The news is a few days old now, but I should report that the fall bloom cycle has already begun for my Schlumbergeras. The 2015-16 batch ran later than ever before (Schlumbergera 200A Breakin' The Law bloomed in June), and now we have a record early start to the 2016-17 season.1
I have mixed feelings about this, as the Schlumbergeras need a lot of documenting once they all start to bloom: not only do I need photos of the flowers, but then there's the naming and the blogging and spreadsheets and so forth. It's fun, but it gets to be a lot. This year may be even busier than the last two, since I've rearranged the plant room and brought even more plants up from the basement. It's theoretically possible that we might see as many as 68 new, never-seen-before blooms. More excitingly, there's a very good chance that this will be the year we start to see some new colors.2
Not today, though. Today we have Donovan. Who is not great.
The main issue here is the ragged spathe margins, but on top of that, we have the thrips damage on the spadix (at least I think that's what that tan patch in the middle is), an unusually dramatic flip of the spadix a couple days later,
and the bloom is small to begin with. I can only come up with one potentially-good thing about it, which is that the veining is unusually dark, compared to the rest of the spathe. The contrast is even stronger in person than in the photos. That's not automatically a good thing, but it's different
, which makes it interesting.
Anyway. The leaves are only so-so.
And there aren't many of them, though that's sort of a good thing. The reason there aren't many leaves is that Donovan flowered before getting moved to a 4-inch pot. Early flowering has become a less valuable trait to me as more seedlings have bloomed; now I'm much more interested in how many flowers the plant produces, whether the plants are thrips-resistant, the size of the spathes, and whether the blooms are interesting colors. But blooming early doesn't hurt
The plan at this point is to wait until there's a second bloom to compare to before making a decision on Donovan. Not optimistic about it being better, but I can still wait and see.
Donovan is the offspring of 0239 Russ Teanale, who's been a mixed bag as a parent so far.
Clockwise from top left: 0239 Russ Teanale, 0690 Sister Kitty Catalyst, 0718 Donovan, 0716 Herbie Hind.
Russ is great, and Herbie shares his dad's tendencies toward large spathes and lots of blooms, even if Herbie's color is ordinary. Sister Kitty and Donovan, on the other hand, were awfully disappointing.
There won't be any new seedlings from 0239 Russ Teanale for a while; though the BR seedling group was large (23 seedlings), 12 of them were discarded due to scale infestation, and another 8 were stunted, weak, or dry. There are some Russ seedlings in the germination containers, but for the moment, I don't have room to pot them up. So it'll probably be another year, year and a half, before we get to see any of his other offspring.