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Cotyledon tomentosa seedlings, day 1

My Bear’s Paw seedlings germinated! The seeds were planted 4 days ago and I already see maybe 20 seedlings in there. I knew the seedlings would be tiny because the seeds were the size of your average floor dust, but it always surprises me that big plants like this can be so tiny when they germinate. The pot, I planted them in is only 10 cm wide and you can barely see the green sprouts in the diatomaceous earth, I used as soil.

I have no idea how many seeds I planted. I may end up with 300 little baby paws in this one little pot, but that won’t be a big problem because you can never have enough fuzzy succulents! Also, if you don’t know what you’re doing and how to treat them, the more seedlings you have to practice on, the better. That’s how I roll. If things go very wrong, I still have more than 40 flowers worth of seeds left. That’s just about 3.000-4.000 seeds.

One last picture of my giant Aloe vera

I decided to sell my monster of an Aloe vera because it just took up took much space on my balcony and I wasn’t really using it for anything. When I dragged it inside (with much difficulty because I had to use some force to pull it through the balcony door), I realized exactly how massive I allowed it to grow. It spent the last couple of years partially outdoors in full sunlight, getting a ton of water and nutrients every summer.
This was also the first succulent I bought as an adult after I killed the ones I had as a child. I guess this was the plant that started my succulent addiction.

Here’s a picture I took of my Aloe in April 2018 when I first put it outside. Imagine if I kept the thing out there for another 2 years..

A much needed pot upgrade for my Mammillaria spinosissima “un pico”

I finally had the guts to upgrade the pot for my Mammillaria spinosissima “un pico”. This thing is very prickly! You know your cactus needs a pot upgrade when you give it a ton of water and the pot is bone dry the next day. Apparently my dear Mammillaria was very root bound. The root ball was perfectly intact when I removed it from its old pot.
The first thing I did was to carefully loosen the roots and remove as much soil as I could, especially near the soil line. This makes the cactus very unstable when you repot into fresh soil, but it also allows water to actually penetrate the root ball. This is the first thing I do when I buy a new cactus, as well.

It looks so much happier now! The size of the new pot makes it look so small.

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. I’ve tried this with one plant before and it didn’t work.
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.