Friday, January 29, 2016

Curly Locks Cactus

Epiphyllum guatamalense var. monstrose...that's a quite a mouthful of Latin nomenclature! The common name, Curly Locks, is a little easier to handle, and describes the ringlet-like, curly leaves. The Latin name is pretty informative though and tells us that this is an epiphyte from Guatemala with monstrously deformed leaves. I was recently reading about this plant in Bizarre Botanicals and learned that the leaves of this variety curl due to a genetic anomaly. Also, interestingly, this plant can produce fruit and viable seeds without being pollinated!

A colleague gave me some stem cuttings back in September 2015. They rooted very easily and started to grow new side shoots after 2 or 3 months.

The cuttings I received also had a couple of ripe fruit that resembled miniature dragon fruits (I didn't think to take a photo). I decided to see if the seeds would germinate, so I squished them out of the sticky pulp, wiped the goopy seeds onto some potting soil, and put them under the misters in our propagation greenhouse. Within a week or two, the seeds started to germinate.

The seedlings seemed to stay in the cotyledon stage FOREVER, but eventually I started to see tiny stems poking through.

Almost 4 months later, they're starting to show their curly growth habit.

And I'm extremely excited to see that they've started to grow tiny side shoots at the base of the main stem. I recently moved these from the propagation house (lower light, higher humidity), into one of our production greenhouses (higher light, lower humidity). Here's hoping the higher light levels will jump-start their growth. I would really like to get these bulked up enough to offer them at our plant sale in May.

No comments:

Post a Comment