Sunday, July 18, 2010

Walkaways Part 10

Okay, well. As promised when I posted about my newer plants last Wednesday, these are the plants I didn't buy. As a group, they're probably more interesting than the ones I actually bought, but I have my reasons for not buying them.

The first three, two succulents and a cactus which happened to get my attention, were at Lowe's.

Euphorbia polygona cv. 'Snowflake.'

I would have bought this in a heartbeat, but for the fact that all of the Euphorbias with this kind of "corn-cobby"1 habit I've ever bought (specifically: E. anoplia, E. enopla, E. horrida var. noorsveldensis) have gotten etiolated2 really easily, and seem to be considerably worse about it than the larger-growing columnar species (e.g. E. pseudocactus, E. ammak, E. grandicornis). Though I love the look of the plant and would like to have one, I don't really want to buy one just to watch it slowly turn grotesque and unhealthy.

Kalanchoe eriophylla.

According to the tag, K. eriophylla is similar to K. tomentosa (panda plant) except for being more of a low, trailing plant. Which I don't mind trailing plants, but the genus Kalanchoe and I have a long history together which has not been satisfactory to either party, and K. tomentosa and I in particular aren't good together. And it's not like it's ever really going to be beautiful, right? Only fuzzy.

I mean, not that beautiful is a requirement, but it's nice to be able to think it's a possibility.

Melocactus azureus.

I just liked this one. I'm not sure why I didn't buy it; it may be that I thought I had too many bluish cacti at home already (Pilosocereus pachycladus, Cereus peruvianus, the one that may or may not be Browningia hertlingiana, Leuchtenbergia principis). Kind of regretting the choice, now that I re-examine the picture.

Next up, plants I didn't buy at the ex-job:

Begonia 'Soli-Mutata.'

I maybe should have asked for some leaf cuttings, to take home and propagate. I couldn't have afforded the whole plant, but I'm reasonably confident in my ability to start new plants from leaves, which is way cheaper.

Begonias and I don't get along amazingly well, but it might have been worth a try. The texture on those leaves is pretty cool.

Selaginella flabellata.

No spikemosses or clubmosses ever, at least not in an extra-terrarial sense. This one isn't even especially pretty, though it kind of looks like a piece of arborvitae (Thuja spp.) or something, which is interesting. The common name, according to the tag, was "cypress fern," which pleases me, because it's another instance of a common name where all parts of the name are technically wrong. It's not a fern, it's not a cypress.

Zygonisia Cynosure 'Blue Birds.'

I don't normally include orchids in the walkaway posts, both because orchids usually get their own posts and because they usually don't count as walkaways: most of the time, they're far enough out of my price range that I can't ever even be especially tempted.

I wasn't especially tempted by this one either, although: I'm told that this was the only plant from the most recent shipment of stuff that WCW purchased, I haven't seen it before, or even anything terribly similar (Zygonisia is a cross between Aganisia and Zygopetalum, and I've seen Zygoneria, which is a cross between Neogardneria and Zygopetalum. So I can say I've seen a relative, maybe.), and the pot was small (4" / 10 cm), which briefly gave me hope that it might be more affordable. (Sadly, no: $35.)

That said, I took more pictures than just the above, so as long as we're here anyway, we may as well stop and look at them:

Okay. Now on to Wallace's, in Bettendorf, IA.

Pilea microphylla 'Pink.'

When I first saw this, I thought it was kind of neat. It's at least something I'd never seen before, and hadn't even imagined, so points there. And it was cheap ($5), and belongs to a genus I generally find congenial.

But then there's the part where it's, you know, kind of ugly. While I was looking around, at one point a mother and son (who looked about 10-13) came by, and the mother was talking to someone on the phone. She told the son to hurry up and pick something out for his grandmother so they could go, and then she went back to talking on her cell phone. He started reaching for this plant, which she noticed. She stopped her conversation long enough to tell him, in a what's-wrong-with-you tone, Not that one! What are you thinking? That looks half dead.

I couldn't help it. I laughed. She was right! It looks way better close up than it does from a distance, and despite the name, it's more sort of an ivory than a pink. Maybe for a small terrarium, though.

Aglaonema 'Cutlass.'

This was a serious temptation. Not that I don't already have a lot of Aglaonemas, but I like the look of this. They had a couple other Aglaonema varieties that I hadn't seen before ('Juliette' and 'Mystic Marble'), which were both sort of like what you'd get if you averaged 'Maria' and 'Jubilee:' just your basic Aglaonema with medium sized, elliptical leaves patterned in dark green and silver. Technically I hadn't seen them before, but I'd still seen them before, you know? 'Cutlass' I like, though: I've seen a few Ags with long, narrow leaves, but nothing this extreme. Perhaps we'll run into one another again someday.

Adiantum sp.

Not a serious temptation -- what am I, crazy? -- but I thought the Adiantum was worth noting. As far as I can remember, this is the first one I've seen for sale anywhere in, literally, years. I miss things, and forget things, so maybe I've missed or forgotten a maidenhair fern here or there too, but still. You don't see Adiantum around. This is maybe because as soon as someone ships them here, they wither, brown, and turn to dust. Just guessing.

Anyway. What about yourself? Anything cool you've passed up lately? Or anything dull, even: we don't judge, here at PATSP.3


1 (Not a particularly good word, but the best I could come up with.)
2 Etiolated: describes plants with thin, stretched-looking, and pale new growth, caused by insufficient light. Though they may produce normal-sized new growth if moved to a better location, the old growth won't bulk up to match.
3 Not technically true, but tell me anyway. I'll be nice.


Ivynettle said...

Agreed about the Pilea, much as I like Pileas, this one is ugly.

The Aglaonema is neat - I don't usually like them, but I might be sorely tempted to buy that one.

But sadly, I'm not allowed to buy plants for another month or so - not until we're back from holiday. Can't create even more work for whoever ends up plant-sitting for me. Though I'm still very, very sorely tempted by the Ceropegia sandersonii a nearby garden centre got in recently. Oh well... maybe if they still have some by mid-August...

ScreamingGreenConure said...

Two - a sanseveria and a pineapple. I keep almost buying a sanseveria and then putting it back and grabbing something cheaper. The pineapple was $12, and I was really tempted - it had a tiny fruit forming - but with patience I can grow my own from fruit, so it seems kind of a waste.
Actually, I walked away from loads of calatheas, too. They're so damn pretty, but they'll probably die.

Han Keat Lim said...

Recently I bought an Anthurium Jungle King, Playtycerium grande and Crassula rupestris ssp. marnierana.
I walked away from Cussonia spicata.

Paul said...

That really wasn't a terrible price on the Zygonasia ... it looked like it had several spikes on it and as I recall the flowers last for a long time.

Did walk away from a Mandevilla ... often tempted to try a red flowering one on my balconey to see if any hummers would come by to feed. Don't see it doing well in the winter when it would have to come indoors though.

Also passed on a a cycad. Killed my last one but was considering trying again ... until I saw the mealie bugs on them and decided I could wait for non-infested plants.

Then there were some really attractive Calathea I saw at Lowes. Almost picked one up. Then came back and, upon doing some research, learned that they can be quite high maintenance so was glad I had passed.

mr_subjunctive said...


C. sandersonii looks deeply weird. Or at least the flowers do: I couldn't find any clear pictures of the foliage.


How come, on the Cussonia? I've never seen one for sale, but the pictures that come up with Google image search look pretty cool.

Paul / ScreamingGreenConure:

Bad price in this case was absolute, not relative: $35 for a single plant seems a lot less reasonable than it used to when I had, you know, income.

I agree about the Mandevilla. We managed to keep them over the winter in the greenhouse at work, but A) it was a greenhouse, and B) spider mites usually made me wish we hadn't bothered.

I'm trying a Calathea (C. makoyana) again, as of a couple months ago. So far it's okay, but the new growth is a lot smaller than the old, and some of the older leaves are going yellow. Probably too cold and too wet. (I up-potted it, because it really needed a bigger pot, but that always means plants spend a while being wetter than they want to be.) We'll see how things play out in the long run.

Paul said...

I wisely passed up a discounted vitex stashed in the corner of a nursery with a few random dying/scraggly plants. I also UNwisely failed to buy any nasty insecticide- when I got home, I realized a small tree by my compost heap is covered in mealybugs. I'm going militant on them tonight.

ScreamingGreenConure said...

My problem with calathea temptation is that i have a season ticket to Kew Gardens, so I can go any weekend - and not only do they have amazing ones growing in the glasshouses, but they have amazing ones for sale. Every damn time.

Ivynettle said...

I think the Ceropegia leaves were pretty boring - I don't remember them at all.
So far Googling hasn't turned up anything that screams, "don't buy it, you'll kill it!", so I suppose if they still have any when I get back from the Netherlands... I'll be once again cursing about not having any room for my new purchases.

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

I would have snapped up those succulents like I was a kid at a candy store!!!! Hey wait, I am Candy and I feel like a kid. I'm going succulent shopping!........don't tell my husband!

Han Keat Lim said...

I've seen Cussonia first time too. Probably new discovery. Yeah, it's cool. I like the roots part, but not the leaves. Moreover I've run out of room, I've to think carefully before I buy. Otherwise I'll to sell some plants on ebay.

By the way yesterday I received the Triocereus bridgesii v. Monstrosus that I ordered online in the Netherlands. Another cool plant. Well a 40cm long cutting that cost me 30€ (inclusive postage).