Author: Growlithops

My Caladium drama queen

This is how my Caladium hybrid looks when I return home from work and I forgot to give it a morning drink. The first image is basically a Caladium in ultra thirsty drama queen mode. Luckily, it returns to happy very quickly after I water it. The two pictures were taken only an hour apart.

This plant really thrives on my living room table. It looks so different from when I bought it in July! For some reason it hasn’t gone dormant yet. I don’t think it’s cold and dark enough indoors, so I might have to place it on the balcony in winter to make sure it sprouts again in spring.

Monilaria moniliformis, 4 years + 7 months old

A lot of my Monilaria died off this summer. I’m not sure exactly what happened. All I have left is this one. It recently woke up from summer dormancy and is sprouting this year’s first bunny ears, so I’ve started to water it again. I’m going to experiment with the fertilizer I use for my Hoyas to see if I can get it to bloom. This year may be my last chance.

Cotyledon tomentosa seedlings, 3 weeks old

Not much has happened sizewise, but I managed to capture a better pic of my small Bear Paw seedlings with a macro lens. I’m no longer growing these under grow lights because the sun is currently shining and they looked like they needed some air. The airflow in the closet I use as a grow chamber isn’t the best. When I fertilize the small seedlings for the first time, mold starts to grow on the surface of the soil.

I wonder when they’ll grow their first set of true leaves.

An experiment with semi hydroponics

I have thought about experimenting with growing my plants in semi hydroponics for a while now. It’s supposed to work well with Hoyas, but I recently changed their soil and didn’t want to stress them too much, so I went with the next best thing – my Adenium arabicum. This one have always had a bit of trouble growing new feeder roots after a heavy handed repot. Maybe the new, fine roots couldn’t find their way through the fresh soil and they just decided to not grow at all. This makes it a good candidate for semi hydroponics. Apparently, even caudiciforms, like Adenium, like to grow freely in Leca and water instead of soil. Semi hydroponics is basically water therapy for plants. The roots grow straight down into a reservoir of water with nutrients and you never let it dry completely.

How I’m doing it.
The first thing I did was to clean the roots. It took a while to remove every single piece of soil and clay, even with most of the roots gone from the last repotting session, but I think I got it all in the end. If I accidentally leave a piece of dirt in there, it may end up causing root rot.
I decided to use a plastic nursery pot and a transparent glass reservoir, so I know how high the water level is inside the plastic pot. I decided to keep the water level low at first, because Leca will act as a wick and transport water to the roots. Right now I don’t know how well my setup works. I just want to avoid causing harm to the roots before they get used to growing in Leca and water instead of soil.
I decided to order a set with 3 different kinds of fertilizer, specifically made for a semi hydroponic setup. I think they’re called Micro, Grow and Bloom. Leca doesn’t have any nutrients in it, so I’ll have to carefully monitor how much to add and when to do so. All of this is basically an exciting experiment for me. I’ve never done anything like this before.

I’ll make sure to keep you updated on my new project. Maybe it will end up being a huge project with different types of plants. Or maybe it will kill my Adenium. Only time will tell.

Sulcorebutia rauschii, the purple, spineless cactus

Look how much my Sulcorebutia rauschii has grown in 2 months! This pot will be too small for it very soon. I feel like this cactus grows like weeds in a lawn.
This one is perfect for the impatient cactus lover. It seems like it grows faster than many other types of cactus (at least after they reach a certain size). Each pup grows a set of babies, which then grow another set of babies etc. Eventually you will have a giant pot of purple bulbs in your garden.
I didn’t get any flowers on my Sulcorebutia this year. Technically, it can still happen, but right now is the time to be careful about watering the outdoor cacti. I wouldn’t want these guys to rot.

Cotyledon tomentosa seedlings, 2 weeks old

I think.. more seedlings germinated. I wonder how many I actually planted. The germination rate must be crazy high if the seeds come fresh from your own plants. They don’t seem to grow very fast at all, but I like how adorable they are at the moment. At some point I probably need to weed out at least 50-70% of them depending on how big they get when they start to develop their true leaves. I don’t think I need 300 Bear Paws.

My Hoya retusa is blooming!

Hoya retusa is pretty special in many ways. It doesn’t look like your regular Hoya. I think most people would just keep walking if they saw this guy in a flower shop, wondering why they sell expensive grass – and more often than not, unlabeled, like this one was when I found it. It’s also special when it blooms. Unlike most other Hoyas, Hoya retusa doesn’t grow peduncles. Singular flower buds grow directly on the main stem and fall off when they’re done. The flowers have a very faint scent of lemony cough drops.

I’ve been watching my retusa explode with growth, lately. I have to constantly control the vines to keep them from trailing the ceiling or grabbing my other plants.