Babies having babies!

Really surprised to discover this morning that my tiny kalanchoe (mother of millions) is starting to make babies!

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Must be happy

I’m not sure if this is normal but I figure it must be a good sign that the plant is healthy and happy in its current conditions.

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The donkey tail leaf near the bottom gives a bit of perspective

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Have you ordered seeds online?

I don’t usually order seeds online but I really wanted a desert rose. I was seeing so many beautiful ones being posted on my Facebook gardening groups that I started looking into where I could get one of my own.

I discovered they would be available in Ontario in April, but I haven’t seen any in the flower shops that I go to and I asked at my local and they don’t get them. So I asked my friend who was putting in an order on Amazon to add it for me.

They arrived last week and now I’m a bit nervous that they won’t germinate. I think this stems from the fact that my friend ordered them for me, forged payment, and I promised her one of plants . The seller had a perfect germination rate until recently (I was nervous before I read this). Hope that’s not a bad sign.

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It only took a couple of weeks to arrive. I expected it in August.

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Feeling excited that I got an extra seed (the site promised 8).

I’ve started watching a few videos and reading a few articles. Both reinforced that the key to successful germination is using fresh seeds. So I should plant them asap.

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Ugly is the new beautiful

I’m starting to have renewed appreciation for ugly plants. I bought an ugly one at Grow Something about a year ago thinking at the time that it was cute and interesting. As it began to grow bigger, it starting showed this mass of hairs that previously were barely visible, much like in this picture. I thought, yuck, how ugly! I gave it to my garden friend, who appreciated its uniqueness, but not before I kept a leaf for myself, just in case I grew to love it again.

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Adromischus cristatus, ‘Key Lime Pie’

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Much cuter at this stage

My garden friend offered me a gollum jade (hobbit jade). Initially I declined, but later it began to grow on me and I asked for it. The one she gave me died, so she gave me another one that seems much happier at my place.

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Gollum or hobitt jade, Crassula ovata

Last month I noticed an ugly cactus at a plant shop near my house. I passed on it as it was $8 and, well, ugly. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it over the next few days so I went back and bought a smaller version for about $5.

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The ugly sucker I couldn’t stop thinking about. Euphorbia trigona – African milk tree

I planted it in 50:50 potting soil and perlite (mimicking cactus soil), watered it deeply and put it on my west-facing windowsill, the brightest light source in my house. The next thing I knew the entire cactus turned white! I thought it might be sunburn until I squeezed it and found it to be absolute mush!

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African milk tree in all its ugly glory

I’m trying to propagate the offshoots at home and at work. Some have dried up and died. Others seem thin but remain rootless.

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African milk tree offshoots ready for planting

Last week I saw a bunch for sale at Tiny Flower, my go-to plant shop downtown. It was $13 but I was getting 4 plants in great shape, so I thought it was worth it.

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I told the owner how I drowned my other African milk tree. She told me about a patron that bought one last year, kept it in the same pot and it’s doing well. I’m not sure I want to do that. The soil seems rather moist.

Coincidentally at my dentist’s office, I saw a beautiful plant that turned out to be relative to the African milk tree, Eurphorbia milii or crown of thorns. Would love to have one at work.

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Eurphorbia milii — crown of thorns. Such attractive flowers!

Ugly can be beautiful!

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Alien invasion!

I guess my “ask and ye shall receive” luck started with this weird plant I saw in my colleagues office one day. He was helping me pretty-up a poster in Powerpoint that would be going to the printers. I went in to have a discussion and my eyes caught this beauty!

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Absolutely love the pot!

I was so enamoured that I asked if I could have a cutting. He said yes, if I could figure out how to do it. So I posted it on a FB gardening group asking for an ID and how to propagate it; found out it was a peanut cactus and I could propagate by root divisions or just by snapping off a piece and sticking it in the soil.

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These guys sticking out can be plucked off and stuck in the soil.

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Ripe with babies below. I separated them by root division.

When I finally did separate it (I used both methods), I was surprised by how short the roots were. The plant was literally sitting on top of the soil and it was at least 3 years old.

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I tossed the two brown ones on the left. Growing some at home as well as in my office.

I potted a small one for his office mate who thought the plant was just too weird, like space creature (I thought she needed to learn to appreciate its beauty). She likes it now, nice and stubby, but it has yet to reach its creepy fingers in her direction. Good thing it’s a slow grower.


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Ask and ye shall receive

I tend to get a little obsessed with things. Like when I see a plant I like, I can’t stop thinking about how I can acquire it by any means necessary. Like the giant snake plant I saw at offsite meeting several months ago. How could I sneak home a cutting without anyone noticing? I decided not to chance it; didn’t want to make a bad impression on people I’d just met.

I was walking home one day in May and very near my home I spotted a recent obsession, a pilea peperomioides! This plant had been coveted by many people on several of the Facebook groups I followed so I was excited to see one right in my neighbourhood.

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And most importantly, it had babies!!!

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Babies hiding underneath the mother plant. And a leaf breaking off.

Problem was it was in the window of what looked like a place of business, but there was no information about the business or opening hours.

Sometime later I was taking the bus in to work than usual and I noticed someone walking around in the office. Perfect!, I thought. I would muster up the courage to ask for a baby. I’m pretty shy so this was a big step for me. And you know what? I was successful! The lady was nice enough to open the door when I knocked. I told her I’d been walking by when I saw the plant and asked if she’d be willing to part with a baby; she gave me two.

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The leaf from the mother plant fell off. She was going to throw it out but I said I would take it, even though I’d read the best propagation method was root division

I gave one to my garden friend and she was nice enough to pot it for me.

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I haven’t found the perfect place for it at my home yet. It didn’t seem too happy on the west-facing windowsill and it still remains a bit droopy on my plant table near the less-bright east-facing window, which has a tree in full bloom in front of it at present. I hope it will find it’s way and make some babies in the near future.

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Tillandsia in full bloom

I’ve been checking every day since I last posted. Morning and evening to see it’s progress.

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First bloom

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Two blooms about a day later

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Interesting to examine the different parts of the flower up close. Had to think back to grade 10 science class. Could only remember the stamen but in the end had to look up which parts were which (pistel white, stamen yellow)

Finally all 3 flowers were in bloom yesterday.

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So glad I got to capture it in full glory

Today the blooms are already fading.

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I was very sad to read that they only bloom once in their life-cycle! But I guess the good news is that it will start to make pups!! Really looking forward to that.

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Baby mother-of-thousands

My friend and I have been buying plants from Grow Something for about two years. The owner has seen my friend pregnant with her first child, held him as a baby, and entertained him as a toddler while she was pregnant with her second child.

A few months ago we went with him (sadly (for me), but practically leaving her second child at home) for more plants. The owner gave him a baby Kalanchoe (Mother of thousands or Mexican Hat variety) that had fallen off the mother plant. I noticed that he dropped it so I picked it up, intending to grow it and present it to him when it was bigger.

It was really tiny at the time, now it’s about the size of the pad of my thumb (thought I had a pic of its original size, but can’t seem to find it).

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Baby mother of thousands (Bryophyllum daigremontianum). Sedum morganianum (donkey or burro’s tail) leaf in the background.

I’ve had it on a west facing window, fertilizing with diluted kelp meal once a month as I do with my other plants, and it’s been doing well.

I’m not sure when I intend to give it back to him. Perhaps I’ll let it get big enough to have babies (wonder how long that would take?). That might make it more interesting for him, and it gives me more time to enjoy its growth.

I also bought the following:

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Another air plant (tillandsia)

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A jellybean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum)

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string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)

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