Bromeliads: Lions, Tigers and Pups

It’s crazy that 6 months have past since my last blog. I’ve been inside with my houseplants all winter and now the daylilies are starting to push up from the ground. Although, it is a snow weekend, so I decided to do a little blog on my bromeliads.

I got into bromeliads a couple years ago after reading that they were good companion plants for aloe, snake plant and yucca because of similar shape.

Vriesea Hieroglyphica

The habitats are different, but they tolerate being potted neighbors pretty well. Broms are tough for tropical plants.

I live in the high desert of Colorado. The yuccas and aloe are close kin to our Native plants. The broms do OK outside in the summer shade if you add some humidity boosters. Sunburn can be an issue in our climate.

Bromeliads remind me of my Grandma Hartt. She had several. She got them from a plant store in Denver. The first ones I got were a tribute to her collection.

The problem with daylilies is that you learn about mail order plants. That’s cool, but makes for endless choices in shapes, sizes and colors. I’ve gotten several beautiful ones locally, but the online ones bring so much more variety to my collection.

I also love the unique patterns. This is what really makes my collection unique from my other plants. Lions, tigers . . . Very unique markings. I grow them for foliage more than the incredible blooms. BTW, they don’t die after blooming. These bitches give birth to pups. Hoping to sell the offspring on my Esty site in a few years.

Guzmania – commonly found in grocery stores

My colors now are more muted than summer. My broms will be happy for more sun, although the bugs move in. Bromeliads are pretty resilient even though spiders seem to enjoy hiding in them.

I love plants with colorful foliage. I need to update you on my begonia winter project at some point. I’m a creative. I think I just like color. My winter houseplant color raises my wellbeing in the cold, dark months.

Neoreglia High Voltage

Please enjoy my small collection of (now) high desert bromeliads. I should plan a follow up when they are in full color in the fall after the summer sunshine.

Begonias: A Shift to Livingroom Gardening

My last Purple Corn Dancer came and went on 9.1. And, so drought and high temps end the season a few weeks early. I’m working away at my potting project with the daylilies. Every other weekend, I get about 20 done. I have a couple more weekends of labor ahead.

Begonia Rex – Fireworks?

So, with freeze a month or so away, my mind turns to my houseplants. My orchids have thinned through neglect and sales.

Begonia Rex Escargot

I’m sticking primarily to succulents, bromeliads, air plants, and begonias. Begonias weren’t originally in the plans, but I have a couple of Rexes that have been favorites for years. They really help me calm my soul.

Begonia Rex Marmaduke

So, I’m adding more and I thought I would share the pretty leaves here. I’m hoping that I get better at growing these because they are stunning color in my livingroom.

Yellow tuberous begonia bloom
Tuberous begonia with burgundy leaves
San Francisco tuberous begonia
Angel wing begonia Looking Glass
Rex Begonia – Jurassic Watermelon?
Cane/Angel Wing that’s gotten too big,

Perhaps it’s the end of daylily season that leads me to impulse buy begonias on Etsy this year. But, I think it is actually an antidote to work stress this year.

rhizomatous begonia Tiger Kitten
Baby Rex Begonia- Jurassic Pink Splash
rhizomatousRizomous begonia – Autumn’s Best
Rex begonia- Dainty Lady
Rex begonia – Robert Shatzer
Rex Begonia- Autumn

I’ve never acquired begonias through the mail. Thanks to mail order daylilies, I now realize my options for many plants are beyond the available of local nurseries.

The dry air is hard on the Rexes, but the small ones are now pots inside large glass vases on damp lava rock. I only lost one before I figured out the modified terrarium system. I hope I can grow and love these for years.

I have a few more in transit. Can’t wait. And, then I must wait because it will be too cold to ship. When spring comes, I will focus on my yard. It’s usually September that is my month for houseplant sprees.

There Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blooms

Sometimes, I feel a little sad that daylilies are the dominant plant in my yard. And, that camping season is superimposed on daylily season. To top that off, I have so many other plants that bloom in summer.

Mesa Peach Blanket Flower added to my Native garden yesterday.

I feel like those plants get ignored. I nurture the plants all winter, many as houseplants. And, boom, I barely notice their gorgeous blooms because 50 daylilies are competing for my time.

My oldest bloomer this day is my yucca. Her yucca patch was here when I first bought the house 20+ years ago.

Today, I walked my yard and took pictures of a dozen or so plants that are brightly blooming right now.

My coneflower is a couple years old, tall and proud member of my native garden.

It’s a weird bunch, from Thanksgiving cactus to white iris. From native to tropical.

This pink yarrow is also a new addition to my desert native garden.

I have more than are pictured here because I ended up with lots of pansies and petunias in color bowls.

My dancing lady orchid adds a splash of yellow to the back porch.

The oldest plant in bloom today is likely my Thanksgiving cactus or the bromeliad. All about 5 years with me. The youngest I planted yesterday.

And, my red bromeliad likes the sun but not the dry heat.

I wish there were more blues to contrast the daylilies – pansies and petunias help.

Thanksgiving cactus enjoying the temp drops at night.
Another white bloom is my iris, about done for another year.
Ice plants add color to the landscape this time of year.
This stunning yellow begonia adds color to the yard in summer.
One of the many bright annuals in my color pot.

I think daylily season starts tomorrow or Friday in my yard. Saratoga Springtime is about to burst. I have 30 scapes up, but none close to blooming. It seems a little late, but not much. I hope my bloom rate is good with the drought. It tends to be worse on drought years.

Saratoga Springtime bud about to burst.

Anyway, if I don’t get too burned out blogging, maybe I’ll do an extra post every so often about the other bloomers.

A Thanksgiving Cactus By Any Other Name Would Bloom as Bright

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a day full of cooking and Thanksgiving cactus. I think I’ve seen a few dozen photos of humungous once on my succulent feeds lately.

Pink and cream Thanksgiving cactus.

I have 4 of them myself. They are different from Christmas cactus because the leaves have several points on the end. Christmas cactus are smoother- and harder to find in my experience.

Bright pink Thanksgiving cactus.

I don’t have to do much special to get them to bloom, although they bloom more prolifically if they spend a few weeks in the poinsettia bloom-forcing closet. They sometimes rebloom in spring under those lights. They like equinox length days.

Red Thanksgiving cactus bud.

Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus are clearly close kin. Siblings. Cousins to these two holiday bloomers are Easter and Orchid cactus. They are similar in that they grow in trees (epiphytes) and are fed by rain and the debris it provides.

Furry leaf tips on my Easter cactus.

I have had my Easter cactus a few years and it didn’t rebloom until I hung it in a planter from my outside plant hanger. It bloomed in June in the high desert without much water.

Easter cactus reblooming last summer.

Anyway, it almost looks furry at the joints. And the flowers look more like daisies to me.

Orchid cactus bloom.

My orchid cactus bloomed for the first time this year. (I started it as a cutting 2 years ago.) It tried to bud in August, but it shriveled. It budded again in September and bloomed after freeze in my kitchen.

Orchid cactus foliage (much larger than its colorful cousins).

My only recipe for success is summer outside in the brilliant Colorado high desert. And, the bloom closet for the holiday cactus. Honestly, they are kind of plain most of the year, but the bright blooms seem to make them worth the wait.

Do you have a Thanksgiving cactus? What is your favorite color?

Echeveria: Colorful And Creative

Yesterday, I talked about Crassula. They remind me of braids. Echeveria are rosettes – and WorldofSucculents.com has 19 pages of different varieties. There is no way I want to take a stab at the ID, unless they came labeled. It’s like daylilies, there are so many similar hybrids that it’s impossible.

These kids love summer in my desert yard. Summer growers. I’m honestly surprised that I don’t have more because they are so readily available. But, maybe that’s exactly why I don’t have more.

Maybe I’ll start with what I think I know.

Echeveria Blue Rose?

This one is one of my oldest, having joined us on a road trip through Tucson a few years ago. I’m pretty sure she is a Blue Rose. She was 3 rosettes when I got her. She lost a bunch of leaves in a downpour late last summer and by the time I went to clean them up, they had sprouted new plants. Her babies are now in at least 3 additional pots.

Echeveria Licorice.

This one was labeled Licorice Echeveria and is a new addition.

Pearl von Nurnberg Echeveria.

As is Pearl Von Nurnberg. She is in mom’s old button box.

Topsy Turvy Echeveria from above.

A different Topsy Turvy that appears to be a greener hue.

These two I believe are both Topsy Turvies.

Painted Echeveria.

Oh, and my Painted Echeveria.

Echeveria Silver Star.

This one is called Silver Star, I believe.

Large blue tinged Echeveria.

This is my largest one bought on discount a couple days ago due to dog-eared leaves. It’s going to quickly outgrow this pot!

Below are several other varieties. The first one grows under hydroponic lights on the ceiling of my basement closet. it looks like a catepillar inching along.

Echeveria under hydroponic lights – year 3.

Round leaf Echeveria.

Pink tipped Echeveria.

Older Echeveria stays small in a small pot.

Ruffled leaf Echeveria.

Common Echeveria adds color to the pot.

Small blue Echeveria in kokomo.

Fuzzy leaf Echeveria in kokomo.

Enjoying the plant light in a large succulent arrangement.

Echeveria are fun to find and collect. the cool part is that i can put them outside to grow next summer while i focus on my daylilies. These guys are nearly as colorful, too. And, they even come in blue!

The Trouble With Winter-Growing Succulents

The trouble with succulents is that you can buy them anywhere and they are usually very affordable. So, I’m always dragging new ones home. I need to give some orchids away if I bring many more home.

So, yesterday I got a Crassula Campfire while shopping for T-Day. The most common Crassula is the common jade plant. I love them because their active growth season is winter! But, that only makes them more addictive.

I got looking around at all my Crassula and I have a lot of them!

It took some time to try to classify some of them today. But, that’s what breaks are for, right? Good thing for a snowy, cold Colorado day in my PJs. https://worldofsucculents.com is my favorite site to ID these guys. Disclaimer – I am not a plant scientist so many of these are guesses!

I’ve had some of these guys a long time – like Hobbit.

I’ve had this one on the kitchen windowsill for years.

I also have several living in kokodemas since last year – hung on my pencil cactus.

(Some of them have weird names.)

My year-round ornaments.

I got one labeled “Pagoda” last year, but I think it’s a different Crassula. I couldn’t find it in the listings.

I got little planters that resemble my dogs last year in Moab . . . Two of them have Crassula.

I have some of the cute small stacked ones that I added this Fall.

They are a great addition to container plant groups. the trailing ones are cool.

Some other newer additions are my Propeller or Airplane Crassula.

The Silver Dollar Crassula lives up to it’s name.

And, the curly leafed jade lives up to it’s name, as well.

Honestly, I think I have a couple other Crassulas tucked away on a shelf somewhere.

I will say that I’m glad daylilies are generally name labeled pretty well. My daylilies are all tucked up for the single digit temps this week – under mulch or in the back porch. The trouble with both succulents and daylilies is that they are like Lay’s Potatoe Chips.

Curious World

Air plants are strange little things. I’ve had a few, but never really got into them until this year. Maybe putting them out for the summer and seeing a lot of growth helped.

Air plant in amber glass container.

I read a book on them called Air Plants: The Curious World of Tillandias. The book showed them in arrangements with succulent, and that fascinated me.

Air plants dance in hanging baskets.

I also like the airy appearance that they give to my winter plant menagerie.

Larger air plant with nice red color.

They come in large sizes, which makes them look more like a real plant.

Small air plants in Native American pots.

Or small sizes, where they look like mineature desert plants.

Air plants perched on holders add character to this large pot succulent arrangement.

They come in lots of colors and add to the variety of the succulents, while mimicking the shape of agave and yucca. And, the blooms are cool!

Reddish color highlights this air plant in hanging glass container.

I’m about at my limit, though, because it isn’t humid here so they need a spritz a couple times a week. I have enough on my plate with work, yard, house, and pet menagerie.

Air plant in a specially designed stone holder.

I have killed a few, but have lots more pups. Cautiously optimistic that I won’t burn out caring for these beauties. I even have one serving as the star on mt pencil cactus with kokomo succulent ornaments.

Air plant perches above my pathos.

They do create a curious world and I’m a curious girl.

Air plant in macrame hanger.

This week, I move my evergreen daylilies into the porch for 3 months. And, then, it begins to turn into spring!

Air plant in pumpkin glass container.

The Strangest Flower Ever!

Lifesavers. You know the little addictive, brightly colored circle candy? Well, when I saw this odd flower with the name Lifesaver cactus, I just had to get one. I ordered online in August and put it in a south window. It’s near my purple LED boost light, too.

I can’t decide if it’s pretty or weird. It reminds me of Saguaro cactus blooms- the weird wax look.

Then, I got to thinking about some of my other cactus blooms this summer. I was so busy chasing daylilies that I likely didn’t post many of these.

Yucca bloom after a wet spring in my yard.

Pincushion Cactus flower.

White Desert Rose bloom.

Easter Lily Cactus bloom.

Rebloom on my Easter Cactus.

Thanksgiving Cactus bloom.

Orchid Cactus bloom.

Cactus flowers are stunning things. There reproductive parts look like a universe in and of themselves. Or, a chorus of ballet dancers. They don’t ever last long. Maybe longer than a daylily. Or, not. But, I have to admit, I’ve never seen anything quite like this Lifesaver bloom.

Lifesaver Cactus

I’m hopeful that I’ll see more cactus and succulent flowers this winter while the daylilies reat.

Poinsettias in the Bloom Closet!

Poinsettias are a sign that the holidays are just around the corner. I started collecting them a few years ago when I was a starving sixty-something doctoral student. I bought a pretty orange one and babied it because it was a luxury to buy a plant back then.

That plant bloomed all winter and flourished all summer. However, my first experiment in making a bloom closet that fall didn’t work out so well. The poinsettia bloomed, sort of, but was horribly leggy and didn’t survive winter #2.

I’ve gotten better with them. Trial and error. I have two that I’ve had going on four winters. I got a couple more the next year and, again, last year. Well, actually I got more than that, but lost a few along the way. I lost both of my orange ones from last winter to the cold spring.

I have 4 in bloom and one that’s still in the bloom closet. I have two still recovering from the cold spring that I’ll bloom in a couple of months.

How do I rebloom mine? Well, forget all the advice about putting it in a closet by night and a sunny window by day. I’m way too forgetful. But, I have a plant closet in my basement family room that has plant LED lights on a timer and a blackout curtain closed all the time, except when I water.

It’s year #3 for the closet and my poinsettias thrive down there. Once they bloom, they come upstairs for several weeks u til they start dropping leaves. Generally, they go back into the closet until May, when they sit in my front yard and get sprinkler system rain every day.

It’s hot and dry, but the poinsettias do fine. This is the first year that they have struggled a little. They are euphorbia, after all- just like my 6 ft pencil cactus.

I bring them in and put them in the bloom closet just before freeze. I have blooms by late October or early November. Have you ever rebloomed a poinsettia? Meanwhile the drought has returned and I need to winter water the daylilies during Thanksgiving break.

SAD: Succulent Addictive Disorder

The days are about to get colder and darker. We are back in severe drought in my corner of Colorado. The wet spring was nice, but gone once our monsoon season was mediocre. I did put leaf mulch on my daylilies and started winter watering last weekend.

My echeveria after the sprinkler hit it last month.

I have thyroid disease and so time changes/dark days are difficult for me. Full spectrum light can help. I believe my mix of full spectrum, flourscent and purple plant lights help. I also think living in an indoor forest boosts positive energy. Something is always coming into bloom. Right now, it’s my vanda orchid, azalea, poinsettias and begonia. The Thanksgiving cactus aren’t for off. January/February will bring the orchids.

One of my poinsettias coming into bloom.

Speaking of orchids – I have over 40. They fill two rooms. They were what got my through some tough times, working at home fulltime (isolation) and separation from family. Now, I work long weeks away from home. Orchids are hard to keep up with . . . There are too many. And, my environment is nothing like their natural habitat.

One of my new orchid pots.

I’ve spent a horrific amount of money the last two months. I converted the orchids back to wood chips (from water), because that doesn’t require as much work. But, I needed several new orchid pots.

Red bromeliad – a mail order neo from Florida.

Then came the shift to air plants, succulents, and bromeliads. I gave away plants that didn’t fit the new theme. I bought new plants to create my new reality. The house feels a little different, more fun. More creative. My bank account . . . Hmmm.

My new succulent pot with crassela, aloe, miniature sansevieria, and others.

Yesterday, I played with succulent containers. It was my Saturday escape. I got 3 kinds of crassela, a reddish sempervivum, an aloe, a miniature sansevieria, a turquoise one with teardrop leaves – need ID. I used an outdoor pot whose plant had died.

Fountain converted into home for succulents and an air plant. I want to paint the frog green.

I added a couple of new succulents to the two converted fountains that I started using for succulents.

My Toki Dokie bird fountain converted to a succulent garden.

I felt pretty awful yesterday. Mostly tired, I just wanted to sleep. But, despite wondering what I was doing shopping for succulents when I felt so poorly, it turned my energy around.

Air plants hang from baskets in my kitchen window.

Creativity is a strength. It’s my top one. I have an appreciation of nature/beauty strength and curiosity in my top 5 strengths. Bringing those out really helped.

My new red desert rose plant.

I’m way over budget and out of light for more plants. I need to find other outlets for these strengths. I’ve thought of painting succulents. I love painting daylilies. Still, my art cove feels a little isolated. I’ll figure something out between winter watering my daylilies. In the mean time, I’ll live with my SAD: succulent addictive disorder.

PS, I’m considering at Etsy sales page once I have enough cuttings.