Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How To Repot Succulents

When repotting succulents, it's important not to plant the root crown deeper in the new pot than it was in the old, as this can cause the base of the plant to rot.  I came up with a solution that is practically foolproof and the following series of pictures show how it works.

Step 1: Place weed blocker fabric over the drain hole of the new pot

Step 2: Add just enough soil to the bottom of the pot so the the plant will be at the level desired.

Step 3: Place the plant to be repotted into the new pot without removing it from the existing pot.

Step 4: Fill the new pot with soil around the existing pot, then wet the soil and tamp down.

Step 5: Remove the plant and it's pot; this leaves a perfectly fitted depression in which to place the plant.
Step 6: Remove the plant from it's old pot and place in the depression in the new pot and tamp the soil firmly around it.

Here is a trio of succulents I repotted today and placed on a shelf with holes cut on the board for the pots to fit into so that they won't get blown over in the wind.

Left to right: Huenia sp, Hoodia gordonii, Stapelia scitula.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Foliage Updates, Plus Birds

The celery I've been rooting in my kitchen was planted in one of the raised beds today, in place of the sunflowers which were beyond their prime.  I also planted some pumpkin seeds my grandson sprouted in his class for Halloween.

Celery rooted from store bought stalks.

The cannas are continuing to bloom and there are some seed pods ripening.  I friend asked me for some of the cannas when I thin them and I offered her some seeds, but she decided tubers would be easier to deal with.

Each pod will hold 1-4 seeds, which are mature when the pod turns black.

The tricycle planter got a face lift with some extra vinca I had, since the moss rose seeds never sprouted.

The Climbing Don Juan rose is performing better than I could have hoped for and is almost to the top of 5' tower it's growing up through.  In the background of the picture below you can see the habaneros and lemon grass.

Looks like it's time to mow.

The Huernia somalica has bloomed again and it looks like there are another 4-6 buds waiting for their turn. I've spotted the first flower bud on the Stapelia flavopurpurea I purchased a few months ago and can't wait for this one, as the flower is really unique looking and is one of the few stapeliads that actually smells pleasant.

Huernia somalica

Look closely, near the top on the left.

Went shopping at a local nursery for more stapeliads on Friday without success, but did pick up this unusual Euphorbia, Euphorbia bupleurifolia X suzannae and planted it in the wheelbarrow succulent garden.  The may be room for one or two more plants, then this garden will be complete, as there are 10 species in there now, with the Euphorbia obesa being the only surviving plant from the original design, the others have succumbed to transplant shock, freezes or having outgrown the garden.

Euphorbia bupleurifolia X suzannae

Heard a lot of commotion in the back yard and found a couple of lovebirds and cowbirds eyeing each other warily in the platform feeder.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Second Spring"

When the heat of Summer finally gives way to the cooler temps of Fall, it's almost like having a second Spring, with the plants that survived the heat showing off new growth and blooming with joy.  Second Spring also signals time to plant veggies, both winter varieties and some that are considered summer veggies in cooler climes.

The yellow mini roses in the window box are blooming, after adjusting to being transplanted.

Plumeria 'Novelty' continues its' beautiful display nearly a month after first blooming.

The mums, which barely survived the summer, are almost ready to bloom.

The habaneros are ripening daily.

Shishito peppers, which can be eaten green or ripe.

Jalapeno sprout peaking out of the bed.

Uba Tuba pepper in the ladder planter.

Winter crops starting to sprout.

Some of the birds which winter over in my area have returned, as I've seen the first Abert's Towhee and Brown-headed Cowbirds at the feeders, as well as 2-3 Anna's Hummingbirds at a time fighting for ownership of the nectar feeders.

Male Anna's Hummingbird on the lookout for intruders who would steal his nectar.

Abert's Towhee, the largest member of the sparrow family.

Brown-headed Cowbirds

I've also made a few more acquisitions, both decorative and plant-wise.

A tree spirit.

Another unidentified Huernia

Gasteria liliputana added to the wheelbarrow planter.

Some of the rose cutting are starting to develop roots; they form under the cambrium at the point the cutting was made and eventually there should be 1-2 dozen roots.

The roots are forming around the circumference of the stem, under the cambrium.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Boos, Blooms and Other Things

It's been way too long since my last post, so there's a lot of catching up to do.  First, the boos, as in Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays.  As usual, I put up quite a few decorations, including the cast of characters from years past and the graveyard.  This year the weather was cooler and it brought out a lot of trick or treaters and all 450 pieces of goodies were gone by 8:15.

The graveyard

Potted glitter skulls.

Spider lights

Street view

The cooler weather has many of the plants confused, as they're either blooming or sprouting way ahead of schedule.

Gladiolas sprouting that should be dormant until February

Apple blossoms 4 months early

Nectarine blossoms 5 month early

Even the lemon is 2 month early 

not everything is early, quite a bit is right on schedule, as the zinnias, roses and habaneros are blooming and ripening exactly when they should be.

'Dwarf Pumila Sprite' zinnia

Another color of DPS

And yet another color.

Climbing Don Juan rose

A nice handful of ripe habaneros

I've undertaken a few projects recently, including sprouting celery from the cut end of some I bought at the grocery store, digging up the amaryllis and putting them in the fridge so I can force them to bloom for the holidays, along with the paperwhites and pulling up the summer squash and planting winter veggies in their place.  I'm also able to report that the fig cuttings have started to root, but the apple and rose cutting have not.

Sprouting celery, one of two I've started.

Amaryllis bulbs ready to put in the fridge

Rooting fig cutting

I had written about purchasing a couple of Stapeliads, one marked Huernis sp, the other Stapelia sp and I knew I would need them to bloom in order to identify them at the species level.  Well, they both bloomed recently and it turns out the one marked "Huernia" was actually Stapelia paniculata spp scitula, while the one marked "Stapelia" was actually Huernia somalica.  Either the tags got mixed at the nursery or someone at the wholesaler goofed up, but either way, I've happy to see them bloom. In addition to those two, 'Baby Toes' is blooming again and the male Euphorbia obesa is going to have a profusion of blooms.

S. scitula

H. somalica

'Baby Toes'

Male E. o