June 28, 2014

Cycad Reproduction. Here We Go Again.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I have a compulsion to save seeds and plant them. I frequently deadhead plants so I won't see seeds.

The one cycad seed that I was able to bring to a plant has 2 new leaves and a tiny caudex.

My big Cycas revoluta has a cone, a female cone. Here we go again. There are no male Cycads in my garden. Well, I don't know if the Sago palms I grew from a neighbor's pups are male or female because they haven't shown any cones yet.

All three cycads above grew from Pups. They lost all their leaves during the cold winter. I cut off the old leaves, which you can see on the ground and new leaves grew, 9 one each of the smaller Sagos.

Despite not having a male plant, the last time the big plant formed a cone, some of the seeds were viable. It is believed that insects bring the pollen to fertilize the plants. They have a ways to travel but evidenced by the viability of the one seed that produced a plant, it happened.

The big plant had some winter damage but I never cut leaves that have some green, cutting off only the deadest looking. Some people give the whole caudex a scalping in the spring with good results in new leaves.

Maybe by next Easter when the seeds are ripe I'll feel like seeking out viable seeds and trying for more little Cycad plants.

You can read about the Seed Planting process Here.

The story about growing new plants from 'pups' from a large plant is Here.

June 27, 2014

When the Greenhouse Gets too Hot for Growing

We are very near to the time when nothing much can survive in the greenhouse except maybe Alternanthera dentata Rubiginosa.

Last year I just let it grow and cut it back in late Summer when it was time to bring in plants.

A few cuttings on the floor under mist. 

Temperatures in the greenhouse generally are 10 degrees hotter than the outside with a vent fan and mist trying to cool it. Plants on the floor have a better chance.

 Neoreglia pups freed from the mother plants.

I was trying to decide if I should try to save the mother plants and then I remembered how much space they take up when winter comes. Surely I can make do with 14 young Bromeliads. These six have brightened up in dappled shade under a fig tree.

Three Gerbera seedlings and some 
Mistletoe Cactus that broke off and needs rooting.

Thyme extras, seedlings.

 Peeks at the planted Herb Circle. Lemon Grass, Marigolds, Thyme, Parsley, Garlic Chives and Oregano. Dwarf Marigolds?

The patio table got a faux zinc finish on the rusty top. 

White Echinacea outside the greeenhouse.

Some Calla Lilies got a bigger pot.
They all need bigger quarters.

Cycad seedling has two new fronds, photo bombed by a Rhipsalidopsis
In the background are some rusty plow parts I dug up.

Joining the Meme at Tootsie's Friday Flaunt.

June 24, 2014

Lantana montevidensis

Lantana montevidensis is the trailing Lantana, not the bush kind that reseeds everywhere. It is one of my primary butterfly garden plants. It is root hardy here and a great ground cover.

June 11, 2011 Lavender and white Lantana montevidensis with Rudbeckia. The Black eyed Susans soon faded and were replaced by Madagascar Periwinkles.

Every year I have the same plants in the same locations. At the end are Purple Heart plants and Chartreuse Alternanthera.

I took 6 cuttings of white Lantana to put beside the greenhouse. In two weeks, roots are growing out the bottom of the flat and they are blooming. Only one of the Lantanas by the greenhouse returned this spring but they were young, late cuttings. 

Today I prepared another flat that will hold 18 cuttings. I intend to spread white Lantana around like marmalade.  

August 27, 2013 Pentas and Lantana

I didn't root white Pentas last fall. One volunteered in the greenhouse floor. I thought I had three volunteers -- two turned out to be shrimp plant with a similar leaf. I'm deciding whether to put just one Pentas plant in the greenhouse bed or put the seedling out in the Yellow Rose bed with the 4 that returned there from roots.

Everything seems late this year and I'm slower than usual. I did get the herb circle planted before the rain came. Instead of Rosemary, I picked up a clump of garlic chives that were growing on top the ground, divided it and put the two divisions into the ground in the herb circle. Now I have to find a place for 2 Rosemary cuttings, or root more to make a little hedge somewhere. There are more Thyme seedlings, too. 

Calla lilies are outgrowing the 6" clay pots I put them in. One fell during the wind on Sunday and the roots are circling the pots. It's the time of year when things are growing and and little cuttings are needing sticking or planting or bumping up to  bigger pots. I commenced to feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe. I am grateful for the water they received from the heavens today and they're tucked in for another bedtime. 

June 16, 2014

Bird's Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

As the days get hotter, I move more plants from the greenhouse to a cooler, shady location. Today the Bird's Nest Fern went to perch under an Oak.

As I loaded it on the little green wagon for transport I noticed some strange little dark structures on the back of some fronds.

I looked up images of spores on Asplenium. Yes. Spores.

I sought expert opinions:

These are not easy to propagate and cannot be divided, as with some other fern species. They are usually raised from spore or tissue culture, meaning propagation is usually beyond the reach of most home growers. -- About.com.

Asplenium nidus can be grown from spores. Place a leaf with mature spores on a piece of paper or in a paper bag. In a day or two, the spores can be collected. Place the spores on the surface of moist, sterile medium in a clean pot. Place in a shady, sheltered location and mist daily. (Bornhorst 1996) -- Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 76-77.

Asplenium are produced from spores. Sphagnum or peat moss are good substrates for spores, but peat moss as a medium is improved by the addition of 100 grams of dolomite per cubic foot. Spore germination should take place in about 2 weeks if temperatures are 70-80°F. Only fresh spores should be used. High humidity can be maintained by covering flats with glass or plastic, but use of intermittent mist 15 sec/30 min during daylight is preferred. If glass or plastic is used, the cover should be removed 4-6 weeks after sowing, and the young fern misted. Due to the wide, robust fronds and spreading habit from a central axis, one plant is usually placed per container. --University of Florida/IFAS
Besides these I read some REALLY scientific papers and consulted the blog of Mr. Superlative. Since Mr. S's first try at growing Asplenium nidum from spores started out really well and hit a snag and he has not tried a second time, I blunder on, undismayed.

Spore collecting in a take-out tray from Zaxby's.

Actually I don't need any more Ferns like this. It declined in the house and I put it under a shelf in the greenhouse, where it reached proportions that can never go in the house again. 

It started out such a cute little thing. One day I noticed scale on it which was treated with alcohol on a Q-tip and a soapy bath, neither of which seemed to hurt the fern. The scale disappeared.

It was getting daily misting in the greenhouse. I hope the lower temperatures under the tree will make up for the decreased humidity. It is potted in a plastic pot that sits inside the clay pot. A piece of brick brings it up to the right height and the brick is kept wet.

It does look kind of tropical. Does it? 

Amaryllis in Pots Are an Inexact Science Here: Nymph

I thought I treated all my second and third year Amaryllis bulbs in Pots the same late last summer when I dried them off to prepare for winter bloom.

Nymph, June 16, 2014

Nymph, unlike the others who eventually put up a bud stalk or two or even three, grew a great flush of leaves and no buds.

As the others finished blooming and the bloom stalk withered, I put the pots out in the edge of the shrubbery that fronts the secret garden where Epiphytes spend the summer. Blossom-less Nymph moved out too.

 Imagine my surprise when a stalk suddenly appeared mid-June with two buds.

I'm glad to see Amaryllis blooms any time. They do not usually bloom in summer. Those in the ground bloom in May, those in pots during winter and spring if they are planned.

Nymph blooms when it is ready. Here, blooming as a newly 
purchased bulb in January, 2013.

I am thrilled to see them at any time.
I brought it into the house to enjoy every time we go in and out.

June 14, 2014

Orchids for Bloom Day

Nothing is blooming in the greenhouse. Gradually everything is either planted out or summering in shade. I always include the orchids with the greenhouse posts. They live in the house in an east window as greenhouse-like an environment as I can provide that has controlled temperature.

When the Peace Lily wilts I water it, a Pothos that also lives inside and the orchids. It's a good plan.

When I watered on Friday I got the notion to repot the orchids, including the little orchid that lived in a glass cyclinder, here for several years with one episode of rebloom in all that time.

In their new orchid pots. The cream color one bloomed early April. The white one bloomed mid-March. Orchid blooms last for months. Notice the tiny new leaf in the center pot. I hope the others will feel up to sprouting a new leaf, too.

I first repotted the two bigger Phals that were in plastic cups inside a 3" ceramic pot. I didn't make photos of the process: plain 5" orchid pots, fir bark, careful of the roots. The only re-potting I've ever done was to take the cream color one out of its pot last year and give it some additional fir bark to help anchor it. It naturally wants to lean to one side.

Then I tackled the Dendrobium in the glass cyclinder. The photo is from last year when it bloomed. It sat here for years without growing. I had no idea what went on under the moss and the rocks that were its home. It lost one leaf and put on one. I felt it needed a chance at new growth.

I used one of the plastic orchid cups and the cache pot also with a drainage hole that one of the other orchids was formerly in. The tiny cup on the right is what held the little orchid, buried in about two cups of fine gravel, topped with some kind of green moss that was supposed to signal when the orchid needed water. There was a gloppy mess around what must have once been a root mass.

I gave it my best try. There were some bright green roots in the gravel. I hope they will be comfortable in fir bark. 

June 13, 2014

Neoreglia Bromeliad and Pups

Some months back, the Outlaw Gardener showed us a couple of Bromeliads that were on a sale rack that he considered buying. At the time, I thought it best that he passed up these really good buys. They looked something like this:

or maybe a little worse, like this.

Both the above are my same plants, weeks apart. One of these two is my first plant, the other was a pup. The original has continued to throw pups as it slowly declined. I went from one Neoregelia to 8, just potting Pups.

Here's what could have cinched the deal, had Peter looked underneath the leaves:
After a Bromeliad blooms, it commences to die but during the dying process, it makes Pups. This one has 5, the other has 3. The first time my original Neo had Pups, I removed them and thought the plant would die but it went on producing new plants.

 These 6 Neoregelias were in too much sun and some leaves suffered sunburn. I made them portable so they can follow the shade until we find the ideal spot.

Usually a grower takes the pups off the mother plant when they are about 1/3 the size of the parent. If they're left in place, the old plant dies off, the leaves can be pulled or cut and the Pups fill the pot.
I left the Pups when my original Guzmania died off, 3 pups filled the pot very well. I left them in a single pot because, as you can see, my house of Bromeliads commenced to fill very quickly.
The Tillandsia pot has 3 or 4 pups. They were interesting to see develop as pups started from within the thinner leaves of the Tillandia cyanea rather than beneath. My luck ran out with the Vriesia. Developing Pups declined and died from neglect and no more appeared. I like Neoregelias in separate pots, or maybe I could put 3 in a row in a long container before winter. None of these Bromeliads can winter where there is frost.

 I wish the Outlaw Gardener had thought to check under the leaves of the Neoregelias he saw on sale. There may have been a whole family of Pups under there.

June 10, 2014

Outside for Summer, Line Up for Haircuts

Burro Tails and Mistletoe Cactus. I saw these displayed together on Martha Stewart's blog. Of course her burros have 4 foot tails and the Rhipsalis matches that length and there was a Selloum Philodendron.

My mistletoes would be happier in bigger pots and I will oblidge.

 Last year this was a single Tillandsia cyanea, now three. The stem from the bloom of the original plant is just visible in the center. I gave it a tug; it is firmly attached. I like these Viet Nam pots. I put the Cycad seedling in one that matches this one. It is already outside with the Christmas Cactuses.

I brought over one of the pots of Chlorophytum comosum, Asparagus densiflora 'Myersii' and a white Begonia from the Front Garden. I've had this pot for more than 30 years. The patina is real.

 Purple Heart and Persian Shield have almost outgrown their planter. A haircut will do the Setcreasea good, getting those bare stems off. There are more of these in the greenhouse. Sometimes I get carried away with cuttings.

Another candidate for a haircut: Firecracker Fern. This Rusellia also has split ends. Its graptopetalum companion has some leggy stems, too. If there wasn't a water source very near, I would never have brought all these out so far from the house to seek shade. 

I've far too many plants in pots and lots of them are asking for division or haircuts and rooting the trimmings. I am afraid to pick up any pots of Christmas Cactus -- I know they have roots sticking out of their drainage holes. I bumped up a half dozen that were in really tiny pots.

My immediate goal is to get everything out of the greenhouse before the temperatures get really unbearable.   

June 08, 2014

Waiting for Calla Lilies and White Echinacea

A couple weeks ago I wrote about buying Zantedeschia Hybrids bulbs. A third of them have sprouts. I hope the others are forming roots before they send up leaves. The pots are full of juniper needles from the recent storm.


I wonder if I'll see all these colors?

I showed you last month the rusty well bucket. Alyssum and a Gerbera Daisy are growing, notice on the right. In front of the bucket is a white Echinacea that Susie gave me last year. That one blossom is lasting. When I can bring myself to deadhead it, it should have a profusion of bloom.

I like the contrast between the coarse bloom of the coneflower and the tiny blossoms of Alyssum. When the white Gerbera seedling blooms there will be 2 kinds of daisies.

I am trying for a succession of white flowers around the greenhouse. A half dozen Gardenia cuttings on the north side have thrived but too small for bloom except for one brave bud on the end. White Iris early on had a rogue purple. I liked that.

One white Lantana survived on the south. I will take cuttings from the Front garden Lantana that finally bloomed enough that I can identify which is white. Gerberas on the South side tend to want to bloom in color where I tried for all white daisies.
I guess I could add Shasta Daisies.

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