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Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Common name: Mother of Thousands, Alligator Plant, Mexican Hat Plant, Devil’s Backbone

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Kalanchoe daigremontiana

Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Distribution and habitat: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is a succulent perennial plant native to the Fiherenana River valley and Androhibolava mountains in southwest Madagascar. It has been introduced to numerous tropical and subtropical regions, such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, parts of the Canary Islands and Australia. Like other members of the genus Bryophyllum, it is able to propagate vegetatively from plantlets (epiphyllous buds) that develop on the leaf edges. The plantlets that grow on the edges of each leaf fall easily and root wherever they land.
It is commonly found growing on gravelly and sandy soils. This succulent plant is a weed of bushland and disturbed sites such as roadsides, along fence lines, around rubbish tips and abandoned rural dwellings. It also occurs frequently along creeks and rivers where it is spread by floodwaters.

Description: Bryophyllum daigremontianum grows from a single unbranched stem 45-90cm (18-35 inch) tall, which carries opposite pairs of fleshy, shiny, lance-shaped leaves that are 10-25cm (4-10 inch) long. The leaves grow at an 8° angle to the stem and are bluish green with purple blotched undersides. The saw-toothed leaf edges curl slightly inward. The tiny plantlets that form in the gaps between the teeth often have tiny aerial roots attached. One leaf can carry as many as 50 such plantlets in a single season. Pink flowers, which bloom only on mature plant, are roughly tubular, 2cm (0.8 inch) long and pendent. They are carried in rather flat clusters at the top of 30cm (12 inch) tall stalks in late autumn and early winter. The plant dies after blooming. Flowering is, however, not an annual event and will occur sporadically if at all. Particularly in climates with distinct seasonal temperature differences, flowering is most frequently observed at the beginning of a warm season.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum take a year or two to mature.

Houseplant care: Bryophyllum daigremontianum requires minimal care and can tolerate dry conditions and high temperatures. It is an unusual, fast growing succulent.

Light: These plants like bright light; do not subject them to direct sunlight.

Temperature: Bryophyllum daigremontianum thrive in normal room temperature.

Watering: During the active growth period water moderately, but allow the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. In the rest period water sparingly.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser once a month during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move small plants into pots one size larger every spring. A Bryophyllum daigremontianum big enough to need 15cm (6 inch) pot is usually unshapely and best discarded.

Gardening: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is not frost-hardy and typically dies if subjected to temperatures below freezing. Within its hardiness zone, Bryophyllum daigremontianum have the potential to escape from cultivation and spread into natural environments becoming a problematic weed. Therefore, precaution have to be taken when grow these plants in garden.
Newly transplanted Bryophyllum daigremontianum have the tendency to wilt. It is recommended to stake the taller ones to keep them growing straight until their roots are reestablished; these plants can be also planted deeper than the original root to give more support and promote more root growth. They will soon resume their growth.

Position: Plant Bryophyllum daigremontianum in full sun or partial shade. Leaves will develop a pinkish-red colour with lots of light, or will stay a greener coluor under less bright conditions.
It is very heat resistant, if planted in shade.

Soil: Bryophyllum daigremontianum thrive in well draining, sandy soil. The plants establish well in leaf litter or other debris on shallow soils.
Space the plants 15-25cm (6–10 inch) apart to make room for the leaves to display their plantlets.
To promote new plants, do not mulch the ground around Bryophyllum daigremontianum. The plantlets which loosen from the plant will grow much better if allowed to fall directly onto soil rather than onto mulch.

Irrigation: Water well when plant the Bryophyllum daigremontianum. After that these plants can be neglected or if watered, do so no more than once or twice a week. These succulent plants are adapted to dry conditions and can survive long periods of drought.

Fertilising: Use a water soluble fertiliser on Bryophyllum daigremontianum plants, following the directions given by the manufacturer.

Propagation: Plantlets growing at the base of the plants may be dug up at any time, replanted in 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pots of standard potting mixture and treated as mature plants. Or plantlets may be picked from the leaves and shallowly planted in standard potting mixture.

Problems: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is generally problem free, but their succulent leaves are a great attraction for insects like mealy bugs, scale or aphids.
Treatment: Control mealy bugs by wiping the infested leaves with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Remove brown scale insects by gently scraping them off. Aphids should be removed by hand. Isolate plants that show signs of insect pest infestation to prevent infestation of other plants.

Prune tall growth and old flower stems and allow plenty of air flow around your plant to avoid powdery mildew.
Treatment: If the plant becomes infected with powdery mildew, potassium bicarbonate can be used to control it.

If rot affects the plant, it normally starts at the root.
Treatment: It is recommended to discard affected plants and start new ones from plantlets.

Toxicity: All parts of the Bryophyllum daigremontianum plant are poisonous (they contain daigremontianin and other bufadienolides), which can even be fatal if ingested by infants or small pets. It is also poisonous to humans.

Note: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is a widespread weed of pastures, grasslands, open woodlands, waste areas, disturbed sites, fence lines, roadsides, embankments, and railways in subtropical, semi-arid, tropical and warmer temperate regions. It is commonly found growing in rocky sites or on poor soils. It prefers rocky outcrops in dry savannas and urban open spaces.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum has been introduced to many parts of the world as an ornamental plant. However, these uses cannot compensate for this plant’s overall negative impacts.

Uses and display: Bryophyllum daigremontianum is more ideal for container growing than landscape planting because it can be difficult to control in outdoor gardens. Both, its unusual leaves which carry the plantlets and its tubular cluster of flowers have ornamental value. Arranged with other succulents, Bryophyllum daigremontianum makes a lovely desert window sill planter. It is a great looking as specimen plant as well as mass planting or group planting.
Bryophyllum daigremontianum is growing in shallow rocky soils, so it is an excellent plant for rocky gardens and xeriscaping.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Bryophyllum daigremontianumBryophyllum daigremontianum - plantletsBryophyllum daigremontianum - flowers



Evergreen, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , ,

Aichryson laxum

Common name: Tree of Love, Mice Ears

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Aeonium laxum
Aichryson dichotomum
Aichryson dichotomum var. hamiltonii
Aichryson laxum var. latipetalum
Aichryson laxum f. subglabrum
Sedum dichotomum
Sempervivum annuum
Sempervivum dichotomum
Sempervivum laxum

Aichryson laxum

Aichryson laxum

Distribution and habitat: Aichryson laxum belongs to the group of hairy herbaceous species. It is endemic to the Canary Islands, occurring at over 1000m (3280 feet) altitudes. It is adapted to dry areas, but prefers partial shade where is less exposed to direct sun, growing as understory plant. Aichryson laxum forms small populations along woods or sheltered by cliffs with its roots embedded on the crevices of volcanic rocks. This plant does not like wet feet, but the local frogs provide it with minimum humidity necessary to sustain its vegetation.
Aichryson laxum is annual or biennial, but it will produce volunteer seedlings around itself after flowering.
This species is also naturalised in Portugal. Is is a pretty rare species in culture may be because of its potential short life.

Description: Aichryson laxum is probably one of the most attractive species within this genus due to its large ovoid dark green leaves which are very hairy on both sides. It is a succulent that is freely branching shrublets. Of dwarf-tree-like appearance, it seldom grows over 30cm (12 inch) high. Its many thin, forked branches bear spoon-shaped leaves on short leaf stalk. The leaves form rosettes at the stem ends and blooms in the center of the rosette in numerous buds grouped. Clusters of many pale yellow flowers are regularly produced. This plant is liable to die after it has finished flowering.

Houseplant care: Aichryson laxum is a fast growing plant, but tends to lose their lower leaves.
In order to promote vegetative growth, the inflorescence should be cut off in time, otherwise this species will naturally grow as a biannual, dieing after flowering.

Light: Provide bright light with some direct sunlight. Aichryson laxum grow spindly and fail to bloom if they are grown in poor light.

Temperature: Aichryson laxum plants do well in wide range of temperatures. Under normal room conditions, Aichryson laxum that survive after flowering grows continuously. If they are kept in place where the temperature falls below 13°C (55°F) – and where the light is poor -, however, they will have a short winter rest period.

Watering: During the active growth period water Aichryson laxum moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During the rest period, if any, water only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: In areas where light and temperature are low in winter (and plants have a rest period), apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only. Elsewhere, Aichryson laxum plants may be fed throughout the year.

Potting and repotting:
Use a soil based based potting mixture. Because Aichryson laxum have small root systems, they do not need large pots but should be able to mature and flower in 10 or 13cm (4-5 inch) pots. If necessary, move small surviving plants into pots one size larger in spring.

Gardening: Aichryson laxum can tolerate minimum temperature as low as 2°C (36°F) when planted in ground.

Position: In culture Aichryson laxum plants are placed in light shade or sunny positions, but according with their natural habitat they will prefer light shade, especially in hot climates. The leaf colour varies depending on exposure to sunlight. In the shade they are green and in full sun they become slightly brownish green or khaki.

Soil: The planting substrate for Aichryson laxum plants should be sandy, gritty-sandy, loamy, sandy-loamy, clay, sandy clay or loamy clay soil, a well drained soil with mild acidity (around 6.1 to 6.5 pH).

Irrigation: Aichryson laxum prefer moderately moist soil at their roots. These plants will thrive in humid atmosphere. Short showers are preferred to deep irrigation. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.   They tolerate a cool, frost-free winter if kept fairly dry.
They are drought-tolerant plants protected by the hairy leaves.

Fertilising: The Aichryson laxum does not require much fertiliser. Two to three applications of a balanced fertiliser during the growing season will feed these succulents.

Propagation: Small tip cuttings root easily if taken in spring or summer. Take shoots 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long, strip them of their lower leaves and plant them in a slightly moistened potting mixture of equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Give the cuttings bright light and just enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out. Rooting should take place in three to four weeks. When rooted, plant the cuttings in 8cm (3 inch) pots of soil-based mixture and treat them as adult plants.
Seeds are produced in abundance and will easily sow themselves.

Problems:
If too many leaves seems to be falling, it may be happening because Aichryson laxum plants are probably getting to much hot, dry air or scorching sun.
Treatment: Move them to a more suitable position.

Lifespan: Aichryson laxum tends to behave like an annual or biennial. This plant may die after flowering – but by no means always.

Uses and display: Aichryson laxum plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. As succulent plant, it is suitable for xeriscaping or rockeries, suitable for shaded parts of the landscape. Also it is used as houseplant. Consider growing it as part of a cactus or succulent display.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-45cm (12-18 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-12

Aichryson laxumAichryson laxumAichryson laxum



Evergreen, Garden Plants, Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aeonium arboreum

Common name: Tree Aeonium, Tree Houseleek, Irish Rose, Houseleek Tree, Tree Anemone, Desert Pinwheel Rose

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Sempervivum arboreum
Aeonium manriqueorum

Aeonium arboreum

Aeonium arboreum

Distribution and habitat: Aeonium arboreum is a subtropical succulent sub-shrub native to the hillsides of the Canary Islands where their natural range includes arid desert regions.
It bears rosettes of leaves and large pyramidal panicles of bright yellow flowers in the spring. Each rosette that bloom will die.

Description: Aeonium arboreum is a treelike in that its woody stems branch out freely, but it is unlikely to exceed 90cm (3 feet) in height. The 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long leaves of its rosettes are spoon-shaped and shiny green. The leaf rosettes are arranged at the ends of its branches.
These plants grow quickly and produce abundant small, star-like, bisexual, yellow flowers on racemes from late winter through early spring. Flowers stems emerge from the center of the rosettes. The rosette die after flowering. If the plant has produced side shoots, they will live on. If not, the entire plant will die off. New plants can be started from the seed.

Proper care: In regions where winters are cool, Aeonium arboreum plants appreciate summer sun outdoors and then can grow indoors as houseplants when weather cools.
Aeonium arboreum plants are quick growers. Leggy branches do tend to fall over and snap off from the weight of the rosettes. If this happens, the broken stem can be used for propagation.
The plants tend to go dormant in the summer and look a little tired sometimes, but they perk up again in the fall. Care should be taken with these plants to avoid overwatering.

Light: To keep their form, Aeonium arboreum need full sunlight, even during rest periods when they are not actively growing. Too lithe light will result in elongate, prematurely falling leaves and gap rosettes.

Temperature: Aeonium arboreum grow well in warm rooms about 18 to 24°C (64-75°F), but like most other succulents – they are not tropical plants. If possible they should be encouraged to rest during the winter months by being moved to a cool place – preferable around 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water Aeonium arboreum moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top 1cm (0.4 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.
During the rest period, allow half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Less than this will result in shriveled leaves. On the other hand, over-watering will encourage soft, untypical leaf growth, which is likely to droop.

Feeding: Use liquid fertiliser about every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a porous potting mixture composed of one part coarse sand or a substance such as perlite added to two parts of a standard soil based mixture. Because Aeonium arboreum can grow quickly, the taller kinds should be moved into pots one size larger every year, preferably just as new growth begins. Newly potted plants should be especially firmly pressed into the potting mixture and taller Aeonium arboreum must be staked.

Gardening: The Aeonium arboreum thrives in temperatures that range from 4 to 38°C  (40-100°F). During the winter, it will grow best with nighttime temperatures of 10°C (50°F). These succulents can be interesting and fun plants to grow, thriving outdoors in areas with dry summers and warm winters. The ideal climates are Mediterranean- relatively dry with seasonal rainfall (preferably in winters, not summers) and no freezes. Growing these plants in the tropics, the hot deserts or where it snows will be very difficult.
These plants are suitable for pots and they can be moved in and out depending on weather situations. Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in ground.

Position: Aeonium arboreum grows best in full sun during the cooler months and when grown in coastal areas. When grown inland or during the summer, provide these succulents with afternoon or partial shade. Avoid placing Aeonium arboreum plants in sites with western sun exposures.

Soil: Though Aeonium arboreum tolerate a variety of soil types – as long as the soil is well-drained – it prefers light, porous soil. Is recommended to amend the planting site with sand and limestone chips. For container gardening, plant Aeonium arboreum in a moderately moist medium with excellent drainage such as a planting mix that includes 2 parts sand, 1 part loam and 1 part peat moss with a handful of small gravel pieces thrown in to enhance drainage.
Although it is recommended to place a thin layer of inorganic mulch, such as ornamental rock, around the plants.

Irrigation: Water Aeonium arboreum plants deeply but infrequently. Allow them to dry thoroughly in-between waterings. In the wild, these succulents go dormant in summer, so water sparingly during the hotter months, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Watering during the summer is require only in very dry conditions.
During the winter months restrict water to about once a month or just enough to keep the foliage from shriveling. In extreme heat, their leaves will curl, to prevent excessive water loss.

It growing these succulents along the coast, the humidity and rains or mist will often be enough to satisfy the water needs of these plants.  But in dry climates they will probably need to be watered frequently or put on drip irrigation. They do not need to be thoroughly watered, though as the main water-absorbing roots are near the surface with the deeper roots functioning nearly solely as support.

Fertilisation: The Aeonium arboreum does not require much fertilizer. Two to three applications of a balanced fertilizer during the growing season will feed these succulents.

Propagation: Aeonium arboreum are easy to propagate from tip cuttings. The best time to do this is early in the growth period. Cleanly detach a complete rosette together with 2-4cm (0.8-1.5 inch) of stem, dip the stem into hormone rooting powder to encourage rooting and plant it is a moistened mixture of equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite.
Cuttings will root in two to there weeks in a warm room – 18 to 24°C (64-75°F) if given bright light and watered only enough to make the potting mixture barely moist. They can then be repotted in the potting mixture that is used for mature plants.
Propagate by seed sown at 18-24°C (64-75°F) in spring, but is a slow propagation method.

Problems: Aeonium arboreum plants enter dormancy as summer temperatures climb, dropping their foliage rosettes to direct energy toward their stems or growing tips and roots. Leaf loss from seasonal dormancy is temporary and natural and is not accompanied by other worrying symptoms such as wilting, discoloration or stem dieback. Fall rain revives the plants until colder temperatures set in and prompt a second, less profound dormancy period in winter.

Though Aeonium arboreum is not particularly susceptible to infestations, insect pests include aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and thrips.
Treatment: Combat these  insects with horticultural soaps or neem oil. However, care should be taken when using soap spays as too frequent spraying can cause discoloration and lesions on the skin of the plant.

If an Aeonium arboreum succulent is planted in a site with poor drainage, its roots may rot.
Treatment: Root rot is prevented by using clay pots with good drainage or checking soil percolation prior to planting. Keep the roots moist but never soggy.

Temperatures below minus 7°C (20°F) will badly damage the leaf tips and may cause foliage loss. Conversely, direct sun exposure and temperatures above 38°C (100°F) will also cause foliage loss and damage, particularly if the soil is too dry.

Slugs, snails, deer, grasshoppers can do some damage to Aeonium arboreum plants and the occasional bird may take a bite.

Lifespan: Aeonium arboreum is a monocarpic species, meaning that it dies after flowering. It is expected to live about 3 to 10 years as it reach its full maturity. Although their yellow flowers are attractive, each time they bloom, a rosette dies. Flowering can be avoided by clipping off the flowerheads as they begin to emerge. Also, this succulent can be preserved in time by cutting the terminal rosette every year in late winter and propagating it by planting the rosette at the plant’s base, where it will form roots, creating a new Aeonium arboreum plant.

Recommended varieties:
Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum (Dark Purple Houseleek Tree, Black rose, Black Beauty, Black Tree Aeonium) has a slightly smaller deep purple leaves, but the colouring loses intensity if the plant is grown in full sunlight.

Aeonium arboreum cv. Schwarzkopf (Aeonium Blacktop, Black Rose, Black Beauty, Black Tree Aeonium) is a variety with almost black foliage.

Aeonium arboreum var. albovariegatum is a variety with white margined leaves.

Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum forma cristata (Crested Black rose, Crested Black Beauty, Crested Black Tree Aeonium) is a crested succulent shrub that produces magnificent, fun shaped purple, leaf rosettes at the ends of its branches and seems to to change in and out of its crested mode during the years.

Companion plants: Consider growing Aeonium arboreum as part of a cactus or succulent display. It can be combined with other plants such as Aloe, Agave, Crassula (jade plants), evergreen Echeverias species  or can be combined with other members of its own genus.

Note: Aeonium species are often confused with Echeverias species or  other several rosette-like succulents such as Dudleyas, Graptopetalums, Pachyverias and Graptoverias species.
One thing that sets these plants apart is the way their leaves attach to the stem – they are wrapped around the stem with a fibrous attachment so that when a leaf is pulled away, the stem is intact with only a transverse line showing where the leaf was attached. The other rosette Crassulaceas have succulent attachments and their being pulled off the stem leaves a divot in the stem.

Uses and display: Aeonium arboreum make excellent bedding plants, since their architectural shape contrasts well with most other bedding plants. When grown in the garden, Aeonium arboreum command the most attention in masses.  Place them along sunny borders or in rockeries or they can be used as part of xeriscaping, being drought tolerant plants. These succulents are often used in architectural city and courtyard gardens in coastal mediterranean sub-tropical climate. In temperate or cooler zones, frost may kill the foliage and the rosette will fall off. If the plant is mulched it will grow a new one in spring.
Aeonium arboreum can also be used effectively planted in containers and grown indoors. Consider growing them as part of a cactus or succulent display. Aeonium arboreum is a tall variety with bonsai like look when they get shrubby. They can be trimmed if they get leggy.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green or coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 90cm (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Aeonium arboreumAeonium arboreum var. atropurpureumAeonium arboreum cv. SchwarzkopfAeonium arboreum var. albovariegatumAeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum forma cristataAeonium arboreum cv. Schwarzkopf



Evergreen, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Faucaria tigrina

Common name: Tiger’s Jaws

Family: Aizoaceae

Synonymous: Faucaria tigrina f. splendens
Mesembryanthemum tigrinum

Faucaria tigrina

Faucaria tigrina

Distribution and habitat: Faucaria tigrina is a subtropical succulent plant native of South Africa  in eastern Cape Province thicket and savanna and the Karoo desert. It is found in open, rocky patches, in a dark clay soil with a low pH, in mountain renosterveld.

The Latin name for these succulent house plants is Faucaria meaning jaws and tigrina meaning tiger.
The ‘teeth’ of the Faucaria tigrina however, are actually soft and harmless, and help to trap moist fog and direct it down to the roots. Fog that comes in from the coast provides a precious source of water for plants surviving in the hot, arid thickets.

Description: Faucaria tigrina are low growing succulent plants with four or five layers of leaves arranged in criss-cross opposite pairs, forming a thick, star shaped rosette. Each pair of leaves is united at the base and these are virtually no stems. The leaves are fleshy and pointed, 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) broad at the base. The roughly triangular leaves, which are usually edged with soft and bristle-like hooked teeth, have a flat upper surface, but the underside is convex. Leaf colour is greyish green marked with many small white dots. The teeth on the edge of the young leaves interlock, but they later strengthen and separate to give a jaw like appearance.
The plants send out basal offsets that form crowded clumps.
Relatively large, daisy-like flowers, which generally open in the afternoon, are produced from between the leaves in autumn. They are attractive golden yellow, stalk-less and can be up to 5cm (2 inch) wide.

Proper care: The plants in this genus represent some of the more easily cultivated succulent species.

Light: Faucaria tigrina must have at least three hours a day of direct sunlight all year long in order to flower.

Temperature: Faucaria tigrina needs warmer temperatures from spring through fall 21-32°C (70-90°F). It needs average temperatures in winter, 16-24°C (60-75°F).
If the plant is moved outdoors for the summer, be sure to bring it back indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 16°C (60°F).
This succulent plant requires an average to dry humidity.

Water: Keep Faucaria tigrina soil lightly moist spring through fall. In winter, allow soil to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: During the active growth period only, apply standard liquid fertiliser at half-strength once or twice during growth period. Too frequent feeding will result in soft, uncharacteristic growth.

Potting and repotting: Use a mixture composed of two parts of soil-based mixture to one part of coarse sand or grit. Because Faucaria tigrina have relatively little root, plant them in shallow pans or half-pots. When a clump has covered the surface of the potting mixture, move plants into a container one size larger. Repotting should be necessary, however, only one in two or three years. The best time to pot is early spring.

Gardening: In areas prone to frost, Faucaria tigrina should be overwintered in an intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of cactus compost. Although the plants will survive mild frost if kept dry – hardy as low as -5°C (23°F) – they should be protected from frost to prevent scarring.
Faucarias become woody and untidy as they age. New plants can be started by cutting a rosette and planting it.

Position: Faucaria tigrina plants need full sun to light shade.  Keep them shaded in summer, but provide maximum light the rest of the year. They do not do well in full shade as they tend to etiolate, fall over and rot easily.

Soil: Faucaria tigrina need to be located in an accentuated and drained substratum. The substrate should be gritty-sandy soil. They thrive on a little compost and some fine mulch spread between the plants would also be a good idea.
These succulent plants will grow in a well-drained soil mix, but can tolerate a wide variety of soil types and growing locations as long as there is plenty of sun.

Irrigation: Faucaria tigrina is native to a primarily summer rainfall area but in cultivation the plant can be watered year-round. The plants are well watered during the growing season and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again and will tolerate some over watering, but the challenge is to help them keep their compact form and prevent elongation of the stem.
Faucaria tigrina plants grow on winter rain and were heading for spring-summer dormancy. Requires little water otherwise their epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water moderately from the middle of summer to the end of winter and keep the compost almost dry when the plants are dormant. Water minimally in spring and summer, only when the plant starts shriveling (but they will generally grow even in summer if given water).

Fertiliser: Faucaria tigrina plants should be fertilised only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.

Propagation: Carefully divide overcrowded clumps of Faucaria tigrina in late spring or early summer just after plants have restarted into growth. As individual plants are separated, some will come away with their roots attached. Insert each such rooted Faucaria tigrina directly into an 8cm or 10cm (3-4 inch) container of the recommended potting mixture and treat the new plant as a mature specimen. For the first week or two, however, keep the Faucaria tigrina in medium light, well out of direct sunlight.
An individual plant without roots attached should be left unpotted for a few days to let the base of the plant harden. It may then be inserted in the recommended potting mixture. Surround the base with some additional coarse sand. This will help to prevent rotting and encourage the development of roots. Keep the plant in medium light and water only moderately until new growth indicates that rooting has occurred. Thereafter, treat the young plant as a mature Faucaria tigrina.

Problems:
The spring weather, with a high temperature swing between the day and night hours and pretty frequent rains, can favour the development of fungus diseases (phytophthora) indicated by sudden wilting and pale green discolouration.
Treatement: Remove infected plants and treat remaining plants preemptively with a systemic fungicide, before the gems grow excessively. Avoid fungus infections by improving drainage and over-fertilization.

Waxy fibres and honeydew on leaves and shoots indicate an infestation with mealybugs. Scale insects sit on the undersides of the leaves.
Treatment: At the end of the winter a wide range insecticide is recommended to be applied to prevent the insects attack. It is recommended to do these treatments when there are not flowerings in the garden. Alternatively, control biologically with predatory ladybirds or parasitic wasps can be used in garden.

Note: Continued urban development and over-grazing within its current natural habitat means Faucaria tigrina plant is classed as endangered in the wild.

Uses and display: Faucaria tigrina is used as a border or filler plant in rock gardens, xeriscaping or wild gardens. It will attract bees, butterflies and other insects into the garden. It is a suitable succulent plant for smaller gardens and can be used to stabilise banks and and reduce land erosion.  Although it can be grown just as easily indoors as windowsill plant, being well suited to growing in containers and pots.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – low growing, clustering habit
Height: under 15cm (6 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Faucaria tigrinaFaucaria tigrinaFaucaria tigrina



Evergreen, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , ,

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Common name: Kalanchoe Panda Plant, Panda Plant, Pussy Ears, Chocolate Soldier, Cocoon Plant, Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe, Plush Plant, White Lady, Panda-Bear Plant, Kalanchoe

Family: Crassulaceae

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Distribution and habitat: Kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent sub-shrub native of Madagascar. It is found on granite rocks, growing up to 45cm (1.5 feet) tall.

The dense covering of hairs performs a vital function for the plant as water conservation adaptation. In the dry environment in which it lives, the plant must conserve what little water it can absorb from the soil. The dense mat of hairs growing from the leaf retards the movement of air directly across the leaf surface, thereby reducing water vapor loss due to transpiration process. In the same time, this unventilated  space created by the numerous trichomes insulates the leaf from its harsh external environment, too. In addition, the white-silver appearance of the leaves reflects light, lessening the chances of the leaves overheating.

Description: The Kalanchoe tomentosa is a very handsome foliage species. It has loose rosette of oval leaves borne on woody stems up to 45cm (1.5 feet) high. The 3-8cm (1-3 inch) long leaves are covered with fine, bristly hairs, which are silvered-coloured except in patches at the edge, where they change to rusty orange on young leaves or chocolate brown on older ones.
The thick stem produces branches and many groups of leaves, once it matures. When they are pruned well they have a kind of tree or bush look and can produce branches growing below pot level – therefore, this plant is suitable for growing in a hanging at this stage. The leaves are mainly oval shaped, although it is likely to have few leaves randomly grow in whatever shape and form.
Although this plant can flower within its natural habitat, producing fuzzy, bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer – it is rare to see flowers bloom indoors, so it is grown for primarily its foliage within homes or offices.

Proper care: Kalanchoe tomentosa is a fairly easy succulent plant species to care for and maintain.
If the furry leaves of this plant need to be cleaned, brush them gently with a soft, dry brush, such as a small paintbrush.

Light: Kalanchoe tomentosa is – like many other succulents loves growing in bright light and sunshine. This plant prefers a mixture of direct and indirect sunlight or shade.

Temperature: Temperatures between 15-23ºC (60-75ºF) are advised. Like most plants, Kalanchoe tomentosa will benefit from good ventilation, but should not be exposed to prolonged draughts.
Normal room humidity is fine and it may also tolerate dry air.

Watering: Only water Kalanchoe tomentosa once the soil has become dry and then soak the soil, but do not leave water in the bottom tray. During the winter this plant needs less water.
Because Kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent – it stores water within its leaves –  even if it is neglected for a period of time the plant will survive.
Water from the bottom or water the potting mix. Avoid getting the furry leaves of this plant wet because they’ll easily rot.

Feeding: Feed Kalanchoe tomentosa once every four weeks with a diluted fertiliser, from spring until the end of summer. Do not fertilise this plant during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use a cacti and succulent potting mixture or a soil based potting mixture with the addition of a small amount of coarse sand. Good drainage is important; have a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments at the bottom of the pot. Kalanchoe tomentosa plant is a slow grower which will only need repotting into pots one size larger once every two years and then less once it matures. The maximum pot size needed should be about 13cm (5 inch).

Gardening: Kalanchoe tomentosa is one of the easiest-to-grow succulents and looks wonderful mass planted in a hot spot in the garden. It needs dry conditions and is not suited to outdoor planting in high rainfall areas.
Kalanchoe tomentosa branches freely to make a prostrate clump. After a while, it can become straggly and should be clipped back to keep it in check and make it neat and tidy.
They need warm temperature and should be kept at a minimum of 10°C (50°F). Protect them from frost. These plants come from very warm areas and may develop rot if kept too cool.

Position: Kalanchoe tomentosa plants need light shade or shade in summer. Bright light will give the plant a woolliest appearance. However, it should not be subjected to the direct sun of midday.

Soil: Kalanchoe tomentosa needs a porous soil containing about one third grit with adequate drainage. Soil mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part loam, with small gravel added to increase drainage

Irrigation: Kalanchoe tomentosa plants are drought tolerant, but came from damper climates than most succulents and like more water in the summer. Plants are watered and allow to dry thoroughly before watering again.

Fertilise: Fertilise only during the growing season (Spring and Summer) with a balanced cactus food or a liquid fertiliser diluted to half the strength recommended on the label.

Propagation: Leaf cuttings can be taken and planted in new soil during spring. Give the leaf cutting a week of drying out before re-potting, then they are expect to begin rooting within 4 weeks.
Propagation: It is propagated by stem cutting or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. The trimmings resulted from shaping the plant, make ideal cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry out before repotting. These cuttings root easily in 8cm pots (3 inch) filled with a mixture of peat moss and sand. Place the pots in a warm position in bright filtered light. Water the mixture whenever the top 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) dries out. The cuttings usually will produce roots in about 4 weeks. When roots have formed and new growth appears, move each young plant into a pot of standard mixture. Make sure that the pot is large enough to hold the roots. Thereafter, it should be possible to treat the plant as a mature Kalanchoe tomentosa.

Problems: Kalanchoe tomentosa, like most members of the Crassulaceae family, have succulent leaves which are a great attraction for pests such as mealy bugs. While this species is no more prone to attack than others, because of the silvery-white hairy leaves, it is easy to miss the first signs of these pests. Treatment: A regular, careful inspection is sensible. Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

If rot affects the plant, it normally starts at the root.
Treatment: If spotted early, cuttings can be made easily from the tips of the stems to make new plants.

Recommended varieties:
Kalanchoe tomentosa cv. Chocolate Soldier: Individual leaves are more red-brown all around the edges and thinner and longer than for the standard species. It also grows a bit faster with more of a clumping habit.

Toxicity: All parts of Kalanchoe tomentosa plant are poisonous if ingested.

Uses and display: Once the Kalanchoe tomentosa plants matures, they look fantastic placed within a hanging basket or sitting in a conservatory. A conservatory is ideal because they do like their bright light and some sun. Whilst they are still small and growing, then near windows and on shelves which receive enough sunlight are good spots for displaying them.
Grow this Kalanchoe tomentosa in a rock garden or on a rock wall in mild climates. In cold areas, this heat-loving plant is grown as indoor plant or it is planted outdoors as an annual.
Kalanchoe tomentosa is drought-tolerant, therefore it is suitable for xeriscaping.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 45cm (1.5 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – sparingly
Light – direct
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Kalanchoe tomentosa Kalanchoe tomentosa - flowersKalanchoe tomentosa - varietiesKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosa chocolate soldierKalanchoe tomentosa chocolate soldier



Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , ,

Haworthia pumila

Common name: Pearl Plant

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae

Synonymous: Aloe arachnoides var. pumila
Aloe granata
Aloe margaritifera
Aloe margaritifera var. maxima
Aloe papillosa
Aloe pumila
Aloe pumila var. margaritifera
Aloe semiglabrata
Aloe semimargaritifera
Aloe semimargaritifera var. multipapillosa
Aloe semimargaritifera var. major
Aloe semimargaritifera var. maxima
Aloe semimargaritifera var. minor
Aloe subalbicans
Aloe subalbicans var. laevior
Aloe subalbicans var. acuminata
Apicra margaritifera
Catevala margaritifera
Catevala semiglabrata
Haworthia corallina
Haworthia margaritifera
Haworthia margaritifera var. laevior
Haworthia margaritifera var. semimargaritifera
Haworthia margaritifera var. subalbicans
Haworthia maxima
Haworthia semiglabrata
Haworthia semimargaritifera
Haworthia semimargaritifera var. multiperla
Haworthia semimargaritifera var. maxima
Haworthia semimargaritifera var. major
Tulista margaritifera

Haworthia pumila

Haworthia pumila

Distribution and habitat: Haworthia is a genus of small succulent plants endemic to Southern Africa. Like the Aloes, they are members of the subfamily Asphodeloideae and they generally resemble miniature aloes, except in their flowers, which are characteristic in appearance. They are popular garden and container plants.
Haworthia pumila occurs in a winter rainfall area, which experiences mild frost, -2°C (28°F). Summers are hot, up to 44°C (111°F). Rainfall varies from 150mm (6 inch) (Worcester area) to 350mm (14 inch) (Montagu area). Haworthia pumila is not an endangered plant.

Description: Haworthia pumila is one of the most impressive and eventually large species of the genus. Haworthia pumila has triangular, rather tough, dark green leaves thickly spotted with pearly white warts. Stems are very short and the many leaved rosettes, which can attain a diameter of 15cm (6 inch) and a height of 7-10cm (3-4 inch), appears to be stemless. A cluster of rosettes form quickly (within about a year). The lower, older leaves of each rosette stand erect, but younger ones toward of the rosette centre curve inward. The 7mm (0.3 inch) thick leaves are about 9cm (3 inch) long and 3cm (1 inch) wide at the base. Leaf upper surfaces are flat, while the undersides are keeled toward the tips.
The flowers are somewhat larger than in other species, greenish to brownish-white in colour and waxy in texture (usually Haworthia flowers are white, but not in this case). The booming season is early summer and seed ripens in autumn.

Houseplant care: Haworthia pumila are classified as succulent – which means that they can cope with relatively harsh waterless hot environments. They are however not frost hardy, which means that for cultivation they need over the winter season either a sunny windowsill or preferably a greenhouse.
They are relatively slow-growing plants that offsets to form small clusters with time.

Light: Never place Haworthia pumila in direct sunlight. If exposed to summer sun, foliage will shrivel. Medium light suits this plant at all times. When the plants are provided with enough light, than the white tubercles from the leaves became more attractive.
It is recommended to move these house plants outdoors for the summer months.  Place them in light shaded area, but out of direct sun which can scorch its leaves.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures 18-24°C (65-75°F) spring through fall. They have a rest period from mid-winter to late spring and can survive temperatures down to 4-5°C (39-41°F). In winter, if possible, keep Haworthia pumila  cooler  – around 15°C (59°F) is the optimum winter temperature for this plant.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top centimeter (0.4 inch) or so to dry out between waterings. During the rest period water only enough to prevent the potting mixture from drying out completely. Never let the potting mixture become completely dry, however. Although Haworthia pumila are succulent plants, they cannot survive total drought.

Feeding: It is neither necessary nor advisable to feed Haworthia pumila .

Longevity: Haworthia pumila plants live for about 30 to 40 years if they are cultivated properly.

Potting and repotting: Use a porous potting mixture composed of one part of coarse sand or perlite to two parts of standard soil-based mixture. Since Haworthia pumila plants are shallow rooted, half-pots are best suited to the clustering habit of the plants. In potting a specimen always leave a 4-5cm (1.5-2 inch) space between the edges of the cluster and the rim of the pot to allow room for new growth.
Repot in spring at the start of the growth period. After pulling or cutting off any dead or shriveled leaves, move each plant into a larger pot only if the rosette cluster covers the entire surface of the potting mixture. The largest pot size needed will be 12-15cm (5-6 inch). A plant that has grown beyond that size should be split up.

Gardening: Although the plant will survive mild frost if kept dry – hardy as low -2°C (28°F) – it should be protected from severe cold and prolonged frost conditions.

Position: Haworthia pumila requires light shade to bright light, protected from strong midday sun. In shade the body colour will remain mostly green, while full sun will darken it and give it red/brown body colour.
The amount of sunlight it can withstand without scorching depends upon the how hot it becomes in the summer in the locale in which it is planted. It will have more colour if it receives more light. During the spring it may be able to take full sun until the heat arrives at the end of spring. In an area that has hot afternoon sun, it may be able to take full morning sun, but requires afternoon shade or afternoon light shade. Can be sunburned if moved from shade/greenhouse into full sun too quickly.

Soil: Haworthia pumila are tolerant of a wide range of soils and habitats, but prefer a very porous potting mix to increase drainage. A non-acid soil is ideal.

Irrigation: Watering varies depending on the plants position and temperature. Water them frequently when it is warm and dry (but not at the very peak of the heat- they seem to go through a period of summer dormancy at this time) and less to not at all in winter when it is cold. However,  Haworthia pumila plants or pots with succulent plants communities are sitting under the grey skies of winter storms and get a lot of rainwater at a time when they are probably mostly dormant. It seems that it is not be a problem for these plants.

Individual plants in smaller pots demand more attention. Water ideally when soil is getting dry and not if wet. When in doubt, best to skip watering as too much is worse than too little. Some pots dry out faster than others, too (if glazed, unglazed terracotta, metal, glass etc – all dry out at different rates).

Fertilising: Do NOT fertilize newly potted plants for the first year. After that, fertilize once in spring, once in fall with diluted fertiliser at half the recommended strength. Avoid summer fertilizing as plant is in a short rest period.

Propagation: Remove the offsets in summer; they should pull away easily. Pot up immediately any offset with roots already attached and treat it as a mature plant.
Allow an offset without roots to dry for three days, however, then press it into the potting mixture. At this stage it should be possible to treat the new plant as an adult Haworthia pumila.
To propagate by leaf cuttings, remove a leaf and let it lie for about one month, giving the wound time to heal. Then lay the leaf on its side with the basal part buried in the soil. This leaf should root within a month or two, and small plants will form at the leaf base.
Haworthia pumila grow readily from seed. These plants have a tendency to hybridize so easily, however, that the results are likely to be unpredictable. Haworthia pumila grows relatively slowly from seed and it takes about 5 years for a plant to reach flowering maturity.

Problems: Given correct treatment, this plant is generally trouble free.

Stunted growth may indicate mealy bags infestation.
Treatment: Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

Rot is only a minor problem with Haworthia if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. Haworthia species can lose their roots periodically. They can rot with too much moisture, especially when there is a sudden temperature drop.
Treatment: There are two ways to handle this:
1. Simply leave the plant on its side and when ‘bumps’ which are the new roots start to appear (It may take a few weeks), pot the plant in soil and water normally. Mist it occasionally for encouragement.
2. The second method is more like how it happens in nature and is my preferred method. Be sure the plant is in well-draining soil and water normally. In a month or so,  gently tug and feel the roots taking hold–if the roots are not holding, don’t worry. Just put the plant back in the soil and wait a little longer.
If the plant has lost its roots and is severely dehydrated at the same time, it may be too far gone to save. But always it is worth a try.

When watering, avoid getting the leaves wet. Like other succulents, it is prone to rot if its leaves get too wet. If they are not, fungicides won’t help all that much. Care must be given in watering, keeping them warm and wet while growing and cooler and dry when dormant.

Reddish colour can mean many things besides root loss. Many of Haworthia turn red when the temperature drops or when they get too much sunlight. A plant can loose their reddish colour turning in green later as the environment condition are changed.

Uses and display: Haworthia pumila can grow easily on window sills, verandas and in miniature succulent gardens where they are happy to share their habitat with other smaller succulent plants or in outdoor rockeries.
Haworthias are small, making them beautiful additions to succulent and cactus dish gardens.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – rosette
Height:  15cm (6 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 4°C max 18°C (39-59°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Haworthia pumilaHaworthia pumilaHaworthia pumila



Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata

Common name: Star Window Plant, Waxy Windowed Whorls

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae

Synonymous: Haworthia engleri
Haworthia parva
Haworthia venosa var. tessellata
Haworthia pseudogranulata
Haworthia pseudotessellata
Haworthia minutissima
Catevala tessellata
Haworthia tessellata
Haworthia tessellata var. simplex
Haworthia tessellata var. coriacea
Haworthia tessellata var. velutina
Haworthia tessellata var. luisieri
Haworthia tessellata var. palhinhiae
Haworthia tessellata var. parva
Haworthia tessellata var. inflexa
Haworthia tessellata var. engleri
Haworthia tessellata var. tuberculata
Haworthia tessellata var. elongata
Haworthia tessellata var. stephaneana
Haworthia tessellata var. minutissima
Haworthia tessellata f. brevior
Haworthia tessellata var. obesa
Haworthia tessellata f. major
Haworthia tessellata f. longior
Aloe tessellata
Aloe parva

Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata

Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata

Distribution and habitat: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata is a very widespread species, occurring in the climatically severe central-southern Africa and Namibia. It is one of the most adaptable, widespread and also variable Haworthia primarily found in the summer rainfall area. It grows on bushes and rocky areas. Usually it is very proliferous or stoloniferous, forming clusters in nature and filling in the space it has – shady place under the bush or in rock crevices. It is associated with other succulents such as Euphorbia aggregata, Cotyledon toxicaria, Crassula obvallata, Mesembriantemum saxicolum and Stapelia flavirostris.

Description: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata is one of the most widespread and also it is a very variable plant and in the past there were a huge number of names amongst this species (at least 26 varieties), but all this varieties merge gradually one with another through a continuous series of transitional forms, so now they are all called Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata .
It is a succulent evergreen slow-growing species reaching a size of 15cm (6 inch) in height. This plant is stemless, low 5-10cm (2-4 inch) in diameter with about 7-15 leaves arranged in spirals. The leaves are sessile 3-5cm (1-2 inch) long, 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) wide at the base, fleshy, firm in texture, broadly triangular, strongly recurved, brownish to green, cuspidate at the apex; upper surface flattish, marked with six pale green anastomosing verticallines forming a square patterned design and windowed (sunlight enters the plant body through these translucent windows and is converted into energy by many layers of chlorophyll-rich cells), lower surface is usually rounded slightly scabrid with raised coriaceous tubercles, especially in the upper part where they are arranged in transverse rows, margins with recurved white teeth. The leaves are greenish, form a rosette and turn to reddish in full sun.
This stemless plant sends underground stolons up to 14cm (6 inch) away from the mother plant. This vegetative reproduction results in a mat of plants and produce clones of parent plant.
Small tubular white flowers with green bibs appear in summer time on a few flowered simple raceme up to 50cm (20 inch) tall.

Houseplant care: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata in cultivation it grows quite easily, spreading by offsetting and via stolons.

Light: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata will take various light conditions, but neither direct sunlight or deep shade. If given it the right amount of sun light, the nice markings will be more visible and plants more attractive.
It is recommended to stand these plants outside in summer in a place where they can get some indirect sun light.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are satisfactory at all times, but Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata do best if winter temperatures are kept about 15°C (59°F). They have a rest period from mid-winter to late spring and can survive temperatures down to 4-5°C (39-41°F). They do prefer more warmth even while resting in winter and spring, however.

Watering: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata is very tolerant of underwatering, but will succumb quickly to rotting if overwatered. During the active growth period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top centimeter or so to dry out between waterings. During the rest period water only enough to prevent the potting mixture from drying out completely.
Their growing season tends to be during the winter months and roots are often lost during summer months. Watering at the wrong time of year may kill the plant, so some sensitivity to the active growing cycle is required.

Feeding: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata thrives with very occasionally and should only be fertilised using a weak solution.

Potting and repotting: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata has a slow rate of growth, therefor repotting is only required infrequently and usually only when offsets have filled the pot. Half-pots are best suited to the clustering habit of Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata plants. When pot a specimen always leave a 4-5cm space between the edges of the cluster and the rim of the pot to allow room for new growth.The largest pot size needed will be 12-15cm (5-6 inch). A plant that has grown beyond that size should be split up.
Repot in spring at the start of the growth period. Use a porous potting mixture composed of one part of coarse sand or perlite to two parts of standard soil-based mixture. After pulling or cutting off any dead or shriveled leaves, move each plant into a larger pot only if the rosette cluster covers the entire surface of the potting mixture.

Gardening: Outdoors Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata plants do fairly well in zones 9b-10b in arid climates. They make fairly decent landscape plants filling small areas between rocks nicely. But they often get lost in complicated and overgrown gardens and then suffer from lack of light. To overcome such situations it is recommended to grow Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata in pots.
Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata in wild are nearly buried in the soils with only the leaf-tops exposed. They do not need to be planted this way in pots and look a lot nicer with at least some leaves sticking out above the soils.

Position: The more light the better, partial day sun to light shade is the optimum light intensity needed for Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata plants. Also, these plants will grow well in a greenhouse.

Soil: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata need a well draining soil and a layer of top dressing.
These plants need mildly acidic soil. Use cactus compost or add sand to improve the garden soil drainage. Warm climates may require more water-retention properties than cool or indoor climates.
Top dressing is a good idea, not just for looks, but helps to keep the plant’s leaves off from the wet soil, promotes drainage through the soil and help preserving the water into the soil.

Irrigation: Watering varies depending on the plants position and temperature. Water them frequently when it is warm and dry (but not at the very peak of the heat- they seem to go through a period of summer dormancy at this time) and less to not at all in winter when it is cold… however, Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata plants or pots with succulent plants communities are sitting under the grey skies of winter storms and get a lot of rainwater at a time when they are probably mostly dormant. It seems that it is not be a problem for these plants.

Individual plants in smaller pots demand more attention. Water ideally when soil is getting dry and not if wet. When in doubt, best to skip watering… too much is worse than too little. Some pots dry out faster than others, too (if glazed, unglazed terracotta, metal, glass etc – all dry out at different rates).

Fertilising: Some experts recommend just repotting every few years and that will pretty much negate the need for fertilizer.

Propagation: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata can be propagated by seed or offsets.
Most Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata plants will eventually offset and those offsets are easy to separate and produce a new plant. This way of propagation will result in new plant identical with the parent plant. When cutting off an offset without roots, best to let it dry over three days or so before replanting it again. Press it on slightly moist soil and keep it in warm area and keep out of sun. Summer is the best moment to separate the offsets. They will root into the soil.
Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata grow readily from seed. These plants have a tendency to hybridise so easily that the results are likely to be unpredictable.
The flowers of Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata need pollination in order to produce seeds and artificial pollination is very effective. It is easy to create all sorts of Haworthia hybrids by transferring pollen from flower to flower, plant to plant.

Problems: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata is generally disease free.

These plants may need to be re-rooted (get rooting hormone) in an evenly warm, well lit but protected environment. Once it is rooted well, it can go back out into the general collection for more abuse.

Exposure to direct sunlight of unaccustomed plants can lead to severely sunburn and subsequently may rot.

Grown in low light for much of the year can create etiolated, weakened and abnormally green plants.

Meallybugs may be a problem. It is their main pest.
Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

Note: The Latin name tessellata comes from the tiled pattern in the leaf faces. Sunlight enters the plant body through these translucent windows and is converted into energy by many layers of chlorophyll-rich cells. This is especially useful in the arid climates where Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata makes its living as the primary photosynthesis tissues are not exposed to the drying elements.

Companion plants: Haworthias species are small succulent plants closely related to Aloe, Gasteria, Kniphofia, Poellnitzia and Astroloba species.

Uses and display: Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata are generally grown for their decorative leaf markings and architectural forms. They are suitable for patio landscapes and as container plants, being an attractive, easy plant for a pan. They are compact plants so can easily be grouped in different sized containers to add visual appeal.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – rosette
Height:  15cm (6 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 4°C max 18°C (39-59°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata flowers Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata clusters Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata - flower forming.fw Haworthia venosa subsp. tessellata - natural habitatHaworthia venosa subsp. tessellata



Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aloe aristata

Common name: Lace Aloe, Torch Plant, Bearded Aloe, Hardy Aloe, Torch Aloe

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Subfamily: Asphodeloideae

Synonymous: Aloe ellenbergeri
Aloe longiaristata

Aloe aristata

Aloe aristata

Distribution and habitat: Aloe aristata is a species of evergreen flowering perennial plant in the subfamily Asphodelaceae. It is native to mountains grassland of South Africa and is therefore best suited to warm, dry conditions. These plants can be found growing up to 2300m (7500 feet) above sea level in their natural habitat and is one of the hardest species within its genus. They have become increasingly rare in the wild through harvesting.

Description: Aloe aristata is a dwarf version of the Aloe genus. It is stemless with dark grey-green leaves densely packed in a rosette. Each leaf is about 15cm (6 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) wide, spotted with tubercles. The margins of the leaves are lined with white horny materials and both the margins and the surfaces of the leaves are minutely toothed with short, soft white spines.
and has hard white edges and a bristle like growth from the leaf tip. Orange flowers, which appear on a 30cm (12 inch) stalk in early summer, lasting for several days. Mature plants produce many offsets.

Its fleshy leaves retain water allowing the plant to get through periods of drought without trouble. It is a small plant, usually growing to about 15 to 20cm (6-8 inch) in a tight rosette formation. Its nectar-rich, tubular orange flowers attract birds and bees.

Houseplant care: Aloe aristata is a small hardy succulent plant popular as an indoor plant.

Light: Bright light suits Aloe aristata. It will not thrive if permanently placed at a distance from a window.

Temperature: Aloe aristata plants grow well in normal room temperatures and are tolerant of dry air. To encourage flowering, however, it is best to give the plants a short winter rest at a temperature of no more that 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. During the rest period water only enough to prevent the potting mixture from drying out. Do not permit water to collect in the tight rosette.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Most Aloe aristata should be moved into pots one size larger every spring. Keep these plants in shallow pots. When maximum convenient pot size has been reached, plants should be top dressed with fresh potting mixture once a year. To prevent rot, make sure that these plants which have tick basal leaves are never buried deeper than they were before. A sprinkling of coarse sand over the surface of the potting mixture helps to prevent rot points where fleshy leaves of these stemless plants touch the soil.

Gardening: In order to grow Aloe aristata in temperate climates they will need to be taken inside during the coldest weather and keep them in bright sunlight during the summer. This species is hardier than many other species within its genus, but will still appreciate the warmth. It requires very little maintenance, making it an ideal choice for novice gardeners.They flower freely in the summer and the soft-orange flowers are a wonderful addition to the arid garden.

Location: Aloe aristata can be place in full sun or semi-shade in hot climates.

Soil: Dry and well drained gritty soils are suitable for these plants. Sandy free draining soil will keep the Aloe aristata healthy. Use cactus compost or add sand to improve the garden soil drainage.

Irrigation: This genus is well known for its ease of cultivation, but they are sensitive to excessive irrigation. Provide regular watering in spring and summer to make the soil thoroughly moist then allow the soil to dry before watering again. In winter (during the dormant season) water sparingly or not at all, as it is prone to rotting; a thin layer of gravel on top of the soil will help to prevent this.

Fertilising: Feed Aloe aristata very little now and then during the active growth period.

Propagation: Aloe aristata produces offsets that can be taken from the base of a plant early in summer. These small new rosettes are often attached to the parent by a short underground stolon and may already have little roots, which should be retained for propagation propose.
Because very tiny offsets are hard to root, they should not be removed for planting until their leaves have begun to open into the characteristic rosette shape.
Offsets will root in two to three weeks in the standard potting mixture if some coarse sand is sprinkled at the base of the rosette to prevent rotting. Until offsets are well established, they should be provided with bright light without direct sunlight and they should be watered only enough to moisten the potting mixture, allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Also, Aloe aristata can be propagated by seed sown in warm environment as soon as ripe.

Problems: Most likely to be caused by incorrect watering. A properly watered Aloe aristata plant can resist most pests and diseases.

Wilting is the result of inadequate water in summer.

Yellowing leaves accompanied by rotting at the base is the result of overwatering plants kept in cool winter conditions.

Mealy bugs and root mealy bugs ca be troublesome. The former hide deep in the crevices of rosette foliage and the latter generally bury themselves in the roots, just below the surface of the potting mixture.
Treatment: Remove visible bugs with a toothpick or a damp cloth or swab them off foliage with a small, stiff paintbrush dipped in methylated spirit or an insecticide solution. Then spray all top growth with an appropriate pesticide. Alternatively, place granules of a systemic pesticide in the potting mixture. During the next month examine plants weekly for traces of reinfestation.

Scale insects can also infest this plant.
Treatment: Scale can be easily controlled by physical removal, wash off with high pressure jet of water or scrape off with cotton wool buds or by chemical control with appropriate pesticide.

Note: When not in bloom, Aloe aristata is similar to and often confused with Haworthia fasciata.

Uses: Aloe aristata is cultivated as a garden plant, but as it requires winter protection is grown under glass in temperate regions. Left to grow by themselves, they quickly form a large clump and are very effective in a large xeriphytic landscape if planted en masse about 0.5m (2 feet) apart, so that as the clumps grow and spread they form an expansive globular carpet.

Also, Aloe aristata is often grown indoors as a window-ledge succulent plant.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegated
Features – flowers
Shape – rosette
Height: 15 to 20cm (6-8 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 10°C (45-50°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 7b-11

Aloe aristata - flowersAloe aristata - cluster of rosettesAloe aristataAloe aristata - pottedAloe aristata - indoors

 

 

 

 



Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , ,

Crassula ovata

Common Names: Jade Plant, Friendship Tree, Lucky Plant, Money Tree, Penny Plant, Dollar Plant, Tree of Happiness

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Cotyledon lutea
Cotyledon ovata
Crassula argentea
Crassula articulata
Crassula nitida
Crassula obliqua
Crassula portulacea

Crassula ovata

Crassula ovata

Distribution and habitat: Crassula ovata is native to South Africa where it grows on rocky hillsides under the blazing sun. Rain there is infrequent and usually occurs during the winter months. Consequently, Crassula ovata plants flower during the late winter.
In addition with its adaptation of reducing the water loss, having succulent water-storing stems, leaves and swollen roots that give it the ability to survive droughts, Crassula ovata can also survive being grazed, trodden on or knocked over, as it is able to root from any piece of stem or even from a single leaf.

Description: Crassula ovata is a large well-branched, compact, rounded, evergreen shrub 1-3m (3-10 feet) tall with glossy, dark grey-green, oval, succulent leaves and rounded heads of pink flowers in winter-spring. The stem is stout and gnarled and gives the impression of great age and its branches are also short and stubby, but well-proportioned. Branches are succulent, grey-green in colour and in older specimens the bark peels in horizontal brownish strips. Trunks to 15cm (6 inch) in diameter can develop on older plants.

The leaves are 3-9cm (1-3.5 inch) long and 2-4cm (0.8-1.5 inch) wide, egg-shaped to elliptic, often with a red margin and a somewhat pointed end. They are in opposite pairs, the one pair arranged at right angles to the next, and they are clustered towards the ends of the branches, but they may grow for many years without blooming. When flowers appear, the bush is covered in masses of sweetly scented, pretty pale-pink, star-shaped flowers in tight rounded bunches during the cool winter months. The flowers develop into small capsules, each holding many tiny seeds.

Houseplant care: Crassula ovata plants make an ideal house plant as they can cope with dry conditions and can survive being neglected.
Cleanliness is important for the health and good appearance of the plant. All dead leaves and stems should be removed. Clean the leaves of the plant monthly using room temperature water. Do not use leaf shiners or oils to clean the leaves of Crassula ovata.

Light: Crassula ovata plants need bright light with some direct sun light. A sunny windowsill will be an ideal position for these plants. They will not flower without sunlight and inadequate light will cause developing spindly growth.

Temperature: Crassula ovata plants grow well in warm position during the active growing period, but they need cool temperatures during winter rest period when they should not be subjected to temperatures above 12°C (54°F) and they can tolerate temperatures down to 7°C (45°F).
Give ventilation in summer and stand outside when conditions are favourable for Crassula ovata plants – enough hot and sunny.

Watering: Water regularly and thoroughly during the spring and summer, but avoid overwatering; allow two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out in between waterings. Little and often is the watering rule for these plants. Keep on the dry side in winter, particularly when conditions are cool; the leaves will have stored a good deal of the previous summer moisture and will be in little danger of suffering from dehydration.

Feeding: Give very week liquid fertiliser once a fortnight during the spring and summer. Do not fertilise during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use a mixture of three parts of soil based potting mixture to one part coarse sand or perlite. Crassula ovata should be moved into pots one size larger only once every two years. It will require a maximum pot or small tub size of 20 or 25cm (8-10 inch). At this point, top-dress the plant each spring with fresh potting mixture.
Shallow pots are best for these plants. These plants tend to have shallow root systems and often become top heavy. In such cases, use heavy clay pots.
To maintain a plant at about the same size, treat in a similar way to a bonsai tree. Prune the roots when re-potting into the same size pot and cut back the stems to maintain a pleasing shape. This will help to develop a thick main trunk. Prune back to just above the rings on the stems where the old leaves were located. New leaves will grow from these locations.

Gardening: Crassula ovata is easy plant to grow. It comes from a frost-free environment, but it should tolerate a winter minimum of -1° C (30°F) when it is planted in ground. However, it is best protected from frost to prevent the flowers from being damaged.

Location: Crassula ovata thrives in full sun or semi-shade, but will flower best in a sunny position.
To induce a potted specimen to flower, move it into a sunny or brightly lit position during summer and autumn – but if it has been in a cool low-light spot remember to introduce it to stronger light gradually or the leaves will be scorched.

Soil: While growth is very slow, Crassula ovata is extremely tolerant of poor, dry soil. It grows in normal loam soil with good drainage. Fast draining soil is necessary to avoid root rot of these plants.

Irrigation: Crassula ovata plants should be well watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. Do not to overwater these plants. They are tolerant of drought, wind and coastal conditions. Crassula ovata will tolerate periods of drought effortlessly, but will soon rot if left to stand in wet soil.
During the winter months, plants are watered only enough to prevent the leaves from shriveling.

Fertilise:  Mild liquid fertiliser used at monthly intervals during the active growing period will be provide adequate fertility. Do not fertilise during the winter.

Propagation: Individual leaves of Crassula ovata will root readily in the recommended sandy potting mixture if kept in warm room in a position where they can get bright filtered light, but more satisfactory way to propagate in by 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long stem cuttings or basal offsets. The cuttings or offsets should be taken in spring. Plant it in a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pot of equal parts mixture of peat moss and sand and keep it at normal room temperature in bright filtered light. Water the cuttings or the offsets moderately, just enough to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist and allow the top couple of centimetres of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Give it some standard liquid fertiliser about once a month.

When the cuttings are well rooted – in about three months – move  the young plant into a one size larger pot of recommended potting mixture and treat it as a mature plant.

Problems:
Rotting at the base together with wilting of the plant top is probably due to overwatering or to poor drainage.

Brown shriveled patches on leaves indicate inadequate watering.

Crassula ovata is sometimes attacked by mealybugs.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide for Crassula ovata as these succulents are sensitive to certain insecticides. Before using a spray insecticides make sure that the product used is labeled for jade plants.

Notes: The genus Crassula is one of the most diverse succulent genera, varying from tiny moss-like annual plants to 3m (10 feet) tall succulent ‘trees’ like Crassula ovata. There are more than 300 Crassula species of which approximate 150 are found in southern Africa where they are widespread, but concentrated in the semi-arid winter-rainfall areas. The centre of distribution of this genus is in southern Africa, but they extend beyond Africa into Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand and the southern islands.

Recommended varieties:
Crassula ovata ‘Convoluta Gollum’ (= Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’) (Gollum Jade, Trumpet Jade, ET’s Fingers) has tubular leaves, trumpet shaped, each of them tipped with a suction cup, 4-ranked (decussate), smooth, deep glossy green in color with very light spotting usually with bright red leaf margins; the new growth is reddish. It is a small sparingly branched, shrubby, erect, succulent, that can slowly grow up to 50-80cm tall by 30-60cm (12-24 inch) wide.

Crassula ovata ‘Convoluta Hobbit’ (= Crassula ovata ‘Hobbit’) (Hobbit’s Pipe Jade, Hobbit Jade) has leaves that are nearly tubular and curled back around.

Crassula ovata ‘Minor’ (Crassula ovata ‘Minima’) is a dwarf has glossy green thick fleshy leaves with reddish edges. The trunk and branches on this plant are thick.It will grow to maximum height of 50 to 75cm (20-30 inch) with a with of 25 to 50cm (10-20 inch).

Uses and display: Crassula ovata is a wonderful sculptural plant for pots, tubs, rockeries, retaining walls and gravel gardens and is the ideal plant for a water-wise garden. It can also be grown in pots indoors. It have long been used in containers where they will live for years in root-bound conditions but can also be used as specimen or hedge plantings outdoors in full sun, part sun or deep shade.

In the Far East, Germany and the USA it is traditionally grown in square porcelain tubs with ‘lion feet’ to bring good financial luck and has attracted more common names including the Money Tree, Penny Plant, Dollar Plant and Tree of Happiness.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – uprighth
Height: 1-3m (3-10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 7C max 13C
Temperature in active growth period – min 16C max 24C
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Crassula ovata Convoluta GollumCrassula ovata Convoluta HobbitCrassula ovata - flowersCrassula ovata MinorCrassula ovata - leavesCrassula ovata

 



Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ledebouria socialis

Common name: Silver Squill, Wood Hyacinth, Bluebell, South African Scilla, Leopard Lily, Violet Squill

Family: Asparagaceae

Synonymous: Ledebouria violacea
Scilla paucifolia
Scilla socialis
Scilla violacea

Ledebouria socialis

Ledebouria socialis

Distribution and habitat: Ledebouria socialis is a geophytic species of bulbous perennial plant native to the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It grows in arid savanna in summer-rainfall regions where it is found in fine to medium grained shallow to deep well drained humus rich sandy soil. It usually grows in shade mostly in closed evergreen woodland. This species has mottled leaves enabling it to blend into its thicket backdrop.

Description: Ledebouria socialis is a small evergreen perennial bulbs in thick clusters that survive drought as effectively as any succulent. It has fleshy, stalkless, broadly lance-shaped, pointed leaves 5-10cm (2-4 inch) long. Leaf upper surfaces are silvery blotched and banded with olive green and the undersides are deep violet. Dense clusters of tiny, green flowers edged with white are produced in spring on flower stalks 8-15cm (3-6 inch) long. The bulb is small, epigeal (exposed), about 1cm (0.4 inch) in diameter, purplish in colour with a transparent tunic. These plants produce offsets profusely, so that a tightly packet cluster of small bulbs can cover the surface of a pan of potting mixture within few years.

Houseplant care: Ledebouria socialis is often cultivated as houseplant and grows well with minimal care. They do have a winter rest period, but their leaves remain decorative throughout the year.

Light: Ledebouria socialis require bright light with three to four hours a day of direct sunlight.

Temperature: During the active growth period, normal room temperatures are suitable for Ledebouria socialis plants. During the rest period keep them at 10-15°C (50-59°F), if possible.

Watering: During the active growing period water them moderately, allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the rest period water these plants only enough to prevent the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Apply liquid fertiliser to Ledebouria socialis once a month during the active growing period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture and plant Ledebouria socialis bulbs in pans or half-pots. Pot up the bulbs in the spring, but no more than three bulbs in a single 10-15cm (4-6 inch) pot. Space the bulbs evenly over the surface and bury only the bottom half or each bulb in the potting mixture. During the fist four or six weeks do not feed the plants and water sparingly, allowing the top half or the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When the new roots should be well established, treat the plants in the normal way. Break up overcrowded clumps every two or there years.

Propagation: To propagate Ledebouria socialis break bulbs away from clumps after the flowers have faded (normally in late spring) and pot them up as recommended above on Potting and repotting section.

Toxicity: All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested.

Uses: This plant is suitable for growing indoors. It is very happy sitting in window sill too. It can be grown outside where there is no danger of frost. It is drought-tolerant and therefore it is suitable for xeriscaping.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegat
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: under 15cm (6 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 7oC max 18oC (45-64oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 24oC (61-75oF)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Ledebouria socialisLedebouria socialis flowersLedebouria socialis



Bulbs, Corms & Tubers, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , ,

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