Here are the photos from the final month of 2017! We've got fewer flowers for sure this December - just this Copiapoa hypogaea, Gymnocalycium pfanzii var albipulpa, Sansevieria cylindrica, and Sansevieria phillipsiae, respectively. This fruit on my Gymnocalycium mihanovichii has also been around since at least November, but it really started becoming eye-catching in December. It is now in the process of drying out.
And here is the next set of houseplant happenings, from November! I'm at the point now where I always have at least one or two plants in bloom at any given moment; I often neglect to photograph my orchid and African Violet (Saintpaulia spp.) flowers not because I don't appreciate them - I do! - but because they're quite common. Here, we have in order from left to right and top down: Crassula perforata, Crassula ovata, Mammillaria elegans, Quaqua incarnata, Echeveria shaviana 'Neon Breakers', Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, Rhipsalis pilocarpa, Senecio jacobsenii, Duvalia sulcata, Anomalluma dodsiana, Stapelia sticula, and Matucana madisoniorum.
The Crassulas are particularly surprising because Crassula hate me (and in return, I don't much care for them) but on both plants the blooms seem like they could be a last gasp, so... it's damning with faint praise, I suppose. Also, my Anomalluma dodsiana revealed a mealybug infestation post blooming, so it's currently in round two of diatomaceous earth dusting. The Quaqua incarnata has been blooming non-stop since November and is still in flower today, and the Stapelia sticula has also been quite prolific.
Remember that if you want to, you can click on any of the photos to see them in more detail!
Happy holidays! Here to celebrate with me is my new spider friend, Audrey. She's a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax). She must have hitched a ride indoors with me when I relocated all my plants in for the winter, but she's preferred to maintain a very low profile and only popped out recently (and only for two days). There's a whole small ecosystem going on with my outdoor/indoor plants - there are ants, and beetles, and mites, and spiders... I could nuke them all with neem oil or diatomaceous earth, but as long as they aren't harming me or causing significant damage to my plants, I like being able to support the local fauna and they in turn pollinate my plants or like Audrey keep them safe from pest species. I watched her hunt for prey on at least ten different plants, but due to the way in which I've set up my collection, I couldn't get clear photos on her on most of them. The best photos of Audrey are of her posing atop my Matucana madisoniorum which serendipitously was in bloom at the time! I also have a couple okay photos of her on my Anacampseros rufescens.
Here are my October 2017 notable houseplant moments and visitors! The photos are respectively of flowering Ariocarpus fissuratus, Duvalia sulcata, Euphorbia francoisii, Mammillaria schiedeana still in bloom (it lasted two months!), Mammillaria plumosa, Stapelia gettleffii, and then a stick insect and a moth pretending to be a fallen leaf while visiting a Pilocereus.
I like this little one; it's a good (small) size for my ridiculously large collection - that's a 2" planter - and its flowers seem proportionately larger to the plant body than with my standard-size Saintpaulia spp. plants.
Let's take a momentary break from the bleak ramifications of our current administration's damaging new ecological policies to appreciate the recent flowers my houseplants chose to produce in the past month. Here we have the mostly spent bloom stalk we saw in its infancy back in December from my Sansevieria phillipsiae, as well as a rogue early flower on my Hatiora gaertneri (often colloquially called "Easter Cactus" because it typically blooms around that holiday, much like Schlumbergera truncata blooms around Thanksgiving and is thusly called "Thanksgiving Cactus") which I hope will continue to flower as April approaches, two bloom stalks on my Echeveria harmsii 'Red Velvet', and a particularly beautiful blooming Tillandsia spp.; the last is - as is typical for bromeliads - monocarpic, so I'm hoping it manages to pup out before its hastening death.
Speaking of the new year and new beginnings - something managed to pollinate my Aloe aristata (or potentially itself an Alworthia cross or a Haworthia spp. lookalike like Haworthia decipiens), and now I have seeds! I've never bothered to try to pollinate any of my Haworthia/Gasteria/Aloe flowers due to their long, thin throats, so this is a first for me. I plan to sow the seeds once all the pods have burst open. I slit a plastic cup in such a way that I fit it around the flower stem and covered it with saran wrap (with air holes) to try to catch the seeds, as the pods apparently explode with some force in order to scatter their goods far and wide. As you can see, one pod has already opened!
Happy New Year! Here are my houseplant blooms from December, minus my Senecio jacobsenii which rebloomed but is currently in my office and therefore I kept forgetting to bring my camera in. From left to right and top to bottom: Gasteria liliputana, Gymnocalycium bruchii, Haworthia cuspidata, Haworthia fasciata, Mammillaria bocasana, Pachyphytum oviferum (a little misleadingly as its bloom stalk is leaning past the trunk of my Uncarina roeoesliana), Phalaenopsis spp., Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, Sansevieria phillipsiae, Ibervillea lindheimeri, Euphorbia flanaganii, and Faucaria tigrina.
Here are some of my November blooms! I've excluded a few from display due to hard-to-photograph-well-for-various-reasons flowers (a couple of my ever blooming Phalaenopsis and Saintpaulia spp.), but there are more than enough that were accessible. We've got a range of plants here; in order from top to bottom and left to right, they are: Episcia spp., Rhipsalis pilocarpa, Pleiospilos nelii, Mammillaria plumosa, Schlumbergera truncata, Quaqua incarnata, Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis, Gasteria glomerata, Haworthia spp., and Faucaria tigrina. I was particularly excited about the Quaqua incarnata blooms, as I've never had a Stapeliad bloom for me before; but I've also never had a Faucaria tigrina flower either and it's the Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis' first time as well. Admittedly some of the photos aren't when the flower was in full bloom; I'm quite busy and I'm not always around when they're at their prime. That'll give me something to look forward to for future blooms, though!
Check out my gorgeous Ariocarpus retusus var. furfuraceus in flower! I've only owned this plant for about two and a half months (purchased from the Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society annual show and sale), but it wasn't already set to bloom when I purchased it so it seems like it enjoys being in my collection, for which I'm thankful as it's a stunning specimen both in and out of bloom.
I can't take much of the credit for this, but an orchid I bought recently with partially grown flower buds has fully flowered! It's a Neofinetia falcata, which is apparently a very popular houseplant in Japan and was originally cultivated as such in the 1600's. I acquired it on a trip to Bird's Botanicals, a really cool orchid cave in Kansas City.
I've been enjoying the end of the summer by spending more time with my plants. Here are some photos of my flowering plants from the past few weeks! They are, from left to right and top to bottom: Copiapoa hypogaea, Euphorbia platyclada, Gymnocalycium baldianum, Saintpaulia spp., and Senecio jacobsenii. Not pictured due to less impressive and difficult to photograph well flowers (but still appreciated!) are several Aloe and Haworthia spp. Not pictured due to missing the flowering entirely is Echinopsis "Dominos," though it has a second flower bud growing so we may yet get to see it this year!
I love watching my plants flower - it's both a pretty spectacle and also typically a sign they're being well cared for. So far this month I've got a Neoregelia 'Golden Chalice,' Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, Mammillaria plumosa, and Gasteria liliputana in flower!
If you recall, my Rhipsalis pilocarpa was in bloom a few weeks ago and its flowering somewhat coincided with my Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides flowering - so I cross-pollinated (and also self-pollinated) and have some seed pods growing! I'll be interested to see if anything ends up germinating.
I've had a few cacti blooming lately - my Rhipsalis pilocarpa, Schlumbergera truncata, and one of my two Gymnocalycium friedrichii. Here are some images of the beauty! Unfortunately I don't have a good photo of the Gymno because its bloom was infested with aphids - in spraying it with neem oil, the aphids have died but the bloom is also not doing so hot. I'll get a photo to share at some point, though!
Interesting things to note about the below two plants: the R. pilocarpa flowers apparently have little scent but what there is smells like a musty basement; the S. truncata is a very difficult plant for me to grow and this is the first time I've gotten one to flower; the S. truncata was purchased on sale without flowers and I did not know it had two different bloom colors.