Sunday, June 30, 2019

Who knows the origin of String of Dolphins?

String of Dolphins -- The hottest plant

One of the ‘hottest’ plants is String of Dolphins – Senecio peregrinus.  Where did this come from?  Why had we not known about this novelty plant before?

The internet will tell you everything.  But what to believe?

              I don’t know if the stories of its origin are true.  One account is that it is a hybrid of two species and has a species name of peregrinus.  This is suspect, because hybrids of two species are conventionally given a hybrid name in single quotes; e.g.  Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ is a hybrid of (Sinningia concinna X Sinningia muscicola).

            Perhaps, it is natural occurring species found in nature as Senecio peregrinus --- common name:  String of Dolphins.

            A counter argument is that it is a hybrid---- either natural occurring or man-made.  We have had hundreds of flowers go to seed, but have not seen any seedlings sprout, implying it may be sterile.  This is a common phenomenon of F1 hybrids of two species --- a sterile hybrid.

You are welcome to comment to give an accurate picture of String of Dolphins.

This novel plant is going to become a standard.  It would be nice to know its history.





Saturday, June 8, 2019

Does Pilea peperomioides flower, Part II ?

Pilea peperomioides with open flowers


          The flowers are open.

          Still not exciting.








Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Does Pilea peperomioides flower?

Pilea peperomioides in flower


          All species in the wild must flower at some point to help perpetuate itself.  This is the first time I have seen it.  This is a much older plant than we normally have around since all younger ones are sold.

          It's easy to see that this is not a flowering plant that is grown for its flowers.



Sunday, June 2, 2019

It's never too late to learn..., O. T.

Do you know what this means?




I missed it when it was happening.  I had never read a Harry Potter book nor seen a movie about the marvelous world of wizards and witches.

It’s been 20 years since the clever writer, J. K. Rowling, finally got her ingenious stories published for the world to read.

I’ve listened to three books from Audible and watched three movies interpret them.  I wonder if the movies could stand alone, without knowing the descriptive details from the books.

The advantage of the audio, performed by Jim Dale, with his amazing storytelling, is giving the characters their own voice.

I’ve been entertained and now know why so many were taken over by Harry Potter.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

String of Hearts has Problems

String of Hearts



            In our Pennsylvania greenhouse winter condition, String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii), does not grow.  Stock plants in full winter sun and in warm night temperatures (64) do not put out runners for propagation.   In the summer, they grow quickly.

            So, what’s the problem?

            It’s too cold?  The day length is too short?

            Experiments can be tried.  I can grow some under lights where they will get 18 hours of light and 75-85 temperatures.  If they grow rapidly, problem solved.

            Next problem.  How to make them branch?  We need a branch at every leaf axil, but most of the time only get one.

            A project worth trying is spray with B-Nine, a growth regulator that sometimes promotes branching.  Spray long strings of hearts to see if there is any effect.  There is a chance only the pair of leaves near the pinch will branch.  If so, it could be branched on the stock plant before cut for propagation.

            The lack of cooperation from our stock baskets is starving the market for the thousands of String of Hearts that could be sold.




Sunday, April 21, 2019

Can we bring back Sinningia 'Little Georgie'?

Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie' - An amazing plant



My Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ has been out of production for several years.  It is one of the best miniature flowering plants ever created.  The few that remain at the greenhouse always attract visitor’s attention.         

The limiting factor has always been practical propagation.  Tissue culture works --- we proved it twice until I lost my source.

Perhaps there is a way.  There is a ‘poor man’s' method --- establish hundreds of tubers and then cut the tiny young shoots, root them and pot three per 2.5” pot.  Grow out to flower and sell for a high price.

What has changed since we last sold ‘Li’l Georgie’?

1.      Houseplant demand has exponentially increased.

2.      Plant collectors will pay higher prices for unusual plants.

3.     Garden Centers with expanded houseplant departments are begging for rare plants like ‘Li’l Georgie’

Somebody should do this.




Friday, April 19, 2019

The Real Test

Happy Plant Buyer

            After unloading my plants at Strange’s Garden Center in Richmond, I observed a customer selecting three of my plants.

            I wanted to find out the ‘Why’, so I asked her-----

            She was holding two of our ‘hot’ plants --- Pilea peperomioides and Peperomia polybotrya ‘Raindrop’.

            I asked if she knew about these plants before she came there.  “Well, a little, but no.  I like these and I want to learn about them.”

            She also bought two nice ceramic pots to put them in.  There was a discussion about holes or no holes in the pot.

            Later, I happened to see her at the cash register and thought she needs to be in a blog story.  So, I asked her permission for her picture.


            She was very pleasant, and I met a real plant buyer who picked the ‘hot’ varieties because she liked them.