There are lots of flowers on the mesembs at the moment. Conophytums have various coloured flowers and some of them even have a very pleasant perfume. Most Lithops though, have yellow flowers, a few have white, some even have yellow flowers with white centres, rarely there is a plant like Lithops verruculosa whose flowers can be almost peach coloured. I tend to ease off on the watering of the Lithops once they have flowered. I shall stop watering them anyway at the end of October except for the seedlings. It is a good thing to keep the seedlings growing slowly through their first winter. If they dry out for too long the roots dry up and they have difficulty in getting started again.
A few of my Aloes are in flower and looking good. I shall take them to the Oxford Branch - Mesemb and Succulent Show in Witney on the 13th of October. I shall also take along some Gasteria and Haworthia. The quality of the plants at Oxford Branch Shows is so high that it is always well worth a visit. If you are going to visit, why not take a few plants to exhibit as well?
I thought that, having got rid of a few of my larger plants at the auction; I was going to have plenty of space in the greenhouse for the winter. It is amazing how quickly the shelves have filled up. The trouble is that I am addicted to growing cuttings and seeds. For instance, my Mammillaria perezdelarosae, in a five inch pot, was looking rather tatty. It had lots of healthy looking offsets but the body of the main plant looked shrunken and sickly. John Watmough, from Oxford Branch, suggested that I should repot it but grow it through the bottom of the pot and hang it from the roof of the greenhouse. I have seen his plant grown this way and it looks very good. I tried cutting a hole in the bottom of a pot but could not quite master getting the hole big enough for the plant to fit through without the root ball following it. Instead I now have ten lovely young plants and the old one is busy producing more offsets.
I have also recently taken the knife to my large Unkarina. It was getting tall and straggly with great long bare stems. I cut off the two stems about eight inches from the top, dipped them in hormone rooting powder and let them dry for a few days before potting them up. We will see whether or not they will root. With a bit of luck the old plant will produce two new shoots to replace each of the cut ones.
Before a virus struck my computer I have a complete record of all the plants in my collection, including a note of where and when I had bought them, (some people even record when they last repotted their plants but I had not gone that far). In clearing the virus I lost most of my stored data and this included my list of plants. One of my big tasks for the winter will be to do a stock take of the collection (using my out-dated list) and type it into the computer once more.