Birmingham Branch September Meeting – Interesting Haworthias with Stirling Baker

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

This month Stirling Baker “The Prince of Haworthias” braved the rain and traffic to come and show us some of his interesting collection and talk a bit about growing and showing.

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

Stirling grows his Haworthia on the top bench of his greenhouse which is SE facing and gets very little winter light. 40% light shading. Haworthia need a lot of air movement. Waters around the edges or bottom waters. Potting mixture – 1/2 Akadama bonsai soild (baked clay) and 1/2 mix of 1 part heavy pumice, 1 part hard pumice and 1 part soft. Accu? grit for top dressing. No soil at all. Inert mix. Plants are fed with every watering – Chempack for cacti and succulents 4 or 8. Pots were matte rough textured black pots imported from asia.

Haworthias root systems will sometimes push themselves off center. Stirling also removes offsets to maintain attractive single rosettes. Root loss just happens sometimes. Tweeze out dead roots when you repot. Do not simply pot on. Haworthia will respond very quickly to sunlight – changing colour in just 24 hours.

Stirling doesn’t like the notion of ‘true species’ and points out that even tissue culture plants have variation among supposedly identical clones and that many different cultivars are just geographically distant versions of the same species that just don’t have natural opportunities for cross pollination.

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

Most of Stirling’s plants are slow growing. Flowers are removed because of the risk of nectar drops gunging up plants. If a plant looks shriveled – repot it. Floppy leaves mean no water is getting into the plant. It is either getting too much or not enough water and the roots are not taking up moisture. Reroot damaged plants. Stirling uses peat and grit for rooting but not for growing. Summer is the best time for rerooting. Otherwise provide bottom heat.

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

Leaf shine can be used to buff pots for showing. Pay attention to presentation issues when showing on the bench. Deeper the pot the better the drainage. Plants have to have air. Don’t press compost down into the pot. Just tap the side of the pot to settle it in.

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

Pumila/Minima and other hard leaf haworthia can throw offsets on flower stalks if they are bent down.

Lower than 5C in the winter the plants need to be kept very dry. 8C or more you can water in the winter.

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

Tuncata and Maughanii can be propagated from root cuttings. Just pot with the cut end of the root above the top of the soil

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

September Meeting - Haworthias with Stirling Baker

Lithops timelapse after watering

1 day per frame, 5 frames per second, 53 days total.

Winterbourne Botanic Garden Arid House Video Tour

Winterbourne Botanic Garden Arid House Tour
(listen for the falling nuts!)

Winterbourne Botanic Garden Arid House Tour – Outdoor Bed Part 1.
(yes, it was very windy when this was filmed!)

Winterbourne Botanic Garden Arid House Tour – Outdoor Bed Part 2.
(yes, it was still windy!)

How to reuse your plant labels

Tools needed: Steel wool

Haworthia Revision

This month’s talk on Interesting Haworthias by Stirling Baker on Sept 20th is fast approaching so here are some pictures of Haworthias in the Winterbourne collection and informative Haworthia links to whet your appetite.

Winterbourne Haworthia tesselata

Winterbourne - Haworthia Semiviva

Winterbourne - Haworthia reinwardtii

Winterbourne - Haworthia Cymbiformis

BCSS forum post on Haworthia Propagation.

Winterbourne -  Haworthia radula?

Facebook photo gallery of Haworthia’s in nature

Winterbourne - Haworthia schuldtiana

Winterbourne Haworthia

Winterbourne Haworthia

 

Winterbourne - Haworthia viscosa

Winterbourne - Haworthia attenuata

Winterbourne Haworthia

Winterbourne Haworthia

Winterbourne Haworthia

Winterbourne in Bloom

Crassula Perforata Varigata in flower

Conophytum Ornatum in Flower

Glottiphyllum linguiform in flower

Conophytum in flower

Succulent plants waited for cool, dry Earth to make their mark

The Brown team and colleagues from Oberlin College and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, were interested primarily in dating the origins of the cacti (scientific name Cactaceae). The team sequenced the chloroplast genomes (the organelles inside plant leaves that engineer photosynthesis) for a dozen cacti and their relatives and combined their new genomic data with existing genomes to build a phylogeny, or evolutionary tree, for angiosperms, the genealogical line of flowering plants that represents roughly 90 percent of all plants worldwide. From there, the scientists deduced that Cactaceae first diverged from its angiosperm relatives roughly 35 million years ago but didn’t engage in rapid speciation for at least another 25 million years.

Succulent plants waited for cool, dry Earth to make their mark

Ariocarpus Fissuratus Flowering Time Lapse

Costas got me!

My newbie airio’s.
Airocarpus seedlings

via ebay. Still some left. Now I just need to wait about 20 years…

Birmingham Branch August Meeting: Costas Papathanasiou – Ariocarpus

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas Papathanasiou

At this month’s meeting Costas Papathanasiou gave a talk about his fantastic Ariocarpus collection. I took some notes but I was not quite fast enough to catch everything and probably have some things wrong as well. Please comment with any corrections or extra detail you might have.

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas's Plants

There are 6 accepted species in the books; agavoides, bravoanus, fissuratus, kotschoubeyanus, retusus and scaphirostris. Costas thinks that Ariocarpus retusus trigonus should also be a seperate species.

Ariocarpus agavoides

When young they have long tubercles. As they age they get shorter and shorter. With age they lose their tips.

Ariocarpus bravoanus

These are the biggest of the Ariocarpus. Prolific flowerer. The more you water, the more they flower. 3 or 4 times per summer.

Ariocarpus fissuratus

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas's Plants

These are the ‘kings’ of Ariocarpus and a good specimen is sure winner on the show bench. These are flat when they are on their own root and they bulge when they are grafted (because grafted plants can only grow up).

Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Ariocarpus Show plants.
I think the plant on the right is one and I believe it is one of Stuart’s entries in this month’s show.

They are small. About 1 inch to 2 and 1/2 inches and flat with a depressed centre. Very susceptible to mealy bugs which cause skin damage that can lead to rot. Invisible in habit until it flowers. Offsets can form from epidermal cracks

Ariocarpus retusus

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas's Plants

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas's Plants

Recommended for beginners. These are Costas’s favourite Ariocarpus. Great variability in appearance. A. retusus furfuraceus has a lot of wool on top, fluff on the tubercle tip and short spine, slightly upturned. A.retusus elongatus have long narrow tubercles.

Ariocarpus scaphirostris

They have upright tubercles. Very little wool. Can’t see the areole. It can take 15-20 years to get to 4 inches. They start out soft but get hard as nails. They are the most difficult Ariocarpus to grow and they tend to gain a tubercle and lose a tubercle at the same time and thus never get big. The leaf shape is like a boat with a bow and a keel. Rare. I think the plant in the square black pot in the top right of the picture below is one.

Ariocarpus retusus trigonus

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas's Plants

Costas considers this a separate species from retusus. It has an upturned curved tubercle and it takes 2-3 years for a new tubercle to extend and the aereol to be exposed in order for it to flower. Due to this, it’s artichoke shaped flowers appear in a ring around the centre and not in the centre. Young plants are susceptible to burning and yellowing of the tips. It is a fast grower.

Cultivation:
Watering – Growing Ariocarpus indoors with some light winter watering results in brown fluff rather than the white fluff of Ariocarpus grown in the greenhouse. During the winter you can preserve the fibrous root extensions by lightly watering around the outside edge of the pot. Give Ariocarpus plenty of water and plenty of food. In habitat Ariocarpus are fed nutrients by the mountain rains and flooding. Start with a light watering in April to wake them up. Water once the temp. hits 21C. Water at night to avoid marking due to water lensing. Water around the outside or from the bottom to get long roots. The hotter it gets the faster they grow. If you have aborting flowers you are probably not giving it enough food & water. The flowers should just shoot up fast. Plants mostly flower from the center from the new tubercules. Costas recommends a thin dilution of Chempack and uses sand filtered rainwater for his plants.

Pots – Grow Ariocarpus in clay Tall Toms (also called Long Toms) to allow the plant to hang – have no more than 2 inches clearance to the edge of the pot otherwise you are risking root rot by having too much extra potting mix for moisture to hide in. Ariocarpus have a long tap root that in habitat can even crack stone. Habit harvesting typically involves cutting the root and re-rooting the plant which can take 4 or 5 years and the roots form from the outside of the cut centre root. Costas has his plants sitting in a saucer and uses a moisture sensor during cloudy periods to make sure he doesn’t overwater.

BCSS BB August - Ariocarpus Talk - Costas's Plants

Potting Mix– 1/2 John Innes and 1/2 grit plus limestone chipping and fine Cornish grit. Don’t use too much Cornish grit because it retains a lot of water. Change soil every 2 years. Change the surface grit covering every couple of years to remove lime and salt buildup.

Grafted Plants– Grafted plants can be recognized by their bulging growth. Grafted plants grow faster and have shorter lifespans (10 to 15 years maximum compared to regular plants that can survive for more than 100 years). They also often have brown markings from scorching because their fast growth results in thinner skin.

Misc. Tips and Tricks– You can force flowering by simulating shorter days by watering the plants heavily and then moving them inside for 2 or 3 days. “Dutch Acceleration”

To see Costas’s plants if you missed this talk be sure and go to the National Show next year.

Some Other Ariocarpus Resources
ARIOCARPUS: LIVING ROCKS OF MEXICO
CactiGuide Notes for the Genus: Ariocarpus