Thursday, August 30, 2012

Random plant event: Columnea orientandina

In the beginning, there was the Columnea orientandina.

(May 2011)

It arrived in May 2011, and has been a bit up and down in the 15 months following; one of the original cuttings died, but it's flowered a few times, and it's noticeably larger than it was when it arrived, so overall I think it's doing okay.

(August 2012)

One point of interest about the plant is that it's self-fertile; the berries are pink-purple. Here's one from last August:

I wasn't prepared for this to happen, so by the time I'd found out how to germinate the seeds, the fruit had already dried up. (It might still have been possible to germinate them anyway; I didn't attempt it.) This didn't seem like a big loss, since it had flowered and fruited within a pretty short time of rooting, so I figured I'd have another chance very soon.

Eleven months later, I got the second fruit. Scooped out the seeds, stirred them around in some water to separate them from the pulp, poured them onto a paper towel to dry overnight, then sowed them on damp vermiculite in a plastic clamshell container on 19 July.

It only took 13 days for the first seeds to sprout:

(1 Aug 2012)

And by 16 August, I had about 55-60 individual seedlings:

(Not all seedlings are shown in photo.)

I don't know how many of those are going to transfer successfully to soil, so there's no telling how many new plants I'm going to wind up with when all is said and done. I should probably be hoping that most of them fail: I already have ~250 Anthurium seedlings potted up and growing, plus ~600-700 Schlumbergera and about 20 Rhipsalis NOID (R. rhombea?) seedlings started but not big enough to pot up yet. I've tried a couple times to cross Episcias as well, but, happily, they aren't cooperating. (I say that I want to reduce the number of plants I have, often and recently, but I clearly don't mean it.) We'll see how everything shakes out, I suppose.

If none of the seedlings survive the transfer, it looks like I will have another berry relatively soon to start over with; the above photo is from 23 August.


Long Haired Lady Rider said...

I almost lost mine to neglect. If your seedlings survive I may beg some from you LOL.

Lauren said...

I've been looking at this plant at Violet Barn...the berries are just so interesting!

I might have to beg for some as well, ha.

orchideya said...

Where do you get the time to care for all your plants plus almost a thousand of seedlings?! I guess your day somehow contains more than 24 hours, otherwise it is just impossible.

seaecho said...

Would you consider selling me one? I LOVE these plants, and they aren't easy to find.

mr_subjunctive said...


Sure. Send an e-mail. (Instructions to get the address are at the top of the sidebar.)

Marisa said...

Any tips for growing conditions? Mine is growing, but not quickly. It dropped all its leaves last fall and has a new sprig now, with little sprouts that looks like they want to be new branches, but they haven't grown at all in the past few months.

mr_subjunctive said...


Of the two plants I have right now, one is kind of falling apart, while the other is doing okay. I don't know why the one that's falling apart is falling apart for sure, but my guess is that it's unhappy either because it gets too dry between waterings, or because it gets too cold when it's cold outside. (Usually the point where tropical plants start to get stressed is around 60F.) Warm + moist is usually a pretty safe bet for tropical plants, anyway. I assume you've been fertilizing?