Yesterday I went for a walk. Along the way I took a lot of pictures of plants growing along the sidewalk. Jakarta is not a particularly pretty place, but there are some neat tropical plants growing wherever they can take hold. For purposes of this blog, I’ll be showing you those pictures.
One of the more common trees here in Jakarta is the Polyathia longifolia, which is usually growing tall and skinny like an Italian cypress tree. It has long shiny leaves with undulate margins (wavy edges).
Some of my favorite plants (Aglaonema, Dieffenbachia, and Calathea) are growing everywhere here.
There are also lots of colorful flowering plants around: Bougainvillea, Plumeria, Heliconia, Canna and things I have never seen before.
There were some other nice Aroids (besides the Dieffenbachia and Aglaonema) growing here and there…
There are Sansevieria growing everywhere. I noticed one in particular that was in bloom.
When I finished my leisurely walk, I came back to the hotel, where is some more formal landscaping out front.
My walk took me to a park about a mile away from the hotel. I’ll post pictures from there in a separate post. Stay tuned!
While in Florida I got a LOT of plants. Most of these were either aroids or orchids. First, let me show you the aroids I got.
This little Anthurium attracted me with its lanceolate leaves. It is a very healthy little plant and I look forward to seeing this grow into a mature specimen.
This is one of the velvety Anthuriums with prominent iridescent veins. Again, this is just a small plant, but if it likes my growing conditions then it will become a beautiful large plant within a year or two.
Aglaonema modestum variegated
This is actually the only Aglaonema I purchased at the show. There were a couple others that I eyed, but ultimately I ran out of packing room (and money), so I stopped with this one. It is one of the few variegated Aglaonemas in cultivation. Most Aglaonemas have interesting leaf patterns, with various shades of green and some silvers, but few have white patches like this one.
This is one I had never seen before. It is a beautiful Alocasia with dark leaves that have a rough texture and a rigidity unlike any of my other plants. I’m really hoping this isn’t a high maintenance plant, but it might be. For now it seems pretty happy, sitting in a very shady spot on the floor of my greenhouse.
Dieffenbachia oerstedii – no picture
I hadn’t heard of this Dieffenbachia before, but it was a species and it was from Dr. Croat, so how could I pass it up!?! Dieffenbachias are a really neat genus of aroids that I enjoy, though I don’t have too many in my collection. This particular species develops a strong white midrib at maturity, which is striking in contrast to the otherwise dark green leaves.
Christie and I both fell in love with this Philodendron and decided to buy it out of our general budget, rather than my plant allowance. Since then it has gone by the moniker of “family plant.”
The IAS show and sale is set up with the show plants in the middle of the room. Along one wall are vendors with plants for sale and along another wall are plants for sale that will benefit the IAS. Dr. Croat brought a bunch of items from the Missouri Botanical Garden for sale at the IAS show. These plants are either species that were wild collected or propagated from his wild collections.
Pinellia pinnatipartita (IAS show)
The one exception, I believe, was a big trash bag full of Pinellia pinnatipartitas, which I think Dr. Croat had yanked out of his yard to thin out his own crop. There was a sign on the bag, boldly announcing “Guaranteed success!” As if that weren’t enticing enough, they were marked $1. So, naturally, I got one. Taylor picked through the bag for me and found a really nice, large tuber and it was one that had just fruited, so I have a bunch of seeds in addition to the healthy tuber.
tubers of Pinellia ternata (IAS show) – no picture
Pinellias are one of the aroid genera with several varieties hardy in my zone. For now, I have potted these tubers of Pinellia ternata and put them in the greenhouse. However, I plan to plant them outdoors next spring and then let them stay outside for good. I want to develop a little garden of hardy aroids.
Rhaphidophorahayi (IAS auction)
This is really my first shingling aroid. I made up a tentative list of plants I would like to purchase at the IAS show before I left. Not really knowing what I would find, it was just a wishlist of things I was hoping to find. One of the items was “a shingling aroid.” There were some for sale, but I was overlooking them for other plants. Then there was one available at the auction and I ended up getting an excellent deal on this little plant, donated by Palm Hammock. It is now propped against the back wall of the greenhouse, where I am hoping it will start to shingle up on the brick wall of the house.
Now, here are the plants I purchased, which were not aroids.
Encyclia plicata (above) and Encyclia tampensis (below) – both from Ruben in Orchids
As mentioned in a previous post, I purchased two Encyclias at Ruben in Orchids. One of them (Encyclia plicata) had a long bloom spike with these really neat flowers (above) and was growing in a mesh basket. The other (below) was on my wishlist of plants to purchase in Florida. It is the “Florida Butterfly Orchid” (Encyclia tampensis) and the plant that I kept seeing all over my everglades boardwalk. It is a mature, mounted plant and had already finished blooming, with several dead bloom spikes on it when I purchased it. Next year I hope to have as many spikes as it had this last summer.
Dendrobium nobile (from R.F. Orchids)
I purchased two cheap orchids at R.F. Orchids – one a species Dendrobium nobile (above) and the other a hybrid Vanda. The Dendrobium was a collection of keikis that had been cut off mature plants and bundled together for $8. The Vanda is young now, but someday it should look like a mixture of the parents, which are pictured below.
Vandahybrid (V. Crownfox Black Forest x V. Judie McKemie) (from R.F. Orchids)
Dendrobium in bloom (from The Banyan Garden in the Keys)
There are still a couple of “trip reports” I plan to write in the coming weeks about special planty places I visited while in Florida. One of those places is called The Banyan Garden, which is located on the island of Islamorada in the Florida Keys. I bought this cheap and beautiful blooming Dendrobium there.
Phalaenopsis in bloom (from Redlands roadside stand)
I already told you about my steals in south Miami – orchid country. Here are their pictures, again.
Phalaenopsis (harlequin) in bloom (from Redlands roadside stand)
Harlequin Phalaenopsis are the “in thing” right now. The name refers to the spotting pattern on the flower petals. I’m told this is a generic term applied to dog and horse breeds, as well.
There were Silver Buttonwoods (Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus) everywhere in Florida. Most were trees, but quite a few were bushes or well-manicured hedges. We stopped to admire this beautiful tree at our very first lunch stop in Miami – on our way to the Everglades. On the last day of our trip, I took some cuttings from a couple trees in the Keys. The cuttings are now in a jar of moist vermiculite, hopefully rooting. I put some other cuttings directly in water and they quickly wilted. Since the cuttings in vermiculite still look fresh and happy I have high hopes that good things are happening. We’ll see in a couple of months.
Tillandias grow everywhere in southern Florida. I have never grown any myself, but I am hoping I will have some luck with these.
Cycads are very common in southern Florida. In many places they are grown so thick that they can be cut into hedges. The above picture is from our hotel in Key West, where they were being trimmed into rectangular hedges. These plants were “coning” like crazy and the seedlings were thick at their base.
Yes, I really did pack all of this in suitcases to bring home!
Sometime in late December or early January I had an Aglaonema bloom. I was planning on collecting some of the pollen and using it to pollinate future blooms on my other Aglaonemas, but I didn’t get any after all. I have left the inflorescence alone and was surprised to see a couple weeks after the spadix was “finished” that berries were beginning to form on the lower half of the spadix.
Time ticks by and the berries begin to get larger and darker green.
At the same time, the 2nd inflorescence on the plant began to set fruit as well. But these berries were a little behind the other set and eventually this infructescence shriveled up and fell off the plant.
The berries on the original infructescence stayed large and firm with very little change in color or size over the summer. Then, all of the sudden, I noticed the berries were orange. I reached down to feel of them and the first big berry had become soft and fell right off the spathe. This is the sign I was looking for. I plucked the berries off and here they are.
The berries vary greatly in size. There are a total of 11, 3 of them of decent size and the others pretty tiny. I’ll get these cleaned and planted this week, knowing they need to be fresh.
Now I have another Aglaonema setting berries, Aglaonema Decora. Wish me luck with all of my aroid seedlings. I’m going to need it with these extreme temperatures!
I guess you could say this whole schebang got started with Aglaonemas. My mom had a plant with silver markings on the leaves when I was growing up that I liked. It was Aglaonema ‘Silver King’ I believe. Then about 4 years ago as I started to grow more houseplants on my own I came across two large Aglaonemas that got me started on the collecting bug. My first real post to this blog was just to post pictures of those first Aglaonemas. Shortly thereafter I got a comment from a guy named Russ, a stranger in Florida, who sent me a bunch of plants (for free!) just because he was a cool guy that also liked plants and wanted to encourage me to grow more aroids, which, at the time, I didn’t know much about. All I had to do was reimburse Russ for his postage costs. I quickly learned that plant people are very generous and pass along the generosity of those that encouraged them.
Here I am four years later – to the day – posting an update concerning my Aglaonema collection. Since then, I have added quite a few Aglaonemas to my collection, while only losing a few along the way. They are really pretty easy plants to grow, while also having some of the most attractive leaves I know.
Here’s a rundown of what I have, along with a short description of how each plant is doing, and a picture for most.
Aglaonema ‘Abidjan’: This is an attractive older cultivar. You might wonder why it is named after an African city, when Aglaonemas are native to southeast Asia. Well, I’m not sure how it got there, but A. ‘Abidjan’ was found by an American man growing at a nursery near Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1974 and brought back to Florida. It is thought that the plant traveled to Africa with a nurseryman from South America. How it got to South America is yet another mystery.
Aglaonema alumina armandii: One of my favorites. Silver-blue leaves. Variegation is subtle, if at all. Single stem growing very slowly, with about 4 leaves right now. This plant has an interesting collection history, having been discovered by Armando Cruz (the plant’s namesake) near Manila in 1976. It was found on a mountain just covered in this plant, which was given species status 9 years later.
Algaonema ‘BJ Freeman’: Very healthy large plant with large leaves. This is the biggest plant I have. I have hacked up a couple of the longer, lankier stems to start new plants. My pot has probably 8-10 stems currently, ranging from small and young plants to plants that are 5-10 years old and about 3 feet tall.
Aglaonema ‘black lance’: Another one of my favorites. My plant was ailing for a while, but I put it in my ICU pot (which I’ll describe another time) and now it is doing very well.
Aglaonema commutatum v. maculatum: This plant is doing pretty well. There are 3 or 4 stems and it bloomed for me for the first time last fall.
Aglaonema ‘Decora’: This is a very attractive hybrid I picked up at a local nursery. It is a vigorous grower that is currently in bloom.
Aglaonema ‘Gold Dust’: I got this plant from a fellow blogger a while back and I would have to say the original stem hasn’t grown much since then. However, it has produced a couple of offsets, which is even better than having the original stem growing. This cultivar is based on the species A. brevispathum.
Aglaonema ‘Green Lady’: This plant is my most vigorous offsetter. That’s probably not a word, but it is producing offsets at a rapid pace. The variegation is really nice on this plant when you stop and look at it. See how many different shades of green you can count. I think there are 4.
Aglaonema ‘Lilliput’: This is a really cool hybrid which has lanceolate (slender, lance-like), undulate (wavy) leaves. The variegation is really nice, too. I shared this plant with some friends, so it is about half the size it would be otherwise.
Aglaonema ‘Maria’ (not pictured): I have two separate pots of this plant. It is the most common Ag to find for sale. It grows reliably and is very easy to keep happy. For some reason, I have some stems rot on occasion, but usually whatever piece of the stem has not gone mushy will produce it’s own plant.
Aglaonema ‘Peacock’: This is one of my two large Ags. This one was so tall and lanky that I divided it into two pots shortly after buying it. I also took the more lanky stems and cut them into pieces, which produced new plants. Now I have one pot at home and the other resides permanently at the wedding chapel, with a couple of my other plants that are too large to go in my greenhouse.
Aglaonema ‘Royal Ripple’: It’s hard to tell in this picture that the leaves are rippled, but they truly are – just like ‘Lilliput.’ This is one of my more compact, profuse growers. It’s a very pretty plant, with lanceolate leaves.
Aglaonema ‘Silver Bay’: This plant is my second most steady grower, producing offsets quite often. It probably has 4 or 5 stems right now.
Aglaonema NOID (possibly’Stripes’, ‘Cory’ or nitidum): There are a number of cultivars and hybrids with stripes like this plant. I haven’t nailed down which one mine is, but it definitely has parentage with A. nitidum, which is the striped species.
Aglaonema NOID: I don’t really have any idea what this variety is. Maybe ‘Maria Christina’? Do you have any ideas which one this is?
My stories come from two hard-to-find books: The Amazing Aglaonema by B. Frank Brown and The Aglaonema Grower’s Notebook by Roy Jervis.
One of my Aglaonemas has produced it’s first inflorescence, and another is on the way. This particular plant is not a flashy hybrid and I had some help deducing the name of Aglaonema commutatum v. maculatum f. maculatum. These older species Ags are not grown as often now, since there are so many different hybrids with silvery foliage that really stands out. But I really like this plant and I’m happy to have the opportunity to see it flower.
This “bloom” is not called a flower, because it is actually a large collection of many flowers. All Aroids have these complex blooms called inflorescences. The center column is called the spadix and contains male flowers, female flowers and sterile flowers (in some genera). In order for reproduction to take place, the pollen from the male flowers must reach the female flowers by a pollinator. In some species, the female flowers are hidden within a chamber of the surrounding leaf, which is called the spathe. I was able to capture a nice close-up so that you can see the female flowers, which are at the bottom of the spadix, but not hidden with this species. The female flowers are distinct and easy to pick out right now, while the rest of the spadix just looks like a white blob. The male and female flowers are mature at different times in order to ensure that the pollination takes place by a different plant (cross-breeding) so that genetic diversity continues. Some species will allow for self-pollination, but this plant does not. Eventually that white blog of a spadix will look a little more distinct as the male flowers become mature and produce pollen.
When successful pollination occurs, the flowers will turn into berries containing seed (infructescence). These are usually brightly colored – white, yellow, orange or red – and will either fall off the spadix or be eaten by a bird or other animal that deposits the seed which can grow into a new plant.
If I have the chance to collect pollen from my male flowers, I will try to store it for use in pollinating a future flower from any of my other Aglaonemas. A successful pollination could mean a new hybrid.