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Chiapasia nelsonii

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One of my favourite orchid cactus is this early shimmering pink bloomer with confusing names. Even the name tag has two different names. At the front it is written Chiapsis nelsonii, but the other side says Chiapasia nelsonii.
Plant Name TagWhen I checked online, there are quite a few names: Disocactus nelsonii, Epiphyllum nelsonii, Chiapasia nelsonii, Phyllocactus nelsonii, Phyllocactus chiapensis. Frankly, I don’t even know which names are correct, as I am not an expert.

About the plant:

This orchid cactus from Chiapas area in Mexico produces incredible numbers of bright pink 8 cm blooms for a few weeks in Spring. Each stem will produce a flower at almost every areole creating a spectacular sight.

This Chiapas beauty is well suited to outdoor growing in almost all parts of Australia although areas that do not experience cold in winter may not be able to flower the plants.  This plant prefers shade levels of about 50%, less than 30%  will cause leaves  to be sun bleached and more than 70% may retard flowering. It prefers open composted soils or in pots any good quality potting mix. In extremely cold and wet climate, keep plant dry in winter or provide a very well drained potting media.

Fertilise when new growth appears in spring (after flowering), and keep plant well watered  all through growing season. Reduce watering in winter to encourage flower initiation for spring. Stems may need support for best result. Prune back plant every 2 to 3 years to encourage new vigorous growths.

(Source: Paradisia Nursery)

These are the photos of our blooming C. nelsonii right now:

Disocactus nelsonii – Chiapasia nelsonii – Epiphyllum nelsonii

Disocactus nelsonii – Chiapasia nelsonii jpg

Disocactus nelsonii

Disocactus nelsonii - Early Bloomer

Aloe spinosissima

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3- Aloe arborescens

Aloe spinosissima is a cross between Aloe arborescens and Aloe humilis. It is also commonly known as spider aloe or gold tooth aloe. Fast growing clumping species with rosettes to 40 cm wide. Showy coral red flowers grow in late winter through early spring. It produces many offsets that can be separated easily for propagation. The spines along the grey green leaves can be a little sharp so it is better to wear gardening gloves.

If grown in an open space, aloe spinosissima can form a rounded mound that will be a nice focal point in the garden. The brightly colour flowers will attract many honey eater birds.

We grow ours alongside the fence and it has started to grow too many new shoots, so I have to separate them as soon as possible. Apparently the temperate weather in Melbourne and our garden sandy soil is quite perfect to grow this aloe species. Just like most other succulents, if grown in pots, it only need water when the soil has started to dry. If grown out in the garden, once the plant is established, there is no need to water at all. It is best to grow in full sun to flower well.

2 - Aloe arborescens

4- Aloe arborescens

Jade Plant – Bonsai Ideas

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Big cuttings of jade plant (Crassula ovata) are ideal to grow as bonsai. The fat and rough look of the fleshy stems and trunks are ideal for bonsai. They are easy to maintain and to keep them alive. The soft branches and stems are easy to shape and bend.

Bonsai - Variegated Jade Plant

Jade Plant Bonsai

Bonsai idea - Jade Plant

Bonsai Jade

Jade - Bonsai Idea

Chopping Jade Plant

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Spring glorious spring has sprung! All of sudden one of our jade plants (Crassula ovata) next to the foot-path was growing out of control. The big fat branches were getting much too heavy so they bent and drooped down. It was nice and rounded before. The only way to make it better is to chop all of the top part of the plant. Yesterday I just did that.

Oh no! That will kill it…. Not to worry at all with this large succulent plant. You can just break a branch and stick in in the ground and it will grow. Actually the more you cut the tip of the branches, the compact and rounded it becomes. As long as the soil is well drain, Crassula ovata will grow happily. In the sun, in the shade or as indoor plant, no problem at all. The only difference if you want it to flower, then you have to grow it in full sun.

Yesterday I had planted half of the cuttings. It was one wheel barrow full, stacked very high. I just used the old soil from the bonsai trees that I repotted recently. It was mixed with a bit of ordinary potting mix for a bit of nutrition. Today, there is still more to do, half wheel barrow full. I have to cut all the spent flower to make it look nice and tidy. Probably I will have about 20 pots of newly planted cuttings and quite a few of them are large that look  more like mature plants. Some one I know sells stuffs in the market, probably I will ask her to sell them for me once the plants have grown roots.

Jade - Crassula ovata in July 2013

Jade – Crassula ovata in July 2013

Out of control Jade - Crassula ovata getting too big and heavy

Out of control Jade – Crassula ovata getting too big and heavy

What is left of the plant now is many exposed cut trunks and branches. It looks ugly now, but new leaves will grow back and the plant will be much lower and bushier. The cuttings in the wheel barrow (the picture above) are the remaining half that I have to pot today or tomorrow.

Jade - Crassula ovata - Growing from Cuttings. Still more to do today.

Jade – Crassula ovata – Growing from Cuttings. Still more to do today.

Kaktus yang Gampang Susah

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Baseball Plant - Euphorbia obesa

Baseball Plant – Euphorbia obesa

Catatan: Tulisan ini untuk jenis Kaktus yang berasal dari padang pasir dan tanah gersang. Bukan untuk jenis Kaktus hutan tropis yang tumbuhnya menumpang dipepohonan (Epiphytic Cactus).

Tanaman kaktus maunya tidak sering disiram. Sudah berapa jumlah kaktus yang kutanam akhirnya mati karena aku terlalu menyayanginya. Kalau dengan banyak tanaman lainnya, semakin dirawat dan dimanjakan akan semakin subur. Namun kalau kita terlalu sering menyiram kaktus, apalagi kalau tinggal didaerah dingin, tanaman yang berasal dari daerah panas dan gersang itu akan membusuk. Didaerah empat musim, penyiraman harus dihentikan sama sekali selama musim dingin….. ini yang aku tak bisa dengan mudah melakukannya.

Tanaman cactus kalau ditanam didalam pot harus dijaga supaya tidak sering kehujanan, dan selama musim panas/kering hanya disiram kalau tanah sudah mulai mengering. Kaktus didalam pot harus diletakkan ditempat yang terkena sinar matahari dan terbuka tapi terlindung dari curah hujan yang tinggi. Beranda rumah adalah tempat yang ideal untuk menaruh kaktus didalam pot. Didaerah yang curah hujannya rendah, kaktus bisa ditanam ditanah dikebun yang berpasir dan segera menyerap air, terutama jenis kaktus yang tumbuh tinggi dan besar. Kalau ditanam ditanah tak memerlukan pupuk dan tak perlu disiram.

The Penis Plant

Penis Plant – Trichocereus bridgesii sp

Untuk menanam kaktus didalam pot diperlukan media tanam yang mengandung 40 % pasir dan kerikil. Kerikil bisa diganti dengan bata yang dihancurkan. Disini kami bisa beli tanah siap pakai khusus untuk kaktus. Tapi bisa juga dibuat sendiri dengan mencampur 60 % potting mix biasa dan 20% pasir kasar dan 20 % kerikil. Kalau ditanam ditanah, kaktus tak perlu diberi pupuk. Kalau ditanam dipot hanya memerlukan sedikit (separoh ukuran) pupuk sekali setahun. Kalau tanaman kaktus keluar bunganya bisa dipakai pupuk yang rendah kadar nitrogen-nya. Kalau kaktus tak berkembang, bisa pakai sedikit NPK balanced fertilizer.

Kemarin aku luangkan waktu untuk satu persatu meneliti koleksi tanaman kaktus kami yang masih mampu hidup. Kuperhatikan apakah ada serangga yang bersarang terutama yang mengisap sari makanan dari kaktus tersebut. Kubersihakan sarang laba-laba dan juga potnya yang berdebu. Bekas daun yang mengering pada tanaman Senecio globosa harus dipotong supaya kelihatan rapi. Dari semua kaktus yang kami punya, ada satu yang tidak sehat.

Kaktus ‘Penis Plant’ ( Trichocereus sp. Montrose) kelihatan tidak mulus karena banyak bercak-bercak putih. Memang jenis tanaman ini sering mengalami problema ini, walau biasanya tidak mematikan tapi tidak sedap dipandang. Bercak yang seperti kerak putih itu bisa disebabkan oleh tanah dan udara yang terlalu lembab dan kurangnya sinar matahari dimana bakteri atau jamur menyerang. Namun sebaliknya terlalu banyak sinar matahari yang panas sekali bisa membakar permukaan kaktus yang mulus ini hingga menjadi keriput dan akhirnya juga berubah menjadi kerak putih. Karena yang punya kami letaknya dinaungan beranda, akan kucoba untuk memindahkannya diluar untuk mendapatkan sinar matahari langsung jika temperatur tidak panas sekali. Semoga upaya ini akan bisa mengurangi tumbuhnya kerak-kerak putih tsb.

Senecio globosa and Euphorbia trigona

Senecio globosa and Euphorbia trigona

Euphorbia anoplia and Euphorbia melbraformis

Euphorbia anoplia and Euphorbia melbraformis

Ferocactus latipinus (Fishhook Barrel) and other Ferocactus sp.

Ferocactus latipinus (Fishhook Barrel) and other Ferocactus sp.

Epiphyllum ‘Ivan the Terrible’ (or ‘Fantasy Dragon’)???

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The saying: ‘ To have more than what someone has bargained for’ means more in a negative way. However, what I have got more from buying this Epi in Caribbean market is something very exiting. The seller told me the flower would be yellow and it was the big one. Yes when I bought it, it was not flowering. Last year it refused to flower at all, and only this year it is flowering. Not only the yellow that the seller promised me, but also a big maroon red one. There are four yellow flowers and only one red one…. Obviously it is  two different Epis in one pot.

Soooo…. these epis were sold noid (with no identity). It is hard to match the yellow one, as there are heaps of yellow Epi hybrids out there. So I have given up in guessing its identity. The red one is very distinctive. The red is kind of orangey maroon. The center/throat of the flower has a flash of purple around the edges of the petals. It is very big cup, larger that the yellow one and it is slightly fragrant. After matching it with many pictures online, I have a feeling that it is “Ivan the Terrible’. If it is correct, it is not terrible at all :) Actually I am verly pleased to have it.

The strange thing, I also bought two Cymbidiums that have different colours in a pot last year. What a very nice surpirse!

Note – November 11, 2012:

I read that Ivan the Terrible has rounded petals, while the one that I have obviously don’t have rounded petals. After looking for more pictures, it looks more like ‘Fantasy Dragon’. Anyway, whatever it is does not matter much. I will not be bothered to find the match anymore.

Kaktus Epi

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Salah satu spesies dari tanaman Kaktus Hutan adalah jenis Epiphyllum, yang juga disebut dengan Epi Cactus atau dalam bahasa Indonesia saya rasa bisa disebut dengan Kaktus Epi. Kebanyakan tanaman kaktus hutan ini berasal dari Amerika Tengah dan Selatan dimana tanaman ini hidup menumpang diatas pepohonan dihutan (Epiphytic), jadi bukan jenis parasit.

Jenis Epiphyllum yang asli bunganya berwarna putih atau krem dan bunganya terbuka dimalam hari. Banyak dari jenis ini bunganya hanya mekar beberapa jam saja dan saat surya merekah sudah akan mulai layu. Sayang sekali memang, karena jenis bunga ini seringnya beraroma sangat harum. Salah satu spesies dari jenis kaktus Epi ini sangat terkenal di Indonesia dengan nama bunga Wijaya Kusuma. Bunga Wijaya Kusuma nama Latinnya adalah Epiphyllym oxypetalum yaitu yang daunnya berombak kedua sisinya. Satu jenis lagi adalah Epiphyllum anguliger, dimana bentuk daun berlekuk dalam seperti duri ikan. Kedua jenis ini bunganya berwarna putih, harum dan hanya mekar dimalam hari.

Jenis kaktus Epi koleksi kami adalah jenis hibrida yang seringnya tanaman aslinya sebetulnya bukan jenis epiphyllum sama sekali. Namun demikian jenis hibrida ini juga dinamakan Epiphyllum, walau sebagian penggemar tanaman aslinya protes atas simpang siurnya nama. Banyak jenis kaktus Epi silangan ini adalah jenis Disocactus, Psudorhipsalis,  Nopalxochia, dsb.

Yang saya lebih sukai dengan Epiphyllum hibrida ini adalah warnanya yang amat cantik berwarna warni, mulai dari merah, pink, kuning, oranye dsb. Selain itu, jenis hibrida ini kebanyakannya bunganya tidak selalu terbuka dimalam hari dan bisa tahan kira kira tiga hari lamanya sebelum layu bahkan ada juga yang bunganya bisa tahan lebih lama lagi seperti misalnya Epiphyllum ‘Deutche Kaiserin’ (Nopalxochia phylanthoides). Jadi kecantikan rupa bunganya bisa dinikmati lebih lama siang dan malam, namun sayangnya kebanyakan jenis ini tidak berbau harum sama sekali.

Jenis kaktus Epi hibrida sangat mudah ditanam disini didaerah Melbourne. Ditanam didalam pot dengan media tanam yang berupa campuran potting mix, orchid mix dan kompos. Karena media tanam yang ringan, air akan mudah mengalir keluar dari pot. Kalau terlalu banyak mengandung air, akan menyebabkan pembusukan. Tanaman ini paling cocok diletakkan ditempat yang terlindung seperti dibawah pepohonan atau diberanda rumah. Temperatur yang paling bagus iklim sedang atau sekitar 25 derajat Celcius. Seperti layaknya tanaman jenis kaktus, kaktus Epi tidak perlu terlalu banyak makan pupuk, cukup dengan complete liquid fertilizer sebulan sekali setelah selesai berbunga. Tanaman hanya disiram kalau media tanam sudah mulai kering.

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