Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hoya Order with Dave Liddle

I have been spending less time on my blog lately. I have had a few glitches over the past couple weeks with my computer, and with my pictures, The fact that I am working too, makes it even harder.

So, it is that time of the year, when plant addicts start buying more plants, and trading cuttings or seed. It is also that time of year when a bunch of people (hoya lovers) get together and place an order with DL, a hoya grower in Australia, that way the group can split on the cost of the phyto certificate,

I got news today from DL, he told me the box of cuttings was sent out on the 23rd of April, they will all go to a woman in BC who in turn will separate the order, and start mailing it out to the dozen or so people that placed an order.

When I contacted DL today, I was told that he was able to give me cuttings I asked for, he didn't need to substitute any of them. Below is the list of Hoya's I ordered. Each one is linked to a picture of itself.

IML 0112 Dischorensis
IML 0965 Caudata
IML 0390 Ciliata (eriostemma)
IML 0713 Erythrostemma
IML 0904 Heuschkeliana
IML 0056 Pubicalyx Royal Hawaiian Purple
IML 0268 Pubicalyx Red buttons
IML 0270 Vitiensis
IML 0768 Mindorensis
IML 0728 Purpureo Fusca
IML 0229 Subcalva
IML 1418 Aldrichii

In addition to this order from Australia, I am also going to participate in a hoya round robin. The concept is that there is a box or two of hoya cuttings, when you take a cutting or two or three, you have to replace it with cuttings from your own plants. As soon as you have chosen which cuttings you want, send the off to the next person on the list. The only cost in this event is the shipping, which isn't much more than ten dollars, if that.

I am so happy that I participated in both the Australian order and the round robin, I will be posting pics as soon as I get them, which should be this week!! YAY!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My first Orchid and I got it to bloom!!!

Right off the get go, I have to say I got a little lazy this week with my blog......I have joined the Rock Band / Guitar hero Craze. OMG it is addictive!! And so much fun!! I promise to make more time for my plants and my blog.....bad plant mommy, I have neglected them too all week. Being a Rock Star is hard


Back in March I decided that I had to have an orchid. I am pretty cheap so I was not willing to pay any more than ten or fifteen dollars. Some Orchids can cost more than a hundred dollars. I wasn't going to spend that much on a plant until I was sure I could care for it properly and get it to bloom again. I got this particular Orchid for less than ten dollars because it had already bloomed, and at the time looked like a twig in a pot. They were all marked down so I took advantage and bought one. I didn't even know what color the Orchid was going to be. The pic below was taken when I first bought my Orchid around the middle of March.

I really didn't think it would bloom again so quickly, but it seemed to take off as soon as I brought it home. I was a tad worried that I couldn't provide ideal conditions for an Orchid, so I am really excited to see it flower. I consider myself successful with my more "challenging" flowering plants, when I have gotten them to re flower. There is no way I am going to keep buying the same plants, if I can not get them to flower. Buying them in bloom from a store doesn't count for me, since my conditions in my home are totally different than from where that plant was raised. I need to see and prove to myself that I will see flowers again, especially if that is why I buy the plant (AV's, Azaleas, mini Roses, Gardenia...etc)

As for requirements, I must be doing okay. They are known to like humidity (I have a humidifier). Depending on the type of Orchid, they like light, some more than others (mine is in an East window). They like to have somewhat regular feeding (I use 20-20-20 diluted, so approx 5-5-5, when it gets watered). They also like to a temperature dip in the evenings.

Ideally during the day they like temps between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. At night they would prefer to be a few degrees cooler from 10 to 17 degrees (this is said to help induce flowering). Since it is starting to get warmer outside, I have been keeping the window open a bit every night giving the Orchid fresh, cooler air, and also encouraging air circulation. They like a chunky, free draining mix. Orchid growers use a variety of growing mediums including coir (coconut husk), fir bark, sphagnum moss, perlite and I am sure there are others that I am not familiar with.

Once they have finished flowering, cut the stem about halfway, and they may continue to grow more flowers. I am overjoyed that I didn't kill gives me a reason to get Maybe even splurge and get a fancy dancy one. If I am going to spend that much money on a plant, I need to know I have a chance at keeping it alive.

And finally......I jinxed the weather. I was wearing sandals last week, there was next to no snow left on the ground. Temps were hovering a little over freezing, so I thought it was a good time to put my white azalea outside, since it needs a cold period (I read somewhere that if it wasn't hardy here, which it isn't, to put it outside when temps start reaching a little over freezing. Well wouldn't you know that night, yesterday and today, it has not stopped snowing. This is the 3rd day of snow, there are winter storm warnings for most of the province......and my azalea probably froze to death.....only time will tell. I shouldn't have pushed Mother Nature (maybe she is jealous of Rockband

Sunday, April 13, 2008

African Violets & Powdery Mildew

Recently I noticed some odd looking dust on a few of my African Violets. I thought at first that maybe this was a trait some of them had, it didn't look terrible, just hairier. I noticed it again a few days later on a couple other AV's and decided to look more into it, it just didn't look right. I went to Dr.Optimara, and ruled out alot of things. I was left with either botrytis or powdery mildew, both common when it comes to AV's. The pic below shows some of the barely visible dust.

I was having trouble deciding which one of these ailments it was. Botryris causes a fuzzy gray mold, whereas the powdery mildew looked more like a dust. But since I have never actually seen the difference, I was torn. Both are caused by lack of air circulation and high humidity conditions. I am willing to say that yes I have a space problem, they had been placed quite close together, and the humidity has gone up in the past few weeks with Spring coming on.

I decided to get an answer on a gardening forum I frequent and it seems almost certain that this powdery mildew. I had heard to spray Lysol around the affected plants, and wait a couple days. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The next step from there would be to treat with a fungicide, or if all else fails, toss the plant (Take a leaf or two though).

I had a bottle of concentrated lysol, and I mixed one capful to 500ml of water. and sprayed them down. I made sure to get underneath the leaves and flowers and all along the stems. The next day they was a dramatic improvement already. A couple of them got another spray down, but it seemed much better that the previous day.

I had to see what kind of damage the lysol would do to the flowers so I didn't disbud them right away. The pic above shows the damage done by the lysol spray. The leaves had no damage, and the powdery mildew seems to be gone. I spaced them out a little better and I have been trying to open the windows more often to keep to keep the air circulation going a little better. Right now, I would say that the Lysol worked, and it isn't so bad to have to deal with. The worst part was having to remove the flowers from many of them.

The pic above and below this paragraph are pics of the piles of flowers I had to remove from my plants. It didn't seem like a lot until I starting get a pile on the table. The pic below shows some of the size variations in the flowers of AV's. Some are almost an inch and a half across (pink fantasy upper right corner), where others are only a half inch (purple double in the center).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bloomin' Away Philo, Azalea & Lipstick.

A couple of months ago, I noticed some odd growth on a red philo I had. Mr. S thought it could be a flower, and he was right. It has taken close to three months from the first time I noticed "something", to opening up into a flower like the pic below. It's......umm......different than most flowers I see. It is a pretty cool thing to see, it's the first time in my life I have ever seen a philo flower up close and personal. And it fit so well with this post, being a flower amongst many.

The red Philo flower is probably one of the more unique flowers I have ever seen, but there are so many other plants starting to flower too, and they all need their time in the spotlight too.

I am not sure what happened with my Azalea. It finished flowering a few months back, but has since started to develop buds again. I didn't cut it back after it flowered the last time, and it didn't get a cold period at all either. Most, from what I have read should be pruned right after flowering, or you risk cutting off where it will flower next year. I have also read that they need a cold period to induce flowering, but this one never got that either. All I know is that they like a ton of water and some sun, and they stay pretty happy!

This the bi colored azalea I mentioned over at PATSP in the comments section. The one and only reason I bought this one was because it was pink and white. My other azalea has white flowers, and it isn't doing much lately. It will be interesting to see if the flowers will be like they originally were when they were drown in a greenhouse, or if they change slightly because they are now grown in windowsill conditions.

The plant pictured below, one of my Lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus) has tried to bloom before by growing a few buds here and there, but it always seemed to drop the buds or get a couple flowers at a time. This time there are buds all over the plant. I would say that half of the stems have developed buds. If every one of the buds actually make it to flower, it will be a spectacular display.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More Blooming Av's!

As I promised, here are more pic's of the Av's that are blooming for me right now. I left 3 out because I don't find them to be the nicest ones.....they are kind of plain. I also have duplicates of a few.

The Av in the above pic has bloomed for me once before, a couple months ago. It is one of my favorites. The Av in the pic below has flowered for me before as well. Again, one of my fav's.

The pic below is a new bloomer for me. The flowers instantly got my attention, especially since some of them are pure white, and others have some purple in them. I have never seen this occurrence before in Av's. It has a really unique look to it with the different colored flowers.

Below is a pic of my only "named" Av: Very Berry. The flowers on this one are almost wax-like. Even though I love the flowers on this one, I don't really like it's foliage. The leaves are quite long and it seems to be a large Av, rather than a standard or mini.

The pic below is one of my favorites as well. I just love the fantasy markings and the way it sparkles. This one makes me think Chimera because of the stripes of purple it has. Only one of the flowers on this Av is open, which makes me really curious about the other flowers. Will they have the stripe as well? Of course I am also going to take a leaf from this one, and see what blooms.

And last but not least is another one of my favorites. These flowers are quite large, close to an inch in diameter. This one has variegated leaves as well, which make it quite beautiful even if there are no flowers. Notice in the pic below that the Av on the left has semi double flowers. The flower in the middle is also semi double. The flower on the right is single, only 5 petals. I think it is so cool to see such variations on the same plant.

Up until a couple years ago I had no interest in Av's. I didn't even think they were that pretty. I am not a fan of fuzzy or hairy leaves. I had heard that they required special care, and could be a little tricky to grow. So I had to try it out, I had to know how hard they were to grow. I had to know what people saw in this plant. Well now I love Av's, still not a fan of the fuzzy leaves, but the flowers are so pretty. I always seem to have a few of them that are in flowering mode. Now I can't imagine not growing them. I am such a

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm back!!! With lots of Blooming African Violets!!

OMG! The past three weeks have been horrible without internet. I have missed so many posts from my numerous favorite blogs, and missed so many threads from the forums I frequent. I am going to need a week just to catch up. I am so glad to be back and posting again, and I am so glad to be back in the World Wide Web.

So many of my plants are starting to take off again, while many others are starting to form buds. It's starting to feel like Spring, despite the dump of snow we just had yesterday.

I have never had so many African Violets in bloom before. I think I have at least ten of them throwing flowers out right now. Some of them I have never seen before, and didn't even realize how pretty they were going to be. The African Violets in the above pic and the pic below were birthday presents from my family. I can't take any credit for these ones, but the rest I

This purple AV is one that I have never seen before. I planted the leaf almost 11 months ago. This is it's first bloom. It's color is more the dark violet/blue color that I see in many other AV's. I dis budded this one because I am going to try and grow a few of my AV's on a "show" schedule, with hopes of lots of blooms all at once, like you often see in AV shows. I would think even the everyday violets we all see in the stores are grown with a similar technique, so that when it is time, they have a ton of blooms. The ones I have grown from leaf are putting out flowers, but only a few, I want to get the "Oh Wow!" effect.

These fantasy violets are constantly flowering, it is quite a reliable bloomer. It isn't one I get tired of seeing either. I favor bi-colored and fantasy AV's, quite honestly if they aren't semi-double, or double (blooms), or bi-colored in some way, they barely get my attention. Kind of like how I feel about the AV in the above pic, it's okay, but it's so plain. As the collection grows, some plants have to make the Impress me, or I am giving you away.

The last pic has also become a very reliable bloomer, almost too much so. I had laid a leaf or two of this last year. Now that everything from that time period is starting to bloom, I seem too have way too many of these guys. I have seven or eight blooming right now, and I have given away close to thirty (though not all of them were this particular type). It's starting to get a bit

I have more Av's blooming right now that I will post pics of. I also have quite a few other plants that are budding or are in the process of flowering. I shouldn't run out of things to write about for a while......since I am still going through internet withdrawal, I'll be sticking around this time. LOL.

Thanks to everyone that inquired about my absence, I will be reading a lot of blogs over the next few days, I am so eager to see what I missed.