Aglaonemas are known for their patterned foliage with several shades of green, white and silver. In Thailand, breeders are constantly creating new Aglaonemas with pink and red in the leaves. Personally, I’m not a fan of these hybrids and I don’t collect any of those. These hybrids get their red coloration from a natural species, Aglaonema rotundum.
My collection is made up of the more natural-looking Aglaonemas, even though many of them are hybrids. One of my most recent finds is a variegated form where there are white patches overlaying the green pattern. The plant was sold to me as variegated Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen.’ However, the leaf pattern does not match the common ‘Silver Queen’, which has lanceolate leaves with a primarily silver coloration and thin streaks of dark green mixed in.
Most Aglaonemas have green petioles (stems). Some have white and then there are a few that have either pink or russet. I believe that russet is a mix of pink and green – kind of a brown potato color. I think these petioles are really neat looking and this is the first Aglaonema I have had with the russet petioles. (See the image below.) This is yet another clue that this plant does not come from the common ‘Silver Queen’, but from something else entirely. Most likely this mystery will never be solved for me.
There are many Aglaonemas in my office building, maintained by a company that checks on them regularly and switches the plants out when they start to look ratty. There is one Aglaonema that I have admired for a while and I recently got a stem of it to grow myself. I have no idea what the name is. The distinguishing features are the dark coloration of the leaves, which are somewhat lanceolate. It looks similar to a plant I saw at the IAS show called ‘Shades.’ The lighter shades of green are also in an unusual pattern.
The last recent addition to my Aglaonema collection is one which grows as a creeping rhizome, which is different from my other Aglaonemas, which grown on an upright stem. This plant was sold to me as Aglaonema costatum f. immaculatum. I sent a photo to my friend, Peter Boyce, who is a career taxonomist in Malaysia. He told me the plant is actually Aglaonema brevispathum, a member of the Chamaecaulon section, which has this characteristic growth habit. He studied these plants in the field from Myanmar through Thailand to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, in lowland dry dipterocarp forest, often along on river banks. How lucky am I to have Peter to answer my questions!?! That’s one of the great things about the IAS. There are people who have very extensive knowledge and a great willingness to share that knowledge.
I was a little worried that I would have trouble growing this particular plant, since it differs from the ones that I know grow well in my care. But it seems to be doing well, enjoying the environment of my greenhouse and putting out some new leaves.
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!
As I mentioned in my trip report on Ruben in Orchids, south Miami (specifically Redlands) is riddled with little roadside shacks and shade houses selling in-bloom orchids.
These places are not so much for the collectors who want species or even want to know the names of the plants they are blooming. But these places have gorgeous, healthy plants that are all in bloom – and very reasonably priced.
The majority of the orchids were Phalaenopsis – the moth orchid. But there were lots of different colors, sizes and patterns in the blooms. Christie’s favorite was the “harlequin” spotted blooms.
Christie and I stopped at several of these places while we were driving between two big orchid growers. And we ended up adding a couple orchids to our backseat!
The Salvia genus, commonly called Sage, consists of somewhere between 700 and 900 species, including perennials, as well as tropicals which are grown as annuals. Many Salvias are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Lately I’ve been adding several Salvias to our gardens. They are great for our climate because they tolerate the heat and bloom throughout the summer. For me, the tropicals aren’t quite worth growing, although there are some really neat colors available in these varieties. I might try some of the more tempting tropicals in the future and overwinter them in the greenhouse.
We planted Salvia greggii ‘Pink Preference’ in the corner garden and it came back and bloomed again this year. It is kind of a magenta pink color. We got a couple new dark pink Salvias this year (above), but I don’t know their name. We planted one in the new brick garden and one in the corner garden. It’s weird but those same plants now look like they have solid red blooms… I would say it was just my flawed memory, but I have pictures (above and 2 pics below) of the same plants with different color blooms.
We also planted a new, light pink Salvia, whose name I don’t recall (but it could be Salvia coccinea‘Coral Nymph’).
This light pink Salvia has grown incredibly fast this summer, all the while everything else we have outside has been struggling to survive. We had more than 60 days this summer with a temperature of 100 degrees or more. The previous record was 50 days in 1 year. So we blew it out of the water this year. I’m guessing these Salvias are more than just heat and drought tolerant. They must enjoy it. But wait, you might not believe this. Shortly after we planted this light pink Salvia I noticed some little plants coming up from seed in the corner garden nearby. I started to yank them and then I realized the leaves matched the big Salvia, so I let them be. I haven’t seen anything seed and germinate this fast, but now those little seedlings that I let be have grown into mammoth plants just like the parent!
We also got a Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ (also called Brazilian Sage) which is my favorite. The blooming bracts are truly black and the blooms are very blue. These are striking colors that you don’t see very often. It has been growing on the front porch in a decorative pot all summer. I was afraid it was not hardy, so I didn’t want to plant it in one of our flowerbeds. Also, since it’s my favorite, I get to enjoy it a lot more sitting on the front porch. But I learned that it is actually hardy, so now I am looking for another plant or two so that I can plant it in the corner garden and also overwinter one in the greenhouse for security. Unfortunately, the heat really took a toll on this plant. Just when I realized it was dead, I was given hope by a seedling coming up in the pot. Just like the light pink Salvia from the corner garden, this plant has quickly matured and now has blooms on it! Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of our plant, so here’s a link to see a really good bloom picture.
One of the more common Salvias for the perennial garden, is also a blue/purple shade. This one is Salvia farinacea. It has distinctive bloom stalks with white buds that are nice enough even before the flowers open. See the picture below.
Finally, I’m going to throw in two non-Salvia. One of these plants is similar in growth habit and form and neither of the two is significant enough right now to get their own post. The first plant is the Saliva wannabe, Plectranthus. We had one of these a couple of years ago and I really liked it for the dark green foliage, bloom color and heat tolerance. It’s a neat plant and is staying on the hot front porch for now. It did really well for a long time and then started giving in to the heat recently. If it is still alive here in a couple of weeks, I’ll bring it in to the greenhouse to keep it over the winter since it is not hardy here. Since ours has not done well with the extreme heat this year, I have to use a link to pictures here. This might not be the exact variety that we have, but it is very close.
The other non-Salvia is the common Texas Bluebonnet. Sadly, this little plant did not like our hot and dry summer. We have a neighbor that has a bunch of this growing in their front yard along the curb. I might get some seed from them and try to grow them that way next year. The color of the Bluebonnets are really impressive, not to mention the neat foliage.
What is your favorite variety of Salvia? Is it tolerant of heat and drought? How about the cold hardiness?
My parents-in-law were out of town for a month while my father-in-law was cycling from Seattle to Los Angeles. While they were away, we were in charge of keeping their pups and orchids alive. Mission successful: all survived.
One of the orchids came into bloom just before they came home, Eulophia streptopetala. My mother-in-law bought this orchid while she was in California last year at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate. She purchased this particular orchid because of it is native to Ethiopia, the country from which we are adopting.
While I was excited about the orchid blooming for the first time, they were back at the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate again. They brought home three new orchids, two for me, in thanks for taking care of the orchids!
The first orchid has a really unique growth habit. It is a species orchid, Lockhartia oerstedii, from central America. When I looked up the description of this plant I learned a couple new botanical vocabulary words. The first is imbricate, which refers to the overlapping leaves which look like roof shingles or reptile scales. A second word is caespitose, which means densely clumped.
The second orchid is the species Cirrhopetalummakoyanum. The Cirrhopetalum genus is closely related to the Bulbophyllum genus, and many of the plants are still labeled with that genus name. It has a very distinct inflorescence, which is made up of several flowers arranged in a semi-circular pattern that look like half to 3/4 of a daisy. You can see a picture here.
The last orchid is one that my mother-in-law bought for herself. It is a tiny miniature (Yes, I think it is appropriate to use both words) mounted on cork bark. And it’s even in bloom. Check out the penny for size comparison. Pretty incredible, isn’t it? I’m really liking these little mounted orchids. They are easy to care for – assuming you don’t mind watering them regularly. You don’t have to worry about the roots rotting. And since everything is right there on display, you can tell if the roots are healthy or not. Also, it’s more appealing to me than a plant in a pot. And you can hang them in all sorts of places. The list goes on and on. Can you tell I like these things? I have a post on my mounted miniatures coming soon. This hybrid is known as a “primary hybrid,” which means both parents of this plant are pure species. Anyway, if you’ve read through this entire paragraph hoping to learn the name of this plant, here’s your reward: Ornithocephalis iridifolius x Zygostatus alleniana. If you were reading the paragraph hoping for some other reward: sorry, that’s all you get.