Plant Find: Dragonfruit

The Dragonfruit plant (Hylocereus, also called Pitaya) is a climbing cactus which produces tasty horned fruits after it blooms.  The plant is closely related to Epiphyllums, the orchid cacti, and the blooms look nearly identical.  One of my blogging friends recently took a trip to Thailand and got to see dragonfruit growing in an orchard.  These gangly plants are growing in a tangled mess on top of poles in a big field.  It’s crazy to see.

After I saw Derek’s pictures, I decided I need to try out this plant myself.  I’m not a big cactus guy, but I do like my Stapelias and I’m excited about the possibility of my Epiphyllums blooming for me one day.  So I got on eBay and found an inexpensive cutting of a dragonfruit hybrid, which has red fruits – Hylocereus polyrhizus x. H. undatus.  The cutting was not really rooted, but I was assured that it would be easy to root.  So I stuck it in some potting soil when it arrived in the mail just two weeks ago.

Hylocereus producing a new growth
Hylocereus sending up a new growth

I don’t know what’s going on underneath the soil, but up here it’s doing really well, producing new growth!   It must enjoy 100+ temperatures.  Now I just need to decide whether I want it to climb a totem or let it dangle from the pot like most Epiphyllums are grown.  It seems most people grow them climbing up a totem and then let them go crazy Medusa-like once they get to the top.  I’m not sure if there is a reason for that or not.  It might be close to their natural habitat, where they are most often tree-climbers.  I’ll have to do some more research.  Interestingly enough (according to wikipedia), the native region for this plant has never been resolved.

Aglaonema update

I guess you could say this whole schebang got started with Aglaonemas.  My mom had a plant with silver markings on the leaves when I was growing up that I liked.  It was Aglaonema ‘Silver King’ I believe.  Then about 4 years ago as I started to grow more houseplants on my own I came across two large Aglaonemas that got me started on the collecting bug.  My first real post to this blog was just to post pictures of those first Aglaonemas.  Shortly thereafter I got a comment from a guy named Russ, a stranger in Florida, who sent me a bunch of plants (for free!) just because he was a cool guy that also liked plants and wanted to encourage me to grow more aroids, which, at the time, I didn’t know much about.  All I had to do was reimburse Russ for his postage costs.  I quickly learned that plant people are very generous and pass along the generosity of those that encouraged them.

Here I am four years later – to the day – posting an update concerning my Aglaonema collection.  Since then, I have added quite a few Aglaonemas to my collection, while only losing a few along the way.  They are really pretty easy plants to grow, while also having some of the most attractive leaves I know.

Here’s a rundown of what I have, along with a short description of how each plant is doing, and a picture for most.

Aglaonema Abidjan
Aglaonema 'Abidjan'

Aglaonema ‘Abidjan’: This is an attractive older cultivar.  You might wonder why it is named after an African city, when Aglaonemas are native to southeast Asia.  Well, I’m not sure how it got there, but A. ‘Abidjan’ was found by an American man growing at a nursery near Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1974 and brought back to Florida.  It is thought that the plant traveled to Africa with a nurseryman from South America.  How it got to South America is yet another mystery.

Aglaonema alumina v. armandi
Aglaonema alumina armandii

Aglaonema alumina armandii: One of my favorites.  Silver-blue leaves.  Variegation is subtle, if at all.  Single stem growing very slowly, with about 4 leaves right now.  This plant has an interesting collection history, having been discovered by Armando Cruz (the plant’s namesake) near Manila in 1976.  It was found on a mountain just covered in this plant, which was given species status 9 years later.

Aglaonema 'BJ Freeman'
Aglaonema 'BJ Freeman'

Algaonema ‘BJ Freeman’: Very healthy large plant with large leaves.  This is the biggest plant I have.  I have hacked up a couple of the longer, lankier stems to start new plants.  My pot has probably 8-10 stems currently, ranging from small and young plants to plants that are 5-10 years old and about 3 feet tall.

Aglaonema black lance
Aglaonema black lance

Aglaonema ‘black lance’: Another one of my favorites.  My plant was ailing for a while, but I put it in my ICU pot (which I’ll describe another time) and now it is doing very well.

Aglaonema commutatum v. maculatum f. maculatum
Aglaonema commutatum v. maculatum f. maculatum

Aglaonema commutatum v. maculatum: This plant is doing pretty well.  There are 3 or 4 stems and it bloomed for me for the first time last fall.

Aglaonema 'Decora'
Aglaonema 'Decora'

Aglaonema ‘Decora’: This is a very attractive hybrid I picked up at a local nursery.  It is a vigorous grower that is currently in bloom.

Aglaonema 'Gold Dust'
Aglaonema 'Gold Dust'

Aglaonema ‘Gold Dust’: I got this plant from a fellow blogger a while back and I would have to say the original stem hasn’t grown much since then.  However, it has produced a couple of offsets, which is even better than having the original stem growing.  This cultivar is based on the species A. brevispathum.

Aglaonema 'Green Lady'
Aglaonema 'Green Lady'

Aglaonema ‘Green Lady’: This plant is my most vigorous offsetter.  That’s probably not a word, but it is producing offsets at a rapid pace.  The variegation is really nice on this plant when you stop and look at it.  See how many different shades of green you can count.  I think there are 4.

Aglaonema 'Lilliput'
Aglaonema 'Lilliput'

Aglaonema ‘Lilliput’: This is a really cool hybrid which has lanceolate (slender, lance-like), undulate (wavy) leaves.  The variegation is really nice, too.  I shared this plant with some friends, so it is about half the size it would be otherwise.

Aglaonema ‘Maria’ (not pictured): I have two separate pots of this plant.  It is the most common Ag to find for sale.  It grows reliably and is very easy to keep happy.  For some reason, I have some stems rot on occasion, but usually whatever piece of the stem has not gone mushy will produce it’s own plant.

Aglaonema 'Peacock'
Aglaonema 'Peacock'

Aglaonema ‘Peacock’: This is one of my two large Ags.  This one was so tall and lanky that I divided it into two pots shortly after buying it.  I also took the more lanky stems and cut them into pieces, which produced new plants.  Now I have one pot at home and the other resides permanently at the wedding chapel, with a couple of my other plants that are too large to go in my greenhouse.

Aglaonema 'Royal Ripple'
Aglaonema 'Royal Ripple'

Aglaonema ‘Royal Ripple’: It’s hard to tell in this picture that the leaves are rippled, but they truly are – just like ‘Lilliput.’  This is one of my more compact, profuse growers.  It’s a very pretty plant, with lanceolate leaves.

Aglaonema 'Silver Bay'
Aglaonema 'Silver Bay'

Aglaonema ‘Silver Bay’:  This plant is my second most steady grower, producing offsets quite often.  It probably has 4 or 5 stems right now.

Aglaonema NOID (possibly 'Stripes', 'Cory' or nitidum
Aglaonema NOID (possibly 'Stripes', 'Cory' or nitidum

Aglaonema NOID (possibly’Stripes’, ‘Cory’ or nitidum):  There are a number of cultivars and hybrids with stripes like this plant.  I haven’t nailed down which one mine is, but it definitely has parentage with A. nitidum, which is the striped species.

Unidentified Aglaonema
Unidentified Aglaonema

Aglaonema NOID:  I don’t really have any idea what this variety is.  Maybe ‘Maria Christina’?  Do you have any ideas which one this is?

My stories come from two hard-to-find books: The Amazing Aglaonema by B. Frank Brown and The Aglaonema Grower’s Notebook by Roy Jervis.

 

 

Plant Find: Seedling Plumerias

My friend, Leslie, recently sent me some small Plumerias that she grew from seed over the last year.  Leslie is a pro at growing things from seed.  She ordered the seed on eBay from a seller in Thailand.  You know Thailand, crazy color varieties and leaf variegations and all.

These little seedlings are surprisingly attractive at a young age.  I have never thought of the Plumeria leaves as particularly attractive, but these are really nice.

Plumeria Wipa Delight
Plumeria 'Wipadelight' seedling

She sent me the varieties: Granny Grape (magenta), Wipadelight (light pink with yellow center), Orange Kerasin (probably orange, but I haven’t found any pictures of this one), Three Kings (pink and yellow with dark pink blotches), Jakdao (white with yellow center),and Dang Siam (red).

Plumeria 'Orange Kerasin' seedling
Plumeria 'Orange Kerasin' seedling

Cool plants, huh?  Now… what can I send Leslie  in return?

Plant Find: Two miniature orchids

I got two miniature orchids in the mail yesterday.  First, I give you, Encyclia dickinsoniana.

Encyclia dickensoniana
Encyclia dickinsoniana. (Note: the spelling on the tag is wrong.)

Next, is Epidendrum longicaule, which is currently in bloom.

Epidendrum longicaule
Epidendrum longicaule

Pretty nice, huh?

“Just how big are these miniatures?” you might ask.  Well, here’s a little size comparison.

Dendrobium 'Marie McFarlane' and Epidendrum longicaule
Dendrobium 'Marie McFarlane' and Epidendrum longicaule (tiny)

Note: the larger Dendrobium orchid is really not a big plant.  That tiny thing sitting at the base is my Epidendrum longicaule.  Needless to say, Christie really likes my tiny blooming orchid.  After all, it’s tiny.

July OOS meeting

I attended my second Oklahoma Orchid Society meeting on Sunday and once again came home with some loot.  These meetings are wonderful.  You get to spend 2-2.5 hours listening to people talk about orchids, seeing pictures of their orchid collections and growing spaces and then seeing some orchids in person at the end of the meeting.

Beautiful spotted orchid.  Notice the spots are on the back side of the petals but the front side of the lip.
Beautiful spotted orchid. Notice how the spots are on the back side of the petals but the front side of the lip.

This time I even had an orchid to share in the “show and tell” portion of the meeting – my blooming octopus orchid.  One of the members was showing off a Miltassia which had a nice, dark bloom.  He mentioned that it has been growing really well for him and that it is bursting out of the pot.  He offered to give some people offsets, if they were interested.  Needless to say, I came home with a chunk of that plant.

Miltassia Dark Star 'Darth Vader'
Miltassia Dark Star 'Darth Vader'

I also came home with a raffle Dendrobium in full bloom.

Dendrobium Marie McFarlane
Dendrobium Marie McFarlane. The blooms are a little more purple than they appear in the photo. It is hard to capture with a digital camera.

I like these meetings!