Hippeastrum Cybister “Evergreen” (Surprise, part 2)

This is the third (and last) stalk from the Amaryllis seen in Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise.  Aptly titled, that first post: nature is nothing if not unpredictable!  Who knew placing Hippeastrum stems in water created big curlicues along the hollow, snipped end?!  


Naturally I wanted a closer look, but the jug’s narrow neck precludes removing the flower!  No matter how I twist and poke, the curlicues are swollen with water and hard as rocks.  They….just….won’t….budge!


I’ve sentenced my plant to life without parole AND death in a watery grave! Double whammy!!

I swear, I didn’t know! 😉


Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

Editted on Jan 12, 2013 at 4:45pm to include a close up of the bottom of the stem:

Cut Amaryllis with Curlicue Stem, 1/12/13


Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Florida is home to an abundance of tropical Epiphytes (non-parasitic “air-plants”) that live and grow on larger “host” trees.  You’ve already seen my garden’s tillandsias, bromeliads, orchids and ferns–but I’ve neglected to share our lone hemiepiphyte:arrow:an Epipremnum aureum that’s beginning to merge with its Queen Palm host:

Golden Pothos

Epipremnum aureum aka Golden Pothos  🙂

I started this plant two winters ago from stem tip cuttings received at a yard sale. Because Palms have rope-like roots extending through the ground at shallow depths, I couldn’t dig deep holes for my new cuttings; instead, I propped them along the base of the trunk, anchored them with  3″ of  moistened Miracle Gro Cactus/Palm Potting Soil, and pressed the concoction HARD! against the tree-trunk 😛

Let the merge begin!

Golden Pothos with Adventitious and Aerial Roots

Is this what they mean by stuck in rut?

The picture above illustrates Pothos different types of roots. On the right-hand side of the dark green stem are 4 adventitious roots through which the plant obtains nutrition and water.  Cylindrical aerial roots grow from nodes on the main stem and merge with the host tree, allowing the plant to trail or climb. If an aerial root reaches the ground during rainy season, it will oftentimes root, form another stem and repeat the life cycle! 🙂

Golden Pothos Stem between Aerial Roots

From root to stem and back again!

If allowed to climb, Epipremnum Aureum changes shape as it gains height. Upper leaves are more feathered than their heart-shaped, lower counterparts; they also measure wider and longer than ones near the ground.

Uppermost Leaves, Golden Pothos

These leaves are 7″L x 6″W : twice as big as those on the bottom.

Golden Pothos is part of the Aroid family, a group of plants well suited to indoor/container gardens…. but……buyer beware! 😮  Big box stores and corporate nurseries commonly mislabel Epipremnums as  “Philodendrons” which DO look rather similar.  Learn how to spot the difference by reading this excellent article:

I hope you enjoyed this “Weedly” Challenge! 🙂

Until next time…..

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A Freakish Gift!

My mother gave me a freakish plant ;)….a mutant on a stick, as it were……and I love it!

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata

Coral Cactus (aka Euphorbia Lactea Cristata)

Coral Cacti are two Euphorbia varieties grafted together to create a single plant. The green “stem” is a cutting from Euphorbia Neriifolia; the fan-like “top” is the result of a genetic mutation in Euphorbia Lactea, causing it to grow in an irregular, horizontal, wavy fashion known as “cristating.”  Cristate mutations lack the amount of chlorophyl needed to maintain normal growth and green coloration, which not only explains these plants’ odd pastel-toned tops, but the reasons for grafting them to root stock :arrow:the graft allows chlorophyl to circulate upward and improve the cristates’ overall health and longevity.

So much work to keep this variety alive, and what do the growers do next? Package it for sale in a way that guarantees death!  The blue ceramic pot, while pretty, lacked any drainage holes, and worse, the little pea stones were glued tightly to each other AND the sides of the pot!!!  Hello, suffocation!!!

Glued pea stones and synthetic "dirt"

See you around the yard..

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata with glued rocks

Goodbye, Suffocation!

Euphorbia Lactea Cristate Roots



3" deep planting hole

Replanting Euphorbia Lactea Cristata

Whenever I plant something in-ground, I water the hole (twice!) before backfilling and tamping any remaining soil into place around the roots and stem.

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata, Rear Cutting Garden,

I Love this new plant! 🙂

Until next time….

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Everything Old is New Again….maybe.

While I was uploading the October Bloom Gallery, I ran across pictures of my Cosmos flowers, started from seed in early spring.  I’ve planted Cosmos many times over the years and always had the same result: pretty orange blooms on 12-18in stalks, like this:

Normal Cosmos

Needless to say, that’s not exactly what happened this time! Although all of this year’s seeds came from the same packet, at least a third of them behaved strangely; they kept growing..and growing…like these, seen in August, reaching 2-3ft.

Cosmos, Sept, 2011

But they didn’t stop there. September arrived. The same thing was happening in the back garden, as in the front.  Take a look behind this Canna:

7ft tall CosmosThe Cosmos were out of control!    Here’s a view from a different angle:

Super Cosmos, 2011I am dead serious when i tell you…the above shot is of ONE plant, 7.5ft tall, with a stalk as sturdy as a tree trunk!    Totally stymied as to why this happened, i did a little research.

Turns out, over the past decade various cosmos strains have been introduced to grow sometimes taller (or shorter) plants.  If variants of these hybridizing processes get mixed up in the same seed packet, the result is a more diverse garden than you’d otherwise expect.  Ironically, the original wild Cosmos flowers were MUCH taller than the ones seen in our lifetime.  As they say, maybe everything old IS new again?

My inquiring mind really wants to know!

So, as this year’s specimens died back, I collected as many seed heads as i could.  I’ve started re-sowing in the past few weeks, and will let you know how the next “crop” turns out!

Since we’ve been talking “orange/yellow plants”,  I’ll close this out with a picture I took this morning–

Cannas Thru the Citrus

Cannas Thru the Citrus

until next time!

In the beginning……

If you found me today, you are here at the beginning of the beginning…


Gardening in Florida is a 365 days-a-year event, so each visit to Small House/BIG GARDEN will surprise you with something new.  Expect to see all original content, as I share the pictures, stories, tips and resources of gardening in the Vero Ranchero.

Until the next time……