Bloom Watch #4

June 21, 2023

Rebel Flower

Are you serious?! Oh, it’s cereus all right!

Gardens Manager, Chris Kibler, was taken aback with astonishment this morning when he discovered that one of the Peniocereus greggii had rapidly grown overnight, reaching its full bloom stage. Not to worry, the rest of the buds are on track to mass bloom in roughly 2-3 weeks. But as always, the unpredictable nature of these special plants is keeping us on our toes.

We’ve nicknamed this lone bud the “rebel flower” due to its unconventional blooming time compared to the other buds. This early bird bud stands as a symbol of unyielding resilience and individuality amidst the garden’s lush tapestry.

Having reached its max, this lone adventurer is ready to blossom this evening. Located by the Sundial Plaza, this bud has outgrown its neighbor as well as the other buds throughout Tohono Chul (in the image below, note the size difference between the two buds). The “rebel flower” will begin to open at dusk and will still be in bloom by sunrise Thursday morning. Be sure to take a look if you happen to be strolling through the gardens today or tomorrow.  

While the heat of summer and arid conditions have slowed down the other blooms, our dedicated gardening team is diligently watering them once per week, ensuring their vitality as they flourish into majestic Queens. Note their current sizes in the images below. As you can see, they have some growing to do!

Seeking Royal Seeds Update

Last August we put the call out to the community asking for donations of ripe fruit from local Peniocereus greggii. Six different people brought us bags of this special fruit. They came from all around town, adding to the genetic diversity of our grow outs. To our amazement, we received thousands of fresh seeds. We want to say thank you! 

We are beginning to plant last fall’s donated seeds right now! On May 31st we planted the first batch of donated Peniocereus greggii seeds. We find that spring and summer are the best times to start our cactus seeds in the greenhouse. They like it warm! You can use a heater or plant them indoors by a window as well, but waiting till the warm season saves resources and can prevent overwatering that might cause cactus seeds to rot. 

We’re keeping seeds from each donor in separate seed packets and tracking which donated seeds we plant out. This way we may observe unique traits as they grow and potentially attribute them to where the seeds were collected. After a few years of nurturing, we’ll be able to provide them to Tohono Chul’s Gardens Team and offer them back to our community! 

By Tracey Till, Propagation Associate

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