Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tiny Tubers, probably Sinningia Sellovii

 Sometimes interesting things "pop up" in the plant room. One such thing, which has done this before.... is most likely Sinningia sellovii. It's an outdoor-growing, reasonably-hardy, very enthusiastic producer of fertile seeds.

I could see the little ones starting to form and did not clean this mat untill they were large enough to move to their own pot.

Look by the tip of the tweezers. Can you see the tiny tuber? No matter how small the Sinningia, they seem to start forming their tubers quickly.

This helps them in times of stress and drought. 
 I moved all the little plants/tubers by taking the tweezers and very gently lifting them and putting them into dampened soil. (Label the pot, they always seem to look nothing like you remember in a month.)
Because the babies are so tiny at this point and somewhat fragile, putting them under a dome or using a little "baggie-tent" keeps them humid and happy.

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PS: you can't kill S. sellovii

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Streptocarpus 'Pola' and Microchirita sp. 'Phuket', are what's bloomin' today

 This is Streptocarpus 'Pola'. It's the first bloom for my plant. I'm pretty impressed with the bright color.

 Winston is somewhat unimpressed with the bright color and really was wondering why he had to endure having a plant shoved in his face for a photo opportunity. Oh well....
 I was somewhat surprised to see that one of the Microchirita sp. 'Phuket' plants was blooming. It's from Thailand. It is supposed to be an annual, but for some reason this one is still doing it's thing and is over a year old.
The Asian-natives in the family are interesting and some of the Gesneriads that are harder to find and try out. If you can get your hands on either seed or a starter plant, try out any of them, many seem to do well under lights and are relatively non-fussy.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sinningia bullata x leopoldii, Gesneria humilis, Amalophyllum ecuadoranum, Chautemsia calcicola, Kohleria 'Beltane'

This is what's bloomin' today!

Sinningia bullata x leopoldii. I grew this from a seed so I guess that would give me the rights to give it a name.

I had three or four others that were various shades of red or darker orange but this clear orange one with the great "snowflake" markings is the best.

The tuber is very odd and sort of corky also. I really like this plant only I'm afraid to cut off the only shoot it has right now so that I can propagate it. The tuber might go dormant and who knows if it would re-sprout?
Another seedling, this is Gesneria humilis. It's a tiny thing in a 3 oz Solo cup for now. This is its very first flower and I was really surprised to see that it's green.
It's a cute little deal that will probably grow quite a bit larger, but to get it to this size was a struggle. It's much happier under a dome now, although it had very humid conditions on a mat. Cool, eh?
This is pretty awesome but rangy. The small humid growing ones in the dome are the ones that were blooming today. This one is Amalophyllum ecuadoranum. It's very sensitive to drying out and it sort of sprawls for it's tiny size, but it produces a bunch of flowers on long pedicils with one flower each. They're very stunning white flowers with small thumbnail size leaves.

The flowers are "very gesneriad" in that they too have the fuzzy hair on them and so do the stems and leaves etc.
Another tiny thing, Chautemsia calcicola. I've had bigger colonies of this plant that produces rhizomes, but this little one is all I have right now. The rhizomes are a cute tiny purple thing. If you are lucky they will produce quite a few, but it's a challenge to see them against the dark soil.
The flower is quite "gesneriad" too. Five petals formed into the tube, the single pistil and the joined stamen.

The Chautemsia, Amalophyllum and Gesneria (for now) are all pretty tiny for those looking for smaller things to fit on your limited light stand shelves. I recommend just getting another stand.... just sayin'.
This is not little. This is biggish! It's Kohleria 'Beltane'. I like this plant because I really like the color combination of the flowers with a vivid magenta tube and the green dotted face.

The adult is a little ratty looking, but the flowers are really cool, so ignore the first photo (a little). ; )
Don't you agree? This is a great fuzzy flower. The plant blooms for a long time and it seems to hold the flowers for a nice long time too.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What To Do With Dish Gardens After The Show

 Sometimes I get asked at a show if I put my dish gardens together right before the show. And as an after-question, then do I take them back apart.

The answer is NO! I sometimes keep my dish gardens mostly intact for up to a year and sometimes longer.

It's very hard to find the "miniature trees" and larger plants for the gardens. It is also hard to train them to have a root system that is not deep (like in a pot) but very flat. Keeping them in their dish makes things much easier .

There are so many great accessories to put in a miniature garden that if you haven't made one, you probably really should!

Even stores like Michael's has little stuff like these cakes and soda!

 After the show I leave the dish intact until some of it starts to look old and worn. It's nice to have them as a decoration in a porch or outside on a patio table. Yes, they can get rained on.

When it's time to take out the decorations and accessories it's also probably time to remove some of the plants that either grew too large or started to get brown and aren't very attractive anymore.

This is the dish after it's cleaned up. It goes on a table by some patio doors and continues to exist happily till spring.

When it's time to fix it up for the show I look again at what needs to be trimmed or removed. I trim up the big "tree" and then re-plant and re-decorate with a different landscape plan and different "toys". No one wants to see the same one year after year.




This one was a very different type of design and a very interesting one to work with. The small tree is actually a small fruit tree that you might find growing and producing fruit (when grown to an adult size) in Brazil.

The changing depth of the dish and the challenge to get the right size plants was part of the fun.

After the show, this one didn't stay looking good for more than a month or two. It needed a big clean up.

The tree will stay in the container till spring and the rest.... might or might not make it that long.

I can certainly put some "decorations" in there if I choose, but for now it goes alongside the other dish and is growing out till spring.

The tree can be gently lifted into another shallow dish or even moved around in this dish. It's just easier to not repot it in a deep pot and start from scratch each time I want to use the tree.

Some of my "trees" I've had for years. One of them is likely 10 years old now. To find the baby-bonsai and purchase them as a bonsai is expensive. If you can find a houseplant that is sort of "tree-shaped" and keep trimming on it periodically, you have a much cheaper tree and a nice houseplant to enjoy year round.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Kohleria 'Snakeskin', Streptocarpus 'Wow', Sinningia eumorpha 'Saltao' and Sinningia 'Lisa'

 Brrrrr.... it's a cold morning with the wind chills and snow on the ground. Janice has a cure for this though, she sent some pix for the blog of something to make all of that "winter" go away for a little while!

The first is Kohleria 'Snakeskin'. Bred by John Boggan, this Kohleria has pretty foliage as well as pretty flowers. It's also said to be a well-behavied grower and perhaps doesn't get as rangy and wild as some of the other Kohleria. I want one!
 This is Streptocarpus 'Wow' and wow is what you say when you see this one in person. The color combination and color saturation is nothing short of vibrant!

With the winter season coming in North America, it is a good time to try Streps out if you haven't yet gotten yourself any. They like a bit cooler temperatures and don't forget, they do not like to stay too soaking wet. Good drainage for these friends!
 This is a Sinningia eumorpha 'Saltao'. A plant found naturally in Brazil, it's a tuberous plant that grows in loose humus in semi-shady locations. The big flowers are interesting to hybridizers who have used this one to make some very pretty crosses.
And this is Sinningia 'Lisa'. Some of the small Sinningias are bred especially to have a huge number of flowers for their size and this looks like one of them. Miniature Sinningias are a bit fragile but well worth the time and effort to grow them.

Also, a whole lot fit under just one set of lights!
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Streptocarpella caulescens

 Look at what interesting thing is blooming today!

This is Streptocarpella caulescens.

From Tanzania, this plant is a close relative to African violets. DNA studies show that of the Streptocarpus-type plants the Streptocarpellas are the ones quite closely related to African violets. Streptocarpellas have stems above ground and branching pairs or whorls of leaves and Streptocarpus do not have "true" stems but rather look as if the leaf comes right from the soil.
You will notice that unlike the Streptocarpella 'Concord Blue' many of us are familiar with the flowers of S. caulescens are shaped quite differently looking almost like some orchids.

Like all thing Gesneriad, even the flowers have hairs on the outer surface of them. Those are called trichomes.
Although I can't find the information right now, the pollinators for these must be interesting to be able to get under the smaller upper two petals of the flower and then bend at what looks like an almost right angle to get to the nectar.

Very cool plant.

Apparently it will grow on a windowsill like other Streptocarpella and is pretty easy. I killed the first one and now we will try #2. I just loved the dark, rich color of the flowers though. I hope I have more success with this one!
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PS: You can enlarge the photo somewhat by clicking on it. When you are done, use the back-key to go back to the blog page.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November Show Photos by Nhu Nguyen

Here's a treat for you today! May I present... Photos from the fall show at Bachman's on Lyndale in Mpls, MN. November 1-2, 2014!

Photographer and all around Gesneriad enthusiast Nhu Nguyen took some awesome shots for us. The first is Kohleria 'Red Ryder' hybridized by Patric Worley, a former member of the Twin Cities Club!
 A beautiful Primulina 'Patina' by Janice O. The foliage is remarkable and the plant is, (although in the photos hard to judge,) almost 15" across.
 Columnea 'Light Prince' is a marvel of variegation and a little bit of stubbornness. It will grow for you IF it feels like it. You hope it's in a great mood.
An interesting plant... Primulina tabacum is likely newly classified into one of the  Chirita groups with the Microchirita. It's endangered in the wild in China where it apparently enjoys limestone soil.

The leaves give off an odor some people liken to dried tobacco leaves, but I think it smells much nicer and sweeter.

It almost always has cute little purple flowers on it and I would recommend this one. Easy, hard to kill and blooms continually.
One of the lovely Optimara violet series, probably 'My Love'.

Hard to not be cheered by the bright flowers especially with the first snow on the ground here today!
Another Saintpaulia called 'Painted Silk'. It's genetically interesting. It will be a small grower, a semi-mini, with delicate variegation and "girl" leaves. Lots going on in this cute plant. You want one!
 Petrocosmea minor to the rescue! What a cool plant with the symmetry and the shiny leaves.

Petrocosmea like to be grown a bit on the cooler side and with super drainage. They can even be found growing on rocks in their native habitat, so don't overpot.
A cool Sinningia with  bright large flowers. This plant was approximately 12" high and the flowers are good size and long lasting.

Sinningias are typically tuber forming and will come back from neglect (with luck) by growing another stem. With good culture and care the tuber increases in size over time and sends up multiple stems. The show just keeps getting better and better the longer you have the plant. These plants too require good drainage. Take care to not rot the tuber by keeping heavy soil too wet. Use a well draining soil.

Thanks to Nhu for the photos.
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Friday, October 3, 2014

SHOWS ... Lots of Shows!

 So... you have a problem with your gesneriads???? We've got the answer and the Doctor is definitely IN IN IN!

This weekend there is an African violet show at the Heritage Room on 60th and Lyndale at Bachman's 
AND.....
 Nov. 1-2, 2014 there will be another show, a GESNERIAD SHOW at the Heritage Room at Bachman's also! Come see the plants this weekend and in a month!

Streptocarpus NOREEN!
Species violet.... rupicola? I forgot to take a pic of the label. But it's a nice one and very full of flowers.
How about a Primulina for a nice looking addition to your plant room?These are very cool plants and they bloom too. Everything in one good looking package.
Retha's plant from years ago being grown out by C. S. What a fun thing... it's Cleopatra.
The winner's table with some of the best of the show... best plants, design and gesneriads!

Come on down and give it a look on a cold and windy weekend. You can't rake anyway! ; )

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Friday, August 22, 2014

State Fair!

 The State Fair is on in full swing!

Many nice violets, gesneriads and designs were in the Horticulture Building on August 21-22.



 SJ took some shots to share of the design section which features dish gardens, terrariums and natural gardens!
 Great to see all the pretty plants!


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