Sunday, November 30, 2014

A comment on Primulina from John Boggan

Primulina 'Chastity' - John Boggan hybrid
Story # 144,

            When I started this blog I considered not allowing comments because it would be time consuming to keep current with replies.  Not to worry.  Most readers are too busy to comment.

            But the comments that I have gotten are thoughtful and valuable.  Since not all comments are noticed, I am copying John Boggan’s observations on Primulinas.  John has released these registered Primulina hybrids:  ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Silver Surfer’, ‘Moonlight’, Dreamtime’, ‘Chastity’ and ‘Blue Moon’.

 He has these important observations about Primulina’s durability and potential as a houseplant: 

Where I think the primulinas have a huge advantage, certainly over african violets, is that most of them are very attractive foliage plants (especially many of Peter Shalit's recent creations). The flowers are a bonus on top of what is already a nice plant. Moreover, they are generally easy to grow and fairly tolerant of neglect, especially dry soil. That's a huge advantage over many houseplants. The primary obstacle may be the somewhat brittle leaves and petioles that may make sleeving and shipping tricky, but if you can get these plants onto retail shelves, I think they will sell.
(underlining added)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Asian Tray Garden --- A new type of Miniature Garden.

Asian Tray Garden 
Story # 144,

            Miniature Gardens with several plants and accessories have been difficult to standardize for wholesale customers because of the high input costs.

            With Asian Tray Gardens, an interesting new design is evolving by planting a low bonsai ceramic pot with three plants and one accessory.  We need a tree-form, a low shrub and a ground cover.  With a small Buddha replica the scene is set.

            One combination that looks nice is to use variegated Ming Aralia, variegated Peperomia ‘Pixie’ and Peperomia prostrata.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

10 Things I learned about Primulinas at MAAVS

Primulina 'Loki' (Shalit)
Story # 143,

            The Mid-Atlantic African Violet Society (MAAVS) convention and sale brought together many advanced hobbyists devoted to African Violets and other Gesneriads and several specialized plant vendors.

            Primulinas were exhibited in the judged show and many varieties were sold by the vendors.  The experts were there.  I asked these knowledgeable growers what they think about the prospect of Primulinas becoming more popular.

1.  Primulinas are a very minor category with mail order sales either steady or going down.

2.   Flowering takes a long time and then the individual flowers are short-lived.

3.  For a young plant to set buds, the plantlet should be kept in a small pot (2” - 2 ½”).  Repotting too soon may prevent buds and delay the buds from progressing to come up and flower.

4.  Propagation by leaves is variable in the number of plantlets that you get.  Multiple ways to cut the leaves are possible and trials are needed to discover which way works best.

5.  The descriptive term: ‘Patterned leaves’ may be more accurate than ‘Variegated leaves’.  ‘Patterned’ is stable and ‘variegated’ is variable.

6.  There are many species in cultivation and many named hybrids that are interesting enough to test the commercial market as foliage plants.

7.  Primulinas are very durable and tolerant of drought and neglect, making them acceptable houseplants

8.  Very few hybridizers are working with Primulinas.  Tremendous patience is needed to tolerate the long flowering delays.

9.  It is unlikely the Primulina will be sold in flower as a commercial plant.  Small foliage plants are its only chance.  The yellow flowered--- P. ‘Aiko’ may be an exception.

 10.   Whether Primulina can grow into the common name ---‘Asian Violet’ is uncertain.  The purists among hobbyists want the common name to be ‘Primulina’.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm World Famous.... Again!

Sinningia 'Li'l Georgie' - The Breakthrough 'Mini'
I’m World famous….. Again!

My story about Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’, originally published in the Gesneriads journal and then shown in Gleanings is picked up by New Plantsand Flowers.  This plant news collector in the Netherlands has international circulation with stories about progress in the floricultural industry.

My previous story about Codonanthe was  reprinted as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

MAAVS Flower Show & Convention

Mid-Atlantic African Violet Show & Convention
Coming to Claymont, DE,
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Rt. 92 & I-95 (across from Home Depot)

November 13-15, 2014

Diamonds are Forever is the show theme.
Unusual African violets and other gesneriads for sale
Don't miss this opportunity to visit the Show Room
of winning
   African violet plants and designs
using America's favorite houseplant.etc.

Call  610-485-0211 for further information

Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to Become the Leading Regional Supplier for 'Mini' Plants?

Peperomia prostrata - 'Mini' Plant
Story # 141,

            How does any business become the dominate player in their field?

            An amazing book, Zero to One, by Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal has insight into this question.  He advises how to escape competition. You should have some combination of several characteristics:  proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale and branding.

            Proprietary technology applies to hardware and software, usually protected by patents.  The technology must be at least 10 times better than its closest substitute in some important dimension.

            Can this happen with plants?

            The clearest way to make a 1000 % improvement is to invent something completely new.  Or you can radically improve an existing solution.  Once you’re 10X better, you can escape competition.

            Having the best plant product is the price of admission.  A lot of growers can grow good plants.  How to be 10X better?
            By having New plants that no one has like Primulina, Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’ and upright Selaginella should help, but is it 10X better?

            With truck delivery, orders can arrive in good condition without the problems of unpacking scrambled plants with cold damage.  Is this 10X better?

            I have custom plant tags with common name, botanical name, brief description and ‘Grown by Gary’s Specialty Plants’.  Established customers will have their business name as well.

            A recent order for 300 ‘Mini’ plants had an assortment of 50 different foliage and succulent plants.

            Are all of these features enough to be 10X better and be the leading regional supplier for ‘Mini’ Plants’?

            The true test is if Garden Centers try them and they sell.  Most of my customers never leave.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fill 'er up and buy a plant!

Buy a plant!
Story # 140, O. T.

              Fill ‘er up and buy a plant.

              Macroeconomics is hard to understand when you are the main one that you care about. 

The $0.62 drop in gas price over the last 6 months will save consumers $85 million over the next year collectively.  What’s that do for me?

Fill up your 10 gal tank and you will have $6.20 left in your pocket.

Go buy a plant.