10 Plants for 2010, Part Deux

Welp! Here are the next five plants on my list. These plants are all part of my new years resolution, to fully enjoy nature within my home, and expand my capacity for botanical awe. That may or may not be a zen way of saying "I resolve to buy a shitload of houseplants this year... again."

1) Paphiopedilum 'Shadow Magic X.' This is my first paphiopedilum, a very young and lovely cross between Paph 'Black Stallion' and Paph 'Starr Beam.' Allaying my previous fear that Paphs would be difficult orchids to care for, this little beauty easily adapted to terrarium life and seems radiant with satisfaction. I was able to purchase this specimen relatively cheaply because it is so small... it will likely be several years before it sends up its first bloom. But who cares?! The foliage is wonderful all on its own.

2) Vriesea splendens. A wholly common bromeliad by virtue of its uncommon good looks. Though the flower spike is delightful, it is unfortunately the flag that heralds the imminent death of the plant. After flowering, bromeliads slowly decline and die... luckily they typically produce several identical pups during this period. So, I get to enjoy this plant for several more months, and then hopefully, propagate it long into the future.

3) Plumeria alba (or possibly rubra). Yes, I paid good money for a four-foot stick. Listen though - plumerias are really cool plants, with or without their famous flowers. See for yourself at the Tourism Thailand blog! So, when I came upon this plant sitting alone on a table the the Missouri Botanic Garden shop, I didn't see just an ugly stick. I saw potential! This was the argument I put towards the Garden employees: First, this plant is looks crappy, and you want to get rid of of. Second, this plant looks crappy, but I want to take it from you. Shortly thereafter, I took home a plumeria at about 30% of the original cost. So, we all got what we wanted... especially the plumeria, which will now get a shot at redemption in the Nature Assassin home infirmary. Hang in there lil' feller, spring's comin!

4) Phalaenopsis 'Balinese Splendor.' This orchid and the previous paph orchid were both purchased at the greenhouse of Orchids By Hausermann, Inc. Though their online catalog is quite comprehensive, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit a large-scale orchid farm in person, and once there I couldn't resist the urge to spend all my money. But hey, you visit a greenhouse like Hauserman, and try not to fall in love with an orchid or twelve!

5) Neoregelia 'Kimberly.' Both of the bromeliads featured here were found at Ahner's Garden and Gifts in St. Louis, Missouri. Ahner's has the distinction of being 'mah favorite greenhouse evah.' Aside from the rich, fertile, spa-like atmosphere, they have a great staff and a great collection of plants. Aside from the big palms and other impressive interiorscaping plants, they also offer lots of indoor plants in small pots at very modest prices. This is a kindness for the murderous hobbyist like myself, who cannot often afford to drop $300 on a plant that could give up the ghost the minute it gets back chez moi. Also, their selection rotates enough that one can occasionally find unusual wonders like this Neoregelia cultivar.


  1. It has not been my experience that Vriesea splendens produces multiple pups after flowering. I think I met one plant that made two pups, and all the others have only produced one. They're still delightful plants, though.

    Neoregelias, on the other hand, will produce at least two, and if you remove the pups once they're decently-sized, the parent will keep producing more. (I think my 'Gazpacho' looks like it's going to make it to nine pups, of which seven survive, before it finally kicks.) I've had trouble getting pups to root, but I think that was more about my soil mix being too heavy: experiments with a mix that's mostly unchopped sphagnum moss and composted bark have been more successful so far.

  2. That's fantastic! I wish my Neo would live forever, so it's good to know that it hangs on and produces pups for a while. I'd be thrilled to get even one pup out of it!

    The soil is an interesting point too... neos, I've read, have pretty skimpy roots for terrestrial plants, so finding a medium with good drainage but still plenty of "traction" for those little roots would be a challenge. I hope your mix does the trick!

  3. Looking for a pic of Paph. Starr Beam is how I found your posting. Where did you get your seedling?