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Silas_Sancona

Tis' the season for cactus.. 2021: The upstaging newbie, and Winds of change

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Silas_Sancona

With the Beavertails and Scarlet HedgeHog close to flowering, the 2021 cacti flowering season is off to a good start. After some recent additions to the collection, one is further elevating it's already attractive status with crowns of flowers, well ahead of the typical season opener, Mammillaria ( Syn. Mamilopsis senilis ) which looks like it will be late this year.

As attractive as Mammillaris perezdelarosae already is -out of flower- For a small cacti, a Halo of flowers only add to it's appeal, and they're fragrant, up close as well. Been pollinating each " set " as they open, hoping i'll get fruit/seed from one or both. Appears i have both the lighter, cream-flowered variety, and the variant w/ pinker flowers.  Cream flowered specimen seems to be the more robust of the two, at least for now.. Still young plants.
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Been trying to find other stuff that will add more flowers to the collection during the summer gap between the spring show, and fall finale. Goal is to eventually have various Orchids and Cacti flowering at the same time/season. Tracked down a couple, may add a couple more before the move.

Mammillaria longimamma var. longimamma:  Solitary at first, but can form impressive colonies at a relatively quick pace once settled in.  Flowers, typically produced on and off from May-August are among the largest for the Genus ( to about 2" across.. esp. this subspecies.. < there are 2>  ), bright Yellow, and supposedly scented like Lemons. Can be propagated from detaching/rooting offsets, seed, or by cutting off one of the Tubercles and allowing it to dry for a day or two, then rooting.
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First try with any of the Coryphantha..  Coryphantha sulcata. Some keep it as it's own species, other sources lump it in with another sp. Regardless, commonly called "Pineapple Cactus " and a native of Texas. Strongly resembles.. -and could be confused with- Escobaria missouriensis but with individual stems in the clump remain more upright, less " pancake like " in form. Flowers, produced on and off during the summer,  are large, burnt yellow orange ( pictured on the tags in the upper left of each picture ), often with a darker red center. Pair i picked up are supposedly from seed collected off specimens at the northernmost extant of the species range and are supposedly quite cold hardy.. not that that will too big of a concern in California. Protecting from winter rain may be however..

The one sticking point w/ Coryphantha is they can be tricky when potting up.. Too much water at first, or during the winter, and they can easily rot. Eyeballing these two carefully until i know they're settled in and growing.
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Noticed the " next in line to flower " Stenocactus sp. is budding up quickly while working on getting the yard/plants cleaned up after the big wind storms we've had showered the last of the to be shed leafstalks off the Mesquite over everything, and ahead of packing up everything and heading toward a new horizon.

Will be interesting to see what decides to flower this spring considering i'd moved everything i had in it out of the shade house last summer when i took it down, and to keep stuff from frying. Where they have sat since then might have been a tad too shady through the winter to coax certain things to flower.. but we'll see. 

Of more interest will be witnessing what sort of effects trading scorching hot and bone dry  for warm, occasionally hot ...but not quite as dry, humidity-wise has on the collection once closer to the coast.  Protection from winter rainfall, at least for some of the Echinocereus, is likely going to be the one thing i make sure is provided there.. Echinopsis/Trichoceri should love it.

In the meantime, until it's time to head out.. Tis' the season,  Enjoy!
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Silas_Sancona

Echinocereus triglochidatus ( or coccineus ) caught in the act of opening it's first flower of 2021 while weeding/ getting an idea of when to start the final clean up of the front yard.:
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Echinocereus russanthus X " Cattail Falls " starting to awaken ( budding flower starting to break through the epidermis, just below the point end of the feeding tongs )
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Stenocactus sp.. getting closer to flowering..
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A final look at this year's spring wildflowers, as they start fading out.. for the heck of it..

Despite the lack of rain this winter, not a bad show this year .. just shorter ..in height and length of time. Some CA. Poppies out there this year, but the Orange African Daisies ( Dimorphotheca aurantiaca ) are the show stealers this year.
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Desert Chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana started from seed collected out east of Florence last year.. Not the greatest looking plant in a pot.. Species has a tendency to grow up through other plants next to it. Kind of rambles in a container if nothing is near to lean on.
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Another good sign spring warmth is kicking in when the Colorado 4 O' Clock, Mirabilis multiflora awakens from dormancy.. May be old enough to flower this year ( Have heard the species can take 2-3 years to flower from seed ) Beet red color of emerging new growth is a good clue what order of plants 4 O' clocks belong to, the Caryophyllales. All Cacti belong to the same order as well..
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Palmensammler

Wonderful to see all these flowers. Here we are again suffering from colder temps so no flowers in sight. The cacti will need another month or more. I grow an Echinocereus triglochidatus with absolutely same flowers than yours for many years outdoor and it still survives.

The only coming flowers will be from various cytisus hybrids but these produce amazing colours.

Eckhard

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Silas_Sancona
12 minutes ago, Palmensammler said:

Wonderful to see all these flowers. Here we are again suffering from colder temps so no flowers in sight. The cacti will need another month or more. I grow an Echinocereus triglochidatus with absolutely same flowers than yours for many years outdoor and it still survives.

The only coming flowers will be from various cytisus hybrids but these produce amazing colours.

Eckhard

Thanks, 

That particular Echinocereus has been the most reliable bloomer of all the ones i have.. Kind of surprised it has tolerated the heat here so well also since the species usually grows at slightly higher/ cooler elevations,  at least here in Arizona.. Wish it was self-fertile though. ( Is what is considered a functional Female specimen.. Ie:  Can be pollinated by another plant, but does not produce viable pollen itself.. Some species can be both while others produce male/ female flowers only ) Regardless, have roughly half a dozen offsets i have rooted from it.

Cytisus used to be quite popular in California a few decades ago but most, inc. supposedly sterile crosses, turned out to be extremely aggressive and spread rapidly into native habitats there. Might be just a couple that you'd occasionally see for sale in nurseries out there now.  Fantastic plant for spring color though, esp. some of the crosses/hybrids.

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Palmensammler

Also for me the Echinocereus triglochidatus is the most reliable bloomer, besides the Opuntia pheacantha "Orangeade". This winter one of my planted Opuntia imbricata died a slow death. I assume it already started last winter as the plant didn't look happy last summer but I don't know why. It's brother/sister kept inside a pot is still alive even if it had the same conditions except being potted.

But this creates space for some more Yuccas, Agaves and Cacti. And there are soo many seedlings waiting..... But damned I cannot stop collecting them. I need more seeds :yay:

Eckhard

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Silas_Sancona
17 minutes ago, Palmensammler said:

 

But this creates space for some more Yuccas, Agaves and Cacti. And there are soo many seedlings waiting..... But damned I cannot stop collecting them. I need more seeds :yay:

Eckhard

Oh trust me, lol.. Once you've caught the bug, you're done.. Just surrender :bemused::D  I'd thought i was done adding a few last minute cacti before the move, ..until a spring catalog from a specialty nursery showed up in the mail last week. 8 more on the way:blink:  Don't even get me started about seed, collected from my own plants.

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Palmensammler

Hi Nathan,

I`m already infected since 1992 when we made our "Honey Moon Trip" to Florida. This was the first time I picked up palm seeds from a private garden.  Nowaddays the plants changed a little bit as I need to grow them mostly outside like Yucca , Agave and Cacti and a few Trachies, most of them are hybrids.

Looking at palms I'm in love with Chamaedorea palms since my wife and I visited Costa Rica.  I try to collect as many different ones as possible. Unfortunately seeds are rare.

Eckhard

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aabell

Escobaria, Corypantha, and especially Echinocereus are such lovely little plants. If I lived somewhere cooler and drier I would no doubt have a rock garden and an obsessive collection of them. I tried a few in the ground at my parent's place in Ohio a few years ago but the winter and spring rains are unforgiving in that region, seems like only Opuntia can survive without extra protection. 

Edited by aabell
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Silas_Sancona
2 hours ago, aabell said:

Escobaria, Corypantha, and especially Echinocereus are such lovely little plants. If I lived somewhere cooler and drier I would no doubt have a rock garden and an obsessive collection of them. I tried a few in the ground at my parent's place in Ohio a few years ago but the winter and spring rains are unforgiving in that region, seems like only Opuntia can survive without extra protection. 

It's ironic that i really didn't get hooked ( pun intended, lol ) by any of these until moving here, though i'd heard of a few in the past. A specialty grower in Colorado used to post pictures of various Echinocereus/ crosses he was doing on a Facebook page he'd had.. Never thought cacti flowers on typical cactus plants could be as exotic as Orchids until i'd glare at all the drool-worthy images he'd post, and see some of our native Echinocereus in flower out in the desert.. That's when i set out to build up a collection of these types, beyond just Echinopsis, Trichocereus.. and some of the really small " flowery " cacti from South America i'd grown... While i like columnar types.. and " Jungle Cacti " ( Epiphyllums, etc.. ) Whats nice about many of the smaller types like those you mention is they can easily fit almost anywhere and, for the most part, do well in containers which is nice for anyone w/ limited space. If you plan out your personal collection just right, you can have lots of color nearly year round too. 

I think in places like Ohio, you'd have to create a raised bed that is nearly 100% grit/gravel, then pick those cacti that might already be plenty cold tolerant but might also tolerate the extra rainfall well. Not easy i'd imagine, but they're out there.

2 hours ago, Palmensammler said:

Hi Nathan,

I`m already infected since 1992 when we made our "Honey Moon Trip" to Florida. This was the first time I picked up palm seeds from a private garden.  Nowaddays the plants changed a little bit as I need to grow them mostly outside like Yucca , Agave and Cacti and a few Trachies, most of them are hybrids.

Looking at palms I'm in love with Chamaedorea palms since my wife and I visited Costa Rica.  I try to collect as many different ones as possible. Unfortunately seeds are rare.

Eckhard

Pretty sure i have always been collecting seed, lol.. Whether interesting natives i wanted to try and grow, or well admired palms, etc.. If something i'm interested in has ripe seed on it, i'll collect a few to try.  Seed is the easiest.. and cheapest means of building a collection of things and it's quite rewarding to see your own efforts pay off through the years, especially if the plant is rare/ rare in your region.. or presents you w/ a challenge to learn how to grow.  Heck, lol, i'm currently teaching myself how to propagate some native ferns from spores.. That's a challenge right there.. Anyway.. Very addicting once you have succeeded w/ different things.

Chamaedorea are  my #1  favorite group of small palms..  I'd actually managed to produce viable seed and seedlings off a couple groups of Cham. metallica i had. Unfortunately, not something that can be grown outdoors here in Arizona, even on a shaded patio and kept moist thru the hottest part of the summer. Tough as nails otherwise.  Guaranteed i'll have more later.

Edited by Silas_Sancona
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Palmensammler

Collecting seeds is my passion too as I want to grow typical plants from the places I've visited. Always at the end of each visit my wife promises me, that she will not know me when I'm caught by the customs because of the seed packages I'm carrying with me.

The C. metallica is also one of my favourites. I have two small ones, hopefully one male and one female. Have you ever seen the bi-pinnate version of it? The palm garden in Frankfurt grows one but it has never set seeds. It's look is amazing. Nearly all of my palms are only outside during summer times.

Unfortunately no people living in their natural habitat are responding when you search for seeds. Our trip to Costa Rica was at the wrong time, only a few seeds could be collected.

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Silas_Sancona

Final, before-the-move additions. As usual, purchased in pairs, except for the last sp. :

Echinocereus ctenoides:   Melchor Muzquiz, Coahiula Mex. Mid to late Spring flowering, Flowers similar color range/ size to Echinocereus dasyacanthus from West Texas though perhaps a tad larger/brighter, wider petals.  Some sources consider E. cetinoides a form of E. dasyacanthus rather than a separate species.
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Escobaria vivipara var. bisbeeana:   AZ. Pink/ Magenta Flowers in Summer.
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Thelocactus bicolor ssp. bolaensis ' Summer Snow ' White flowered variety of the standard Glory of TX ( T. bicolor ).  Repeat bloomer, like the standard form.. April- September
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Thelocactus setispinus var. setispinus:   S. TX. Native. Large, light lemon Yellow flowers w/red eye/throat. ..on and off thru Summer/early Fall.
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Coryphantha maiz tablasensis ' Big Blue ' :  A much bluer and faster growing variant of the species.. Was told the standard var. would be half this size, and a few older than this variety.  Large Light Yellow flowers on and off in Summer/ early Fall.
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Silas_Sancona

Some cacti and flowers on the first day of Spring...

Bevertail Prickly Pear, Opuntia basilaris
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Stenocactus sp.
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Looks like i'll get at least one flower on this shy flowering Echinocactus  ( ..possibly stamineus, Spines are thinner than the E.  Englemanii i have. ) this year. Have a couple offsets i've started to keep this one in my collection.
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Last lingering patch of Phacelia campanularia. been going through the yard taking down the last of the season's fading annuals.
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Seed grown Yellow Necklace Pod, Sophora tomentosa.
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A couple years of infrequent, light trimming makes for a nice specimen of Coues' Senna, Senna covesii. Seed ( sown 4 years ago ) must have germinated in the perfect spot in the yard since none of the other specimens of this desert native around the yard look anywhere as nice.. Same area it is growing is where runoff from the neighbor's driveway will collect. Torch Glow Bougainvillea ( Barely in the picture on the far right, on the mound behind the Senna ) are in the same spot.  Very rare i water anything there most of the year. 
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Will be interesting to see how it performs closer to the coast. Native Range reaches the east side of the mountains east of San Diego, though it may reach further west in ideal habitat.

A couple extra pictures of it flowering heavily after a little rain earlier in the month.
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Self Seeded Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa.. Actually looks better than the one i planted further out in the yard, lol.
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Silas_Sancona

With the last of the Beavertail flowers fading away, and the other Opuntia out front not looking like they'll put on much of a show this year, not terribly much going on atm but, now that it is flowering again, think i figured out the ID of my mystery Echinocereus out front.  Fits the description for Echinocereus bonkerae ssp. apachensis, a form of E. bonkerae that is common in the Superstition Mountains, just east of town.  Have the typical, short - spined form of E. bonkerae as well.

Caught a wrestling match between 3 Digger Bees in the flower when i took the picture this morning. Not sure on the species. At least 3 or 4 pass through the yard this time of year.  Looks like this Echinocereus specimen can self - pollinate ( produces viable male & female parts ) so would assume all that wrasslin' should produce a fruit/ seed.
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Looks like the Glory of Texas, Thelocactus bicolor and some of the Echinopsis/ Trichos are gearing up for their turn on stage.

Rosary Babybonnets, Coursetia glandulosa finally flowering as other things start to wake up out back..
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