Trip Report: Myriad Gardens in bloom

In December I visited the OKC Myriad Gardens and wrote 2 different posts about my trip, along with a photo album.  Last weekend I went back to the garden and was surprised to see that there were lots of different plants in bloom from 2 months ago.

I have added another photo album of my pictures from this trip.  This time I took more pictures of blooms than the previous trip.  I tried not to take a lot of duplicate pictures from my last trip.  If you would like to see the pictures from the first trip, you can that photo album here.

Here are some of the blooming highlights:

Stromanthe sanguinea Triostar in bloom
Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar' in bloom
Hoya blooms
Hoya blooms
Heliconia inflorescence
Heliconia inflorescence
King Anthurium with inflorescence
Anthurium veitchii (King Anthurium) with inflorescence
Queen Anthurium inflorescence - dark, striped leaf is Anthurium
Anthurium warocqueanum (Queen Anthurium) inflorescence - the dark leaves with prominent veins belong to Anthurium, the plant in the foreground is a different Aroid
Solandra maxima in bloom
Solandra maxima in bloom
Paphilopedilum orchid in bloom
Paphilopedilum orchid in bloom

There are a lot more great plants to see, and quite a few more orchids in blooms, so I suggest you look at my photo album.


 

Plant Find: Philodendron ‘pincushion’

About a month ago I was surfing the internet and decided I should look around on eBay to see if there were any interesting plants for sale.  That was a bad idea, because of course, there were.

I came across a very attractive Philodendron hybrid that I had never seen before.  It was labeled Philodendron ‘pincushion.’  Its primary catchiness comes from its small, tight-nit growth habit.  The leaves measure about an inch in length at their largest and the plant will form a small clump of leaves that look like a pincushion as it matures.  Many Philodendrons have leaves that change shape as the plant grows into a more mature specimen, but this particular hybrid stays petite for its entire life.  The foliage is a really nice glossy dark green with prominent red stems.  When I purchased the plant it was being marketed as a holiday plant since it was red and green.

[Here is what my plant was supposed to look like.]

I wasn’t sure if the name Philodendron ‘pincushion’ was a valid botanical name for my plant, so I sent a couple of pictures to the Aroid-L mailing list and had several members confirm that the name was valid.  I also found the name listed on the International Aroid Society’s list of registered hybrid names (Aroid Cultivar Registry).  You can see that list here.

The plant arrived in less than advertised condition.  I really should have expected as much since I ordered the plant in December, but the seller had convinced me they knew how to keep their plants free from the elements.  I have to give them credit for packaging the plant well – in damp peat moss inside a well insulated Styrofoam container.  The heat pack was even warm when I received the plant, but somehow it had still gotten nipped.  Either that, or it had gotten burnt by the heat pack.  It’s hard to say.  About half of the leaves had turned yellow and orange.

My Philodendron pincushion upon arrival and transplanting
My Philodendron 'pincushion' upon arrival and transplanting

I divided the plant into a couple of clumps, putting one clump in a small spherical terrarium that had been emptied of its previous occupants and put the other clump in a small pot.  I’m really glad I divided the plant, because after just a couple weeks it was obvious that the terrarium was a preferable growing environment.  I went ahead and transplanted all of the plant to the terrarium, where it is doing much better than I expected.

My Philodendron Pincushion as it looks now
My Philodendron 'Pincushion' as it looks now

New, glossy green leaves have emerged and I have removed the old leaves that died.  I’m hoping that this little Philodendron will fill the terrarium and I can occasionally take some cuttings to transplant to other locations.  This would make a really interesting “groundcover” in some of my larger container plants.  Maybe I could get some cuttings to take root in the soil surface of my Philodendron selloum…

My Philodendron selloum (tree philodendron)
My Philodendron selloum (tree philodendron)

Now that my plant has recovered I have some hope that it could one day serve as a ground cover in some of my larger pots.  It is a rather slow grower though, so I will have to be patient for it to fill out the area.


 

Second Chances

I like to grow all kinds of different plants.  Some plants I pick for their foliage, others for their blooms, and still others for their unusual appearance.  Some plants thrive in my care and some others don’t.  Occasionally some even die.  Whether it was my fault or simply a plant destined to death because of an unseen illness when I purchased it.

Every plant deserves a second chance, right?  [With the exception of Coconut palms.  I don’t think I can ever grow one of those things.]

I have given quite a few plant species second chances in my care.  Last week I posted about my Philodendron ‘Xanadu’, which is just one species of plant I gave a second chance.  The first ‘Xanadu’ I purchased died about a month after I purchased it.  My second seems on it’s way to a long and happy life in my care.

This post is about three particular plants that survived when given a second chance.

Scindapsus pictus – Silver pothos, Satin pothos
This is one of my very favorite plants is it’s on my 2nd chance list!  How about that?  Actually, this plant would be one of my very favorites even if I had to give it a thousand chances and never succeeded in growing it.  It’s just one of the most beautiful plants I’ve ever seen and no amount of struggle in growing it would ever dampen my admiration.  Thankfully, I haven’t struggled too much to grow this one.  I just had a bad first experience with the plant.

Scindapsus pictus
Scindapsus pictus

Many small houseplants are put in stores mere days after being potted.  That’s right, most houseplants are grown in big factories where they place cuttings in hydroponic chambers and force roots to develop.  When I bought my first Scindapsus pictus, I promptly repotted it when I got home.  I think it is possible that I tried to repot the plant when it still had rather immature roots.  The roots that grow in water have to adjust to actual soil conditions once they are transplanted.  The trauma of two transplants within a couple of days might have been enough to do this plant in.  The other problem was that I probably didn’t have the plant in enough light.  I’m sure it was being grown in a greenhouse in Florida.  Believe it or not, a greenhouse in Florida receives more light than a shady windowsill in Oklahoma.  That’s just how it goes.

Now that I have given the plant a second chance, I have a really nice specimen that has been growing at my desk at work for about a year and a half now.  I have taken some clippings from my office plant and potted them in a pot with a stake, hoping to train the plant to climb the stake.  About a month ago, I bought a large hanging Scindapsus for home.  It’s the plant pictured above.

Ficus elastica ‘Burgundy’ – Burgundy Rubber Plant
I bought a small burgundy rubber plant a couple of years ago.  I think there were 3 or 4 stems in a small 4″ pot.  I knew that they were fairly common houseplants and therefore probably not very hard to grow.  I expected mine to get large and so I repotted my little plant in a much larger pot shortly after I got it.  I didn’t know at the time, but this is not a good idea.  Ideally a plant should be in a pot that is about 1-2 inches wider than the plant’s root span.  Most people understand that when you water your plant, the roots absorb the water from the soil.  But what I didn’t realize is that when you repot a plant in pot that is much wider than the root span, the roots will not absorb the water in much of the soil and the soil will stay wet much longer.  I’m almost certain that this is what happened to my first rubber plant, which showed signs of root rot before dying.

The second time around, I purchased one single little stem in a tiny pot.  How can you not take a chance on an attractive $2 plant?

 

Ficus elastica Burgundy - Rubber Tree
Ficus elastica 'Burgundy' - Rubber Tree

This time around, I have kept my single stem in a small pot.  I have had to resist the temptation to pot several plants in larger pots, having learned from my experience with the rubber plant (and a couple of others that had the same problem).  After a month or two of stagnancy, my rubber plant has finally starting producing some new leaves.  This is exciting because the new leaves are very glossy and dark red.  Over time the leaves thicken and deepen into that unique color of purple green.

There are some large specimens of this plant in the hallways of my office building that I enjoy looking at each time I have to go upstairs.

The Ficus genus is an interesting group of trees, ranging from the small, very common Ficus benjamina houseplant tree and all of the fig trees to the unique rubber tree and the gigantic Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis).  There are some Banyan trees that cover acres.  One such famous tree is located in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.  Another one is located at the Indian Botanic Garden.  I will be visiting the Hawaiian Banyan tree this Spring and will hopefully have some pictures to post here.

Alocasia amazonica – African Mask
I had one of these plants probably about 8 years ago.  I can’t even remember how long I kept it alive or how it died.  I remember seeing it for the first time in a little houseplant store that opened on Main Street here in town.  My first reaction was that it reminded me of a Pterodactyl.  For some reason, the store had decided to start a plant business and buy about 100 of each of 3 different plants.  I’m not kidding – they had about 100 pots of 3 different plants (4 at most).  At least, that’s how I remember it.  One of the plants they had decided to sell was Alocasia amazonica.  I’m not sure what their business plan was.  I guess it was to turn everyone in town into a fan of those three species.  Needless to say, the store didn’t last very long.  Unfortunately, neither did my plant.  The two events were unrelated.  At the time I wasn’t all that interested in plants and I think mine just got neglected.

Since then my plant habits have changed quite a bit.  I’m more likely to overcare for a plant now than to ignore one.  I bought a small pot with two Alocasia amazonica bulbs/stems just a couple of months ago.  My plant hasn’t changed much – just grown taller – but I don’t seem to be having any trouble keeping this one alive.  I imagine this summer my plant might produce a couple more bulbs and leaves whenever it is in happier growing conditions.  One of the two stems sort of collapsed recently, but it has been growing okay with a thin dowel rod as support.

Alocasia amazonica, or as I like to say, the pterodactyl plant
Alocasia amazonica, or as I like to say, the "pterodactyl" plant

Alocasias are from the Aroid family, of which I am a collector.  They are pretty closely related to Colocasias (another Aroid genus), which are the plants commonly called “Elephant Ears.”  There are approximately 70 species of Alocasias and quite a few cultivars.  They are grown for their stunning, and often very glossy, foliage.


 

Crocuses Emerge

Before I say anything else, I should note that this is my 50th post! 🙂

Our corner garden is sprouting.  A week or two ago I raked some leaves over the flowerbed to give it a little insulation.  This week I gently raked some of the leaves aside with my hands and noticed there were blooms underneath!

A couple of crocus blooms in the corner garden
A couple of Crocus blooms in the corner garden

I planted these crocus bulbs about 3 years ago after creating this flower bed.  I really like the purple blooms with their orange centers.

Group of crocus blooms
Group of Crocus blooms

The daffodils will be blooming next – probably in a week or two.

Daffodil stems and Crocus in bloom
Daffodil stems and Crocus bloom


 

Flowering Quince – my earliest bloomer

I have a flowering quince bush in my backyard that has been there – probably – since shortly after the house was built in 1956.  During most of the year it is a nice, full green bush.  But for one month of the year, it is absolutely beautiful, covered in pink blossoms.

Quince blooms
Quince blooms
Quince blooms
Quince blooms

By the last week of January, the bush is covered in little round beads of pink.  The bush is attractive enough at this point.  The buds are nearly as attractive as the actual blooms.  Then, a couple of weeks later all of the buds begin to open and will continue for about a month.

Full quince bush in bloom
Full quince bush in bloom

The bare limbs and pink blooms have a wonderful artistic look.  The branches remind me of Asian art that incorporates so many blooming trees.  You can already see the first of the green leaves coming out.  The pink blooms will stay on the bush for a week or two after the leaves have come out before falling away.

Quince blooms
Quince blooms

I love that this bush blooms before anything else in my yard.  Other than this bush, my backyard looks like it is the dead of winter, but this bush declares that Spring is not far away.

Already I have some Daffodil buds visible and tulips are starting to break through the surface of the soil.  It won’t be long.