Monday, March 8, 2010

New home for the Neos

Just made this bed for my Neos. I hope they will like their new home.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My blooming hoyas

This week I have several hoyas in bloom. Two of them bloom for the first time after more less a year growing from cutting. Although, they are clones of existing ones, still I'm thrilled.
The maiden blooms are on Hoya purpureo-fusca. I especially like this one because the blooms look so crisp as if they were crystal.

and Hoya pottsii Vietnam. This plant is having 4 mature umbels, which is a lot for such a young plant though.

Others blooming are:
Hoya Krimson queen

Hoya DS-70

Hoya Obscura

and Hoya Carnosa

Love them all!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Forcing amaryllis to bloom (for Stephanie)

My blogger-friend from Malaysia - Stephanie - wanted to know how to force amaryllis to bloom. So here's what I did when I wanted to have blooming amaryllis for Lunar New Year.
The plant to be "forced-bloom" must have at least 6 healthy leaves and must not have bloomed for the immediate past 10 months leading to the time of the "forcing".
The whole "forcing process" will take around 16 weeks, so if suppose you want to have blooming amaryllis during Lunar New Year, you must start the process 4 months earlier. This is what to do, step by step.
Step 1: Dig the plant out of the soil, or pot and wash off all the dirt but leave the roots in tact.
Step 2: Cut off the foliage leaving a "neck" of about 3cm above the bulb.
Step 3: Hang the bulb, upside down, in the shade to dry for 1 week.
Step 4: After 1 week, wrap the bulb in newspaper and place it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for 8 weeks. Remember to mark the newspaper with the date you wrap the bulb so you remember. Also, don't store any fruit in the fridge during this time lest the bulb can be damaged by the gas from the ripening fruit.
Step 5: After 8 weeks, take the bulb out, clean off any dried roots and leave behind those whitish, still-fresh ones.

Step 6: Place the bulb on top of a glass of water, with the whitish roots dangling in the water for 24 hours. Take care not to let the basal plate touch the water lest it might get rotted.

Step 7: Plant the bulb, which by now have all the whitish roots swollen up, in a pot of good potting soil. Remember to water the pot of soil thoroughly before planting and not to bury the whole bulb in the soil.

Step 8: Place the potted bulb in shade, but don't water for 2-3 days. After these initial days, water sparingly until you see new growth. This new growth, if appears from the side of the bulb, is a flowering scape. If it appears at the center of the bulb, it's new leaf but soon the flowering scape will follow.
Step 9: Move the potted bulb to a brighter location and water as needed.
If everything goes right, you will have blooms from 5 to 6 weeks after planting.
This "forcing-bloom" is necessary for amaryllis plants growing in "hot and humid" climate all the year round. It is observed that those plants won't go dormant naturally so the process "helps" them to go to sleep and initiate blooms.

I have successfully forced my plants in my Saigon garden to give blooms when I wanted them to. I think you can as well, Steph.
Good luck.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New amaryllis cross (2)

The second seedling from Ann's batch of seeds has opened its blooms for me this week. It certainly doesn't have the same color as its sister, thus I believe they come from different parents.

There is a third one about to bloom, too. I really hope this one will look different from the first two. That will be great if it is!

I have also purchased a new hippy with interesting pattern and color.

This is a group shot this morning.