(Some of) What’s New:
We are very excited about our newest introductions which, we think will be among the most exotic, and beautiful, you’re likely to have seen. Both are in limited supply (they seem more difficult for us to produce in quantity), and expected to be in high demand.
Ma’s Crystal Doll. Beautiful, and unlike any other you’ve seen. White semidouble stars with variable blue center and frilled green edges. Lovely, medium green and white, quilted, ruffled, TL variegated, standard, foliage.
Ma’s Voodoo Doll. Striking and very different. Very dark, dark, purple semidouble stars with frilled green edges. Medium green and white, quilted, ruffled, TL variegated, standard, foliage.
Kohleria HCY’s Big Smile. Wonderful, showy, plant. Large, deep, hot, lipstick pink blooms with red dotting on creamy-white throat. Medium-dark, sofe, pointed, leaves on thick, upright, branches. Heavy bloomer and vigorous grower. Another new hybrid from Taiwan.
The coldest February on record in our area meant we weren’t able to ship three of the four weeks in the month–a first for us. It’s rare that we can’t ship, even in the winter. It was that cold–below zero most nights and barely in the teens most days.
In addition to some minor damage, one casualty was our glasshouse, which suffered a broken outer pane from a icecicle that dropped 20 feet or so onto it from the roof of the barn. Some of the ice on the sides of the glasshouse were as much as 6 feet long and thicker than you could wrap your arms around (if you even wanted to)!
The good news is that this finally seems to have passed and spring seems just around the corner.
Some of our more popular terrarium and miniature houseplants are presently out of stock of in short supply. We are very busy propagating more and should have many or most available again by the time you receive the next newsletter. We remove out of stock items from our online catalog (they will seem to have “disappeared”). They will reappear when we have more to ship.
This month’s question:
I have read your step by step suggestions regarding how to start streptocarpus plants from leaf cuttings. Your tips in cutting leaves (from the parent plant) and removing the stem center was very helpful. I know you should water regular plants from the bottom and always use a fertilizer when watering. The watering of the cuttings is not specifically mentioned, other than keeping the plant medium damp but not soggy. My question is, should the watering of the cuttings contain liquid fertilizer as is used to water the plants themselves? My first impression is that clear water should first be used then, when plantlets start to emerge, watering with fertilizer should begin. I need some clarification. Also, would it be a good idea to place a plastic bag (loosely fit) around the pots to keep moisture during propagation?
We water using fertilizer all the time, for all of our plants, including cuttings. Partly because it’s simply easier for us to use the same water for everything. Also, used at recommended dilutions, it won’t be enough to damage unrooted cuttings, and will mean plantlets have nutrients needed immediately when they need it. You needn’t use a liquid fertilizer, so long as the fertilizer used is easily water soluble.
You can water from either the top or bottom though, in the case of cuttings, top is likely better, since this is where initial roots will be. Once your cuttings are in a baggie or sealed container, you won’t need to water again until plantlets are ready to pot–this is why we emphasize moist, but not soggy. If the soil is kept too wet, the cuttings will easily rot. Propagation by cuttings is simple, but does take some practice to do well with a high degree of success. Good luck, and have fun.
For more information on propagation see the lessons section in our plant care pages.
Should I repot a plant even when it’s blooming?
Yes! Though it’s more easily done when it’s not blooming, it’s always best to do this when the plant needs repotting. Sometimes this means repotting when it’s blooming since, with proper care, many plants just seem never to stop! If repotting is postponed too long, it becomes more of a “drastic” procedure and the plant will likely only be more stressed as a result. Regular repotting, as needed, minimizes this stress, and the plant can continue to bloom even once repotted.
See our plant care pages for more information.
Are you an AVSA member?
Consider joining! Sign up through our website and get a free plant! For more information, visit www.avsa.org