Showing posts from January, 2011
Pendant Dendrobium Culture

    Quite a lot of  people have read the blog about pendant Dendrobiums , so I decided to expand on the culture of the group. In most cases, these plants are grown in baskets or on mounts made of treefern fiber or cork with a thick pad of sphagnum moss attached to it. The canes can hang down on some species from the mount as much as 9 feet, so give the canes plenty of room to grow !
As these pictures illustrate, the plants grow mounted, and not potted. This mandates a regular watering and fertilizing schedule while plants are in active growth. The very best flowering I've seen on this group of plants has been with plants watered daily, and fertilized every week or even more often. In this group of plants, if the roots never get dry, and the plants have an abundant supply of fertilizer, the canes will grow to their maximum dimensions.
Once the canes have matured, indicated by the cessation of new leaf growth, ( usually in November-December) then STOP WATE…
Amaryllis or Hippeastrum ?
Amaryllis have been in cultivation for decades, perhaps centuries. Modern taxonomy has actually spilt the names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum into separate genera. The time-honored Christmas Amaryllis lily we see so often in bulb catalogs and at retail stores is actually a Hippeastrum, not a true Amaryllis . The actual Amaryllis is a more subtropical / Mediterranean growing bulb, and one of the best examples has been the Naked Lady group, Amaryllis belladonna. These are very easy to grow, just not in wet Florida. The plants like a coolish rest in winter, and fairly dry summers, not what Florida has to offer !!

Of more interest to Florida gardeners has been the "other" Amaryllis groups, properly called Hippeastrum.
These are fairly common landscape plants in coastal Gulf states, Florida, and many parts of California. Easy to grow, in a wide range of colors and sizes, and easily propagated by seed or division, these plants a…
And Now for Something Completely Different...... Orchid Cacti !

Previous blogs have dealt with plant groups, as opposed to a specific genus. In this installation, I'll cover one of the more bewitching genera of plants, Epiphyllum the Orchid Cactus, usually a night blooming genus. At some point or another, almost anywhere in the country, gardeners will eventually see one of these in a garden window, at a plant show, or at a garden conservatory. In some southern Florida, southern Texas, and south-coastal parts of California, orchid cacti can be grown outdoors easily. The plants thrive in the cool winters of coastal  California, and of course there is an Epiphyllum Society to boost the popularity of the plants. There is a dazzling array of colors and sizes ( a familiar theme in my blogs, but it is true) and a fairly recent introduction of day-flowering orchid cacti. The plants will not likely win any beauty contests for pretty foliage, but the flowers compensate for the homely foliag…
Those Beautiful, Tempting, Devilish Flowering Vines Part 3- Slower Growers

 Parts 1 and 2 of this series dealt with flowering vines, covering fast and moderate types. This installation deals with "slower" growers, which in some cases are actually vining shrubs. The speed factor of vine growth is very relative to cultural conditions in addition to the innate ability of the vine species. In other words, resource availability can make a big difference in growth speed.  One case in point is a popular container species, Mandevilla amabilis , often sold in flower for its rich candy-pink flowers. In a container with a trellis, the plant is well behaved, with a modest growth speed. Set into sandy organic soil in the ground, the plant can grow a foot a day or more. Growers of Bonsai know this principle very well; plant a Bonsai tree, treat it as a landscape plant, and the tree grows rather fast. On the other hand, I doubt that anything would slow down a Stictocardia beraviensis exce…