Sunday, March 17, 2019

Why are we holding back?

Peperomia polybotrya 'Raindrop'

            The phenomenon of the Chinese Money Plant has gotten a lot of ‘Press’.  Many in the plant world have followed the rapid rise of Pilea peperomioides and tried to explain it.

            Indoor plant lovers published pictures on social media and the demand spiraled up.  The real shortage of availability fed the instinct of ‘Get it before its gone’.  With demand chasing limited supply, the prices moved up, which just made it more desirable.

            There is a similar plant, Peperomia polybotrya‘Raindrop’ out there waiting for its chance to zoom.

            Experienced plant collectors all say it’s a better plant than Chinese Money.  It has a sturdy stem with coin-shaped shiny leaves.  It’s the perfect houseplant.  It can live in very low light, doesn’t mind being a little dry and will branch and make shiny, green leaves.

            So, why hasn’t it caught fire?  The supply is very limited, but that didn’t stop Pilea.

            Why are we holding back?

            Peperomia ‘Raindrop’ needs to be promoted in every possible way.  Garden Centers need to promote it when the they have plants for sale.  Being temporarily sold out increases desire.

            This is a legitimate, easy houseplant.  Those who have one will tell others.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Note: This is not a political question, O. T.

Some ideas don't work

I buy Succulents from Mexico through a U. S. broker who has established a big business importing unrooted cuttings.

If there would be a tariff (tax) imposed by President Trump on this product, say, $1 Dollar per plant,  the idea is that production would return to the U.S. southern states.  The actual result would be that any U.S. grower who would enter the succulent market would charge the same as the imported plant plus the tariff dollar.

The law of unintended consequences would make your favorite succulent cost too much, you will stop buying and the booming succulent market will collapse.

Fortunately, horticulture is a minor industry, so it has been ignored by the tariff imposers.

Free international trade allows for low cost plants to be enjoyed by all.  Don’t let the President tell you that tariffs are helping U. S. business.

If tariffs were added to the price of plants, it would cripple us.

Tariffs are counter-productive, un-American and stupid.  President Trump is wrong to go against practical economics.

The next President will return sanity to free enterprise by abandoning all tariffs.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

No Stagnation in Lettuce

'Just saying'        Credit- Kevin Cohn

I’m always annoyed with doomsayers who say there is nothing new and ‘Let’s go back to the good old days’.  There is no stagnation in lettuce.  I have no relationship with greenhouse vegetables, but I find this story amazing:

         "BrightFarms, a leading supplier of greenhouse vegetables, is ramping up its expansions efforts with new greenhouses planned for New England (Central Massachusetts), New York (Hudson Valley), and North Carolina. The new greenhouses will each be 280,000 square feet and sit on 20 acres of land. According to BrightFarms, each greenhouse is expected to create around 55 full-time jobs.

        The greenhouses will each produce more than 2 million pounds of fresh, leafy salad greens and herbs per year."

The full story here:

Free enterprise at it’s best.  Is this a great country or what?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

There should be a record of this...

String of Dolphins

            It is so rare that a small business gets national notice, that it should be recorded.

            Ellen Wells of Ball Publishing has been tracking a story about the new plant --- String of Dolphins.  She offered to help match buyers with sellers for this still rare plant.

            Here is the mention in the Feb 2019 Buzz e-newsletter.

Gary Hunter of Gary’s Specialty Plants in Drumore, Pennsylvania, responded to my request for folks who sell the very hot and trending dolphin succulents, also known as string of succulents. He ships within 200 miles of Drumore and is still accepting new customers. Gary says all “strings of things” are worth watching.

This is more than getting my name in the paper.  This is genuine recognition of what’s happening in houseplants and a boost for making sales happen.

         I appreciate this recognition and thank Ellen for her effort. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Which are you?, O. T.

Just My Opinion

                                   Those who can, Do !
                                   Those who can’t, Criticize !

            There is a saying for everything.  I like sayings that apply.  It helps simplify the situation.

            Since I stopped watching TV news years ago, my life got better.  Bad news sells better than good news, so that’s what you get.  Bad News – Repeated.

            I keep up with what is happening in the world through internet news aggregators.  I look at several, so maybe by taking the average of the slant of the stories, I can get a reasonable impression of the facts.

            Many opinion pieces allow comments which I look at to help frame the topic. Now, I think that I will stop doing that.

            Random comments bring out the worst.  There are people with their own agenda, argue without fact. (They are welcome to start their own blog).  There is name calling which poisons any good argument.  There are internal cat-fights between screen names who have established their personalities or may even know each other.

Someone who is a professional news writer, who has the filter of an editor and who protects their reputation, does not need kibitzers criticizing them.  Thoughtful comments could be helpful if well-reasoned. However, thinkers who are capable of that, learn not to waste their time, because they get sniped at, as well.

Random comments serve no purpose to improve understanding of a public question.  I will stop reading them.  My life will be better.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Could Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses' be a Major Minor Crop?

Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses'

            A flowering houseplant that should get attention is Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’.

            My leading buyer wants plants that are variegated or flowering.  Why?  Because they sell.

            We get both with H. ‘Candy Kisses’ --- a variegated flowering plant.  It’s a guaranteed short day to flower plant, so it flowers in the winter time when we want some color in the house.  Self-branching and easy to propagate, it is easily programmable It could be flowered year around by artificially giving it short days.  It fits in small pots, so can be an affordable low-cost bit of color.

            We have two clones --- ‘Candy Kisses’, with white and green variegation and ‘Lemon Lime’, with light and dark green variegation.  They are interesting plants with a minty aroma when not in flower.  Both can be used in spring combination planters for summer patio growing where variegated filler plants are needed.

            ‘Candy Kisses’ and ‘Lemon Lime’ are worth producing in large quantities to gauge the sales potential.  Somebody should do that !

Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses' - Budded from short days

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Another mystery of Lipstick Plants discovered

Young growth on old plant (R), Young growth on young plant(L)

We have hanging baskets of the common Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus lobbianus) in various stages waiting for them to flower/sell.

The group held over from their non-flowering summer are first to bud.  The group that were propagated from new growth – a pair of leaves that rooted and branched with new shoots are growing well but no buds.

The middle group are last year’s baskets, cut back short and allowed to branch with new growth.  These budded and will flower second.

So, in order to budding ---- uncut old branches, old growth cut back with new shoots, and last, new propagations.

The flowering response of Lipstick is not precise.  The only thing I know for sure is it’s a function of age.  Young shoots don’t flower.

But now I know that young shoots from old growth will flower sooner that young shoots from young growth.

So, how will this discovery help speed up production?

1.      If you have baskets that stop flowering in the summer heat, cut them back hard.  The new growth will flower by Christmas.

2.      If you’re propagating cuttings in cell packs, don’t worry about keeping them moving.  You can hold them in cell packs, which take less space, to let them get age.  The shoots will reward you with faster flowering when potted up.

If you are a homeowner with one Lipstick hanging basket, it would make sense to cut it back 1/3 at a time for three months so you would always have flowers forming.

      ---Too complicated?

Then, just know to keep your old plant and cut it back in Summer.  It will flower faster than if you start a new basket.

Old growth on old plant(R), Young growth on old plant (L)