I guess it's that time again already. I don't feel like I've been acquiring new plants that quickly, but apparently so (mainly through trades). And the ones I'm going to talk about are just the more interesting ones: there have been others.
Also, just to explain: if you sent me the plant in question by trade or other private arrangement, I don't identify who you are in the post because I figure you may not want all of my readers knowing that you have them and pestering you for trades. Not that that would probably happen. But just, you know, for the sake of maintaining privacy, I figure it's best to let everybody decide that for themselves. If you find that you want to claim one or more of these as your own contributions to the Subjunctive Botanical Gardens in the comments, feel free.
So okay. Here we go.
A couple of these plants are so new that I'd never even heard of them before, and Justicia scheidweileri (sometimes Porphyrocoma pohliana) is one of those. I only have this one because I saw one in a photo someone e-mailed me, and asked about it, and the person very generously sent me one without me even asking for it. I still don't exactly know how to take care of it, but I figure I can try default tropical plant care until I know something more specific. They're related to shrimp plants (Justicia and Pachystachys spp.).
They're apparently mildly invasive when grown outdoors; most of the davesgarden.com comments are about their tendency to throw seedlings all over the place.
The reader will be forgiven if s/he doesn't see why this is a big deal, but I've wanted this plant forever, so I was thrilled to get a big honking cutting by trade. I cut it into four pieces (the above photo is of the topmost piece), stripped the leaves off of the bottom few inches of each piece, planted it into wet soil, and stuck it under some fluorescent lights in the basement, and all four pieces are now sprouting new growing tips. Though one of the four did defoliate first.
As the regular Synadenium grantii is a personal favorite, and has been started and restarted and restarted from a single small cutting three years ago, I fully expect to have lots of these very shortly too.
This one jumped out at me when I saw it in the grocery store a few weeks ago; I've seen multiple types of coloration on Philodendron hederaceum, but this is the first one I've seen that was speckled. It's not especially flashy, but it was relatively cheap, and I'd never seen it before, even in photos, so I got it.
There's a tiny bit of uncertainty in my mind about whether or not it's diseased (surely if there were an actual new variety, I'd have seen it somewhere on-line before seeing it in the store, right?), but that's probably just me being paranoid about admiring any variegated plants, since the variegated Ipomoea a couple weeks ago, and the comment storm that ensued.
Both Wikipedia and GlasshouseWorks say this plant is a cross between Cryptanthus bahianus and Billbergia nutans. I like Cryptanthus, I like Billbergia, I like intergeneric hybrids, so this was a natural to try to trade for.
I've also gotten even more Aloes. 'Grassy Lassie' was a trade. I've seen some pictures on-line that make it look really stunning when in flower, not that I expect to see flowers indoors.
'Pink Blush' is one of the Proven Winners Aloe varieties; they have twenty-two listed on their website at the moment, including also 'Grassy Lassie' and 'Fire Ranch' (which Karen715 has recently blogged about). It was sort of an obvious one to buy -- the picture doesn't show it well, but the leaf edges are pink, and it looks cool in person.
'Silver Ridge' is also a Proven Winners plant, and although it's not as flashy as 'Pink Blush,' it's still mighty cool. Both 'Pink Blush' and 'Silver Ridge' have a very weird, sort of disturbing texture to the leaves, which is maybe easiest to see in the 'Silver Ridge' picture. Or if you can't see it there, look at the Proven Winners site. They have close-up photos of everything. (And, he noted with some disgust, no non-close-up photos of anything, or at least not the things I was interested in. Aloe 'Donnie' is still totally going on the want list, though.)
Euphorbia flanaganii var. cristata is the plant with the most interesting acquisition story: I got it from Cactus Jungle, as my prize for winning an identify-this-weird-object contest. Which I wasn't even sure was a real contest, at the time. (Sometimes it's hard to tell if Cactus Blog is being serious or sarcastic. Does anybody else have that problem?) Also I'd done a couple hours of Google image searching before making my guess (All you people with jobs are too busy to spend two hours Googling to win a $10 gift card, so who's the unemployed loser now, yo?), which maybe counts as cheating, but even if it does, I'm not giving the plant back.
I'd wanted one of these for a few months now; I passed some up at Lowe's a few months ago, then changed my mind and decided I wanted one after all. Unfortunately, by the time I got back, they didn't have them anymore. So I'd been trying to get one again. Cactus Jungle didn't just happen to send me a plant I really, really wanted: I sent them a list of like twenty plants, prioritized according to how badly I wanted them, and of the things they were willing to let me have, this was highest on my list. Which was sort of a roundabout way of doing it, but what would you have had me do, accept a plant chosen at random?
Anyway. So that was all very nice, and the box was well-packed and the plant was undamaged and pest-free as far as I can tell, so that was all a pleasant surprise.
Finally, Kalanchoe prolifera:
Kalanchoe prolifera is another plant I'd never even heard of, prior to receiving it by trade. My trader sent a big section of stem, saying that basically any part of the plant (stem cuttings, isolated leaves, pieces of stem) could produce a new plant, which makes me wish I'd cut it up more first. The stump started to sprout more or less right away, from each of the nodes, but it's since changed its mind about most of those; the stump has been dying back slowly from the top, and only one node now has any growth on it.
I don't know what happens next, nor do I know whether the plant will be even remotely attractive if it does thrive.
I also don't know why there's a Kalanchoe prolifera but not a Kalanchoe prochoicera. (Are plant names really the place for taxonomists to be taking sides on abortion?)1
The pictures of K. prolifera that are out there make it look plausibly decorative, if enormous, with big, pinnate, succulent leaves. (E.g.: it's about 4/5 of the way down the page.) We'll see how it goes.
1 I know they're not. I'm being funny.
Not, you know, very funny. But still. Making the effort.