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Cotyledon tomentosa seed harvesting

My cotyledon tomentosa (Bear’s Paw) started blooming 2 months ago in July and new flowers are still popping open! I’ve been pollinating them with a small paint brush to try for seeds. Every time a new flower popped open, I gently brushed all of them, one by one, making sure to mix the pollen as much as I could. If you decide to pollinate your own Bear’s Paw, you will most likely need two separate flowering plants.
It took a long time for the seeds to develop and mature. I started pollinating the flowers exactly 2 months ago when the first flowers opened and the seed pods have finally started to dry out on the plant. This is the perfect time to harvest.

I removed the first batch of dry flowers today, popped them in a small container and watched the tiniest little seeds fall out. Success! If the flowers are completely dry, you can gently remove the spent flower petals and expose the seed pods. Then gently crumble them between your fingers and watch hundreds of seeds scatter everywhere (preferably on a white piece of paper). The first 10 flowers gave me more seeds than I will ever need. And I left just about 40 pollinated flowers on the plant to mature.

I’ll make sure to take pictures of the seedlings if they decide to germinate.

One year’s growth – Hoya verticillata

I spent a couple of hours untangling my Hoya verticillata (bought as Hoya citrina but re-identified. I have now changed the title of all blog posts mentioning this Hoya). This plant is so sensitive and bleeds sticky, white sap everywhere if I accidentally bend the vines or leaves too much. A couple of leaves broke off as well, but that was expected. Round trellises don’t work well for fast growing vining plants like this one, because it’s hard to untangle them when the vines wrap around everything they touch.

It looks so much better now! Hoya verticillata really is one of the prettier Hoyas out there, even when it’s not flowering. The two images show the growth from unrooted cuttings to a full plant in just the span of a year.

The Stream of Dreams

I finally had the time and energy to make another painting. It’s been a while.
Lately, I’ve seen so many cool paintings of nature and I noticed that I was always captivated by the ones that only consisted of 2-3 colors. Especially the ones using different shades of purple and blue.
So I decided to make my own painting using only Light Ultramarine Blue, Vivid Violet, Titanium White and Mars Black. I think it turned out alright. When the light hits the painting just right, it warms up the whole room.

Acrylic paint, 40×50 cm canvas.

More Hoyas!

There are Hoyas in my collection, which I never really took that many pictures of. My Hoya lacunosa ‘Eskimo’ sort of died off for a while before I found the one place it could thrive in my apartment. Apparently it hates staying anywhere but the mini-greenhouse I use to nurse Hoyas back to health. The little greenhouse provides high humidity and slightly less light than what most other Hoyas prefer. I guess I can only enjoy the sight this one when I’m taking it out to take pictures of it. I bought the Hoya lacunosa in August 2019 and it just started to grow more leaves a couple of months ago when it decided to stop dying.

Hoya australis ‘Lisa’ is one of the coolest looking Hoyas in my opinion. They’re slightly more colorful than most other Hoyas, especially when they grow new leaves. This one is a fast grower and is pretty easy to take care of. My plant is fairly new and still very small. I do expect it to have taken over its trellis somewhere around this time next year.

The Hoya diptera was a gift from the lady I’m trading cuttings with once in a while. She always has Hoyas I never knew existed, including this one. The foliage of Hoya diptera is kind of bland, but the flowers are super cute! They’re creamy yellow and look like little stars. I think it’s going to be a while before mine blooms, though. I got these as unrooted cuttings in May this year.

Mammillaria plumosa, 3,5 years old

These seed grown 3,5 years old Mammillaria plumosa are now bigger than my hand. They’re currently staying in a 15 cm pot, but it won’t be long before they need an even bigger pot. This is the fastest growing cactus I have ever grown from seeds. There are actually two plants in there. The big bulb on the second picture (top right near the white string hanging from the wall) is the brother of the big mass that turned out to be the faster growing seedling.
I wonder how big this plant is going to get.

Faucaria tigrina, 4,5 years old

These seed grown Faucaria tigrina have almost outgrown their pot. They have all developed a little stem and are hanging over the edge, but I kind of like the look of them. Faucaria tigrina are mesembs, but unlike Lithops, Pleiospilos and conophytum, Faucaria can handle more water and are allowed to develop several leaf sets. They’re slightly faster growing, too. Mine spend all of their time “outdoors” on my frost protected balcony, even in winter.

To be honest, I haven’t really been thinking much about them for the last couple of years. I wonder why they’re still alive when store-bought Faucarias die almost immediately after I buy them. I water when they look slightly wrinkly, but leave them in direct sun, so the soil dries out almost immediately. They have experienced scorching direct sunlight, cold and humid winters, me forgetting to water for months, staying in the same pot without a change of soil for more than 4 years and a few rounds of spider mites and they’re still here.

Selenicereus grandiflorus babies!

I found these seed packets with Stapelia gigantea and Selenicereus grandiflorus a month ago and decided to give it a try. I don’t think the Stapelia seeds will germinate, because I couldn’t keep the seeds from being overtaken by black mold, even after a good hydrogen peroxide soak. The Selenicereus grandiflorus are doing okay right now. A month after germination, a couple of them have grown these little spikes and they’re adorable!
Selenicereus grandiflorus are known for their huge, beautiful flowers, but the plants themselves can be kind of bland. This is why I love cacti, though. They can blend in with the background, sometimes even be downright ugly for years, but when they finally decide to bloom, they’re magnificent. Even if the flower only lasts for one day.