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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.

Tanaman Babi Mesem

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Dulu pernah ada kenalan yang juga dari daerah Jawa, melihat-lihat kebun kami. Dia paling suka dengan tanaman yang waktu itu penuh dengan bunga diakhir musim semi. Dia tanya apa namanya tanaman ini dan aku jawab namanya adalah ‘Pigface’ atau juga disebut dengan “Mesembryanthemum’. Teman itu tertawa, aneh betul namanya…. Koq bisa dinamakan muka babi kan engga kelihatan seperti babi sama sekali. Ya aku sendiri juga heran, mungkin banyak orang yang imajinasi-nya terlalu kuat sekali, ha….

Kemarin ini si-kenalan tilpon dan dia tanya apa aku masih ada tanaman “Babi Mesem’nya. Aku tak bisa menahan tawa dan tanya koq bisa jadi ‘Babi Mesem’. Rupanya diambil dari nama Pigface dan Mesembryanthemum…. untuk mudah mengingat dalam bahasa Jawa dia sebut Babi Mesem. Oh ya, mesem itu bahasa jawa yang artinya tersenyum. Ha….. aku masih bisa tersenyum sendiri.

Biacara tentang tanaman Pigface yang suka mesem ini memang membingungkan. Namanya macam-macam karena ada banyak jenisnya. Dalam nama sehari-hari pigface juga sering disebut dengan nama Iceplant. Sedang nama ilmiahnya ada sebutan Mesembryanthemum, Lampranthus, Carpobrotus, Dorothenanthus dsb. Aku sendiri tak bisa menjelaskan apa bedanya dan apa samanya karena aku bukan ahli botani. Yang aku tahu semua memiliki daun succulent dan bunga yang warna warni, ada yang merah, pink, oranye, putih, ungu dsb. Banyak dari tanaman ini kalau sedang berbunga bisa menutupi seluruh tanaman hingga tak kelihatan daun dan tangkainya. Banyak juga dari tanaman ini yang bunganya hanya terbuka kalau matahari bersinar, jadi kalau hari mendung/hujan atau dimalam hari, bunga tertutup.

Selain bisa ditanam di pot, babi mesem ini paling cocok ditanam ditanah yang mengandung pasir dan dengan kondisi yang agak kering dan gersang. Bisa dikembang biakkan hanya dengan mematahkan tangkai dan langsung di tusukkan ketanah dan jangan lupa memilih tempat yang banyak terkena sinar matahari.

Sebagian besar tanaman ‘babi mesem’ ini berasal dari Afrika Selatan dan yang aku tahu ada jenis yang tumbuh ditepian pantai didaerah Australia Selatan yang disebut dengan nama ‘Coastal Pigface’ dan termasuk dalam jenis Carpobrotus virescens, C. rossii dsb.

Oh ya, sepintas tanaman ini memang mengingatkan kita pada tanaman jenis krokot berbunga warna warni “Cantik Manis’ yang banyak ditanam di Indonesia yang nama ilmiahnya adalah Portulaca. Jangan keliru saja karena yang ini adalah jenis tanaman lain., walau banyak yang salah kaprah dengan menyebutnya pigface juga. Portulaca berasal dari Amerika Selatan dan bentuk bunganya lebih mirip bunga mawar yang lain sekali dengan bunga si ‘babi mesem’.

More Autumn Blooms….

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The mystery yellow Epiphyllum is flowering much too early….. a real nice surprise! The medium size blooms are soft yellow with very soft sweet smell. The cutting that I planted last year is growing and also having few flower buds.

More flowering  Zygocacti ( Schlumbergera sp.):

What I like best of autumn flower ‘Chrysanthemums’ is the long lasting blooms. Even as cutting flowers in a vase, they can last more than two weeks! More Chrysanthemums from our garden:

My Mother’s Day Present:)

Fully open mauve Chrysanthemums

The first Cymbidium with tiny flower buds poking out of the tip of the spikes!

Saving Sick Sunrise Cactus

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Fussy and troublesome Sunrise Cactus!!!!!

Lately, I noticed that the Sunrise Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) looked droopy and wilted. I thought that I overwatered and the recent autumn cold snap had caused the plant to wilt. First, it was only a little part that was limp, but slowly almost half of the stem crown were affected. Looking closely, I noticed that the problem was actually from the base stems near the soil line.

I am sure that the plant is having Phytophthora Root Rot. The wilted parts look kind of limp and grey. The main stems near the soil looked rotten with hardly any roots left.  There are few plants in the pot. Two of them are very bad and not worth saving, but the other two still have green and fresh stems and it is worth trying to save the healthy cuttings. So I cut all the healthy stems and I laid them on a news paper sheet to harden the cutting part for around 24 hours. Tommorow, I will replant them and hopefully they will grow new roots.

I find that growing Sunrise cactus is much harder than Zygocactus ( Schlumbergera truncata). Although both of them are somewhat related and have the same growing requirements, but Sunrise cacti are very prone to fungal problems, while Zygos are more resistant. It is the second time I have a wilting problem with our Sunrise cacti. I just hope that I can still save the plant from the healthy cuttings. Fingers cross!

Phytophthora Root Rot – Sunrise Cactus

Healthy Cuttings – Sunrise Cactus

Monday, April 30, 2012. 

Finished planting the Easter Cactus Cuttings. For the planting medium, I just used whatever I have……A mixture of regular potting mix, a bit of bark chips, crushed styro-foam, charcoal and a little bit of well rotted chicken manure. This works for Zygocactus, hopefully the fussy Sunrise cactus will like it too. The gardening experts recommend to use perlite, but it is much too expensive!

Newly Planted Sunrise Cactus Cuttings

Note: February 3, 2013.

Now it has been about 10 months, only one pot of the sunrise cactus cuttings survive. The other two were goners. It is just clear to me how difficult it is to grow sunrise cactus. Although one pot of cuttings seem to thrive now, it will not guarantee that one day, it will also just wilt and die. This is the last time I grow this plant, and I will never have new ones ever again.

Sunrise Cactus - February 3, 2013

Dragon Fruit – Hylocereus undatus

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Date of Purchase: February 24, 2012

I saw the dragon fruit plants for sale in the plant nursery along Police Rd. I thought it would be nice to have one of these plants as 2012 is dragon year:). The big ones were too expensive, so I bought the small one. The seller said it was suitable to Melbourne climate. The fruit will be white inside with tiny black seeds.

Actually I never taste dragon fruits, but it doesn’t matter. I just want to add the plant to my cactus collections. Hylocereus undatus, the Latin name for Dragon fruit cactus and the other name is pataya. I read somewhere that the plant originally grow wild around central America. Later on the cultivations of the plant for fruit production are popular in Vietnam and Hawaii.

Hylocereus undatus is still related to epyphyllum. While epyphyllums have flat stems, Hylocereus stems are three sided. The plant will grow quite large with climbing and sprawling habit, and it needs strong support. The large flowers are white with beautiful fragrant and only bloom one night. For this reason, hand polination is needed to make sure the blooms will produce fruits.

Flower Buds??

Update July 6, 2014:

Last year (2013), the cold and wet winter damaged the plant. The base and some of the branches were soft and rotted, I was afraid that it was not going to make it. The main stem that support the whole plant is now kind of hollow. Amazingly it recovered and now it has grown quite high, more than 2 meters tall with many new stems on the top. I put a large garden umbrella to protect it from too much rain, wind and cold weather this winter. Hopefully it will grow flowers in Spring.

What is left of the bottom part of the plant

What is left of the bottom part of the plant

Dragon Fruit Plant

Dragon Fruit Plant 2

Epiphyllum crenatum – Flower and Fruit

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This Epiphyllum crenatum was bought last year in the market. It had three large white flowers with soft and delicate scent. The uneven crenated stems are large, kind of different from the other epis that I have. Now two of the blooms have turned into fruits. The red maroon fruits are round and smooth.

I picked one of the fruits and I cut it open to see how it looked like on the inside. It reminded me of dragon fruits though it was much smaller. The flesh was juicy with the same colour as the skin and it had tiny black seeds. It tasted kind of sweet and sour. Not the most pleasant taste, but it was palatable. Dragon fruit which is commonly known as Pitaya (Hylocereus sp.)  is said to be related to Epiphyllum.

Epiphyllum ‘Andromeda’ and E. crenatum

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Epiphyllum ‘Andromeda’

The ‘Andromeda’ Epiphyllum is flowering this year. When I bought it last year, it was very small with no flower.

Last Friday, I bought a new Epiphyllum crenatum with three flowers. The crenated/wavy toothed margins of the stems look rather different from the other Epis that we have. According to Wikipedia, Epiphyllum crenatum is one of the most important parents to create cultivated hybrids.

Flowering Succulents

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Kalanchoe pearl-bell, pumila and blossfeldiana are flowering nicely. Today and also in the last few days have been sunny which is good for the pigface plants. Without sunlight pigface flowers will not open at all. It is even worse during rainy days, the flower buds will just rotten away before they have a chance to show off their beauty.

Here some of the photos that I took recently”

Kalanchoe ‘Pearl Bells’

Orchid Cacti 2011 – Early Blooms

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Firstly, greeting from another green Katydid in our garden…….. Few days ago, I found this one among the foliage of the Michelia yunnanensis while last year I saw some in the bushy leaves of the red Camellia which was not very far along the driveway. It seems that quite a few bugs love the Michelia bush, I also spotted some black and red stink bugs before.

Two of our orchid cactus (jungle cactus) collection, the early bloomers are flowering now. The yellow one is still a mystery. When I bought it last year the label was Gold Coin, but the flowers are definitely are not that of gold coin. Some one suggested that it could be E. floribundum x , but E. floribundum is more white in colour. The one that we have is yellower, it is more like Fruhlingsgold. This yellow orchid cactus has sweet delicate smell.

The other early bloomer orchid cactus is Disocactus nelsonii which is also known as Chiapasia/Chiapsis nelsonii. This one has luminous mauve colour. Very pretty colour and bloom prolifically.

Fruhlingsgold??? Yellow Orchid Cactus – unknown sp

Disocactus nelsonii – Chiapasia nelsonii – Epiphyllum nelsonii

The rest of the jungle orchid cactus flowers are still in buds right now. Hopefully they will be better this year. Oh yes, a little note on the AFL grand Final 2011 this weekend. Collingwood Magpies against Geelong Cats! Hopefully Collingwood will make it. Go Magpies Go!!!

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