Plant Portraits: Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii

Morning frost on Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii. Taken at Great Dixter.

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Welwitschia mirabilis, Seed

Welwitschia mirabilis is a species I never cease to be excited about. This species is endemic to the Namib desert, in Namibia and Angola. It is a monotypic species. Which appears to have remained unchanged for tens, maybe even hundreds, of millions of years. Pretty incredible, but it gets better!

W. mirabilis produces two cotyledons upon germination. These grow into two leaves. These leaves remain as the plants only leaves, for its entire life. Each leaf can reach four metres in length. Considering W. mirabilis can live for over a thousand years, its amazing.

Eli (head gardener) ordered some seeds a while ago and they came yesterday. They were soaked for 24 hours then sown in deep tubes. W. mirabilis resents root disturbance, so it must be repotted before it reaches the base of the tube. 


Fouquieria columnaris, Transplanting 

The Fouquieria columnaris is in bad health. I was suspicious it was a planting depth issue. That is the case. The photo below shows the original depth and the depth the plant was potted to.



Potting like this causes the plants stem to rot. It’s incredibly important to be precise when working with plants. F. columnaris is a rare plant occurring in just two regions of Mexico. The value of the gardens collection makes good care even more important. The photos below show the unhappy F. columnaris before and after repotting.

Ananas comosus, Micropropagation

Yesterday me and Kady (Curatorial scholar) visited the Palestine Polytechnic University. Dr Rami Arafeh gave us a tour of the micropropagation lab. If you are interested in trying micropropagation, here is a link to a protocol. Rami was kind enough to give us a jar of Ananas comosus which he had propagated. Photos below show the growing room and the A. comosus being transplanted.

Calibanus hookeri 

Another great species from the arid collection is Calibanus hookeri. This species is native to arid areas in Mexico. It has a large caudex with grass like foliage. This strange look makes it an excellent species for the display. The garden has one plant and its only small but with good care it should be a decent size in a few years. Photos below show the gardens plant and a mature specimen elsewhere.



Source for the image above.

Philodendron erubescens ‘Red Emerald’, Cuttings

Philodendrons propagate easily with vegative methods.Cuttings were taken from Philodendron erubescens ‘Red Emerald’ three weeks ago. They have all rooted through. Today they were potted on. 

P. ‘Red Emerald’ has brilliant red stems and petioles. It’s a vigorous trailing or climbing plant. The cuttings were move into six litre pots because of this species vigour. The pots will be full in a month. Photos below.

Plant Portraits: Globularia sarcophylla ‘Blue Eyes’

Welcome to Plant Portraits. This is a new photography series I’m adding to the blog. I often post photographs of plants on Instagram. Sadly Instagram displays photos at a lower resolution than my camera. WordPress allows me to share and display the high resolution images. 

Posts will consist of a photograph captioned with the plants botanical name and location. I will be continuing to post other content as usual. Starting today with Globularia sarcophylla ‘Blue Eyes’ in the Jerusalem Botanical Garden.

Tetrastigma voinierianum, Cuttings 

The large lianas are a hugely important part of the Tropical collection. These plants will quickly cover hard surfaces in the glasshouse and soften the edges. A big component of the lianas in the collection are the Hoyas, shown in previous posts.
A number of the other liana species are members of the Vitaceae family. One of those is Tetrastigma voinierianum. Native to Laos and Northern Vietnam this species populates tropical rainforest areas. T. voinierianum has large waxy leaves in a shape much like what’s found in Vitis. This species is fast growing so should soon fill space in the glasshouse. Below are the plants in the nursery.


Cuttings of two nodes in length were taken 8 weeks ago. They have rooted so were potted into 3l pots. Sadly I don’t have photos of the cuttings before striking, below are photos of the rooted cuttings and the potted plants. Leaves should form soon.

These cuttings rooted easily (95% success) with very little attention. No rooting hormone was used and the cuttings were kept under a propagation bench, in the shade. I probably should have added osmocote to the tubes of cuttings at week six, to stimulate shooting. That would have been optimal.