Sedum morganianum Burrito aka Donkey Tail

New cuttings potted up mid April 2018
Early Aug, the growth rate is increasing, once the weather cools a bit it’ll grow faster

First listed by Glasshouse Works in 1988, it’s a species native to eastern Mexico. It’s a smaller, thicker version of Sedum edeveria.

It’s most common use by gardeners is in hanging baskets.

Protect from cold, it prefers temperatures ~ 70’F, anything lower than 45’F will damage or kill plant

Sun to light shade, minimum 4 hours of direct sun daily

Keep damp in growing season, drier in winter

Lightly fertilize

Dropped leaves or yellowing leaves appear if the plant isn’t getting enough light

Tiny red flowers will appear on end of tails

Propagation by cuttings or leaves placed in damp soil and moderate sun. As new growth appears gently cut back on watering and give the plant more sun.

Lepismium Cruciforme Rhipsalis

New cuttings potted up mid April 2018
First flower on the new cuttings
New cuttings getting started
Cuttings in Sept, some progress

This is one of those plants I stumbled across a photo of and I had to have it. Once it gets going it looks like an octopus trying to escape the flower pot.

A green to red rhipsalis with small tufts of white with red flowers along plant. Flowers will become small red fruits. A happy plant can have trailing stems up to 4′ long. This is a hanging rhipsalis, it’ll need to be up high enough to let the branches trail. Fast growing once it gets started.

Water lightly but do not let get dry, water more in warm weather less in cold weather. Pot must have good drainage

Light shade, will burn in direct afternoon sun, loves bright morning sun best

Protect from cold, 55’F, and from heat greater than 80’F

Propagate from cuttings, let end callous over before planting in damp soil

Endangered in natural habitat, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, so be sure to pass cuttings along to all the gardeners you know

Aeonium arboretum atropurpureum “zwartkop”

New cutting late March 2018
New cutting late March 2018
Aeonium arboreum growing in a sidewalk garden in California

Aeonium arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ aka Black rose

The flowers are actually leaves, in older plants they can be as large as 8″ across. The true flowers are a bright yellow, and look like small daisies. I’ll post photos once it blooms. These just arrived this week.

The plant grows long stems with sparse clumps of rosettes. It looks like a small tree when fully grown (~3′)

I’m hoping to grow it in pots outside. It’s rated for zones 9-11 so it’s probably best grown as a house plant.

Grow it in full sun, well drained soil, same as you would for any succulent. Water it more in the summer, less in the winter, giving it a thorough soaking and letting it go almost dry between waterings.

Propagation is by cuttings in early spring. The two plants in the photos are cuttings, I’ve potted them up in wet soil, I’ll let the soil get drier and give them more light over the next few weeks.

The earliest mention of this plant I could find was late 1980s where it is mentioned as a houseplant or plant for warm, dry landscapes.

It’s in the same plant family as jade, Crassulaceae. It’s native to the Canary Islands where it prefers to grow on hillsides.

Heliamphora ( Sun Pitchers )

These grow on the mountains in Venezuela where they receive lots of sun, humidity, water and cool temperatures, which drop significantly at night. All of which makes them a challenging plant to grow. I’ve slaughtered many.

First discovered in 1839 by explorers there are many species. The mountains are flat topped and widely separated leading to many similar, but different plants.

These are carnivores, but use a bacteria in the pitcher fluid to break down the insects instead of producing their own enzymes. There was and is an ongoing debate as to how carnivorous they are.

Outside through the Houston fall-winter-spring they do very well. It’s too warm in the summer for Heliamphoras to be outside. I have two growing quite well in terrariums, one on a windowsill that gets lots of morning light, one in a niche that has a light directly over the terrarium.

Humidity seems to override all other things when growing Sun Pitchers. Bright light is next and like all carnivorous plants distilled water is best. I’ve not found a daily temperature change to be important for growing, it might be for flowering? Every time I’ve removed it from the terrarium it’s begun to die back, starting by browning at the top edge of the pitchers.

Nepenthes Coccinea

Nepenthes rafflesiana x ampullaria x mirabilis

This is one of those plants that was every where and now is very difficult to track down. It was loved by the Victorians. Scientific American had a story on it in 1882. The only seller I’ve found is Lee’s Botanical Gardens, if anyone knows of any other sources please let me know. I’d hate for this plant to vanish.

I find it likes a mostly shady window with about an hour or two of direct sun. Like all my neps this one is growing in an orchid basket filled with sphagnum and sitting in a dish with an 1″ or so of distilled water.

It is an American hybrid which made its way across to England and the rest of Europe. I’m told it started the Nepenthes craze that followed.

I had a bit of a time getting it settled in the house, it likes humidity but is far too large to fit in a terrarium. Most so since its a climber.

I’ve also been told there is more than one version of Nep. Coccinea around. I was unable to adapt the other version to windowsill life.

Nepenthes Kat Lester

I find this is much like a Mirabilis, that’s almost certainly in its parentage. Keep it warm, not too much light, and slowly adapt it to the windowsill. They seem to need high humidity while they are young. Pitchers vary from green to red on the same plant. It sends up lots of basil shoots and prefers hanging to climbing. There are often a dozen pitchers on the plant.

Lee’s Botanicals cultivated this plant, I think they may be the only source. I’ve not been able to find any other mention of it.

Nepenthes Truncata

Test tube babies

Nepenthes Truncata at PetFlyTrap.com

Nepenthes truncata gets its name from the square ending of the leaf before the pitcher. It is native to all of the Philippines where it grows in the hilly areas close to sea level. Pitchers can reach 16″ long. A botanical garden in France recorded it eating a mouse. I’m told it loves to eat wasps.

I had been growing it under a fluorescent light and on a windowsill. It’s now in a very bright south western window and it appears to love the sun much more than my other Nepenthes. A grower in Italy reports it can handle highland temps, I’m not sure I’d risk trying it.

The first reference to it I could find was in the 1911 Pennsylvania Botanical Society meeting notes.

I found mine from a seller of test tube plants on eBay.