Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Random plant event: Aeschynanthus spp.

I got cuttings of A. radicans via trade from a reader in May, some of which I planted as cuttings and some of which I planted as leaves.

I posted about the leaves a couple weeks ago, but now the cuttings are doing something too -- they're going to bloom. I wasn't expecting that yet, since I'd started them so recently.

The A. longicaulis is also getting ready to bloom, which is less of a surprise (it's happened before) but still a surprise (I didn't know when to expect it to happen again.).

It's also going to be less of a big deal once it happens, because the flowers -- although they're interesting; I'm not saying they're not interesting -- aren't as bright and showy on the longicaulis. (Link to previous A. longicaulis flowers post.)

Meanwhile, the A. speciosus started to flower weeks ago. (How many weeks, you ask? I'm not actually sure. Judging by the dates on the first photos I took, it looks like I first noticed in early September, so the plant must have been setting buds in mid-August?) I always enjoy this. I have trouble getting the color balance right on the camera, but the flowers are a really amazing bright orange, numerous, and reasonably long-lasting, and I discovered something else about them this time around. On Saturday, I was moving plants around for watering, and the nectar from one of the A. speciosus flowers dripped out onto my hand, so I tasted it.

Definitely sweet, though not much of any other flavor to it. Basically just sugar water.1 I can see why birds would like it, though.

It's unclear whether I'm going to get an opportunity to cross-pollinate any of these, or whether that's even chromosomally possible, but I intend to try, mostly out of curiosity about what I'd get if it worked.

So far, the one holdout is A. 'Thai Pink,' which isn't showing any signs of buds. It also hasn't seemed to be entirely happy here, though -- a few individual plants within the pot have died -- so maybe it's not going to.


1 Link is only tangentially-related. Check out the video for "Know Your Chicken" too, while you're there: it has a certain WTF-ness that I appreciate.


Long Haired Lady Rider said...

Yep, in my experience most of them will put on a big flush of blooms in springtime and a second smaller flush in the Fall if they are happy -- so they must be happy. :-)

Thai Pink is a 'shy bloomer'. When it blooms for you you can be justifiably proud of yourself.

Kenneth Moore said...

Um, OMG.

I didn't click the link, but the footnote clued me in to the Cibo Matto love by association with Buffy. I have had "Know Your Chicken" in my playlist for years and just listened to "SciFi Wasabi" on Pandora.

Also, I'm glad you're getting into gesneriads. :P I think I have an Aeschynanthus cutting rooting in my propagation tub, but I've not had success with them before.

Anonymous said...

As the president of my local Gesneirad Society, and avid collector of all things 'cool plant', I am also glad you are getting into gesneriads! They are wonderful, respond well to care and bloom in the home when given their simple requirements. The fuzzy furry plants that bloom in the house! The mother ship has a great free newsletter at their site:

They also have a great magazine 4x/a year, well worth the subscription. Their conventions are the bomb!
Your Stimulus Package (Seattle)