Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cold in South Florida part 2

Drastic times call for drastic measures!!!! National Weather Service is predicting a freeze for my area tonite (34°F to be exact with wind chills down to 27°F). Here are some of the steps crazy plant people do to save there prized specimens.

Garcinia intermedia with a couple of layers the pole helps keep the covers off the leaves works for small trees!

Garcinia livingstonei with a large nursery pot with a series of layers nice for a small bush.

Cyrtostachys renda with a garbage can and a series of layers works for a medium sized bush .

Orchids, aroids etc. in the garage it dropped down to 60°F last night in here. It is tolerable for these species.

Garcinia intermedia, Garcinia madrono, Glycosmis trifoliata and Artocarpus heterophyllus being spoiled inside the house, with the humans and cats, a balmy 70°F

Cold in South Florida

It's 40°F here this morning! That is really cold for South Florida although not a record. I brought in my plants that were small enough to do so last night ie; seedlings, orchids in pots, etc. and I covered two small trees (Garcinia spp.) that are in the ground already. Unfortunately, some of my large trees are to big to do anything with (covering is impossible) and they were on their own last night. I prepared all week by irrigating days before the cold but, I'm sure there will still be plenty of damage. Normally, when it get this cold my Soursop (Annona muricata) completely defoliates and it is flowering, arghhhh! Only time will tell the true damage. It's supposed to be the same temperature tonite with highs in the upper 50's today. I'll be documenting any damage caused by this cold. I am recording data for growing these species here, daily high and low temperatures, daily rainfall and yearly damage caused by cold events on a scale from zero(no damage) to five(plant killed). This will help me with my research and help me to become a better grower. There are two very useful pdfs supplied by the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC)

Cold Protection 2008 (pdf)
Utilizing Climate and Weather (pdf)

These both have valuable information on how to prepare and protect your fruit trees from cold. I'm already implementing the procedures described in the handbook. I'm curious to see if my preparations helped to prepare the plants for the cold.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Orchids Photo Update

I already did posts on each of these beauties, but I wanted to share the pictures of this years flowers. The last picture is of my bedroom window where all these little gems grow it has a western exposure so they get a lot of indirect light. I also water them every or every other day depending on the daily relative humidity. Please see my earlier posts, by clicking the name, on each of these beautiful orchids, but only after you check out this years blooms. Enjoy!

Oncidium '
Twinkle White'

Family: Orchidaceae •
Genus: Oncidium •
Species: N/A •
Country of Origin: N/A •
Common Names: 'Twinkle White' •

Dendrochilum uncatum

Family: Orchidaceae •
Genus: Dendrochilum •
Species: uncatum (Rchb. f.) Bonplandia (1855) •
Country of Origin: The Philippines •
Common Names: Golden Chain Orchid •

The West Window. You can see Neostylis 'Lou Sneary' is still blooming!

Creative Commons License
Orchids Photo Update by Eric Bronson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rhynchostylis gigantea

Chewed off inflorescence.

One flower left and a chewed off stalk.

The beautiful leaves.

Orchid in an orange juice crate!

My little specimen of the orange variety.

Family: Orchidaceae •
Genus: Rhynchostylis •
Species: gigantea •
Country of Origin: Southeast Asia •
Common Names: •

Is a large species orchid native to Southeast Asia the stem is roughly 8" long with leaves up to one foot long. The plant has two to four pendulous, cylindrical inflorescences up to 14" long bearing many highly fragrant flowers. I think this has one of the best orchid fragrances. There are a few different varieties such as pure white, red, orange, spotted, etc. Something got to my flowers and chewed through the inflorescence stalk probably a snail. As you can see mine is growing in a Kennesaw™ orange juice crate it will someday fill it, I've seen it done with a milk crate and it looked very cool. The flowers are still fragrant even though they are no longer on the plant so it wasn't a total waste. I have a small plant of the orange colored variety as well but I suspect it will be a while before it flowers. I am looking forward to that! Zones 11-12

Creative Commons License
Rhynchostylis gigantea
by Eric Bronson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jackfruit Seedlings

These are seeds that I started in late November all growing vigorously. Thanks to my friend Chris H. who sent me some seeds for free what a nice guy! It looks like all but one germinated and it may sprout yet. I plan to use the six plants that show the most vigorous growth to plant out in the yard, then I can top work (a form of grafting) them in the future if necessary(*see below). Here's a little more on propagation.

You see there are two ways to propagate Jackfruit
• A simple and easy method of reproducing the trees.
The tree is generally deep rooted with a strong taproot facilitating firm anchorage, and greater resistance to drought as well as high wind.*This is very important in Florida.
The characteristics of fruits produced by the seedling trees cannot be guaranteed, and are not necessarily the same as those of the mother tree.*This would be my reason for grafting.
• The time taken by seedling trees to reach fruit-bearing age is usually longer than for those trees propagated by vegetative methods.
• The trees grow taller than those propagated by vegetative methods, which is a constraint in management and harvesting.

Vegetative propagation
• Vegetative propagation can be carried out by different methods. Veneer and epicotyl grafting are commonly practiced in jackfruit in Asia (Haq, 2006). Details are described in Section 5.
• Fruiting and fruit quality of vegetatively propagated trees are the same as those of the mother tree.
• Vegetative propagation is particularly favored in Thailand.
The fruit quality of the new tree is assured; it will be the same as the mother tree. *This may be necessary to have the best quality fruit.
• The tree reaches fruit-bearing age sooner than in seed-propagated trees.
• The trees remain relatively shorter in stature, which makes management and harvesting easier.
The trees are often shallow rooted. *That will work well in South Florida, seriously though this could be a problem.
• Trees tend to be dwarf and to produce branches at a low level, which results in lower quality timber with a shorter trunk.(1)

Ok, so you see what I've underlined. And I've given an explanation of why this would be a pro or con here in South Florida. So to get the best of both worlds I plant out these seedlings. Then, if these seedlings end up producing inferior fruit or are slow to produce, I will graft onto to the already established seedlings, with their long taproots, with scions from more esteemed cultivars.

This Photo Taken 11-01-2008 @ RFVC 208 Garden

Family: Moraceae •
Genus: Artocarpus
Species: heterophyllus
Country of Origin: India, Bangladesh, Nepal & Sri Lanka •
Common Names: Jackfruit, Jak-fruit, Jak, Jaca •

The largest tree borne fruit in the world. This is a large tree that can reach 30 to 70 feet high. Although, I doubt it will get that big here in South Florida. The edible arils(2) taste like Bubble Yum™ bubblegum and bananas. I had one but it died, I'm a terrible gardener, ha-hah. I think these seedlings are going to do well stay tuned for updates. And hopefully, I won't have to wait long for fruit, most sources say that this species is precocious, it may start fruiting after three to four years!(3)

(1)International Center for Underutilized Crops: Jackfruit Manual

(3)JackFruit Growing In Florida University of Florida

Creative Commons License
Jackfruit Seedlings by Eric Bronson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 Recap

Me & Alice the Amorphophallus @ Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden May 14, 2005

I started I likE plants! this year in July to share my photos and observations about growing these rare specimens in South Florida. I've tried to keep it interesting so that you, my visitors could stop by everyday and see something new. I did a lot of posts in a half of a year (114). Here are a few of my favorites from 2008; My July post about the orchid bees that have found their way to Florida Have you ever seen a green bee? may still be my all-time favorite, I have recently updated my two posts about Anonnas Annona muricata, Annona squamosa that I did in August including more photos and info, My post on the beautiful rain lily Zephyranthes grandiflora in September one of my favorite flowers, in October my post on butterflies in my yard South Florida Butterflies included many beautiful pictures I took of each species that I saw in my garden this year. November, my posts on the Rare Fruit & Vegetable Council of Broward (RFVC) were full of information on each tropical fruit including photos of each. And last but not least in December my post on the More than 1000 Species Discovered I found this truly amazing. I'm so glad there are untamed places left in the world! What will they discover next?

What's in store for next year? First off, I plan to start taking courses so I can get a degree in botany. I'm daily reading books, searching the internet and talking with experts for more knowledge about these rare species. Second, more visits to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, The RFVC 208 garden, The Kampong and The Fruit & Spice Park for knowledge, photo's etc. And finally, whatever mother nature brings my way in the garden I will surely be sharing with you!

In the coming new year, I hope I can continue to informative and entertaining. So stay tuned!

Lastly, I also want to wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!