Friday, March 31, 2017

How did this happen?

Sinniniga 'Esther' - four buds

            Remember when I told you about Sinningia ‘Esther’?

            This red flowered Sinningia has cardinalis-type flowers but it is limited by only one flower per leaf axil.

            This picture of a rooted side shoot from my original plant is budded and flowering.

            Four flowers per leaf.  How can this happen?

Sinningia 'Esther' -- How?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hey Jude

Columnea 'Jude' grown by Ron

            This spectacular Columnea grown by Ron in Canada and shown at various Gesneriad shows had a tough journey to my greenhouse.

            The picture of Ron’s plant grown in his home always attracts a lot of ‘Wows’.  And, where can I get that?

            I met Ron years ago, at National Gesneriad conventions ---- he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Gesneriads and is a skilled grower.

            When I asked, Ron offered to get me stock of Columnea ‘Jude’ for commercial production.  Now, for persistence --- The first batch of cuttings sent in November froze, the second batch in March froze (every leaf fell off) but the meristem was green.  I propagated and hoped for one cutting to establish itself.  I got one or two.  Ron then saved the project by hand carrying his show plant to the Delaware National Gesneriad Convention in 2016.  After winning an award, he gave his plant to me.  Finally, a stock base.

            My goal is grow stock baskets ---- when tips are budded, direct stick into 9.5 cm (4”) pots, 3 cuttings per pot.  By the time they root, the cuttings are flowering ---- sell.
            Will they look like Ron’s specimen plant?  Highly unlikely.

            But, it is a good clone.  The salmon pink flowers at every leaf last for weeks.  It’s not a wimpy hybrid.

            The fatal flaw of Columnea is that cold water and sun burn the leaves, which is why they are not seen often.

            But, Columnea ’Jude’ is worth the effort.

Columnea 'Jude' grown by Gary's Specialty Plants

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby'

Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby'
         Libby is one of our advanced hobby growers in the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Society (DAVS).  For many years, she maintained a big basket of a Codonanthe with large white flowers, relative to others I have seen.  Every time Libby would show her award-winning Codonanthe, I’d think we must propagate and distribute it before it’s lost.

            When Libby had to down-size her growing area, she donated, with Mary’s help, her plant to me.  I got one batch of cuttings going that we distributed to DAVS members.  Since then, I’ve been building up stock for larger commercial sale.

            The plant is very hardy--- doesn’t mind drying out a little.  It grows slowly but will branch and flower in small pots.  It will be spectacular in 4 ½” hanging baskets.

            The name of Libby’s plant is uncertain, so it’s unknown if it is in cultivation elsewhere --- thus, the urgency to save the clone.

            Through some clues, it may be the original Codonanthe carnosa.  The Codonanthe clones that I had 40 years ago, went through name changes of carnosa to digna to devosiana.  The free-flowering clone that I have is Codonanthe devosiana ‘Paula'.

            Libby’s clone has white flowers twice the size of ‘Paula’.  So, until further notice I’m designating this exceptional plant:

            Codonanthe carnosa ‘Libby’

Codonanthe devosiana 'Paula' (top), Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby' (bottom)