Wednesday, November 9, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast: Nautilocalyx forgetii

I got a lot of new plants this summer and fall, mostly through trades, and I have to say, I think Nautilocalyx forgetii was the best. It's a competitive field -- good arguments could also be made for Chirita 'Deco,' Pereskia aculeata 'Godseffiana,' Episcia 'Pink Acajou,' Billbergia 'Foster's Striate,' and Huernia zebrina -- but in the end, I lean toward Nautilocalyx because it's grown rapidly while still remaining a very handsome-looking plant. I mean, there may be all sorts of terrible things about to happen this winter, but for right now, I'm quite smitten.

May 2011. 3" (7.5 cm) pot.

Jul 2011. 3" (7.5 cm) pot.

October 2011. 4" (10 cm) pot.

When I watered it yesterday, I saw what look like branches, sticking out of the leaf axils. Don't know what this is going to do to the overall shape of the plant, but if it does branch, then I can start trying to propagate, which ought to be fun.

I can't figure out why N. forgetii aren't sold more often. I mean, they're shiny, which people like, and there's contrasting color. I can't imagine they're particularly tough to ship; I've certainly seen more fragile plants in stores. They seem to propagate easily, and they grow fast enough that it seems like they'd be cost-effective to mass-produce. I haven't had bug problems yet. I treat it pretty much like I treat everything else, and it's thrived, so it doesn't seem like fussiness is the problem. So I'm stumped. Hopefully I'll be able to say the same in six months.


Anna de la Cruz said...

Can't say I've ever seen these anywhere near me here in Toronto. Is there a more common English name for these?

yoghill said...

This plant is very beautiful. I think I can't find this one in France...

mr_subjunctive said...

Anna de la Cruz:

I googled but was unable to find a common name. (Possibly you have to be common before you get a common name.) Most of the sites mentioning the plant are gesneriad organizations, so I'd try talking to yours (surely Toronto has a gesneriad organization?) if you want to find one for sale or trade.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Toronto has a Gesneriad society and a meeting this Sunday. May get luckier at the show in the spring (rather than a regular meeting) or better yet at the convention in 2013. I'll be looking for this one too.

Anonymous said...

There is no common name for it, yet. It is sure a sweet plant! I don't know how long it has been in cultivation generally, but I experimented with it in the last year or two. To access this and so many other great plants, plant societies are the way to go. Visit your local chapter of the Gesneriad Society as a guest or just join up.

If you join at the main website of the mother ship and get the magazine, you can then order from a huge number of species seeds that members donate to keep the plants in cultivation and to keep them others from going extinct. There are many international members for just that reason.

Toronto has a huge and beautiful local chapter show with many EXCELLENT growers. So you are in luck! If you do visit a chapter meeting or shows of the Gesneriad Society or even a local African violet society to get some gesneriads, there are usually swap plants, a raffle of plant materials of some sort, as well as starts for sale. Not an expensive undertaking to get into it. The clubs usually go in on buying harder to find items as projects. If you join a local club you can also request a cutting of a plant you are interested in. Someone will have it. Most all members are very generous with their time and knowledge, cuz we love these things.

Here in Seattle we have a show and sale in March at a local nursery. But Toronto has theirs in a large mall of some sort and outshines us by far. So wish I could get to it just once.

I suspect the little branching parts on your very healthy happy plant, might just be flower buds forming. They will be slow to plump up in the beginning and then start opening up along the stem. Polinate it and send the seeds around. It is great fun!

Humidity and warmth are needed, so sitting in a big-box hardware store as a loss leader item, with forgetful clerks, and cold drafts, dry intermittent heat won't work. That is probably why many of the rarer gesneriads have not been picked up yet. Chirita varietals (nomenclature becomes Primulina Jan. 2012 BTW) might come out first, and behind them the newest fancy streptocarpus hybrids. That would be my guess.

Your Stimulus Package (Seattle)

Long Haired Lady Rider said...

You are doing a fabulous job with that one, Mr. Subjunctive!!!