Botany Subscription Box [May 2023]
Thanks so much for subscribing to the Botany Box!
We hope you’ll enjoy each month’s selections as much as we enjoy sending them out to you.
Please note that plants may appear a bit frazzled when you receive them. This is normal, and they should perk up within a couple of weeks when following the care instructions provided in this blog post.
This month’s featured plants are:
Calico Hearts, Giant Echeveria (Assorted), and Rhipsalis aka Mistletoe Cactus
This month’s featured crystal is:
Colorful Calcite (Raw)
How long does it take for plants to recover from shipping?
Your plant has been shipped in a completely dark box, potentially for days, so tread lightly when you receive it. Wait at least 2 weeks before repotting your houseplant. It’ll give your plant some time to adjust “out of the box” and regain some strength. It’s perfectly OK if your plant loses a few leaves in the process.
Calico hearts succulents are known for their thick, fleshy leaves that are often variegated with blotches of white, dark purple spots, or pink. These plants typically grow to be about 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
They typically bloom in the springtime, producing small pink or white flowers. The calico heart is a relatively easy plant to care for, and it can thrive in both indoor and outdoor plants.
The Calico Hearts plant is considered toxic to children and pets.
The Calico Hearts is a beautiful succulent that is easy to take care of. It does not require much water and can tolerate some neglect. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your young plants to ensure that it thrives.
Calico Hearts does best in full sun to partial shade. If you live in an area with very strong sunlight, it is best to place your plant in a spot where it will receive some morning sun and afternoon shade.
If treated as an indoor plant, you can grow the plant under fluorescent lights. Be sure to place the light about 6-8 inches away from the plant so that it does not get too hot and damage the leaves. You can also place them near a sunny window for optimal coverage.
The plant can also be placed outdoors in a shady area during the summer months.
The best soil mix for Calico Hearts is a well-draining one. This succulent does not like to sit in wet or soggy soil, so a mix that drains well is essential. You can create your mix by combining equal parts potting soil, perlite, and sand.
Calico Hearts is drought tolerant and does not require a lot of water. Overwatering can be detrimental to the plant as it can lead to root rot. Water your plant when the soil is dry to the touch and be sure to empty any drainage tray so that the roots are not sitting in water.
When it comes to calico hearts care, water only when the succulent soil is completely dry. These plants do not like to sit in wet soil for long periods.
Water your plant about once a week or every ten days, depending on the temperature and humidity levels in your home.
Temperature and Humidity
Calico Hearts is not picky when it comes to temperature and humidity. They can tolerate a wide range of conditions, making them ideal for those who do not have a perfect environment for their plants. Just remember, this gorgeous succulent does not tolerate prolonged frost.
Fertilizing is not necessary for Calico Hearts, but if you want to give your plant a boost, you can fertilize it once a month during the growing season. Use a succulent fertilizer or a cactus balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Be sure to flush the soil with water after fertilizing to prevent root burn.
Giant Echeveria (Assorted)
Echeveria plants are a very large type of succulent. They look similar to sempervivums and both are often simply called Hens and Chicks. Both plants are drought resistant and can be propagated from offsets. However, here are a couple differences that are very useful to know when growing echeveria.
Echeveria do not die after flowering like sempervivums. They are polycarpic. In other words, they can flower several times during their lives.
Another big difference between echeveria and sempervivum is cold hardiness. Echeveria are native to Mexico and Central America and do not like to get very cold.
If you live in a cooler climate, you can move your echeveria into a greenhouse or build a shelter around them for the winter, but that just means you won’t be able to enjoy these great plants as long as you should. The best way to overwinter some of the more tender succulents like echeveria is to brighten your house with them for the winter.
If you live in an area with months of freezing temperatures, plant your tender succulents in containers outside for the spring, summer, and fall. Then bring them inside when the temperatures start to drop. Echeveria work well as houseplants, but they need lots of sunlight. Put them wherever you want in your house and you’ll quickly be able to see if they have enough light.
Echeveria is listed as non-toxic to humans, dogs, cats or other pets.
Most of the common Echeveria species are not complicated succulents to grow, provided you follow a few basic rules. First, be careful never to let water sit in the rosette as it can cause rot or fungal diseases that will kill the plant. Additionally, remove dead leaves from the bottom of the plant as it grows. These dead leaves provide a haven for pests, and Echeverias are susceptible to mealy bugs. As with all succulents, careful watering habits and plenty of light will help ensure success.
Echeveria requires a substantial amount of light in order to thrive. They should receive at least four to five hours of bright, direct light on a daily basis. Placing your plant outdoors during the summer months will help it to thrive.
Echeveria that does not receive enough light will become elongated and leggy, often ‘reaching’ towards the closest source of light. It is also unlikely that they will flower. If you have your plant on a windowsill, turn the plant occasionally to ensure that all sides of your plant get enough sun.
On the other hand, too many hours of intense, direct sunlight can result in sunburn.
Echeveria requires a well-draining, porous growing medium to help keep excess moisture away from the roots. Standard soil for cactus potting is sufficient for this succulent.
If growing in containers, make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom to allow water to drain from the soil. Soil that is constantly damp or doesn’t drain well will result in root rot.
Echeveria, like most succulents, does not require much water as they store water in their fleshy leaves. Wait until the soil has dried out completely before watering your plant, and then give it a good watering, making sure the excess water drains out from the pot.
If you water too much or too little, your Echeveria will start to wilt, wrinkle, or drop leaves. However, it is better to err on the side of under-watering, as they can quickly succumb to root rot if overwatered. With that in mind, Echeveria should never be kept in damp soil.
When watering Echeveria, always water the soil directly and avoid allowing water to sit on the rosette of the succulent as this can lead to rot and fungal disease.
During the spring and summer, this succulent will need to be watered more frequently than it will in the winter.
Temperature and Humidity
Echeveria thrives in hot, dry conditions. For the most part, they do not tolerate cold temperatures or cold drafts well and too much humidity can lead to root rot. Echeveria grows well indoors in average room conditions with around 40% – 50% humidity.
During the spring and summer months, your indoor Echeveria needs temperatures of between 65 and 80°F. During the winter, a few degrees lower will be ideal.
Generally, fertilizing is not a requirement for Echeveria as they are accustomed to growing in nutrient-poor soil, which makes them susceptible to fertilizer burn if over-fertilized.
However, if you want to encourage healthy growth, you can use a cactus or succulent fertilizer or low-nitrogen mix that has been diluted 3 or 4 times more than the recommended dose.
Only feed a small amount every 2 or 3 weeks during the spring and summer months which is their active growing period.
Rhipsalis aka Mistletoe Cactus
Rhipsalis, also known as mistletoe cactus, is a family of epiphytic cacti native to Central and Southern America. There are over 35 different species of this plant, so Rhipsalis can come in all different shapes and sizes!
As a non-toxic houseplant, the Rhipsalis is a fantastic option in a pet-friendly home.
As with all tropical plants, mimicking the conditions in which they naturally grow is the most important thing in keeping Rhipsalis cacti thriving. It’s necessary to keep a balance of elements—they need bright light (but not too much direct sunlight) and water to offset each other, and need a well-aerated area that also doesn’t dry them out to the point of damage.
If you get the light exposure and watering schedule perfected, these are very easy plants to grow, and they will thrive for many, many years.
Rhipsalis are plants that are native to the understory level beneath towering jungle trees. Thus, they require plenty of bright filtered light, but should not burn in the bright direct light of midday or afternoon sun. Some morning sun is ideal. Keep an eye out for pale leaves, which could mean the plant needs more light.
A typical cactus potting mix should be fine for a Rhipsalis cactus, ideally one that contains some organic material. They can also do well with a standard potting mix blended with even parts of sand. As epiphytic plants in their native habitat, Rhipsalis cacti do not require a lot of soil—only enough to allow the shallow roots to anchor the plant.
Keep these plants moist, but do not allow them to sit in standing water. Falling leaves can signify that the plant is overwatered.
Temperature and Humidity
These plants like warm tropical temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Rhipsalis plants are not tolerant of frost, and they like considerably more humidity than the typical desert cactus. During the dry months of winter, some growers like to provide extra humidity with a room humidifier.
Feed regularly with a balanced, diluted fertilizer like a 20-20-20 for best results and up their feeding if blooms are insufficient. Feeding every two weeks is a normal routine.
Colorful Calcite (Raw)
Calcite is Calcium Carbonate. It is found throughout the world in sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. Calcite has a shiny look and comes in many colors.
Calcite is thought to be a powerful amplifier and cleanser of negative energy while also filling you with hope.
History & Lore
With its burst of citrus fresh fabulousness and its incredible amplifying energy, Calcite is a stone that kisses you with a surge of energy, ever ready to light a fire in your soul. For those times in life when you feel like you need a complete spring clean, Calcite can swoop in and bring its invigorating flow to flush out old stagnant habits, unhook the anchors, and leave you dancing light on your feet.
Calcite can come in a beautiful range of colors, from clear ice to citrus bright orange. Each brings its own radiant energy but all Calcite is here to encourage creative expression, wash away negativity, and to nurture emotional healing so you can lead the life you were born to live.
Origin & Regionality
The meaning of Calcite comes from the ancient Greek word Chalix and the Latin word Calx – which basically translates to lime. Rather than referring to color, the link to lime is a nod to its makeup of crystallized limestone. Calcite is a calcium carbonate mineral and if it looks familiar with its mystical shimmer it’s because you have probably captured Calcite before when admiring the intricacies of stalactites and stalagmites. Calcite comes with many names in our modern world – you may hear it referred to as Calcspar, Clear Calcite, or Iceland Spar. It is mined across the world but most notably is uncovered in the mines of Eastern Europe, Belgium, Great Britain, Romania, Mexico, Namibia, the USA and of course – the land of ice and fire itself – Iceland.
Raw Crystals vs Tumbled
Raw crystals are just raw. Untouched, untreated, and found just the way you would find them if you were to pull them out from the Earth yourself. They can vary from small to large natural formations. Since they are raw, they can be slightly more fragile (especially softer stones) in this state. Some crystal healers believe that raw stones have more of a pure energy, since they have been untouched and unchanged.
Tumble stones or polished stones as some would say, have gone through a process to smooth them out. The tumbling process does not take anything away from the crystal’s energy or vibration. The smooth even finish is very appealing for many people, they feel good in your hand and the process also highlights characteristics of the crystals you wouldn’t otherwise see when in the raw form. They come in different sizes from small, to very large polished free forms.