Thursday, April 23, 2015

Walter Says....

Walter says, "Have you found us yet on Facebook?"

The Twin Cities chapter of the Gesneriad Society is now on FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!

Please come on by and type in Twin Cities Gesneriads on Facebook to see our fun posts. We would also really love it if you would click "Like" on our page!

You can also follow us on Twitter @TCGesneriads too!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Show in motion!

Just when you thought you had missed the whole thing. We made a recording so that you can catch up if you couldn't make it to the show or just want to see all the cool plants and displays again. See the larger size here.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Expo! And Extravangaza....

Welcome to the 2015 Twin Cities Chapter of the Gesneriad Society's Spring Display at Bachman's Garden Center 6100 Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.
March 27-28, 2015.

There will be sale plants!
 There will be Gesneriads, carnivorous plants and other companion plants on display that our members love to grow.

The Carnivorous Plant Society also joins us at the display.
There will also be "help" for those that need it. :)

Come and join us Friday and Saturday 9 am to 5 pm March 27-28, 2015 in the Bachman's Heritage Room at the back of the garden center.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sinningia cardinalis Makeover, Get Ready for Spring Shows!

 This is a Sinningia cardinalis mess. It's been growing and doing its thing for months and it looks shabby. Time to trim up some shoots, groom the plant and get it looking sharp for the spring season.

All of this stuff laying on the table are overgrown shoots and sagging foliage. There are browning leaves and stems too. Get the scissors!

 Some of the old stems have even died back and just pop off with a gentle tug.... note the word gentle. If it isn't loose, don't rip it off, you don't want to damage the tuber.
 Look at all the stuff in the foreground of the photo. That is all material that got trimmed away. If there are some better looking tips from what you've taken off, they can be rooted to make more Sinningia cardinalis'.
 It still might be too large, but all the shoots that are left are fresh, and dark green and healthy. After getting to grow for a month or so, it should look much better and be ready to display.
Almost all the shoots have some good looking buds.

Don't be afraid to trim. Plants usually respond well to being groomed. You can also get material to share with your friends and other club members too.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sinningia sp 'Itaguassu'

 Last post for 2014 I guess....

This first shot is property of Mauro Peixoto. It's the only photo of Sinningia 'Itagaussu' I could come up with.

Last week I planted some seeds and one of the packets was this Sinningia.
 Of all the 18 varieties of seeds I planted this was the first up. It's the middle one to the left.
 Here's what they look like magnified.

I'm hoping that they grow well and that I can get some of those flowers to happen. That combination of orange and the dark leaves is awesome.
I had to blow up the photo a little more. The red bits are the seed coat from the seed I think. They are pretty tiny right now. I hope I can take a photo in a week or two to update their progress. The only other of the 18 varieties to germinate is a Microchirita of some sort.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

How to Harvest Rhizomes from Gesneriads

By now your Achimenes or Eucodonia etc. should have gone dormant for the year. Here is what to do with them.

One way to proceed is to just let the pot dry and do nothing till spring. Or, you can harvest the rhizomes and store them until spring. I'm showing how to do the harvesting!
You can see that my plants were still growing in tiny 5 oz. Solo cups. When you mail order for new varieties sometimes you only get one small rhizome to start with and a small pot is good enough. But you'll see that if things go well, you'll produce more rhizomes and need larger pots in the spring!

Here's what the pot of Achimenes looks like dumped out.

I dump out the plant, soil, and perlite and get rid of the old material AFTER I sort through it and pick up the rhizomes from the pot.

I also refill the Solo cup with new perlite (the white layer on the bottom) and new soil mix. There isn't much left for a new plant to use in the old mix.

You get in the soil with your fingers and find the little rhizomes. Look to the right of the photo, see the green ones I've already gotten out of the "dirt"? This plant hasn't produced a large amount of rhizomes, but it has made more than the one I started out with in the spring.
I've searched thoroughly a couple of times (you don't want to toss out any rhizomes) and I'm placing them into the solo cup with the new soil mix and perlite. It has a wick for wick-watering next spring. That is not used this time of the year.
 A trick of mine is to put PINK on the pot if the pot has either been checked or I've put rhizomes into it. I won't be confused and think a plant has simply died and toss the whole pot into the compost. You might be surprised how easy it is to be on a clean-up kick and toss out a whole pot of rhizomes. This way I know that even though the pot looks dead or empty, there are treasures under the soil!
Here is a DIFFERENT type of plant. This is a Eucodonia and the rhizomes look somewhat different than the Achimenes from the previous photos.

Also, this plant produced a really great bounty of rhizomes, perfect for sharing or making a very large hanging basket for the porch in the coming spring.
 The plant has wilted and browned. It is SUPPOSED to do that. It's also made some rhizomes on the top of the soil. That's okay too.
 Here is the Eucodonia pot dumped out and you can see the rhizomes crowded in abundance along the side of the pot.
 Wow, that is a nice bunch!
 Again you take your fingers and remove any rhizomes or parts from the old soil. If they break that is FINE, they grow from pieces of rhizome, a whole rhizome or even an INDIVIDUAL SCALE from the rhizome. All the bits will grow happily in the spring when they break dormancy. That is typically when they darn well feel like it ... just so you know.
 ONE little 5 oz. Solo cup had this many rhizomes in it. YAY!
 I once again put the rhizomes in the pot. I do cover with a bit of soil so they do not sit out and dry out. I mark the pot with a bright color, ... I use pink... and they are set to store.
Not all rhizomes look the same! Here are some that are part pink and part yellow and green. Some are teeny tiny and some are as huge as an angle worm. They are all just modified plant stem material that is used by the plants to reproduce itself. They aren't seeds but a different way the plant can insure it survives and reproduces.
I store my harvested and cleaned cups on the bottom-most shelf on one of the plant stands. They are not under lights and they do not get a regular watering like the plants on the shelves above it.

They are kept a TINY bit moist occasionally so they do not shrivel up and dry too much, bu they also aren't kept wet. If too wet they will rot. Pretty much, you leave them alone and in March or April watch for any signs that some of them are starting to grow. When they show any signs of growing in the spring take them off of the dark shelf and water them well. Then put on the light stand under the lights so they will start to grow strong and non-spindly. If there are an abundance of rhizomes in the little Solo cup, leave one or two in the small Solo cup (if you choose) and put 3-5 rhizomes into a larger pot (or pots) depending on how many rhizomes of that variety you have. Remember to label all the pots, it's so easy to forget that and not know what variety it is.

When the rhizomes begin to grow they look like any other seedling. Small and green and in need of being kept nicely moist but not drowned. Keep them in bright light (under the plant lights) so they don't get long and "leggy". If you keep some plants outside in the summer remember to keep these in partial shade and transition them to the brighter outdoor light and partial sun gradually. Enjoy!


Monday, December 22, 2014

How to Plant Gesneriad Seeds

Gesneriad seeds are a little bit different than some of the garden-type seeds many people are familiar with.

They have some particular requirements for success, so here is a little tutorial for you about how to plant the seeds.

First tell your plant-room helpers you will be working with tiny, delicate things.

Sometimes your helper will be listening intently. Now is a good time to explain that tails in the dirt, sweeping the seeds and pots off the table and stepping in the project isn't helpful.
First, get your materials on hand and organized. You need: a clam shell clear deli container, small pots with drainage, perlite, soil, milled sphagnum moss, spray bottle of water, wicks for the pots (optional), a Sharpie marker, scissors and a white sheet of paper.

Set up your pots now. I like a small layer of perlite in the bottom of each pot with the wick already placed and then the MOIST potting soil on top of that. I see how many of the little pots fit into my clear deli container and make up that number of pots.

Get your seeds ready. Take notes (if you wish) to record what you're planting and note any interesting facts you might want at a later time. You won't remember a fact like which seed was smaller than another in a month.
 Some people really strongly believe that a very light layer of milled (shredded) sphagnum peat moss on the top surface of your pot will help keep any of the bad fungal problems, such as damping off, from killing the seedlings. I find that since the sphagnum holds about 20x it's weight in water, it helps the micro seeds keep evenly moist. It certainly has never seemed to hurt the seedlings or stop any germination from happening.

As you can see, the pots have some perlite in the bottom, the layer of potting mix next and then a little sprinkling of milled moss on the top. Spray that with some room temperature water and get it all evenly moist. 
 The Gesneriad seeds are very tiny. They NEED LIGHT TO GERMINATE. You do not cover them with additional soil after you distribute them on the soil surface. They are also very light weight and will blow away with any breeze. Remove the helper pets at this time, turn off the fans and close the windows if they are open.

The white paper will let you SEE the seed and also let you distribute it around the pot so you don't get a clump of 59 seeds all tangled up together. The seedlings are super tiny and even more delicate. If you don't try to spread the seed out when you plant it, it is very hard to spread out the babies without hurting some of them.

Folding the paper in this manner lets you control where the seed goes. You can get the seed to slide down the crease by gently tapping the paper. Tap very carefully.

Some of the Gesneriad seed is even smaller than the normal micro-size. It's very micro-sized, almost like dust particles. The seeds do not contain much protection or nutrition for the newly sprouting young. This is why you take such care when planting and then when they are first growing out. They are indeed delicate.
 After you put each type of seed in a WELL LABELED pot, put the pots into the tray. When full, close up the tray. The moist soil and moist sphagnum moss on the top of the pot "should" be just damp enough to allow for germination and growth. What IS damp enough? Damp enough is moist to your touch, but not dripping out of the bottom of the pot. Also, when closed and under the lights, the clam shell should get a little moisture building up on the interior surface. If it's not, then add a small amount of water in the clam shell and let the pots soak up what they want. Don't let them sit in a puddle of water. Don't drown your tiny seeds and seedlings!

When all done put the containers under some lights. BE CAREFUL if you try putting them in a window. I cooked all my summer seeds this way. Under lights is a much safer and more satisfying route for getting the expensive, rare little gems to grow for you.

Wait a couple weeks to a few months (depending on the varieties you plant) and enjoy. Don't throw away the containers or pots if nothing happens in a month or two. Believe it or not, some of the Gesneriad seeds can take MONTHS to decide to germinate and grow.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tiny Tubers, probably Sinningia Sellovii

 Sometimes interesting things "pop up" in the plant room. One such thing, which has done this before.... is most likely Sinningia sellovii. It's an outdoor-growing, reasonably-hardy, very enthusiastic producer of fertile seeds.

I could see the little ones starting to form and did not clean this mat untill they were large enough to move to their own pot.

Look by the tip of the tweezers. Can you see the tiny tuber? No matter how small the Sinningia, they seem to start forming their tubers quickly.

This helps them in times of stress and drought. 
 I moved all the little plants/tubers by taking the tweezers and very gently lifting them and putting them into dampened soil. (Label the pot, they always seem to look nothing like you remember in a month.)
Because the babies are so tiny at this point and somewhat fragile, putting them under a dome or using a little "baggie-tent" keeps them humid and happy.


PS: you can't kill S. sellovii

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Streptocarpus 'Pola' and Microchirita sp. 'Phuket', are what's bloomin' today

 This is Streptocarpus 'Pola'. It's the first bloom for my plant. I'm pretty impressed with the bright color.

 Winston is somewhat unimpressed with the bright color and really was wondering why he had to endure having a plant shoved in his face for a photo opportunity. Oh well....
 I was somewhat surprised to see that one of the Microchirita sp. 'Phuket' plants was blooming. It's from Thailand. It is supposed to be an annual, but for some reason this one is still doing it's thing and is over a year old.
The Asian-natives in the family are interesting and some of the Gesneriads that are harder to find and try out. If you can get your hands on either seed or a starter plant, try out any of them, many seem to do well under lights and are relatively non-fussy.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sinningia bullata x leopoldii, Gesneria humilis, Amalophyllum ecuadoranum, Chautemsia calcicola, Kohleria 'Beltane'

This is what's bloomin' today!

Sinningia bullata x leopoldii. I grew this from a seed so I guess that would give me the rights to give it a name.

I had three or four others that were various shades of red or darker orange but this clear orange one with the great "snowflake" markings is the best.

The tuber is very odd and sort of corky also. I really like this plant only I'm afraid to cut off the only shoot it has right now so that I can propagate it. The tuber might go dormant and who knows if it would re-sprout?
Another seedling, this is Gesneria humilis. It's a tiny thing in a 3 oz Solo cup for now. This is its very first flower and I was really surprised to see that it's green.
It's a cute little deal that will probably grow quite a bit larger, but to get it to this size was a struggle. It's much happier under a dome now, although it had very humid conditions on a mat. Cool, eh?
This is pretty awesome but rangy. The small humid growing ones in the dome are the ones that were blooming today. This one is Amalophyllum ecuadoranum. It's very sensitive to drying out and it sort of sprawls for it's tiny size, but it produces a bunch of flowers on long pedicils with one flower each. They're very stunning white flowers with small thumbnail size leaves.

The flowers are "very gesneriad" in that they too have the fuzzy hair on them and so do the stems and leaves etc.
Another tiny thing, Chautemsia calcicola. I've had bigger colonies of this plant that produces rhizomes, but this little one is all I have right now. The rhizomes are a cute tiny purple thing. If you are lucky they will produce quite a few, but it's a challenge to see them against the dark soil.
The flower is quite "gesneriad" too. Five petals formed into the tube, the single pistil and the joined stamen.

The Chautemsia, Amalophyllum and Gesneria (for now) are all pretty tiny for those looking for smaller things to fit on your limited light stand shelves. I recommend just getting another stand.... just sayin'.
This is not little. This is biggish! It's Kohleria 'Beltane'. I like this plant because I really like the color combination of the flowers with a vivid magenta tube and the green dotted face.

The adult is a little ratty looking, but the flowers are really cool, so ignore the first photo (a little). ; )
Don't you agree? This is a great fuzzy flower. The plant blooms for a long time and it seems to hold the flowers for a nice long time too.