Thursday, January 26, 2012

List: PATSP All-Stars

"All-Stars" are those plants for which:

1) I have had at least one specimen, continuously, for at least three years,

2) which is still living,

3) and looks as good as, or better than, it did when first acquired, plus:

4) no specimen has ever had spider mites, scale, mealybugs, thrips, aphids, whitefly, cyclamen mites, or fungus (Fungus gnats are excluded, because fungus gnats don't do enough damage to the plants to count as pests, and it's often difficult to tell what plant they're residing in anyway.),

5) no established specimen has ever gone into an abrupt and irreversible decline (new cuttings/divisions/offsets may still do so, 'cause that's part of the process of getting established), and

6) the plant has been successfully propagated,

7) more than once.

I have something in the neighborhood of 400-450 distinct kinds (species / subspecies / cultivars / hybrids) of plants in the house right now, and I don't have any idea how many other kinds of plants I've attempted to grow in the past, but I figure it has to be at least a couple hundred. Out of all those, a mere nineteen meet the above criteria at the moment.

(NOTE: The pictures which follow are not necessarily of the original plant nor particularly current; even those photos which are of the original plant and current may not impress, because looking better than when the plant originally came to live here is a lower bar to clear for some of the plants than it is for others. Also the Philodendron hederaceum 'Brasil' picture isn't even of my own plant.)

Aloe 'Walmsley's Blue.'

Anthurium 'Gemini.'

Anthurium 'Orange Hot.'

Begonia NOID, rhizomatous type.

Chlorophytum x 'Fire Flash.'

Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana.'

Gasteraloe x beguinii. (Aloe aristata x Gasteria batesiana)

Nematanthus 'Tropicana.'

Peperomia obtusifolia, variegated.

Philodendron hederaceum, chartreuse version. (Possibly 'Aureum' or 'Lemon-Lime;' I've never had an official cultivar name.)

Philodendron hederaceum 'Brasil' or 'Brazil.'

Philodendron hederaceum micans.

Sedum morganianum.

Sedum rubrotinctum.

Synadenium grantii (green version).

Syngonium podophyllum NOID (possibly 'Neon').

Yucca guatemalensis, gray version.

Yucca guatemalensis, green version.

Yucca guatemalensis, yellow-margined version.

I don't know whether this would be useful information to anybody else, but there it is. Ordinarily with the List posts, I recommend three good ones and warn against one, but these are obviously all recommended, so we'll skip that part.

What are your All-Star plants, according to the above criteria?


Honorable mentions:

Honorable mentions are those which meet 6 of the 7 criteria. Depending on their reason for disqualification, some of these may move into the All-Star list eventually.
  • Aechmea fasciata (only one successful propagation)
  • Agave desmettiana (?), variegated (have only had ~1 1/2 years)
  • Agave victoriae-reginae (one's been here 4 1/2 years but never propagated; the other's been propagated more than once but has only been here for 2 years)
  • Aloe NOID, possibly 'Blue Elf' or A. x humilis (have only had 2 years)
  • Anthurium NOID w/ purple flowers (original is not as attractive as when first brought home)
  • Anthurium 'Pandola' (have only had ~2 1/2 years)
  • Begonia NOID cane-type (only one successful propagation)
  • Begonia x 'Erythrophylla' (have only had for 7 months)
  • Breynia disticha 'Roseo-Picta' (has had spider mites)
  • Codonanthe serrulata (have only had for 8 months)
  • Columnea microphylla (have only had for 8 months)
  • Echeveria coccinea (have only had 1 1/2 years)
  • Ficus elastica (has had spider mites)
  • Ficus microcarpa (has had spider mites)
  • Furcraea foetida 'Medio-Picta' (have only had for ~2 1/2 years)
  • Guzmania cv. (original is not attractive)
  • Hatiora salicornioides (has had spider mites)
  • Haworthia attenuata (specimens have abruptly declined)
  • Hoya carnosa 'Chelsea' (only one successful propagation)
  • Hoya carnosa 'Krimson Princess', solid-green revert (have not propagated >1 time)
  • Justicia scheidweileri (have only had 1 1/2 years)
  • Murraya paniculata (only one successful propagation)
  • Nematanthus NOID, orange-yellow flowers (specimens have abruptly declined)
  • Nematanthus NOID, orange flowers (have only had 2 1/2 years)
  • Pandanus veitchii, variegated (specimens have abruptly declined)
  • Peperomia pereskifolia (original plant got chopped back severely for propagation, so it doesn't look as good as it did initially)
  • Philodendron erubescens (?) 'Golden Emerald' (have only had 2 1/2 years)
  • Sansevieria trifasciata 'Hahnii' (have only had about 2 1/2 years)
  • Selenicereus chrysocardium (have had about 2 1/2 years)
  • Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Tilt-a-Whirl' (has only been an official plant for less than one month; have likely owned for less than a year but I'm not actually sure when I got it)
  • Synadenium grantii, red/purple version (have only had for 1 1/2 years)
  • Tradescantia pallida (original plant has been restarted repeatedly, and at the moment does not look better than it did when new)
  • Tradescantia zebrina (original plant is not attractive)
  • Zamioculcas zamiifolia (specimens have abruptly declined)


Ivynettle said...

That's a tough set of requirements to fulfill!
Chlorophytum comosum, Hoya carnosa, Begonia corallina... the others are mostly defeated by the "no bugs" rule. Tradescantias are uncomplicated, too, but I've never had the same plant three years.
Philodendron hederaceum and Epipremnum, but except for one, I've never propagated them at home (I probably could, though) - does it count if I've done it at work? ;-)

Leslie said...

The only plants of mine that I'm positive would fit all of these are my jade, pothos and probably schefflera. I'm actually pretty surprised that three different philodendrons made it onto your list but not a single pothos.

mr_subjunctive said...


Well, sort of. If you want.


Pothos was defeated by the combination of multiple-successful-propagation and sudden-unexplained-decline. For a while, sudden unexplained decline was how all my pothos experiences ended. I still don't know what was going on then, but it pretty much cured me of wanting to propagate any more of them.

mr_subjunctive said...


Oh, and -- I don't think I've ever had a Tradescantia stay for three years either (possibly one of the T. zebrinas), but I figure restarts in the same pot are essentially indistinguishable, since it's the same original genetic material and the same pot, which is how T. pallida made it on the honorable mentions. This is probably inconsistent of me, though, now that I think about it.

Anonymous said...

I've got a couple of oncidium-type orchids that satisfy all of the requirements. The propagation was all by accident, though: most of them just keep growing from a single growth tip, whereas these few have suddenly sent out new growth from multiple pseudo-bulbs with no encouragement on my part. Also I have a kalanchoe (sp?) that a friend refers to as "Bachelor-tested, Bachelor-approved," also known as the unkillable plant. It has only rarely re-bloomed, and a colony of ants did once move in and set up housekeeping (???) but it's huge, glossy, and has many offspring. And you didn't say no ants.

paivi said...

I second Oncidiums. I also have a few African violets that I inherited from my grandmother a few years ago, and they easily fulfill the requirements.

Diana said...

Unfortunately I haven't lived in my current location for five years and I didn't bring too many plants with me when I moved. Let's see - I have a Pepperomia obtusifolia (I brought cuttings), a snake plant that someone gave my mom back in the 70s (well, I brought cuttings), a Cuban Oregano (well, I brought cuttings, are we sensing a theme?).

[Looks to the right]

Now I DID move my 55 gallon aquarium with live plants (and the fish!) on a two day drive. Yep, those plants are at least five years old! (And so are the fish.) I'm not sure I can recommend them as houseplants, though...

Great idea for a post!

orchideya said...

From all the houseplants(excluding orchids) that I have grown - only two plants are staying with me for over 7 years now - Pachypodium lamerei (came from Walmart as a very small seedling) and Adenium obesum (I grew it from a seed) - I think they are thriving mostly on neglect. I didn't try to propagate them though. None of the other ones would fit three years requirement, they would just come and go.

Tom said...

Wow. I was expecting to see like...2 plants. Bravo! It does make me happy to see that I'm not the only one with sudden Zamioculcas decline syndrome.

Angelina said...

Very interesting post. I should look at my plant, and see which ones will qualify.
I read your blog usually on my lunch break. Your blog along with Shirley are my favorite reference.
What stands out among my houseplant is Crassulata ovata, maybe the other one is crassula compacta and peperomia variagata. Of course, Sansiviera lives forever. Hoya won't qualify, it has some sort of bugs last year.

The plant pictured, Gasteraloe x beguini looks like my Hawthoria? Do you know if they are cousins or something? But then, don't know what is the scale of the picture, mine was really tiny like 4 inch tall. Does your plant grow taller?

Thanks for your plant post. Really appreciate your time and photo postings.


mr_subjunctive said...

Gasteraloe x beguinii is pretty closely related to Haworthias -- all the Aloes, Gasterias and Haworthias are pretty close, and a lot of them can interbreed. The plant in the photo was, I think, in a 6-inch (15 cm) pot, so yeah, quite a bit bigger than your plant.