Thursday, February 17, 2011

Subdividing Schlumbergia xBucklyi

S. xBucklyi is an important plant in the Christmas cactus world as it is truely a cactus that blooms at Christmas, unlike S. truncata cultivars, which are often known as 'Thanksgiving Cactus" due to their blooming habit. S xbucklyi lost the fight because it did not breed true, with flower color changing from plant to plant, and the flower is pendant, rather than more upright on truncata.

It is easy to recognize as the two horns are missing on the top of each leaf, which is distinctive.It is a cross between S truncata and S russelliana by William Buckley at the Rollisson Nurseries in England around 1840. S truncata took over rapidly, but forcing bloom at Christmas and having color lines that ran true.

As you can see from the photos, the plant was over grown before I got it around Christmas 2009 for $20. Watch for great plant deals. Well I gave the plant a hair cut in the summer of 2010, and decided to subdivide it this winter. I had no idea what I was going to run into, but it became easier that I thought, and I divided it into 8 plants that reside in 6-8" pots. It got interesting, as all the branches converged at the bottom of the pot, where the majority of roots were. I cut the plant multiple ways, and sawed the wood under the soil, using rooting hormone before repotting. That's one of the secrets of old Christmas cacti, cutting wood below the soil will generate roots, above soil, it creates a place for more leaves to grow.

These will be sold at a local Cactus club meeting, holding back of course, one plant for me. But do watch out for those old Christmas cacti which have smooth leaves without the horn.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

More on Schlumbergera "Wintermarchen"

A white bud. Around are fading flowers.
I posted a pretty low grade picture of this plant in the past. It is probably the oldest single plant in my possession, and has the most beautiful blooms, white buds that open to reveal a long 3" pale pink flower that is near transparent, when it fades and dies it is like wet silk to remove.

Close up of flowers
This has to be one of the most unusual flowers on a Schlumbergia I have ever seen, and I just offer these to show this plant to others.

More flowers up close.

still more.
"Wintermarchen" is the name that I got from a book on Schlumbergia hybrids, so it may not be correct, but my work, I am pretty darn sure of its name.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Marie blooms!

I was quite impressed with this bloom of S 'Dark Marie'. I found earlier in the fall, that the stems were looking to start to rot off at the soil line. So I potted it up on Hydroton to see what effect it would have. I was pleased to see buds the last few weeks, and today they opened.

The 2 or 3 plants on the left are Hippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifolium, which is a species of Amaryllis. All known Amaryllis that we normally get are actually in the genus Hippeastrum. There is only one Amaryllis, A belladonna which hails from South America. Hippeastrum are all from Africa and bloom with the onset of the winter rains. Notice the rear pot is also on Hydroton, and it appears to be growing successfully.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finally a few blooms!

H. 'Blossom Peacock'

Finally today my Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) 'Blossom Pecock' burst out of its buds. H 'Black Pearl' I gave to my in laws on condition I could see and plant it out in the spring. H 'Minerva' looks to be working hard at this too. But boy does it make a difference where the bulbs come from.Black Pearl and  Blossom Peacock are  from a nursery at $10-15 each, and Minerva is a Home Depot rescue for $6.99.

These plants will not bloom just once for me, as I will be planting both in the ground for the summer, where they may bloom or not, uprooting them in August or September and cooling them down for a rest before repotting around Thanksgiving.
H. 'Black Pearl'

Thank god that Schlumbergias are easier to culture. Just a little shade in the summer, and they will bloom sometime a lot, sometimes a little, but they always perform.  I have S. Dark Marie in bud right now, and it looks like lipstick. I cannot wait for the flowers.

    S. 'Wintermarchen'