Sticky Fingers

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mammillarias are doing well

I keep lamenting that I do okay with growing but not so well with flowering. Now that I am noting and posting I realise that it's not all that bad. The mammillarias are trying to give me hope as they have been flowering since December. I guess the problem is that I don't have any identity for some of them so it's harder to refer to them. And the flowers all pretty much look the same and don't seem to be all that spectacular. But I do need to recognise them as flowers and add them to my success with blooms.

So just for the record - the unnamed that have been flowering:

I call this first one M3 - this week putting on a good show. I have decided to call the next one M10 (kind of random, you think?) - also in bloom this week.

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To the left below is M11 (starting to see a pattern?). And this next one (mysteriously unnumbered) is budding again now but here it was while flowering at the beginning of February.

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All four are now occupying the same large pot - maybe they are happy to be there since I put them out (exposed to the elements) in December. Or maybe they would have bloomed anyway. I will never know for sure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mammillaria plumosa

I got this Mammillaria plumosa from Manny at the Jamaica Horticultural Society Flower Show in April 2004. Just a single little golf-ball thing in a 2" pot - I thought it was so cute and nice to touch. Of course, I wanted to see it grow, so up into a 4" pot it went as soon as I could do it. Here are the July and December 2004 photos.

July 2004 .........................................December 2004
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Slowly, so slowly did it grow (as you can see), and I wondered why mine was not putting on babies like the other ones I saw Manny with. But patience ... just have to be patient. After worrying about too much water and rotting and so on, because the books all say to hardly water it I figured out where to put it and how to treat it, and 2005 was a much more productive year. With time have come babies, and now flowers. I hope that this is just the start of its 2006 flowering season, and that there will be many more flowers to enjoy.

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My other plumosa, which bears yellow flowers, hasn't done anything yet, but I have my fingers crossed.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A few of my mammillarias

Mammillaria decipiens
I thought I would start today with one of my plants that has flowered this week. I got this Mammillaria decipiens FO-140 San Luis Potosi from Mesa Garden in March 2005. In December, during one of my detailed inspections, I saw signs of budding (three, to be exact), and this week they have finally opened.

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Mammillaria decipiens ssp albescens
I also have another plant that has been identified as being Mammillaria decipiens ssp albescens. I have had trouble keeping up with the name changes, because I had identified this from books as being camptotricha var albescens, and the genus used to be Dolichothele.

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This one, I got from Evergrow in January 2005 as a slightly sad plant that I thought was going to die on me. It had signs of rot near the base, and I was so worried that it would spread. In any case, I took it out of the soil and left it dry for ages since it seemed better to leave it in suspense than the watch it rot away. Finally I got the courage to re-introduce it to the earth, and fortunately it seemed to have overcome its ailment to start growing and pupping. That got me really excited, and then in December, it put out a flower.

Little did I know that this was just the start of the flowering season, and by February it was showing several at once, while putting on more pups. I am watching them to figure out when it will be best to take an offset to start a new plant. I like to at least make one offset plant just in case the momma has any problems.

December 2005 .........................................February 2006
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Mammillaria decipiens ssp camptotricha
In fact, at the time, I got two similar plants from Evergrow, but one of them succumbed to rot - fortunately I had taken some offsets and so of that one I have two small plants although their momma didn't make it. I have presumed it to be the subspecie camptotricha but can't confirm it until it blooms so I just have to be patient.

This is one of the babies in a 2" pot in February 2006 - it was offset as a tiny pup in January 2005 and I am trying to carefully nurture it to maturity.

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Mammillaria baumii
AND, although this one is not blooming, the last of my featured mamms for the day is Mammillaria baumii. I do not even remember where I got this, but it was sometime in 2004. I suspect that it was one of the tiny plants that I got from Wallace in the course of that summer. The first photo is what it looked like in October 2004 - I had put it into a relatively large pot because I thought it was going to spread like the prolifera does. For a long while it seemed to be doing nothing, and then finally it started to pup, and although it still has quite a way to go to fill that pot, the second (February 2006) photo shows where it has reached after a year and a half.

October 2004 .................................................February 2006

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Updates on E. flanaganii and M. columbiana

Just want to quickly update on some previous posts.

The euphorbia flanaganii had a good time in January - lots of flowers. Unfortunately though - no seed. Maybe this is one of those that needs two plants for pollination or the male comes up at a different time from the female flowers. That is something for me to research. But here is a photo of it in all its finery.

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And the Mammillaria columbiana: I noted in the post below that it has progressed to a ring of flowers - here is the photo. I just feel so good to see this success.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Echinopsis eyriesii (maybe)

This was ID'ed as Echinopsis eyriesii by the helpful and knowledgeable folks on the GW C&S Forum but I am waiting (like with so many others) for a bloom to confirm it.

I first got this from a fellow enthusiast who lives in St. Ann, bursting out of a 4-inch pot. It must have been in early 2004, because by that summer it was nesting cozily in a 6" pot. In the photo below, the Echinopsis is in the upper right corner. Keeping it company are Gymnocalycium damsii (top left), Mammillaria sheldonii (centre), Echeveria (bottom centre), Kalanchoe tomentosa (bottom right), Mammillaria elongata (extreme right), and Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (extreme left).

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I potted up to a 12" concrete pot in December 2004, and it has grown and grown but still no flowers! My friend in St. Ann gets buds all over his clumps - bloom after bloom with apparently very little effort. I hope that this will be my year. From left: Dec 2004, Dec 2005, Feb 2006 ...

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Hopefully my next post on this plant will be a beauty! Fingers crossed - flowers, flowers, flowers.....

Friday, February 10, 2006

Mammillaria columbiana

So I got this nice but fairly ordinary mammillaria with a bonus seedling off to the side in the summer of 2004. I probably took it because I thought I was getting two for one - a bargain!

Here it is in the 4" pot I put it in when I took it home.

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It had a fruit sitting there on the side so I reaped the seed and sowed into the same pot (don't ask me why - I have no idea why I didn't sow them separately like I would do anything else). Anyway, they did germinate and now I was stuck with this pot with two plants AND seedlings so I couldn't repot and separate them.

Next photo was taken in December 2004 - in the same pot as the previous pic.

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Sometime in early 2005, I guess I took the decision to repot - pin out the babies and separate the two (by now clearly unrelated) plants. It turns out that the baby is the same plant as the one shown in the upper right of the first photo. And just to say that unfortunately, many of the seedlings didn't survive - I think there are about three or four still alive - doing okay but I might need to give them a bit more attention to see them to maturity.

Anyway, up went the mammillaria to a 5" pot by itself, and later on I put it out into a concerete pot with some others to get the full sun, rain and wind. Not a bad decision, it turns out, as it has been flowering since last month. Nothing spectacular, and just one tiny flower at a time, but since it's the first time since I got it - reason to feel good.

Here's the flower.

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EDIT: February 15 - I am told that it has now been blooming "profusely" with seven flowers right around. I guess that means it is happy and comfortable where it is and something is being done right. This is the encouragement I need to continue to do more.

Gymnocalycium damsii

I spent the ten days at home looking after my plants - potting up, repotting, checking seedlings, etc. The new plants have joined the collection and were quite happy up to when I left them. Only one kicked the bucket, even before it got into new soil so I have no clue why.

So what do I post? I have so many photos of different things around my garden but I can't go into it all at once.

OK, today I will talk about my Gymnocalycium damsii. This is one of my earlier acquisitions, when I was just starting to get into pokey plants. Before that I was in to succulent rosette-type plants and slowly transitioned into cacti.

I'm still not sure that the ID is truly correct but it's the closest I've found. The plant is now about seven inches across which is far bigger than typical for this species. When I got it in around November 2002, it was crammed into a 4 1/2" pot with pups all around screaming for more space. I potted it up and took off all 11 pups within a month.

So what did it do then? It just started producing more pups, and growing into the new space (I had put it into a 6" pot). I wanted to keep the pups on (to see how it would look), but I still took off some more near the end of 2003 - plenty were left. It bloomed for me the first time in July 2004 - just two single flowers for the season. The photo below shows the second time it bloomed.

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Finally, in December 2004, it made it into a 12" pot.

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By April the next year, it started flowering, and not just the main plant but all the babies - tiny pups not even 1/2" across were sending out buds. Amazing! Flowering was consistent until August or September, and I think the most open at once was about 20 blooms.

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Unfortunately my photo only shows 6 flowers, because I missed the photo op when it was in full bloom (only are open like that during the day in the full sun and I was never around to see that) When I would get home from work most were closing up, but I still felt good about it. This is my first real success in flowering (I don't count the occasional bloom on the Mammillarias) or the ones that came to me already in bud.

While the house was being painted in November, someone got careless and daubed white paint all over my damsii. I was concerned but then it seemed to not be doing any harm, and it has peeled off over time without incident.

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Last month (January 2006) I decided to strip the pups and repot. I hope that I have not doomed my chances of a successful flowering season this year, but I think there is enough time for good growth so I should at least get some blooms. I will have to wait and see. This is what it looks like now, just after repotting.

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