If you ever visit Hawaii, you will see Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, all over the place. They are a succulent-like tree that can get to be 20 feet tall or more in a tropical setting. They will be covered in lightly colored blooms that are used to make the Hawaiian leis. For the last five years or so, I have been growing a couple of Plumeria from cane cuttings that were purchased in Hawaii as souvenirs. My largest plant is a single trunk that is about 40 inches tall now.
Last year Leslie sent me some Plumeria seedlings that she had grown from seed which she ordered from Thailand. Those plants have been growing steadily (see photo above) and I am anxious to see them bloom. I have them sitting in full sun and I am keeping them watered on a daily basis.
When I met up with Leslie in April, she gave me some more Plumeria seeds that she had ordered from Thailand. The seeds are similar to the little winged seeds of maple trees. I stuck the fattest part of the seeds into the soil, with the wings sticking out. In just a week or two the plants had begun to sprout. Now I have about 30 little Plumeria to add to the six I got from Leslie last year. And I still have lots of seeds I need to plant!
I am amazed at how easy it is to germinate these seeds and turn them into little plants in such a short period of time. I will soon have Plumeria growing out my ears. (On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t have stuck those seeds in my ears.)
I decided I wanted to try some more tropical African irises, to accompany my Fortnight Lily (Dietes iridioides), but I couldn’t find many plants for sale. So I ordered some seeds of the Peacock Flower (Dietes biflora). Starting plants from seed is a little new to me. Or maybe I should say, successfully starting plants from seed is new to me. I have tried quite a few seeds over the years and haven’t had much luck. Some recent success has encouraged me to try some more.
In just under a month my Dietesbicolor seedlings began to appear. The amazing thing about these little guys is that they look just like the mature plants, but much smaller. They already have a little fan of leaves. For size comparison, check out the pill bug (Armadillidium vulgare) next to the seedling below. Yes, they are that tiny.
These plants are not hardy in my zone, so they will have to spend the winters in the greenhouse. But they can be grown outdoors just 1 zone south of me, and they are considered drought resistant and good for xeriscaping. So I might have the opportunity to plant some of these soon in a garden in southern Texas. More about that later.
I’m really glad I had luck with these iris plants. It is an encouraging success that gives me the option of growing my plant collection without having to spend a lot of money. Now, I wonder how long it takes these guys to become flowering size…? If you would like to see the flowers, you can view pictures here.
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?
Yesterday I posted about my recent adventures into growing aroids from seed. I told you that I’ve had luck with a couple of different species of Anthurium and Philodendron, but that the Pinellia seeds I got from Derek didn’t germinate. Boy was I wrong!
The Pinellia seeds hadn’t done anything noticeable as of last week, so I started making use of those pots by thinning out my Philodendron seedlings and transplanting some in there. Then, earlier this week I noticed there were some big (relatively-speaking) cordate leaves in the pots that originally housed the Pinellias. I did consciously notice that those leaves were only in the pots where the Pinellia seed were, but I was thinking it might be some interesting phenomenon concerning my transplanting of the Philodendron seedlings. I didn’t think it could possibly be the Pinellias.
Thankfully, Derek didn’t put both in the same pot, so he knows for certain that the seedlings which came up for him this week are Pinellias. And now I know, too! So, I knew I had Philodendrons, and I thought I didn’t have Pinellias. So I used the Pinellia pots for my Philodendrons, then noticed some of my Philodendrons looked different, only to find that my different-looking Philodendrons were actually Pinellias! Got that?
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.