Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I cut the Pussy ears.

pussy ears,panda plant leaves
The three leaves used to attempt propagation
I did it. I don't like to mess with small plants but since I got it, I was eager to propagate my Pussy Ear(or Panda) plant. I took away three leaf cuttings from the lower leaves of the plant, leaving only some little leaves on the top. I hope the plant won't be affected too much by this operation. Oh, by the way, the "hairy" leaves are so good to touch. I really appreciated touching it, maybe that's how the plant got its name of Pussy Ear.

Panda Plant, Pussy Ears
My plant now looks like this
Related posts
Panda plant ID


Friday, March 27, 2009

Strawberry Guava

Scientific Name Psidium cattleianum
Common Name Strawberry guava

Purple guava

Cherry guava

Strawberry Guava is a small tree, native to Brazil, that grows to about seven meters(23 feet) in height but is generally much smaller. The strawberry Guava is a very hardy plant that needs full sun for optimal growth and plenty of water when bearing fruits. They are generally located in geographically high regions where the average temperature is much cooler.

Bunch of strawberry guava
You get lots of fruits
Even low branches get fruits
Most of them are not ripe yet
However, there is a dark side to this plant:: It is an invasive plant. It is now considered as a weed in the tropics(even here in Mauritius).By the way, here it is called goyave de chine, literally translated to Guava of China.
According to the Invasive Species Specialist Group(ISSG) Database:

Psidium cattleianum is native to Brazil, but has been naturalised in Florida, Hawaii, tropical Polynesia, Norfolk Island and Mauritius for its edible fruit. It forms thickets and shades out native vegetation in tropical forests and woodlands. It has had a devastating effect on native habitats in Mauritius and is considered the worst plant pest in Hawi, where it has invaded a variety of natural areas. It benefits from feral pigs (Sus scrofa) which, by feeding on its fruit, serve as a dispersal agent for its seeds. In turn, the guava provides favourable conditions for feral pigs, facilitating further habitat degradation.
It is not obvious that it is an invasive plant here. Each year, thousands of Mauritians go on a strawberry guava hunt, when its the season(February-April), in the large fields of strawberry guava. The lucky ones(generally the first ones) return back home with bags full of fruits. Excess of strawberry guava is turned into a delicious jam. Unfortunately, the population takes the strawberry guava "forests" for granted and are not aware that it is some kind of invasion.
Their yummy flesh are similar to guavas
Propagation is very easy. Done by seeds, cuttings, layering or whatever method you like.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Panda Plant

panda plant, pussy ears, Kalanchoe tomentosa
panda plant, pussy ears, Kalanchoe tomentosa

Panda plant, also known as pussy ears, is a succulent having botanical name Kalanchoe tomentosa. It is from the family of Crassulacae and it is originated from Madagascar.

I got mine a couple of months ago and it has grown some new leaves since then. The guy from whom I got it has his Panda plants in direct sunlight. I have been told that the Panda plant grows to about 40cm in height but I've still to check it. I've placed mine where it got direct indirect light, and the Panda plant is doing great. Today, i moved it to my balcony where it will get direct sunlight, i'll monitor it to see how better it will grow.

Caring is quite easy. The Kalanchoe tomentosa does not need any special care, the most important aspect is avoid overwatering(The Panda plant needs little water) and allow the soil to completely dry out between watering. I water all my plants with water coming from my aquaria, so fertilisation isn't a problem for me.

I guess propagation should be easy. Leaf or stem cuttings will yield a new plant. I haven't tried propagating mine yet. Anyone got this plant???


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Update on Ledebouria Socialis

Ledebouria socialis, silver squill, violet squill, flower They are back... And they are really tough plants.
I've been watering them since the last time. The Ledebouria socialis, also known as Silver squill or violet squill, are growing like mad. They have grown leaves and their flowers are still here. I wonder how much time they'll take before releasing the seeds.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Make A Terrarium Out Of A Bottle Of Wine

This is awesome. I've never been bothered by ships in bottles but this one really got me excited:
A low tech and low maintenance terrarium that you can place anywhere you want.
You'll need some dexterity, patience and imagination but you'll appreciate the results.

Inspired by Paula Hayes, creator of amazing terrarium designs, Dr Vino suggests using clear wine bottles for this project. He also stated:
I first added dirt to the bottle. Then I ripped off chunks of moss, compressed them and shoved them through the wine bottle’s neck with a chop stick leftover from a previous takeout. A few pokes and prods later, I had them all lined up
If well cared for, the moss will grow in a rich carpet that you can proudly show off on your desk. Be sure not to let the bottle roll though..

Moss-age In A Bottle [via SlashFood]


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Save your egg shells.

egg shellsKeep them for your plants

No, you can't return your egg shells against money at your grocery. At least, let me know if you can...

Once you have used an egg, rinse the shell and let it dry. You'll be able to use it later. If you are a vegetarian or you need more egg shells, just ask your neighbors or try to get some from a nearby restaurant. You may need to wash the shells yourself though, in the latter cases. It doesn't matter much if the egg shells were broken into half or if they are quite crushed. I'll show you how to use them.

Are your egg shells ready? There are three ways to use your egg shells.
1. In your composting pile.
I'll be brief on that one. Crushed shells can be added to the pile to increase calcium content.
2. As a gastropod deterrent.
Snails and slugs won't "walk" onto coarsely crushed egg shells. Its a simple organic way to protect a couple of plants from being devastated by those snails and slugs. With time, the egg shells will decompose adding some calcium into your soil. I doubt that some egg shells will drastically change your soil composition and pH though. One drawback is that you got to have lots of egg shells handy if you have a big garden.
3. As starting pot
Do you start your seeds indoors in peat pots? Save peat(and your money too). Living in a tropical climate, I don't really need to start seeds inside... With some exceptions, especially during the rainy reasons. Else all seeds are sown directly in the garden. But for you, you can use the bigger egg shells(approx half an egg) as a substitute of peat pots. You'll just have to crack the shell a bit before planting.

Let's do a quick recap:
small crumbles of egg shells are for composting and snails
bigger shells are used for starting seeds.

This ends the second article on tips to reduce your gardening cost series. Did you miss the first one?


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