Thursday, 11 August 2011

Finally! Lithops aucampiae var. aucampiae

This was one of my very first lithops, one that I got from my Mesemb Mentor back in March. Right away I noticed he was starting to shrivel and hopefully change his leaves. Ever since I have been patiently waiting, patiently withholding water, and worrying no small amount. My mentor encouraged patience and calmed my panic that he was shriveling due to impending death.

Finally a few days ago he was properly dry and looked like this:

A good soaking, and two days later we have this:

I couldn't wait any longer, so I removed the last of the dried, old leaves.

Behold! A bright, shiny new Lithops aucampiae var. aucampiae

Ok, so he came out a little squashed and wonky. I wonder if he will straighten himself out or if he will always look like that. His body is awfully long too, not sure if I should pot him deeper or just see if a few weeks of good sun with flatten him out.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lithops fulviceps and Faucaria paucidens seedlings

Ugh, unimaginative title is unimaginative.

Annnnnnyway.....some of my various lithops and mesemb seedlings have started doing interesting things.

Above are some L. fulviceps I sowed in April, almost a month after my first attempt at growing lithops from seed. These guys are so much bigger and healthier looks than the seedlings from the first batch. Not sure why - possibly a difference in my soil mixes.

These fulviceps are speedy little things (for lithops) - already getting their adult leaves! Exciting!

And here is a more recent picture of my Faucaria paucidens:

Their baby leaves have all shriveled up and some are even producing their second pair of adult leaves (see top right of the photo).

Compare to 3 months ago:

Still growing like they are on crack, still not self-culling themselves. I really need to nuts up and repot some, throw some out or give them away. Not many people seem interested in growing mesembs in my city though :( I just hate the idea of killing something I've raised from seed.

Bowiea volubiilis seeds!

Woo hoo! My Bowiea volubilis seeds arrived!! I have wanted a Bowiea ever since I saw a picture of one in a houseplant book way back in high school. You never see them in stores or nurseries here in Canada. In fact I only saw my first live one a few weeks ago at the home of a local cactus and succulent collector. Her plant inspired me to take (yet another) stab at hunting down a seed source on the internet that would ship to Canada.

I can't speak to germination rates or seed quality yet, but so far Horizon Herbs has been great - very very reasonable shipping costs to Canada and quick order processing.

Now my high school dream is on its' way to coming true. Just have to get these suckers to grow! Going to plant them this week along with a pile more Discorea seeds.

Hopefully in a few months or years I will have something that looks like this:

Image from:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

A caudex! We have a caudex!

My 2(-ish) month old Elephant's Foot seedlings (Dioscorea elephantipes) are looking very impressive these days. Each plant has two heart-shaped leaves and a small caudex pushing through the soil. So far so good with these guys, although I live in fear of the day I wake up and they have keeled over due to me not knowing something about raising them from seed.

So far I have been doing what I do with all of my succulent seedlings - keeping the soil moist and growing them under lights. At some point though I will need to cut back on the water and repot them - not necessarily in that order. I just have no idea when I should be doing these things!! And the internet hasn't been much help....there is info out there on how to germinate the seeds, and how to care for the adult plant, but info on getting them from seedling to adult? Doesn't exist. /sulk. Must have fallen through a hole in the intertubes or something.

My approach to this stage of "Fuss' Plan to Raise Her Very Own Elephant's Foot" is to go for quantity - I have ~20 seeds left, so I'll plant a bunch more this week as backups to the two seedlings I already have. Hopefully one of them will survive my attempts to bring it into adulthood. If they all do? Maybe starts a Dioscorea elephantipes online store complete with gift baskets and dorkey mugs :)

New computer and a plant surprise

Wow, July went fast! Between not having my own computer, awesome house guests, camping trips, thesis and work I feel like I've barely had a chance to breath, let alone relax or blog.

But plants have kept growing, giving me some lovely surprises and only a few lithop and mesemb deaths (some my fault, some mysteries) and now I have a shiny new addition to blog about them on!

Not the fancy gaming desktop I had originally envisioned, but after a month and a half of procrastinating on building a beastly computer, I caved and went with a cheap-o $400 lappy - more than enough to finish my thesis on and satisfy my gaming urges until October when the desktop is happening - come hell or high water :)

What is that adorable little air plant (tillandsia)? on the keyboard you may ask. You've met him before, and since then he has mostly just hung out in his window, being a plant....then literally the day I left for 5 days in the wilderness it decided to flower. I frantically snapped a few pictures of the buds in between packing the food barrel and tracking down my hiking boots.

The above pic will probably be my desktop background soon :)

Returned from the trip last night, fully expecting the blooms to have come and gone. Instead I found this:

Glee! Joy! Happy Dance! This plant must like living with me if he is flowering. I think. And in the worst window in the house too (north-facing, basement window). Might try taking a paintbrush to the pollen and seeing if I can get it to pollinate itself. No clue if thats even possible with air plants, but nothing ventured, nothing gained....right?