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My Silly Obsession With Tender And Exotic Plants (part 1)

meanie

By meanie

21 comments


As some of you may have noticed, I tend to punch above my weight sometimes with my choice of plants! I’ve just started work on a coldframe for all the iffy plants outside, and in the next week or so my conservatory is going to fill up!
It all started with some Brugmansia and Strelitzia seeds. No problem germinating them, but a few years on and no flowers as yet! To be fair, the Brug came on well after it was repotted last year, and but for the fact that it got caught up in the red spider mite infestation early summer, I’m sure it would have bloomed.
Next came a reduced Paphiopedilum orchid. Sadly this has long gone, as it would get a good soaking including the cardinal sin for Paphs – getting water into the crown! So next along came a Phalaenopsis orchid, and a bit of research followed by lots of learning!

Here are two of my reblooms this year!


This second one seriously loves me! In addition to two flower spikes, it’s started off a kieki and today I’ve just spotted another new flower spike starting! And all that after I made it sit outside all summer!

Anyway, a few more orchids have joined the collection over the last couple of years, and I’ve got a handle on growing Paphiopedilums too! More orchids later.

So a couple of years ago I was asked what I’d like for my birthday and I gave Sue a list of links and said pick something out of that – she got the lot! Included in that list was Erythrina Crista Galli and Polyanthese Tuberosa.
The poor old Erythrina got attacked over the winter by red spider mite, and then again early summer when it was outdoors – the sulphur rich treatment almost killed it, and I feel lucky that it recovered enough to grow to four feet high. So as it has yet to flower for me I’ll include the photo that I took of a specimen at the botanic gardens in Oxford…….

I hope you agree that it’ll be worth the effort in the end!

The Polyanthese however has flowered!

I also got a Gloriosa Superba tuber last year – when that flowered I was hooked!

One tuber last year had become two when I refreshed the soil this spring. I couldn’t help myself and had a peek a couple of weeks ago – looks like at least four now! The main thing is to almost let it dry out before giving it a good watering. Free draining compost (I add a fair bit of perlite to it) works best, and I always grow them in a pot. When the leaves start to turn brown withdraw water, and cut the stems only once the soil has dried out to prevent tuber rot.

Then last summer on a trip to a local nursery, I found this in the reduced section. I dismissed it at first – I couldn’t believe that anyone would stick plastic butterflies on to a plant! Then I realised that they were the flowers! Ladies and gentlemen, my pride and joy; Clerodendrum Ugandense!

And finally for now, I’ll offer up Sollya Heterophylla (Bluebell Creeper). I found this beauty, which is an Australian native, in our other local nursery.


This was another victim of red spider mite (see why it’s a silly obsession now!), but recovered brilliantly! When it’s at it’s flowering peak it’s a mass of tiny flowers (too small to photograph well), and everyone wants to know all about it.

The trouble is that as well as the coldframe, I need to make some nice shelving for the conservatory to house it all. In addition, I’ve had to make a humidifier to make sure that I can stay free of the dreaded spider mite this winter.

In part two, I’ll deal with this years “follies” and the tenders outdoors!

Thanks for looking!

More blog posts by meanie

Previous post: Toad Lily virus

Next post: My Silly Obsession With Tender And Exotic Plants (part 2)



Comments

 

flipping heck ..............wot a lot of beauties you have and work lol

14 Oct, 2010

 

While these are not familiar species to me I have to admit you have some beauties here. I sure hope you don't lose any more to the spider mite overwinter. Good luck with your shelf building. Your dedicated efforts have certainly paid off, Meanie.

14 Oct, 2010

 

Thanks chaps!
Whistonlass - fortunately I didn't lose any to the mites, but it sure as hell knocked them back!

14 Oct, 2010

 

How aptly named is that Gloriosa Superba ? It's so beautiful. The Clerodendrum is gorgeous too. Silly obsession ? Certainly not.

14 Oct, 2010

 

fantastic plants~ seems to me you need a greenhouse?

14 Oct, 2010

 

I know what you mean Shirley, but the sales were on and what were the last three plants I bought? I have to go out in the next day or two to look a car over that I'm getting painted (the respray is costing ten grand, so despite this virus, I MUST check the job over before they refit it out), and I'm gonna blow fifteen quid on something really exotic that I know sod all about caring for!!

14 Oct, 2010

 

Thanks Arlene! I have no room for a greenhouse!

14 Oct, 2010

 

Great blog and pictures, hope you manage to keep them

14 Oct, 2010

 

I hope it's a stretch limo. at that price !

14 Oct, 2010

 

Cinders - they'll be fine with my new humidifier device working! Thanks for your nice comment!
Shirley - two seater Mercedes sports from 1968! It's having the respray because the wings have a bit of rust coming through (they're over a thousand pounds each, so it's best done before it gets so bad that they need replacing) and some heathen painted it the wrong shade of silver about ten years ago! It's a customers by the way, not mine!

14 Oct, 2010

 

I tried the Gloriosa Superba a couple of years ago Meanie.....but it didnt grow...not 1 shoot..lol.....I paid £9.99 for two little 'sticks'.....:<(

15 Oct, 2010

 

Don't be discouraged - try again. It's so easy that you must have got duff tubers! Was it in a pot or did you try to grow it in the ground? Pot every time for me.

15 Oct, 2010

 

I've edited that section to provide notes about how I care for it .

15 Oct, 2010

 

How do get rid of red spider mite infestations, we have 40 plants in the garden room now and more to come in tomorrow (the forcast is frost) I love the photos and your choice, the best of luck.

15 Oct, 2010

 

The best way is to prevent them DD! Plenty of gravel is now in all the saucers for water to sit in. I've also adapted one of those jobbies they have in the chinese that little candles sit under to keep the food warm - it now has a water tank to sit on it which should raise the humidity! They hate humidity!

15 Oct, 2010

 

They are all wonderful. I had a Sollya but it died last year :o( I'll have to get another. I should think it's a challenge to grow all these but well worth the effort.

16 Oct, 2010

 

To be honest Hywel, the biggest learning curve has been about keeping them bug free. When the Polyanthese flowered I was made up, as it made no effort in the first year. This year I was more particular about keeping an eye on the night-time temps., which seems to have made all the difference (it's a Mexican native).
I'm allowing a few seed pods to develop on the Bluebell Creepers and when they mature I'd be happy to share a few with you. Having grown them, you probably appreciate how hard it is to capture their charm in a photograph!

16 Oct, 2010

 

Yes. I've tried to get a good photo but it just doesn't show how beautiful they are.
Thanks I'd like to try some seeds :o)

16 Oct, 2010

 

No probs - they're yours! The last batch that I collected (and lost) took several months for the fruits to mature.

16 Oct, 2010

 

That's ok. I probably wouldn't be able to sew them till next year anyway.

16 Oct, 2010

 

Thanks for your advice.....

17 Oct, 2010

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