Summer 2016: Update #6
As I began to mention in my previous update, I have just come back home from two weeks traveling the West Coast. It was so much fun! The weather was perfect, the air was dry, and the landscape was absolutely unbelievable. It was very cool driving across country and seeing the land change right before your eyes. One moment you would be driving through the red desert, then before even realizing it you would be in the mountains, and on the other side there would be green all around! Truly amazing.
We traveled through the southern states to reach California, right alongside Route 66. I was on the search for succulents and cacti as we entered each state.
Round trip, we traveled through 15 states.
Certain states have agricultural checks to prevent pest from entering the state. California’s Border Protection Stations (BPS) "...checks vehicles and commodities for compliance with California and federal plant quarantine regulations. They also check commodities to make sure they are free from exotic invasive species that may be hitchhiking with them. Although the primary focus is on plant materials (i.e., fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, hay, firewood, etc.), other items are also frequently inspected." Also, the California Department of Food & Agriculture states that all citrus plants are prohibited from entering California.
Despite the regulations of bringing plants into specific states, I was still able to find a few plants I could take home. Below I have included a list of the states I visited and I have put a little cactus next to each one I collected in.
So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce the newest members of my succulent family...
Oklahoma: These little guys are going to be fun to plant! I found both of these kits at a touristy Native American Trading Post in Oklahoma off of Route 66. In "3 to 10 days" I will have a baby Giant Saguaro Cactus and a baby Giant Joshua Tree!
Arizona: Okay, so I didn't actually get any cacti in Arizona due to the strict agricultural rules of taking plants into California... but I did get this tiny handmade pot at the Grand Canyon! It's the perfect size for a baby succulent.
California: This is where I found most of the succulents and cacti on my trip! During our last day at Huntington Beach, a street fair/farmer's market was being set up. We hung around for a bit and found a cactus and succulent tent by World Wide Plants. They are based out of Riverside, CA and sell at markets in Huntington Beach every Tuesday. Every plant was beautiful and obviously well cared for. It was very difficult to decide which plants to take home, but in the end I think I chose well...
"Not to be confused with cacti, Euphorbias may look like cacti because of their “spines”. Some Euphorbias have formations known as “peduncles”, which are dried remnants from flowering stalks, and tend to give the plant an extra-terrestrial appearance.These spines are actually what are left over from from the flowers. While Euphorbias do not have the “areole” (a felty area from which the spines arise on cacti), they do have an analogous area that is a hard, horned ellipse along the angle of the stem known as a “spine shield”. Interestingly, the spine shield is the origin of the spines and flowers for the Euphorbia, just as the areole performs the same function for the cacti. Euphorbias do not have the organ to create a spine. Also, Euphorbias originated in Africa, where true cacti do not exist."
Sempervivum arachnoideum 'Cobweb'
"One of the most distinctive types of Sempervivum. Aptly named, 'Cobweb' is covered with fine, white threads which crisscross between the leaves' tips like a cobweb. Each rosette of pointy, blue-green leaves grows about 1 inch wide. Their color may vary from season to season. Unusual rose-pink flowers are produced on leafy stalks in midsummer."
Faucaria tigrina 'Tiger Jaws'
"Leaves are covered with white dots upon close inspection and have many recurved soft translucent “teeth” along the margins. Large silky yellow flowers in the afternoon during the autumn months.The genus Faucaria is part of the family Aizoaceae, which includes the various forms of plants known as “Ice Plants” and those known as “Mimicry Plants”. Prefers a soil with less organic material; extra pumice or perlite provides excellent drainage essential to these type of plants. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Will not tolerate water-logged soils. Somewhat frost tolerant, but protection is advisable to prevent scarring."
Lithops Species 'Stone Faces'
"Popularly called "Living Stones", Lithops are some of the world's most fascinating plants! Since their discovery by John Burchell in 1811 when "on picking up from the stony ground what was supposed a curiously shaped pebble, it proved to be a plant", Lithops have been avidly sought by the collector of succulent plants. Resembling the pebbles and stones among which they grow in their African habitat, they have become favorites of the collector of strange and unusual plants. Their subtle colors of gray, brown, rust, green and pink, combined with their fantastically intricate markings, make them most desirable additions to any plant collection.
Being small plants, a representative collection can be grown on a patio table, a sunny windowsill, a shelf in the greenhouse, or under lights, as many apartment dwellers are now doing.
After flowering in the fall and extending through winter, when the new 'bodies' are forming within the old leaves, the latter become soft and flaccid and begin to shrivel. Some may split on the sides from the pressure of the new body inside, and often there will be dry or 'dead' spots on the old leaves at this stage. This is perfectly normal. Eventually the old leaves dry up, leaving the plant with a perfect set of new ones."
Crassula 'Baby Necklace'
"'Baby Necklace' is a fun, attention getting plant that can be grown as a hanging basket subject or as a ground cover. This is a hybrid developed by Myron Kimnach, long time horticulturist and past editor of the Journal of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America, and also formerly of the Huntington Botanical Gardens. It is a cross of two South African succulents, Crassula perforata known as 'String of Buttons', with Crassula rupestris ssp. marnieriana. Baby Necklace is a very hardy and ornamental plant with small, rounded, fleshy leaves tightly stacked, and usually multicolored resembling a string of beads like on a necklace."
(Currently researching this plant... I believe it is some type of Aloe.)
"Haworthia fasciata, has small stemless rosette of triangular fleshy but firm leaves. The upper side of the leaves are flat and the backside is convex with white tubercles which form bands. White flowers bloom in spring. Best in full sun, drought tolerant. A great little plant for the rock garden or for containers. Requires very porous soil. Winter grower, dormant in summer months. Protect from frost to prevent scarring. Provide filtered light. Water thoroughly when soil is dry."
Oreocereus celsianus “Old Man of the Andes”
"The name “Oreocereus” actually means mountain. This “Old man of the Andes” is so called for the long hairs that densely cover the columnar stems. These plants, reaching 10 feet in height, stand on high mountains like snowy sentinels overlooking valleys. It is believed that the white hairs provide protection from the intense ultraviolet light of the higher altitudes. Excellent as landscape or patio plant. In cultivation, Oreocereus requires bright light to produce dense hairs, but, as a former mountain dweller, does not care for extremely high temperatures. Prefers porous cactus soil with adequate drainage. Bright light to full sun with ample airflow. Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days. Protect from frost."
When we visited Pismo Beach there were ice plants everywhere. I took a snipping and look forward to propagating it.
Michigan: When I returned home from vacation, I went to the store to pick up some soil. I found these plants and couldn't resist!
Pleiospilos nelii “Split Rock”
"Native to Africa. Extremely succulent pair of grayish-green leaves form a clefted “egg-shape” known as a bi-lobe. Leaves are dotted with a myriad of tiny dots which are actually stomates. Can grow quite large to 4″ in diameter. Silky golden-apricot flowers with white centers. The genus Pleiospilos is part of the family Aizoaceae, which includes the various forms of plants known as “Ice Plants” and those known as “Mimicry Plants”. Porous soil with excellent drainage. It is preferable that the soil does not contain much organic material, such as peat moss and that the plant is not fertilized with heavy nitrogen as this can cause an explosion of soft, flabby growth that can make the plant prone to bacterial rots. Decomposed granite is often an excellent media as it has many trace minerals and is similar to the South African quartz fields where these and others of the “Stone Mimicry” are found growing. Bright light with ample airflow. Water thoroughly when soil is dry during the active growing season. Protect from frost."
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii “Moon Cactus” Red
"It was discovered that these beautiful seedlings could not survive as they did not have “chlorophyll” and were therefore incapable of producing the necessary chemical changes that are involved in photosynthesis and which are necessary for the production of the “food” that is necessary for the plant to grow and thrive. It was determined that if these tiny seedlings were “grafted” (an actual physical union of the vascular systems of the two plants) onto fast growing plants such as Hylocereus, that the “base” plant could provide the necessary chlorophyll for the “upper” plant (in this case the Gymnocalycium seedling lacking in chlorophyll) to thrive. “Moon Cactus” is an excellent subject for windowsill culture. Requires porous cactus soil with adequate drainage. Prefers filtered light or shade with ample airflow. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost."
I am so excited to see how these plants grow and change!
On another but related note, in less than a week I will be moving back into my dorm at Michigan State University. With my arrival, Campbell Hall will also be gaining a few new green residents...
Since I will be moving my succulents and cacti to college, I have been having Dylan 3D print new planters for them. White is definitely my top color when it comes to planters. I love the look of the bold flora and fauna against the white background.
The planters pictured below are some of my favorites. These are designed to be attached to a corner of the room and hang on the wall.
I cannot wait to see how these look once they are in place. Another blog update will come once I am all moved in!
In this post I also wanted to include what I found out about removing pups from a plant and propagating them.
In my 7/13/2016 update, I wrote about how a couple of my succulents started growing pups, or baby succulents, on their stems. I planned to research how to remove the pups and turn them into their own plants, as I didn't want the mother plant to become too crowded.
I found that I could let them grow as they are, and the plant would become more full, or detach them and have them grow on their own. If I do decide to detach them, I would carefully cut the pups from the mother plant, let the ends callous over, and place back in fresh soil. Either way, they are too small at this point for propagating.
Finally, I wanted to include a growth update since it has been over a month since my last post. This time I will include photos of the same plant side by side to compare the growth from 5/30/2016 to 8/22/2016, which was my summer away from school.