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Did I Say I Have Too Many Plants?

May 12, 2012

Sometimes, my boss is a little evil.

I mean, yes, he’s a sweet guy, and really pleasant to work for, but then he does stuff like going to the wholesaler for houseplants and coming back with plants I want to have. Or rather, must have.

Sometimes, I’m able to pull myself together and resist buying something because I know it’s not a good idea (yes, Adiantum is really cute, and yes, it’d look great on my coffee table, but it’s still not a good idea!)

But sometimes, I can only go, “ohmygodIveonlyeverseenthatinbooks!”, pounce on a plant… OK, pounce on all of them, then spend several minutes deciding which is the prettiest. I hate it when my customers do that, but I still do it myself! Then grab the prettiest and carry it to my place in the back of the shop, whispering, “my precioussss!”

This was the latest such case:

“Ampelopsis brevipedunculata var. maximowiczii ‘Elegans'” is quite a mouthful, after all – “my preciousss” is so much easier!

This is one of those plants that is in all the books, but that I’ve never seen for sale before now, so I think it’s OK to be ridiculously excited. And I love all Vitaceae anyway… well, except for Cissus rhombifolia… it’s a pretty plant, but it always has mildew. Breaks my heart, but I’ll probably chuck the Cissus and put the Ampelopsis in its place on top of the wardrobe and let it crawl all over the bedroom ceiling (well, along the strings I’ve put there, anyway).

I do hope it’ll do well for me. It has been dropping some leaves, as have the ones in the shop, but I hope that’s just from the time in the truck and at the wholesaler’s. So far it seems to be growing well – all of that new growth that’s sticking out in all directions is from the four weeks since I got it. I really need to make a decision about where to put it soon – throw out the Cissus, or buy a hanging basket thingy and put the Ampelopsis on the wall?

(I know, I know, I should get rid of the Cissus, because it’s driving me mad, but … but… but it’d be so hard to replace, if I ever want another one!)


Precisely the day after whined about having too many plants, I had to go to Bellaflora for two saucers and a metal stake (and I picked up one pot as well, and ended up with a total of € 6.66. Hah – I always knew it’s an evil store!) – and had a “ohmygodIwannahave!”  moment again. But I was already feeling so worn out, and I already had too much I needed to buy and transport on my bicycle (I also had to go grocery shopping and pick up a rather large flower pot from my mother’s place), so I told myself I’d think it over and if I still wanted it by Monday, I’d go back and buy it then. There were four left, and it was an hour before closing on Saturday (and stores are closed on Sundays), so there was a good chance there’d be one left on Monday evening.

By Monday, I decided I still wanted it – but then, of course, I realized I had other stuff to do after work – go to the post office to mail some plants. If I did that first, I wouldn’t get back to Bellaflora before they closed, and who knew if I could still get the plant I wanted on Tuesday? Who knew if I would even get home in time on Tuesday? Crazy-busy season was fast approaching, and we never know exactly when it will start, which will be the first day I need to work overtime.

So, instead of taking the train to the post office and then the next train back home (which would have been pleasant and relaxing, just a bit of extra time to read on the train), I had to get off at my usual stop, hop on my bicycle, race to Bellaflora, snatch up one of the two remaining plants, tie it down in my bike basket, race to the post office, and pedal back home.

But how could I resist this?

I haven’t yet had time to take a picture with a decent background

Seriously – how was I supposed to pass up a passion flower that’s not the ubiquitous Passiflora caerulea?

It was tagged as P. coccinea, but from the leaves, I think it’s probably more likely P. vitifolia. That’s probably a good thing, because from what little I’ve read, P. vitifolia seems to be the less fussy of the two.

And then, of course, the Arche Noah plant market. I went there with the firm intention of only buying one tomato plant (which I did)… Arche Noah may only grow and sell vegetables and herbs,  but at the “plant trade market”, people can sell pretty much whatever they want, so there were a few houseplants as well…

A Bryophyllum, probably B. tubiflorum, or whatever is the correct name now – I think they’ve gotten included in Kalanchoe, but I’m too tired to look it up.

I know this isn’t a good idea, not in the same way as an Adiantum isn’t a good idea, but in the way that… well, that buying a Bryophyllum isn’t a good idea! I know I’ll curse them when they pop up all over the place, but I had them as a kid, and I kind of missed them. And also, they were being sold by a kid (who might have reminded me of myself), for 50 cents each… an acceptable price for a bad idea, right?

Some sort of Plectranthus, I think. I’m not entirely sure why I thought this was a good idea, except that it’s probably easy to grow, and I was on a kind of buying spree at that particular table (and once I was home, I kept thinking, “oh, I wish I’d bought that. And that. And that other thing” – never mind that I didn’t know what any of it was.) Also, it was only € 2, so if I decide I don’t like it and kill it at the end of the summer (when I’ll need my precious windowsill space), it’s no big loss.

Ledebouria socialis. From the same table as the Plectranthus – that was an “ohIvereadaboutthatonPlantsAretheStrangestPeople!” sort of moment (yes, and that no-spaces-between-words thing is totally necessary, because that’s how my thoughts sound like when I get excited about a plant). I couldn’t even remember what I’d read, but I knew I had to have it. Rereading mr_subjunctive’s plant profile, I understand the “must have” urge a bit better – I guess that thing about a secret society of houseplant enthusiasts was still lurking somewhere in my subconscious. This is a plant I’ve actually seen before, at the botanical garden in Amsterdam, but never for sale.

Same table, and I have no idea what this is, and neither did the seller (who was selling them for a friend, and didn’t know much about the plants) – when my companion and I wondered about it the first time we stopped at the table, she offered to call her friend and ask, and she did, but I think she must have got something mixed up – when we came back again (and I bought all those plants), she told us it was called Tissus tuberosus. Looking it up at home, I found there is no Tissus. There is, however, a Cissus tuberosus, which she did have as well, but this is not it (that was when the “I wish I’d bought…” started, because, as I said above, I love all Vitaceae. Maybe the tuberosus would be better behaved than stupid C. rhombifolia.

Anyway – not the slightest clue what this is, so if anyone knows, I’ll be glad for any hints. If not, I’ll just keep it in the sunniest place available and water very little and see if it stays alive. I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea to buy, either – it’s not even pretty. Just weird.

[Edit: Senecio articulatus/Kleinia articulata – thanks Thomas!]

And another one from that same table. The last of them for this post, but the first one that I bought, early in the day, when the trade market was still dreadfully crowded. “OhmygodanOxalismustbuyatonce!”  This picture sucks, of course, since it shows neither the pretty yellow flowers nor the caudex, but it’s just a little difficult to find time for taking pictures this time of year (and the flowers are only ever open while I’m at work). But I’m pretty sure it is Oxalis megalorrhiza, and I already love it dearly, because it’s an Oxalis, and it’s not a boring old tetraphylla, or triangularis, articulata, spiralis var. vulcanicolaarticulata or tuberosa (well, actually, my articulata is dead, and needs to be replaced, which won’t be all that easy, so maybe it isn’t boring after all.)

So I snatched this up as soon as I saw it- I wasn’t going to take the chance that I wouldn’t have time to come back, or that they’d be sold out. Though there were still plenty left when I came back a couple of hours later, when it was less crowded and I could take the time to poke around a bit and buy some more stuff. And now I’m sitting here thinking, “I don’t want to wait a whole year until I can go again, and hopefully they’ll be there again!”

[Edit: Forgot to mention this earlier, but I’m pretty sure it is Oxalis megalorrhiza.)

Anyway. After I’d filled my bag with those other small plants for € 2 each (the Oxalis had been my most expensive purchase at € 3, not counting lunch and some wooden buttons and fridge magnets), and with about half an hour to spare until I had to meet my group and head off for dinner, I strolled around the trade market again. A few tables on, there were more houseplants, which I’d totally missed on my first round in the morning. I looked around a bit, then found I had to ask about one plant – clearly an aroid of some sort, dark velvety leaves a little like Philodendron hederaceum ‘Micans’, but bigger, with white veins… really pretty.

So I asked… an Anthurium. “OhmygodafoliageAnthuriumwannahave!” But it cost €13. And I already had too many plants. So I regretfully shook my head, took a leaflet with the seller’s e-mail address, and went on. But while I continued my walk around the market, my thoughts kept going back to the Anthurium. I whined a bit to my companions, who agreed it was a bad idea to buy it (probably because that was what I wanted to hear)… but it hurt to leave it… so… check wallet… no, not enough money for the plant and dinner. Check watch. Glance over to ATM. Glance at watch. Hurry over, get some money, glance at watch again – a few minutes to three o’clock, at which time we’d agreed to leave. Take off at a run, halfway around the market, buy the Anthurium, without even taking the time to ask what species it is, and jog back to the meeting place… and shake my head at my own insanity – like I needed another plant! But it’s so pretty! And who knows if I’d ever have gotten a second chance to buy one like it!

[Edit: mr_subjunctive says – and I think he’s right – that it’s actually Philodendron gloriosum. Doesn’t matter, it’s still a neat plant, and I like Philodendron better than Anthurium anyway.]

My most recent purchase isn’t quite as awesome, and it would probably be easy enough to get somewhere else, but it’s kind of hard to resist if you see it at work every day, and then you’re down to four plants (OK, we only had eight or so to start with), and Mother’s Day is approaching, and people might buy those last four plants before you can get one… so I decided I had better snatch one up before they were sold out and I’d regret it.

I have no idea where I’m going to put my new Hoya bella, especially not with that stupid plastic trellis. Maybe when it stops blooming, I’ll try to get it off the trellis and put it into a hanging basket… I could probably still find a spot for one of those… except that I want to buy another one or two plants for hanging baskets… and I’m not looking forwards to putting in the hooks for them.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2012 02:00

    I think they were lying or mistaken about the Anthurium. The venation is off. With one exception, all the Anthuriums with white venation also have branching venation. (See: A. forgetii, A. magnificum, A. regale, A. warocqueanum, A. clarinervium, and A. crystallinum. The last two are the only ones I’m aware of that are at all common commercially, though one must allow for Europe being a different continent and everything.) The exception, A. angamarcanum, sort of proves the rule, because even though white cross-veins only appear on very large leaves, it’s still obvious from looking at the immature leaves that they branch, like Alocasia veins. I think what you actually bought was a young Philodendron gloriosum, which you can confirm by checking to see whether the veins branch after leaving the midrib or stay mostly parallel to one another.

    If it is in fact P. gloriosum, that’s not a terrible thing. First of all, it shows that your instincts were right — it’s not a P. hederaceum micans, but it’s closer to that than to an Anthurium. And second, they’re okay indoor plants. I’m not utterly delighted with mine or anything, but it’s not my biggest plant-buying mistake ever, either. The habit makes it nearly impossible to repot, it takes forever to resprout after you cut the stems back, I expect they’re touchy about cold, and the cuttings are difficult to impossible to root. On the plus side, it’s not particularly pest-prone (I had mild spider mites once), it doesn’t have to have bright light (though it’s a good idea if you have bright light to offer), they’re surprisingly flexible about watering for a plant with such large leaves, and humidity doesn’t appear to be a big issue either.

    Also when I did the What Kind of Houseplant Would You Be? post, I came up as a P. gloriosum, so it’s got that going for it too.

    (continued. . . .)

    • May 13, 2012 09:36

      You’re right, it could be Philodendron gloriosum – I’ve been wondering, because none of the Anthurium pictures I found online quite matched the venation on mine.
      I don’t really mind, because it’s still a plant I’ve never seen before, and Philos and I have a better record of getting along than Anthurium and I. And I should have an e-mail address and phone number of the seller around here somewhere, so I could even let him know he got it wrong. He didn’t seem the type to give the wrong name on purpose – but then I’m probably a better judge of plants than of people!

  2. Kenneth Moore permalink
    May 13, 2012 02:06


    Your plant-grab posts are almost as long as mine!

    Ledebouria socialis is a wonderful choice–I got one for $1.50 at a plant sale once, and since then, I’ve lost track of how many hundreds of bulbs that single plant has produced! In months, you’ll have more than you know how to handle. They’re like Tribbles.

    And that wonky plant that looks like budding yeasts? I *want* it. So hard.

    • May 13, 2012 18:09

      If I end up with too many of anything, I always take it in to work and sell it there – always happy to have more unusual stuff to sell!

  3. May 13, 2012 02:21

    I’m surprised Ledebouria socialis isn’t more common there. Not that it’s common here, but it’s not unheard of — the ex-job usually has them, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one at at least one other garden center before.

    Never seen anybody selling Ampelopsis around here, but that’s probably because of that whole invasive-species thing. There’s someone a couple blocks away who had a variegated one covering some object in their yard (it wasn’t clear what the object had been, originally, so thorough was the covering), but I never asked about it and I believe they’ve gotten rid of it. Was never sure if it would be a good houseplant choice anyway, despite the books’ claims.

    The “Tissus” seemed really familiar to me, like I’d seen it somewhere on-line or in a book, but I flipped through the pictures in my book that would be most likely to have it, and I didn’t recognize anything, so whatever it was was probably something I ran into on-line. If I see it again, I’ll try to remember to let you know.

    • May 13, 2012 18:12

      I think the variegated Ampelopsis is supposed to be not fully hardy here – but I’ve never seen the all-green variety, either, indoors or out, or even heard about it being grown outdoors. Not until after I bought it and did a bit of online research.

  4. May 13, 2012 16:45

    Awesome new plants, Ivy!

    If cissus always gets mildew, that’s gross. I say, out with the mold and in with the new!

    Can’t you buy a new cissus online when you’re ready to have one again? Or can I send you one if you regret your decision to throw yours out?

    • May 13, 2012 18:17

      I suppose I could buy one online, but I’d not like spending money on something that might have mildew as well – the plant I had as a kid had it, the plants at the apprenticeship place did, and the few I’ve seen in stores did as well.
      Sending a one from the US seems like a lot of bother (and I’m not sure how legal it’d be, either) – but thanks for the offer anyway! 🙂

  5. Thomas permalink
    May 13, 2012 17:55

    I have that little mystery succulent: Senecio articulatus (syn. Kleinia articulata, plus others…), ‘Candle Plant’, Asteraceae family. If you forget to water it the leaves dry up, if it doesn’t get enough light the new stems stretch out, but easy to propagate (and share) and pretty resilient (i.e., hard to kill). I’ve never see it branch like that ‘heart’ shaped stem, that’s pretty cool.

    • May 13, 2012 18:19

      Thanks, Thomas! Bright light is one of the things that are easy to provide here in the Nettle Nest, so I’m sure we’ll get along.

  6. May 13, 2012 18:05

    It’s so funny to see you so excited about that Ampelopsis… I spend HOURS pulling out seedlings and hacking them back. Rather, I used to at the old job but my new job is porcelain berry free. I’ve never thought of it as a houseplant…but now I kind of want to try it (then again my 25 feet of passionvine and 6 feet of Tetrastigma might be unhappy with that choice).

    I’m pretty much completely impressed with all your other plants (except the Ledebouria socialis which I’ve killed too many times to ever want again…even if it IS oniony and I LOVE oniony plants). I’m especially jealous of the Oxalis. ::glare:: I think I need to do a new-plant update as well now that you’re reminding me of it…

    • May 13, 2012 18:23

      Like I said above, I’ve never seen Ampelopsis outdoors here… strange.

      The Oxalis isn’t looking so happy with me right now – I think it might have wanted more water than I’ve been giving it.

      • May 13, 2012 19:51

        Part of why I love your blog so much is see what all you guys have that we don’t/what we grown that you don’t.


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