Sunday, February 28, 2010

Congrats Canada!

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14 gold medals - Most by any country in the winter Olympics, ever (and on home soil too).

Definitely feels so good to be Canadian right now!

(Edit - did anyone else notice in the shot of the streets in Vancouver the trees starting to leaf out? Man I can't wait for spring!)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

African Violet pictures

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Spring feels as far away as ever now that we actually have some snow and while it's warm out it certainly looks like winter from where I'm sitting. Ok, until it started to rain anyway... Little is going on inside other than the usual.

Speaking of the usual here are some nice African Violet pictures for you.

Saintpaulia 'Champion Thriller'
Saintpaulia 'Champion Thriller' - On one plant this has single, semi-double and double flowers. Interesting. Thrilling, even.

Saintpaulia NOID 0007
Saintpaulia "NOID 0007" - I'll be using names like "NOID 0007" instead of just NOID so I can keep individual plants consistently labeled. You can ignore these names if you want.

I'm going to have to do up a post on African Violets I would grow for their leaves alone soon. I think after I document the plants on the plant stand I'll have pictures for that. That should be soon I hope, maybe Monday.

Other plant events to come:

The first new pitcher on either of my Nepenthes since I got it (yup, it's that tiny one in that picture) is about to open (The good news? It's bigger than the older one - which I'm pretty sure is a good sign). I also collected a bunch of "rainwater" (melted snow) yesterday and today to use for them (I live in a townhouse and I don't have a downspout on my property - boo).

My Haworthia flower spike is developing so fast. I don't know when it will actually flower but it gets noticeably larger each day. I'm too used to orchids which can take months to do anything so this progress is a big deal.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ludisia discolor flower

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This opened for me this morning. Yay! A few days ago I also noticed that I have a second spike just starting to develop on another stalk so I should have some flowers on this plant basically non stop well into spring (maybe with a gap between spikes but we'll see).

Ludisia discolor
Ludisia discolor flower

Here's a picture of the whole plant. It is in a 4" pot and is currently 22" tall from the soil to the top of the bloom stalk (no doubt at all it will pass 2' before it finishes).

Ludisia discolor
Ludisia discolor

I grow it in extremely low light in a north window with no additional lighting. I water it when I think of it and that seems alright, though I never keep it dry for too long. I'm sure it would be happier with better soil and more water but maybe because it gets so little light it isn't as picky about water. I don't know. My room is also usually warm and humid and it hasn't complained about that at all. Actually they're often grown in terrariums because they are well suited to warm, wet and humid conditions. Just, you know, terrariums that are 2' tall or more.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gesneriads & the plant list.

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I made some serious progress on the plant list today. I managed to photograph all Gesneriads on the main floor and tag unknown plants with "NOID ####" tags (not that many actually).

I'll be typing up those plants tomorrow and starting to work through the pictures. As they bloom of course I'll have to update things and check the IDs that I do have but it's some definite progress.

I counted:

24 Saintpaulia
8 Streptocarpus
6 Chirita
3 Kohleria
2 Petrocosmea

Of these there were only 9 NOID African Violets, 1 NOID Strep (which is a start from a leaf of another plant we have/had), and 1 Chirita which is sort of questionable (there are two labels on the pot, should be very easy to figure out once it grows more).

Maybe not so many upstairs and none in the basement. I think actually this plant list should be able to be "finished" fairly soon.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tillandsia cyanea

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I've been on the lookout for one of these for a while but finally picked one up. It seems to have had a rough past with some leaf damage and dried tips to the bracts but it hasn't flowered yet and has a decently sized pup growing so I'm hopeful that I can have this thing do well for me in the long run.

Tillandsia cyanea
T. cyanea

So should I be keeping this more like my Vriesea hybrids or my other Tillandsias?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Haworthia limifolia var. limifolia buds & more

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I shouldn't take credit for this probably because of how short a time I've had this plant but I totally will anyway, because I can.

Haworthia limifolia var. limifolia buds developing very quickly

The flowers are supposed to be less than spectacular but I don't mind, also from the looks of things they'll probably be pretty small.

And on another note - propagation.

There are a few types of propagation that should be very easy with this species. Easiest would be just to divide the plant. Bam, now you have two plants. But that's not fun or unusual.

Next were the runners I had pouring out the drainage hole of the pot. Many had little plantlets on the ends which had to be taken off (as they wouldn't fit back through the holes they were sticking out of). I Potted one up separately and just just bent another to be above the soil line instead.

This is the largest little plant I have growing. It already looked like this only a bit smaller when I bought the plant. I need to re-bury the thick root you can see here, it seems to have been uncovered during watering.

This was sort of strange to me - these didn't seem like runners. Runners normally go out from the plant at or near the top of the soil (or if they do go somewhere else straight down is usually not where they go!) and then sprout at the top of the soil as well. So how come every single root coming out of the pot had a small plant at the tip? When I uprooted it I found that all the roots are tipped in a rough tip, not a normal smooth one. The roots were not similar to what I was used to with any other plant either. The roots were wrapped around the bottom of the pot fairly tightly and while I was loosening them two more root pieces broke off. Oops. These did not have plants at the end, only the jagged tip of the funny roots (almost like the scales on a cedar or cypress branch). Well now they are starting to change colour - they are turning into little plants.

This is the second smallest. You can maybe just make out the leaves forming at the tip of the root. Focus is not good here unless you're trying to get a good look at Perlite but it gets the point across - there's a root and at the tip of the root there's a plant.

Further reading about these plants for some unrelated reason (I think I was asking the internet what soil to use with them when re-potting) I found someone talking about the same thing here (under Propagation from roots), though it seems like they're suggesting that the other end of the root (top vs. tip) be above ground? I'll have to experiment with this next time I've got a few spare roots lying around but in the meantime I'll take my (early) progress as a good sign and see how these grow.

While on the subject of flowers that are not overly exciting I should finally have Ludisia discolor flowers open very very soon (my guess - 4 days). You'll get to see these as soon as they open (lucky you!) and I'll try to get a decent full plant shot so I can ask the internet why is it doing what it's doing (ooh, the suspense!)?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

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I've never been a huge fan of this plant before. It never looks good when I see it for sale but then I saw this at the Toronto Botanical Gardens a few weeks ago.

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'

I'm definitely seeing that there's much more to this plant than I first thought! I'm not a terribly huge fan of plants with yellow leaves though I'm certainly warming to them and can definitely see that they can work very effectively where appropriate. Especially when it looks this awesome in winter!

(Scroll down to the very bottom of this post to see a fantastic pairing of Sedum 'Angelina' and Iris 'Gerald Darby' I found while Googling the Sedum.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, February 2010

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This is my first Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Lots to post pictures of though!

My Phalaenopsis NOID continues to flower its strange recently green flowers:

Phal. NOID
Phalaenopsis NOID

This plant is on my mom's plant stand with some of her African Violets, Streptocarpus, and Chirita. There's always something flowering on this stand. (Did you go out and buy yourself an African Violet?)

Saintpaulia 'Ma's Crime Scene'
Saintpaulia 'Ma's Crime Scene' - Fantastic colour on a refreshingly simple flower. The thin white chalk line around the leaves is the perfect finishing touch on this well named variety. This one's a personal favourite.

Streptocarpus 'Royal Grape 7122'
Streptocarpus 'Royal Grape 7122' - this is the best performing Strep we have, this plant has been in bloom continually since December. I wish I could say that about all Streps but no luck. This one's 100% a keeper.

Saintpaulia NOID
Saintpaulia NOID - I've posted this plant before but this time around it's even better.

My Paphiopedlium is still going strong downstairs by the big south window (space on this table is at a premium) on the big plant table with still more African Violets and the like.

NOID Paphiopedilum
Paphiopedilum NOID - When I "finished" my photoshoot with this guy earlier in the month I lucked out - the sun was shining right on the plant table and filling the room with light. I pulled out my camera and took a few shots of it backlit by the sun. Here you can really see the beautiful stripes on the dorsal sepal which are my favourite detail on these flowers.

There's more Gesneriads flowering around the house - there always are. This morning I counted 7 African Violets, 1 Streptocarpus, 1 Chirita 'Stardust' and a Streptocarpella all in bloom right now. Relatively speaking this is a smallish number compared to the size of the collection but it's still a good amount of colour to have around on a February day.

And of course, if you're looking for flowers look no further than you local orchid show.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Southern Ontario Orchid Society Show, 2010

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As promised, a selection of my favourite pictures from the SOOS show.

Including the ones I posted yesterday there are 75 pictures from the show - you can find all 75 pictures here.

This post will be light on words, heavy on pictures. Enjoy!

Vanda Sansai 'Blue'
Vanda Sansai Blue

Propetalum Mathina
Propetalum Mathina

Miltoniopsis Maui Sunset '409'
Miltoniopsis Maui Sunset '409' - Really like this one.

Ang. leonis
Angraecum leonis

Vanda Nok x Vanda Yip Sum Wah
Vanda Nok x Vanda Yip Sum Wah

Paph. Leopard x Macabre #1
Paphiopedilum Leopard x Macabre #1 - My own NOID Paph. seems likely to share parentage with this plant, likely from the same or a very close cross.

Paph. Macabre
Paphiopedilum Macabre - Paphs and Phrags were extremely well represented here.

Phrag. Magdalene Rose x besseae
Phragmipedium Magdalene Rose x besseae

Cymbidium NOID

Den. Katsuura
Dendrobium Katsuura

Cym. Leo
Cymbidium Leo

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Southern Ontario Orchid Society Show, 2010

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I spent this morning at the Southern Ontario Orchid Show. Got there at around 10:30 and stood in line for half an hour. Paid my entry, checked my coat and went for the sales tables. Here was my haul:

I started by looking through the two rooms for plants on my sales list and found an Aerangis fastuosa from the same vendor I got my Aerangis biloba from last year. I was super tempted by a few Oncidium alliance intergenics and hybrids but for now I was going to keep on trucking with my list.

Aerangis fastuosa
Aerangis fastuosa

By the time I cleared the second room I was sure I wasn't going to find a ton of stuff from my list so I expanded to things closely related to things on my list.

Phalaenopsis philippinensis
Phalaenopsis philippinensis

Phalaenopsis philippinensis
Phalaenopsis philippinensis - showing the underside of the leaves.

Phalaenopsis philippinensis was a good alternate to P. schilleriana (the silver markings are not as attractive but it does have the bonus maroon colour to the undersides of the leaves and to the new growth.

Ludisia discolor 'Alba'
Ludisia discolor var. alba

Ludisia discolor var. alba was the most exciting jewel orchid I saw. I'd have loved to get a Macodes sanderiana but there were none to be found. The Ludisia was pretty cheap though and it is nice so on the whole I'm pretty happy with it.

Milt. Rene Komoda 'Pacific Cloud'
Milt. Rene Komoda 'Pacific Cloud'

Milt. Rene Komoda 'Pacific Cloud'
Milt. Rene Komoda 'Pacific Cloud' Flower

Back at the table where I found my Aerangis while there were many stunning Oncidium intergenics in bold colours with all sorts of spots and elongated pointed petals and all sorts of nonsense (which is not to say I didn't want them all mind you, just no space and not enough money) this Miltonia. The flowers are smaller than many and the markings are so simple but it was so striking. I bought one with three spikes, one basically fully open, another starting to open and a third not open at all, but with only 2-3 buds on it. It's a small plant but I think it's fantastic.

Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird'
Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird'

Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird'
Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird' Flower

My dad had asked us to look for an orchid he used to have which was "yellow" and smelled like "Cinnamon." Couldn't find it but I figured he would like this anyway. It's blue (ish) and smells amazing (sort of like Jasmin and allspice). So... you know, close enough right? And only $25 for a fairly big plant as far as these things go.

It is a cross of Neofinetia falcata x Rhynchostylis coelestis and should be about a million times easier than a Neofinetia but I'm a little concerned I don't have Vanda appropriate conditions. Will have to see how this goes.

Sarcoglottis sceptrodes
Sarcoglottis sceptrodes

My mom picked this out though I'll admit I'd already been eying it. Another orchid grown for its leaves. It's supposed to be easy but too much light and it will get more red but lose the variegation, too little light and it will lose the red but keep the variegation. Have to do a lot of research on this. It's supposed to be easy, according to the person who sold it to her.

I also took about a bajillion pictures (actually only some 180 +/-, and many of those are of name tags) of the show plants which means it will take a fair bit of time to get those sorted through so you may see them later tomorrow or maybe Monday, or maybe spread out over a few posts. But I think right now i need to have a nap.

P.S. - If you're in/near Toronto and didn't go to the show today I definitely recommend going tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Agave parryi

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I recently found a reference at the Danger Garden to Agave parryi, which is supposed to be hardy to zone 4.

Huh... Strange.

I've never seen one of these for sale around Toronto or heard of anyone growing one of these around here (though just across Lake Ontario in Saint Catharines which I believe is a zone 6 (possibly a zone 6b) they tackle hardy bananas and fan palms with a great deal of winter protection, and have seen at least the hardy bananas for sale very locally.

I searched for "Agave parryi Toronto" and found this article which suggests they might be alright here.

Agave parryi
How jaw droppingly stunning would that be anywhere in Toronto. Even if I can't grow it as a hardy plant I think I need one anyway. Some forms are more or less hardy as well so the one pictured may not be an option at all.
(Photo taken by Nauticashades, used under CC license from here).

It does make me recall a customer who came in one day and said he had bought a house that summer with a large fruiting fig plant established in the ground. The previous owners had left large sheets of plywood, wooden posts, foam insulation among other things in the shed for it, and I believe he said also some instructions about filling the insulated big box with dry mulch, something like straw. While ingenious and apparently surprisingly effective this would likely not work in the case of something like an Agave, which needs good airflow and light during the winter.

Might be possible to use a cold frame type enclosure for light, with an opening (probably on the east) for air flow without exposing the plant to harsh north/west wind, all on a raised bed for drainage (you could hide the supports for the frame in the corners of the raised bed for easy setup/removal. Probably insulate the sides but keep the top clear? I don't have room for something like this but just trying to think of ways it could work, hopefully for when I do have room.

Here at least drainage is a big issue (unless you made a raised bed, with very well draining soil to fill). I'm on terrible clay soil and it's sort of a problem. I've definitely lost plants to poor winter drainage before and suspect that that would be a sure killer for an Agave. But I did install a little retaining wall sort of thing last summer. Sure I then planted a very large Hosta in prime real estate but should it prove to be too big (and I think it will) I just might be forced to move it and try to track down an Agave parryi. It would be a nice area since it's already home of a Sedum and Sempervivum and I've got plans for more of each there (realistically though all I need is a new house... haha. But no really that would help a lot). I suspect that even in this "perfect" little spot drainage wouldn't be good enough, winter protection would be tricky, and space would still be limited.

Have you grown one? What zone are you and what sort of drainage do you have? What's the coldest you've had an Agave survive? How much constant snow cover can they tolerate? What winter protection do you use?

I suspect that this won't work for me (mostly because of wet winter conditions) but maybe one day when I'm feeling lucky I might give it a try.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paphiopedilum NOID Flowers

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Been watching this one since December but it finally opened (fully open on the 2nd, started to open a few days before that).

NOID Paphiopedilum
Paphiopedilum NOID

This was the first orchid I personally re-flowered. It skipped a year after a (probably poorly timed) re-potting but is stronger now than ever with a larger flower than normal. These flowers last a long time so by the time they finish hopefully we'll be a lot closer to spring. I know a little bit more about what these guys need so it should only get better in the future. I may never see more than one flower on this plant, regardless of age - that's driven more by genetics then culture. Best I can hope for is just the same thing but better.

As far as Paphs go this is fairly tame. The stripes are subtle and the spots are few, and I think all on the top edge of the two side petals, and blend in well with the dark colour of the flower. Love the colour as well, only thing that would improve it would be just a little bit more contrast in the stripes on the dorsal sepal (and of course a more symmetrical flower but that's not too important to me).

Two years ago it was in bud in April and flowering in June. I prefer the winter flowering I think, there's more than enough going on in June but I like my Orchids to do their stuff in winter.

Cactus update: Mammillaria prolifera?

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Mammillaria prolifera has been suggested for my cactus and I think it's a pretty close match. The height is unusual for this species but the spines, areoles, fruit and large number of branches certainly seem to match. Apparently this ID is pretty much as good as it gets. Very low chance it's something else.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cactus ID

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I am cactus blind. This stems from having next to no contact with these plants for basically my whole life. Never really had any as houseplants and I've only seen one single species of Opuntia that is hardy here (which is trying hard to take over both my garden and my patio - I think I'll be moving it next year). Somewhere I have pictures of it, they will have to wait for another post though because not only do I not know where to find these pictures, but also because this post is for someone else.

ID Cactus
I don't know what this is. This is almost a top view of the plant. It's pretty hard to make out some of the more detailed structures of the plant from this angle. The bit going up here is the main stem plus branches, towards the bottom you can see a number of other stems which are not attached to the main trunk.

I got this plant by accident. I was looking for soil. And maybe some little pots. I ended up with a Haworthia, two Nepenthes (free) and a cactus (free), none of which I know a whole lot about, all while trying to deal with some seeds and basically just a busy time to be trying to look into care and IDs for everything all at once. I did know that most cacti need to be dry during winter. So I put it in bright light and haven't touched it since.

I've started to look into what this might be and think that maybe it is a Mammillaria... Looking closely at it reveals that it is actually a taller stalk with longer and thinner branches than I have remembered. The branches are thin but come to a broader rounded tip. The trunk is more even, increasing in size only slightly from the base of the stem to the tip, though it is hard to see because of how dense the branches are. There are several shoots coming from the soil, some of which have begun to branch at a fairly small size. The longest trunk is around 4 inches long. None of the plants/shoots are growing in a strongly vertical habit, though they are upright.

ID Cactus
Here's a closeup of the the spines. You can click the picture for a much bigger version.

The central spines are a yellow colour when young becoming slightly more orange with age though the effect is not dramatic. The needles are straight and have no hooks or curves to them at all. They are up to/around 5mm long held on slightly longer, thin areoles. Many thinner radial spines surround the yellow ones, these are generally straight as well.

ID Cactus
A developing (ripening I guess) fruit on the plant.

I had not noticed until just last night but this plant has a developing fruit on it! I was about to toss Mammillaria as an option entirely until as I was closing my various Mammillaria tabs I had opened something in passing on the Wikipedia article something about the fruit of most plants in this genus being berry-like. Well hello there... I see a resemblance. I can't say this narrows it down overly much (for me anyway), but it certainly suggests that Mammillaria has not been ruled out yet, and that other genera of cacti have been.

I'm currently going through Cactus Guide but have not yet seen anything that resembles my plant. Have you?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Southern Ontario Orchid Society Show, 2010 preview post

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The Southern Ontario Orchid Society Show is this coming weekend (February 13 & 14) and I'm looking to be prepared this year. Last year I was barely starting out in orchids and went with a short list of things to look out for in the show and things to try to buy. At the end of the day I was overwhelmed by the massive range of plants exhibited and available and walked away with only one plant, my Aerangis biloba and a much increased desire to know more about orchids.

Dendrochilum sp., Picture taken at SOOS Show, 2009

Over the past year (past two months especially) I have read so much about orchids, learned a lot and collected a few. I've decided to focus my collection over the next year on primarily the groups of orchids I have had most success with - Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum (had success but not so much looking to increase numbers here), Angraecoid orchids (possibly one of my favourite groups of orchids) and Jewel orchids. Oncidiums are likely a group I will be branching out into so I will not rule them out here.

Dendrobiums are something I will be looking into eventually but not yet - I don't really have anywhere suitable to give even the most forgiving hybrids the winter rest they need. Dens also need brighter light than I can promise them. Cattleyas need more light as well so I'll be holding off on more of those for the time being as well, though if the ones I already have start to do well that will change. That won't be this week at any rate so for this year no Catts.

Odbrs. Fangtastic Bob Henley
Odbrs. Fangtastic Bob Henley, Picture taken at SOOS Show, 2009
This flower reminds me of a ripe banana and I think I'd buy one if I saw it for sale.

So this year I fully intend to buy at least:
  • One of Aerangis fastuosa (supposed to be amazingly fragrant with a "sweet and spicy" fragrance that can fill a room from a single 1" flower on a 3" plant) or Angraecum didieri (Tabbie describes the fragrance: "Early in the evening the pale green and white star begins to smell like a spicy sweet melon. Later the fragrance becomes darker and more intense, exuding scents which are sometimes musky, sometimes laced with smoke, and sometimes exactly like black licorice or sweet anise candies." I would be very tempted to get both. Both are hot growers (Ang. didieri being more adaptable to cooler temperatures as well though that doesn't matter much in my terrarium) suitable for low light and prefer humid conditions, so either would be best suited to life in my terrarium, in my bedroom.
  • Miltonia spectabilis var. moreliana is one I wrote about previously. Another flower described as being like black black licorice. Strange, I don't even like black licorice that much as a candy but it's interesting in a flower.
  • Macodes sanderiana/petola or another Jewel orchid of some sort, as I wrote about previously. My Ludisia discolor is growing well enough for me I'm confident I can manage a few more that take the same growing conditions, which is basically all of them. After seeing some pictures of jewel orchids in situ I can much better appreciate their needs. My Ludisia discolor spike is also developing very well and I saw a small specimen of M. sanderiana at the SOOS Meeting and they are even more amazing than any picture can show. Unlike a Ludisia the stripes sparkle as light hits them from certain angles.

    If I either can't find any of the above plants (or have money left over) then I would consider:
  • Cattleya Minerva (I could make room in a south window for something this nice)
  • Miltassia Shelob 'Webmaster'
  • I imagine at this point I'll have run out of money but I may buy something else that catches my eye if I still have money or can't find anything else on the list.

    Dendrobium kingianum
    Dendrobium kingianum, Picture taken at SOOS Show, 2009

    Another thing I will do is where possible record the names of the orchids I take pictures of. I think from last year I can figure out at least the group each orchid is from though after the show I found myself very confused about some things... Such as everything to do with the Dendrobium purpureum var. alba below. So this year, snap a shot of the name after getting the flower.

    Dendrobium purpureum 'alba'
    Dendrobium purpureum var. alba, Picture taken at SOOS Show, 2009
  • Saturday, February 6, 2010

    Phalaenopsis NOID Flowering

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    This opened at the end of January. Strangely enough it's a lot more green than it was before. Will see how it changes as the flower ages, though so far not much. I'm not too disappointed as it was free, it flowers in winter and has a (short) history of producing multiple spikes. There are only three flowers (was four, one blasted) on this spike but it's the second spike this season - it's not uncommon for subsequent spikes to have fewer blooms - and it was re-potted into SH while this spike was developing so I'm happy it's flowering at all.

    NOID Phalaenopsis
    Phalaenopsis NOID

    Once these flowers finish I will cut off the entire spike down to the leaves, uproot it, clean up the roots that have gone bad and move it up into a large deli container size pot to give it room for the growth I've been told I can expect from these guys in SH.

    This plant's on a table beside my bed by the window, so I get to look at this every morning first thing when I wake up. It's a nice place to have plants.

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Tillandsia ionantha & NOIDs

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    While I had my terrarium open for the Cryptocoryne pictures the other day I decided to shoot my small Tillandsia collection at the same time.

    Tillandsia ionantha 'Mexico'
    Tillandsia ionantha 'Mexico'

    Tillandsia ionantha 'Guatemala'
    Tillandsia ionantha 'Guatemala' - poor thing. Leaves break off this one basically any time I handle it. Which is everytime I water it.

    Tillandsia ionantha 'Selecta'
    Tillandsia ionantha 'Selecta' - when I bought this one the mother plant still had the just finished but already dry and brown flowers on her. And a little pup on the side. Thought it would be fun to grow it out and have been happy to see the mother hold on for something like 2 years now. No new growth but still there. From my reading about Tillandsia seed pods it can take well over a year for the pod to ripen so this is likely why the mother plant holds on for so long (it seems like it takes a long time for these plants to do anything!).

    Tillandsia NOID
    Tillandsia NOID - had been ID'd as T. albida... but no. It had a slight resemblance when it was younger but it doesn't grow like an albida and has a smoother leaf. When I bought this the leaves had a purple cast to them but I guess my lower light has left them green.

    Tillandsia NOID
    Tillandsia NOID - I got this as a "small" pup off a larger plant but did not get an ID. There are many Tillandsias with this sort of look and I doubt I'll be able to figure out which it is until it flowers.

    I really want to try and get a lot of these mounted but I don't have any suitable wood and I'm worried that once mounted I won't have anywhere bright enough to mount them. Currently they hang in wire loops off eggcrate in my terrarium. This has caused the first of my NOIDs to take on a strongly one sided growth habit.

    I'll likely mount the second NOID anyway simply because it's getting too big for my tank anyway and I saw the mother plant... It's going to get bigger. Depending on what wood I find I might mount T. ionantha 'Guatemala' too so I won't keep breaking leaves off it when I soak them.

    I'd also like to pick up a T. stricta and a T. cyanea (got one) at least. I've seen a few shots today as well of T. funckiana which looks fantastic as a clump (though I'm really not a fan of most other Tillansias that develop stems. T. ionantha 'Druid' or 'Peach' - both have very nice colour when flowering. 'Druid' has white flowers and a slightly less intense (this is probably very similar to the wood I'll be looking to pick up) colour while 'Peach' has the more usual blue flowers. I think I'll have to look for both.

    Other than those four I'll just have to see what's available and go from there.

    For care I keep mine under less light than they probably want. No water except when I soak my Aerangis biloba, at which point these get thrown in the bucket while the orchid hangs on the side. I drain them before re-hanging them so no water sits in the crown. They would probably benefit from a misting between soakings but it's a bit of a pain. I'll probably be soaking them more often this year though and already since I started actually looking after them I'm seeing much better growth and no dry tips recently. T. ionantha 'Mexico' is even sending out new roots (only one that ever has grown roots and it keeps doing it...). Since they get soaked with my Aerangis they get fertilized with it too. Will be interesting to see the effect my goal of "fertilize more" will have on these guys.

    For me there's no obsession here, no strong drive to collect more, just an interest and appreciation for an unusual but fairly easy and generally small plant.

    Thursday, February 4, 2010

    Nepenthes x ventrata

    All Andrew's Plants has moved to

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    Nepenthes sp.
    Nepenthes x ventrata

    I stopped by my work the other day and had a look around (I haven't been there in a while) when I was buying my seed stuff. Bought myself my Haworthia that day as well as two Nepenthes which had been written off (yay!) because, from what I can tell, all the older pitchers had dried up. Not actually a huge deal.

    Nepenthes x ventrata
    is the most commonly available pitcher plant - if you see something that looks like this unlabeled in a grocery/hardware store this is probably it. It's a natural hybrid of N. alata and N. ventricosa which can be found in the Philippines. It's supposed to be one of the easier/more forgiving varieties around, which is why it makes a great starter pitcher plant (you'll still want to use distilled, RO or rainwater as these are sensitive to minerals buildup).

    I'd been thinking about keeping one or both in my terrarium but have been convinced otherwise - the brighter light I can give them in other places in the house will be more important than the increased humidity, plus they're very likely to outgrow my terrarium, which is a pretty important consideration here! My house is more humid than many so it's not even a huge problem, though still drier than ideal conditions.