Dorstenia lavrani flowering

penfold2(4b, MN)June 9, 2011

My little Dorstenia lavrani seedling that I've had for one year has decided to flower.

I never expected it to flower this early, but this is my first Dorstenia flower, so it's new to me. It's not a great photo, but I believe I can see pistils which would make it a female.

Any growing tips? I've managed to keep two of them alive for a year now, but I do not have a good track record with their relative, D. gigas. They keep rotting, which makes me nervous about D. lavrani as well.

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dcelzinga

Beautiful plant! I love the helical leaf scars on the stem and the ruffled texture of the leaves.

I haven't gotten my hands on Dorstenia lavranii yet. I have kept 2 Dorstenia gigas happy for a year (1 from Out of Africa, 1 from Glasshouse Works), but I've had bad luck with 2 Dorstenia lancifolia and mixed results with Dorstenia foetida.

I keep my Dorstenia gigas under nylon screen and metal mesh bench on a south-facing deck -- i.e. very bright but filtered sunlight and excellent ventilation. Even here in Los Angeles, zone 10a, I have it sitting just above a heating pad set to 65 or 68 degrees F -- sort of my "delicate, rooting, baby" area. (Some experienced growers say I'm just asking for bacteria or fungus proliferation with even minimal bottom heat. But some plants seem to love it.)

My now-dead Dorstenia lancifolia were in filtered sun too, but no heat. It didn't help that a squirrel picked one out of its pot and started nibbling on the stem. (Though it also nibbled on Euphorbia... I found 2 dead squirrels shortly thereafter. Coincidence?)

I've even had some trouble with Dorstenia X hybrid from Arid Lands (a greenhouse hybrid). The top half of the stem shriveled -- the rest still survives. So I guess I'm still working on my Dorstenia skills. *sigh* I've heard people say they routinely keep Dorstenia spp in the greenhouse, a setup I don't have yet. Maybe that's my problem.

Good luck with this lovely!
--
DC, Los Angeles
CSSA, SGVCSS

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 6:08PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Your Lavranii looks great. I have always wanted one, but they tend to be a pricey little variety which has held me back in such a touchy plant. That said, my D. foetida and crispa are doing pretty well. I keep them in my sunroom under lights until temps at night will stay above 50, then out they go. Sunny spot, all the rain they want.

I also have a bunch of volunteer seedlings which holds me back from getting more. Sometimes I find my seedlings to be more tolerant and vigorous than the mother plant. Strange.

I don't do anything really special with mine. I just pull back on the water a lot but don't let them go totally dry in the winter when they are mostly leafless (sometimes they hold on to some stunted little leaves, though). Come summer, they are out there with the rest of them.

Sorry, DC, but your story about the deceased squirrels who nibbled on your euphorb made me smile a little. After the run-ins I keep having with the varmints in my yard, I could not help it.

T

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 7:28PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Thanks, guys. My other D. lavrani is bigger, but hasn't flowered or put out as many leaves as this little guy. Both seem to be firmly rooted, whereas my third D. gigas has now lost its roots. So far I find D. lavrani to be the easier species to maintain, but hopefully someday I will learn the trick to growing D. gigas. I've been trying to cut back on watering, but if I can get it rerooted I'll put it in full sun with more water for the summer.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 7:54PM
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dcelzinga

[Oops! I was adding an extra, erroneous 'i' to the species name 'lavrani'.]

I need to pot up my Dorstenia gigas, but it makes me nervous because I like it so much. I guess now's the time, so I should just buck up my courage. Best of luck re-rooting yours!

Your Dorstenia lavrani successes have inspired me to keep an eye out for a small, starter plant of this species. Did you get yours from Out-of-Africa (Mike and Maureen Massara's nursery)? If I can find a small one for $15 somewhere... Maaaybe $20.

The local squirrels' downfall was possibly a combined meal of 3 roundish plants: Dorstenia lancifolia with a nice compact stem, Pleiospilos nelii 'Royal Flush'... and the likely coup de grâce, Euphorbia suzannae. Mind you, this came after they devoured countless apples, pears, apricots, persimmons and tangerines from my yard. My fruit trees are effectively ornamentals because all the fruit goes to feed the varmints. I should just rip the trees out, but I don't quite have the heart.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 8:45PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Yes, I got mine from OOA for $15 last year. The bigger one was considerably more, so I'm thankful they've done better than my D. gigas. My hope now is that the big guy turns out to be a male plant and then I can try to get some seed.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 8:58PM
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dcelzinga

Apropos! Tonight was the monthly meeting of my local C&S club, and the mini-show category was Dorstenia & Ficus...

I snapped this shot with my phone of the winning plant--Dorstenia lavrani--at the Open level, grown by Y Hemenway, perhaps in a Rita Gerlach pot(?). The plant is about 12in tall from the soil line, if memory serves.
--
DC
San Gabriel Valley Cactus & Succulent Society

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:51AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Wow. Now I really want one, unfortunately. Looks like a mini-palm tree with three cycads growing below it.

T

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 12:07PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Here's my big one (relatively speaking).

It hasn't really leafed out much, but hopefully it will come around soon. This cool spell we're now having isn't helping, though.

I only hope that mine look like the pic in this link someday:

Dorstenia lavrani

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:18PM
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dcelzinga

The Massara (Out Of Africa) plant in the link is truly a thing of beauty. It belongs on the set of a subtropical wonderland for foot-high fairy creatures.

Yours is pretty great, too. I want! :-)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:17PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Posted by tom_termine z5b MA (My Page) on Fri, Jun 10, 11 at 12:07

Looks like a mini-palm tree with three cycads growing below it.

I agree, Tom! That pic Dcelzinga posted is awesome!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:53PM
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dcelzinga

Okay I couldn't resist... I ordered my first Dorstenia lavrani. It's pretty small, but hopefully I can coax it through the rest of this growing season. I still don't know what it takes to get it to the Hemenway's size and beauty, let alone the Massara's beautiful, multi-trunk monsters.

I also ordered an Adenia firingalavensis stylosa. The caudex on these plants starts to look like a pile of melted wax, and the heart-shaped leaves are a forbidding, dark color. (I really like the 2 Adenia globosa I have already. Someday I want to get Adenia ballyi.)

I am not sure why I'm so bitten by this hobby.
--
DC

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 2:13AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Congratulations, DC. Mine was also very small when I bought it in March of last year, but the price was right for such a rare plant.

I check out the Adenias at OOA every once in a while, but have not been bitten by that bug yet. I have a large enough collection as it is.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 10:37AM
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dcelzinga

penfold2: It's a funny coincidence that Out-Of-Africa offered a starter Dorstenia lavrani just as you got the topic going.

On the adenia... I hear you, I just started these this year and I don't go after all adenia. In any genus, I have a weakness for exaggerated thorns (Adenia globosa and ballyi) and strange colors and forms (Adenia firingalavensis stylosa with its purple leaves and gnarled, melted trunk).

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 2:53PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Whenever I get the urge for one of these, I remind myself where I live...it is 57F and raining right now ON JUNE 11TH! Mid sixties and rain for the next four days...96F two days ago.

My Dorstenia are like "huh?".... Had to put them in the greenhouse.

Sorry, just venting a little.

Tom

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 3:42PM
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dcelzinga

If it's any comfort, we're cloudy in Los Angeles this week with highs in the 60s, too: our famous June Gloom. The cloud cover rarely turns to rain, however, this time of year.

You're having a high of 57 and rain, though! After 90s got the plants all heat-primed? Ouch.

Hopefully Dorstenia lavrani is only scarce because of its relatively recent introduction... I'm hoping it's not too hard to grow without a greenhouse.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 1:47AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

So it's been a little over a year and I thought I'd post an update.

The little guy (lady I should say) is still growing and flowering.

The big one is also growing nicely, but still has not flowered. Don't understand why when it is clearly the more mature plant, but oh well. One of these days.

Looking back, they've clearly grown taller, but you really don't notice it unless looking at old photos.

Did anyone else pick one of these up? Would love to see anyone else's Dorstenias, lavrani or otherwise.

-Chris

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 3:46PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Chris,
Beautiful plants. When taking the picture, what are you using for a background? I like the black. It really makes the plant stand out.

Rob

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 6:23PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Thanks, Rob. I didn't really plan that. I took the shots with a flash, and, surprisingly, the shaded treeline in the background came out almost black. I finished the job in Photoshop, but you can still see a bit of sunlit grass in the second shot.

-Chris

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 6:33PM
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fakechuchi(7)

Hello, all.

I am bumping this post to ask a question about humidity requirements. I just received year-old seedlings from OOA and found some very detailed information on the web for their care. But I did not find anything about their humidity requirements so I would really appreciate some advice. In the winter, my office doubles as a greenhouse and is kept at 55 to 60% humidity. Is this enough?

Also, OOA said I could let them stay in these 3-inch growing pots until spring. My question is this: can these plants be over-potted? My objective is to put them in pots where they can stay and grow unhindered for at least a couple of years. I have no clue what the root structure is like and what depth and width it will need. I plan to use some version of gritty mix.

Thank you.

Pagan


D. lavrani

This post was edited by fakechuchi on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 8:45

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:42AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

"In the winter, my office doubles as a greenhouse and is kept at 55 to 60% humidity. Is this enough?"

Humidity doesn't seem to matter much to my D. lavrani. I've grown them in my basement under lights at 20% humidity, and in my greenhouse at 80% humidity. They didn't seem to care one way or the other. "My question is this: can these plants be over-potted?"

They don't develop massive root systems, but they do seem to be fairly vigorous plants overall. The problem is this is not the best time of year to be repotting. I'd want to get them out of that soil as well, but I wouldn't increase the pot size too much. I don't know what your winter growing situation is like, but if it were me, I'd want the roots to colonize the new soil before winter so there isn't a perpetually wet mass of soil when growth slows. If you live in a warm climate or can give them lots of light and heat, they may grow into larger pots over the next several months, but a similar to just slightly larger pot size would be the safe bet. The root systems will tell you a lot when you unpot them. I keep several pot sizes on hand and just look at the root ball after removing the old soil to determine what pot size to use.

-Chris

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:59AM
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fakechuchi(7)

Thanks, Chris, for such wealth of information. I will as you suggested and change the soil--I wasn't sure if they were potted in this wet soggy thing for transport or they germinated and aged in it.

The most detailed information I found said that in weather similar (or slightly colder than mine in coastal Zone 7), their D. lavrani was fine in the winter at 12C but on top of a heating apparatus so I wonder what the soil temperature actually is, they didn't say. I can keep them under lights at 20C day/16C night temperature range.

Also thanks for this thread--it's what pushed my passing interest into active stalking of OOA until the D. lavrani became available!

One last imposition: I'd love to see what your D. lavrani collection looks like now, a year after the last picture in this thread!

Pagan

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 12:33PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Well I'm glad you finally found a couple of nice seedlings. Yours may grow faster than mine since I'm way up in zone 4. Mine are not the fastest growers, but there is a definite progression looking back at the old pics. I didn't get around to repotting them this year like I should have, but here they are.

I'm still waiting for the smaller one to branch. I'm thinking it may need more sun, heat, drought (i.e. stress) in order to grow out rather than up.

-Chris

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 2:06PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Chris, I believe you may have mentioned your source for your plants but somehow I'm not reading things well today. Might you share where each plant was purchased? Thanks~Howard

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 3:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Clearly some great growth on the larger, Chris!
I love how the "arms" are rising up from the potting medium. I bet she's a show-winner...or could be ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 3:36PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Thanks guys.

Howard, I got both of mine from Out of Africa. I haven't checked there in quite a while, but they used to post them fairly regularly. I believe they also say you can email them about any plant no longer available. They may only post one at a time, but they usually have more available.

-Chris

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 3:45PM
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fakechuchi(7)

Wow, those are beautiful plants, Chris. The dark green parts at the top are this season's growth? You've clearly done well with them, Zone 4 notwithstanding.

P

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 6:23PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Chris, I was able to get two D. lavrani from Mike along with two E. horwoodii. They are small and I'm hoping will mature while I'm still alive to know if by any chance I might be lucky enough to have a male and female. Did you purchase the larger multi-branched plant as shown or did it grow branches for you? It is a real show piece! Thanks...

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:36PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

"Wow, those are beautiful plants, Chris. The dark green parts at the top are this season's growth? You've clearly done well with them, Zone 4 notwithstanding."

Thanks. I think the dark green is the current season's growth, but I've never kept track. Looks about right, though. "Did you purchase the larger multi-branched plant as shown or did it grow branches for you?"

I bought it as a larger, branched plant from OOA. I think the first pic of it that I posted here is pretty close to how it looked when I bought it. As I said earlier, I'm still waiting for my smaller plant to branch. I may try putting it under intense artificial light this winter along with a D. gigas which I've decided to try again.

As for flowering, you may not have to wait too long. They can flower from a very small size as my first post shows. Oddly, I haven't seen any flowers on my larger plant, though I didn't keep a very close eye on it this summer and could have missed them.

-Chris

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 10:54PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

This is one of my seedlings from my plant. It is in a 1.5" pot which you can't appreciate, but the plant is small and flowering. Not sure if it is D. crispa or foetida. The point is they can flower when very young.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 10:09AM
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JakeDiamante(9)

I hope this thread is still alive! Hi, I just purchased some D. Lavrani, and I wanted to ask Chris (penfold2) what soil mix do you use? How do you make it? It seems to really work out for you and I am still trying to get my perfect mix down... THANKS!!!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 6:09PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

"I hope this thread is still alive!"

This thread never dies, and I'm always happy to see it again!

I use a completely inorganic soil, which is a bit unusual, but it works great for me.

It's 4 parts granite to 3 parts Turface to 3 parts Floor Dry. Turface and Floor Dry are very similar products, and I could simply double one and eliminate the other, but I like the additional color from using both. I sift out the fines, then measure and mix. The soil in my previous pictures had larger pumice mixed in as well, but it didn't seem to provide any benefit, and I no longer use it. This soil is fairly similar to the "gritty mix" that many people use, but without the bark.

In other news, I found my larger D. lavrani flowering this spring. And it appears to be a male! Unfortunately, my smaller female is not currently flowering, so now I'm waiting to see if they'll flower simultaneously for me, giving me the opportunity to try my hand at pollinating.

-Chris

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:58PM
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fakechuchi(7)

Chris, congratulations!

I hope you post pictures of your D. lavranis.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:53AM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Chris, I did get several E. lavrani from Mike because I am oping for at least one male and one female for seed production. In this picture the plants in the back are E. lavrani and the center is, what I believe, is E. crispa. it is a seedling from one of my plants. I am amazed at how small it is and flowering but by D. lavrani have done nothing! How long did you have to wait for yours to flower?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:07AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

"Chris, congratulations! I hope you post pictures of your D. lavranis."

Thanks! I'll try to get some pics up later. "Chris, I did get several E. lavrani from Mike because I am oping for at least one male and one female for seed production... How long did you have to wait for yours to flower?"

With four plants you should have a pretty good shot at getting a male and a female. I was just lucky with my two (assuming I'm correct about them). My smallest plant was purchased as a marble sized seedling, and it flowered after just one year, and continues to flower each summer. My larger plant oddly took four years in my care to flower, and it was a bigger plant when I bought it. Not sure what happened there. They are capable of flowering at a young age though. I would think you'd see some flowers this year or next. Mine always seem to start in early June, so now is the time. I'll cross my fingers for you.

-Chris

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 10:36AM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Here's an updated pic. Growth hasn't really picked up yet because we've had so much cool weather. I'm not sure why the smaller one hasn't branched yet. After four years I'm beginning to wonder if it ever will. I repotted it this spring. Maybe that will give it the kick it needs.

-Chris

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:29PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

Chris, while my situation differs in that I have branching on the lower portion of this D. gigas but can't seem to get the top to do anything... maybe I will be repotting tomorrow!!!

Howard

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:58PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Well the bottom half looks fantastic, lol. My D. gigas is just a stick, but this will be my first full growing season with it. I wonder if that top will start growing again, or if you'd be better off chopping it and allowing one of the upper branches to become a new apex. Cuttings can be rooted as well, though I've never tried it.

-Chris

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:39PM
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fakechuchi(7)

That plant already looks like a forest-in-the-making though, Chris.

Mine fortunately survived the winter. These have only been outside for about a couple of weeks, and have just started growing new leaves. One of them isn't branching either.

My D. foetida seedlings are more generous with branches.

Pagan

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 6:09PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Looking good so far!

I wonder if there are cultural conditions that encourage or discourage branching, or if some just need more time. I'm waiting to see if my repotting has any notable effect. I may try some supplemental light next winter as well.

-Chris

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 8:56PM
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fakechuchi(7)

I had hard time figuring these plants out during the winter. I had them under lights, in pumice and turface on a heat mat. They kept drying at the tips and towards spring, lost all their leaves. I suspected the pots were too small and the heat was drying out the roots so I unpotted and the roots were, indeed, drying out. So, they were repotted in a slightly heavier soil. They are doing better but I really do not like soil, even those without peat, since they are too unforgiving to me.

In the end I decided I would just treat them like the seedlings that they are, with watering and light requirements somewhere between coleus and lithops. I know! lol this range is wide enough to land a Boeing 777. But I've only been with dorstenias for a year and my plant experience dates only to 2012.

This thread saved their lives, actually. Thanks for that, you guys.

I have a better relationship with haworthias and gasterias.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:32AM
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