Monday, February 25, 2008

My Latest Project...

Okay, so my old project, propagating succulent plants from leaves, blew away, literally. Yes, Donna and I experienced a great deal of wind about a week or two ago and I came home to find my leaves and their corresponding pots all over the balcony, and dirt everywhere. I got over it and I'm trying simpler methods, but the other day I picked up some Aizoceace Split-Rocks, Lithops and Conophytum plants at Lowe's and one thing led to another...

So, I got this idea, (which always gets me in trouble), to try to grow Lithops. Why? I don't know, I'm just drawn to do it, and probably because in researching the plants, I came across a few people who were growing them from seed, so I had to try it! I borrowed a tank from Donna, and I'm going to create a greenhouse for the seedlings. I'm so excited, like a mad scientist! I just ordered seeds from eBay, from a company called "The Cactus Seed." (Those are his pics up above). I'm getting a 100 "mixed" Lithop seeds in the bottom pic, and 20 Conophytum, which are those in the top pic.

I should have my seeds within 3 days, I hope. They're coming from Illinois. Hey, I wonder if the California Cactus Center sells seeds???? I emailed them once before, but they never responded, but perhaps I should try calling them or emailing them again? (What do you think Donna)? BTW...I was there this weekend, (The California Cactus Center), and it was great! It's an awesome store, with tons of exotic cacti and succulents, pots of all kinds, great soil, rock cover, etc. It started to rain, which was really interesting. I had a lot of fun that day! They have Sophia, the one-eyed cat, who sits in a box next to the register. She's so sweet. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on how the project goes!

Where Have I Been???

Have you missed me? Where have I been? Poor Jack's sweet face above, a picture taken as he's crying to me for attention, (be sure to click on it for a close up) clearly expresses my sorrow in not being able to write on my blog! It's killing me not being able to spend time talking about things I love and sharing with you the latest succulents I've added to my garden.

I told you in the beginning, that I am back in college, College of the Canyons to be exact. I'm taking two classes, Anthropology 101 and British Literature 1. The British Lit. class is killing me. The work is unbelievable, on top of the fact that I found out it's an 8 week course, not a 16 week course. I'm freaking out! My professors syllabus is ridiculous and I'm working with her to try and make it more reasonable. It really should be a 16 week course, as I thought it was in the first place.

Okay, so I had some fun picking a poem for my latest homework in the class today. We're into 17th century literature at this point, and I picked Andrew Marvell's lusty, "To His Coy Mistress." Ooh-La-La! I think I have a thing for lusty "carpe diem," i.e., "seize the day" poems. I have to share this one with you, which has crazy metaphors in an attempt to persuade his "Coy Mistress" to hurry up and go to bed with him already:

To His Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

HAD we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime
We would sit down and think which way
To walk and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side 5
Shouldst rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews. 10
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast, 15
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate. 20
But at my back I always hear
Time's wing├Ęd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found, 25
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust: 30
The grave 's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires 35
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapt power. 40
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun 45
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

What did you think of his references to her decaying body in her tomb? What a nut! I think if I were this lady, I would have been cracking up! I'm not sure yet whether I would have given in or not. He seems like he might be a lot fun though...hee-hee! Like I sad, "What a nut!"

On to succulents:

So I've added some more plants to my garden. I've got a bunch to blog about, but no time. I have to get all their scientific information together. I will be starting with my "rock-like" plants first and then working my way back. I've a ton to catch up on. Above is my growing "indoor" succulent garden, and below is the plants I will blog on tomorrow, if everything goes right!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weekend Adventures in Succulent Gardening

I decided to bring some of my succulent plants indoors. I keep reading about what ideal indoor plants they are, and I live on the third floor and have lots of big floor-to-floor windows with loads of bright light! I think the lighting might even be better in this room, and my bedroom then on my balcony! My cats may be the only problem. See, this is their hangout, their abode. I didn't take over Stella's comfy pillow seat by the window, where she bird watches, sleeps and relaxes. Both her and Jack were quite content sniffing the plants by their perch. I'm hoping they'll get along marvelously. Let's hope!

(P.S. As I wrote this, Jack jumped up and knocked over my tall planter....thanks Jack. Lava rocks everywhere. Thank goodness for my new dust-buster)!

That's Miss "Queen-Bee," or should I say, "Queen Cat" Stella relaxing next to the plants. (Click on the photo to see Stella and my plants close up). By the way, I think they've actually perked up a bit! Seriously! I was worried about the three in the largest pot. They weren't really doing much, but with daylight all day long, they already seem to be leaning and lifting up towards the light. Yeah!

That's a new plant in the tall slender pot, which I picked up at a place that I found totally by accident on my way to La Crescenta. I believe the place was called "La Cresenta Nursery." They've got so many plants, but not quite as many succulents as I would have liked, however, the nusery went on forever. It was like a botanical garden! They have a great variety of pots. The terracotta pots are very reasonably priced. (That neat slender one I got for $2.49). They have great statues for your garden too. I really want a native Indian statue! They're really expensive though.

My real intent on heading to La Crescenta was to visit this great 99 cent store. It has a ton of great things for a buck! I picked up some whirly-gigs (picture below), and some rocks. I wanted to try and disguise my cool, plump Split-Rock I got from Donna. It's still pretty green, so it doesn't disguise so easily, but it looks pretty cool, don't you think?

Here's my new whirly-gig amongst my husband's gorgeous Aloe Vera. I got two, but one doesn't twirl. Oh well, it looks nice and it only cost a buck!

That's about it for my adventures. I need to blog some more of my plants. I think I'm up to 45 species at this point. That's crazy!!!!! Only thousands more to go! (Hee-hee)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

SPLIT ROCK: Aizoaceae Pleiospilos Nelii

I just got back from hiking. I'm pooped out, so this is a good time to Blog more of my succulent plants. Last weekend, I picked up three super-cool looking succulent plants. They have several names, but the most common are Split Rock and Living Rock. These are quite young compared to the cute, chubby one I got from my buddy Donna...

This one's nice and plump! They are quite hardy from what I read, but you've got to be careful with over-watering, which is something I need to learn! I read that if you over-water them, they split. Yikes! I guess they usually heal okay, but they don't look so hot. Anyway, I really love these plants. They have such a cool, unique look to them. I need to get some regular colored stones to put around the plants, so they really show how well they can camouflauge themselves! They also have purple Living Rocks that are neato too! I want them also!

Okay, here's the scientific info on them:

Family: Aizoaceae (ay-zoh-AY-see-ay)
Genus: Pleiospilos (plee-oh-SPIL-os) meaning many spots.
Species: Nelii (NEL-ee-eye) named for Gert Cornelius Nel, early 20th century botanist.
Common Name: Split Rock, Living Rock, Mimicry
Min Temp: to 32 degrees F
Bloom: Orange/Bright Yellow - Varies when it blooms.
USDA Zone: Zone 9
Exposure: Filtered sun to bright light
Height: 6 inches tall
Origin: South Africa

PURPLE & CREAM SCALLOPS: Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) Fedtschenkoi (One Variegata)

Hello everyone!

I'm trying to get over the fact that my Baby Toes are experiencing rot. I've no idea if I can save them and I'm a tad bit devastated, as you know how much I love my Baby Toes. Anyway, I'll write about that later, but let me focus on a couple of my many succulents!

(Oh, and just to let you know, my first photo on all my Blog posts can be enlarged by clicking it, offering you great closeups of the plants!)

I planted these together. They're both Kalanchoes only one is varigated and one is not. I was inspired by their coloring and what I'm currently reading in British Literature called, "Morte D'Arthur" by Sir Thomas Malory. Therefore, they are rightly named "Lancelot and Guinevere." The color suits them. Lancelot is the beautiful forest green and deep purple kalanchoe, while Guinevere is the lovely varigated version, with the pretty cream, pink and light green leaves. I planted them together. What a sad tale; I'm sure they would have like to have remained together.

I'm not definite about their common names. From what I've gathered they're referred to simply as "Purple Scallops" and "Cream Scallops." I've also heard them called, "Lavendar Scallops." I guess it all depends on the intensity of their coloring.

One more important point, before I go on to the scientific stuff; they are poisonous to animals. I think it mostly affects grazing animals, but keep an eye on your dogs and cats.

Now on to the scientific facts!

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay)
Genus: Kalanchoe (kal-un-KOH-ee)
Species: fedtschenkoi (fed-tscheng-koh-eye) named for Alexei Fedtschenko a Russian botanist and plant collector from the 19th century, and bryophyllum (bry-oh-FIL-um) From Dave's Garden, "Greek bryo (sprout) and phyllon (leaf), referring to the ability to propagate via leaf cuttings."
Common Name: Purple Scallops, Lavender Scallops, Cream Scallops, Rosey Dawn
Min Temp: to 36 degrees F
Bloom: Pink - Can bloom all year - Fall to Spring
USDA Zone: Zone 9-10
Exposure: Part Light
Height: 12 - 18 inches tall
Origin: The Montaine (cloud) forest area of Madagascar.

I found an awesome article that includes some super cool pictures (see below) of new babies growing from the edges of the leaf! You've got to check it out here:

http://www.echeveria.freeserve.co.uk/leslies_succulents21a.htm

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pilosocereus Azureus

Oh my goodness! I missed posting here so much! I'm going to start off with a beautiful blue-green cactus I bought for my beautiful daughter Chloe! She spotted one of these during our last adventures at the California Cactus Center, and was totally surprised by it's beautiful blue coloring! I found these at our local OSH. They finally had a new shipment, and this was one of 5 that they had. I picked the bluest one I could find. I don't know if it means anything, but I had to get Chloe the bluest one...(OCD...OCD! Work's been stressful this week, hee-hee)!

Let's get straight to the technical stuff...
Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ay)
Genus: Pilosocereus (pil-oh-so-KER-ee-us) meaning that it has a hairy, waxy taper.
Species: Pachycladus (pak-ee-KLAD-us) meaning thick-branched.
Common Name: Baby Toes
Min Temp: to 40 degrees F
Coloring: Beautiful blue-green
Bloom: White
USDA Zone: Zone 10
Exposure: Bright light/Sun - Mid-Summer
Height: 6 feet and up!
Origin: Brazil

Info from The Cactus Collection:

Pilosocereus azureus, native to Brazil in semi-tropical areas, forms arborescent specimens to 20' in height. Beautiful blue stems with golden spines along ribs. White nocturnal flowers that are pollinated by bats and sphinx moths. Beautiful specimen for landscape or patio in temperate areas. Requires porous cactus soil with adequate drainage. Bright light to full sun with ample airflow. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Love is in the air...

Love is in the air at the Kingman household. My early Valentine's gift, 'cause I had to have it and my hubby loves me, so there you go! Sir Bruce Kingman offers a token of his love and affection, a sweet heart pendulum to his fair bride Lady Kelly Kingman. Awww...isn't it sweet? Hee-hee. (Uh-oh Donna. The slap-silly side is coming on early this fine morning)! I picked them or rather "us" up at the local Armstrong Nursery.

And here's what I found at Home Depot at an awesome price:

And the price was right! Only $1.79 a plant! I found two Bear Paws, one of which is varigated! Yeah! The other I have, but this one is much more robust! My daughter Chloe just has to have her own plant. She picked the lovely fuschia/green plant in the upper left hand corner. And Micaela picked the one just to the right of it. I think it's called a Window Pane, or something like that. I'll have to look them all up and give you all the names! I'll edit this post later.

Friday, February 8, 2008

BABY TOES: Ficoidaceae-Aizoaceae Fenestraria Rhopalophylla

I'm up entirely too early this lovely Saturday morning, but I couldn't sleep. I have so much on my mind. I will be visiting some nurseries today, and I can't wait, plus I've been so caught up with my school work, that I haven't really had time to post any more articles on my nearly 30 specimens of succulents! It's been driving me bonkers! I got my school work done after 8:00 last night and now I'm kicking off my weekend of posts with my absolute favorite of all succulents:

The sweet and adorable Baby Toes!

This plant is bizarre and fanciful to behold. I loved it so much I had to have two of them, and picked one up for my friend Donna yesterday; a little beat up, but still salvageable! (By the way, I'm going through this plant rescuing thing, picking up prospective beauties and attempting to revive them at home). Okay, I've got to stop side tracking here. Anyway, the story goes that only the top portion of the plant leaf sticks out from the sand. It has this marvelous looking convex, bulging, somewhat translucent window at its tip that adjusts itself by becoming more or less translucent depending on the weather conditions. It does all this for optimum photosynthesis and protection from the harshness of the sun. This is why they say that if your Baby Toes aren't getting enough sun, the translucent window will spread further open and can change the look of your plant!

Let's get to the scientific stuff:

Family: Ficoidaceae (fy-koy-DAY-see-ay) meaning "fig-like"
Genus:Fenestraria (fen-es-TRAY-ree-uh) meaning window in Latin and rhopalophylla
Species: rhopalophylla
Common Name: Baby Toes
Min Temp: to 32 degrees F
Bloom: A variety of colors such as yellow, purple and white like a daisy! - Varies
USDA Zone: Zone 9
Exposure: Bright light/Partial Shade
Height: Under 6 inches
Origin: Cape Province, South Africa and South West Africa

Here's what The Cactus Collection has to say about it:

"Fenestraria or "Baby Toes" are very unusual plants from the deserts of South Africa. These plants belong to large family of Aizoaceae (synonymous with Mesembryanthemaceae), which includes plants known as "Mimicry" plants for their ability to camouflage with their environment. "Baby Toes" have finger-like leaves in upright clusters. Each "finger" has a translucent "window" at the tip, and it is through this window that the harsh African sunlight if filtered to enable photosynthesis. In habitat, often only these "windows" are visible above the quartz sand. Prefers a soil with less organic material; extra pumice or perlite provides excellent drainage essential to these type of plants. Requires bright light to prevent "stretching" of the leaves. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Will not tolerate water-logged soils. Somewhat frost tolerant, but protection is advisable to prevent scarring."

As you can see from above, they list a different family name for Baby Toes. I listed the family that I found in one of the books I checked out from the library, ficoidaceae, but they list it as Aizoaceae, which means "evergreen."

Below is a beautiful bloom on my Baby Toes! It looks just like a pretty daisy!


And here is where my Baby Toes lives, protected by Sir Patrick Corridan, my fabulous garden gnome.

Side note: I sure wish the spell check was working...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ZEBRA PLANT: Lilaceae Haworthia Fasciata


I really miss blogging! I miss my plants, and I miss sharing with you. A couple of times this week I stopped to get myself a little something to cheer me up. I picked up three new babies at Lowe's on Tuesday, and the Jelly Bean plant I told you about on Monday, but I was good today and came straight home.

Anyway, here's one of my latest. It is a Zebra plant from the Liliaceae family. A new family for me! It reminds me more of a lizard than a Zebra plant, so I catch myself calling it that name all the time. It has bumpy white stripes on it! It's really strange to feel! I really love it. It is very reptile like!

Okay, so here are the scientific facts on this plant:

Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ay) and Asphodelaceae (as-foh-del-AY-see-ay) Both having to due with the fact that they are from the lily family.
Genus: Hawthoria (hay-WOR-thee-uh) Named for Adrian Hardy Haworth, 19th century British botanist
Species: Fasciata (fash-ee-AY-tuh) meaning it is bound together (It is a tight plant)!
Common Name: Zebra Plant (But I think it should be Lizard or Reptile plant)!
Min Temp: to 32 degrees F
Bloom: White/Off-White - Mid-Spring
USDA Zone: Zone 10
Exposure: Filtered Sun/Full Sun
Height: 6 inches tall
Origin: South Africa

And per The Cactus Collection:

"Haworthia fasciata, native to South Africa, is an upright, slender rosette with tapering incurved dark green leaves covered with silvery white raised "pearls" that connect to form bands that give the impression of "zebra stripes". Beautiful, heirloom favorite that makes an excellent house plant or windowsill plant. Haworthias are winter growers and are dormant in the hottest summer months. Require very porous soil with excellent drainage as many forms have thickened tap roots. Prefer filtered, bright light. Those species with red veining or chocolate faces will exhibit superior color in bright light. All forms that are green, especially included the variegated forms, will prefer filtered light. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost. "

By the way, I found two families for this plant, which are shown above, both referring to it's connection with the lily family.

Monday, February 4, 2008

JELLY BEAN - STONECROP: Crassulaceae Sedum Rubrotinctum

Okay, so I had a rotten day today. I hate living in the apartment I've lived in for way too many years, they raised my rent a 100 bucks effective March 1st, and on top of it all, the hot water was out this weekend. I appeased myself with many entries on this Blogger and the planting of many plants. I couldn't bring myself to express my problems while in the midst of it all.

Anyway, on the ride home from work I picked myself up a little something to make me feel better; a Stonecrop, of the Crassulaeceae family. This is a real fun plant to look at!

Here are some of the scientific details:

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay)
Genus: Sedum (SEE-dum) meaning to sit or sedentary
Species: rubrotinctum (roo-broh-TINK-tum) meaning red dyed from the sun and pachyphyllum (pak-ee-FIL-um) meaning it has thick/fat leaves
Common Name: Stonecrop - Pork and Beans - Jelly Bean Plant
Min Temp: to 25 degrees F
Bloom: A variety of colors- Late Summer to Early Winter
USDA Zone: Zone 9-10
Exposure: Part Shade to Full Sun
Height: 6-8 inches tall
Origin: Mexico

Here are some details from The Cactus Collection:

"Easy to grow group of succulents with diverse form and color. Closely related to Echeverias. Some are like brightly colored jelly beans; others are tiny mat-forming ground covers. Most are cold tolerant, some very cold hardy. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Require bright light."

This plant has two species attached to it, so I listed them both. I also read that they have a variety of flower colors, which I can't swear to, as I'm finding there are a lot of descrepancies out there. I'll adjust this as I find out more information.

Written: 2/4/08

Sunday, February 3, 2008

WATCH CHAIN: Crassula muscosa

This nifty plant is called "Watch Chain," that I purchased recently. I picked it up at the California Cactus Center in Pasadena, California. I really don't have a whole lot to say about it right now, so I'll just get to the details!

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay)
Genus: Crassula (KRASS-oo-la)
Species: Muscosa (muss-KOH-suh) - meaning mossy and lycopodioides (ly-kop-oh-dee-OY-dees), which I read comes from the word lycopodium a genus of clubmosses, also known as ground pines.
Common Name: Watch Chain
Min Temp: to 32 degrees
Bloom: Bright YellowWhite/Near White - Late Summer to Early Winter
USDA Zone: Zone 10
Exposure: Bright Light
Origin: South Africa

A note on the species: I came across two different species, as you see above, but I think they both work. Can you have two species? I have no idea, but here you go anyway!

Here is what The Cactus Collection had to say about it:

"Crassula lycopodioides, native to Africa, forms spreading clusters of slender stems with densely stacked tiny leaves. Leaves are pointed, light green in color and arranged along the stems like scales. Known as the "Watch Chain". In habitat, Crassulas usually grow in rocky quartz fields.. Bright, filtered light and ample airflow. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Water with caution in winter, as the plant can lose its roots if the soil stays cold and wet for extended periods. Protect from frost to prevent scarring."

MORGAN'S BEAUTY: Crassula falcata


Now for some more of my plants: Here's is Morgan's Beauty. I picked it up at the California Cactus Center in Pasadena, California. It's a real beauty. It's flowers are still going strong even after having it for at least a couple of weeks.

Here are some of the details:

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay)
Genus: Crassula (KRASS-oo-la)
Species: Falcata (fal-KAY-tuh) - meaning sickle-shaped
Common Name: Morgan's Beauty
Min Temp: to 32 degrees F
Bloom: Pink blooms - Late Winter/Early Spring/Mid Winter
USDA Zone: Zone 10
Exposure: Bright Light

That's all I have on it for now!

Kelly's Succulent Plant Propagation Project

In an earlier post I talked about how I was going to attempt to create new succulent plants from succulent leaf cuttings. Yesterday, I worked on my project. I cut from several plants. In the picture above, working from right to left, top to bottom are the leaves from my Green Goddess, Baby Toes, Snowflake, Flippin' Flapjacks, Finger Jade, Chocolate Soldier and Anacampseros. I'm letting them dry for three days before going on to the next step, which is placing them in their pots, (see picture below), which is all ready to go; the pots are filled with soil and labeled with a clothing pin!

I can't remember if you stick the plant in the soil or just lay it on it. I think I've seen it done both ways, but I'll research it a bit and maybe try both methods. And in case you're interested, I mixed my cactus/succulent potting soil with some perlite. I used three parts potting soil to one part perlite.

Anywho...Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project! Hee-hee!

RAINBOW BUSH: Portulacaria afra 'folis varigata'


I was confused about this plant that I picked up and potted yesterday. I mean they had two at OSH (Orchards Nursery), and they looked the same, but one was called "Elephant Bush" and the other was this one called "Rainbow Bush." And guess what? I couldn't find a difference between them! I went home and did some "online" digging around and realized that this is the same as the Elephant Bush except it is a variegated version of it.

(Definition from answers.com: Varigated - Having streaks, marks, or patches of a different color or colors; varicolored.


I'm not sure which is the original Elephant Bush, but one has shiny green leaves as seen in this photo from http://www.desert-tropicals.com/:



...and then my Rainbow Bush, a.k.a. Elephant Bush has the light green stripe going down the middle, and the lovely "blush" magenta shade on the edge of the leaves and stalks.



It was named Elephant Bush simply because it provides elephants with needed nutrients and water. Elephants simply pull the leaves from the plant for sustenance. Doesn't that make these Elephant/Rainbow plants even more lovely?

Here's the not so lovely, but necessary scientific info from my favorite vendor and website, The Cactus Collection:

Family: Portulacaceae
Genus: Portulacaria (por-tew-luh-KAR-ee-uh)
Species: afra (AF-ruh) meaning a female from Africa
Variety: variegata
Common Name: "Rainbow Bush" - Variegated Elephant Bush
Min. Temp to: 36°F
Bloom:
Origin: South Africa
USDA Zone ZONE: 10
Exposure: Bright Light/Sun


Here's their write up on it too!

"Portulacaria afra variegata (Rainbow Bush) is a form of the South African "Elephant Bush". Beautiful shrubby plant with mahogany-colored stems that are accented by highly succulent yellow leaves with green midstripes. The habit of this plant differs from the upright stance of the "Elephant Bush" in that it is somewhat cascading and spreads quickly laterally, rather than vertically. Often used as a bonsai subject as the the stems are easily trained, and the contrast of the gnarly mahogany stems with the delicate round colorful leaves creates an Oriental ambience. Great as hanging basket in atrium or patio, or as a gracefully cascading bonsai. Porous soil with adequate drainage. Bright light. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost. "
Oh, and by the way, they call my Rainbow Bush an Elephant Bush too.


MORE ON BEAR PAWS: A.K.A. "Kitten Paws"

I was surfing last night, while "enjoying" my neighbor's fabulous music, and I stumbled across a really great photograph of the Bear Paw plant that my friend Donna and I picked up yesterday! (She found two at Lowe's)! Anyway, this came from a website called: Daylily Hill, which I will add to my links on the lower-left of this page. Please check out their article on Bear Paws:

http://www.daylilyhill.com/subsublevel.php?id=411&lid=12

It's a great website! Lots of information on plants. I've included the link to this page, so please stop on over and check out what they have to say about what they call "Kitten Paws!" I guess it sort of looks like kitten paws, but if I had to choose one over the other, I would definitely lean towards calling them "bear" paws. I'm super impressed with the dark brown tips! I'm really hoping mine grows up to look just like this! It's pretty short and stubby. You know, I think I know why some plants have less leaves that are spread out and some are short and closely clustered like the one above; I think it's what I read about how when succulents do not receive enough light, they sort of spread out to draw in as much as they can. It makes sense that a plant receiving the perfect amount of sunlight and nutrients would be much more lush, robust and healthy, while others have to work harder to get what they need. I'm hoping for what I see above.

I stumbled upon the following government website:

http://www.usbg.gov/plant-collections/conservation/Cotyledon-tomentosa-subspecies-ladismithiensis.cfm.

Apparently, our beloved Bear Paw scientifically called "Cotyledon tomentosa ssp. ladismithiensis" is on the "rare and endangered plant" list. I need to check and see if any of the others that Donna and I are collecting are on it too!

The photo above belongs to the government conservation website mentioned above. It tells us that our Bear Paw does indeed flower. I can't make out the color of the flowers from this photo, but I read on one website that they come out as bronze/brown, and I know I read some where that the flowers weren't very showy. They bloom during mid-Fall.

Then I started digging around and I found the following picture of a Bear Paw succulent:

Okay, so does this look anything like my plant??? Not really! You can see the somewhat similar shape, but the color is competely different. It does, however, give a good example of the bronze colored flowers though. I did read that the color of the plant leaves can be blue-green, but my plants leans more towards looking like the government photo in the middle rather than this one which I found here:

http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Crassulaceae/Cotyledon_tomentosa.html.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

BEAR PAW: Cotyledon tomentosa


I found it!!!! I'm so excited. I found the succulent plant called "Bear Paw" and it looks just like a little bear paw; plump, soft and furry, and complete with pointy "nails." I looked all over for a second one for my friend across the street, but couldn't find one. I was so bummed. I found it at Armstrong Nursery in Glendale, CA. Here's their info:

Armstrong Garden Center
5816 San Fernando Road
Glendale, CA 91202
(818) 243-4227

http://www.armstronggarden.com/

Ironically, I had no plans of buying anything from them, as their prices are real high, but there is no way I could have passed on him. Oh, and he wasn't labeled real well either. The label info was smeared. I couldn't make it out too well, but the store clerk was sounding out the word "cotyledon" and I exuberantly exclaimed, "That's it! It's a Bear Paw!" I had thought other plants were like it confusing a Kalanchoe for it, but it really is one-of-a-kind, and the plump curved leaves really set it apart.

Okay, well now for some of the official information. I gathered this from The Cactus Center webpage.

Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay)
Genus: Cotyledon (kot-EE-lee-don)
Species: tomentosa (toh-men-TOH-suh) meaning covered in fine, matted hairs.
Common Name: Bear Paw
Min. Temp to: 32°F
Origin: Cape Province (South Africa)

USDA Zone: 10
Exposure: Bright Light

I'm not sure if it blooms or not. It didn't say one way or the other on the website. I'll research it and update this post if it does bloom.

Here's a little write up on it:

"Cotyledon tomentosa, native to Africa, has large chunky ovate fuzzy green leaves with prominent "teeth" at tips that give the impression of bear's paws. Large orange bell-shaped flower in spring. Porous soil with adequate drainage. Bright light and ample airflow. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost."

SUCCULENT PLANT PROPAGATION: Leaf Cuttings & Such

I am very interested in starting plants from leaf cuttings. It blows my mind that it's so easy. But first, let me tell you a little bit about how I became aware of this process. As I told you in other posts, my friend Donna got me turned on to succulent plants. I love her little succulent garden; I love the amazing varieties of the plants and their beautiful architectural forms. Okay, but how the heck was I going to get started? I mean, like most Americans out there, especially here in expensive California, I'm broke, so a couple of bucks for a plant and a couple more for a pot is a lot of money to me! Sad, but true.

Anyway, I looked into cuttings, and learned you can simply cut off a piece from a succulent plant, let it callous for a couple of days, and stick it in the dirt to plant it! Cool! But it got even better, and I think even more exciting: You can take a leaf from a succulent plant, (and other plants for that matter), let it callous over for a couple of days, and then simply lay it on top of the soil and a new plant forms at it's base. What th'?!? It's crazy, but true. When Donna and I talked about it more, she looked around in some of her pots and found leaves that had fallen of the plant itself, and a new plant began at it's base. We were blown away and thrilled. It's a great way to reproduce hard to find plants and, from what I've read, it's a lot easier than trying to grow the plants from seeds, (although I want to try that sometime too)! I've got a great link for plant seeds gathered from Africa...I'll give you that link later!

The picture above showing a new plant starting from the base of a leaf is from the following link:

I found some great links with step-by-step instructions on doing this yourself. Here's one of the better ones:


(By the way, this is a great little website. I might have to do some tutorials myself)!

Anyway, I am going to set up a spot on my balcony to start some plants using leaf cuttings. I'm very excited about this and will keep you posted as to how the process is going! I can't wait for a few of my brand new plants, from my brand new hobby to really get going, so I can start some plants from them!

Oh and by the way...I just got an African Violet plant that's just gorgeous. (I'm trying to get started on indoor houseplants again, since I gave up on them while having little kids running around). I found this photo at http://grow.ars-informatica.ca/grow_topic.php?subject=cut5 showing that you can start African Violets the same way....


I know that this should be obvious, but I'm just so stinkin' overwhelmed with the excitement of my new succulent garden, that I guess the obvious fails me at the moment!

Friday, February 1, 2008

PLUSH PLANT: Echeveria Harmsii

And here's the last plant that I got today. It's commonly called a "Plush Plant." It's so pretty. Actually, my friend Donna gave me a cutting from her Plush Plant, so this would make three. I lucked out and this came with two plants growing in the pot! I'm trying to decide whether or not I should go pick up a bag of perlite to make the soil a little bit better for my plants. I bought a bag of soil specifically for cactus and succulents, but it doesn't look all that much different from regular planting soil! It still has some pieces of wood in it and there isn't that much perlite. My friend Donna had the same problem; her soil was from a different maker, but it looked much like regular potting soil too! Go figure.

Anyway, here's the details on my plant:

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Echeveria (ech-eh-VER-ee-a)
Species Variety: Harmsii
Common Name: Plush Plant

Exposure: Bright Light/Sun
Height: To 12" Tall
Bloom: Winter/Summer
Hardy to: 32 Degrees
Water: When dry

Here is a description of my plant:

"Shrubby Echeveria. Native habitat Mexico. Called the "plush plant" because of soft, fuzzy leaves that are covered with silvery hairs. Requires bright light. Leaves blush beautiful rose in cold weather or in drought. Humming birds love bell-shaped orange flowers. Water thoroughly when soil is dry. Protect from frost."

By the way, this plant is related to my Green Goddess, which is a hybrid of this plant, and that I bought at the same time as this. I didn't know this until I got home and did this Blog. Pretty neat!

FINGER JADE: Crassulaceae Ovata Gollum

Okay, so here is the next succulent plant I purchased, commonly called a "Finger Jade." I like it because it's unusual. In fact, that's what makes collecting succulents so much fun; they're so unusual, almost alien like, plus the fact their inexpensive to buy! I can't believe how many breeds there are! Anyway, here's the details I have on it:


Family: Crassulaceae (krass-yoo-LAY-see-ay)
Genus: Crassula (KRASS-oo-la)
Species: Ovata (oh-VAY-tuh) meaning egg-shaped, (doesn't look like an egg to me, maybe the tip)?
Common Name: Finger Jade, Money Tree, Dollar Plant & Jade Tree
Exposure: Bright Light/Sun
Height: To 4 feet Plus Tall!
Bloom: Fall/Winter
Hardy to: 32 degrees
Water: When Dry



And here are some more details on this plant: "A monstrose form of Jade. This cultivar has fascinating tubular green leaves fluted at the tips and blushed beautifully with rose red in cold or drought. Excellent for windowsills patios and landscapes as well. Use porous soil, and water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost.


Check this plant out as a full-grown tree:

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/4282/

GREEN GODDESS: Echeveria hybrid 'haageana'


I got some new succulents to add to my collection. Here's the first of them, commonly called a "Green Goddess." A beautiful, soft, fuzzy plant that reminds me of a tarantula when you look at it up close. I had to have it. Here's some of the details on it:

Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Echeveria
Species Variety: Hybrid 'haageana'
Common Name: Green Goddess

Exposure: Bright Light
Height: Rosette
Bloom: Winter/Summer
Hardy to: 32 degrees
Water: When Dry

Here's what it says on the back: "Echeveria 'Haageana', considered to be a hybrid of Echeveria harmsii, forms frosty green rosettes that cluster quickly. Bell-shaped orange flowers loved by hummingbirds. Requires excellent drainage. Bright light for best appearnce. Water thorough when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost."

I really love it! Now I just have to find my Bear Paw succulent...the succulent addiction continues!