Wednesday 27 April 2011

Is this the end for plant number 1?

I have been posting updates of my echeveria adonis blue hybrid as they develop (the hybrid, the flower). I have been wondering how much flowering will spoil the look of the plant and what will happen to it once the flowers have finished.  As you can see below is still going strong a month after it started flowering.

There are two types of echeveria flowers, those that flower off the stem in which case the plant just continues growing from the growth point, or flowers that form from the growth point meaning the plant has to branch or offset to continue growth. The parents fall into both groups, e. pulidonis flowers off the stem (although it can put so much energy into flowering that it puts out offsets to survive) while e. rosea branches with each stem eventually becoming the flower.  The initial signs were that this hybrid would flower off the stem, but looking now the growth point also seems to be a flower stalk with no new leaves forming.  I am not sure if you can make it out in this photo.

If this is the case I can only guess what will happen next, I am assuming the main plant will slowly be taken over by pups (of which there are plenty).

In some respects I am pleased; I preferred it's more compact rosette form before flowering anyway, all the pups are doing well and growing away (I have already removed 8 and there are another 8 growing now).  It will also mean I have seen its entire life cycle from seed through to clumping in a 3 year period. It will be a shame to loose this first plant though, as it was this one that started all the fuss.

I probably need to start thinking about what to do next; do I leave the plant to see what happens, or top cut it to force more offsets? Who knows it may even continue growing in some weird way once the flowering has finally finished.  I have enough offsets now not to worry about the next generation (although not enough to meet demand) so maybe I should leave it to a natural outcome, something I very rarely do with my plants.

Normally when you get a plant you know what to expect, or can at least look it up.  It has been great fun not knowing what to expect and documenting everything for the very first time. With the next generation all planted out in different locations I am looking forward to learning more as they grow and who knows mum may have one or two more surprises left for me yet.

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