Archive for October 2010

Crazy For Cryptanthus

I recently purchased a buttload of Cryptanthus and a few other plants from Tropiflora. Plant therapy is a lot more expensive than the regular kind, but I am superexcited about these babies! I have had marked success keeping Cryptanthus alive, so I am a bit more willing to shell out some dough for these guys.

Haworthia longiana

Cryptanthus cf. bromelioides

Cryptanthus "Volcano"

Dyckia "Red Devil"

Dyckia sp. "La Rioja"

Cryptanthus "Ruby"

Cryptanthus "Earth Angel"

Cryptanthus "Chocolate Soldier"


Beauty In Bloom

The flower of the Paphiopedilum I purchased recently opened shortly after I acquired it. It has stayed open and not withered and fallen off, as is usually the case here at The Indoor Garden(er) (that's what happened to Aloe "Grassy Lassie," Chirita "Deco," my first Phalaenopsis, and others). Maybe, just maybe, the flower will actually stick around for a few weeks! I was hoping that it would be darker than this--there are a lot of light parts in the flower. But I like the shape and the design, and, of course, the variegated leaves, so I'm not going to complain too hard!


Trading Post

I recently (about two months ago!) ended up trading plants with fellow bloggers/tweeters/plant fanatics, all because of a single tweet. I'm going to not identify the sources because I don't want to be the cause of inundating their inboxes with trade requests, although if you really look stalkerishly hard, you'll be able to guess who traded with me, probably.

Anyway, on to the survivors of the trades! Only three plant units didn't make it (units, because they were either groups of unrooted cuttings or single unrooted cuttings--none of what died were full "plants" yet), and I consider that a huge success.

Stapelia gigantea or grandiflora? I guess I'll know when it flowers! Maybe. Someone will know which species it is when it flowers, whether that be me or a reader!

Stapelia gettleffii

Monanthes subcrassicaulis, labeled as from Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco. Gotta love a plant with pedigree!

Haworthia cooperi var. truncata

Haworthia mirabilis

Ceropegia woodii was acclaimed as a "weed," which I love and always assume to mean "easy to propagate." Not necessarily true--I lost two unrooted cuttings, and these tiny bits are my last attempt at getting this plant to grow. My first mistake was keeping them too wet. My second was not sticking each node directly into the soil. I rectified that using twisty ties to hold down the plant material close to the soil (I'm not sure if you can see it--I removed the waxy paper coating and shaped the wire into U-shapes, pushing it into the soil on the internodal area of the vine). We will see whether this new, actually researched method provides me with a growing plant in the future.

The Gasteria liliputiana is holding on, but not exactly flourishing.

Both Coralluma schweinfurthia and C. piranthoides died with little ceremony. They were like "Um, what? No. Death." I had given up on Ceropegia woodii when I took this photo, but then I upgraded the plant to "not yet dead" when I researched propagation methods and repotted it.

Cissus quadrangularis

Plectranthus amboinicus, or "Mexican thyme," among many other names, but that is the one I learned in Master Gardener class, and that is why I was excited it was thought to be a good plant to share with me! It can be used culinarily, particularly for meat dishes, to replace herbs such as oregano or thyme. I'm thinking pasta sauces, lasagna, and other tomato-based dishes.

Agave desmettiana?

Selenicereus chrysocardium had been rooted prior to shipment and started growing a new leaf almost immediately upon its arrival at The Indoor Garden(er)'s abode.

Aloe "Dorian Black." There's some debate over whether this is "Doran Black" or not, but because one of my Dungeons & Dragons friend's character's name is "Dorian" and he's black, I'm going with "Dorian Black" for the double meaning and the win! Take that, botanical taxonomists! (My friend's character is an elven druid, if you want to know; his last character was Dorian's twin brother, Devin the ranger, but my first character [I'm on my third already, because mine ended up meeting untimely fates] accidentally killed Devin [who was being "grappled" in the mouth of some sort of dragon creature] by shooting an arrow accidentally into his face. Dorian still doesn't know this, and when my character, Komhuus, went crazy from some mystical disease, ran off, attacked some huge swamp creature, and was killed, Dorian performed burial rites for him. My friend feels abused that his character doesn't know he treated his twin brother's killer so kindly, but all of the other characters who would have known details of Devin's death have also died at various times, so Dorian has no way of learning that information--except through Komhuus, who was brought back to life by the gods, along with a few other characters [but not Devin], for some reason or another at some climactic point in the story line. But Komhuus ain't sayin' nothin'. He just wants to bake muffins. Mmm... Muffins...)

Stapelia gigantea

Yucca guatamalensis

The Synadenium grantii is doing alright--it lost a lot of leaves in transition to my care, but they are growing back. The variegation on the new leaves isn't coming in fully yet (see the larger leaf on the left with purple patterning).

Chlorophytum "Fire Flash"

Hatoria salicornioides is surviving and will soon be thriving, is my hope!

Iresine herbstii "Blazin' Rose" started dropping leaves out of the box, but I figured it must have been a rough trip for the plants, and I expected some leaves to be jostled off during transit. But then little Irene didn't stop losing leaves. It's still alive (and more bare), but new leaves are growing, if slowly, so...

This is not what Pilea depressa is supposed to look like. But it does. I was sent a huge load of cuttings, but they aren't faring well with me. I had originally tried rooting them in the same glass as the Salvia elegans, which ended up going all black and rotty, so I wanted to get P. depressa out of there. Although they were dropping leaves, most stems had some roots, so I stuck 'em in dirt and hoped for the best. If this is that, then I fear for the rest of my 124 plants.

I'm less concerned about the eventual survival of the Plectranthus "Mona Lavender," another plant that lost most of its leaves directly after I received it. The leaves aren't nearly the size of the original cuttings unpotted cuttings, but I am going on the hypothesis that this happens when cuttings are taken, shipped, and rooted in a completely different environment.


Fall Blooming

While traveling to Takoma Park, Maryland, a few Sundays ago to learn how to make beer and ginger ale from a dude I met while volunteering for National Public Lands Day, I ran across these fall-blooming Crocuses. These are prettier than the ones I grew inside last fall.

The understory spread.

A close-up view.

The ones I planted at Mr. Yogato are popping up, too--and the morning glories are finally starting to think about flowering, too!

This photo was taken with my phone the other week, after the Crocuses bloomed at Mr. Yogato. It was very bright outside, and I don't have photo-editing software anymore, since my old computer went kaput and I haven't installed it on the new one.


Pregnant Onion Spreads Its Seed

I kind of love my Ornithogalum caudatum. It has been with me for more than a year, and it has grown huge. The bulb is several inches across, the leaves are feet long and almost two inches wide, and the root system is crazy-well-developed. It's in a 10-inch pot already, because I was having to water it every three or four days when it was in the six-inch pot.

And, yes, it sent out yet another inflorescence. It hasn't been much time since I last blogged about this plant, but it already has some seedpods on the inflorescence. I saved seed from the last one, but I haven't sown any yet. I didn't vibrate, paintbrush, or otherwise encourage sexual propagation of this inflorescence; it just happened, at a higher success rate than has previously been the case. I wonder why that is?

Maybe here's your answer--the inflorescence is rubbing pollen all over my window and whipping back and forth, getting all pollinated! I have previously noticed the slow, snakelike wriggling that the inflorescence does, but when it's smushed up against a surface, it has the opportunity to sprinkle its seed (in this case, the euphemism for male reproductive swimmy bits, not the actual fully developed seed) all over and then whip back so its female bits can roll around in the male bits' off-rubbings. The previous two inflorescences didn't have the advantage of frottage.

I wonder whether these plants breed true from seed?


What Ever Happened To...

Often on The Indoor Garden(er), plants get mentioned and then disappear. Not every plant gets introduced (I'm running into that problem right now--I have acquired a few dozen plants in the past few months, bumping my count up a significant amount. Granted, I do lose plants here and there, but not as swiftly as I am acquiring them.), but many of them do, and then kind of fade into the background, never to be heard from again.

A lot of plants will remain that way, but here are a couple you might have been wondering what the hell happened to. If you weren't wondering, now you don't have to start!

First, my Pandanus veitchii, screw pine, has grown much faster than I realized! To me, it has always looked about the same, but viewing the last photo I took of it, back in March when it had been a resident for a little while already, it has changed a hell of a lot!

I first really noticed that it is starting to grow up when I saw that there was some actual spiraling action going on in its growth. Screw pine leaves grow in a spiral, kind of, well, like a screw. Mine doesn't have the serrated leaf edges that others do, however, and for that, I'm disappointed.

You can also see some stilt roots coming out from the lower nodes. I have removed only a few of the lower leaves in the almost-a-whole-year I've had this plant.

Now that I think about it, I recall layering general potting soil and sphagnum moss to pot this plant. I wonder why I would have done that? The plant seems totally fine with it; it's clearly growing well, and I haven't had many issues with wilting, yellowing, or browning of the leaf tips once the plant got established. It's a totally wicked houseplant, and yet, I've never seen one in a garden centre (that's not to say it isn't in any in the area, just that I have to avoid these places because otherwise I'll spend a lot of money. Also, there are not many within easy public transportation distance, which helps.).

My Bulbophyllum gracillimum that I got at the last Gesneriad Society show and sale is doing alright, I guess. I didn't really know what to expect with this plant, but it's sending out leaves (even a few that aren't visible in this photo), so what I'm doing is not not working, at least! I can't wait for it to flower, if it chooses to do so, however!

This is the Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium) I planted from seed I purchased from Prairie Moon Nursery. I last mentioned it in July; it never got planted outside. It has been growing under fluorescent lights for more than seven months. Uh huh. That's right. This little plant is more than half a year old. If grown in optimum conditions outdoors, it would be about three feet tall instead of its current almost-eight-inches; the Little Bluestem we put in the guerrilla gardening installment on Vermont and T Streets is a bit over two feet tall right now; the location is not terribly optimum for it, but not bad, either. So, my little S. scoparium is chugging along, but I'm not certain whether it'll flower or get any larger than it is. It's a cute little grass, however!

The last mention of my seed-grown Yucca was back in July, too. It has a few leaves. It definitely isn't huge. I expected swifter growth, but I'll let it grow at its own pace. It's doing fine right now under the fluorescents.

Next to the Yucca and S. scoparium are the seedlings from my Hippeastrum "Red Lion" amaryllis. They are growing very strongly--and very close together! The leaves are thick and heavy. If the plants ever go dormant, I might dig up any bulbs that exist and separate them, but for now, I'm just going to leave them alone to keep growing nicely!

Back in February, a friend from the Arboretum gave me a nice pot full of Cryptanthus, Gasteria, and Saxifraga. I have managed to kill the Saxifraga and some of the Gasteria, but the Cryptanthus have taken something of a liking to me (or I like to think that they have)! I have more Cryptanthus than these pictured here (right: "Black Mystic;" middle and left: unknown), but these are the ones next to the Hippeastrum and S. scpoparium under lights. I sent a few to Mr. Subjunctive as part of a trade I've alluded to a few times; I have some growing on the windowsill with the surviving Gasteria; and I stuck a few in my new terrarium, as well.

And... I just got five new varieties. I'm superexcited about them. My horticulturalist friend said one of them is "Freakin awesome!" when I texted a picture of it to him. And it is totally freakin' awesome.

This Dracaena "Lemon Lime" hasn't been mentioned since I got it in March. It's doing pretty well, I'd say! It's on the left side of the windowsill, so it gets a little less light than some of the plants, but that's perfectly fine for it! The leaves are a little less yellowy in real life, too.

In the same post I mentioned the Dracaena "Lemon Lime," I mentioned the Dracaena marginata and the Dieffenbachia. They are a wonderful combination together, and both have filled in pretty nicely! Without moving a bunch of plants, this is the best photo I could do, so you get to see a few as-yet-unmentioned plants, some Aloe "Grassy Lassie," a bit of my Chlorophytum comosum (which, by the way, has devariegated itself again. Whatever.), and others.

Little Binnie (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) is taking over my computer table. I couldn't keep him with the other plants--he knocked them over and took up way too much precious space. So, his leaves mostly grow down, now, to catch more of the light from the window--except for one of the newest ones, which is probably on some ecstasy. All it seems to want to do is *touch* things, especially the ceiling. Friendly, sure, but a little misdirected. Although I mentioned trading a potted offshoot of P. bipinnatifidum to a fellow Washington Youth Garden volunteer for an extra hops plant she had, I haven't photographed the beast since March.

Gosh, that's cute! I keep thinking this is one of my favourite plants--but not because it's easy care, good-looking, or spreading, but because it's in such a cute little pot and looks almost like a mullet from the right angle!

I got this pot when I bought my Ornithogalum caudatum (which, by the way, is INSANE). Back in May, I started liking what this planting was going to start doing. Now, I get to see the full effect, and y'all, I like it. I really like it. Cute little pot (painted, but fading, so you don't know whether there was any real pattern to it to begin with); trailing, spreading succulent vines; and some Sempervivum making babies like hidden gems in the wilderness.

When I bought the Ornithogalum caudatum (which does get a lot of space on here), I also purchased this rex Begonia, which I immediately destroyed because of a slug. I have thought I had various successes in resuscitating the rhizome, but then I would get cocky and over- or underwater the damned thing, and all the leaves would die again. I have reached the stage where the one remaining rhizome has held onto leaves for a solid two months, so I'm tentatively calling it something of a success, although it looks nothing like the plant I originally bought.

And, uh, here's some ginger! This isn't the original that I had mentioned back in March, but it's probably a relative; I got the ginger rhizomes from the same Japanese grocer, which sources its vegetables and such from a local Asian-produce-focused farm. The ginger leaves have spots on them from water droplets--I don't know if it's chemicals in the water causing burn or reflected sunlight burning the leaves, but it's not visually appealing either way. I don't think the plants are growing as fully as they could be, either, had I given them more appropriate conditions. But the rhizomes keep sending up new shoots, so something's working right!

I'm not fully sure what this is. I noticed it in the tray under the worm bin over the weekend, so I potted it in with the ginger. It is clearly a bulb, yes--but of what?! It could be a couple of different things, some of which I'm not exactly sure of either. I'm hoping for Scilla siberica!

Yeah, this isn't anything that has been blogged about before. I'm trying to ensure that this isn't going to be in the next "What Ever Happened To...?" post by sticking it in here! This is the Gerbera that I mentioned I bought. It's pretty, but damn these things need almost daily watering! It's a wonder they last as a non-crazy-person's plant. I potted mine up just to keep from having to water it more than four times a week! But look at that flower--totally worth it!

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