Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Schlumbergera seedling no. 027

Seedling #027 made for a tough decision, name-wise. It doesn't really stand out, for good or ill: this is sort of the flower that would result if you could somehow average out all the other blooms that we've seen so far.

I considered a half-dozen options based on the color:

1979, which kind of works (I'm pretty sure a lot of the 70s was this color) but isn't particularly interesting as a name,
Bachelor Party, which is an interesting name but sounds maybe a little too exciting for such a boring flower,
Grannyface (same photo as "1979"), which was being seriously considered because it's a funny word,
Kiln, which has a certain color-appropriateness, plus my younger sister has recently gotten into ceramics and so it makes me think of her (also being seriously considered),
Metric, which is nonsensical enough to amuse me but it turned out that I didn't care that much for the band's actual music (not that that stopped me with Def Leppard's "Phil Collen," but those were special circumstances), and
Rothkoesque, which is interesting but implies untrue things about the bloom color.

And decided in the end to go with "Kiln," but part of me still thinks I should choose "Median" or something along those lines.1


1 And hey, um, I know that the naming is not actually important -- the odds of any of these ever being released as an actual named, patented cultivar are miniscule, and even if that were to happen, the odds of them retaining the names I'm using for them currently are even smaller.
Mostly, as with the drag-queen / punny names for the Anthurium seedlings, this is just my way of trying to come up with a memorable way of distinguishing a particular seedling from all the other seedlings, and that problem is, if anything, worse with the Schlumbergeras because the overwhelming majority of them are orange.
And also it amuses me to spend time trying to come up with names. Couldn't say whether it's entertaining for you or not. I'm trying, though. The flowers remain (mostly) pretty even if the chatter around them is obnoxious, so pay attention to whatever you want.


College Gardener said...

My personal favorite would have been 1979... :)

It would be nice if some of your crosses did actually get released commercially at some point. They are prettier or more interesting than a good chunk of the boring or tacky stuff I tend to see at the nurseries and flower shops around here.

mr_subjunctive said...

College Gardener:

Growing some seedlings out to see what the flowers look like has made me curious about why the commercially-available varieties are as limited as they are. I mean, I can't believe that I'm the first person ever to come up with an orange-and-pink Schlumbergera, much less four of them in one shot (#012A "Sofa Fort," #21B "Birthday Dinner," #28B "Neon Like," and one that makes its debut on Thursday), and orange-and-pink is pretty, so why have I never seen one in stores? (I'm not sure I've ever seen an orange orange in a store, period.)

Curious about what colors you consider "tacky." (Or is the tackiness in the presentation, rather than the plant itself?)

Paul said...

Commercial growers may figure the general public is satisfied with what is currently out there. Also, from a $ standpoint, they may figure it to be far cheaper just to reproduce what they have by asexual reproduction methods. One can get a blooming sized plant faster that way and one knows what one will get.

Claude said...

Id guess that commercial growers are focussing on red or white flowers due to the "holiday" or "Christmas" aspect of their marketing. Orange hardly shouts Christmas. Plus, commerciall growers are investing a lot of time and money into getting tbe plants ready and blooming for that one time of year they sell them... they're gonna go for mass production of something tbey know will sell over what might sell.

Or that's what makes sense to me. I may be wrong.

mr_subjunctive said...


That was my assumption too, but when I did an image search and counted up the colors of blooms on the first three pages of results (because that is the sort of thing I do sometimes, when faced with unanswerable questions like this), I came up with:

28 magenta, purple, or pink-purple
13 red
12 pink
8 white
6 magenta traditional XMas cactus (x buckleyi)
4 peach/salmon
2 yellow
2 orange
1 very light pink
1 white w/ red-orange margins (which was kind of amazing, incidentally)
1 multiple colors / assortment
25 irrelevant results

This last holiday season, the only one I encountered where the color was apparent was a magenta.

Obviously the plants that people post on-line are not necessarily representative of the plants that people are buying, and the plants people buy are not necessarily representative of the plants that retailers attempt to sell. So this is only suggestive information, not definitive, but it looks from here like pink/magenta might be the most popular color. (The two results on Google for "what color of Schlumbergera is most common" that actually answered the question said red, though. Which isn't conclusive either, of course.)

In any case, it seems like an oversight to exclude orange blooms from the Thanksgiving season, orange being a Thanksgivingy color. I suppose orange is no longer fashionable after Thanksgiving is over, so a plant that doesn't really even begin to bloom until November 21 maybe doesn't have a long enough bloom window to make a Thanksgiving plant out of it. But if retailers really wanted to, they could do it, I'd bet.