Monday, July 5, 2010

In Bloom: Huernia and Fire Magic

Before you get offended, we're not talking about embarrassing personal products today. :P

Huernia schneideranaHuernia are among the Stapeliads, a jungle cactus type succulent group. They like approximately phalaenopsis type light and temperatures. I basically grow mine just like a phalaenopsis, but remember I grow on what most of you consider 'the dry side,' so maybe water a bit less for those of you who grow more wet. It can take cooler temperatures in winter but doesn't seem to require a dip in temperature to bloom. I do water them a little bit less in winter, but don't let them get dessicated.

This came to me unidentified, but I believe it to be H. schneiderana. Nevertheless, these are easy to grow and cute. As they get longer and start making branches they become great plants for hanging baskets. Often the lower branches are programmed to come off naturally, as a pre-programmed propagation method. When that happens, you can root them into the original pot to make the basket more full, or into a separate pot and share with friends! I have one such rooted plant in the shop.

Slc. Fire Magic 'MAW'Slc. Fire Magic is a great cross. It has pretty much everything I like to see in a mini-catt cross. It is small and compact, easy growing, can be bloomed under fluorescent light (but you have to grow them fairly close to the tubes for best results) or in windowsills of course, and they have wild colors and patterns. The one shown is even lightly fragrant. It might be better if they were more strongly fragrant, but I can be satisfied with lightly fragrant, and not everyone always likes the style of, "nice perfume, must you bathe in it?" that you often sniff in Cattleyas.

I bought a good size batch of these seedlings a while back, but they've been selling well. Everyone seems to agree that they're exciting, so I only have a few left. See the listing for more examples of Fire Magic flowers.


webb said...

I keep promising myself that i won't get any orchids until I have a better place for them, but this one has me curious.

My kitchen window is sunny northwest, but it is the only window in the house that is not shaded. The other problem is that we hve a gas insert in our fire place. My experience with phals is that they will make flower buds (in the kitchen window) but then they all drop off. Even plants in bloom drop all their flowers as soon as they come into the house. Am fairly sure it's the gas.

So, what do you think? Worth the risk? Thanks.

SapphireChild said...

To be honest, I really don't know. Some types of orchids are reported to be more resistant to the natural gas effect, supposedly Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, and Dendrobiums according to popular culture. So. Maybe not. I think I've heard Oncidium types are resistant, as well as Paphiopedilums. I don't really get along with Oncidiums myself, but they are supposedly easy to grow. There are a lot of easy-growing paphs too (and I like those :).

The whole phenomenon never made any sense to me, really. As far as I know, natural gas is mostly methane, so any leaks would be mostly...methane! Ethylene is the signaling compound typically produced by pollinated flowers and ripening fruit that would cause natural bud drop. Nevertheless, methane-induced bud drop does seem to happen in lots of households.