Sunday, January 16, 2011

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, January 2011

Last year around this time, I got upset about the number of GBBD participants who were bemoaning the lack of blooms in January, as though houseplants were never invented. And I still, as far as it goes, don't have much sympathy for those people, 'cause it's not like indoor plants are some big secret or highly technical thing nobody knows about. Why, there are even entire blogs devoted to them! But: on the theory that you catch more flies with honey,1 I have decided to lead by example instead, and try showing the uninitiated masses that flowers in January are not only conceivable, but nigh inevitable, even in cold climates, under certain circumstances.

Will anyone decide to give houseplants a try because of this post? Oh, probably not. But it feels more productive than waving my arms and shouting at people again. And it's less douchey. Better to light a candle than to curse the damn darkness. Also it seems like I have sort of a responsibility, as an intense indoor gardener person, to provide flower photos for all the deprived outdoor-only people at this time of year. So here we are.

The photos were all taken on January 11, not January 15, which I don't know the precise rules of the GBBD but I'm hoping that that won't get me thrown out or put in stocks or anything. If I didn't start a little early, I wouldn't be able to post at all -- photo-heavy posts take a long time to write. (This one took me most of last Wednesday.) Anyway. Here's everything that's blooming at the moment in the Subjunctive Botanical Gardens.

Anthurium 'Pandola.'

The biggest group of bloomers right now is probably the Anthuriums, partly because they bloom readily for me and partly because the blooms last a ridiculously long time.

Anthurium NOID. (background: Dracaena deremensis 'Lemon-Lime' and 'Malaika.')

Anthurium 'White Gemini.'

Anthurium 'Gemini.'

Anthurium 'Florida.'

Anthurium 'Orange Hot.'

Anthurium NOID.

Anthurium 'Pacora.'

The Pileas bloom off and on throughout the year, but especially in the winter. They're not hugely ornamental, but they're still flowers, so they count.

Pilea 'Moon Valley.'

A handful of succulents are flowering at the moment too.

Euphorbia milii.

Kalanchoe millotii.

Echeveria coccinea.

The white NOID Schlumbergera I bought a little while ago dropped almost all of the buds it had left, but one held on and opened last week anyway.

Schlumbergera NOID.

The big peace lily blooms for me at very irregular intervals, though the flowers are usually very short-lived. Feeding tends to bring on blooms, though it's never guaranteed.

Spathiphyllum NOID, possibly 'Mauna Loa' or 'Sensation.'

The Murraya paniculata had stopped flowering for a month, month and a half recently. I gave it some fertilizer with micronutrients two waterings ago, and it responded with a huge flush of new buds. The micronutrients thing seems to be extremely important for Murraya.

Murraya paniculata.

While we're talking about fertilizer producing flowers, I suppose I should tell you that Abutilons will stop flowering if they run out of fertilizer. It's almost like a switch gets thrown; it's weird. But pour some Osmocote on the soil and in a couple weeks you'll never know it had stopped. They're admirably direct that way.

Abutilon 'Bella Pink.'

Abutilon 'Bella Red.'

Abutilon 'Bella Vanilla.'

Lastly, the gesneriads are starting to step up. Nematanthus usually gets excited at this time of year:

Nematanthus NOID.

And although it's technically too early to count as a flower, the developing buds on N. 'Tropicana' are sort of pretty in their own right.

Nematanthus 'Tropicana.'

I had thought that the Aeschynanthus speciosus was finished for the year, once it stopped flowering a few months ago, but it surprised me by producing one last batch of flowers.

Aeschynanthus speciosus.

I don't think my old NOID African violet has been flowerless in more than a year now.

Saintpaulia NOID.

And the just-purchased Saintpaulia 'Shimmer Shake' is pumping out blooms like crazy; it didn't take it that long to do, so I'm puzzled as to why it ever stopped in the greenhouse where I bought it.

Saintpaulia 'Shimmer Shake.'

And finally, Episcia 'Coco' has almost been in continuous bloom since it arrived. I've gotten two other Episcias that haven't yet, and I'm not sure why not, though they're probably in less light. Maybe that's all the explanation one needs.

Episcia 'Coco.'

I didn't count: the two recently-purchased orchids that still have blooms on them, because I didn't do anything to cause those blooms to happen so I don't feel I should get credit for them.2 I also didn't count the Hoya lacunosa (just buds at the moment) or the H. lacunosa 'Royal Flush' (ditto). The Hoya polyneura seems confused at the moment about whether or not it wants to flower: the buds I talked about a while ago are still present, but they don't seem to be getting any larger. One of the Spathiphyllums technically has a flower, but it didn't get photographed because the flower appeared a long time ago and is all but dead now.

Even so, that's 23 1/2 flowers, in more or less presentable shape, which appeared spontaneously, in mid-January, in Iowa.


1 The full saying is "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar." It's not actually true, of course (additional evidence), but then folk wisdom often isn't. I suggest the revision, "you catch more frat boys with free beer and strippers than with warm flat 7-Up and trigonometry." Though that's longer to say. And begs the question of why anyone would want to catch frat boys in the first place (but then, nobody ever gives a reason for wanting to catch flies, either). At least it's got the advantage of being true.
2 Yes, I counted the Schlumbergera, which already had the buds on it when I bought it, but I think I should get some credit for it, since the overwhelming majority of buds on that plant dropped off.


SiestaSister said...

Thanks for posting all the blooms. My Schlumbergera just finished blooming. This is the first year it bloomed, mostly white with a little pink. The blooms were beautiful. I grew it from a little section that I had found on the ground while walking.

Also wanted to say thanks for having a blog where less knowledgeable gardeners can come to find great info on plants.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Very pretty blooms. Yup, there are always houseplants to brighten up the winter days when everything outside is dormant. I'm actually surprised that many outdoor gardeners don't grow houseplants, especially the ones that have long winters the way I do. Anyway, too bad for them.

By the way, I am really impressed with your Dracaena deremensis 'Lemon-Lime' in bloom. I've never had this plant bloom for me. Ever. That's pretty cool that yours did.

mr_subjunctive said...

Plowing Through Life:

The Dracaena isn't actually blooming; it's just that the Anthurium flower wound up in front of it, and the picture was such that I thought people might want to know what the plants in the background were.

Tigerdawn said...

Hmm... I think I might need some of that white Shlumbergera...

Pat said...

Lovely show. I only have a dozen plants but three are flowering at the moment. Half of them aren't old enough to flower yet.

I worked in an organic orange orchard in Spain for a year. I hate to think how many pop bottles I filled with vinegar and hung in the trees. Three for a small tree, five for a big one. After a week the bottles would be solid with fruitflies.

Liza said...

I've met some gardeners who've been condescending toward indoor plants, because they're too easy. Not actual work like outdoor gardening, they said. Which, of course, is preposterous.

The joke's on them - I'll bet your house looks gorgeous with all those blooming plants.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post full of flowers. Not much to talk about here - after all, who can restrain cyclamen, they love to bloom their little hearts out. I do have the oddest ?Spathiphyllum? which I dote on and which looks like nothing I ever saw. This is one tough place for houseplants in the winter what with the temps at night touching 40 degrees, and the low light of the Bay of Fundy coast in the winter. I'll just enjoy yours all the more.

danger garden said...

Good lord that is a lot of flowers!

Nell Jean said...

Good for you, setting a noble example for winter blooms.

Hooray for houseplants! Episcias were one of my mother's favorites.

I'm watching for Persian Shield and White Shrimp Plant to bloom when the day-length is exactly to their liking here.

Cat said...'ve got a lot of indoor plants...I'd have to move my kids out (including all their junk) in order to have room for an indoor garden! But, as you say, there isn't much going on in our outdoor gardens so I'm glad I stopped by! Happy GBBD!

Unknown said...

I too went on happily about indoor blooms in my post...of all the plants you've highlighted here, I find myself most intrigued by the white Abutilon, and the Episcia. I'm currently without Anthurium because I gave mine to my son (who named it Simon Pegg after the movie Hot Fuzz) and haven't gotten around to getting another one yet.

Rose said...

No wonder you have no sympathy for us whiners in January! What an amazing number of blooms! I do love the Schlumbergera, and of course, all the anthuriums. I used to grow houseplants, but when they eventually all died from neglect, I never replaced them. Somehow I can remember to lug a garden hose all over to water containers every day in the summer, but I have a hard time remembering the houseplants on the windowsill--go figure:)

I think this may be my first visit here--a post with footnotes, now that's my kind of blog:)

VictimofChanges said...

Great post! (which also lead me to your Saintpaulia profile and finally gave me the iniative to fix my own blue-flowering "goosenecked" specimen)....though even a nun would find scrolling through that anthurium set a bit phallic. The shop I work at is full of them at the moment and it's hard moving around the tight quarters without getting a pink, fleshy spadix swatted across the face... :/

Sverige said...

I never had this Schlumbergera, is this will grow in a tropical place?

mr_subjunctive said...


They're native to Brazil, so yes. Though I grow mine indoors.