Nyctocereus

Nyctocereus serpentinus is best trained up a slick in cultivation, although in its natural slate in Mexico it sprawls everywhere over houses and walls. The upright stems of cultivated specimens are produced from a clump and can grow up to 9 ft (3 m) or more in length. They are an inch (2-5 cm) or so in diameter and light green in colour, surrounded by ten to thirteen low ribs densely covered by the areoles which bear about twelve spines, dark brown at the tips and becoming whiter towards the...

House Plants

House plants are acquired in a number of ways many as the result of making a definite purchase, others are bought on the spur of the moment, some are grown from cuttings offered by a friend or arrive as gifts. When choosing a plant for yourself it is possible to take into account the all-important aspect of home conditions, but with gifts all that can be hoped for is that the donor has made some allowance for the sort of conditions that the plant is likely to meet in its new home, as there is...

Ferocactus ccontinued

Ferocactus ingens is possibly more correctly known as Echinocactus ingens. Although only producing five ribs at first these will increase with age. extra rows appearing as the centre unfolds each spring. The ribs are broad but sharp near the base giving the younger plants a distinctly five-sided appearance. but nearer the top they become less broad and a more marked division between the ribs can be seen. The plant bodies arc bluish green and the areoles. which are borne on conspicuous...

The Echinocereanae Aylostera

The Echinocereanae are a group of clump-forming cacti which generally have short stumpy bodies. They are distinguished for practical purposes as a group by the presence of ribs on the stems, although these may be arranged spirally as in the rebutias. and especially by the way they produce their flowers from areoles on the sides of the stems, normally on the previous year's growth. This differentiates them from the Echinocaclanae which produce their flowers at the top of the stem on the new...

Espostoa

Esposloa lanala can at first be mistaken by the amateur for Cephalocereus senilis and is often loosely referred to as an old man cactus as well. It differs primarily in having quite sharp and well pronounced central spines, especially near the top of the stem, whereas C. senilis is almost completely spineless. It grows wild in the northern part of Peru where it forms a large tree with numerous spreading branches. Cultivated specimens are fairly slow growing. The species has between twenty and...

Medinilla

With hard, woody stems and coarse unto have much to justify its name of Medinilla magnifica. However, the sight of mature plants some 6ft (2 m) in height heavily laden with pendulous pink flowers is enough to catch the breath of the most seasoned planisman. Plants may be grown from cuttings rooted in heat but as they are slow to get under way they may seem to be disappointing in the first couple of years. It takes at least this length of lime before they begin lo produce flowers in any...

Plants

The beginner lo indoor-plant growing would be well advised to make his or her selection of starter plants from this section, rather than choose more delicate plants that may initially be more colourful but will, almost inevitably, be more disappointing in the end. Among the easier plants can be found a wealth of kinds with colourful and interesting foliage even the humble tradescantia when properly grown can be much more appealing than the most delicate and beautiful plant that is suffering as...

Echinofossulocactus

The Latin name for the species illustrated above is Echinofossulocactus. although rather sadly many now think it should be called Slenocactus. The former name is far more descriptive and refers to the appearance of the plant which is reminiscent of a cross between a hedgehog and a ploughed field. The ribs are very numerous and are deeply waved forming an irregular pattern round the sides of the stem. Echinofossulocactus hastatus has up to thirty of these low lacy ribs surrounding the low....

Caladium

Many of the plants grown as 'house plants' begin their lives in very distant parts of the world, either as seed, cuttings, or as tubers in the case of the caladium. It is often belter for the tropical 'house' plants to be produced in their natural environment so that they make the maximum amount of vegetative growth, thereby providing a much greater amount of cutting material. Besides the quantity being greater, ihc quality is usually very much superior to stock that has been raised in the more...

Rhombophyllum

Rhombophyllum rhomboitleum is one of a group of plants in which the growing period follows the flowering period. The species forms a mat of prostrate rosettes with eight to ten thick very succulent leaves varying between 1 and 2 in (2-5 to 5 cm) in length and just under an inch (2-5 cm) in thickness. As its name suggests the leaves are rhom-boidal in shape with the upper surface carrying a shallow groove down the centre and the lower surface having a pronounced keel near the tip. Most varieties...

Camellia

Belonging lo the same family of plants. Theaceae, as the tea plants of commerce, the camellias are very much more durable than was at one time supposed. In milder areas if planted in open woodland they will develop into fine specimen plants, giving a magnificent show of their waxy, single or double flowers in the spring. The varieties offered for pot cultivation are mostly hybrids of Camellia japonica and the colours range from white through pink to red. When reared in pots they are probably at...

Crassula

Sedum pacliyphyllum is one of a group of sedums characterized by thin upright or semi-trailing stems and succulent cylindrical leaves, 5. pachyphyllum itself is easily the most commonly seen and its English name, jelly beans, describes its appearance very well. The branching stems are densely covered with spirals of cylindrical grey club-shaped leaves which in the younger ones point upwards at the tips and flatten out with age. The bluish-green meal can be rubbed off and care should be taken...

Malacocarpus

There are several species of Malacocarpus in cultivation but Malacocarpus erinaceus is one of the more common ones. The plant bodies are at first hemispherical bul later they become more erect and start to form woody stems. This phenomenon in no way detracts from the growing ability of the plant and is formed in the wild state as a protective skin. Generally they are extremely slow growing, although once ihey have reached a size of 2 to 3 in (5 to 8 cm) in diameter they will flower freely,...

Adromischus

Ance when young when it closely resembles a lithops. is a member of the Crassulaceae and this becomes apparent as soon as its flower is produced. Although always sold as A. cooperi, and therefore illustrated and described under this name here, it is more probable that it is really A.feslivus. the A. cooperi of botany being now unknown in cultivation. A.feslivus has short, wedge-shaped leaves, flattened and slightly crenellated at the tips. They are grey green in colour and flecked and mottled...

Pleiospilos

In conlrast to the preceding members of the Aizoaceae described in this section the plants on this page are generally quite large and are unsuitable for mixed plantings on account of their fairly prolific growth. They are sufficiently stone like, however, to be included in this section, having the vaguely chunky-shaped leaves which one expects of this group of plants. Pleiospilos bolusii is named in honour of Dr H. M. Louisa Bolus who did a great deal of work on the whole family at the...

Aporocactus

One of the most elusive of all cactus species is Deamia lesludo - named after the botanist Charles Deam who discovered it. Although a great rarity this cactus has always been a favourite and is worth striving for even though it may take years to find one. Like all the members of this group of cacti it is a sprawling plant clambering over rocks and encircling trees in its native habitat in Guatemala. The stems arc generally five angled although younger stems may have fewer joints at first and...

Bougainvillea

One of the most brilliant of tropical shrubs, the paper-like bracts of bougainvillea will offer an exotic and colourful touch to any greenhouse or garden room display. Indoors. where available light is often inadequate, these can be difficult plants unless placed in the lightest window position. In ideal conditions they will grow rapidly and soon find their way into the upper reaches of the room, so some form of support will have to be provided for growth to be tied to as it develops. The...

Dieifenbachia

Li would be foolish and incorrect to class all the dieflenbachias as middle-of-the-road in respect of care and attention, but Dieffen-bachia exotica slips easily into this range. It is compact, colourfully variegated and not too difficult to care for provided the required cultural conditions are not neglected. In a nutshell these mean a temperature that does not drop below 16 C (60 F), a moist atmosphere and fairly heavy shading. However, this plant will withstand some fluctuating temperatures...

Chamaecereus

One of the most frequently grown cacti in this country is Chamaecereus silveslrii-, yet it is also one of those most frequently grown badly. This is a great pity since when grown well the plant flowers freely and is extremely tolerant of neglect, doing well on a bright south-facing windowsill. It is a native of Western Argentina and forms a dense matted clump of short stumpy peanut-shaped branches up to half an inch (I cm) thick and 3 or 4 in (8 or 10 cm) long. They detach extremely easily but...

Clianthus

There arc a number of these more unusual plants that the keen plantsman may have difficulty in acquiring, but seed is often more easily obtained and can be an excellent means of building up a collection of the rarer plants. The seeds should be sown in the conventional manner, but it is essential that the temperature is adequate, and not less than 20 C (68 F) is recommended. When potting it is important to ensure that a free-draining compost is used, and that the pots are adequately provided...

Rhoicissus

Rhoeo discolor belongs to the diverse trades-cantia tribe (Commelinaceae), and anything less like the conventional image of a tradescantia would be difficult to conceive. It is also a rather more temperamental plant, needing a minimum temperature of about 18 C (65 F) and careful watering that and dry conditions. It prefers shade and should be fed once it is established in 5-in (13-cm) pots - larger pots are not usually necessary. The leaves, which are about 10 in (25 cm) in length and arranged...

Euphorbia

The Euphorbiuceue, in spite of the superficial resemblance of some species to members of the Cereanae and other cactus genera, is clearly distinguishable by the presence of a milky-white fluid which exudes from the damaged portions of the stems. It is a very variable family and includes our own common spurges as well as the well-known poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Crotons too are members of the same overall family. The flowers of euphorbia are really extremely small, the more important...

Machaerocereus

Lemaireocereus ihurberi, commonly known as the organ pipe cactus, belongs to a group of Lemaireocerei with dark brown or even black felt in the arcoles. as opposed to the previous ones which all had light-coloured felt. It is also distinguished by having many more ribs, between twelve and seventeen in number, giving it a very different appearance from the other. In its wild state in Southern Arizona. Sonora and lower California it forms a large clump branching from the base, and this unusual...

Dolichothele

Dolichothele longimamma is an excellent species for the small collection as it provides variety of shape in a group which is otherwise somewhat similar in general characteristics. It is a native of Mexico where it is found near such unpronounceable places as lxmiquilpan and Zimapan. It quickly forms a clump of plants and the most characteristic features are the grass-green very long cylindrical tubercles which completely swamp and conceal the plant bodies. On some wild specimens tubercles have...

The Aizoaceae

The plants on the following four pages are all members of the mesembryanthemum family which is one of the largest families of succulents in cultivation and whose Latin name is Aizoaceae. They vary enormously from the well known living stones or lithops to succulent shrubs such as Apienia cordi-folia which is best known in its variegated form. A detailed treatment of the group is well beyond the scope of the present volume. This section is restricted to the former type of stone plant amongst...

Pachycereus

As mentioned earlier the Pachycereus species are noted for their particularly strong vigorous growth and for this reason they have been used extensively, where appropriate, as grafting stock for other cacti with weaker root systems which are unable to support themselves. The name is derived from the Greek for fat and alludes to the thickness of the stems of the plants. Pachycereus pringlei is a native of Northwestern Mexico and Southern California where it is one of the dominant features of the...

Gymnocalycium continued

Flowery Cactus Illustrated

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii has already been referred lo under G.damsii. Il forms small clumps by producing offsets at the sides of the plant from the areoles, and it is a low-growing variety normally only attaining a height of 3 in (8 cm). The stems are olive green in colour and the true species is characterized by paler bands running between the areoles. The ribs, which are normally eight in number, are broad and deeply notched with areoles about half an inch (Icm) apart and live or six radial...

Asplenium

With its appealing common name of bird's nest fern, Asplenium nidus is almost assured of being popular. But. into the bargain, it is also a very fine foliage plant in its own right and when well grown can hold its own in almost any company. The leaves are smooth and pale green in colour and are arranged in the form of a shuttlecock. They must, however, be handled with the greatest care as they are very easily damaged. Scale insects can be troublesome and should be carefully washed off with a...

Neoporteria continued

Neoporteria villosa unlike the species described on the previous page is a fairly reliable flowerer once it has reached a height of 2 to 3 in (5 to 8 cm). Like other members of this genus it is a native of Chile and starts as a hemispherical plant body which later becomes elongated and eventually reaches a height of over 4in (10cm). The plant bodies are normally tinged with red but this tint may disappear during dull summers or if the plant is shaded from direct sunlight. It has fewer ribs than...

Gymnocalycium

The Gymnocalycium group which is illustrated above and on the following two pages is one of the most rewarding genera for the amateur, as most species flower reliably and continuously over a long period. They will benefit from being placed out on the rock garden during the summer if space in the greenhouse is at a premium and. at any event, should be given an airy position on a shelf or near the door of the greenhouse as this' will help to ripen the areoles. The presence of flowers can be...

Calathea

A challenge is ever worthwhile for many indoor plant growers, and almost all the calatheas will provide just this anyone who is successful in growing them may well feel proud of their achievements. But it must be emphasized that the majority of the calatheas will require all the skill of the experienced grower. They do at times oblige with a few flowers, but the principal attractions are the many shapes and colours of the leaves. All calatheas need warm temperatures of not less than I8 C (65 F)...

Echeveria continued

M sl Echeveria species will benefit from being grown outdoors during the summer as they are generally fast growers and can become straggly and somewhat etiolated if allowed to grow for too long indoors. The summer air and the generally rather lower temperatures help lo keep the plant compact and by ripening and hardening the surfaces of the plant they check growth and allow flowers to develop. During the winter they do nol need any great amount of warmth. 10'C (50 F) being quite warm enough for...

Codiaeum

Belter known as crotons, these tropical shrubs originate from Ceylon and are available in many riotous foliage colours - for sheer brilliance there arc few plants that can compete with them. The discerning plantsman can build up quite a collection of these by keeping an eye open for the different sorts that are available in the plant shop or nursery. Sad to say although most are hybrids of Codiaeum variegatum pictum they are seldom offered as named varieties, but by visiting any botanic garden...

Philodendron

Eichlerii, which goes by the appendage of king of tree philodendrons. And it is a truly magnificent plant when fully developed with arrow-shaped leaves several feet in length radiating from a stout central stem. However, it is only suited to very large rooms, and even then must have its roots confined to pots of 10 in (2Scm) in diameter. Fully mature plants are best when seen in the botanic garden where proper conditions and space can be provided for Vastly different is P. melanochrysum, which...

Fittonia

Of ihese, the red and silver foliagcd sorts have been with us and proving very difficult to care Tor almost as long as polted plants have been in existence. Finonia argyro-neurti has attractively silver-veined leaves, while F. verschaffehii has leaves that are veined in a dull red. For both of these shaded conditions are most essential, and the temperature should not Tall below 18' C (65 F). Moisture surrounding the plant is almost as important as water in the pot. so it is well to provide peat...

Echeveria

Cactus Encyclopedia Pictures

Somewhat similar in appearance is Echeveria gibbiflora. This makes a very handsome plant with erect branching stems although large plants may need a stake for support later. The most commonly seen form has large leaves more than 10 in (25 cm) in length which have a pronounced keel at the base where they join the stem. The surface is an attractive grey-green and this is yet another variety over which care should be taken with pesticides. The species is very free flowering producing numerous...

Tetrastigma

The young growth of this plant has a slightly menacing look as it projects from the parent plant almost at right angles and the leading tendrils stand out like antennae in search of prey. Behind these the older tendrils hang down and resemble thin spidery legs that give this section of the plant a somewhat awesome appearance. Belonging to the vine family Tetrastigma voinierianum, when it decides that it likes you and is prepared to grow, is one of the most rampant of the larger house plants and...

Austrocylindropuntia

We come now to a group of opuntias which are characterized by having rounded or oval stems as opposed to the flat-jointed ones discussed earlier. Here again considerable confusion exists between botanical and commercial names. Most growers, probably as a result of having long runs of printed labels in the past, sell the plants under the generic name Opuntia. Botanists seem to prefer to call them Cylaubvpunlia or, even worse, Austrocylindropuntia thus for example Optmlia subulata is, in fact,...

Oreocereus

Although some authors feel that Oreocereus celsumus and O.fossulatus are, in fact, the same species there are two quite separate forms that can be distinguished in cultivation and they are listed here for convenience as two distinct species. O. celsianus forms an upright columnar plant whose branches sprout from near the base when the plant gets older. The stems are mid- to grey-green with between nine and seventeen prominent ribs which are heavily rounded and conspicuously notched above each...

Rhipsalidopsis

Rhipsalidanae Cactus

The nexi two pages illustrate a second group of epiphytic cacti called the Rhipsalidanae. The type genus is Rliipsalis and the botanical name is derived from the Greek word for wickerwork and is an allusion to the generally interlocking appearance of the branches of the plants. The group was one of the earliest ones to spread out of America and many of the species which are grown require rather warmer, more humid conditions than other cacti if they are to thrive. For this reason some of the...

Opuntia

Opuntias are probably the best known of all the different cacti genera and are more commonly known as prickly pears. The group has, in fact, been divided into more than ten genera and has been known to scientific literature since earliest times. The name opuntia derives from the supposed locality in Greece where it was first seen, but opuntias. although seen in great quantities all round the Mediterranean, are not native to that part of the world at all, and like all other cacti originated in...

Dizygotheca

Grown for ils attractive foliage Dioscorea discolor, variegated yam. is a quick growing deciduous climber that requires moist, shaded and warm conditions in order to succeed. It is best suited to the greenhouse or garden room, but will give much pleasure to the keen indoor plantsman who is seeking something a little more challenging on which to test his skill. Plants are grown from potato-like tubers that are started into growth in early spring, and it is most essential that they should enjoy...

Gardenia

The majority of these are only suitable for growing in the greenhouse or garden room where the temperature can be maintained at a minimum level of around 18 C 6S F . Allied to high temperature it is necessary to dampen regularly the interior area of the greenhouse in order to provide the maximum amount of humidity. High temperature on its own will only create a very dry atmosphere and one of the great secrets of success with plants in the greenhouse or garden room is to create the proper...

Plectranthus

Belonging to the same family of plants as the humble coleus, Labiatae. the plectranthus are equally easy to care for. There are four in cultivation, but only two that one is likely to come across in the normal course of events these are Plectranthus australis and P.oertendalilii. The first has rounded glossy green leaves that arc deeply crenaled along their margins and is of natural creeping habit. P. oertendhatii has leaf margins that are only slightly crenated and the leaves are less waxy in...

Pereskia

Pereskia Godseffiana

Pcreskias are very like a dog rose in habil and might at first sight be mistaken for any plant species other than cacti. The give away is the presence of areoles below the leaves from which the stout and quite vicious spines emerge. They generally require more warmth than other cacti and will appreciate a different type of compost. A suitable mix would be four parts of medium loam or sterilized garden soil, six parts of medium peat and two parts of washed river sand. It is particularly...

Lemaireocereus

Lemaireocereus Pruinosus

Lemaireocereus are, on the whole, difficult plants for beginners and require rather more warmth in the winter than most other cacti and succulents. They appear to be extremely susceptible to rhizoctonia. the fungus which attacks the soft collar of a plant's stem where the main body of the plant meets the compost. Systemic fungicides such as benomyl can give some help here and it may be a good idea to drench the plant with a solution of water and benomyl in the proportions recommended by the...

William Davidson and T C Rochford

Grevillea Robusta Flower

House Plants illustrated by Henry Barnett Cacti and Succulents illustrated by June Baker London New York Sydney Toronto Choosing House Plants 13 General Care of House Plants 13 Cleaning and General Hygiene 15 Pests and Diseases 15 Compost and Potting 16 Hydroculture - Growing Plants without Soil 17 Effective Display 18 Propagation 19 Easy House Plants An A to Z List 20 Moderately Easy House Plants An A to Z List 76 Difficult House Plants An A to Z List 84 Distribution of Succulents 93...

The Cactanae

The Cactanae has always seemed to me to be a special group of cacti. It consists of a genus called Melocactus all of whose thirty or so members are somewhat rare in cultivation. In spite of this rarity the best-known for itself the epithet of Turk's head cactus. As a genus they are characterized by a red woolly cephalium which forms on the top of the plant just before flowering commences but the plants as a group are slow growing and this feature does not develop until the plant is several...

The Echinocactanae Acanthocalycium

The Echmocaclaiuie which are described in Ihe following pages are characterized by the way in which the flowers are produced from the new year's growth at Ihe lop of Ihe plant, rather than from the sides as in the preceding group. They include some of the strangest members of the cactus family, such as Lophophora williamsii, the peyote cactus, from which mescalin is prepared, and Ariocarpus species which appear to be completely dead. Water should be given early in April and no attempt should be...

Dieffenbachia

Velopment. and the potting medium should be clean peat with a little sand added. The sap of the croton should be kept away from clothing as it will make an indelible stain that no amount of cleaning will remove. Loss of lower leaves is a common problem with crotons that are grown indoors, and this can often be traced to the plants becoming too dry at some time or other. Although it is important that the compost should not become soggy and waterlogged, it is equally important that it should at...

Notocactus continued

Notocactus mammuiosus should not be confused with N. submammulosus or the latter's variety pampeanus with which it is frequently mixed up. The two plants are very dissimilar in appearance, the one illustrated above being much more like the group of Notocacti which includes N. apricus and N. tabularis. Notocactus mammuiosus has at first low. globular, somewhat depressed plant bodies which become cylindrical as they grow older. It is a native of Uruguay and one reason for the great diversity is...

Cacti Succulents

Although the only cacti growing in the wild which most of us see are round the shores of the Mediterranean, the species is exclusively American in its origins. Other succulents come from all five continents of the world and although the cactus family has established itself over nearly as wide a geographic area it is entirely a product of the New World. In prehistoric times, however, some species of cactus travelled and Rhipsatis cassutha, for example, has been growing in Africa for a...

Columnea

Clerodendrum ihomsonae is a woody, climbing shrub that will attain a height of some 8 ft 2-5 m , and not be too difficult if reasonable growing conditions and a lightly shaded position are available. Some form of support will be needed for tying growth to as it develops. The leaves are green and somewhat coarse in appearance, but any deficiency here is amply compensated for by the excitement of the colourful crimson and white bracts that hang in large clusters throughout the summer months....

Faucaria

Succulent With Yellow Flowers

Faucaria ligrina has been given the English name of tiger jaws in deference to its appearance. It is really a mesembryanthe-mum and the daisy-like golden-yellow flowers are produced in the late summer and autumn. Watering should continue until the end of November and the plants should then be rested in a cool greenhouse with a maximum temperature of 7 C 45 F until they are ready to start into growth again in May. In spite of its vicious appearance the 'spines' or teeth at the edges of the...

Mammillaria

Of plants with the same specific name in the cactus family is nowhere more apparent than in the immense variety of forms of Mammillaria elongata. The plants are all distinguished by having long thin cylindrical stems which form clumps at the base when quite young. The commonest forms of this plant have cylindrical plant bodies about 6in 15cm in height at the centre although sideshoots may be almost prostrate along the surface of the compost. The tubercles are cylindrical and the amount of wool...