Sunday, October 31, 2010

Autumn, and Petrocosmea season begins!

"My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plants' point of view" H. Fred Ale

Petrocosmea flaccida 'ABG 1998-5551' a new clone of this old, dependable species.

Petrocosmea season always really gears up into full swing for me in the autumn. Those cool, damp nights make the cool-loving Petrocosmeas very happy. It always amazes me that even though they are growing indoors, under lights on timers, and all of this is done independent of the weather outdoors, the plants always "know"...they know what the climate outdoors is doing.

This year, I'm especially enjoying a darling little plant that I acquired about three years ago as a gift from a friend at the Atlanta Botanic Garden in Atlanta, Georgia.... A new collection of Petrocosmea flaccida. This clone was collected in 1998. I was delighted to get some "new blood" in the form of a new collection of Petrocosmea flaccida. I am growing, and have distributed this plant under the clonal designation 'ABG 1998-5551', which is the ABG's accession number.
I first wrote about this clone on this blog last year, when it flowered for me for the first time. Now, with another year of maturity, I've had the chance to watch how it performs when grown under identical conditions to my original P. flaccida, which I've had for years. I find this clone superior for a couple of reasons. First, it does not sucker nearly as much as the original clone. Those of you who follow my blog know how I dislike this pesky trait of some Pet finding a clone which has less of a tendency to sucker is a positive characteristic in my opinion. Secondly, it shapes nicely and remains quite small....about half the size of it's larger sister, my original clone of P. flaccida. Leaves are quite small...more like the size of P. forrestii leaves. I would love to hybidize with this clone to see if it contributes to smaller Pet hybrids. I've tried several times to cross it with the original P. flaccida and to self it...without success. I think this may be due to the fact that both forms bloom early in the season...when it is still pretty warm...and I have much greater success with setting seedpods with the temperatures are much colder.

An overhead shot of P. flaccida 'ABG 1998-5551' shows what a lovely habit this form has. I have not trained it or removed suckers...and this is what it has done in it's second year of bloom from leaf cuttings. The diameter of the plant shown above is just under 4 inches diameter. This plant is potted in a three ounce shallow condiment cup where it has now remained for two years.