Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Let it Shine!

Peperomia polyboytra 'Raindrop"

Peperomia 'Raindrop' - Natural shine

            Peperomia polybotrya ‘Raindrop’ is a solid foliage houseplant from the past.  Its current claim to fame is that it looks like the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides).

            To get indoor gardeners to pay attention, we need the dominant characteristic to be obvious.

            It can survive in very low light, a great feature to give long life as a decorative plant.  But if you don’t notice it, you’ll never find out.

            Plants with shiny leaves are somewhat suspect --- Did you shine those leaves?  Did you spray it with leaf shine?

            With Peperomia ‘Raindrop’, shine is what you get.  It will be its dominant feature.  All its other desirable qualities will be apparent later.

            Many customers just want some no-nonsense greenery.  Why are Pothos and Philodendron so popular?  They just live, no matter what.  ‘Raindrop’ will do this, too.

            Costa Farms, the largest foliage producer in the United States, is promoting this plant in their foliage collections.  They have their production, I have mine.

            When there was a frantic demand for this plant two years ago, I found there was no supply.  I was fortunate to find a tissue culture lab that would take on this project. The media protocol was not known. Now, two years later, we have plantlets coming out as bushy liners that can be grown on for the houseplant market.

            And guess what --- they have shiny leaves.

            Peperomia ‘Raindrop’ is a much better plant than Chinese Money Plant.  It is upright and sturdy, doesn’t go flat with drought and lives.

            Will it catch fire like Pilea peperomioides?  We won’t know until you have one and you tell your friends.

            Let it shine!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Ready for Launch - Primulina 'Xuan's Party Dress'

Primulina 'Xuan's Party Dress' - Ready for launch

Maybe I’ve found it. 

I have known all along that Asian Violets have not taken off like they should.

It’s been proven that Primulina are good plants.  They survive houseplant conditions --- hot or cold, in high or low humidity.  They come back from dry but not drowning (nor does any other plant).  Many varieties have distinctive patterned foliage.  Many can be interesting even without flowers.

I’ve long judged P. ’Loki’ it be the best Asian Violet, sold as a small variegated, not in flower, houseplant.

One thing I’ve been waiting for is flowering when it is young---less that a year---better if 6 months.   Flowering needs to be precise, also.  I need high bud count on a sturdy short flower stem, capable of multiple flower spikes at a time.

Primulina ‘Xuan’s Party Dress’ is meeting all the criteria for the first commercial variety that can be grown quickly and sold “In Flower”.  This is a breakthrough worth talking about.

‘Xuan’s Party Dress’ has it all ---silver leaves and multi-flora light blue flowers.

It can be grown in our new 10 cm ‘wittle’ hanging basket which will show off the pretty flowers.

Early flowering is the breakthrough!