Monday, December 23, 2013

Titanopsis Christmas Display


The Titanopsis are Flowering

My collection of Titanopsis calcarea plants are all in flower, just in time for a Christmas/Winter Solstice display.  Often I don't have an opportunity to enjoy their winter solstice flowers, because they are safely inside their over-wintering frames and covered with several layers of clear plastic.  This year however, the weather has been warm enough to allow removing the plastic and take a few photos. 


I was particularly excited to see three of my seedlings in flower.  These three plants have very nicely textured leaves and they grew rapidly this past summer.  However, I did not expect flowers until sometime next year, but they decided to join the other Titanopsis in flowering during the past two weeks.  Yes, I did get my brush a do a little pollinating. :)
Flowering along with these seedlings was my oldest and largest Titanopsis calcarea plant.   The seed that produced this plant was planted in October 1995.  The pot is a 15cm ceramic pot.   
Obviously, Titanopsis calcarea are enjoying the increased light and lower winter night temperatures that the outdoor over-wintering frames provide.  I'm just happy their flowering coincided with a bit of warm weather. 
I wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year.   It has been a great pleasure discussing our favorite plants over the  past year and I look forward to it continuing in 2014. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Poinsettia Flowers


Poinsettia -  Euphorbia pulcherrima

Since the holiday are approaching, I thought I might show my Euphorbia pulcherrima flowering.   While not really a succulent, it is a pretty plant, but it really isn't the flowers that produce the color, instead, the plant produces large, colorful 'bracts,' which are modified leaves.  The true flowers are small, and are borne right at the top of the plant above the colorful bracts.
Below is a close up of the true poinsettia flowers.  They're not unattractive, but they are minor when compared with the flamboyant bracts.  What looks like individual flowers in euphorbias are actually a collection of flowers called a cyathium.  Each cyanthium contains a single female flower in the center, surrounded by many males flowers. 

The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was brought to the U.S. and popularized by Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

Saturday, December 14, 2013



Haworthia mirabilis var. badia

 Along with lithops, haworthias are one of my favorite succulent plants.  They are relatively small, easy to grow, and come in a variety of forms, textures, and colors.  Haworthias don't require the high light intensity many succulents need, however, I like the stronger colors that develop under lots of sun.  Such is the case with Haworthia mirabilis var. badia
This particular plant was a gift from a friend that specializes in haworthias.  The variety name "badia" means reddish-brown.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cacti and Succulents in the Winter Window

Astrophytum Hybrid Collection

For the past four years I have been growing seedlings from astrophytum hybrid seed.  I have selected some of the more attractive types, with the hope of cross pollinating them to produce even nicer plants.  I didn't want to trust them spending the winter outside in the heated frames,  where I over-winter most of my plants.  Instead, I am over-wintering them inside the house on a shelf near a south facing window.  Many of these should flower next year and I will cross pollinate them and sow the resulting seed. 


Haworthia truncata Collection

I grow quite a few haworthias, but my favorites are H. truncata.  I have recently been growing them from seed I obtain from my older plants.   I didn't want to risk these in the outdoor heated frames, so they are also in the house on the shelf in the south facing window.  Although they don't get as much light as they would outside, at least they are available for me to work with over the winter.  The haworthias will often produce flowers in late winter and I'll cross pollinate some of the plants and hopefully get fruit and seeds.