New Growth

Originally posted on The Expat Garden(er)

Many of my plants are, well, doing things. For example, the Hoya pubicalyx has been sending up new shoots and leaves since I potted it two months ago, calamity notwithstanding. But some plants I could only hope not to kill, whether I moved them internationally or not. So when they are showing signs of growth and happiness, it makes me squeal with joy.

Of particular note is my orchid Radrumnia x Tolumnia 'Charlie.' Its real name and parentage is much longer and complicated, but I named him 'Charlie' just to simplify things for me and everyone else. I purchased 'Charlie' at Al's Orchid Greenhouse back in January. It was potted in hydroton and was in bloom then--beautiful purple flowers with white markings. There were also many more leaves. I put it in hydroton when I got it here, too, but it has been losing leaves left and right. This is the first indication of new growth since I brought it to Saudi Arabia, so I'm quite happy!

The Streptocarpus genus and I have a rocky history. Mostly, I keep them alive long enough to get cocky and then kill them after assuming they'll do well in my standard care routine of overwatering. S. 'Crystal Ice' has survived more than any other Streptocarpus I've had the sadistic pleasure of growing, and it's rewarding me with new leaves! Originally, this plant was one crown, I think. The few months I had it in Washington, DC, it was sealed in a large food-service catering tray with a clear plastic lid, so I barely had to water it--it stayed the perfect level of moist without being wet. It grew new leaves and seemed happy. When I unrooted it to travel here, it split apart into two plantlets. Now, those plantlets are growing new leaves. They aren't under a humidity-retaining dome, but the crowns seem healthy, and new leaves equal happy plants, right? Perhaps, perhaps they'll flower? I have not had gesneriads flower for me other than various Sinningia, Saintpaulia, Episcia 'Coco,' Nautilocalyx pemphidus, and the occasional Chirita (now probably in various other genuses). That may seem like a long list, until you figure out how many gesneriads I've tried my hand at through the years. Through various mishaps, I have killed probably three times as many as I've been able to flower successfully. Hopefully, the ones that were able to survive are still doing so in the care of those I left them with.

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