This and That from Here and There and The SILLY Side of Succulents

Gymnocalycium baldianum crest. Plant and photo: Kermit Bender, USA
Gymnocalycium baldianum crest. Plant and photo: Kermit Bender, USA

Photo:  Gymnocalycium baldianum crest
Plant and photo:  Kermit Bender, USA

CHRISTMAS CACTUS TIPS

Treatment of Christmas Cactus in October is critical if you want your plants to bloom. Buds will not set at temperatures from 70 to 75F. Keep the plants cooler — around 63 to 65F beginning in October. It also helps at this time to give the plants the same number of hours of light every day as naturally occurs outside. In other words, put them them in a room where you don’t HAVE artificial lights on for several hours in the evening. After flower buds have formed, don’t move the plants or buds may well fall off.

Avoid over-potting.

The following newsy item courtesy of John Gamesby, UK

News Item:  Source from BBC Wildlife. March 1998.

Lizard-Borne Pollination – How Lizards help plants reproduce

By Tabitha Flack

Birds do it. Bees do it. Some bats do it. And now it seems that a lizard does it too. Lizards have long been suspected of acting as pollinators for plants, but recently, the first real evidence has been provided, by two independent teams of scientists working in the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean.

On the island of Cabrera, Spanish scientists Anna Traveset and Encarna Sáez of the Institute Mediterrani d’Edudis Avançats have been studying the relationship between the shrub Euphorbia dendroides and the lizard Podarcis lilfordi, which is found only in the Balearics. The lizard gathers nectar from the shrub, and in doing so, transfers pollen from flower to flower. Where the lizard was abundant, flowers were visited three times more frequently by lizards than by insects, and the importance of the lizard to the plant was shown by the greater fruit and seed production of these plants compared to sites where the lizard was rare (Oecologia, vol.111. pp241-8). Meanwhile, on the tiny island of Nitge, Valentín Pérez-Mellado of the university of Salamanca and José Casas of the University of Alicante were studying P. lilfordi’s relationship with the sea fern Crithmum maritimum. The scientists prevented lizards from visiting plants, while allowing insects to come and go, by fitting a plastic disc around the stem. They found that excluding the lizards reduced the number of seeds that were pollinated. Like insect pollinators, lizards collect nectar from a large number of flowers on each plant they visit, transferring pollen as they go
(Copeia, vol.3, pp593-5).

Journal of The International Herpetological Society Vol. 23 No.2


Beginner Tips – Cacti & Succulents in Terrariums and Dish Gardens

By Marina Welham

Terrariums

The only plants that should be grown in terrariums are those which benefit from the cool, humid, shaded environment these containers create.

No succulent plants including cacti will get any benefit from being grown under these conditions because these are not the conditions under which these plants thrive.

If you insist on trying to grow succulents in a terrarium, make sure you choose inexpensive plants since you are bound to lose them sooner or later. That is why I call Terrariums ‘Coffins for Succulents’!

Dish Gardens

Dish Gardens can be very nice if the correct choice of plants is made. For one thing, there is no point having a group of cacti or the other succulents, some of which like full sun and some which do not.

Most containers made for dish gardens don’t have a hole in the bottom. This means moisture can sit unseen on the bottom of the pot under the soil and if it never dries out can cause the roots and plants to rot. You should always make a hole at the bottom of the dish garden and then sit that dish in another dish to catch any water that drains out.

Plastic pot saucers which come in fairly large sizes up to a foot and a half in diameter and 2″ deep are quite handy to hold a dish garden and are available at most garden centers for three or four dollars. They also come in a variety of colors including green, white … and a red color that looks like clay which goes very well with the red clay containers usually offered for dish gardens.

Always remove excess water that drains into the bottom dish.

© Copyright 1999 Marina Welham
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