Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Plants

I actually purchased plants from a store this week. May not sound like that big of a deal to you, but it's the first time I'd been able to do that in two months, so it was pretty exciting for me. Maybe especially so, since two of the three plants I bought were reluctant walkaways, plants I'd seen and wanted but didn't have money to buy.

So what happened? Well, you remember the Plant-Chaser blogiversary thing a week and a half ago? Well, it turns out that when you enter contests, it's possible to win things. (Mercury in retrograde! Anything can happen!) Therefore, money with which to buy plants.

And here's what I got.

Aglaonema 'Emerald Holiday.' Ex-job. 6". $24.

'Emerald Holiday' is one of the "Jazzed Gem" series of Aglaonemas. I couldn't find anything terribly specific about where the "Jazzed Gem" plants come from or who holds the patent, but there are four of them: 'Emerald Holiday,' 'Etta Rose,' 'Sapphire Suzanne,' and 'Sparkling Sarah,' and you can see photos of each here.

Choosing which one to get (they had all four) was difficult. 'Sparkling Sarah' I could rule out, because I already have one at home (it's doing well; thanks for asking), but I pretty much want all three of the others. I wound up with 'Emerald Holiday' mostly because 'Sapphire Suzanne' was the plainest of the four, and 'Etta Rose,' though very cool, looked close enough to 'Gold Dust' (which I have) that I thought I could probably live without it. Though part of me wants to go back and get 'Etta Rose' anyway, since it's on sale now and probably won't be for very long.

Maranta leuconeura var. kerchoviana. Grocery store. 3". $1.67.

The Maranta was a sort of random choice -- I've tried four different versions of Maranta leuconeura on seven different occasions, and each eventually fell apart on me, for different reasons. The first two had spider mites when purchased; the third came with mealybugs; the fourth and fifth were clean when purchased but got mealybugs after I got them home; the sixth I underwatered; and the seventh refused (for about a year!) to root, possibly because it was too cold. So this is somewhat stupid of me, but only $1.67 worth of stupid, which I think I can afford. Maybe this time will be different.

Billbergia 'Borracho.' Ex-job. 4". $10.40.

Like with the Aglaonemas, choosing the variety was a problem. When I visited the ex-job on Saturday August 6, the plants I wanted were Aglaonema 'Etta Rose' and Billbergia 'Hallelujah,' (photos of 'Hallelujah' here) but for some reason when I went back on August 10, Aglaonema 'Emerald Holiday' and Billbergia 'Borracho' looked better. Maybe I was in a chartreuse mood Wednesday.

The Billbergia is the one of the three I'm most worried about: Aglaonemas almost always love me, and Marantas almost always hate me, so I feel like I know what to expect from each of them, but I've only tried two Billbergias so far (B. nutans and B. 'Foster's Striate').

Both Billbergias have done well for me, granted, but 'Borracho' looks very different from either, and there's little information about growing it indoors. All I can find on-line about 'Borracho' and 'Hallelujah' is that both are hybrids by Don Beadle, and that although they need some direct sun outdoors for good color, Beadle recommends you not have them in direct sun indoors. He also says to keep the vase filled with water and provide good air circulation, both of which tend to be problems for me. But we'll see.


orchideya said...

Congratulations on your new purchases and good luck with maranta. I tried them couple times, but they always get brown edges, then wilt and then eventually die. Hope you will succeed with this one.

Liza said...

$24 for a 6" plant? That's highway robbery.

mr_subjunctive said...


That's the sale price. Originally $30.

The ex-job was always expensive when compared to everybody else in the area; it's something about selling tropical plants in Iowa, apparently. (The other garden centers' tropicals are usually in the same ballpark: $20-30 for a 6".) My guess is that the wholesale price on the Aglaonema was probably about $8-10, plus whatever for shipping. When I worked there, 325% markup was more or less the standard, and in some cases even that was too low for the bosses and I'd get yelled at.

I did see a 'Sapphire Suzanne' for sale that same day at an Ace Hardware in Iowa City, priced at $17. I didn't buy it because it wasn't in particularly good shape.

Matti said...

That Aglaonema 'Emerald Holiday' is pretty sweet. We just slimmed down our houseplants. Partly for room, but also to make room for some more cool stuff. Thanks for the post. Matti

Pat said...

It looks like the Billbergia needs to give up drinking so much. (Spanish joke)

Ann, aka Amateur Bot-ann-ist said...

I'm jealous. Those are all great plants.

Tom said...

Those all look great! I'm especially jealous of that Bilbergia, I've never seen any of the exotic ones like that for sale.

CelticRose said...

Congrats on the new plants and on winning the contest. :)

Lycanthropy said...

I'm really looking forward to hear more about the Billbergia. It's a nice species. My Billbergia nutans is now covering a huge pot and when it's blooms, it's prettier than most flowering plants I've got.

Kristin said...

I've got two marantas at home (one like yours for the boyfriend and one with the red veins for me). They're both in pots inside open top glass cases in an east window and with the exception of the time my boyfriend completely forgot that his plant required water, they've been excellent, grown like crazy, and one of them even flowered. Good luck on yours.

Bom said...

Wow! Those are great choices. What a coincidence, too. I only have one Bilbergia and it just happens to be the same one. Good luck with your Maranta.

Thanks again for joining!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I like the prayer plant. Do you give away or trade plant cuttings because I am trying to find a red prayer plant but no luck yet.

mr_subjunctive said...


I have traded cuttings in the past. I'm not doing it at the moment, though, because I'm trying to deal with a scale infestation on some of the plants in the basement. I don't think the infestation has spread elsewhere in the house, but I don't want to take the risk of sending pests to somebody.

Even if I were trading, I don't have the red-veined Maranta right now.