Monday, December 24, 2007

Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus) Red flowers

Merry Christmas to me !! As I was fighting the crowds in Walmart yesterday I came across the most beautiful Lipstick plant. I couldn't pass it up as I don't have this particular one.
The leaves and flowers are much larger than any lipstick plant I have. The leaves are almost 2 inches across and almost 4 inches long. The flowers are a couple inches long as well.

Inside the mouth of the flower is quite stunning as well. The flowers are just so perfect looking. I am finding that aeschynanthus is quite easy to take of. It can suffer a lot of neglect. I let mine go pretty dry before watering them. I don't fertilize it very often. All of the ones I have are in an East or South window, and they love it.

Here is a close up of the mouth of the flower. Inside it is a pale yellow with red stripes.

Now I don't live in the warmest place, so taking the plant from the store to the car was like running a mini marathon. Gotta keep the plant warm, gotta keep the plant The temperature outside was about 15 degrees below zero (Celsius). In this pic you can see the damage from the cold. I have cut off the ends that were damaged so now it looks quite good. I am hoping that it won't continue to blacken. It was only in the cold for maybe 2 minutes total.

Friday, December 21, 2007

"Thor Livia" & random bloomer's

When I got my gold flowering schlum, "Thor Alex", I also got a cutting of "Thor Livia". It was an unrooted cutting, so I probably should not have let it bloom, but you know how hard it is to remove a bud before it opens. Well, it bloomed yesterday, but before I could even start my day, a migraine from hell ended it. I finally took pics today, but I have noticed the cutting has started to wilt, so I quickly pulled the bud off. All I wanted was a I was kind of surprised as to how pure white this flower is. Other than a faint, thin ring of light pink in the throat, the whole flower is pure snow white, with no other hint of color. It really is a stunning flower. Hopefully it will come through alright.

"Thor Livia"

I have been trying to pollinate my schlums as they bloom. It hasn't worked so far......all my flowers wilt and dry, but they eventually fall off. I am assuming that if the pollination took, the flower/fruit would stay firm to the plant. I was also given a tip to wait until the stigma was open before attempting pollination. The pic below shows the stigma open and ready for pollination.

I caught this little guy blooming in the corner behind a larger plant. It's always a nice little surprise to see flowers, especially when I don't see the buds and I haven't been anticipating it at all.

And again this ugly green little flower. Aeschynanthus Longicaulis. This flower is not on the mother plant, it is in a small dixie cup under fluorescent lights in a humidity dome. I have three separate plants from the same mother, and even under totally different conditions, they all bloomed at the same time.

This reminded me that my other lipstick plant (aeschynanthus radicans/lobbianus **again the name crap**) had one bud on it. Yes, you read that right...ONE. This is a beautiful full plant, that gets almost full sun throughout the whole year. The foliage is so pretty. It has tried to flower a couple times before, but long before I got any flowers, the buds would fall off. I have searched this plant up and down, because c' bud, you have got to be kidding me. But sadly it is true. I am not holding my breath on this one, this is one plant that is just dAmN stubborn when it comes to flowering.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Odd Schlum growth & my Hoya compacta

Today, on my search for new buds on my Schlum's, I found a very odd growing segment on one. Instead of being flat like they normally are, this one has three sides. If you look closely at the center of this pic, it can be seen. It is not standing erect like the other segments, so in the pic, it's top is facing towards you. I have never seen this before , so I don't know what could possibly cause this. I think it will be quite amusing to see it grow. I wonder if the segments that will grow on it will become three-sided as well.
One of my absolute favorite hoya's is my Hoya compacta, I love everything about this hoya; the twisted leaves, the flowers, the scent. It flowered quite readily this past summer. It is in a 6 inch pot, and to be honest, I have not changed the mix since I got it almost a year ago. I have good reasoning behind it though. It is root bound in this pot and it goes dry every 3 or 4 days. So I know that it is still growing well in this mix. I want to put off as long as possible as to keep it snug.

I was totally shocked that this picture came out as clear as it did. In the center of the pic, a small peduncle started to grow. It is still laying on the branch. This peduncle started forming a few months ago when the plant went bloom crazy, but it never grew past this point. When the flowering stopped, so did the growth of this little peduncle.

Even though we are in the midst of winter, most of my plants have continued to grow. There are a few that have stopped, but most have continued to grow. This is a pic of a new leaf emerging from one of my hoya's.

Official Death of Space Violet

Well it's official. My space violet is dead. By the time I noticed the rot, it must have been to late. I took of all the rot and re potted the crown, and now the whole thing has rotted. I took a couple good leaves in hopes that they give me some babies. It again might be too late, they still don't look the healthiest. This is the first AV that I have lost to I am blaming it on the soil mix it was in. I have gotten quite a few plants from a particular nursery, and I have just begun to notice that the soil mix they use is almost like a sponge. It must work in the greenhouse, just not in the average home. Note to self: Always re pot plants from big box store or nurseries.

As I was putzing around with my plants today, I found the flower that fell of my Longicaulis. This in turn made me check the plant to see if I had any more blooms. I caught one flower just about open. It really turned into a nice picture.

I was checking blogs today on Green Thumb Sunday, and came across a beautiful plant. I have heard about them before, but like many other plants, I never bothered to look it up. It was a bougainvillea. It is one of these plants that are grown for the colorful bracts, not the flowers, which are quite small I guess. I immediately thought about my poinsettia, which is grown for the bracts as well. This whole flower bract thing is quite new to me......I might have to find myself a bougainvillea and see what all the fuss is about.

Many of my AV babies are nearing their first bloom. I did not label most of them, as they are not named varieties, so I am interested to see what pops up. I am finding that it is easier to work on the symmetry with African violets started from leaves.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Brugmansia from Seeds

Up until a few months ago, I did not even know what a brugmansia was. I had seen one in a hydroponics store I frequent. It was a massive tree that was almost 12 feet tall. One day I walked in and **voila** there before me were these huge hanging flowers. The owner told me to smell was just heavenly.
Since then, I have received some seeds and planted them. I have four baby brug seedlings. I have them growing under a 400W metal halide, as it is winter here, and I could not provide that much light to them. So now I have to wait for the famous "Y" I guess a brug will not bloom until it has formed one of these "Y's". So as this seedling grows, I will have to remove the lower foliage to encourage this formation. The "Y" formation is a pretty simple concept as you can see in the pic.

I have been told that the "Y" formation as well as a sub equal leaf are two indicator's that the brug may go into flower mode. The simplest way I can explain a sub equal leaf is that on each half of the leaf, where each half normally would meet the other at the base/stem, they don't meet. One half of the leaf is longer than the other side.

So I guess it is just a matter of time before my brug forms it's "Y" Other than pinching off the lower foliage, there is not a lot one can do to promote/induce flowering. They are heavy feeder's as well as heavy drinker's, and they like the sun.

My brug's are supposed to have a double purple and white flower. I am used to the notion that seeds never breed true to their parents, but I hope I am wrong. I wouldnt want another "Black Pagoda/Longicaulis" incident, where I anticipate these beautiful flowers, and then I end up with some funky, ugly green *Update" the green longicaulis flower has dropped off already. I think it has been 2 or 3 or three days since it opened. They don't seem to last too long. THere are many more buds on the way.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hoya KQ white leaves

A few months ago I took a couple cuttings from my Hoya Krimson queen. They soon put on some new growth, but the growth wall all white. Three leaves, one in the shape of an oven mitt, all pure white. Now there are theories out there that say you should remove the white leaves as it is draining on the plant's energy. Others disagree and leave them on. I think they are pretty and generally I leave them on.

But, this was a cutting with only a couple leaves and once it got those white leaves, it seemed to stop growing. So I took the white leaves off and again there was some new growth. Again, they were pure white leaves. Once more they stopped growing. **Off with those leaves!**.

This is when I asked around for an opinion as to what to do, everyone suggested seeing what it does with the white leaves left on. Well I have cheated a little and I have it under a 400W metal halide. I figure if the green has to sustain the plant, I better give it a whole of light. It is finally starting to grow now, again pure white leaves, they are still small, but it's growing. I think it would be really cool if this plant kept producing the white leaves......although I think I would have to forever leave it under the 400W MH to give it adequate light.

Gold Zygocactus!!! Thor Series

WooHoo!! I went to the nursery today to wander around and drink my coffee. I was kind of disappointed when I walked in and saw poinsettias as far as the eye can see. Don't get me wrong, there are some really beautiful cultivars out there, but I am not that much into them. I was on the prowl for hoya's and gessie's.

Well never mind the hoya's or gessie's for now, I found a gold zygocactus from the Thor series. I just had to have a gold zygocactus after seeing a few pics on another forum. Imagine my surprise when not only did I find one, but a named one at that. The gold zygo is called "Thor Alex". I also got a cutting of "Thor Livia", which should be a white flower. I also already have "Thor Zita". Just another plant I can obsess over.

"Thor Zita"

I probably won't see too many more flowers this year. The buds tend to drop once I get them home, which is understandable, they are said to drop their buds if they are moved once buds have set. But at least I have them. I can't wait until I force them into bloom, hopefully once they are used to my house, they will keep their buds.

"Thor Alex"

Alsobia Dianthiflora.....I killed it

I paid a pretty penny for this plant. I got it labeled as episcia dianthiflora, but turns out, the name has changed to alsobia dianthiflora. I was so proud of this plant, it bloomed faithfully all summer. It never needed a lot of attention.

The other day it looked to be drying up under the outer layer of I started picking away dead leaves and dead stem material. Well this plant is quite tangle-some, and it was taking a long time to pick away all the dead stuff

I had a brilliant idea........I could just ruffle and gently shake all the dead stuff out.....but gently because this plant is comprised of many tiny rosettes. I thought I did a great job........until today when I looked and it was really brown and dead. It seems that my gentle ruffling and gentle shaking broke many of the stems. Note to self: Never ruffle leaves again.

Well I did a number on this one, because it had to be stripped bald. This plant hung down past a foot long, it was gorgeous, and I have reduced it to a pile of roots in a 8 inch pot. Now there is a bright side to this.......mind you it is going to be a ton of work, but look what I have done.

Most of the rosettes are still viable because they haven't had a chance to die yet, only the stems are dead so far. So tomorrow, I am going to go through the pile of plant I have left and try to salvage some of it.
This is one that I have had trouble propagating in the past. I did it once, but I don't know how this will go.

Moral of the Story: Don't be a dumba$$ like me and ruffle your plants

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weird green lipstick plant flower......Aeschynanthus Longicaulis

Every plant lover knows that once you have a plant that is going to flower or going to seed, you have to check it every day, and if your a little neurotic like me, several times a day. I was getting my third cup of coffee when it hit me to check my plant formerly known as a black pagoda lipstick plant (It is now known as Aeschynanthus Longicaulis). The flower opened!! YaY!! Well because I thought it to be something else I have been expecting orange and yellow flowers, not these weird green flowers.So the whole flower is open now, and I admit, it's not the prettiest flower out there, but is it ever different. I can't think of many plants that have green flowers, so I am not accustomed to seeing them. The whole plant is covered in buds now, there must be at least 30 buds.I don't think it is a flashy plant like some of the other plants in this species. Unless you knew what you were looking for, the flowers could almost go unnoticed. They blend in quite well with the foliage. I showed my five year old daughter this morning (she loves plants too, and can name most of mine) she was not impressed. There was no "Mommy that's so pretty" "Can I smell it?", she didn't even show interest, normally she would. Her comment was "that's not very nice".
Still, I feel a sense of accomplishment that my plant has honored me with flowers. Unless of course it hates me and is trying to flower because I am killing it.........that can happen too. I am really happy that I have this plant in my collection, as it is totally unique and quite a sight to see.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pothos........gotta love this one!!!

For as long as I can remember I had a plant that I thought was a heart leaf philo, even though they looked slightly different (. It wasn't until I actually gave a crap about my plants, and found my hidden hobby inside myself, that I realized this was a potho's.

"Marble Queen"

Now I am a Google junkie.....if I have a question I know Google will help me It was when I started researching potho's that I realized there were a few different types of this plant. Over time I found most of the cultivars, and I love having this plant in my house. My potho's have moved numerous times to new houses. I have taken countless cuttings from them to make more pots, for myself and others.


As far as I know there are a few different cultivars.....jade potho's (plain green), marble queen (white and green), golden (yellow and green, and neon (brighter yellow-ish/green). Of course I am sure there are more, but these are by far the most popular. There is another one I have called Scindapsus picta, that is showing up more lately.


I have a jade Potho's, a marble queen, a golden and the scindapsus. Out of all of these, my plain old jade potho's is my favorite. The one I have in my dining room is starting to take over, with some of the vines (2 I think) almost 8 feet long. It is indestructible. I am bad with watering so sometimes it has to lose a leaf or two for me to notice it. It still keeps growing strong.


I read something a long time ago, that if these plants are let to climb rather than hang, their leaves are larger and can develop splits, just like a monstera deliciosa. Well I had to test this theory, so one of my jade potho's vines has been let to climb or rest on something, rather than hang. I had forgotten that I had done this, but I noticed today that the theory is true. In this pic, obviously the non hanging potho's is on the right.

Hanging vs Climbing

A potho's can flower too, check out a pic here. I have read that it has to reach around 40 feet (40 meters, I don't remember which one, and of course I can't find it again), so I do not anticipate this to happen anytime soon.

Comparison of (from left to right) Golden, Scindapsus, Jade & Marble Queen

I love this plant, I can't think of a more versatile plant or an easier plant to take care of. I love that I can drape the long vines around my plant corner. I love that no mater where I put it, it still grows. My marble queen potho's gets yellow-ish in lower light conditions, and even though it still looks nice, I prefer the white color on the leaves. I don't do much in the way of pruning, I just take cuttings as I need them. I have never had a problem with pests on my potho's. They really are the best plants ever. Everyone should have one.

Botanical names are infuriating

I guess to some people, having the real botanical name for their plant may not be as important as it is to others. But once a person dives deeper into the world of plants and starts collecting different cultivars, or different plants in the same family, the botanical names become more important. Honestly, the only plants I want and need to be correctly named are my gesneriads and my hoya's, and this is because I have a growing collection, and I try not to buy the same plant.A while back I bought what was named a Black Pagoda lipstick plant. It was on clearance, near death, but because I didn't not have this cultivar, I grabbed it. It has grown beautifully and is very lush and full of buds. Well as I was googling things last night, I realized that it was not a Black Pagoda lipstick plant. The flowers do not resemble this at all. After much reading, I deemed my plant to be Aeschynanthus Longicaulis, a parent of the Black Pagoda. So whoever gave this plant it's tag, messed up.

As if it isn't' bad enough to see all those stupid "tropical foliage" tags, the plants they do give names for are most likely wrong. So here is a pic of the flower of the plant formerly known as Black Pagoda, now Longicaulis. This link shows a pic, and has other pics of the cultivars in the aeschynanthus family.

Goldfish plant......I think there are two in there!!

As I was admiring my one single flower on my goldfish plant I noticed that only some of the leaves appear red underneath. Then, of course, I hit the flower and it falls off. Let me tell you in my house lately if I can get a plant to flower, I normally knock the flower off too. I think me and my plants need some

Anyways, I got to really looking at my plant, and I noticed two that there might be 2 different cultivars in the one pot. I checked the branches and none of them are joined except for below the soil. Since I had already knocked the flower off, I picked a few leaves for comparison and I am going to post on GW in hopes that someone can answer my question. Do I have two types of Nematanthus in one pot??I can't wait to find out.....I might need to wait until the other flowers but sooner or later I will know for sure. I know in this pic the flower looks yellow, but the color is more like the orange in the above photo. It is hard to get true colors on camera.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monstera Deliciosa, Schlums, KQ

My hubby loves Aroids, the more primal and jungle-y, the better. I have come to appreciate them, but they are not one of my favorite plants. We notices a leaf unfurling the other day and we noticed that this one had more splits in it then we have ever seen.It is just amazing how each plant can grow so uniquely. I hope the rest of the leaves on this plant continue to get more splits. I am very interested to see how large these can get. I have seen one that is humongous, the aerial roots on it must be ten feet in some places. It really is a sight to see.
I don't know a lot about Schlum's and their growth tendencies but boy am I mad at This is the first time I have ever grown them but since bringing them home from the store they have dropped all their buds. A few large buds opened for me at home, but the rest........gone.....what else is new? I know they need either darkness or cold to bloom, but I am still wondering if they will produce new buds as we only have about 10 hours of sunlight here right now. Obviously they are not focusing on buds right now as they are all putting on new segment growth.I don't really have a lot to say about my Hoya Krimson queen, but I just love the foliage especially the pink/white leaves and I had to take a pic.