; I never paid that much attention to the genus because I never thought I was going to have one.
The flower won't be anything terribly exotic; it's either 'Red Lion' x self or 'Red Lion' x 'Apple Blossom.' But it'll still be my first, which is special enough. And amaryllis blooms are pretty, even when they're ordinary.
The rumors about Clivia are true. I'd started to think all the talk about Clivia offsets was some kind of elaborate prank aimed at me, to make me feel bad because mine weren't making any. But behold! (And it only took five and a half years!)
So this is a thing that can happen as well.
But the fun doesn't stop there! I also have an Araucaria seedling! (It's less blurry in person.)
Is it an interesting Araucaria seedling? Well no, not yet. But someday. The story is, I bought three seeds of A. bidwillii from seedman.com last September.1
I started them on 17 September 2013. I got a clear plastic jar (formerly a Costco bulk pretzel container), put in about 2 or 3 inches of damp soil, then set the seeds on top, then added another inch of soil and sealed the top.
In retrospect, I wish I had used vermiculite, because there's a raging fungus gnat problem in the container now. Washing the seeds first might have been a good idea as well, since I've had bugs come in with previous seedman.com purchases. (Only springtails, but if washing might have prevented that, then washing would have been a good idea.) But in any case. They usually take 1-2 months to germinate, but can take up to 18 months to germinate, I've heard, so this may be a long-term dirt-filled pretzel jar.
And here's a bonus picture of my first Araucaria bidwillii, from last September:
In that photo, it's about six and a half years old, plus however old it was when I bought it.2
The advice I see on-line says I should move the seedling to its own pot as soon as it's large enough to be handled.3 I'm not sure how large that is, but the current plan is to give it its own pot once it starts growing some true leaves: currently it's just a short, bumpy stick. If that sounds wrong to anybody, please leave a comment. For that matter, leave a comment if it sounds right, too.
Finally, I've seen the first germination from this year's round of Coffea seedlings:
That took a little less than two months to sprout. For this one, I used soil instead of vermiculite, and I didn't soak it in water for 24 hours after harvest, so I hadn't been sure it would do anything. But it seems the pre-drying soak is optional, and it doesn't matter tremendously what you try to germinate them in. For the moment, it's just this one pot, the six seedlings from last year's batch, and the parent plant (which is doing terribly and I don't know why4) but I started a pretzel container full of vermiculite and seeds5 on January 15, and have two more batches of seeds to sow (95 seeds next week, and 205 seeds in early March), so this is just a harbinger of the coming Coffea stampede.
Bonus picture of the remaining plants from last year's crop:
2 There is not a lot of information available about how fast A. bidwillii grows once it's germinated, but based on this picture from Wikimedia Commons, I'm guessing mine was barely more than a year old when I bought it. My earliest photo is from October 2007, ten months after the purchase, when it looked like:
Best guess: the plant is now between 7 1/2 and 8 1/2 years old.
3 For example: " As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. The plants have a rather sparse root system and are best placed in their final positions as soon as possible." (From here.) The part about the roots seems correct, at least:
4 My best guesses: cold (it's in the plant room, on the floor, and the plant room floor has been very chilly, several times, because of the periodic blasts of cold this winter), dry (it dries out a lot faster than it used to, and probably needs a larger pot), and maybe hot, dry air (the only place big enough to put it is also pretty close to the plant room heater). There's a second plant in the pot, maybe half the size of the big one, and it seems to be doing fine, though, so none of the explanations completely make sense.
5 And I do mean full: 149 seeds. The pretzel jars aren't huge -- about 8-10 inches / 20-25 cm in diameter? -- so the seeds are packed in there pretty tightly.