Sunday, December 6, 2015

Designing The Perfect Houseplant

Primulina 'Loki' grown by Scott in his office.

If we wanted to design the perfect houseplant from scratch, we would want it to be carefree with culture requirements similar to what we humans like.

That would mean the plant would be adaptive to a wide range of light, temperature, humidity and occasional lack of water.  It would be decorative and have enough interesting qualities to make it worth giving it some time and space.  If it would flower occasionally, that would be a bonus.

I gave my son a Primulina ‘Loki’ to see if he would have success.  The picture shows a good looking plant with flowers.  Even though he grew up around my greenhouse business, even he would describe himself as a ‘non-plant’ person.

I interviewed him about his success:

Is this your office or apartment?
This is on my desk at the office.

Is it window light or only fluorescent?
Mostly fluorescent.  The windows are open all day, but my desk is probably 20 feet away, so it would be indirect most of the time, except for briefly at sunset when the sunlight comes straight in horizontally.

Did it have buds on it when I gave it?
Not sure. I don't think so.  Maybe they were hidden under the leaves. I think the whole stalk/stem with the flowers on it grew from "nothing" to 6 inches or so, surprisingly quickly.

Does it have a wick in it?

How often did you water it?
Because the pot is suspended inside the silver container, I found that when I water it, it all runs straight through the pot and the dirt would dry out again while the water pooled in the bottom.  So, I've been trying to water smaller amounts every other day or so.  Sometimes I take the pot out and recycle the collected water through the pot again.

Have the other buds opened up?
There is another stalk with 3 more flowers on it.  The first ones from the picture have mostly died by now in the last two weeks.  I'll send a new picture.

              His story shows that Asian Violets are perfect houseplants and causal plant- tenders can have success with Primulina.

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