Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pretty picture: Chirita 'Deco' flower

As promised earlier, I present to you the first opened flower on my Chirita 'Deco:'


Very frustrated with the camera. I don't feel like it got the colors right, even after I tried to adjust them. This is possibly that thing again where cameras don't photograph blues and purples accurately. I don't know. In any case, it's a much nicer flower than I had been anticipating, it's lasted a long time, and there are more getting ready to open, so I'm pretty happy about this.


The plant's been in the (cool, humid) basement, in what I'd ordinarily call moderate light -- lots of fluorescent lights around, but it doesn't get much light from any of them. I would have assumed that the light it was getting was insufficient for blooming, except that it obviously wasn't.

So here's a question, then -- why aren't Chiritas sold more often, if they're capable of this? There are a fair number of on-line sources, but I don't recall ever seeing one sold in a garden center. Too few flowers? Short-lived flowers? Hard to keep alive in a retail setting? Not attractive enough? Some Eastern-Iowa-specific quirk of the market? What's your guess?


9 comments:

Tom said...

We used to get in big, beautiful baskets of Chrita at work...we'd go through great lengths to tell everyone how great they were and how easy to grow and bloom they are...and still no one ever bought them. I think people are just dumb.

Long Haired Lady Rider said...

My guess: The leaves snap rather easily, making them a bit difficult to transport. Plus, they haven't been in general culitvation very long.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

i rarely see them either... adorable though.

The Expat Garden(er) said...

I think I'll second LHLR--makes sense that shipping Chirita may involve some less-than-desirable appearance because of leaf snappage. Happens to me all the time, and I just move them from one part of a shelf to another.

Glad to see you're taking better care of my plants than I ever did. I think this Chirita tried to flower for me once or twice, and then gave up and just started offsetting. I have one of those offsets growing here in Saudi Arabia, but it's far away from flowering!

RebelCowgirl said...

They're not very well know by most and aren't commercially promoted like it's cousin the African Violet. They are very pretty and just as interestingly beautiful as their Gessie cousins On a gardening forum I'm a member of I do know of a couple of people who have them but I haven't been able to find any to purchase locally myself. I do have a place where I can buy them, but it requires shipping and I'm always scared that I'll end up with a dead plant due to the changes in temperature from one place to the next. Not to mention the way the boxes are treated and the fact that the plant will end up stuck in a very hot truck for at least 1 day before reaching my door. These kinds of plants like warm temperatures, but I don't think they'd like been smothered in vehicle heat in the Florida sun. Our heat index right now is at 103 degrees with humidity.

RebelCowgirl said...

As for shipping Chrita, it shouldn't be any more difficult than shipping African Violets, Streptocarpus, and other Gesneriads. Yes the leaves can and do break easily, but the good thing is a lot of the times you can take the snapped leaves and grow new plants from those snapped leaves(if the leaves are still fairly firm to freshly broken firm).

Thomas said...

Maybe some people confuse them with Streptocarpus, because of the bloom. A shame 'cause they're much easier to grow and flower (good selling point?). They are a bit brittle though, and some customers can be really challenged when handling plants.

I've grown one for a few years ('Chastity'), eventually it grows a stem and branches, with a kind of bark, develops sort of a bonsai look. I like it a lot. I bought a start of 'Aiko' at a plant sale in May, and would love to get one of the variegated ones...

Anonymous said...

Give it time--in large part it's simply because they haven't been around very long. Most of the species were only introduced in the 1990's and the "new" hybrids have only been created in the last decade. While they are now well-known to gesneriad growers, they have yet to percolate out to the general growing public. In general form and culture they aren't too different from african violets, which will probably help. It's too bad that just as Chirita is getting some name recognition, recent taxonomic rearrangements mean that most of the species and hybrids are now being moved to the genus Primulina.

--John B., Chirita (Primulina) hybridizer

Anonymous said...

I have found the leaves are more forgiving if you let them dry out and go a bit limp-like. But not too much. They recover well from a dry spell. I just put supports under the leaves or put into a much deeper cache pot so that when the leaves stiffen up, they are in an attractive shape and not pointing downward.

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