Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Maybe not entirely missing from retail. . . .

I've been on the lookout this spring for the plants from last fall/winter's Missing From retail series, just to see how absent they really are. For the most part, the plants I said were missing around here still are, but there have been a few sightings.

I guess Cyperus spp. have been around every year and I just wasn't paying attention until this one, because I've seen them in two stores so far, one of which was the ex-job. If they've got them this year, they must have had them in previous years.

Cyperus involucratus 'Baby Tut.'

I've considered buying a Cyperus, though so far I've managed to talk myself out of it, on the grounds that they'll die the first time they dry out. But there's a great "person" possibility for profile-writing, so I might do it anyway, just so I can say I have some actual experience with the plant and write the profile.

I've also seen some Eucomis bulbs, though at Costco, not any of the local garden centers. I'm not sure what that means. I've been very, very close to buying those, too, and the only thing that's stopped me has been that they were initially $12 for 9 plants, and I wasn't sure I wanted nine more of anything, particularly not nine more of a plant that I wasn't sure would be able to grow in the first place.

Costco also had Crinums, I think. Not at all interested in those.

The ex-job has Cobaea scandens seeds.

I don't think I'm particularly interested in Cobaea -- everybody made it sound like more trouble than it's worth, and please note the small print on the package ("10' - 70' tall;" the metric equivalent is 3-21 m) -- but nevertheless, they exist, relatively close by.

There have been plenty of Bougainvilleas around town this year; either they've gotten more popular lately, or I hadn't been paying close enough attention before. I doubt many of the customers buying them are intending to grow them indoors, though. (Ditto for Catharanthus, Pittosporum, Fuchsia, Euonymous, Limonium, Acorus, Acalypha, Pentas, Nicotiana, and Liriope, all of which I've seen at least once this year.)

Shrimp plants (Justicia spp. and a few other genera) are showing up all over the place. They've never been completely absent, but I'm seeing new species and new forms this year. (For example: I saw a topiary standard shrimp plant this year.) Manettia luteo-rubra is showing up a lot more too, for some reason.

I've seen quite a few Dyckias in Iowa this year, mostly D. 'Raspberry Ice,' which I think genuinely is a new thing. I'm pretty sure I would already have fifty of them, if they'd been available in Iowa before this. I haven't bought any, because I'm not entirely sure I can grow them still. The first one I had died more or less immediately, and the second one has both survived for a full year and grown substantially larger, but I still don't feel like we've really reached an understanding.

Dyckia no-name F2 hybrid of 'Burgundy Ice,' as of last September. It's substantially larger than this now.

Faucaria spp. are here and there, though I have zero interest in them. (Too closely related to stuff like Lithops and Fenestraria.) Most of the ones I've seen this year have been at Reha's, in Wellman, IA. Ditto for Gibasis geniculata: they're around, mostly at Reha's, and I have no interest.

Faucaria sp. (pic is from a previous year, though)

And then finally, the ex-job had a couple pots of Russelia equisetiformis the last time I was there. They were much too large to pose a serious temptation, never mind the question of whether Russelia could be successfully overwintered indoors in Iowa, but they're neat-looking plants, even when not in bloom.

Russelia equisetiformis.


Unknown said...

Try the Cyprus, if you are interested. They are grown as landscape plants here in Phoenix, on a drip waterer, so they must have some tolerance for dry.

I've had discarded plants continue to grow in my compost pile here, and I make no attempt to keep it damp. It gets watered *maybe* one a month or so.

So this plant is worth a try.

Paul said...

And in contrast to "Unknown", I had a Cyperus alternifolius for quite a number of years. I did grow it wet. Didn't find it to be all that difficult to accommodate -- simply put its pot into a larger holeless container and filled that container with water. During the summer I often did have to refill the container once a week but then it was kept outside in full sun during that time so evaporation and visits by thirsty birds had an impact. From mid-Fall to late spring it would reside indoors. Same set up though typically only filled the container half way with water. Could generally go a week or two between adding more water.

Bret said...

I find it interesting how plan availability varies regionally. I'm in MN so fairly close to you but some of the plants you mentioned aren't that uncommon. I first noticed this in your post on Saxifraga stolonifera when people mentioned never seeing it. I've always seen that since I was a kid, usually in hanging baskets (though recently for fairy gardens and occasional house plant). Faucaria spp is easy to find, granted one of the local stores has a really good succulent vendor. Osmanthus fragrans I've seen on and off the past two years. Cyperus is pretty common (that might be because of the water garden section of one store though). Medinilla cvv. is also starting to appear around here.

I'm always amazed how some of the different impatiens are uncommon (like niamniamensis). I know they are from a different region than the impatiens sold for gardens but they do not seem to be that hard to grow and are attractive, both in leaf growth and flowers. Then again I killed two of them last year so maybe they are harder to grow than I think.

Ivynettle said...

My Cyperus dries out rather regularly, and doesn't die - it just looks rather ugly for a while. I do the same thing Paul does, putting it into a container without holes and keeping that filled with water.

Diane C said...

I've guess I've not been adventuresome enough. With the advent of national chains, is there any danger of bringing home something that could become an invasive species?

mr_subjunctive said...

Diane C:

Oh sure. Happens kind of regularly, even.

Carmen said...

I had no idea that Costco had Eucomis bulbs, but then again I barely go since I don't have a membership LOL...but I LOVE them...I would have bought atleast two bags of them. My smaller purple Eucomis are about to rebloom, but my bigger bicolor ones are acting funny this year (they where over wintered this last winter after blooming beautifully last summer), but for some reason the leaves barely grew but it's getting ready to bloom... usually the leaves grow long...must be a fertilizer thing. But they are so worth growing, they are beautiful and last a very long time in bloom.

Also with the cyperus, I sometimes forget to water for quite a while and it's still up and growing with no issues indoors, but I am about to put it outdoors, I just need to find a holeless pot for it.

Cassidy said...

The faucaria are one of my favorite succulents! Theare so awesome!