Erica diaphana

Have I talked about Erica diaphana before? I can’t remember.  I love it because it is the first woody plant I have ever grown from seed. The seed was like dust, the seedlings so tiny that I ended up keeping them in a Ziploc baggy under lights for at least six months, so I am thrilled that I had several plants survive and even more thrilled that they lived long enough to bloom. I purchased the seed from Silverhill Seeds in South Africa and sowed them on 1/13/2012.

Erica diaphana

I have three of them in my plant ghetto which has become really overgrown. I just didn’t have the time to deal with it in spring and by summer everything had grown huge and rooted through their pots into the ground. I didn’t really want to dig things up while they were blooming so I kept putting it off. Now it is a jungle and plants are crushing each other so I already set up some new drip line and I am going to try to start salvaging plants. I hope I am able to save these Ericas and pot them up into larger pots without killing them.

Erica diaphana

I love that the flowers are sort of shiny and greasy looking. Beautiful but there is something a bit off about them too. Flowers that look like shiny plastic are neat.



Titanopsis primosii

If you are looking to grow mesembs or other succulents from seed but are worried that it will be too difficult I recommend Titanopsis primosii. Very easy to germinate and grow on and the young plants bloomed very quickly.

Titanopsis primosii

Muiria hortensae

Muiria hortensae

I have been very lazy about blogging lately. I’m not thrilled with the changes to WordPress and Flickr so that is part of the reason. It isn’t difficult to post a single picture though so at the very least I can do that from time to time.

I haven’t had an update on my mesembs in a while so what do you think of this adorable little Muiria hortensae? Supposedly one of the more difficult ones but I had reasonably good luck growing them from seed and still have a few little plants left. Not bad considering they are grown outdoors year round and don’t have optimal conditions or care. This is the nicest of my remaining plants and I was happy to notice that it has split into two plants. Once I buy a house I hope to have space for a small greenhouse and then perhaps my collection of succulents and other little plants will be better protected from the elements.

Be sure to click on the image to enlarge it for a more detailed close up. Muiria is even more adorable up close.

Succulent Macros

I haven’t really posted any little succulent pics in a while because many of them are dormant during the spring and summer and don’t look like much. After our recent rain storm they are springing back to life so it is time for an update.

All of them are plants that I started from seed except for the Fenestraria. Most of them are in two or three inch pots so that should give you an idea of their size.

Frithia pulchra

Frithia pulchra

Titanopsis primosii

Titanopsis primosii

Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. rhopalophylla

Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca

Stomatium alboroseum

Crassula barklyi

Crassula macowaniana

Cheiridopsis cigarettifera

Lithops optica ssp. rubra

Mitrophyllum dissitum

 Mitrophyllum dissitum

 Mitrophyllum grande

 Monilaria pisiformis (I am not convinced that any of my Monilaria are going to survive dormancy. There is a bit of green in some of them but they are not doing much)

Cheiridopsis glomerata

Gibbaeum comptonii

Oophytum oviforme

Muiria hortenseae

Muiria hortenseae

The last four – Cheiridopsis glomerata, Gibbaeum comptonii, Oophytum oviforme, and Muiria hortenseae were left in their original seedling containers way too long. For little mesembs (especially tricky ones like Muiria and Oophytum) it is a balancing act on potting the plants up into individual pots. Too soon and you may kill them. If you wait too long, however, they become overgrown and their roots are so entwined it is difficult to extricate them from each other without doing damage or even killing some. I had planned on potting them up in September, after returning from a trip back east, but while I was gone the drip irrigation on my nearby container plants had sprung a leak and water was shooting up like a geyser a few times a week.  It filled the tray they were in with water so they were soaking for a few days. Not ideal for any succulent!  I let them dry out for a bit and then proceeded with potting them up and happily most of them are looking pretty good. The Oophytum are still a bit dodgy but those are tricky plants to begin with. If they fail I’ll try again and be more careful next time.

January 1st Mesembs

I had this plan to take photos of my Mesemb seedlings the first of every month so I would have a record of their growth. I was doing well with my project but fell short these past few months.  I’ll try to start it up again (but no promises!).

Cheiridopsis glomerata sown 3/11/2012 and badly in need of being pricked out and given their own pots.  The problem is I have nowhere to put all those little pots! I am going to remedy that soon though.

Gibbaeum comptonii sown exactly a year ago today!

Muiria hortenseae also sown a year ago today. To tell the truth I am a little nervous to pot these guys up. They are supposed to be tricky and they are doing so well. I’m afraid if I mess with them they will all drop dead.

Oophytum oviforme are also said to be tricky.  They are very tiny and slow-growing too so that makes me even more nervous to pot them up.

Lithops optica var. rubra 

Honestly it is a miracle I have kept any Lithops alive a year and a half.  I have killed more Lithops than any other mesemb.

Mitrophyllum grande (left) and Monilaria pisiformis

These are also a year old today and have been potted up and growing outside since spring.  They went dormant over the summer and I am shocked that they Monilaria survived.  They were all just a few millimeters tall when they went dormant and nothing was left but a few wisps of papery dried up husks. But they sprang to life with the fall rains and the one pictured and a few others are already about an inch high. This one even branched already.

The story for Dactylopsis digitata is not as happy.   Another tricky one to grow they are not thriving since coming out of dormancy. Their old dead leaves are still clinging to them and they have put on little growth. This is supposedly pretty common. I expect they will just wither away.

Mitrophyllum dissitum however are doing really well. Sown 1/16/11 so almost two years old. This past summer was their first dormancy and I was surprised how huge they had become once the rains started in fall and they started growing again. For a while I was nervous about them because like the Dactylopsis their old dried skins were also clinging to them.  But the wet and humidity of a few rainy days in November seemed to do the trick and the old skins washed away.

I think I need to start up some new mesembs and other succulents from seed.  They are far more forgiving than regular herbaceous and woody plants so I can go out of town and not worry about them too much.  People are always raving about Mesa Garden so maybe I will place an order with them when their 2013 seed list comes out.

Self Sown

Linaria reticulataGypsophila elegans 'Kermesina'Chrysanthemum paludosumGeranium pyrenaicum 'Bill Wallis'Nemophila menziesiiLayia platyglossa
Ursinia anthemoidesEschscholzia californicaSalvia sclareaClarkia rubicunda blasdaleiAgrostemma githagoScabiosa stellata
Gilia tricolor

Self Sown Seedlings, a set on Flickr.

So I talked to an inspector today about the sewer pipes that are going in and the news is not good.  While he was not one hundred percent certain it is likely that my garden is in fact going to mostly end up destroyed.

But lets pretend all that isn’t going to happen and instead enjoy pictures of all my little self sown seedlings that are popping up after our fall rains.

Click on the thumbnails to be brought to Flickr where I have labeled each seedling.  Wordpress has a new way to put images into a post and it is buggy as hell so until I either figure it out or they fix it I am going to have to just use Flickr thumbnails for my blog posts.

Lots of cool California natives and other neat mediterranean seedlings coming up. Lets just pretend that they aren’t all going to be destroyed by a backhoe some time in the near future.

Well this is unexpected.

I was out checking on my seedlings this morning and another mesemb seedling has a bud.

This is a Stomatium alboroseum and it is only six and a half months old. The seed was sown 1/1/12 right after I moved into my new place.  I had no idea they could reach blooming size so quickly. The seedling flat is in full sun all day and the plants are all in little two-inch pots so they are watered almost ever day.

Pretty neat huh? I’m not sure if the flower will open today as it is pretty foggy but I’ll try to get a photo when the bloom opens instead of just in bud.