Friday, July 31, 2009

Random plant event: Chlorophytum 'Charlotte' flower

This has happened before, last September, but it still amuses me, so I'm posting about it a second time.

This is also, it happens, a good excuse (okay, a fair to poor excuse) for updating everybody on the progress of 'Charlotte' and the other four plants I got from Asiatica Nursery last summer.

Chlorophytum 'Charlotte' is, as you can see, looking a lot like it did then. I think a lot of this is my fault. I was worried about overwatering it, so I put it in a small clay pot, and then frequently made it wait too long between waterings, which wasn't good. I recently moved it into a 5-inch plastic pot, which retains water considerably longer, and it has responded by flowering. Could be good, could be bad, but it's not dropping leaves, so I'm tentatively calling the repotting a good idea on my part. Now if I could only get it to grow. Overall, I'm sort of mildly fond of it. Three stars.

Aglaonema 'Thai Snowflakes' is deceased, as of last January. Can't give it a good review, as a result, even though the death was probably my fault somehow. One star.

Dieffenbachia 'Pacific Rim' has sprouted an offset, though it still leans, and it's still not incredibly interesting to me. I should probably cut it back and try to reroot the top: it was always kind of a leaner, and the situation hasn't improved with age. Three stars: it has yet to impress me, but it's also not a bad plant, either.

Pedilanthus 'Jurassic Park 2' has grown a third branch, and the previous branches are much longer, but otherwise it looks more or less the same. Until the move, it was in a south window, which sounds good until you consider that it was a ways back from the window, with many plants intervening, so it wasn't getting the kind of light implied by "south window." It's now in somewhat less-crowded conditions in the plant room, which gets west exposure, and that will have to be good enough, because that's as bright as the house gets and the outside space is already spoken for. Four stars.

Dracaena 'Indonesian Tracker' is still doing fine. It's also probably the only one of the five that I feel like was actually worth what I paid for it. Like the Pedilanthus, it's not a particularly fast grower, but it is, at least, growing, and it's presentable as a plant, where the other three all still look kind of unfinished, awkward, or otherwise not quite right. Four and a half stars.


Hermes said...

Good post. I was thinking about adding some more Chlorophytum's to my collection.

Karen715 said...

Thanks for the update. You know, (well, actually you don't know, so I'll tell you) I am pretty easygoing when it comes to mail order plants. I don't expect them to be showpieces right out of the box. They can be small, they can be banged-up, but as long as they are alive, with good root systems, I'm usually happy. But for the prices, and most especially the exorbitant shipping/handling fees, that Asiatica charges, I do expect the plants to be pretty damn good-looking after a year of basic care. It's not that your plants don't look healthy, they just don't look like they were worth the premium prices. As the years go by, it looks less and less likely that I'll ever order from them.

mr_subjunctive said...

Yeah, it's true that they're probably not worth the money, objectively speaking, though if I had to make the mistake, I'm at least happy to have made a mistake that left me with the Pedilanthus and the Dracaena. The Dracaena, in particular, is so freaky and unlike any other Dracaena I've ever seen that I'm very pleased to have it.

As for the Pedilanthus, well, I know it isn't beautiful yet, but I like it anyway. It would, no doubt, look better if I were less afraid to cut it back. And I'd be less afraid to cut it back if it hadn't already cost so much and wouldn't be such a huge pain to replace.

I dunno. I really want to like Asiatica. Some of their stuff really does look cool. But yeah, even if I still had a job, and, by extension, still had money, I probably wouldn't be ordering from them again. I've heard rumors from a regular PATSP commenter (who shall remain nameless unless s/he wants to name his/rself) that Asiatica is not doing well, and might be closing up shop soon anyway. There's nothing to that effect on their website; like I said, so far it's just something I heard from somebody who heard it from somebody. But with the economy being what it is, and my experience with Asiatica being what it was . . . let's just say I wouldn't be surprised.

If there's anybody from Asiatica reading this who wants to confirm, refute, or comment on any of this, I'll just point out that one can leave anonymous comments here at PATSP if one is so inclined.

mr_subjunctive said...


If I had been inclined to buy from Asiatica again, I think I would be over it now. I went poking around on line and found a page at about them. Most of the commenters seem to have nice things to say, but check out the comment from lexus2004, and especially the response from [Asiatica owner] Barry Yinger, which ends with the sentence "Omg, Ms. Henderson is an idiot, and omg I hope that she bestows her patronage on someone else's nursery."

The OWNER is saying this, y'all.

Further down the page, "plant collector" also reports an unsatisfactory experience with Asiatica, and Asiatica hits back with "To expand on his 'short email' to us in this forum without having bothered to present his complaints to the company is vindictive, and to me, more than a little obsessive. I think he
should try to get on with his life."

So yeah. Never mind about me wanting to like Asiatica. That's really not an appropriate way to speak, in public, about one's dissatisfied customers, however wrong they might have been, however frustrated you might be with them. What a dick. I hope they do go under.

Rameen said...

Have you considered air layering the Pedilanthus stems? That way the plant can retain its leaves and roots while one of the stems creates a definite root system for you. You'll be cutting it back, but at least if it dies, you'll have a clone or two.