Saturday, February 2, 2013

Will there ever be a Nematanthus better than 'Cheerio'?

Nematanthus 'Cheerio'
Story # 88,

Will there ever be a Nematanthus better than ‘Cheerio’?

      Nematanthus ‘Cheerio’ has survived as a very special minor flowering plant since it was created by Bill Saylor of Brewster MA in 1977.  A hybrid between two species, N. wettsteinii and N. radicans (gregarious), which by great fortune inherited the best from both parents, plus vigor.

      N. wettsteinii is the smallest Nematanthus species with shiny leaves and orange candy corn - like flowers.  N. radicans has shiny leaves but does not flower quickly.  Both grow slowly.

      N. ‘Cheerio’ has midsized shiny leaves with an orange guppy shaped flower at every leaf axil.  It is seen occasionally in the commercial system in hanging baskets.

      I was fortunate to have known Bill Saylor and his wife Carol.  I visited him several times where he would show me his hybridization projects.  He was an expert in the Gesneriad family of plants and was a genius in seeing the possibilities in hybridizing.  Most of the named Nematanthus hybrids were created by him.  I don’t know of anyone dedicated to the genus Nematanthus now. 

      So what’s so good about ‘Cheerio’?

      People are attracted to the leaves which are shinier than you would think possible.  The bright orange flowers make the common name ‘Goldfish Plant’ seem believable. 

       Over the years, we have grown and sold tens of thousands of ‘Cheerio’s

     I don’t see any other Nematanthus variety that is better!


  1. Also my favorite is Tropicana which I believe is also a Saylor Hybrid

  2. Yes, I like 'Tropicana' also. It comes and goes in commercial horticulture but should be grown more. Bill Saylor was a genius as a hybridizer of Nematanthus. 'Tropicana's dark shiny leaves and interesting flowers make it one of best mid-sized hybrids.

  3. yeah - Tropicana is a favorite of mine also

  4. Nematanthus 'Tropicana' looks good in a 6" hanging basket. We should be growing more of them. Thanks