Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The houseplant tournament: final 16

Yesterday afternoon, it amused me to set up brackets for a "tournament" to see which of my plants can claim to be first in my affections. Or something like that. So I went through the spreadsheets and came up with a list of 256 plants, which I then put in random order and pitted against one another, two at a time, just to see how things would shake out.

The full list of 256 is in very tiny print at the end of the post. I'll spare you the blow-by-blow and just skip ahead to the final 16. Some very nice plants had already been eliminated by then, unfortunately.

Match #1: Euphorbia grandicornis vs. Saxifraga stolonifera

Although I appreciate the ease of propagation and ornamental leaves with Saxifraga, in the end, Euphorbia grandicornis was just too badass-looking to lose.

Match #2: Yucca guatemalensis cvv.(#1) vs. Aloe striata

Yuccas and I have a long and glorious history together, and although Aloe striata is damned impressive (the plant in the picture is now about a foot in diameter, after about 15 months with me), it's not going to beat Yucca guatemalensis. No way. There's a reason why Yucca is the number one seed here.

Match #3: Hatiora salicornioides vs. Dracaena deremensis 'Lemon-Lime' / 'Goldstar'(#3)

This one was really difficult: I'm incredibly fond of both. In the end, the Dracaena won on a technicality. On a different day, the decision might have gone to Hatiora.

Match #4: Spathiphyllum cvv. vs. Vriesea splendens

Not even a contest. Spathiphyllum cvv. are nice, particularly 'Sensation,' but they would never have reached the final 16 in the first place without having a bunch of fairly easy opponents. And Vriesea splendens is not an easy opponent.

Match #5: Aglaonema cvv. vs. Euphorbia trigona

Also not much of a contest, though a lot of that has to do with me lumping all Aglaonema cultivars together. Originally I had them separated, and that gave me like 291 contestants, so I condensed all the Ags into a single slot (actually two: Aglaonema brevispathum cvv. had their own slot but were eliminated early on account of both of the ones I've tried have died on me) in order to bring the list down to 256. The side effect of this is that Aglaonema cvv. as a group is incredibly kickass: Aglaonema 'Maria' vs. Euphorbia trigona would have gone to Euphorbia, no question, but Aglaonema 'Diamond Bay' and 'Brilliant' and 'Stars,' etc., is going to kick ass all over the place. Sorry, Euphorbia. Maybe in the rematch.

Match #6: Anthurium andraeanum cvv.(#2) vs. Pedilanthus tithymaloides

Another sort of heartbreaker, as I'm deeply in love with both of these. Overall, it had to go to Anthurium, because I like big leaves more than little leaves, plus, with Anthurium you get flowers.

Match #7: Cordyline fruticosa cvv. vs. Synadenium grantii 'Rubra'

Much as I like it (and I do like it -- I have eleven right now, all cuttings from the original), Synadenium grantii is kind of a one-trick pony. Awesome trick, but there's only one of them. So this match goes to Cordyline fruticosa, despite its spider mite problems, because it comes in every damn color and has biggish leaves (sometimes) to boot.

Match #8: Dieffenbachia cvv. vs. Aloe aristata hybrid

More or less a repeat of Aglaonema cvv. vs. Euphorbia trigona: any individual Dieffenbachia up against Aloe aristata x unknown (probably A. aristata x Gasteria batesiana) would be competitive, but put them all together and they kick Gaster-/Aloe ass all the way home.

This evening, the quarterfinal matches will be posted to Twitter, and eventually to PATSP. Be sure to tune in! Place your bets! Sap will fly!

1. Euphorbia grandicornis vs. Yucca guatemalensis cvv.(#1)
2. Dracaena deremensis 'Lemon-Lime' / 'Goldstar'(#3) vs. Vriesea splendens
3. Aglaonema cvv. vs. Anthurium andraeanum cvv.(#2)
4. Cordyline terminalis cvv. vs. Dieffenbachia cvv.


Appendix: Full list of all contestants, which is also more or less a comprehensive list of every plant I am growing, or have tried to grow, since sometime in the fall of 2006, as of 4 August 2009:

Abutilon x 'Bella Pink,' Adenium obesum, Aechmea 'Del Mar,' Aechmea fasciata, Aeschynanthus speciosus, Agave attenuata/desmettiana (uncertain about ID), Agave potatorum/parrasana (also uncertain about ID), Agave victoriae-reginae, Aglaonema (all cvv. not of brevispathum), Aglaonema brevispathum 'Hospitum'/'Thai Snowflakes,' Aloe "harlana" (so identified from Lowe's but unlikely to be the actual A. harlana, which is fairly rare), Aloe aristata hybrid, Aloe vera, Alworthia 'Black Gem,' Aloe brevifolia, Aloe 'Crosby's Prolific,' Aloe 'Doran Black,' Aloe greatheadii var. davyana, Aloe 'Minibelle' (Possibly A. juvenna?), Aloe nobilis, Aloe maculata, Aloe striata, Aloe variegata, Aloe 'Walmsley's Blue,' Alternanthera dentata 'Purple Knight,' Alternanthera ficoidea 'Partytime,' Ananas comosus, Anthurium andraeanum cvv., Anthurium hookeri? (another case of a plant identified as something really unlikely -- though it does pretty closely match the page for A. hookeri, so maybe), Anthurium crystallinum 'Mehani,' Anthurium x 'Dutch Series,' Araucaria bidwillii, Araucaria heterophylla, Ardisia crenata, Ardisia elliptica, Asparagus plumosus, Aspidistra lurida 'Milky Way,' Asplenium antiquum, Astrophytum myriostigma, Beaucarnea recurvata, Begonia NOID [spotted angel-wing type], Begonia rex-cultorum 'Harmony's Red Robin,' Begonia rex-cultorum 'Texas Coffee Star,' Begonia [rounded green leaves], Brassolaeliocattleya 'Helen Brown,' Breynia disticha 'Roseo-Picta,' Caladium cvv., Calathea ornata, Callisia fragrans, Asplundia 'Jungle Drum,' Caryota mitis, Cereus peruvianus, Chamaedorea elegans, Chamaedorea metallica, Chlorophytum comosum, Chlorophytum x 'Charlotte,' Chlorophytum x 'Fire Flash,' Cissus quadrangularis, Cissus rhombifolia 'Ellen Danica,' Clivia miniata cvv., Codiaeum variegatum cvv., Coffea arabica, Cordyline fruticosa cvv., Cordyline glauca, Crassula muscosa, Crassula ovata, Crassula rupestris, Cryptanthus cvv., Cyanotis kewensis, Cycas revoluta, Cyrtomium falcatum, Davallia trichomanoides/tyermanii, Dendrobium cvv., Dieffenbachia cvv., Dizygotheca elegantissima, Dracaena deremensis 'Art,' Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig,' Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig Compacta,' Dracaena deremensis 'Lemon-Lime'/'Goldstar,' Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckei'/'Jumbo'/'Ulises,' Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana,' Dracaena fragrans 'Sol,' Dracaena surculosa, Dracaena 'Limelight,' Dracaena marginata 'Bicolor' & 'Colorama,' Dracaena reflexa 'Song of India,' Dracaena reflexa 'Riki,' Dracaena sanderiana 'Lucky Bamboo,' Dracaena thalioides, Dracaena x 'Indonesian Tracker,' Echeveria 'Frosty,' Echeveria 'Moonglow' (or similar), Echeveria nodulosa, Echeveria 'Topsy Turvy,' Echinocactus grusonii, Epipremnum aureum cvv., Eucharis grandiflora, Euphorbia ammak, Euphorbia anoplia, Euphorbia bougheyi variegata, Euphorbia drupifera, Euphorbia enopla, Euphorbia grandicornis, Euphorbia lactea variegata, Euphorbia milii, Euphorbia NOID, Euphorbia pseudocactus (previously misidentified as E. grandicornis), Euphorbia tirucalli, Euphorbia tortilis, Euphorbia trigona, Fatsia japonica, Fenestraria rhopalophylla, Ferocactus NOID, Ficus benjamina cvv., Ficus maclellandii, Ficus elastica 'Burgundy,' Ficus lyrata, Ficus microcarpa (=nitida, retusa), Ficus microcarpa'Green Island,' Ficus religiosa, Ficus triangularis, Furcraea foetida 'Medio-Picta,' Gasteria bicolor, Gasteria pseudonigricans, Guzmania lingulata cvv., Gynura aurantiaca, Hatiora salicornioides, Haworthia attenuata, Haworthia limifolia var. limifolia/ubomboensis, Haworthia NOID 1 (batesiana?), Haworthia NOID 2 (comptoniana?), Haworthia NOID 3 (retusa?), Hedera canariensis 'Gloire de Marengo,' Hedera helix, Hemigraphis exotica, Hibiscus acetosella 'Brown Sugar,' Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cvv., Homalomena 'Emerald Gem,' Homalomena 'Perma Press,' Homalomena 'Selby,' Hoya bella, Hoya carnosa cvv., Hoya kentiana, Hoya lacunosa, Hoya picta, Hoya pubicalyx 'Pink Silver,' Hylocereus undatus (ID uncertain, but it's definitely a Hylocereus), Hypoestes phyllostachya, Kalanchoe beharensis, Kalanchoe bracteata 'Silver Teaspoons,' Bryophyllum daigremontianum, Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri, Kalanchoe luciae, Kalanchoe orgyalis, Kalanchoe tomentosa, Lampranthus blandus, Laurus nobilis, Ledebouria socialis, Liriope spicata 'Cassidy,' Ludisia discolor, Maranta leuconeura cvv., Microsorum musifolium 'Crocodyllus,' Monstera deliciosa, Murraya paniculata, Nematanthus gregarius cvv., Neoregelia ampullacea 'Dark Star,' Neoregelia 'Fireball,' Neoregelia prickly large NOIDs and 'Gazpacho' (a group, obviously), Oncidium NOID, Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Niger,' Oxalis triangularis, Pachyphytum sp., Pachypodium lamerei, Pandanus veitchii cvv., Paphiopedilum Supersuk 'Eureka' x Paph. Raisin Pie 'Hsinying' x Sib (whatever the hell that all adds up to), Pedilanthus 'Jurassic Park 2,' Pedilanthus tithymaloides, Pelargonium x hortorum 'Moonlight Dark Pink,' Pelargonium x hortorum 'Vancouver Centennial,' Pellionia pulchra, Peperomia argyreia, Peperomia caperata/griseoargentea cvv., Peperomia clusiifolia 'Rainbow,' Peperomia ferreyrae, Peperomia glabella, Peperomia obtusifolia cvv., Peperomia pereskiifolia, Phalaenopsis cvv., Philodendron 'Autumn,' Philodendron bipennifolium, Philodendron bipinnatifidum, Philodendron 'Congo Green,' Philodendron erubescens (?) 'Red Emerald,' Philodendron gloriosum, Philodendron hastatum, Philodendron hederaceum cvv., Philodendron 'Imperial Green,' Philodendron 'Imperial Red,' Philodendron 'Moonlight,' Philodendron 'Xanadu,' Pilea cadierei, Pilea depressa, Pilea 'Moon Valley,' Pilea involucrata 'Norfolk,' Pilea nummulariifolia, Platycerium bifurcatum, Plectranthus ciliatus, Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender,' Plectranthus verticillatus, Plectranthus oertendahlii, Podocarpus macrophyllus, Pogonantherum paniceum, Polyscias fruticosa cvv., Portulacaria afra, Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa (previously misidentified as Disocactus NOID), Radermachera sinica, Rhapis excelsa, Rhipsalis grandiflora?, Rhipsalis teres var. heteroclada, Saintpaulia ionantha cvv., Sansevieria cylindrica, Sansevieria trifasciata cvv., Saxifraga stolonifera, Schefflera actinophylla, Schefflera arboricola, Schlumbergera truncata cvv., Scindapsus pictus, Sedum morganianum, Sedum rubrotinctum, Selenicereus chrysocardium, Sempervivum 'Red Beauty,' Senecio crassimus, Senecio jacobsenii, Senecio macroglossus, Senecio rowleyanus, Solenostemon scutellarioides cvv., Spathiphyllum cvv., Stapelia NOID, Strelitzia nicolai, Streptocarpus cvv., Stromanthe sanguinea cvv., Synadenium grantii 'Rubra,' Syngonium podophyllum cvv., Tillandsia cyanea, Tolmiea menziesii, Tradescantia fluminensis, Tradescantia pallida, Tradescantia spathacea, Tradescantia zebrina, Vriesea imperialis, Vriesea NOID, Vriesea splendens, Yucca guatemalensis cvv., Zamioculcas zamiifolia, Zingiber malaysianum. Inadvertently omitted: Syngonium wendlandii.


Kenneth Moore said...

Euphorbia grandicornis is my vote for match 1, no contest! Badass is right, heck yeah.

I guess Vriesea splendens, because it is, well, splendid (so aptly named), but match 2 will surely be a tough one.

Match 3--a toss-up. I won't place a bet on that one.

For match 4... I would say Dieffenbachia, despite the fact that I like your picture of Cordyline terminalis better. The spider mites knock it back so much!

Hermes said...

What great fun. Maranta, Spaths and any Calathea are my favourites.