Saturday, April 9, 2016

Unfinished business: Araucaria bidwillii

On 17 September 2013, I got three seeds of Araucaria bidwillii from

I got germination on only one of them, the following January,1

25 January 2014.

and it was large enough to move into a 4-inch (10 cm) pot by April (though the photo below was taken in May):

21 May 2014.

And then, apparently, I stopped documenting its progress. (This post, from May 2014, is the last time I mentioned it here.) But it's been doing fine:

4 April 2016.

Which is about the size it should be, as a 2 1/2 year old. I think I'm going to need to relocate it soon, because it's getting too tall for the kitchen window where it's been living, and the location is becoming unsuitable in other ways: I suspect the lower ring of branches is pointed downward because all the light is coming from the side of the plant. If the light were coming from above, like it's supposed to, they might be more horizontal. I suppose I'll find out whether my suspicions are correct when I move it.

A much older plant I bought in December 2006 (as a plant: I didn't start it from seed) has become way too large to photograph easily. The last time I did so was, coincidentally, September 2013:

I estimate that it was about a year old when I bought it, which would make it seven and a half when that photo was taken; it's nearly ten and a half now. I can't get pictures at the moment,2 but I'm making a note to try when it warms up a bit, because it's impressive. (Even if it weren't impressive, I'm apparently overdue for a photo.)

A. bidwillii has been an exceptionally trouble-free plant for me. No bugs, no rot, very little branch drop: I am apparently simulating the exact environment it's looking for. The worst problem I have with it is that the leaves are as sharp and pointy as they look, so it's kind of a pain to bring upstairs to water, but I only have to do that every four weeks, so even that isn't that big of a problem. Heartily recommended, should you happen to encounter one somewhere.


1 Which is typical. Maybe even better than average. I don't have much problem with seeds I've produced, but I'm not great with seeds from elsewhere. Whether this is the fault of the source, or I'm not germinating them properly, or what, I'm not sure: I just know that when I buy seeds, I generally don't wind up getting plants out of it, so it's mostly a waste of time and money.
2 No location large enough for a photo in the house, and it's too cold outside at the moment.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Anthurium no. 0300 "Monica Beverly Hillz"

Monica's not the best ambassador for Anthurium Nation either, though she does better than 0470 "Heather Haldane," from last Monday. Here's the bloom:

The real-life color is a bit darker red than this, so the thrips scars don't show up as obviously in person, and the foliage is mostly unbothered, so the plant looks pretty okay in person.

However. Monica is also sort of pulling herself out of her own pot, from being top-heavy, which is weird, because she has short internodes and so shouldn't be flopping over, but she's still flopping over. It's possible that some of the problem is that I've washed a lot of soil out of the pot in the course of watering; plants that stay in 4-inch pots often need additional soil sooner or later. Another possibility is root rot or some other kind of root injury, though I haven't seen any evidence to support that yet.

The other issue with Monica is that the peduncle on this bloom is short. How short? So short it can barely unfurl itself. There's only been the one bloom so far, so I don't know if this is normal first-bloom incompetence or some sort of adolescent nonconformist Jesus-Dad-nobody's-doing-long-peduncles-anymore-you're-so-embarrassing thing.1 Since the foliage is good, I'll probably let her try again before making any big decisions, though I'm a little nervous about that: I've seen scale in that part of the basement, and just because Monica's been fine so far doesn't mean she's necessarily going to stay that way. We'll see.


1 Less anthropomorphically: it may be genetic, as appears to be the case for 0408 Tex Messich, 0335 Donna Fanuday, and a few others. I don't normally mind this, and in fact liked Donna and Tex well enough to promote them to 6-inch pots despite their peduncles, but Monica's a more extreme case.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Balloon

And now we have the first orchid of the 2016 show. I don't think this happened deliberately, but it seems somehow fitting that the year begin with Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Balloon, who has also appeared in 2014 and 2015. (The 2015 pictures are the best set.)

I-Hsin Balloon is probably the Phalaenopsis I most covet, from all the ones I've seen at the show.1 I'm also happy to see it show up for a third consecutive year -- it's weird, because normally I'm all about seeing new stuff, but there are a few plants I look forward to seeing at the shows, and I-Hsin Balloon is one of those.2

Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Balloon = Phalaenopsis Sogo Lisa x Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Gem (Ref.)


1 (Though arguments could also be made in favor of Kaoda Twinkle 'Dusty's Midnight', Brother Goldstone, Brother Sara Gold, and the last NOID from this set.
I probably don't covet any of them enough to actually buy them, though. Partly this is because I don't really buy plants anymore, except for the occasional Anthurium or Schlumbergera, and partly it wouldn't make any sense to bring new orchids in, because I'm not a competent orchid grower.)
2 The king of repeats is Guarianthe aurantiaca, which I've gotten photos of every year except for 2013. (I imagine it was probably there in 2013 too, and I just missed it.)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Anthurium no. 0470 "Heather Haldane"

Not just a little pink Anthurium, but a ratty and gross little pink Anthurium.

Although the plant overall isn't particularly buggy,

there is still some damage from thrips, and there's actually a scale insect visible in the representative-leaf photo below:

It's almost exactly in the center of the leaf, just to the left of (and touching) the midrib.

I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt there and assume that I didn't notice it when I took the picture.

I haven't thrown Heather out yet for two reasons. First, the scale appears to have been eliminated -- no signs of it recently -- and the thrips damage isn't very bad on the leaves. The scale photo notwithstanding, she's not a particularly buggy plant. Second, there was a second bud in progress, and I wanted to see if it would be an improvement on the first bloom or not before I made my decision.

It wasn't. I mean, maybe technically. But not enough of an improvement.

Heather's still here as I write this (2 April), but I'm not expecting to hold on to her much longer. She's not in good enough shape to sell, she's not interesting enough to breed with, she's not really serving any useful purpose.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Unfinished business: Murraya paniculata

I've had a bunch of seedling update posts planned for seedlings that aren't Anthurium or Schlumbergera for five or six weeks now, but between taking pictures of everything and then having to do a bunch of pre-writing on the orchid posts,1 I haven't had the time, so I've been pushing posts back over and over. However, I've finally finished the orchid post preparations, two weeks after the show, so I can start thinking about other stuff now.

I don't know for sure how old this seedling is, but I think it's somewhere between 4 and 4 1/2 years old. I started a few seeds between November 2011 and February 2012, and they did okay, but in January 2013, I had to throw out all but one of them because of scale. The one that survived, I had planted in the terrarium, and so it didn't get infested with the scale like the other seedlings that were in the basement. And I know the terrarium plant was in the terrarium as of June 2012, from the above link. So.

That seedling looks like this, as of February 2016:

The pot is 6 inches (15 cm) on the diagonal; the plant is 18 inches / 46 cm tall above the soil-line.

It's doing remarkably well, all things considered, and although I'm scared of it contracting scale at some point, the parent plant appears to have actually shaken its scale infestation (through a combination of a few years, a summer outside, imidacloprid, lots of rubbing alcohol sprays, and pruning away of branches that had signs of scale on them). So even if it did catch scale, that might not be the end of the seedling's world.

It could have been getting better light while in the terrarium; the internodes are further apart than I'd like. It's been moved to a spot close to the (south-facing, glass) plant room door, so that will probably improve. It's already started to branch a little bit, from near the base of the trunk, though you probably can't see that in the photo. It hasn't tried to flower yet, but we haven't had a lot of sun lately: as the days get longer and it gets more direct sun, I imagine it will try. The parent plant doesn't bloom inside anymore, partly because it's too big to get anywhere near a window, and partly because, I realized while writing this, it's been in the same potting soil for literally nine years now. (Yikes.) So maybe I should just be impressed that it's still even alive, I guess.

For the most part, I haven't been trying to start new Murraya plants, from seed or cutting, because I'm more concerned about having enough space for the Anthuriums and Schlumbergeras, but I may rethink that this summer and fall if I see any berries forming. They're nice enough plants, and they don't fruit so heavily that I could start a few seedlings without getting completely buried by them. We'll see what the parent plant has to offer after I change its soil. And apologize.


1 Looking up names and ancestries, checking to see if I've posted about the same plant (or a similar/related plant) in past years, sorting through the photos and editing them, trying to work out a schedule for all the orchid posts, writing down any details I still remember from the orchid show before I forget them, etc.