Dear, departed Ivan and Tahmatassu

Ivan, Pilea peperomioides. February 2021 – July 26, 2021

It’s with a heavy heart I acknowledge the death of Ivan, a once-hopeful pilea peperomioides.

Ivan was born from one of two juvenile pileas I acquired in summer 2016 from a vendor in Toronto. Oh, 2016. It was a sunny day, and I’d gone into a corner store to purchase a drink. At the side exit, lo! there was a covered plant market. I bought from there my first two pileas, in very small pots. They were so cute.

These original plants grew up under my inexpert care, sometimes being turned to the light, sometimes not. Sometimes surviving long periods of drought and neglect. They grew into twisted, beautiful, Dr-Seussian specimens of whimsy.

I gave them away during a purge around April 2021, but kept their many babies (honestly, Ivan probably started developing some time in 2020, well before I cut him off him mother plant around February or March, but I’m not exactly sure). Several of these babies I again gave away, but I kept two of the smallest for myself–eventually to be named Ivan and Sigmund. Ivan was the larger; Sigmund just a little runt of a plant.

Due to the limited space for lighting and the number of plants I had, Ivan and Sigmund did not receive enough light and were looking ill. I wondered if they would like to come outside in the afternoon for some sun and would therefore improve, but being unsure, I just took one plant. Unfortunately, the sun was strong and although I did not think I had left it outside too long, I did indeed. Ivan got sunburnt. Just a little. I thought he would survive. But over the next two weeks, leaves kept dropping, and I didn’t give it the right amount of light/water to let it come back. His roots rotted away and he died.

Goodbye, Ivan. Thank you and your ancestors for teaching me many things about plant care. Light, water, propagation, stress, sunburn, and nuances about all these things. I truly did like you.

Tahmatassu, unknown succulent. June 16, 2021 – August 23, 2021

I bought the cute little Tahmatassu from a porch sale of one of my local plant shops on June 16, 2021. He wasn’t doing well and cost me a dollar. He failed in his original pot and developed root rot; so I cut off the clean areas and repotted him into a smaller pot. He rooted and his little leaflet survived too.

He had space to share, and seemed to like the same care as my string of dolphins, so when I needed to move the string of dolphins to a smaller pot too, I combined them. They seemed happy together–Tahmatassu even put out some new growth! Two days ago, they were looking well. Today, I checked and Tahmatassu was toast. Twisted, shrivelled, wilted. I don’t know what happened. The string of dolphins, at least, is still holding in there. So, I pinched off Tahmatassu and pulled out what I could and threw him into the trash.

What did you teach me, oh Tahmatassu? Look for healthy plants. And don’t buy unhealthy plants if you can’t find out what they are and what care they need. But also: you taught me more about propagating succulents by sticking them into dry soil and leaving them alone–and it works! Until, that is, I kill them later.

Adieu, cute little friend.

Field notes — July 9, 2021

Unknown succulent, Tahmatassu

  • Dried stem area has progressed further up the plant, the lower leaf is wilting, and there is black on the green part of stem after the dried part.
  • Cut off healthy part, placed into cactus mix.
  • Need to keep out of sunlight for a couple days until the cut area forms a callus, then keep it dry for a couple months and it may root.

Cissus discolor, Jane Feeniks

  • Cannot believe it, but after two days under the cloche, there is already a new leaf!!
  • I found another area of the same scale-infected stem, with 3 more instances of scale, close to the potting mix. Swabbed all with alcohol.

Sansevieria laurentii, Hatshepsut

  • One stem, with new growth, has spots of rot.
  • Posted question online to determine what must be done.

Syngonium Pink Neon, Rapunzel

  • She’s pushing out a new little pink leaf! So cute!

Dear My Succulent of Mystery,

I don’t care who you are,
Where you’re from,
What you did,
As long as you love me!

Aiee, so cute

And by love me, I mean, survive please and let me love you. You arrived a little battered, scarred, and sparse, and only cost me a dollar. You soon got a wrinkled leaf, so I have to be careful to make sure you get enough water. So without further ado…

  • Binomial name: no idea!
  • Given name: Tahmatassu
  • Native to: no idea!
  • Bought: June 16, 2021 at Plant & Curio (discount plant shelf)
  • Original pot (current): 3.5 inch plastic pot
  • Soil: dry (average 1.5)
  • Watered: top-down, filtered, twice to run through. If leaf is still wrinkled in 4 days, will water again.
  • Largest leaf: 7.4 cm long
  • New growth: two new leaves at the top, like pea shoots (since before purchase). Largest new leaf: 3.9 cm long
  • Signs of pests: ? see unknown
  • Signs of care issues: wilting leaf (underwatered), 1.5 cm scar along top of largest leaf (since before purchase); drying leaf tips
  • Unknown cause issues: bump like a knuckle over the tip of the largest leaf, 1.5 mm high; three tiny brown specks (hard and dry like scabs) on top of wilted leaf, each under a millimeter, scaly, dry brown patches (like bark) on underside of largest leaf and down the trunk. Are any of these bad? No idea. Nonetheless, will isolate and track for changes.
Bark-type growth? I assume natural. Maybe some leaves were removed from stem.
Three tiny scabs

Research sources: Succulent Studios