Another aroid from seed

Growing plants from seed has never been my strong suit.  I’m not sure what I would say my strong suit has been, but seed has not been it.  My first encounter with seed grown aroids was more than a year ago, at the 2nd MidAmerica chapter meeting, when an IAS member, Danny, offered me a seedling Anthurium plowmanii he had grown from seed he collected at a Chicago botanic garden.  The plant was small, but seemed healthy.  For whatever reason it has stayed small and healthy looking.  Seriously, in the more than 15 months that I have had the thing, it hasn’t done diddly squat.  That is, until about a week ago.  For some reason those stagnant, tiny leaves started to get bigger…

Anthurium plowmanii
Anthurium plowmanii seedling, finally starting to grow.

The same IAS member recently sent me three pots with seedlings he had started of Anthurium bakeri.  I put the little pots in a couple of different places and two of them got hammered by the hail a couple of weeks ago.  They have since been moved into the greenhouse, where they might get a little hotter, but will be more protected from the wind and elements.

Anthurium bakeri
Anthurium bakeri seedling also from Danny

I have recently had the opportunity to start a couple of different aroids from seed and had some success, so I thought I would share the pictures of my own little aroidlings (aroid seedlings).  The Anthurium pallidiflorum seeds I got from Albert and planted back in April are holding steady.  Not a lot of growth lately, but they seem to be doing okay.  Maybe they will burst forth after 15 months, like the A. plowmanii!

Anthurium pallidiflorum I grew from seed - pictured on April 23.
Anthurium pallidiflorum I started from seed - pictured on April 23.

My friend, Leland, sent me several hundred seeds from one of his hybrid meconostigma Philodendron that recently flowered and fruited.  I then sent a bunch of the seeds to 5 or 6 different people around the country that were interested in trying to grow these plants.  We all had very good germination rates.  I didn’t count the number of seeds that I carelessly scattered over sphagnum moss, but I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of them had germinated.  It certainly seems that way.

Hybrid Philodendron seedlings
Hybrid Philodendron seedlings

The really cool thing about aroid seeds is how fast they germinate.  I mean, it was a matter of a day or two before they were popping open and showing their cotyledon leaves.  It was several more weeks before the first true leaf would arrive for me.  But even then, I had a small plant in very little time.

Hybrid Philodendron seedlings showing the first true leaves
Hybrid Philodendron seedlings showing the first true leaves. The true leaves are the cordate (heart-shaped) ones. 2011-07-01 Correction: Hybrid Philodendron seedlings, still not showing the true leaves. Cordate leaves are Pinellia tripartita seedlings.

Leland doesn’t know the exact parentage of these seeds, but we know that Philodendron stenolobum is involved.

Another IAS friend and fellow blogger, Derek, sent me some seeds from his Pinellia tripartita, which had bloomed and fruited recently.  Unfortunately, neither of us had any luck getting these to germinate, so perhaps they weren’t viable. [2011-07-01 Update: I was wrong!  The cordate leaves above are actually the Pinellia seedlings!  So I got germination from those seeds after all, and my Philodendron seedlings are not as far progressed as I had thought.]

If my Aglaonema berries ever mature, maybe I’ll finally get to give them a try.  They have been on the plant for several months now, but I am waiting until they start to fall off the plant to know they are ripe.

Amorphophallus growth

My aroid friend, Jason, and I have been talking and trading plants a  lot this summer.  He is an Amorphophallus nut and he’s been giving me some of his extra tubers, so now I have a little Amorphophallus jungle of my own.

Amorphophallus konjac
Amorphophallus konjac
Amorphophallus konjac petiole
Amorphophallus konjac petiole

I have several Amorphophallus konjac, probably the most commonly kept species.  One of these I planted in the ground last fall and it came up recently.  I had thought that it must have died over the winter because my potted tubers had already come up.  Jason said the ones planted in the ground are slower to come up and to keep watching.  Finally it emerged.

Amorphophallus albus
Amorphophallus albus

I also planted one Amorphophallus albus tuber last fall, and it was even slower to come up. In the meantime, Jason gave me another pot of this species.

Amorphophallus yuloensis
Amorphophallus yuloensis

I have one pot of Amorphophallus yuloensis, which are a little slower than the albus to emerge.

Amorphophallus symonianus
Amorphophallus symonianus

And the Amorphophallus symonianus are even a little slower than the yuloensis.

Anchomanes nigritianus

This last one isn’t from Jason and it’s not an Amorphophallus.  But it is a tuberous aroid, so I thought I’d go ahead and include it.  It is Anchomanes nigritianus, which I got from the Fort Worth Botanic Garden at our third MidAmerica chapter meeting.

I’m hoping next year a couple of my tuberous aroids might produce an inflorescence for me.  I haven’t had one yet.

Amaryllis in bloom

I have gotten several Amaryllis bulbs over the years and have kept them alive, with leaves nearly all of the time, but rarely get blooms from them.  About a month ago, my friend, fellow IAS member and plant blogger, Jason was at my house, standing in the greeenhouse, talking plants.  He’s a big Amaryllis nut and I mentioned that I had three growing on the bottom shelf there in the greenhouse.  I mentioned that I just let them grow year round and don’t bother forcing dormancy or anything.  He said that is really the best way to grow them.  But, I told him, mine never bloom…  That’s when he said, “But, you’ve got one about to bloom right now!”

Amaryllis bloom
My recent Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bloom

I looked down to see that one of the Amaryllis had, sure enough, put up a stem, which was growing through the next shelf level.  I carefully removed the plant from the shelves and brought it in the house to a sunny window, where it opened a couple of days later.  None of my plants were labeled – probably from the beginning – since they were grocery store bought bulbs.  But this one has really nice vibrant red and white blooms.  Up close the flower is even more attractive.

Closeup of Amaryllis
Closeup of Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)

I looked back in my blog history and could only find the one other picture of one of my Amaryllis bulbs in bloom.  Thankfully it was a picture of both of the other two plants, so now I know what I have – a solid red, a solid pink and a red and white striped.  I don’t know the names, but maybe Jason will help me out with that over time.

Plant Find: Beallara orchid

My parents visited San Francisco a couple of weeks ago.  While they were there they visited the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and saw lots of really neat orchids.  They visited another place where you can see orchids, as well – Trader Joe’s grocery store!

Beallara Eurostar 'Green Valley'

They found this cool orchid and brought it home to me.  It is Beallara Eurostar ‘Green Valley.’  To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the Beallara genus before.  The flower looks kind of like a Brassia to me, with long spider-like petals.  This particular orchid has really neat colors in the flowers.

Beallara Eurostar 'Green Valley'
Beallara Eurostar 'Green Valley'

My mom named him Sylvester. 🙂

Microburst = microplants

Over the last couple of years, our quiet little college town of Norman, Oklahoma has been hit with the full spectrum of natural (non-major) disasters.  Last year we had several wildfires that really scared some residents (who fortunately only lost trees, grass and a couple of fences).  We’ve had 3 tornadoes within city limits in the last 3 years (2 of them fatal).  We had an earthquake measuring somewhere between 4.3 and 5.1 on the Richter scale.  We’ve had flash flooding and three pretty substantial snowstorms, including one on Christmas Eve.  We had an ice storm that mangled all of our trees and knocked out electricity for most of Norman for a couple of days.

Angry mammatus clouds, just 30 minutes before the madness ensued.
Angry mammatus clouds, just 30 minutes before the madness ensued.

Lately it’s been really hot (>100F) and dry (actually kind of humid, but no precipitation).  Literally out of the blue, a storm formed just a county west of us last Tuesday (June 14) in the early evening.  It quickly turned into a beast and dumped some really heavy rain and hail on Norman.  When one of these storms creates a strong surge of precipitation and air towards the ground, it is called a downburst (or microburst).  When all of this momentum hits the ground, it spreads out, creating very strong horizontal winds.  In this case there were measured winds in excess of 70 miles per hour.  There are likely locations without wind gauges which had speeds around 90 mph.

Norman microburst
Norman microburst June 14, 2011. This is the best picture I captured with my iPhone during the event.

This microburst in Norman caused lots of houses to have shingle damage, downed fences, broken windows, battered trees and associated damage.  My sister’s chimney blew off their house.  Some people who don’t understand the physics behind this process claim there had to have been a tornado to cause the damage they see, but it was definitely a downburst.

Philodendron cordatum with holes punched in the leaves
Philodendron cordatum with holes punched in the leaves. Those are not natural fenestrations.

For the last couple of weeks my poor plants have been requesting a little drop of rain.  What they got instead was about 10 minutes of crazy wind and a pelting from marble to golf ball sized hail stones.   The more fortunate (top heavy) plants tipped over quickly and were laying on the ground in somewhat of a sheltered position.  The other plants really took a beating.  To give you an idea of the storm, watch this video.  Here’s another.  Since Norman is a town full of weather nerds, you can find plenty of videos and photos, if you search “Norman June 14 microburst”.

Another Philodendron with holes punched in the leaves.
Philodendron bipennifolium with holes punched in the leaves.

Many of my plants with “tougher” leaves are showing damage in the form of black or white bruises  where they were pelted with hail stones.  My Brassovola orchids which were sitting outside are showing white bruises, which I think is really interesting.  The pineapple plant is showing both black and white bruises.

Pineapple leaves with damage.
Pineapple leaves with damage.

Thankfully, I don’t think any of my plants are dead from this storm and my greenhouse survived without any noticeable signs of damage.  (Oh yeah, our house is okay, too.  But that’s really of less concern, right?)  Most of the plant damage is just a setback or cosmetic.  My plants which were sitting outside are not going to look nice for a while, but they’ll most likely all survive.  Probably the worst injury was an Aglaonema, which snapped along the stem.  But it was not the only stem of that species that I had, and the snapped stem will probably put out new growth shoots within a month.

Completely beat up Begonia.  This thing used to have quite a few leaves.
Completely beat up Beefsteak Begonia. This thing used to have quite a few leaves.

This Beefsteak Begonia got totally battered.  The good news is that it is one of 2 or 3 that I have and the others look pretty good.  Also, this plant grows super fast and gets pretty big.  I’m not all that worried about it, just showing it for illustration purposes.