Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kohleria & Annual Plant Shuffle

Well its that time of year where I start to see some of my plants go into decline because the sun just is not around as much. This year I have more plants than I ever had, so I have been doing the houseplant shuffle. I only have so much window space, and some plants naturally need more light than others. This is the time of year I am happy with my various pothos around the house and my heart leaf philo's. They can go absolutely anywhere and still be happy enough to make it through the winter no problem. One of my poor hoyas hanging just off from my North window just went into instant decline when the day hours got shorter, it's vines shriveling up into nothing. Luckily for it, a pothos in a South window can take it's place. I have had to add a couple fluorescent lights around the house to accommodate these plants, but yesterday, finally I think I got it. Here is a couple pics of my house right now.
So a few months ago I ordered a few Kohleria rhizomes from eBay. Never having grown them, was a bit nervous. But soon after planting and watering the rhizomes I got growth. A couple have been pickier than the others in regards to the humidity, but other than that, they seen to be growing quite well. A couple are growing in clumps with a few crowns, one is quite large with only one crown, and the other couple are still small and single. I can't wait to see what these look like when they flower. I have seen pictures, and they resemble the flowers on my alsobia dianthiflora, except these have vivid colors unlike the alsobia that is more a plain white with a couple little pink flecks on the inside. Anyways, here is a couple pics of my growing Kohleria.As I was uploading pics for this thread, I realized I wanted to put this in as well. I have a large alsobia dianthiflora (gesneriad) and for a few months I have been trying to propagate it, and I have failed a couple times. Well I finally got it. In a little deli container, with the lid on the whole time until it was rooted. I would really like to be able to make more hanging baskets of this one, as the momma plant is beautiful, hanging down almost a full foot. It looks like a net of tiny rosettes cascading down from the pot. It is just gorgeous whether it is flowering or not. So here is pic of my successfully rooted alsobia dianthiflora.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Round Humidity Dome & Black Pagoda Buds!!

I wanted to do a little piece on the couple of humidity domes that I keep little plants in to see how they grow. This is my round humidity dome (a cake bottom and dome from a DQ cake). In this one I have a hoya lacunosa, a hoya kentiana (wayetti), a hoya KQ, a lipstick plant, a black pagoda lipstick plant, a goldfish plant (nematanthus), and a couple duplicates. They are all in one inch pots, and I keep it pretty moist in there. I am also kind of watching to see if these plants bloom faster than their parent plant. Small one inch pots should make them root bound faster. So I can see if this has an effect. I took all the cuttings around the same time a few months back, and since then they have been growing very nicely. As you can see in the pics if you click on them and make them bigger, there is a lot of aerial roots on the go in there. Eventually it will look like a mini jungle in there with every plant intertwined.So as I am taking pics of the plants in my humidity dome, I notice something......well......different looking on my black pagoda lipstick plant. Upon further inspection......BUDS!! I have never seen this one flower in person either, so I am excited. Right away I checked the momma plant, and sure enough, it too has buds! YAY! So maybe from the diminishing daylight hours.......although I can't even really be sure. The momma plant is in an east window, and goes quite dry, well bone dry before I water it again (I have under watering probs....lol) and the plants in the humidity dome, well they are obviously kept very moist, and they are under a couple fluorescent lights. So I don't know how they wound up blooming at the same time, other than the season, because they have no other factors in common.
So my luck lately with flowers are that they are blasting before they ever bloom. So I get to see buds, but no flowers. Just recently this has been re occurring with my hoya lacunosa and my other lipstick plant, so I won't hold my breath on this one either, but it sure would be a beautiful thing to see.

Carnosa Cuttings in my Mosaic Pot

I am so impressed with an old Hoya Carnosa that I have. It was getting long and scraggly so I took some cuttings. I expected them to take a little longer than normal since we are heading into the thick of winter. I have a few pots of Hoya Carnosa around the house, from different sources, so I wanted to do something a little different with this plant. Most of my hoya's are in 4 inch pots, a few are in 6 inch, but the pot I wanted to use is quite large, maybe a 12 inch terracotta pot. But this pot, well it is a special pot. I made this pot with mirror tiles, and did it as a mosaic. Now I think it has the coolest look too it, so I thought a nice ol' hoya carnosa would look really pretty in it, whether or not it ever flowered. But the pot was so big.........so what I did was fill a little more than half with Styrofoam popcorn, then added some of my potting medium to the upper four or five inches. So I am positive there is awesome drainage, and there isn't so much of an over potting issue.

So I took these cuttings only a couple weeks ago, and already there are quite firmly rooted in their pot. I am impressed. So I put my bamboo hoop in the pot because I have intentions of making this more of a floor plant to display.

Well I think it is looking quite nice already. I figured I would record the event online, so that I can see what it looks like in a few months.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas vs. Thanksgiving Cactus (Pics)

I have to admit that I did not always know the difference between a Christmas Cactus and a Thanksgiving Cactus. To be honest, I never even questioned whether there was a difference. But now that I am more into plants than I used to be, I Google everything, and realized there was a difference. It didn't take me long to recognize the difference, but that was because I happened to score a "true Christmas Cactus" from an older lady this past spring. So I had both types side by side to compare. I guess there is a lot of confusion as to which particular hybrid one might have, and I think it would be best to do a side by side comparison. There are other links and pages that go into much more detail than I will, one of the best is this one.

I can not compare the flowers as I have not seen my "true Christmas Cactus" in flower yet. Again, for a comparison of the flowers, the link above explains it pretty well.

My whole purpose was to put both of these different hybrids side by side for others to see for themselves the differences. I hope this helps someone someday : )

The Christmas cactus is the plant on the left while the thanksgiving cactus is the one on the right. One of the biggest differences is that the Thanksgiving cactus has more jagged segments. Another difference is that the Christmas cactus is more of a cascading / hanging plant, whereas the Thanksgiving cactus grows more upright (I guess when they get bigger, they might tend to slope over)

Here is a pic of the two side by side more close up. Again the Christmas cactus is on the left, while the Thanksgiving cactus is on the right.

Now I had to do this to really compare the two, I think this would help a lot of people in recognizing the difference. Now of course, I messed this pic up, not even thinking. So the Thanksgiving cactus is on the left in this pic, it is the one with the pointy segments. The Christmas cactus is on the right this time, notice how it is much more rounded. Another difference I personally noticed, is that the Christmas cactus segments (say that five times fast....lol) are slightly smaller than it's counterpart, even though it does not show much in this pic.

Azaleas, Strep & Australis

So I bought an azalea in the spring, it was blooming white, and it was gorgeous. Well since then, it has suffered a lot of abuse. I had planted it out back in a small garden, and my wonderful dog dug it up at least three times, each time breaking more branches. Once it started getting cold I brought it back in the house. Now I know azaleas need a cold period to bloom, so I might have to put this back outside near the end of winter. Here is a pic of my white azalea.......we will see in the spring if it blooms again.Well I guess it is azalea time again, because everywhere I go there are blooming azaleas. I don't normally buy these because I haven't had the chance to see if I can re-bloom them, so I don't want to go all out with this plant just yet......lol. I can see myself getting very into these if I could get them to re flower, because the are just beautiful!

So the other day, at Walmart, I came across some azaleas. There was one that caught my eye, it was just the prettiest thing I had even seen. If I can re accomplish the blooming process, I will be so impressed with myself. The color pattern is one I had never seen before on azaleas. .......I guess there are quite a few cultivars, much like roses(have you seen some of the bloom colors roses have lately...OMG!)

So anyways, here are a couple pics of this famous azalea I rant about. See what I mean......Magnifique!!Now on from that.....here are a couple little plants I have my eye on right now. My streptocarpus (gesneriad)......it is still just small, and at one point I thought it was going to die from rot. I had had it in my humidity dome, and it did not seem to like that much humidity, since I have moved it, it is growing quite nicely. I have never seen one of these flower in person, so it will be interesting to see it when it flowers.

The other one I have my eye on right now is my hoya australis variegata. I took a cutting of it, and the cutting is growing so nicely right now and the color of the leaves is just so cool. Deep red and green, and so shiny.

First Post.....what to write

Well, I have never had a blog before, but it seems like quite a cool idea to keep it more as a plant journal than anything. My life is pretty boring, which I am kind of thankful for, and my plants keep me sane......really they do. When I need a moment to myself, I run to my plants. I guess I will start by telling a bit more about the kinds of plants I grow. My absolute favorite plant in the world is the Hoya. Whatever hoya it may be, I love it......well that isn't true (some I love less than others) but all in all I think they are the most unique and beautiful plants, not only for their flowers, which are totally unreal, but the foliage is amazing as well. I would say my hoya collection has become a hoya addiction......but c'mon, it's a healthy addiction.
Here is a pic of my hoya lacunosa forming buds. They keep blasting on me, but there are a few on the go, so hopefully one will make it to blooming soon. Now for some that have never seen a hoya in flower, they are spectacular!! Breathtaking!! Here is a pic of a hoya pubicalyx, gives an idea as to what they look like. Of course there are so many types of hoyas, so I cant obviously place pics of them all in here, but here is one of my fav's.
Now, enough of hoya's for now.......the other plants I grow. My second favorite group of plants I grow are gesneriads. This includes aeschynanthus (lipstick plants), nematanthus, columnea, episcia, streptocarpus, and of course the ever popular African Violet. Now most of the time I prefer succulent-y foliage, but this group of plants can vary, alot of them have more textured or hairier leaves. But the foliage can be amazing, wild colors, wild designs, and the flowers again are spectacular!! Here is a pic of an episcia that I have. It is still just a small plant, as I just received it as a cutting from a really nice person!
Here is a pic of a Space Violet Bloom. The history about the space violets in a nutshell......NASA sent some seeds to space for a few years.....when they returned to earth, the AV's that came from these particular seeds had special traits. They were larger, ever blooming. The whole story can be found here... http://www.optimara.com/everfloris.htmlThen there are various other types of plants I love......pothos (these are just the coolest plants, everyone should have at least one), philodendrons, schlumbergera, dischidia, ceropegia......and the list goes on. I can introduce other plants later, because listing them all would just be a whole project in itself. So I will end this post with a cool pic of one of my schlum's (thanksgiving cactus). And hopefully, I can really commit to keeping this plant journal alive!!