It's Autumn, and we here on the East coast have been enjoying the fall foliage. It is ephemeral, fleeting, beautiful but ever-changing and far too temporary. But believe it or not, with the waning of Autumn color marks an increase in the number of blooming activity at our house, especially orchids, but I've got some other things as well. In honor of Autumn color, here are a few orange selections.
Sophronitis cernua blooming out of season. Supposedly they are Spring bloomers, but this is not the first time I've seen one have other ideas. This species is native to Southeastern Brazil, in warmer and brighter locations than you would typically find the other Sophronitis species. Hence, this one may grow for people that have had trouble with its cool and shady -growing relatives.
This is Clivia x Crytanthiflora, a naturally-occurring hybrid between two species miniata and nobilis. I've shown you this plant before, but I rather like her so you get to see her again. I did a major repotting of most of my clivias (it was kind of like, "when did I get SO MANY!?") this summer, and attempted to repot this one. Note: "Attempted." I couldn't get it out of the pot. When happy, Clivias have a rather aggressive root system consisting of thick, succulent, tentacle-like structures, a style which is consistent with certain other plants of South African origin, such as Strelitzias, and bearing some similarity to the structure of certain beefy orchid roots. I had two options with this plant: Break it out of the pot or leave it be. I wasn't in the frame of mind to crack open a very thick clay pot, and if the root system was that dense I wasn't sure I had an appropriately sized pot for it to go into, so I took option B.
I love aloes, especially the little ones with cool leaves, but this is perhaps my favorite. This is Aloe bellatula. That is a 3 inch clay pot. I divided this plant this spring, selling one division, and keeping this one and one other. I had fully intended to sell another division, but they're just SO CUTE. Give me time, I'll either produce more divisions or will finally reconcile giving up my extra. Its like meeting a litter of kittens...I just want to keep them all. Anyway, its easy to grow and a reliable bloomer, though not as prolific a bloomer as some of the little Aloes, it does bloom at least once every year with these adorable bell-shaped orange-peach flowers. I'm not terribly knowledgeable on succulents, but I'll tell you what works for me. I keep the plant with my intermediate-growing cattleyas, meaning it lives in my unheated basement during the Winter and gets watered a lot less than during the Summer, but does still get watered a least a little bit every 2-3 weeks. In summer it gets watered every 2-3 days, especially when it is very hot and sunny.