Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hoya's Lacunosa, Curtisii & Nummularioides

I just can't win with my Hoya lacunosa. I have had one peduncle for months, and it forms buds, then drops them before it even gets close to flowering. The peduncle on the right is the one that keeps dropping it's buds. Hoya peduncles are like trees in a sense. They leave a ring after a flowering cycle (well trees don't grow rings after they flower, but they do grow rings every year of their life, which can be used to determine how old the tree is). So as you can see in the pic, the peduncle on the right looks like it has flowered four or five times, when in actuality, it never has.

So to mock me even more, my Hoya lacunosa decided to grow a new peduncle. The new peduncle is the one on the left. It also has little buds forming, although I am really doubting it is going to actually show me flowers. I can't wait to see flowers though, they are so cute, and I have heard they smell spectacular.

My Hoya nummularioides hsa started to grow again, and even though we still only have about 13 hours of daylight the new leaves are larger than the old ones. I would almost blame it on artificial lighting,, except it has always been under fluorescents supplemented by an East window. I think this is such a beautiful plant. The leaves are fuzzy (pubescent) and they are also tear shaped. I haven't seen mine flower (what else is new?), but it has beautiful flowers.

I got a small cutting of a Hoya curtisii from a nursery a few weeks ago, but being so small, I decided not to stick the bottom in potting mix, but rather lay the hoya out across the soil. This has worked well, as almost every node has rooted into the soil, and already it is putting out new growth. The leaves on this Hoya are very small (slightly larger than a pea), and they are speckled with gray. The older leaves are quite plump. I like this Hoya more for the foliage than the flowers, as I do not find the flowers really pretty, like some of the other Hoya's I have.

What doesn't kill it will only make it stronger!?!

Let's talk about my Hoya compacta. It is in a 6inch pot, in the same mix that it came in from the nursery (which normally I change, because it tends to rot my plants over time). Although it is mostly a peat based mix, I have not had too many problems. It goes through water quite quickly because it is nearly potbound. I also have a severe under watering problem, as mentioned before, so I am doubting that the mold was caused by moisture, but what do I know?

Last week when I took it down to be watered, I noticed there was white mold growing on top of the soil. I flushed it well (it was pretty dry at this time), but when I watered it again tonight, there was more mold. Not as much, but enough just the same.

Well somewhere on the world wide web I read that cinnamon has anti fungal I gave my hoya a cinnamon dunk (I just hope the mold is fungal in nature). I sprinkled cinnamon on all the soil, and then flushed out the soil again. When that was done, I sprinkled some more cinnamon on only the mold, and hung it back up in it's place. It has been recommended to me that I re pot it with a more loose draining mix, but I really don't want to mess with roots right now, as it root bound enough to flower, but not so root bound that it won't take up water.

If by next week when I water, there is mold again, I am going to have re pot it in to my own mix. I am hoping the cinnamon works, since re potting, and combing through the roots to remove the old soil, is a time consuming task, and I always tend to break plants when I do this.

Wish me luck, and like I said, if the cinnamon doesn't kill the hoya, it will only make it stronger.

**Update** 20 days later, it needs water again. NO MOLD!! It worked. Cinnamon to kill mold, fungi, whatever it was. (Cappuccino cinnamon to be

Rooting Thanksgiving Cactus & Cupped African Violet

If only every plant propagated as well as the Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus. I have not lost a cutting of this ever, even when I can't get around to it right away. I have two humidity domes for high humidity plants, or for rooting some plants. I had totally forgotten about a few cuttings that I had pretty much thrown in the humidity dome, and today I found it laying at the bottom, hidden from view. The picture below shows roots already developing even though it has not been potted up yet. These are as easy to root as putting some cuttings in a baggie and giving it a spray of water. I did not pot this one up yet, I am going to continue to see how it does in the humidity dome.

So they are easy to root, and the root system develops quite quickly. I use small white Dixie cups when rooting various things, and the picture below shows the roots that have formed over a three month period. These cuttings were put in the cup (no rooting hormone) on October 24 2007, and three months later this is the root system it has developed.

Many of my first babies are starting to show small buds. It will be the first time I have seen some of them bloom, so I am really excited. The African Violet in the picture below is gearing up to throw out some flowers, but this one is somewhat different from my other AV's. The leaves are cupped, and they are unlike any AV I have ever seen. I know there are many leaf types when it comes to AV's, but this is the first one I have seen that has leaves cupped like this. When I first started noticing this trait, I thought at first it was having problems (low light, high light, not enough fertilizer). I have come to see now, that this isn't the case, as it has continued to grow quite nicely, and it is ready to bloom.

Here is a close up pic of the same African Violet pictured above. The first flower bud is just starting to peek it's head out from under the leaves. I can't even begin to imagine what the flowers look like, other than they look somewhat purple.

And last but not least I had to show off an African Violet that has steadily bloomed over the past few months. It is so nice to be able to see flowers in the dead of winter.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jade cuttings

I like Jades (Crassula), and there are more varieties out there than I knew about. I have had the regular type, crassula ovata fro some time now. When I got it, I split it up into a few pots, giving my daughter a couple, and leaving myself with one. Well that one got severly damaged by the frost this past fall, and it might have made it, but it slowly kept rotting away and I eventually threw it away. The other couple that my daugher has tended to are doing well. I also have the Crassula ovata "tri-color", but it quite small and just started to grow, as it is a new cutting as well. I like it, I think the variegation is quite pretty. Here is a pic of it below.

Recently I got another cutting if the tri color Crassula, as well as a couple leaves from the Crassula cultivar "gollum". This particular one is quite unique, with long almost finger like leaves. I have seen pics of this one grown as a bonsai specimen and I think they are just the coolest looking plants. A jade in flower is a really stunning thing to see.

The "secret" I guess to cacti and succulent cuttings is to let them callous over and then plant them in dry potting mix. They are quite susceptible to root rot, thus the reason to let them callous over first. Well, I have not succeeded in this callousing over thing, and only have success by just laying the cuttings on top of some moist potting mix. I find my cuttings go soft and mushy before they even have a chance to callous over. My first tri color cutting was left out to callous over, and once it started wilting I laid it on some potting mix, and it rooted quite quickly. So I will stick to this method, even though it is not the "recommended" method.

I really hope the cuttings root, especially the "gollum" cultivar. As soon as I see roots, the camera will be out and I will take some pics.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Too COLD for

I left the house only briefly today, it was bitter cold. I haven't felt this kind of cold in a really long time. Thanks everyone for giving me wonderful things to read on the chilliest Sunday posssibly EVER!! Notice the feels like's friggin' cold!

And for everyone one across the border, here it is in Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit is like Greek to me, so I assume Celsius is Greek to someone out there.

Keep Warm Everyone!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Calamondin Cutting

Lately, I have been day dreaming a lot about fruit trees. They always catch my eye when I see them, but they can be pricey, and well they can be tricky as houseplants. Not too many fruit trees can grow here, I think I am in Zone 2, maybe 3, but that is pushing A couple of my neighbours have a hardy apple tree, and one has a Nanking Cherry that is hardy, and I am going to try and take cuttings this spring of them. This requires a bit of research though, as I have found woody/tree cuttings to be hard to do.

Must be the season or something, but all these cute little Calamondin trees are everywhere around here. So I had to get a cutting, and try it out for myself.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

So here is the cutting. It reminds me a ficus....kind of, with a mini orange rather than a fig?!? They are said to be able to grow to close to 24 inches over a ten month period, from cutting. They grow roughly a foot a year. I am told they can bear fruit in their second year from a cutting. So it is kind of like instant gratification (at least in the botanical world). I will probably end up buying one if they are still around in a month or so (or when they go on When they flower I hear they are highly fragrant. I love the smell of citrus, so this will be a much anticipated flower in my house. I do plan on putting it under a 400W MH once it has rooted quite well (My brugs under them love it!!). I love that I can simulate at least bright sun to a select number of my plants.

I rooted this cutting in some well draining coir and perlite. I took the fruit off "sniff", hoping it will focus on rooting and not fruiting. I put it in the window, close to a fluorescent light, in a baggie. So we will see what happens. I have never had success with tree cuttings, at least outdoor tree cuttings, but I am hoping this will be more of a ficus/woody hoya type plant that will root inside under houseplant conditions.

That last statement confused me little, so let me explain. I have rooted woodier type hoya's, as well as Ficus cuttings. I have even had some fuchsia cuttings survive (they were a bit trickier). But I tried last summer to take some cuttings from trees that were growing outside, and they all wilted and died within a couple days. I find outdoor plants harder to take cuttings of, unlike indoor plants, which are somewhat easier. So I am just hoping that this Calamondin will root as easily as a houseplant, and not be so difficult like my summer tree cuttings.

Last night when I was googling around with Calamondins, I read that they can root from leaf cuttings.....and now I am saying "DaMn", I threw three leaves out. I came home with the cutting, potted it up, and THEN did my googling. I guess I know for next time. I came across a fellow Canadian that has been growing these for many years. It was a nice article, I am glad I took the time to read it, I am posting the link in case it further peaks your curiosity.

Mostly an ornamental plant, the fruits are said to be quite sour and bitter. Compared more to a lime than a lemon. I would still love to try one, and I bet they are wonderful in iced tea, or on fish. YAY!!.....two more years!!! OMG I can't wait!! LOL

(photo courtesy of Sebastien Tricoire & Wikimedia)

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Challenge to my Hubby "A Hint of Color" Azalea Picture Black & White

This challenge is in reference to a previous post a couple days ago. This pic he was trying to "create" was a huge ordeal in my house. It first started when he asked me to do this for him in Photo shop. I am a novice when it comes to Photo shop, but I can navigate and play around with it. He can navigate it, but really can't even play. It is quite the program, and it can take hours to do the smallest task. One day I will take a course in this program because it really can do amazing things.

Anyways, back to the subject at hand. So me trying to "create" this pic for him has turned into him barking out ways to do it whilst standing over my shoulder, yet he can not even understand some of things I am doing. I admit it took some thinking. It is a high resolution picture, therefore anything I do to it can change it's quality. Notice it is a side by side of two different pictures. And one requires the pic to be zoomed in upon. Being a high resolution pic, and wanting to keep the resolution, so that when the pic is clicked upon, one can enlarge it, and still keep detail and reduce graininess. Here are the two pictures we wanted to use and combine them to make a side by side.

Well I ended up getting fuming mad and frustrated and told him to leave the room after about 30 minutes of trying with him right behind me, and let me do it in peace. I did it in about ten minutes, nothing spectacular, just the task on hand. Needless to say I can't find my copy of the pic, only his.

Well he couldn't beleive what he was seeing me do in Photoshop, why would a program be so difficult with changing numbers (image size, pixels, know, all those numbers), and resizing, and basically everything I was doing. Remember I am a novice too, so I may be doing the long way, but it works for me. He piped up "pft, I can do that way easier than what you did". He took used Microsoft pic & fax viewer, zoomed in, took screen shots, pasted them into word pad, then pasted them into Photo shop ( after he realized you could paste) and then did some adjustments from there. I don't remember how long it took, not much longer than me, but it wasnt a race so it doesn't matter. Here is the pic he came up with. Mine was much the same.

Well one a different note, he is a Linux nut, so he says to me "I bet you I can do everything you do in Photo shop, except use GIMP (a Linux based PS), and look just as good."

Bring it on Baby!!

Here is the pic I have created. I will transfer the same pic I used to start with, same size, same pixels to his computer. When he is done, I will post his creation, and my creation, and see what happens.

This is going to be so fun!!!

And to further extend the challenge, here is a second pic offered . Again I will send the one original photo I used to create this.

African Violets DaMn Suckers

Sometimes African Violets get a bad reputation for being slightly harder to grow than some other common houseplants. When I realized there was this "thing", like a whole other world, that existed on African Violets, I had to give them a go. I didn't like them very much. I saw them as untidy, dusty, old looking plants. I was not a fan of fuzzy leaves, and still have only come to more or less accept them, and try to keep them nice looking (which is getting increasingly hard since my AV collection has grown This is a pic of one of my very first AV's.

One thing I was completely baffled by in the beginning was the concept of "suckers". WTF are these? And why could I not understand what they were? It took me a while, but I finally get it. And in hopes to help another confused and frustrated person.....I am going to explain.

Quoted by Wikipedia: " (A) A basal shoot, root sprout or sucker is a shoot or cane which grows from a bud at the base or roots of a tree or shrub. Suckers are considered undesirable by horticulturists because they are unsightly and their growth draws energy from the plant." Here is a link to the Wikipedia page.

I also must add that I think Wikipedia is a wonderful concept. I encourage everyone to check out this link to the Wikimedia Foundation, which is sort of like the parent of many "Wiki" pages. It is based on the idea that everyone should be able to access the same information for free. Free open content. I think they have an amazing idea. Way to go!!

Getting back on track, to suckers......I had a real problem recognizing them. There are not too many pictures on the web that can can easily convey to someone what exactly a sucker is. So I am going to overload on sucker pictures to hopefully easily convey to someone, anyone, what the heck these things are.

Here is a pic of a whole pot of them damn It is recommended that a person DO NOT grow them like this, unless they are of a trailing variety (which is a whole other thing). Suckers are said to take energy from the main plant, thus causing an eventual decrease in the plant's overall health. Now because they say not to do this, I had to. This is not a trailing variety, which in a simple sense means that all the suckers are coming from the same main stem, so far. I have yet to see if any suckers will grow from another sucker. I have also not seen this plant bloom yet, it is still quite young. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. I will keep tabs on it and let you know.

So there's a whole pot of them, notice the messy look to the plant. But what does one look like, and better yet, what does it look like before the whole plant is an unsymmetrical mess? Below is a pic of one growing off the neck. It is a small speck of green. If I can find them when they first start or are at least pretty young, I take a pencil and scrape them off. Unless of course you want to root them, which also is quite easy.

How do you know it is a sucker and not a flower? I asked this too. Below is the same sucker up close, and off to the right, is a new flower bud. The flower bud is no more than half an inch big, so you can see it does not take long to recognize the difference. Once you see it for yourself, the cloud goes away and the concept becomes really clear.

I should note that the African Violet in the above pics does not receive enough light. Notice how the leaves stretch upward. I admit some of mine are slightly neglected, no one is perfect, and c'mon, I have nearly 60, it gets rough Below is the above plant beside one that is grown in adequate light. The smaller one is a mini AV, not a large AV, like the other one. In terms of suckers, size doesn't matter, AV's come in a variety of sizes and a sucker is a sucker is a sucker.

So suckers make the plant look messy and unkempt, wtf is it supposed to look like then? Regular Av's (not the trailing ones) grow from one central rosette, flowers will appear in the center or just off center. This African Violet displays the symmetry that growers try to achieve. This one particular AV has taken a few months to look like this. It still isn't quite what I want it to be, but it is one I have that has a "close to symmetrical" look.(before)


There I did it, I think. I am out of breath, and ready for bed. I never anticipated this post taking me so long, but it was fun putting it together.

And this pic has nothing to do with suckers, I just had to end this post with something related but prettier than all these "suckers". Last but not least, the other side of the flower, not as pretty as the face of the flower, but unique and beautiful in it's own way.

Azalea Issues

I think Azalea's are beautiful. I could easily fill my house with them. They come in so many different colors now, much like roses do. I only have a couple; a white one, and a pink and white one. Now the reason I don't fill my house with them.....they need a cold period to induce flowering. I am not sure how hardy the ones I have are, but I really don't think they can handle -30 Celsius. I am planning to put it outside once the winter becomes bit milder. I really don't want buy anymore until I am sure I can re flower them.

My white Azalea took nearly 4 months after it flowered to show signs of life. Now it is growing, so I really hope I can re flower it. The one problem I do have with my pink and white Azalea is that it wilts on parts of the plant. The above pic is of some healthy growth, whereas the bottom pic shows the wilting/drooping that I have encountered. I am not sure what this is caused from, but I really would like to know. I do know Azaleas like to be kept on the wet side, more so than other plants. They are also heavier feeders than other plants as well. I try to keep it slightly wetter than my other plants, and I fertilize it lightly every couple of waterings. One quick note about Azalea's that I have come to find out is that if you plan on pruning it, you should do it soon after it flowers, as the new flowers are born from last years growth. Prune it too late and you will cut off the parts where the new flowers will emerge.

I am going to have do some googling and read up some more about Azalea's. First to see how hardy they are, and to also try and figure out what is causing the wilting on some parts. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them. Someone out there must be growing Azalea's and having success with them. I can't call my self successful with this plant just yet.....not until I can reflower it.

Hoya Pubicalyx & Christmas cactus & Hubby's moment of fame

Even though I have never seen my Hoya pubicalyx flower, it is still one of my favorite hoya's. It is one of the hoya's that shows it's climbing/twining habit quite well. Every few days I have to untangle it's long vines from other nearby plants. I hesitate to twine them around the bamboo hoop until they are nearly a foot long; this way I can twine it around the hoop and still leave 4 or five inches to continue to twine. I have found this hoya can get pretty dry between waterings. Mine has gone very very dry, and yet I have never seen it wilt or wrinkle. It sits in an East window, and seems to do quite well there. I am not sure which cultivar of hoya pubicalyx this is, but I find them all very nice. I will only be able to tell when it flowers. Here is a link to some pics of flowers from the hoya pubicalyx.

I took some cuttings of my Schlum a few weeks ago and stuck them in my humidity dome. They rooted very well in there, but a couple days ago I took it out of the humidity dome, and put them on my window sill. They seem to be a bit stressed. They have lost some of their succulence, and it is starting to wilt. I am going to keep and eye on it for the next few days, and if it does not start to recover on its own, I am going to put it back into my humidity dome. Even though it feels quite firmly rooted in it's pot, I am considering the possibility that the roots have not developed enough to support itself just yet.

I had to include this pic in my blog, even though I showed some pics of it a couple posts ago. It is my strep and my hubby and I were discussing photoshop earlier today when he asked me to "create" a pic such as this one. The left side shows a pic of the whole plant, whereas the right is an extreme close up of the top. This pic was put together by Dear Hubby, and he wanted me to post it in my blog. Here you go Honey!! (He doesn't even read my blog, but that is besides the

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Aeschynanthus Longicaulis....again & Pink Baby AV

For a plant I kind of did not like in the beginning, this one certainly has grown on me. The whole plant is in bloom now, there must be at least 50 flowers on it. And even though the flowers are not showy, I have really come to like them as well. This is close up pic of a couple flowers standing right up on my Aeschynanthus Longicaulis. All of the flowers on this plant seem to stand straight up, rather than hang down.

My pink African Violet babies are almost ready to be potted up on their own. Some of the leaves are close to dime sized now......this seems to be a good size when separating the babies. I don't know where I am going to put them, since my light stand is almost full right now. I gave 5 or 6 AV babies to my neighbor so I could start making space for the new babies, I am thinking I will have to get rid of a few more to make room. I think the pink variegated foliage is so pretty looking. I believe this one is supposed to have single pink blooms, so the foliage will be just as showy as the flowers.

Streptocarpus & Hoya Bella

I am running out of flowering plants to show on my blog, so I am going to have to start writing about the ones that don't.

One of my favorite Hoya's is the Hoya Bella. It is so delicate looking compared to some of the other hoya's I have. The leaves on this one never really grow succulent-ty. I can tell through touch which leaves are more succulent, but they never really appear it. I have noticed that when it is given more sun, the leaves grow in almost golden then turn their green color.

The leaves themselves only grow about 2 centimeters long. Below is a close of of a couple leaves My hoya bella has not flowered yet, There is a pic of the flowers here. I have not checked the roots in a few months, so I am not sure even how close it is to being root bound (something many hoya's lovers believe helps to encourage flowering). I have not mastered the needs of this plant quite yet, I can't quite get the watering right, it likes to drop leaves, and it seems to be quite picky

I have a couple small streps that I am struggling to grow. Like the bella, I have found it to be picky as well. It tends to get yellow leaves at the bottom as well, and again I blame it on the watering......and the humidity. With low humidity, the leaves get crispy, and in humidity dome seems to be too much, because it almost instantly starts to get signs of rot.

I am hoping that now with a humidifier in the main plant area, this one might become somewhat happier that it already seems. This is one as well that I have not seen flowers on, and I am not even sure what or if anything can induce it. I know they like small pots so I have always kept mine in a plastic dixie cup (which btw makes wonderful pots for plants that tend to like being in small pots). The pics below are an extreme close up of my strep, even the hairs are visible. I am still in awe of the pictures my camera can take.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hoya Curtisii, Wandering Jew & Dream African Violets

Most of my plants that are in my windows have slowed in growth considerably, but the ones under lights have continued to grow. I had my small Hoya Curtisii cutting on the window sill but since it was doing nothing, I moved it under my lights. It has been under my lights for a couple weeks now, and since it was moved, it has begun to put on some new growth. Ever since my Hoya obsession has begun, I have been amazed with how the leaves grow. They emerge so tiny and grow until they reach their final size, unlike other plants where the leaf develops first, then emerges.

Even though many of my plants are looking kind of scraggly and leggy, I am still amazed at how my Wandering Jews pull through. They always provide color amongst the green. Looking at them earlier today, I noticed how they seem to just sparkle. I have a green Wandering Jew as well, although it doesn't sparkle like the purple one. These plants grow like weeds, and other than over watering them, they are virtually indestructible.

Again, here are some "in my dreams" flowers. If only someone could figure out how to genetically manipulate African Violets to create the ones that we can't seem to the bright yellows, greens and oranges. Over the past few years, yellow AV's have begun to show up, although they are quite light. Green ones have also begun to show up, and I must admit they are pretty cool looking. I had purchased a couple leaves from ebay that should have bloomed green, but they died quite quickly. Normallly I don't have a problem laying leaves from AV's, but I am guessing that since these are the only ones I have ever purchased, they were doomed from the

My first Green Thumb Sunday!!

I am so excited to finally be a part of Green Thumb Sunday. I have been reading about it for weeks, and each Sunday I visit the blogs of some of those that participate......I don't know why I didn't join sooner.....fear of commitment

My first pic is of my Brugmansia that I am growing from seed. I have four seedlings on the go, but this is the healthiest one. For a while it seemed to be dropping leaves just as fast as it grew them, but it has stopped that, and is now growing quite nicely. It is far from blooming, but I am still so excited that it is growing. Here is a pic from a few weeks ago that I posted on my blog. It is supposed to be a double purple flower, but from the many articles I have read, I guess you can not predict what you will get from seed. I still hope this isn't the case because I really like the double purple flowers.

I have got quite a few plants in bloom right now, a couple lipstick plants, a few African Violets and an Azalea. I choose to show off my AV. It is one of few named AV's that I have. I received this from an elderly lady that grew the most beautiful AV's. She told me the name of this one was "Very Berry". It is so different from the rest of my AV's in that the flower almost seems made of wax.