A while back, I mentioned my purchase of Anthurium scandens. I was lucky enough to purchase the plant on eBay, only to be given one a couple of days later. At that time I was a little annoyed I had spent money on a plant, only to receive a larger one for free. But then a couple of months later, when my free cutting died, I was glad that I had purchased the original.
The feature that really drew me to this plant was the “woody” appearance. It has a “woody” look because it has persistent brown cataphylls. In laypeople’s terms, the stems of the plant have little brown sheaths that cover the green stems. Another cool attribute of the plant is the profusion of adventitious roots coming out of the length of the stem, as well as inflorescences at nearly every node. These inflorescences self-pollinate and bear white fruit (berries). It is quite remarkable, unlike any other aroid I have ever grown.
Anyway, the plant that I purchased, I still have. But it has barely grown for me and doesn’t have the distinct persistent cataphylls. Maybe this is just a variation or maybe my plant is just not mature enough yet. Time will tell.
Then recently, I received some seeds from a friend of Anthuriumscandens and now have little seedlings growing! I’m super pumped about these little guys.
I also got a cutting from Jason’s plant, who got his at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden at our MidAmerica meeting. So these are cuttings from the same plant that I had. I’m really happy to have this plant back in my collection and I looking forward to my seedlings becoming mature.
Being a person with a relatively uncommon passion, I have friends that are spread far and wide. Very few of my plant friends live near me, with the exception of people in the Oklahoma Orchid Society. My friends that have a passion for aroids live in different corners of the country, and also outside of the US.
At the IAS show last week, I got the opportunity to see some of my aroid friends that I had previously only corresponded with through email. Not only did I get to see these people in person, but we got to wander around in the IAS show and look at all of the amazing plants together, siphon through the pots and decide what we were going to buy, walk through the amazing Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and point out everything we saw with people who were genuinely as interested as we were.
Taylor Holzer and I have traded plants and emails for a couple of years now and we have a lot of passions in common: aroids (Philodendrons, Anthuriums and many more), prayer plants (Calathea, Maranta, Ctenanthe, etc.), orchids, aquarium fish (especially cichlids), aquatic plants. Taylor is a great guy and it was really cool to chat plants with him in person. I’m glad that we both made it to the show this year. Taylor attended the show last year, but this was my first time.
Derek Powazek is a new friend to me. We have traded plants and emails for the past 6 months or so. He is a fellow blogger and lover of a wide variety of plants, including aroids and orchids. He is also a really great photographer. He lives in San Francisco and made the very long trek (flight) to Miami for the show this year – also his first IAS show.
John Banta (known simply as Banta, to aroid folks) is a legend in the IAS. He and I spent a short time chatting about our shared love of Calatheas and we took a walk through the gardens to find Calatheapavonii, which he has graciously offered to share with me, from his own collection of Marantaceae. John led one of the talks on Saturday afternoon, which dealt with a project that Banta is leading a new project to collect data on the viability of aroid pollen with age. If we collect pollen from our plants for use in pollinating other plants, how long can we store it before it is no longer any good?
Albert Huntington is the current Vice President of the IAS and does a ton of the legwork of the society. He is in charge of the website and does a really great job. Albert is always the first person I go to when I have questions about the IAS and, in this instance, when and where to be and all that good stuff for the IAS show this year. During the show he was running around taking pictures, helping at the cash register, recording the auction sales and doing who knows what the whole time, making sure everything went off without a hitch. We got to have dinner with Albert and discuss all sorts of fun things.
There were many others that I have emailed and finally got a chance to talk with at the meeting. It was a great time and I am so glad I got to go this year.
Just a month before the IAS show, where I expect to be purchasing some aroids, I was sent a box from my fellow Aglaonema addict and friend, Russ. He sent me 8 wonderful plants: 5 Aglaonemas and 3 Dieffenbachias.
Several of these new Aglaonemas have the distinctive white petioles (leaf stems) and center ribs. This includes Aglaonema ‘Brilliant’ (above) and Aglaonema ‘White Rain’ (below).
Christie’s favorite plant out of this batch is Aglaonema ‘Key Largo’, which has relatively wide leaves that are deep green, with a lot of silver in the middle of the leaves and some small patches of silver/green mixed in there. I wonder if Christie has a subconscious favoritism here because of her excitement about our trip to the Florida Keys next month!
One of these plants comes from a seedling that Russ acquired from Aglaonema breeder and author Frank Brown. The seedling is from ‘Queen of Siam’, but it has green petioles, whereas the registered hybrid ‘Queen of Siam’ has white petioles.
The first Dieffenbachia is actually a species, the only species Russ sent this time. It is Dieffenbachia tarabitensis, which is native to Ecuador. It is primarily a dark green, but there is a very small amount of variegation near the center rib. The most distinctive feature is the mottled petioles. Can you see how the stem leading to the leaves is not solid in color?
These last two are somewhat unknowns. Russ thinks the one above is probably the hybrid Dieffenbachia ‘Paradise’ but he doesn’t know whether the other is even a species or hybrid. Maybe I can get some help figuring out that one. It’s actually my favorite plant in the batch since it is so unique. The leaves are almost entirely silver, with a white midrib and a couple blotches of white and green on the leaves. You can also see the parallel veins in green, arching away from the midrib.
It’s so great to have friends interested in growing these plants. While an Aglaonema is not impossible to find, it is really hard to find one with the correct name attached and to find a location with much of a selection. The species and older hybrids are found only in collections. And with generous friends you can grow your collection without spending a lot of money.
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.
My friend, Leslie, recently sent me some small Plumerias that she grew from seed over the last year. Leslie is a pro at growing things from seed. She ordered the seed on eBay from a seller in Thailand. You know Thailand, crazy color varieties and leaf variegations and all.
These little seedlings are surprisingly attractive at a young age. I have never thought of the Plumeria leaves as particularly attractive, but these are really nice.
She sent me the varieties: Granny Grape (magenta), Wipadelight (light pink with yellow center), Orange Kerasin (probably orange, but I haven’t found any pictures of this one), Three Kings (pink and yellow with dark pink blotches), Jakdao (white with yellow center),and Dang Siam (red).
Cool plants, huh? Now… what can I send Leslie in return?