Saturday, May 23, 2009

New cultivars of Epipremnum aureum and Syngonium spp.

Today, Saturday, is my last day at work -- it looks like I'm not going to be able to come back to work any additional days in June, which is more or less okay by me (I was pretty miserable from the heat on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.), though I had hoped to be able to do something to assist through the rest of the really really busy period. The reasons why I won't be able to are technical, and have to do with my income from work being theoretically able to mess things up with the funding for the house, according to the husband, which I figure I'll be all snarling and sleep-deprived after a week of moving / cleaning / heat / contractors / generalized disruption of everything, so probably not in the best mental state to be dealing with customers anyway, especially since customers at this time of year are frequently out of their damn minds. (I've had people get visibly angry with me because we didn't have any non-pink Lisianthus to sell them. Seriously. The tone was such that it seemed like the customer in question would rather we not have had any Lisianthus at all, than for us to have it but have it be the loathed pink, that the pink was just crossing a motherfucking line. I exaggerate, but not by much. It was weird.)


So I won't be posting for a while. I expect to start again on 1 June, but it could start up again sooner, or later. I really have no idea. E-mail may or may not be similarly shut down. Much is unknown about this post-work world.

Meanwhile, I leave you with a cool little pothos (Epipremnum aureum) that WCW brought in on Wednesday, having bought it at a competitor's store. Neither of us had seen one before, and she wasn't even sure it was a pothos, but it was shaped the same as pothos in every particular, down to the grooved petioles, so I was fairly certain that's what it was. (I have since managed to identify it as Epipremnum aureum 'N' Joy,' first by searching, then by running across an availability list from one of our suppliers, who listed a pothos by that name.1) It almost looks like the same kind of variegation I talk about in the second half of the Sansevieria trifasciata profile, with the three layers of cells being expressed differently at the leaf center and leaf margin. No word yet on whether that is, in fact, what's going on with 'N'Joy.'

Not-great photo of WCW's whole plant.

Close-up of a more or less typical leaf.

Anyway. WCW brought this plant in on Wednesday. On Thursday, I walked to the competitor (the husband had the car at the house2) and bought one of my own, along with a Syngonium NOID:

I haven't come up with a positive ID yet on the Syngonium. It resembles S. wendlandii, which is also a dark green, and has a similar velvety texture, though S. wendlandii has a broader white center, in the pictures of it I've found. Though that may be because mine was grown in lower light than the on-line specimens. Syngonium 'Green Velvet' and 'Southern Star' are also contenders, but both are only mentioned on one site, which suggests that they're maybe not official cultivar names, and might be synonyms for S. wendlandii. Whatever it is, I have no idea what it was doing in Iowa, and also it looks difficult, like every other velvety-textured aroid I've encountered to date save one.3 Perhaps it would be best to just give it to Nina immediately. For her to poop on.4

Then I found out yesterday that actually, WCW had intended me to keep the Epipremnum 'N' Joy,' so now I have two.

Anyway. See y'all in a week. Plus or minus.


1 Another confirmation of the ID led me to this page, with pictures from the 2009 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition, so now I want: Anthurium 'Tweed' (though, one, I bet it doesn't do well indoors, and two, I really don't want to "fool the cops," if by "fool the cops" you mean "make them think that the harmless plant I'm growing is actually marijuana, which will get me arrested and lead to a long, unpleasant and expensive process of having to prove that it's not an illegal plant at all, at the end of which I will be traumatized and without legal recourse"), Cordyline fruticosa 'Antares,' Euphorbia punicea, Ficus dammaropsis, Ludovia integrifolia, Neoregelia 'Ardie,' Dracaena deremensis 'Hawaiian Sunshine,' D. d. 'Spearmint,' D. d. 'Malaika,' and D. d. 'White Surprise.' Your covetousness may vary.
2 It occurred to me while writing the above fairly mundane sentence that, at one point not even all that long ago, I had gotten used to the idea that I would never have a husband, car, or house, and that it's quietly mind-blowing that I do. Er, sorta I do. (Technically, the car and house aren't mine, and I don't have a driver's license so I can't exactly use the car independently.a)
a Long story. It's not related to a DUI or anything -- I've never had one, so I've never had one taken away. I could get one, in theory, but that's a whole different long story.
3 Philodendron gloriosum is hanging in there, but is not an easy indoor plant. Ditto for Anthurium crystallinum 'Mehani,' which was doing fine until just recently, when I let it get too dry for too long. Alocasia 'Frydek' was breathtakingly gorgeous, but I didn't even want to try that one: it was damning enough that it was an Alocasia. The only velvety aroid I've been successful with so far has been Philodendron hederaceum micans.
4 Yes, it's a Triumph the Comic Insult Dog reference. Though also that's what she does. Mostly she poops on her rock, occasionally she poops on the Podocarpus. Probably there's other pooping I'm not aware of. In fairness, it's not like she has an exercise wheel or a plastic chew toy or anything: she's kind of hard up for entertainment. Spends a fair amount of time literally climbing the walls. Sometimes she hangs upside down from the wire mesh cover. Let's don't judge.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Random plant event: Susan fights back

Noticed one of the black-eyed susan vines (Thunbergia alata) at work doing something interesting the other day. Normally, the flowers are a bright yellow-orange, with a dark brown, almost black, center. This one lacked the brown center.

I tried to get a picture of the two of them side-by-side, for comparison purposes, but unfortunately, none of those pictures turned out very well: the normal flower's dark center wound up just looking like a shadow. So here's what the flower usually looks like:

And here's the weirdo:

I don't like the light-centered flower nearly as well as I do the dark-centered one. Not sure why. It's just somehow not as interesting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light -- Part XII

Unlike most of the transmitted light posts recently, this one isn't because I ran out of time to write anything else and had to use one of the transmitted light stockpile. Having pre-loaded photos was still a factor, though, since I have to spend a lot of the next couple weeks packing, watering, working, and relocating, and so I'm trying to pre-write the blog, which means that even though I haven't actually run out of time and had to scramble for something to post, it still feels like I have.

On the plus side, this batch contains what is possibly my all-time favorite transmitted light photo to date. It's at least in the top ten.

(The previous transmitted light posts can be found here.)

Brassolaeliocattleya 'Helene Brown.' Sort of a cat's-eye effect, almost.

Guzmania lingulata NOID. Boring, but at least it's in focus.

Variegated Tradescantia pallida. This one didn't really work any better than the nonvariegated Tradescantia pallida photo, but it's a little more interesting to look at.

Philodendron hastatum. Much more impressive in person; I'm not sure if this is just a bad picture or if no pictures of P. hastatum by transmitted light turn out well. It seemed like a better picture when I took it originally. Maybe I screwed it up in the cropping somehow.

Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana.' More or less what you'd expect it to look like, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis NOID. Who knew?

Gynura aurantiaca. Better if opened in a separate window: the hairs show up well enough that you can tell which direction they're pointing.

Plumeria NOID. Nicely dramatic. This is another one that's better in a separate window.

Acer platanoides 'Crimson Sentry.' An actual tree for once. Not a particularly interesting leaf, but the color is pleasant.

Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Tilt a Whirl.' Very likely my favorite transmitted light picture to date. I had plans at one point to do an all-Solenostemon transmitted light post, but after spending hours rearranging all the pictures, I realized that if I took out all the Solenostemons and gave them their own separate post, then I wound up with one kick-ass, super-spectacular post and seven or eight really dull ones. So I won't be doing that, but instead you'll be seeing Solenostemon pictures scattered over the next seven or eight transmitted light posts. Though this has got to be the best, or maybe second-best (the 'Gays Delight' picture rocks pretty hard), of all of them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Question for the Hive Mind: spontaneous terrarium plant

I've added a little bit to Nina's terrarium since the first pictures of it went up. I want it to fill itself in, and I don't want to have to get in there to prune stuff back a lot, so I didn't add much, but there's a Calathea in there now (it turned out to be Stromanthe burle-marxii, not Calathea), from work, and I've added a couple Cryptanthus pups (though she didn't like one of them, and dug it up repeatedly until I put it elsewhere), because my Cryptanthuses at home continue to produce pups and I don't know what else to do with them.

Somewhat clearer if opened in a new window, though none of this round of pictures turned out especially well.

So at this point, it looks like we have one relatively large Vriesea NOID, one Podocarpus macrophyllus, a Pilea depressa, a Peperomia caperata, four Cryptanthus spp., a Saxifraga stolonifera that came with the Pilea, and the new Calathea Stromanthe. (In the course of writing this post, I also added a cutting of Nematanthus sp. and a cutting of Cyanotis kewensis, though I don't necessarily expect either of those to take. Creepily, the crickets were fascinated by the Cyanotis, and crawled all over it endlessly. They didn't seem to be eating it: I don't know what they were doing.) Lately Nina seems to favor sleeping on the Calathea Stromanthe or the Vriesea, and has abandoned the Podocarpus to the crickets. I suppose the crickets don't really have a lot of options, but it still surprises me that they want to hide in the Podocarpus during the day.

None of which is my question. My question is, another plant has popped up in there, one that I didn't plant, and I'm not sure what it is, though I have a guess. It's the one circled in pink below:

Open in a new window for a closer look.

My guess is that it's an Impatiens. I don't have any Impatiens here in the apartment, nor have there ever been, but the Calathea Stromanthe was at one time sort of close to the Impatiens at work, so that's my best theory. It doesn't look like any of our normal weeds from work, and the only plants that ever pop up spontaneously in my plants at home are Chlorophytum x 'Fire Flash,' which this is definitely not. So I'm looking for confirmation or alternate theories or something.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Random plant event: Chlorophytum x 'Fire Flash' seedlings

I don't even remember when it was exactly, but at least three or four months ago, I had a bunch of 'Fire Flash' seeds sitting around, and decided I wanted to grow them. So I took a bunch of yogurt cups, and filled them with dirt, and worked seeds into the top of the dirt, and watered everything, stuck it on the back of one shop light (for bottom heat), directly under another shop light (for bright light), and waited for germination to happen. And nothing happened at all. In fact, so much nothing happened that I was thinking that maybe I'd let the seeds get too dry, and killed them all or something, by accident.

Eventually, after continuing to water the cups and having nothing happen, I gave up on the project, and dumped the soil, with seeds, back into the potting mix reserves for use in future plants. I didn't want any stupid Chlorophytum 'Fire Flashes' anyway. (Some of you will already see where I'm going with this.)

So time passed, and I had a bunch of Aloe aristata x Gasteria batesiana (?) offsets to pot up one day, so I apparently used that old dirt, and skip ahead a couple months, and suddenly I have Chlorophytum x 'Fire Flash' seedlings coming up all over the place in the Gasteraloes.

Not only that, but either I planted way more seeds originally than I remember, or I'm getting much better germination rates than I've gotten before with these seeds. I'm going to have, it looks like, about sixty of the damn things. Maybe more: seedlings are still coming up.

I'm not sure exactly what this signifies. I mean, if you're wanting to germinate your own plants, it doesn't really seem practical to plant them and dump them out and then plant them again in something else, only to pull them out of the something else later. And my original theory, that maybe I was letting the soil dry out too much, is kind of shot down by the fact that they came up just fine when planted with Gasteraloes, which aren't exactly aquatic plants. So perhaps I hadn't planted them deeply enough, or maybe the soil needed to be more firmed down, or something like that. Maybe I just hadn't given them long enough. Who knows. In any case, if you want 'Fire Flash' seedlings, try not to want them too much or try too hard, maybe, and don't worry too much about it if they don't all come up immediately. They'll still be there. Waiting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Random plant event: Dendrobium bulblet

Not terribly exciting, but it's something. My attention has been focused elsewhere lately, but the houseplants continue to try to do stuff. Who knows what I've been missing in this last month or two. This is, I think, the "Humphrey Bogart" Dendrobium, which has yet to flower for me but seems to be growing just fine.

It is, of course, only a bulblet, but at least it's letting me know it's still growing: the main part of the plant hasn't done anything noticeable in several months.

Also, not that anybody's asked, but -- the reason why I haven't been posting orchid pictures as much as I used to is mostly because we haven't been getting that many orchids in. The last round was at the beginning of March, and they were all Phalaenopsis, which personally I'm kind of sick of Phalaenopsis even if you aren't, and the only other ones we've been able to get lately are the Paphiopedilums, which I did take a picture of a while ago. We do have one NOID orchid blooming now that's a little out of the ordinary: I'll get a picture if I remember to and have time at work.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


A quick inventory of the plants I have purchased to use at the house in an outdoor and/or container-gardeny capacity:

6 Ageratum, some blue variety
1 Bracteantha bracteata, yellow
3 Bracteantha bracteata, orange
1 Caladium 'Gingerland'
4? Caladium bulbs (don't remember the ID; unplanted)
12 Capsicum annuum (jalapeno pepper)
1 Centaurea montana NOID

Centaurea x 'Montana.'

1 Colocasia spp. (elephant ear)
3 Dichondra 'Silver Falls'
1 Euphorbia dulcis 'Chamaeleon'
1 Fragaria 'Fort Laramie' (strawberry)
8 Gazania 'Tiger Mix'
1 Geranium 'Rozanne'

Geranium 'Rozanne.'

1 Lantana 'Rose Glow Improved'
1 Lysimachia 'Goldilocks' (moneywort, creeping jenny)
1 Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
3 Osteospermum 'Bronze Charmer' (African daisy)
60 Portulaca 'Tequila Mix' (moss rose)
1 raspberry cane (Rubus) of unknown cv.
1 Salvia elegans (pineapple sage)
3 Scaevola 'New Wonder'

Scaevola 'New Wonder.' All three of the plants pictured in this post are very close to being the same shade of purple-blue, as is the Ageratum (unpictured). So at least that much will look co-ordinated.

1 Sempervivum 'Red Beauty' (hen and chicks)
1 Solenostemon 'Kong Aline' (coleus)
6 Zinnia 'Profusion Fire'

plus, seeds for:

blue morning glories (Ipomoea 'Flying Saucers')
more marigolds (Tagetes patula 'Jaguar')
some variety of sweet corn (Zea mays)
cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) and hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) (thanks, Zach!)
nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus 'Cherry Rose Jewel')

plus a fairly large number of plants which could wind up inside or outside (coleus, Tradescantia pallida, Cordyline fruticosa, etc.). And I'm not even necessarily done buying stuff: there's been some thinking about which things to plant with which other things, and I'm realizing that most of this doesn't go together especially well, so I may "need" more. Plus, there was already stuff planted at the house. I predict that my "garden" is going to be a mess, at least this year.

The moral of the story is probably that known plant obsessives should be strongly discouraged from exploring new forms of plant-buying, and/or shouldn't work in a garden center during spring when many, many new plants are available all at once. Both of which are things we kind of already knew.