Time to take a break from the Schlumbergera seedlings, and see what the Anthurium seedlings have been up to lately. (If this disappoints you, don't worry: plenty1 more Schlumbergera posts to come.)
It's been five or six weeks since the last Anthurium update, so there are a lot of individual stories to tell. For my convenience, I'm just going to take them in (mostly) numerical order, though I have news about three named varieties also.
I really thought this was going to be the moment when 'Florida' was successfully pollinated. I used brand-new blooms, I applied pollen at varying times of day, when the spadices should have been receptive, and I did it several times. Ffffffftt. Nothing. It's really looking like 'Florida' is not genetically compatible with the rest of the Anthuriums here. If this is the case, my best guess for an explanation is that it might be a triploid or something (which would also explain why the blooms and leaves are so huge).
'Joli,' on the other hand, has definitely been successfully pollinated --
-- and appears to be developing normally so far. Which is pretty exciting, since at their best, the blooms look like this:
I have collected and sown nine seeds2 from 'Midori' so far. It's not clear whether they're going to germinate, but at least they haven't grown fungus. It's always a good sign when they don't grow fungus.
Also the most recent bloom has changed color a little bit, in a more dramatic fashion than the previous one did, though the photo still doesn't do a great job of showing the red veining:
The NOID purple plant hasn't been doing well for a long time, but I've never been clear on what its problem was, exactly. I suspect overpotting. In any case, things reached a point where I felt I needed to cut off the tops and start them over, so I'm trying to root them in water now. I've left the stumps in their pot, and we'll see whether they resprout, but even if they do, I'm not optimistic about the plant's long-term future. There are enough children and grandchildren of the NOID purple around that the genes are probably not entirely lost, even if all the cuttings fail, but obviously I'm a little worried about it.
Ivy produced another bloom shortly after finishing her first. She's been drying out too much between waterings, so I may need to move her up to a 6-inch (15 cm) pot soon if I want to keep her around. The flowers may not be special enough to be worth the trouble, though.
Aurora was I think the third seedling to bloom after getting moved to a 6-inch pot last October. She's doing a lot better lately than she had been: the spathe on the new bloom is (relatively) uncracked, the new foliage looks better, and up until an early draft of this post where I said I hadn't seen any thrips, I hadn't seen any thrips. (*sigh*)
Carson's finally got a new bud going, after being moved up to a 6-inch pot last November. This may or may not be worth getting excited about (the bloom color is nice, but the blooms are small and infrequent), but it's been such a long time that I can't help getting a little excited about it.
Elijah says hello. He's still doing that thing of being orange when the spathe first opens, and then turning pink within a couple of days. I go back and forth about whether or not this might be a good thing.
Eliza is this close to unfurling a new spathe. She was also moved up to a 6-inch pot last November. I'm hoping that being in a bigger pot will help reduce the drought stress damage to the buds, and I'll wind up with something bigger and shinier than the previous blooms have been, but we'll see.
Eve's bud aborted, probably due to drought stress. We will see, though, that this doesn't mean that we need to give up on her forever.
Rhea waited until I'd sown the seeds from her last bloom before producing a new bud. The new bud looks like it might be bigger and prettier than the previous ones, however. She got repotted in November, up to a 6-inch pot, which I'm hoping will encourage blooming: she's one of the more promising seedlings so far.
Roxy tried to bloom last May but then aborted after I started spraying the plants with white oil. I wasn't sure whether she'd bother to try again, but she has. So it's nice to know that that situation isn't permanent.3
Megan's been working on a light pink bud for what feels like forever. I'm not expecting it to be terribly exciting once it happens, but at this point any new first-time blooms are neat, and it's a pretty large bud, at least. If she looks like I expect her to look, Megan may be one of the seedlings I sell off this spring or summer.
Sue started a bud last summer, but aborted it, and then she died in mid-January, probably due to overwatering. Or maybe just due to sucking. Sometimes seedlings just suck.
New first-time bloomer. This bud is only a couple weeks old, so it may not amount to anything, but I suppose it's meaningful that Summer's making the attempt.
Tasha's one of the most exciting seedlings to me at the moment; not only a first-time bloomer, but a first-time bloomer that developed quickly and had a purplish bloom. It's pretty close to the color of #035 "Alyssa Edwards," though with a smaller spathe. Unlike Alyssa, Tasha started a new bud before her first was fully open, which is also a good sign, and she's on the fast track to get a 6-inch pot.
Trey's first bud was discovered last Monday. On Monday, there was a distinct purplish cast to the bud; by the time I took this photo on Tuesday morning, there no longer was. It's conceivable that he might change back to purple before the spathe opens -- he may be a full sibling of Tasha's, and buds do often change color as they develop -- but he might stay a plain red. No way to know now: we'll just have to wait and see.
Another plant that aborted a bud last summer and started over this winter. Fingers crossed.
Ru has nice foliage, and the bud is an interesting dark red. This should be exciting, but I'm a little wary, because of how things turned out with Jean.
Jean has a lot going for her: dark red buds, dark, glossy foliage with an interesting color and shape, able to hold herself upright, just kind of an overall handsome plant. The problem is that the bloom was disappointing:
Not the color promised by the buds, plus the spathe was small compared to the overall size of the plant. Admittedly, the red spathe / lavender spadix combination is interesting,4 the flower has lasted a long time so far, and Jean began working on a second bud almost immediately, so maybe I'll be more impressed next time.
Even with disappointing blooms, Jean has a lot going for her, and I intend to keep her around. But I had hoped for something a bit more spectacular. Which is why I'm not as excited about #290 "RuPaul Charles" as I would otherwise be; I'm trying to keep my expectations low.
Oh, and: the appearance of #290 "RuPaul Charles" right before the premiere of Season 7 of RuPaul's Drag Race5 is coincidental but pleasant. Sometimes the seedlings just know these things.
Faye's foliage is pretty similar to RuPaul and Jean: all three have dark green leaves with a matte finish (a trait that seems to come from the NOID red, even though the NOID red's leaves are fairly shiny), so I was expecting the bud to match as well, but Faye's bud is actually more brown than anything thus far, and it's not even a pretty brown. I do like it when unexpected new things happen, and a brown spathe wouldn't be the worst thing, but . . . well, I'm not sure what to hope for, I guess.6
Formica's bud is really too small to tell what color it's going to be, at this point, but I'm guessing it will probably be pink. Probably nothing interesting will happen here, but it's news, so.
Only just discovered Lois's first bud three weeks ago, and it didn't last: it had aborted within two weeks. The location of the bud was a clue that this would happen: keep reading.
I had just moved Darby from a 3-inch pot to a 4-inch pot six weeks before I noticed this:
It aborted the bud after a few weeks, which didn't surprise me: it was only 14 months old at that point. 14 months for a bud isn't unheard of (#058 "Betty Larsony" built a first bud at 12 months), but the record for a bud which goes on to become an actual bloom is 15 months (#282 "Dave Trading"). (The average so far is 25 months.) Darby also chose a weird location to start building a bud -- ordinarily they start with a node near the growing tip, not an old node from the side of the plant. Lois did this too, then aborted; #076 "Bob Humbug" aborted side blooms several times before growing one from near the growing tip that survived. Not sure what any of this means, but it's a pattern, and will no doubt be helpful for calibrating my enthusiasm level in the future.
Mystique's bud is another one that has only been around for three weeks, which ordinarily would make me hesitant to get too excited about it, but it's also unusually big for a first-time bud, and growing pretty rapidly. Additionally, Mystique is older than you'd think from her ID number -- a lot of the seedlings from the middle and late 500s are divisions from older plants. She's either a clone or a sibling of #083 "Carmen Adairya," and is 38 months old even if she doesn't look a day over 29. So there's good reason to think she may be perfectly capable of knocking out a decent bloom already.
MysterE was divided from, and consequently either a clone or sibling of, #232 "Rhoda Badcek." (Who is also producing a bud right now, by the way.)
Tess isn't budding or blooming, but I wanted you to see this:
I don't know what this is. I suspect I should probably get rid of it. I've seen this sort of thing a few other times on very young seedlings just after transplanting: they never actually grow out of it and eventually I wind up throwing them away. This is the first time I've seen an otherwise normal-looking plant spontaneously grow something like this. No idea what it means, and it's not in any way attractive, but it's at least different, right?
Like #555 "Mystique Summers Madison" and #565 "MysterE," Charity is older than her ID number would suggest, and is either a clone or sibling of #279 "Tristan Shout." Charity and Tristan are also blooming at basically the same time, like MysterE and Rhoda, though Charity beat Tristan to opening by enough time that I couldn't get a photo of his bloom for this post. In this case, the synchronization makes a bit more sense: not only are they possibly genetically identical, but they also both live on the same flat, which means that they get water at the same time, and have the same light duration (if not intensity), temperature, and humidity.
And that's all we have for today. The buds are coming along much faster now (seven showed up as I was in the process of working on this post, and two buds opened, necessitating additional rounds of photos), so you probably won't have to wait nearly as long for the next Anthurium update as you did for this one. I'm also working (intermittently) on a post about Anthurium foliage (it's more interesting than you think! I swear!), which in theory could happen at any moment, but will probably actually happen in a few more weeks. Maybe months.
Tomorrow: back to the Schlumbergera mines.
2 (probably 'Midori' x NOID red)
3 Almost always, a plant that aborts a bud will try again fairly soon thereafter. Only a handful of the seedlings have started blooms, aborted, and then declined to try again within six months: so far, it's just #058 "Betty Larsony" (who has a good excuse, since she got cut back and hasn't recovered from that yet), #088 "Charlotte F. Babylon" (first and only bud started in March 2014), #281 "Laganja Estranja" (April 2014), #124 "Fox Saik" (May 2014) and #265 "Madame LaQueer" (June 2014).
#236 "Roxanne DeBree" technically qualifies also, but I'm seeing hints of a developing bud there. It's not unambiguous enough for me to make it official yet, but Roxanne could in fact be trying again.
4 (if reminiscent of #144 "Graham Reaper," who did the same color combination but wore it a little bit better)
5 After? I haven't been able to find an actual date for it yet. I'd read that it was going to premiere January 26, wrote a note for myself about it and everything, but then I searched on the 27th and apparently it hadn't; all anybody would say for a date was "spring." So I don't know. But previously it's always been January or February (we do not speak of All-Stars), so I'm assuming it still will be.
6 My actual expectation here is that the green will diminish over time, and the red or whatever it is will intensify, and I'll wind up with another red or dark red. But it might be fun to be proven wrong? Even if it means I have a baby-shit brown Anthurium? Possibly?