Archivo de la etiqueta: mennellii

Anything but nice

Rarely you will find an entry dealing with our dead ones. The end of our efforts, the loss of a plants life, the sad outcome of a wrong culture. Though every gardener has made the experience, it seldom makes a subject for photographs. The failure in sucess is taboo. You don’t want to show nor share.

Taboo 1 optica rubraAlready bought as a replacement of another Lithops optica ‘Rubra’, this one didn’t survive the first summer. Odd colours bid farewell. And again there is no partner for the eventual flower of the remaining ‘Rubra’.

Taboo 2 verruculosaA young hatchling of Lithops verruculosa had successfully managed to grow it’s first pair of true leaves and then suddenly dies. The brothers of the same batch grow without problems.

Taboo 3 bromf mennelliiThis shrunken head of Lithops bromfieldii mennellii was a fairly recent acquisition. The biggest of three didn’t make it over the first watering. The other two are happy and growing.

Yesterday the day begun cloudy. Unshaded, the planter with Lithops seedlings stood in full sun for some hours as the day got sunnier. Some resented it and did not fully rehidrate during the night. They still are turgent to some extend though, so it  could be that those who went whitish are those preparing a new pair of leaves. There is always a bit of wishful thinking when it comes to taboos!

halliiLithops hallii, C 119

verruculosa taboo 5Lithops verruculosa , C 129

taboo fulviceps 6Lithops fulviceps , C266

taboo frithia 7Only severely shrunken: Frithia pulchra seedling with two leaves.

tabooDeath is spreading. Not only this four pretty verruculosa, but the  Frithia seedling, three more L. hallii, one L. dinteri, three L. fulviceps, … are collapsing. What begun as sun-stress has turned out being some much more virulent rot.

This is sad. No wonder I’d prefer not to write about it.

taboo 8 o 9
Did I mention? Water quality is paramount when watering the first time after summer – in fact, not only the first time, but every watering. Never use ‘old’, ‘rest’-water. The bacteria and other microorganism will feed on the Lithops. Even more if the weather is still warm. I know that. But why do I – mindlessly – just pour some old cup with water in it over my Lithops? Didn’t need to verify an old  theory ,,, This is part of what is left of Lithops lesliei albinica.

taboo 10
Still hope for this one, Lithops salicola, which has severe damage on one leaf. The rest is still turgid and looking right, so hopefully this one may survive.

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Sowing Lithops in Summer

sowing II 1

Lithops karasmontana bella, C295. The first six seeds germinated already three days after sowing. Two weeks days later 14 seedlings have survived from 17 hatched.

Sowing II 2

Lithops karasmontana, Signalberg form, LC65A. Also a quickly germinating species. Two hatchlings at the third day. A fortnight later from 15 hatchlings  thirteen havesurvived.

Sowing II 3

Lithops bromfieldii mennellii, C283. At day three, two bromfieldii had hatched; two weeks later, without any loss, there are eleven hatchlings.

sowing II 4

Lithops dorotheae, C300. The first solitary seedling appeared the 5th day after sowing. Now, at day 17, there are six hatchlings.

sowing II 5

Lithops dorotheae, C124. Like his brother, first seedling at fifth day and seven up to now.

ssowing II 6

Lithops villetii ssp. deboeri, C231. Tiny and elongated, though growing with the same strong light as all other seedlings. The first five deboeri appeared at the fifth day and on day 19 there are ten seedlings.

sowing II 7

Lithops aucampiae koelemanii, C256. Fat, mushroom-like from a beginning, the first two germinated the forth day and the little, clear one, was one of them. There were twelve seedlings, remaining only five becuase of – presumably – fungus gnats.

sowing II 8

Lithops lesliei rubrobrunnea, C204. Big seeds that did not germinate in the first two weeks. The first one ap300peared at day seventeen, and two days later there are three cotyledons, flat with a distinct rim.

sowing II 9

An other slow and erratic breeder, C350, Lithops otzeniana. The first seedlings appeared the sixth day and now there are four, two have succumbed. A pity, for L. otzeniana  is one of my green favourites.

Sowing Lithops in Summer

sowing in summer 1The substrate is prepared. 80% volcanic lapilli, bigger chunks in the bottom and finer graduation towards the top, mixed with coconut fibres and a bit of fine silicate sand.  Most of the organic part in the upper 5 cm.
The planter is 39x17x14cm, big enough for a few Lithops and hopefully two to three years of happy growing. There are some evident advantages using a planter versus a single pot. They are easier to care after, they keep the moisture a bit longer – which is good for seedlings – and they save space.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs most of you will have recognised the seeds  are from Cono’s Paradise. There are plenty of seeds in every seed package, I’ll just use a part of them for this summer enterprise. Germinating Lithops is generally  very rewarding, Lithops seeds hatch in nearly every substrate, organic, mineral, cotton, paper, petri dish… older seed is said to have a higher rate than recently harvested seeds. There is some difference in size between different species of Lithops, but as a rule most of good quality seed will hatch in a few days. Be careful when sowing, if you want to avoid crowding and don’t cover the seed.

summer sowing 3Sow the seed  with the help of a toothpick upon the wet surface of the substrate. Just trickle a few seeds out of the seed package into a china cup, and with the wettened tip of a wooden toothpick you just pick one seed after the other and place them gently and evenly spaced – well, more or less – on the surface of the substrate. It is easy, believe me: I’ve done so with 19 seeds of each of the 16 Lithops species I’ve sown. It took a little bit more than half an hour.  This little effort in the beginning will be rewarding in the future. Spray gently after sowing and cover with a plastic wrapper.

Summer 4Identify each row with the Cole Number or the full name of your Lithops seeds, date of sowing (the more information you may want to add, the better) and add some long but narrow plastic stripes (say from a bottle) as separators, preferably bevor sowing. The plastic stripes will also prevent the plastic wrapper, which will soon get wet from inside, to lay down on the substrate and suffocate the freshly hatched plantlets.
Place the wrapped box out of sun in a bright place.
If you are lucky, in two to three days you may see something.

summer sowing 5The temperatures I have to deal with now – and I want to sow now – are 28º/22ºC. There has been written a lot about the pros and cons of higher or lower tº when sowing Lithops; I’m not going to add.
The only viable alternative would be waiting until next winter. And this doesn’t help fighting the Lithops addiction, does it?

summer sowing 6Yesterday, three days after sowing, the first movement was there to see, today there are seventeen little new Lithops at home!  They deserve to be named, for being the speediest:
Eight Lithops karasmontana;
Two Lithops bromfieldii mennellii; the first one to be photographed!
Three Lithops otzeniana;
Two Lithops aucampiae koelemanii; and
one Lithops schwantesii and L. olivacea nebrownii .

Summer sowing 7August, 5th.  50 Lithops hatched meanwhile.  Nearly all species sown have germinated and,  strange enough, the Lithops with the biggest seeds – C204 Lithops lesliei rubrobrunnea –  still don’t.  The little one in the image – Lithops aucampiae koelemanii – shows what I like seedlings to look like: a short body, a long root and already a bit of colour. With real bright light Lithops grow like this. Etiolated seedlings are prone to diseases.

summer sowing 8Still August 5th, by the afternoon 66 seeds have germinated already – C204 still not there! – and I water again. With a gentle spray you can water as much and as often as you like, this type of substrate will never be waterlogged and soggy. Excess of water just pours out. Spraying once or twice a day keeps the seed wet. The seed clings firmly to the surface of the susbstrate and once sprouted, the empty ‘shell’ will keep securely attached to most of the young cotyledons for many weeks: I’ve never found the seed being washed away, even the tiniest stay in place.
Never forget to protect the planter again with plastic wrapper.

summer sowing 9August, 8th.  Seven days after sowing 100 seedings gather in the planter, which is roughly one third of all seeds sown. Only one species, Lithops lesliei rubrobrunnea shows no growing at all. Big  seeds are just big seeds. There is no need to hurry. The image shows Lithops aucampiae C256, already ‘big’ and flat, which becomes evident in comparison to the next photograph.
There have been losses as well. Just a few minutes, a cloud moving and sun heating the little space between plastic wrapper and substrate surface is all it needs for a quick damping off: the seedlings are simply cooked. This way I have already lost 15 little Lithops. Sorry guys.  I promise to take care, hoovering a bit more on cloudy days. Never trust the summer sun. Nor the summer clouds.

summer sowing 10Extremely diminute, Lithops villettii deboerii C231, this species seems vigorous and strong and is, together with the two karasmontana, one of the best in terms of germination rate.
Definitedly, the first week after sowing Lithops in summer proofs that sowing Lithops in summer, is perfectly possible. And a good way to fight addiction: two days unattended and I lost them all.

Yes, I knew.  It’s better at my place to sow in autumn and winter. Been there, done so. Never going to bump into it again.

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Playing with stones

lithops mennellii 1Few things compare to change stones and pebbles again and again – Lithops-scaping. Playful with Lithops bromfieldii var. mennellii, the new toy.Lithops-scaping with L. bromf. mennellii 1First impressions.

Lithops bromfieldii mennellii 4First thorough watering for these newcomers. Weather has been warm but not too sunny, so I think they have adapted to local climate meanwhile. More than one-year-old Lithops are watered once a month with a flush of water, able to wash away salt deposits. For this purpose the pot gets water over a period of a few hours, until you can tell the soil is wet everywhere. Then the pot is gently flooded until water pours out freely.  Inbetween the waterings all my Lithops get sprinkled every other day, like heavy dew, preferably  in the early evening. Watering is never done during a hot weather spell.

Lithops mennellii lossA few days later: Two of them are growing – you can tell they emerge from the soil. The third – the big one – is collapsing. Tissue collaps in Lithops is fulminant – nothing you can do. Sad loss – this little mennellii was really cute.

playing with stones 6
But this one isn’t bad either!

playing with stones 6
And the little one is still there, too.

playing with stones 7: Lithops bromfieldii mennellii
In march and april the bigger one goes through a strange moult: a regular new head, as it seems, and a little new head at one side.

playing with stones 8: Lithops bromfieldii mennellii
But a few weeks later it is obvious what happened: the plant produced a new pair of leaves and immediately a next growth of two heads.

Lithops – New arrivals

 Todo preparado para los nuevos inquilinos – Alles vorbereitet für die Neuzugänge – Ready to move in!ready to moveThey look so extremely tiny when they arrive.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce in their new place they don’t look frail any more.Lithops mennelli This little beauty is Lithops bromfieldii var. mennellii C283. All three share a square black 13×13 plastic pot now, their new home. I hope they’ll like it. new home for three mennelliimennellii medianomenellii pequeñomennellii grandeNow the first challenge will be to refrain from watering. They live outside,  in the shade. By the way, these plants are two years old.

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helmutii 1Take a close look! I proudly present six one year old Lithops helmutii C271.lithops helmutii plantadosI’ve already seen them in close-up. Beauties they are!Lithops helmutii recién plantado