Pop Quiz: Seedlings, Cuttings and Dragonfruit

I'm giving a pop quiz to use... I mean, test your knowledge of propagation.  Here's question number one!

Chamaedorea Seedlings

As some of you know, I have this odd habit of planting seedlings of different species together in the same container.  I have a few good reasons, one of which is derived of sheer laziness...

If they're all planted together I don't miss any waterings and I save water at the same time.  Since I have to water everything on my balcony the old fashioned way with a watering can, one less trip is a good thing.

I've also noticed that the ever present damping off disease and its attendant fungus gnats leave seedlings alone when there's other plants in the container.  Not a single one of the seedlings in this container or any other that I've tried this way have "damped off".

The other reason is so that when I eventually transplant the container to my parent's place, there's built in shade so that the transition from my full shade balcony to the very sunny garden is an easy one.

Boy is my hand pale.  Anyways, here's the container up close so that you can see the chamaedorea radicalis seedlings beneath the butterfly cassia and scarlet butterfly weed.  The ones with the big leaves germinated first, but the smaller ones in the lower left are yellow and a little anemic looking. I'm worried that the other plants are being nutrient hogs, but I'm still on the fence over dividing the palms or leaving them as a "multiple trunk"  So here's question  #1:

1.  Should I 
(a)  Go ahead and plant this in the garden now,
(b)  Cut back all but a few of the butterfly weed and butterfly cassia,
(c)  Forgo my method and just attempt division?
(d)  None of the above

Mystery Seedling

Okay, so there's another downside to my crazy an mixed up habits. In my carefully (I'm not fooling anyone) arranged container of wild coffee, cherimoya and coontie cycad, I have a mystery seedling popping up.  Of course it wouldn't be a mystery if I was more organized.

I could have planted it after an excursion to south Florida, possibly a "Pink Dwarf Poinciana" aka caesalpinia pulcherrima from a seed collected at a city park.
To make things more complicated, I've also planted jacaranda, yellow poinciana and poinciana seeds over the last couple of years as well, and when they don't sprout or the other seedlings damp off, I transfer them to another container with plants already growing.  Like I said, It does cut down on dampoff that way.

2.  What is the mystery seedling?
(a)  Pink Dwarf Poinciana
(b)  Jacaranda
(c)  Yellow Poinciana
(d)  Poinciana
(e)  None of the above.

Mystery Sedum

Another NOID question!  This sedum cutting comes to us from Chicago, via a coworker of mine. 

Its the silvery one in the middle.

When it grew in Chicago, it showed a typical upright growth habit and flowered.  Now that my coworker has taken it to Florida, it sprawls and flops over, taking root via its aerial roots!  He says that it grows completely differently.

This is a good one for anyone who lives or has lived up north, since nothing in my personal library of Florida and tropical gardening is of any use.
3.  This sedum is ___________.

Dragonfruit Seedling Division

Note the pineapple seedlings in the middle!

These dragonfruit plants were started from seed last fall, and I didn't know the first thing about dragonfruit cultivation back then.  All I wanted was to just germinate them and keep them alive, with the possibility of fruit not really crossing my mind.  

Since then I've found some great resources...

Here's some photos of commercial growing methods at http://www.vivapitaya.com/grow.htm like the one pictured to the left.
I discussed growing dragonfruit on the Florida Gardenweb Forum and they had some great ideas...

So now it seems like it would be a good idea to divide the seedlings and transplant to individual pots!  I have a cell pack tray I could transplant them to, and maybe even provide some sticks and twine to train them vertically!  Eventually I could pot them up, sink them into the ground for stability and take them indoors in winter!  Any ideas?

4.  Essay Question:  Share your ideas concerning the preceding selection on dragonfruit.

Extra Credit:  What do you think of my business card design?  This is only the back of the card.  I was inspired by Danger Garden's superb stationary design and decided to bite the bullet and get some printed.  I provided a link to her current post, so you can see her awesome garden all in one posting!


  1. Thought I should add... you don't actually have to answer the questions.

  2. Let's see...
    1) IMHO, those plants should be separated to continue doing well. The cassia for sure is ready to take off and needs more room. So I guess that's "c" & "d" with "a" thrown in for the cassia.

    2) I pick "a." Because I love the pink poinciana.

    3) I don't know.

    4) I don't know this either.

    Extra Credit: I love the business card.

    Sure hope others will be more helpful. But, I had fun thinking about these questions.

  3. 1) I choose (a). Because I'm lazy, and everything in a pot dies eventually when I'm the caretaker. Get in the ground ASAP! Oh, but you're not me. You actually carry the watering can back and forth and spray the fungus gnats, right? I'm still amazed at all the seed-growing you do....

    2) I choose (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e). Because I was thinking when I saw the photo, before I read your guesses, those those ferny leaves reminded me of a poinciana, jacaranda, or raintree. Wow, I've never had the gumption to collect seeds from a public garden before. Will rethink that next time.

    3) Um, why isn't this one multiple choice? I don't do fill-in-the-blank.

    4) Definitely don't do essay questions.

    Extra Credit: Great idea! I was just thinking about a blog card myself earlier today. Thought it might be useful on those rare occasions I actually visit a nursery or fancy garden or run into someone else who is plant-obsessed. Wish I could've seen Danger Garden's too, though.

  4. NanaK: You have a good point on the first question!I do trust your knowledge.

    Floridagirl: Yeah, (a) would be the eisiest course of action on question 1.
    I didn't steal! They were on the ground and it was... oh well.
    Yeah, having a card will be nice for attending plant shows and sales.

  5. All the answers seem correct to me as I have never seen the seedlings of those plants you mentioned. As to watering plants using a watering can, that's how I do it, often 2 times a day. I like the design of this business card. I have been thinking about this but haven't decided on a suitable design yet.

  6. I don't think I can help with any of your questions. I do want you to know that you are not alone on planting stuff together. I have Windmill Palm seedlings, Washingtonia filfera seedlings, Big-Leaf Magnolia seedling and Red Mimosa seedlings all planted in the same pot right now.


  7. Wow, the dragonfruit that we have here are about 10ft high - would that be a different cultivar?

  8. Hi Steve,

    Came by to comment on your blog after you left a comment on mine and I wanted to say that I love your blog. The design and the theme is really cool. Makes me wish I lived in a more tropical location than Chicago.

  9. I'm just going right to the only question I can actually answer...I love your biz card design! I would pick it up just because looking at it would make me happy! And thanks so much for the comment on mine, and the garden link, that was really kind of you! Oh and I really like your idea to plant the seeds together like that. It makes great sense and I will be copying you in the future!

  10. Your dragonfruit looks pretty fantastic really. When I was in Vietnam last year that is what the commercial dragonfruit looked like. I fell in love with the fruit and came back and planted one but it isn't looking quite as amazing as yours (I'm in Sydney, so again, not really tropical)...but I guess it has only been with me for 8 months.

  11. I love you business card design! I recently printed some up on my printer. Although I really need to design something up and get them printed professionally. They just look so good!

    As for your sedum, could it be sedum sieboldii 'dragon' or October Daphne? It sort of looks like the plant I picked up recently. Although the edges of mine have a pencil line red along the edges.

  12. Jake:
    I'm glad someone else does that! I'm going to try and think more carefully about what I put together, but I like doing it this way.

    I meant to say that the smaller image is how its grown in a container... that's not my plant unfortunately.

    Mr. brownthumb:
    I'm glad you like it! I added you to my new "temperate" blogroll.

    Its funny you mention picking it up and feeling happy... I put it on my inspiration bulletin board to help remind me of what I'm going after.

    Yeah... that photo is of a Vietnamese plant... not mine. I accidentally erased that part while moving around stuff in the post.

    I'm so glad you like the design and congrats on doing some yourself too. I looked it up and it definitely looks like a summer daphne. Hopefully I can keep it alive here! Thanks for the correct identification!


Please feel free to share your questions, ideas and suggestions!