String me along, String of Dolphins

I’ve wanted to have you in my home for aaages, so I’m so excited to have you sit beside me while I type this! Will we be friends4ever?

Buddies! Sitting at the table! One is a plant, doesn’t matter at all, oh yeah!

Meet cute

  • Binomial name: Curio × peregrinus (assuming it is a cross of two other succulents); AKA Senecio hippogriffSenecio peregrinus (assuming it is a naturally-occurring specimen, the second name of which was given to an earlier-discovered, maybe different, plant)
  • Given name: Uhanala
  • Native to: a basic internet search is unclear on this. A hybrid from Japan! A hybrid popularized in Japan! A plant native to Africa or South America!
  • Bought: June 16, 2021 at Terra Plants & Flowers
  • Grown in: Canada
  • Original pot (current): 4 inch, plastic

Field notes–June 17, 2021

  • Soil: slightly moist
  • Longest strand: 20 cm
  • New growth: A dolphin leaf sitting on the soil has rooted (before I bought it). I didn’t realize that leaves alone could be used to propagate.
  • Signs of pests: one fungus gnat (squished); grey-transparent larvae 1.5 mm long (probably a fungus gnat larva); itty bitty helpful soil mite
  • Signs of care issues: 1.5 cm black at the base of one stem. Pulled plant out to look at roots; no discoloration below surface. Snipped affected stem below the soil, where it branched from a healthy stem.
  • Propagation: Found a stem with poor attachment on main plant (maybe damaged when I removed it from the pot), snipped it off and removed lower leaves, placed 1-inch of stem straight into cactus soil in a very tiny pot. On blackened stem, removed black part and lower leaves. Letting it sit in air to callous for 2 days before adding to same pot to compare effectiveness. Added some of the snipped leaves to the pot to see if they’ll also root.

Research notes

Atmosphere

  • Light: bright, indirect; morning sun, then shade; have light hit the soil but <2 hours
  • Humidity: minimum to average
  • Temperature: 15 to 26 degrees Celsius, as low as 4 degrees in winter; drafts are mildly acceptable

Water

  • Preference: dry out soil between watering (check if pot is very light) or at least the top 5 cm are dry; don’t get water on leaves. Use bottom-up method.

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: cactus and succulent mix
  • Fertilization: at most, once or twice a year at beginning of spring and when they bloom; cactus or half-strength diluted houseplant fertilizer. Avoid over-fertilizing as this results in loss of the dolphin shape.
  • Repotting: every 2 to 3 years especially to refresh soil mix; keep slightly root-bound and crowded; increase by one size. Plastic or terracotta pots.

Lifestyle

  • Grow style: in ideal conditions, fast-growing; up to 50 cm per year
  • Mature size: 30 to 100 cm long stems
  • Common problems:
    Aphids, mealybugs (signs: cottony growth), scale, spider mites (signs: webs under leaves)
    Too much light (signs: pale green, yellow, or scorched leaves)
    Too little light (signs: leggy and sparse)
    Overwatered (signs: squishy, yellow, brown, or transparent leaves; flattened leaves; can lead to root rot or fungal disease)
    Underwatered (signs: dull, deflated, dry leaves; shriveled plant)
    Too much humidity (signs: leaves dropping)
  • Propagation: Snip a 7.5 to 15 cm healthy stem with at least 2 to 3 nodes, remove bottom leaves from bottom nodes.
    Option 1: let dry for one to two days. After calloused, stick 5 cm into cactus mix and water deeply OR lay stem on top of soil; place in partial shade and introduce more sunlight over two weeks. Water again when top of soil is dry, then again in 2 to 3 weeks.
    Option 2: Place in water; roots develop in 2 weeks. Plant into cactus mix when roots develop.

Research sources: ukhouseplantsSucculents Boxthe spruceLeafy Place

Salutations, Selaginella

What can you do, selaginella, selaginella? What can you do selaginella from the zoo?

Hey! You’re not from the zoo! You’re from prehistory! Apparently, the lycophyte family, which include clubmosses (AKA this little guy), has been around since 425 million years ago.

So, where ya from…

  • Binomial name: Selaginella [unknown, assuming kraussiana]; ‘Lime’
  • Given name: Ferris
  • Native to: Africa, Azores in damp, forest-like environments
  • Bought: June 15, 2021 at Plant & Curio
  • Original (current) pot: 5.5 inch, plastic, with attached drainage tray

Field notes

  • Soil: moist
  • Longest strand, measured down from rim of pot: 5.5 cm
  • Signs of pests: a single fruit-fly looking insect. Perhaps a fungus gnat. Squished it.
  • Signs of care issues: a couple shriveled, crispy brown leaves on the underside. Removed them; placing the plant closer to a humidifier.

Research notes

Atmosphere

  • Light: full shade to semi-shady (brighter light = brighter plant colour)
  • Humidity: high; use a humidifier or place in a terrarium; misting doesn’t cut it
  • Temperature: 18 to 24 degrees Celsius; keep away from drafts (doors and vents)

Water

  • Preference: moist but not soggy. Room-temperature, soft water, lime-free
  • Frequency: often; water from below

Soil, fertilization, and pots

  • Soil type: well-draining, loose, humus-rich, peat moss + sand
  • Soil pH: neutral to acidic; 6 or 6.5 is good
  • Fertilization: at most once a month during growing season; balanced liquid fertilizer (10–10–10) diluted to half strength
  • Repotting: when outgrows pot. Shallow pot (still needing a couple inches) with drainage holes. Terrarium would be OK.

Lifestyle

  • Grow style: drops rhizophores down from the stems as it creeps outwards. The rhizophore acts as a stem and roots develop where it touches the soil. Healthy frosty fern cultivars grows might outwards at or faster than 6 mm per week, not sure about this cultivar.
  • Mature size: 5 cm high
  • Pruning: can prune back in spring. Cut an inch before the rhizophore to keep them for propagation.
  • Common problems: drying out due to low humidity (signs: brown, shriveled leaves. If you missed a couple weeks, sit the pot in water until soil is saturated (about 60 minutes) then let it drain; remove brown or crispy leaves, cover with plastic or glass to trap humidity until growth returns)
  • Propagation: spring: via rhizome division or cutting an inch before the rhizophore and placing rhizophore in soil. Cover with plastic to trap humidity until roots are developed.

Research sources: WikipediaPlantophilesGuide to HouseplantsBantam.EarthSo Easily Distracted