Thursday, September 27, 2012

Succulents doing things

Looks like I should have some blooms soon. Although it's been a slow month with the cooler weather setting in, the fall bloomers are getting ready to go.

This little unidentified Lithops below will hopefully bloom soon, at least from one of the heads. This one I've had the longest, 2 years, but will be the 1st bloom for me. If anyone has an ID for this guy, I'd appreciate it. Also, I know it needs a repot. Growing mesembs is not my thing and I'm still in learning mode. I've been too hesitant to mess with it. I'll repot it after it flowers though for sure.

NOID Lithops

Next there's one of my Faucaria felina ssp. tuberculosa. A knowledgeable reader re-identified this one for me as it was purchased under the label Faucaria tigrina. I'm becoming increasingly convinced it's felina ssp. tuberculosa.It's got some weird growths that I'm hoping will be blooms. It should certainly be old/mature enough by now to bloom.

Faucaria felina ssp. tuberculosa
 Then there's my standard form Faucaria felina. Also making the same growths, (top and lower left heads,) and is about the same age as the ssp. tuberculosa.

Faucaria felina
And lastly how long do I have to wait for this Stapelia to bloom!!! I can't handle this plant right now. If I could stop checking on it I would. Why can't I like fast growing easy blooming plants like normal gardeners?

NOID Stapelia
The bud is bigger, and seeing as how it's still not ready to open I'd put money on it being a S. gigantea or something similar.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Neofinetia 'White Tara' x 'Crystal Palace': 2012's Flowers

Staring to grow out some buds 8/31/12

Looks like this will be a new growth after all. Only took it 5 years!I know Neofinetia are slow growers, but in all seriousness this one is the slowest of them all.

Bud progress below, 9/10/12:

Looks like I lost the 5th bud, only 4 this year.

Pictures on 9/14/12:

Flower close up

From the front

From the side

Monday, September 10, 2012

My NOID Stapelia is going to bloom

I bought this at a Home Depot in the spring. Although I prefer to buy labeled plants, (or at least ones I can ID,) I figured this one would be a fun surprise to see what species or hybrid it ended up being.

I then had the idea to email Costa Farms, my Home Depot supplier, and see if maybe they could ID it early, (Patience is not my strong point.) I wasn't sure if they'd answer ID request emails, so I sent them a basic request for maybe just the list of what Stapediads they sold/grew/whatever. I got a reply about a day later asking for a picture to ID it with, which originally exceeded my expectations.

I sent them a few pictures, and then never got a reply. Just to see if maybe that was a fluke I emailed them for a cactus ID about a month later from a different email account (including pictures) and got nothing back about that one either. Maybe if I asked a really general culture question about a very common plant they would be able to give me a generic reply letter back and all would be well. Why bother asking for pictures if no one can take the time out to ID one of their own plants anyway?

Anyway, now it is growing buds. They are supposed to be fall bloomers, so the temperature decrease as of recent must've triggered it.

Close-up of the buds

The whole plant, buds on the stem farthest right.

These are my favorite succulents and the reason I started growing them at all. Stapelia, Huernia, Orbea, etc., all the succulents that bloom with interesting, although possibly stinky flowers. For pollination most of these species flowers smell like rotting meat to attract types of flies. What's not fun about that? I'll keep it outside though because carrion isn't exactly the scent you want to perfume your home with. I realize this isn't my most thrilling post, but it's my 1st Stapelia flower ever, plus the 1st one I'll get to see in real life, so I'm pretty excited. My fingers are kind of crossed in hopes it turns out to be a Stapelia gigantea, because although I already have one it's a one stem cutting that hasn't done anything but be a one stem cutting the whole year or so I've had it. Anything else would really be fine too though, I've never been less picky in my life.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nepenthes ampullaria 'Brunei Red'

Nepenthes ampullaria (Latin: "ampulla" translates to "flask") is a popular Nepenthes to grow due to it's cute, almost round pitchers. It is endemic to many countries including Thailand, Malaysia, and New Guinea, to name a few. It grows in humid, warm forests or grasslands from sea level to about 2100 meters above.

It is unique in the fact that studies have shown that it has evolved to be not only carnivorous, but also detritivorous by collecting leaves and anything else falling into it's pitchers. You can see that the pitcher lid is flexed all the way back, leaving it exposed to anything that would fall in. This species has less nectar glads (to attract insects, ) less waxy zones, (that would normally keep insect prey from climbing out,) than other Nepenthes, showing it is not as concerned with insects as a source of nutrition.

Nepenthes ampullaria 'Brunei Red'

Looking down

Another from the side

Another habit that makes this Nepenthes unique is it's "carpeting" habit. It makes pitchers spreading across the base of the plant as well as sprouting leads all along the stem. Mine has started carpeting finally. Sometimes the part of the leaf that actually looks like a leaf (the pitchers are just a modified extension of the leaf,) is so small you can't even see it. Pitchers of this species live longer and the "carpet" of pitchers is said to maximize the plants ability to collect falling debris.

Carpeting pitchers at the base.
It's interesting that a carnivoruous plant is evolving away from carnivory and now relies mostly on decaying matter from other plants, like a fungus. Evolution is pretty neat.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Haworthia reinwardtii blooming

I haven't had this guy for very long but I'm a fan. It's grown pretty well this summer and adjusted to it's spot outdoors in full sun without burning at all. I don't have a lot of patience for adjusting plants to different environments. I know this is bad, but I'd really rather have a few unsightly sunburn spots on something then spending weeks slowly moving it. I have no time or patience for more than a few adjustments, if I remember to do them before I just give up and put it somewhere.

It was raining today, but If I didn't get out there and take pictures today, it may not have happened at all this week.

The whole plant
Macro of the pattern on the leaves
The flower stalk is so long you can't get everything in focus at once.
Pretty little flowers
They don't open farther than this.
Also, I know some of you requested pictures from "Spider Town," I haven't forgotten, it is proving to difficult to get any decent shots of anything down there. The spiders all scramble into their hiding spots the second any light shines in their direction. Plus, I can't be down there for very long before I get the heebie-jeebies and I'm covered in spiderwebs and about to make a run for it. So I've been trying to get some shots of at least the above ground spiders and insects here, I'll add them in if I get anything good. Today was this guy:

Hi there!  : )
If you enlarge the picture, he/she totally has a smiley face on his/her abdomen. I'm not sure what kind of spider it is, but I'll come back and update the page if I am able to ID it.