In This Issue:

Labeling and Turning Potted Plants
By Thomas Schwink, 2000 Mid-Iowa C&SS

STAPELIADS: Caralluma, Edithcola, Orbea Echidnopsis, Hoodia, Huernia Orbeopsis, Orbeanthus, Stapelia, Stapellianthus, Tavaresia, Trichocaulon, Tromotriche, Piaranthus
By Dennis Kucera - From Open Gates - July 2000 -
Gates Cactus and Succulent Society Redlands, CA

A Tour of Namibia: Why Am I "Quivering"?
by Emy de la Fuente, Jr. - South Florida

Culture Calendar
by Raymond Eden
ESA Bulletin - Volume 55 Number 4


Labeling and Turning Potted Plants By Thomas Schwink, 2000 Mid-Iowa C&SS

I use labels for both identification and orientation. Losing plant names because of label breakage or fading of the writing is often a problem and many ways to avoid such loss have been reported. I have tried many such suggestions including using two plastic labels, one of them below the soil, writing on the pot itself, writing the plant name or a code number on the part of the label below soil level, and having all plants of the same species grouped together. Label or writing loss is only a major problem with plants that spend time outdoors. Plastic labels and the writing on them last much longer indoors.

Outdoors I group my potted plants so that identical ones are all together in a group that is separated from plants that they might be confused with by other plants that have some obvious differences from the group members.

When replacing labels in outdoor pots I now use two zinc labels in each pot, with full information written on both sides of each label. The labels are inserted together as a pair, touching each other. Over time the writing on the outer sides of the label pair fades but the writing on the inner, touching surfaces lasts much longer. Zinc labels are long-lasting outdoors where rains wash out minerals, preventing the accumulation of salts that can dissolve the parts of the zinc labels that are below the soil surface. I do not use zinc labels in my house or greenhouse because of this loss of the lower parts of the labels due to dissolving of the zinc by soil minerals.

I turn my greenhouse and indoor plants on a regular basis, using the labels in the pots for orientation. Outdoors I turn the pots only when turning is really needed because of leaning. With some of my indoor plants which are turned regularly, especially some of the aloes, the plants extend beyond the edges of the pots so far that the labels are difficult or impossible to find. With these I either tape a rectangle of white paper to the side of the pot below the label or make a conspicuous chalk mark in this area. With some pots I use both chalk mark and paper rectangle The paper rectangles are easier to see and do not rub off, but the chalk marks are easier to apply. With a few of my aloes, especially some 'Aloe polyphylla' plants, I no longer can find the label but still have the paper and chalk marks for orientation. These few pots in which I no longer can find the labels contain plants whose identity is obvious without the labels.

STAPELIADS: Caralluma, Edithcola, Orbea Echidnopsis, Hoodia, Huernia Orbeopsis, Orbeanthus, Stapelia, Stapellianthus, Tavaresia, Trichocaulon, Tromotriche, Piaranthus

By Dennis Kucera From Open Gates - July 2000 - Gates Cactus and Succulent Society Redlands, CA

These leafless succulent stem plants are members of the milkweed family, Asclepiadaceae. There are about 300 genera and 2,800 species of plants in this family. They come from most continents from temperate to tropical and desert climates. They can be leafy shrubs, vines or clump forming low leafless succulents.

We are most interested in the Stapeliae group listed above. These leafless, thick stem succulents have very reduced leaves or tubercles or teeth. Their very succulent flowers have 5 petals or petal lobes and often are very bad smelling. The reddish brown color and smell of rotting meat of the flower attract carrion fly’s, blue tailed fly’s and other insects for pollination. They are native to the deserts of Arabia, Africa and Madagascar.

Edithcola has 2 species with 5 angles stems to 12 inches tall from eastern Africa and Yemen. E. grandis has reddish brown and yellow star shaped flowers to 5 inches across.

Caraluma, syn. Frerea, is a genus of 80 to 100 species of clump forming perennial succulents from Africa, Socotra, Arabia, India, and Burma. They have open, bell shaped flowers with 5 lobes. C. barchardii is a cushion forming, leafless succulent with gray green stems to 3 inches. They have clusters of small reddish brown flowers in summer. It comes from Morocco and the Canary Islands. C. joannis is another leafless succulent to 4 inches tall with purple green stems. In summer it has clusters up to 10 flowers each 1 inch across. These bell flowers are red spotted inside with velvety purple lobes tipped with fine hairs. It comes from Morocco.

Hoodia is a genus closely related to Trichocaulon with about 20 species of erect branching perennial succulents with spines. They come from Angola, Botswanna, South Africa and Namibia. They produce large saucer to cup shaped flowers with a fowl odor. H. bainii is a subshrub to 8 inches high with erect stems with up to 15 angular ribs with brown spines. The dull yellow flowers are up to 3 inches across. It is native to S. Africa and Namibia. H. currorii is an erect shrub to 24 inches with spiny ribs. The terminal flowers are cupped shaped up to 8 inches across, green to ivory to pink. It comes from Angola and Namibia.

Huernia is genus of about 65 species of low growing erect succulent from S. Africa to Ethiopia and Arabia. H. pillansia from S. Africa has short 1 ½ green stems that are very bristly. It has starfish shaped flowers to 1 ½ inches across cream, pink or red. H. zebrina from Namibia, Botswana and S. Africa has creamy colored flowers with numerous purple brown bands.

Orbea is a genus of about 20 species of dwarf, clump forming, leafless succulents, closely related and originally called Stapelia. They come from dry rocky hillsides of eastern and southern Africa. Their flowers are 5 pointed stars with a carrion scent that attracts blue bottle flies for pollination. O. ciliata grow into a 2 inch high mat of erect 4 angled toothed stems that are green with red tips. Bowl shaped yellow, purple spotted flowers, 3 inches across develop in summer. O. varigata, Syn. Stapelia variegata, is commonly called starfish cactus and they do smell fishy when in flower. It forms a clump of 4 inch high erect toothed gray green stems mottled purple. In summer it produced groups of up to 5 flat, very wrinkled dark brownish red, yellow mottled flowers. It comes from the east coast of S. Africa.

Stapelia is a genus of about 45 species known as the carrion flower. They come from hilly terrain of tropical and southern Africa. S. gigantea, syn. S. nobilis, is a clump forming succulent with 4 angled, velvety, light green stems to l8 inches high and 1 inch thick. Its fowl smelling yellow and dark red flowers are up to 14 inches across and are fringed with silky red hairs. S. grandiflora has erect 12 inch stems that are toothed and mid-green about 1 inch thick. Dull purplish red flowers to 9 inches across are produced in summer. It is native to the western and eastern coasts of S. Africa.


A Tour of Namibia: Why Am I "Quivering"? by Emy de la Fuente, Jr. South Florida

Namibia, the youngest of the African nations, takes its name from a 130-million year old desert that uniquely harbors elephant, rhinoceros, lion and giraffe--The Namib Desert, said to be the oldest in the world. Namibia lies in southwestern Africa.

Namibia, which means "plain" in the ancient Hottentot language, can claim a stake to the fact that it is one of the sunniest nations of the world. With 300 sunny days per year, it is also one of the world's most arid countries, yet it has a unique and captivating beauty. Namibia has four primary geographic regions. A brief summary of each follows:

1. In the north lies the Etosha Pan, an enormous alluvial basin that has long since lost the salt water lake that it once held. Etosha translates to "place of dry water"; it is an extensive flat depression of about 1,930 square miles (5,000 sq km). Although water supplies are now limited for most of the year to the perimeter of the pan, the area remains sufficiently fertile to support great herds of antelope species and zebra, lions, cheetahs, leopards, black rhino and--most famously--elephants. Approximately 340 bird species have been identified in the park. Many other species of wildlife abound as well, to the point that Etosha National Park & Game Reserve is considered of one of the finest game parks on the African continent and is one of Africa's greatest parks both in size and variety of wildlife species. The park, proclaimed a game reserve by German Governor von Lindquist in 1907, is mainly mixed scrub, mopane savanna and dry woodland which surrounds the huge Etosha Pan. The salt pan is a silvery white shallow depression, dry except during the rainy season. Near the Etosha area, lies the Hoba Meteorite, the largest known in the world; discovered in the 1920's, it has an approximate mass of 60 tons (54,000 kg) and it is estimated that it fell to earth some 80,000 years ago. Again nearby, around the mining town of Tsumeb, more than 184 different minerals have been extracted--ten of these occurring nowhere else in the world.

2. Along the Namibian coast stretching for 800 miles (1,300 km) lies the Namib Desert, a spectacularly barren, brilliant red sand landscape that is divided into the Skeleton Coast (in the north) and the Diamond Coast (in the south). The name Skeleton Coast is no mere metaphor. This coast is a graveyard for ill-fated seafarers and inattentive whales. The primary wildlife attraction of the Skeleton Coast is Cape Frio, which harbors a seal colony numbering in the tens of thousands. There are a number of features of this coastal desert (which at its widest stretches 186 miles [300 km] wide) that make it quite unlike any spot on earth:

--First, and most famously, it is the richest source of diamonds on the planet, and Namibia is as a result the world's largest diamond producer.

--The cold Benguela current keeps the coast of the Namib Desert cool, damp and rain- free for most of the year with thick coastal fog(s).

This highly mysterious coast is now the site of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, fourth largest nature conservation area in the world. Sossusvlei - the world's highest sand dunes, apricot-orange in color, can be closely approached by vehicle. The view from the dunes into other valleys and of the mountains beyond is awe-inspiring. Colorful beetles, antelope and other desert creatures roam about these arid dunes. The Welwitschia flats lie to the east of the old German town of Swakopmund; it is the best area to see the prehistoric "fossil plant" Welwitschia mirabilis (it is not really a fossil, just very old). Actually classified as trees, many Welwitschia are thousands of years old and are perfect examples of adaptation to an extremely hostile environment. Look for an article on Welwitschia in the next few issues of Cereus Chatter.

3. In the northeast, the Namibian territory extends between Angola and Botswana along the slender corridor of the Caprivi Strip. Unlike most of the rest of Namibia, this Strip is a wooded and fertile region as it is crossed by a number of rivers. Two of these, the Zambezi and the Okavango, rank among the great rivers of Africa. Some of the region is characterized by swamps and flood plains. The strip, which is bordered by Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe to the north and Botswana to the south, is referred to as the "panhandle" of Namibia. It is the site of several game parks, which while not offering such an abundance of wildlife, certainly provide spectacular scenery and relative solitude. 4. Namibia's center is occupied by a high escarpment plain. Windhoek, the capital and the only city of any size, is located in the middle of Namibia. The city lies 5,400 feet (1,650 m) above sea level (just slightly less than "Mile High" Denver. The climate here is typical of semi-desert country, with hot days and cool nights. In the northern part of the central plain is the Waterberg Plateau, a 154-square mile (400 sq km) shelf that rises 492 feet (150 m) straight from the surrounding plain. The plateau is well watered and lush, and is home to several rare and endangered species. At Namibia's southern tip, is yet another geological wonder--the immense Fish River Canyon. Second only to the Grand Canyon in size, Fish River Canyon offers magnificent vistas and great hiking. Due to the strenuous nature of the hiking trail, a medical certificate of fitness (issued by the Ministry of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism) is required. The semi-arid southern region consists of sun-baked savanna with yellowish-brown tints and characteristic Euphorbia and Aloe species (more on these later). Many visitors say that this area has a stark beauty that creates its own mystery.

Namibian rainfall can be expected in the form of heavy thunderstorms exclusively in the summer months, which in the southern hemisphere, occur from November to February. During these copious rains, the dry riverbeds, in Namibia called "riviere", for a short while, become rapid rivers; within a few days, the burnt-out land turns green with vegetation.

Some experts say that the best time to travel in Namibia are the months from April to June. During this period, the temperature during the day averages about 77? F (25? C); the sky is always blue then and the nights are cool enough for a good sleep.

Other experts claim that the dry winter months (July to September) also are a good time to travel the desert country. During these months, the daytime temperatures rarely sink below 68? F (20? C). However, during the winter, on the interior plateau and in the Namib Desert, night frosts can occur. Experts do agree, however, that the Namib Desert should be avoided in mid-summer (November to March) when it often gets warmer than 104? F (40? C). The same applies to the tropically humid northeast of the country.

Interestingly enough, Namibia is the first country in the world to include protection of the environment and sustainable utilization of wildlife in its constitution. About 16% of the country's territory has been set aside as national parks.

In terms of inhabitants, Namibia is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Merely 1.7 million people live in an area of approximately 318,000 square miles (824,000 sq km)--equivalent to 5.3 inhabitants per square mile (2 per sq km). Compare this with 70 inhabitants per square mile (182 per sq km) in our country. Though populated by few people, those few constitute an unusually diverse set of peoples and cultures. The country's predominant (85%) black population is composed of several different ethnic groups, including the San, the Khoi-Khoi, the Herero and the Ovambo. The small European population is composed of Germans and Afrikaners; there is also a significant Asian minority. The great majority of Namibia's population lives in the north, where there the climate is less arid and generally more hospitable. The succulents live to the south.

Those who have flown over Namibia say that there appears to be hardly any sign of its botanical wealth below. However, botanists have identified more than 3,000 different species of plants--about 1/10th of them are water-storing varieties or succulents. As I said earlier, Euphorbia and Aloe abound, but there are many others such as:

Adenia pechuelii, Adenium oleifolium, Aloe dichotoma, Aloe erinacea, Aloe gariepensis, Aloe hereroensis, Aloe hereroensis v. lutea, Aloe littoralis, Aloe melanacantha, Aloe microstigma, Aloe obscura, Aloe pachygaster, Aloe ramosissima, Aloe striata, Aloe striata ssp. karasbergensis, Ammocharis coranica, Anacampseros albissima, Anacampseros alstonii, Anacampseros buderiana, Anacampseros comptonii, Anacampseros crinita, Anacampseros densifolia, Anacampseros filamentosa, Anacampseros papyracea, Anacampseros tomentosa, Astridia hallii, Astridia velutina v. lutata, Brachystelma circinatum, Ceraria namaquensis, Ceropegia pachystelma, Cheiridopsis borealis, Cheiridopsis candidissima, Cheiridopsis caroli-schmidthii, Cheiridopsis peculiaris, Cheiridopsis meyeri, Cheiridopsis purpurea, Conophytum apiatum, Conophytum areolatum, Conophytum burgeri, Conophytum flavum, Conophytum fragile, Conophytum frutescens, Conophytum globuliforme, Conophytum johannis-winkleri, Conophytum karamoepense, Conophytum lithopsoides, Conophytum luteum, Conophytum marginatum, Conophytum meridianum, Conophytum pageae, Conophytum pardicolor, Conophytum robustum, Conophytum ruschii, Cotyledon orbiculata, Crassula arta, Crassula ausiensis, Crassula communata, Crassula corallina, Crassula cornuta, Crassula deceptor, Crassula hemisphaerica, Crassula mesembryanthemoides, Crassula mesembryanthemopsis, Crassula muscosa, Crassula oblique, Crassula obvallata, Crassula tomentosa, Cyphostemma currori, Cyphostemma juttae, Delosperma pargamentoseum, Dinteranthus unexpectatus, Dolichos seinieri, Eberlanzia octonaria, Euphorbia avasmontana, Euphorbia friedrichiae, Euphorbia juttae, Euphorbia lavranii, Euphorbia lignose, Euphorbia namiskluftensis, Euphorbia trigona, Euphorbia virosa, Fenestraria aurantiaca, Fenestraria rhopalophylla, Haworthia tessellata, Hereroa puttkameriana, Hoodia bainii, Hoodia currori, Hoodia husabensis, Huernia zebrine, Ipomoea holubii, Juttadinteria deserticola, Juttadinteria suavissima, Lapidaria margaretae, Lithops dinteri, Lithops fulviceps, Lithops fulviceps v. lactinea, Lithops gesinae, Lithops gracilidelineata, Lithops herrei, Lithops julii, Lithops julii ssp. fulleri v. rouxii, Lithops karasmontana, Lithops karasmontana ssp. bella, Lithops karasmontana ssp. eberlanzii, Lithops karasmontana v. aiaiensis, Lithops karasmontana v. lericheana, Lithops optica, Lithops optica v. rubra, Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. dentrica, Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. elisabethae, Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. groendrayensis, Lithops ruschiorum, Lithops schwantesii, Lithops schwantesii v. marthae, Lithops schwantesii v. rugosa, Lithops terricolor, Lithops vallis-mariae and Lithops werneri.

Of particular significance in the region, are two plants, which I shall write about in detail. The first one is Welwitschia mirabilis, undoubtedly one of the rarest plants in the world-as I said earlier, it will be the subject of another article in Cereus Chatter. The second one, Aloe dichotoma, was the reason for which I got started writing this article--below is a summary of my research on it.

A. dichotoma, a very tall member of the Aloaceae Family, is usually found on rocky north- facing hills in the very arid areas of Namaqualand from Loriesfontein northwards to the Orange river, eastward to Upington and in Namibia. It only shares prominence in the southern Africa skyline with Pachypodium namaquanum and A. pillansii, sometimes referred to as the "Bastard Quiver Tree". In southern Africa, A. dichotoma can be commonly be referred to as Tree Aloe, Kokerboom, Quiver Tree and even Choje by Bushman,

The Kokerboom bark, on their main stem, peels in golden brown scales, while the branches are smooth. The blue-green leaves, which may reach 14 inches (35 cm) in length, are born in small, terminal rosettes. The leaf margins have a brown-yellowish edge with yellowish teeth that are approximately .4 inches (1 mm) long. The large upright flowers, which develop on branched spikes from May through July (their winter), are about 1.2 inches (3 cm) long have a bright yellow color. The nectar-rich flowers attract insects, birds and even baboons.

Quiver Trees are tall, thick-trunk trees that branch dichotomously, that is in the middle or forked--thus their botanical name. The wood is very light and spongy inside--more on this later. The smooth, thick trunk of A. dichotoma can measure up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in girth at the base and up to 30 feet (9 m) high. They are usually to be found alone or occasionally in large groups which constitute a forest. They reproduce by spreading seeds; however, they flower for the first time at the age of 20 or 30. They can live to the ripe young age of 200 some experts say even 300. In habitat, the plant grows in soil with a high concentration of black rock, which absorbs a lot of heat and allows the tentacular, octopus-like roots of the tree to take hold. It is also very resistant to frost.

A. dichotoma is relatively easy to grow in cultivation. They should be planted in a very porous, fast draining soil mix with very little humus. To provide them root expansion, they should be planted in fairly large pots (do not over-pot any succulent, however). Place them in full sunshine or where they will receive a few hours of direct sun light. They can be fertilized with a diluted solution of Peters 20-20-20.

According to Male & Guardian (October 6, 1997), the writings of Stephen Gray on his visits to the Kokerboom Forest Reserve in the Northern Cape are very poignant. He says, "THEY (A. dichotoma) first appear, like sentinels, on the dirt roads north of Calvinia in the Northern Cape. Then up over the salt pans, en route to the Orange River at Upington, there is the occasional specimen, linking the sky to the dry, dusty, arid landscape. Keep on the R27 - surely South Africa's loneliest long-haul - right through Bushmanland on the old inland route to South West. Seven kilometres short of Kenhardt, on a slight rise, one cannot help noticing - suddenly on either side of the rocky outcrop - that these strange trees have migrated there. Here is the country's only Kokerboom Forest Reserve. Stop and walk. This is a sacred grove - awesome to behold. And the pathway loops over 4 km." He goes on to say that their yellow flowers resemble fire like "flames on the candelabra". The reserve that Mr. Gray refers to was declared a reserve by the old Cape Nature Conservation department only in 1993. Made up of approximately 4,000 A. dichotoma specimens, the reserve sits on private property; however, it is open to the public at no charge.

The first written record we have of The Quiver Tree is in the writings of Simon van der Stel on his journey to "de Kopere bergh" (Copper Mountains) in 1685. They were unveiled to the wider world in a drawing published by Thomas Baines (of Baines' Baobabs fame) in 1866. However, the Kokerboom has been known in southern Africa for hundreds, even thousands of years.

The early explorers who arrived at the Cape, recognized two basic groups of natives:

--The herders or Khoi-Khoi, whom they called "Hottentots" (one of the words the Khoi used when they danced was "hautitou", this sounded like "hottentot" to the Europeans) and --The hunter-gatherers or San, whom they called "Bushman"

It is to these natives that A. dichotoma owes the common names Kokerboom (Koker = Quiver in Afrikaans) and Quiver Tree. Because of the soft pith of the branches and trunks of A. dichotoma, they would hollow them out, creating hollow tubes, which would make excellent quivers to carry their arrows. They did this for thousands of years before the white man settled in southern Africa.

I want to conclude with a quote from Jon Manchip, who, in his book The Land God Made in Anger, describes the Quiver Tree, "With its gray bark streaked with white…, it stands erect on the ribs of the mountains, stark and dignified. They are like the centurions of a forgotten legion, inured to wind, sun, thirst, and freezing nights."

The marquee on the Magic Bus reads "Namibian Wanderings". The bus is leaving shortly for Namibia--any of you on board?


Culture Calendar by Raymond Eden ESA Bulletin - Volume 55 Number 4

The end of the blooming season is the beginning of the best time to feed, prune and repot. All three do wonders for your plants. Epies take a short breather after blooming, then start to put out new growth. To help them along, you want to give them a growth producing fertilizer. Epies do not like fast-acting nitrogen fertilizer, especially in large doses. You can use almost and fertilizer with a low ration of slow-release nitrogen, such as 7-7-7. A fertilizer rate 21-21-21 is simply three times stronger, os use two thirds less.

When it comes to epies, the term “replacing potting soil” is more appropriate than is “repotting”, since it is a good idea to put a plant back in the same size pot once it has reached the ideal size for your collection. Epies are a bit like goldfish. If you put it in a larger container it will grow proportionately. There is an optimal size container for optimal sized plants for collection. You want a plant to have plenty of stems, but not take up too much room. The 8" pots sold at the ESA meetings is a good all ‘round size. As long as the plant blooms and is healthy, don’t be too eager to repot. Epies bloom best when their roots are crowded, (which is not the same things as being rootbound.)

Start by preparing a work space. A trick that makes clean-up easier and also helps prevent the spread of pests or disease is to place a thick stack of newspapers where you will do the work. After finishing one plant, wrap the debris in the top sheets, removing them down to the next clean, dry sheet, which gives you a clean work surface of the next plant.

Be gentle when removing a plant from a pot. Carefully run a long knife blade between the pot and the root ball to loosen the roots. You want to minimize root damage. If the roots are in good condition and there are no pests such as root mealy bugs, ants or slugs, the old soil can be removed and the plant repotted immediately.

If a plant is rootbound, remove up to one fourth of its roots. Study them carefully to determine where to cut to remove the desired amount with as few cuts as possible. The more roots removed, the longer it will take the plant to recover and reach blooming condition again. The more wounds, the greater the risk of rot.

Tiny, hair-like feeder roots are quickly damaged by exposure to the atmosphere. Damage can be minimized by being prepared. For instance, don’t wait till the plant is out of the pot to start mixing the replacement soil. Vitamin b helps prevent shock. Use a sprayer with vitamin b solution to keep roots damp. You can dip a plant’s roots in a tub of vitamin b solution, but the roots won’t always fit, and you risk spreading pests or disease from plant to plant. Making a fresh batch of vitamin b solution for each plant is too labor intensive.

If you suspect root pests, have insecticide handy. (Always follow label instructions.) Dabbing fresh wounds with powdered sulphur will help prevent harmful bacteria from entering the plant at vulnerable cuts after it is repotted. A dab of powdered rooting hormone with antibacterial agents is also beneficial, but not all root powders have antibacterial ingredients.

Potting mix should be damp but not wet. Do not water a newly repotted plant. Wait two weeks and then begin watering gradually. Watering a rooted plant with vitamin b stimulates its appetite. Many epi growers are convinced regular misting is beneficial, but care must be taken to avoid soaking the mix.

Good pruning can do wonders for the appearance and health of your plants. Just as you don’t have to be Ansel Adams to use a camera, anyone can learn good epi pruning techniques. Study a plant from several angles before you start cutting. You want to remove diseased, dying and exhausted stems while leaving a well-balanced, symmetrical plant.

A discolored stem indicates the plant is about to shed it, so it should be removed. Cut it off at its base unless it has healthy side branches, in which case, cut it back just above the good branches. An old stem with spent areoles is a good candidate for pruning. To encourage new stems from the base of the plant, remove tip growth as soon as it starts. Epies tend to produce flowers close to the tips of their stems, so if a new stem is allowed to grow from the tip of an old one, in all likelihood the old stem will not bloom, but the new one will. This isn’t a problem if the stems are short. However, some cultivars, such as ‘Bob Grimshaw’, put all their energy in a few, long trailing stems while the rest of the plant is puny. Controlling tip growth is the best solution.

Before pruning a lopsided plant to make it symmetrical, look to see if it isn’t really made up of several cuttings, and if rearranging these in a new pot won’t give you a well- balanced plant without sacrificing all that wonderful growth. When removing a stem, avoid leaving a stub. Even if new growth sprouts from the stub, chances are it will grow at some obtuse angle. Occasionally, symmetry must be delayed a year or two to satisfy a plant’s needs. I like to think of these as works-in-progress.

During the Summer, protect your plants from direct sun, and increase humidity during hot, dry days and nights by wetting the ground beneath them or installing a misting system. Small pots dry out faster than large ones, so check them often.