Sunday, April 22, 2012

Plant Envy

Rhapis excelsa 'Variegata'
This winter I went to a visit a friend's greenhouse, full of his fabulous plant collection. I was amazed at the amount of plants he had that were rare. I didn't take pictures of everything, but will share some pictures with you of the plants I did photograph.
The first thing I came to, was a variegated rhapis palm. I love variegated plants and this is just beautiful. Rhapis palms, also called Lady palms, need filtered light or partial shade. They need to be kept constantly moist and their soil needs to be rich in humus. They like to be slightly root bound and need little amounts of fertilizer. Use non-chlorinated/flouridated water to prevent brown tips.

Pellionia repens

 Pellionia  repens is a gorgeously variegated plant. Originating in Vietnam, this plant needs high humidity and bright, indirect sunlight.  I have this plant, but it doesn't look like this! This plant was probably 5-6' long.

Watermelon peperomia- Peperomia argyreia

  Peperomias are from tropical and subtropical America. They are semi-succulent and so can tolerate the dry atmospheres of our homes. Most grow naturally as epiphytes. When grown in soil, as most are, they need to be watered carefully, as they can rot easily. I have killed more than one of these plants           

Hoya nummularioides

 Hoyas are one of my favorite plant families. I have about 5-6 different varieties. This plant was about 2 1/2 feet around and covered with blossoms when I was there.

 These next group of plants were my favorites that day. They are Lycopodium or Huperzia.I just bought a Lycopodium squarrosum last year, and these different varieties are even more interesting. The term lycopodium means wolf foot. They are commonly called clubmosses or ground pines. Lycopodium are flowerless and epiphytic. A lot of times they are grown on slabs of wood or in wooden baskets and can become quite large. I have a picture of a very large carinita at Longwood Gardens below as well as the young one in my friend's greenhouse.
Huperzia nummularifolia

Huperzia phlegmaria

Huperzia carinita
Lycopodium carinita at Longwood Gardens.

Euphorbia francoisii
 This Euphorbia francoisii is so gnarly and awesome. I have one at home, but mine is so much smaller. I bought mine at Phipps Conservatory last year. Hopefully it will be as large as this someday. This plant is native to the island of Madagascar. It is an evergreen, unlike some Euphorbias, and its stems emerge from a geophytic caudex.

Lemmaphyllum microphyllum

Lennaphyllum microphyllum is a rare epiphytic fern. Its glossy, green thumbnail sized fronds grow on wiry black stems. It is a diamorphic (containing separate spore producing structures) fern. I think its adorable!

Beloperone guttata variegata
This variegated shrimp plant is necessarily rare, but it is beautiful, and you don't see it everyday. It can get quite leggy, but if you keep it cut back, or start new plants on a regular basis, it will stay bushy and full. 

Dichorisandra thyrsiflora
Dichorisandra thyrsiflora or blue ginger, resembles a ginger, but is actually a spiderwort. It grows from underground rhizomes in moist shady areas in Brazil.

Begonia 'Fire Flush'
Begonia 'Fire Flush' is a rhizomatous begonia, bearing fragrant, pink flowers. It prefers filtered light. I find that my begonias appreciate an Eastern exposure.


The Rhaphidophora, or shingle plant, is from Borneo. It is a climbing vine and is on a fabricated cork tree that bromeliads and other epiphytes also reside on in the greenhouse.

Aechmea racinae

Don't these Aechmea flowers glow in the sunlight like little red light bulbs? They are beautiful. They are native to Brazil and as a bromeliad, grow epiphytically on trees. The common name is Christmas Jewels.

Bowiea volubilis-Climbing Onion
The climbing onion is very interesting. It grows from an onion like caudex, obviously above ground. It sends out an extremely long stem in late winter/early spring and then it dies down in the fall. At that time, quit watering or the bulb may rot. Start watering again when it starts to grow again in the late winter. 
All these plants were so unusual and so exciting to see (for me at least). They definitely aren't your run-of-the-mill houseplants. There were many more, but I didn't want to make this the longest post, ever.  I will be visiting again.

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