I actually purchased plants from a store this week. May not sound like that big of a deal to you, but it's the first time I'd been able to do that in two months, so it was pretty exciting for me. Maybe especially so, since two of the three plants I bought were reluctant walkaways, plants I'd seen and wanted but didn't have money to buy.
So what happened? Well, you remember the Plant-Chaser blogiversary thing a week and a half ago? Well, it turns out that when you enter contests, it's possible to win things. (Mercury in retrograde! Anything can happen!) Therefore, money with which to buy plants.
And here's what I got.
'Emerald Holiday' is one of the "Jazzed Gem" series of Aglaonemas. I couldn't find anything terribly specific about where the "Jazzed Gem" plants come from or who holds the patent, but there are four of them: 'Emerald Holiday,' 'Etta Rose,' 'Sapphire Suzanne,' and 'Sparkling Sarah,' and you can see photos of each here.
Choosing which one to get (they had all four) was difficult. 'Sparkling Sarah' I could rule out, because I already have one at home (it's doing well; thanks for asking), but I pretty much want all three of the others. I wound up with 'Emerald Holiday' mostly because 'Sapphire Suzanne' was the plainest of the four, and 'Etta Rose,' though very cool, looked close enough to 'Gold Dust' (which I have) that I thought I could probably live without it. Though part of me wants to go back and get 'Etta Rose' anyway, since it's on sale now and probably won't be for very long.
The Maranta was a sort of random choice -- I've tried four different versions of Maranta leuconeura on seven different occasions, and each eventually fell apart on me, for different reasons. The first two had spider mites when purchased; the third came with mealybugs; the fourth and fifth were clean when purchased but got mealybugs after I got them home; the sixth I underwatered; and the seventh refused (for about a year!) to root, possibly because it was too cold. So this is somewhat stupid of me, but only $1.67 worth of stupid, which I think I can afford. Maybe this time will be different.
Like with the Aglaonemas, choosing the variety was a problem. When I visited the ex-job on Saturday August 6, the plants I wanted were Aglaonema 'Etta Rose' and Billbergia 'Hallelujah,' (photos of 'Hallelujah' here) but for some reason when I went back on August 10, Aglaonema 'Emerald Holiday' and Billbergia 'Borracho' looked better. Maybe I was in a chartreuse mood Wednesday.
The Billbergia is the one of the three I'm most worried about: Aglaonemas almost always love me, and Marantas almost always hate me, so I feel like I know what to expect from each of them, but I've only tried two Billbergias so far (B. nutans and B. 'Foster's Striate').
Both Billbergias have done well for me, granted, but 'Borracho' looks very different from either, and there's little information about growing it indoors. All I can find on-line about 'Borracho' and 'Hallelujah' is that both are hybrids by Don Beadle, and that although they need some direct sun outdoors for good color, Beadle recommends you not have them in direct sun indoors. He also says to keep the vase filled with water and provide good air circulation, both of which tend to be problems for me. But we'll see.