Flowers of Petrocosmea nervosa

Monday, 20 June 2011

Everything in Bloom except the Petrocosmea

     Well everything Gesneriad wise is in full swing except for the Petrocosmea. I have so many Streptocarpus in bloom I cannot keep up with the dead heading. I have some lovely Russian ones coming along and they are certainly very different. The DS-Mirage and DS- Mysticism and Sashenka are stunning and I have attempted a couple of crosses with their pollen. I am not that brilliant with the seeds once they are produced so fingers crossed I can get something worth while with these. I have sown some seeds of a cross of Streptocarpus Very Nearly and Harlequin Blue but as yet nothing is appearing. I sent some seeds to a good friend in the States in the hope he can get something out of them. Only once have I ever got any Streptocarpus seeds I have sown to germinate and then they were very dissapointing and ended up on the compost. The seeds were bought from an auction site and were from Crystal Beauty x Self. When the plants produced flowers they were very weird and split open. It did put me off a bit but now with my friends all producing such wonderful crosses I must try and get to grips with it.
I made a terrarium on the 8th March this year and planted it with Sinningias and Petrocosmea. I made it from an aquarium which I bought especially for the project. It is now crammed full of flowering Sinningias and is a lovely feature of my lounge. It is a dark part of the room so the lights are on for 12 hours a day. The lights were in the aquarium when I bught it and one is blue and one is white and they certainly seem to make the plants grow.
Weather in the UK today has been very wet, after we had months of no rain it is really welcome. I do hope though it does stop at some point and we get back to some sunshine.
Happy Growing everyone and Happy Summer Solstice...XXXX

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Pricking out Petrocosmea seedlings

Well the time has come to try and get some of the minute Petrocosmea nervosa seedlings into a bigger home. I have not been looking forward to this task as they are still so small. I thought the best way to do this is with a toothpick. I put some Perlite into a plastic container and on the top put some soil mix made up of Perlite, Vermiculite and houseplant compost. I used more Houseplant compost in this mix as the Perlite is much bigger than the seedlings and didn't want to over shadow them. They came apart quite easily surprisingly and they seemed to stuck onto the toothpick. I have left some of the mass of seedlings in the side of the new container in case the others don't make it and I can try again. I have covered with cling film and left them in the conservatory where the seeds have been in their little specimen jar since sowing. Good luck little ones, grow well!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Petrocosmea seedlings at last

At last! I looked at my third attempt on getting my Petrocosmea nervosa seeds to germinate this morning and they are! These seeds were planted in a specimin pot in ordinary houseplant compost. Well there they were, as you can see from the photo they are just beginning their lives. These were planted on the 11th February so it hasn't taken long at all really. The other two specimin bottles also containing another batch of nervosa seeds are still doing nothing, these were sown on the 4th January in Sphagnum moss, and the other in normal sowing mix i.e. 1 part houseplant compost,1 part Vermiculite and one part Perlite. The latter in the Perlite I am not too sure whether there are stirrings or not as the Perlite is turning green as it does. The latter two pots have been kept in cooler conditions in a North facing window, the one that has germination taking place is in my light stand with a lot of other Gesneriads.
Spring is coming here in the UK at last, although we have frosts at night it has been sunny during the daytime. Streptocarpus are showing lots of new growth, African Violets are looking pleased for themselves also.
I will keep posting the progress of the babies and hopefully I can keep them alive!!!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Making more Petrocosmea and Streptocarpus

Well it is the 9th January 2011, the sun is shining here in the West Country UK and I felt like working on my plants. I have had a Petrocosmea forrestii leaf with babies on for some time now and to tell you the truth it isn't a job I relish taking them off. The problem is that they seem very delicate and when I take them off I usually manage to break a lot of leaves off too. I have been told to let them dry out so they are not so brittle but when I usually feel like doing the job they are always quite damp. I have taken photographs so you can see how I did it and the finished results. I have also taken photos of some Streptocarpus Mother leaves with her babies and some more Petrocosmea leaves that are just starting to produce babies. To divide the Petrocosmea babies off of the Mother I used a craft knife, a blunt one! I managed to get 5 or 6 babies some really small and they probably wont come to much. I transplanted them into a plastic trifle dish in 1 part houseplant compost (Homebase) 1 part vermiculite and one part perlite, there is a half inch layer of perlite in the bottom. The Mother leaf was in a plastic flowerpot in this container when she produced the babies, so I thought I would put them back in the same humidity. The lid is another trifle dish upside down. I have added a photo of some of Daniel's Sinningia seeds after transplanting too :). The last photo is of seeds of Sinningia muscicola they are very small and I just watered them....All in all an enjoyable hour or two!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

I have Petrocosmea seeds

At last I have found a seed pod on my Petrocosmea nervosa. I thought all hope of getting any this season had gone. I was watering this morning and there it was, a little pod. I have had little pods before, but they had nothing in. I expected the same with this one, but on getting some paper towel out of the cupboard and gently opening the pod there they were. I will sow the seeds today and now the next puzzle is what to sow them on. Shall I use the normal seed mix of one part compost one part vermiculite and one part perlite? Or shall I sow them on damp NZ Sphagnum moss. Maybe I will hedge my bets and put some on each. Having got this far I don't want to fall at this hurdle and use the wrong method. 2011 is turning out to be a great year in the Gessie dept already, long may it continue...Good growing everyone...

Monday, 3 January 2011

A New Growing Year

Well here it is 2011 and a brand New Year to look forward to. One of my New Year's resolutions is to look after my plants better. I have made steps to do this during the last few months of 2010. I now do not keep weak plants in the hope that they might recover. I now compost them and although I still hate doing this it is the only way.
I have plenty of new to me Streptocarpus coming along in the propagation department. Petrocosmeas that I have received from friends all over the globe, Sinningia seeds are coming along nicely. I am not usually very good with the seeds I sow apart from a batch of Streptocarpus seeds I planted a couple of years back. I gently nurtured these seeds expecting Crystal Ice and when they bloomed I had big disappointment with the flowers. They were split and distorted nothing like i was expecting. I think in a way that put me off of growing from seed. I and a few others in our forum  recently acquired some Sinningia seed from a friend in the U.S.A. Well that has aroused my interest in seed sowing again as we are all eager to see these little beauties develop. The rate at which these seeds are sprouting may mean that the whole globe may be covered with beautiful Sinningias by the end of the summer.
Petrocosmea are now starting to again look very nice, especially P.minor after her long spell covered in blooms. She started looking a bit tatty with all the flowers going over but now I have removed the, no seeds pods were found, drat and double drat!!! She is looking top notch. I have tried to pollinate all of the Petrocosmea I had in flower but no luck with seed pods at all.  I will try again this year when hopefully nature will give me another shot.
My African Violets have continued to bloom away in this horrible winter we have had in the South West of England. We had below freezing temperatures for weeks on end and had a couple of weeks with snow on the ground. It was awful walking on the icy pavements and was safer walking in the road. I have a lovely AV Starstruck that is so beautiful. Wranglers Swinging Blues is so impressive I am delighted with the length of time that the blooms have been on the plant. AV Storm's Eye is another brilliant performer and will try and propagate some more this year.
I have no Streptocarpus in flower at all at the moment. I find it difficult to keep their conditions just right, a fine balance between too much water and not enough. Luckily they don't seem to mind too much when they go limp and I give them a little drink again to perk them up.
Well to all the Gesneriad growers out there......Happy New Year and good growing x