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New Plants

August 27, 2010

I’ve added a ridiculous amount of plants to my ‘jungle’ since we got back from the Netherlands. When the time comes to move everything back in from the balcony, I’ll curse myself for it.

It started with a houseplant sale  at the garden centre just around the corner from where I live. I mostly went to get a plant I had been eyeing for weeks – the previously mentioned Ceropegia sandersonii:

Unfolding flower

And because Mr_Subjunctive said none of the pictures he found showed the leaves very clearly:

They don’t look like much, which is probably why nobody bothers to take pictures of them – dark green, rather succulent (like the twining stems) and they can’t make up their minds about what shape they want to be. More or less heart-shaped, I’d say. More less than more, though.

And since I was already there, and houseplants were 25% off, I decided I might as well buy more.

I’m still not convinced I like Epipremnum aureum ‘N’Joy’ – there’s something off-putting about the bumpy leaf structure.

I bought it mostly for the sake of completeness, since I already have the regular yellow-variegated Epipremnum aureum, ‘Neon’ and ‘Marble Queen’. Now I’m just hoping it’ll make a good top-of-the-bookcase plant.

The rest of what I bought that day were ‘miniature’ plants, in truth perfectly ordinary plants squeezed into 4.5 cm pots – I generally try to stay away from them (whoever came up with that idea should be forced to wear too-small shoes for a couple of months), but sometimes I buy them if there’s stuff that’s not available in other sizes, or simply because they’re cheap* or, more importantly, don’t take up much space.

Two fittonias, which I’ll use to underplant something else with. I like adding a spot of colour to otherwise plain green plants.

During my apprenticeship, I was taught that these were oh-so-sensitive to drying out and would never, ever recover. Hah. Mine dry out regularly and spectacularly, and bounce right back when they finally get some water.

A Ficus elastica, which, in hindsight, wouldn’t have cost much more as a regular-sized plant in a larger pot, but… but… but… I couldn’t justify buying another large plant.

The idea is to repot it soon and hope it’ll grow into a healthy and regular-sized plant, so I’ll have another big plant without, you know, having bought another large plant.

Finally, three as-yet-unidentified Marantaceae, which are temporarily inhabiting a glass vase covered with plastic wrap (much like the teeny tiny terrariums) until I’ve found a better solution to their humidity needs. I’m not quite ready to risk them in the open (although certainly damper-than-usual) air of my room, at least not until I can repot them (they dry out too quickly in those small pots.)

The one on the left looks familiar (some sort of Ctenanthe, I think, though I’m too lazy to do more research right now). The one at the top, I want to say Calathea roseopicta, although I haven’t yet found a picture that quite matches, so maybe not. The one at the bottom – no idea at all. But the pattern is fantastic!

It’s really such a pity it’s hidden away behind rows of other plants so I hardly ever see it. I really need to move.


So that was the plant sale. Then I went back to work, and on Wednesday, my boss threw out most of the bloomed-out and unsellable Tillandsia cyaneas. (Which didn’t sell well to begin with, but now they’re no longer purple any more, either, there’s no point in keeping them at all.)

On Thursday, I went out to the compost heap to dump a bucketfull of weeds, and stopped to stare at the Tillandsias. Poor little things, looking all shrivelled up from the cold night… and I didn’t have any yet. And some of them had pups.

So, soft-hearted girl that I am, I now have two of them at home:

They have completely recovered from their night on the compost heap and are now just waiting for a permanent home. I guess I’ll try putting them in a basket like I’ve done with my miniature Phalaenopsis and hang that… umm. That part needs some more work. I have nowhere to hang baskets. And I can’t be bothered to drill holes in the ceiling.


On Friday, I went to the compost heap again, with another bucket of weeds (nothing much to be done this time of year except for cutting grass and weeding), and since it was a long, slow day, not much work and no bosses in sight, I took the time to look at what was growing on the compost heap – mostly pumpkins and Virginia Creeper, and one tomato at the back. And next to the tomato… I walked closer to see if I’d seen correctly… an Amorphophallus.

What was I supposed to do? Leave it there to freeze in a few months. No way. Naturally, I had to stick my hand into the compost heap and dig it up.

It’s probably actually my ‘fault’ that it ended up there.

When I’d just started work early this spring, the boss told me and an intern to clean up the plants that had been overwintered in one of the greenhouses, while he went away. There were a couple of dead Mandevillas which we threw out, so when we came to another apparently empty pot, the big question was: did something die in this pot without leaving any trace, or were there bulbs or something in the pot? So I told the intern to take it out to the compost heap, empty the pot, break apart the dirt and see if there were any bulbs or roots to be found – we could still always plant them again if there were.

Long story short, she did find some bulbs, a big one and three small ones, and we planted them in fresh potting mix and put them back on the table, and pretended nothing had happened. But I kept wondering for months what those bulbs were. (Why didn’t I just ask? Good question. I just don’t like asking any more than necessary. Besides, my boss wasn’t sure himself). Until I read this post at The Indoor Garden(er).

Apparently, the intern missed a tiny little bulb back in spring… I have to admit, I was very tempted to just sneak one of the small ones into my pocket back then, to see what they were, but that’s really no way to start a new job!


Bog Sage (Salvia uliginosa)

Last Sunday, I went to the Arche Noah anniversary celebration/plant market, and of course could not resist buying something.

I first replaced my Bog Sage (Salvia uliginosa) – this year, it will spend the winter indoors – I’m not risking losing another one and being tricked by another impostor!

It’s a tall, skinny thing, as you can see on the left, but the flowers are wonderfully blue. Tasty, too.

And a cute little Passiflora edulis (Passion Fruit). I like climbing plants far too much for my own good.

When I came home, I put it out onto the Juliet balcony between the strawberries and the Jasminum polyanthum – when I came home from visiting some friends and wanted to show it to my mother, I found I couldn’t move it because it had already grabbed onto the jasmine:

It reminds me of the three-year-old daughter of one of the friends we visited, who – despite barely knowing me – grabbed my hand, forced me to bounce on the guest bed with her (fun, but exhausting!) and declared, ‘You’re my best friend!’ – followed almost immediately by, ‘What’s your name?’

If I named my plants, I’d name the Passiflora after that girl.


And that’s it, at last. I really need to get a grip on myself and stop getting so many plants. Thirteen plants in about as many days? Not good. Not good at all. And that’s not even counting the Tradescantias I propagated – but since those will be sold again in a week or two, they don’t count.


* though they managed to cheat me on those at the ‘sale’ – as far as I remember, the ‘miniatures’ are usually € 1.49. The ones I bought that day had a ‘regular’ price of € 1.99, which with a 25% discount was € 1.49 again.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 28, 2010 02:47

    Marantaceae: Stromanthe burle-marxii (sometimes also Stromanthe ‘Burle Marx’ or Ctenanthe burle-marxii); Calathea roseopicta cv.; Calathea makoyana.

  2. August 29, 2010 21:53

    Is that pothos (N’joy) the same as Pearls And Jade?

    • August 29, 2010 22:10

      Looks rather similar, yes. Can’t say for sure if it’s the same, but it might be.

      • August 30, 2010 03:16

        I don’t think they’re precisely the same: ‘Pearls and Jade’ has little dots of green or white on the white or green background, where ‘N’Joy’ has larger, less intricate, splotches of color.

        I should also have mentioned that I, too, have bought plants in which I was not otherwise interested just because they were big plants in small pots and seemed like a “good deal” — I got a Polyscias balfouriana that way recently (and it’s doing really well, so I’m glad I bought it)

  3. August 30, 2010 03:33

    I’ll buy that. I think I like the N’Joy one better.

  4. Shelly permalink
    August 8, 2015 16:37

    The tillandsia cyanea quills should have been pink instead of green while in bloom. I am just learning about them myself but I think over fertilizing during bloom time or not enough sun is most likely the reason they did not turn pink. They probably would have sold better if they had been pink.

    • August 9, 2015 07:39

      They were pink for a very long time – they’d just been in the shop for a very long time and the colour had faded (they’d not been in bloom any more for weeks, maybe months, when I took that picture.)


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