Do you grow any outdoors all year?

greenelbows1(z9--so LA)March 2, 2008

Last year I put a couple Chirita sp. 'New York' outside without protection and they lived, tho' they looked awful, and didn't come back to their normal lush beauty. Last fall I had several for the house and my little unheated 'more for storage' greenhouse, so I put my largest one in the ground and covered it and the nearby rhizomatous begonia with a frost blanket. Just uncovered them today, and other than looking like it hadn't been getting quite enough light the chirita looks unchanged. The begonia, which has been outside for something like five years and always comes back to look great, is more damaged. I see Sinningia conspicua is starting back into growth; I was worried about it 'cause we've had quite a bit of rain and I wasn't sure it was well enough drained where it is. S. macropoda was on a rack under a frost blanket and looks great. S. magnifica started into growth after only about a month's dormancy, so I brought it in and grew it under four T8 tubes on the bottom of the light stand, and it will probably be in bloom fairly soon--half a dozen or so stems with multiple buds tipped with color. For me it really is 'magnificent'--bloomed all summer last year with three or four stems at a time. And bloomed, and bloomed--and the hummers visited regularly. Anybody else?

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Yep- lots of sinningias; speciosa (straight species and hybrids), tubiflora, conspicua, guttata, selloviae, and various seed-grown miniature hybrids (these are older plants which have formed big tubers). All of these like to stay dry in the winter (I have them under a magnolia, which protects from excess winter water but continuously attempts to smother them with leaves all summer). Also titanotrichum oldhammii(sp?), achimenes "Purple King", Gloxinia nematodanthes, Eucodonia andrewsii, Hemiboea subcapitata (1st winter in the ground, but it still appears to be intact), and Seemannia silvatica (which grows beautifully, but blooms too late to be of much garden value - got frozen back this year just before it bloomed!). New this year, but still looking good, is Tremacron aurantiacum - I have lots of seedlings germinating from that right now, so will experiment more with that this year. Fun to try and see what will and won't survive.

BTW - Streptocarpella and Kohleria have been dismal failures here, but might work for you in a warmer zone. I have a large chirita (unknown variety) which I plan to divide and try in the garden this year, too.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 3:41AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Boy--stop to check a spelling and lose the whole darn message!
Your reference to the gloxinia cultivar dinged a little bell in my raggedy memory. A couple years ago, about the time I got adopted by a mother cat with four little kittens, I got a bunch of possibly-hardy gessies. Now, I generally know the names of plants I've grown long enough to be familiar with them, but brand new plants with kittens who really love pulling out labels gave me fits. I think you helped me out--thank you so much! Did you know Gloxinia nematanthodes has been re-named Seemannia? I don't think I have the 'Evita' cultivar, but I do believe the regular one is what I've got. Also have Sinn. tubiflora, which I've had for some years and really love. This last batch included S. aggregata, sellovii, aggregata I think--not sure which others are coming through. I had Hemiboea some years ago and really loved it--guess I lost it when I lived overseas for a year. Must get it again. It's supposed to be hardy into Maryland--didn't hear a zone. Wonder why more people don't grow these--or anyway talk online about them!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 9:59PM
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I do remember reading about that name change; it's tough to keep up with all the switches in nomenclature these days. I suspect more folks might grow these if they were more universally hardy, but I think I'm at about the northern edge of their range, and the big box stores aren't likely to carry them because of that. Besides, if they were more commonly available, I would probably lose interest. I used to be fascinated by Phalaenopsis orchids as a kid, but don't even give them a second look now that Trader Joe's carries them right next to the baked goods.

BTW -I have a huge collection of Zephyranthes, Habranthus, and Cooperia which is now hopelessly muddled because of label-pulling in the back yard last summer (they mostly look the same until they bloom, and some even then). I thought it had been done with too much dexterity to blame the birds, and was just about to begin interrogating neighbor children, when I discovered the culprit (caught red handed, so to speak) was a raccoon!

If I can manage to propagate the Hemiboea this summer (assuming it rears its head again - it's dormant right now), I'd be happy to send you one. Just help me remember to work on that later on this spring.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 3:23AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Oh I would really appreciate that! And I'm sure I have something you'd like in exchange--or I hope so!
My husband used to hybridize grapes and it was very important to keep the labels. He was thrilled to see them woven into various birds' nests. We also had raccoons that helped then too. Kittens are cuter--well, when you're not being tempted to throttle 'em! Say--I have a S. magnifica cutting I think may be rooted by now--how about that? Later, of course, when it wouldn't be frozen. Or maybe you have that one?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 11:39PM
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I do have a couple of magnificas, but that's really nice of you. Let's wait and see if the Hemiboea a)survives the winter again and b) can be successfully propagated. If it does and can, you'll be more than welcome to it (I should really pay people to TAKE plants out of my yard, garage, and greenhouse at this point!).

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 4:32AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Oh, I sure know what you mean! I tend to lose interest in plants once they get full-grown and established and I know what to expect--well, not 'lose interest', really, but growing babies and new things always interests me more, and I love to start cuttings and root suckers and stuff. So I always have a lot more plants than I have space for, and beg my plant club members not to let me make them feel obliged to bring more plants just 'cause I do. We have a regular plant-exchange, and I don't know what I'd do without a good chance to get rid of some of my surplus.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 11:13PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

I've had Titanotrichum oldhamii in the ground for about 5 years now. There is no earthly reason for this subtropical plant to be the least bit hardy (it comes from Taiwan & southeastern China) but as long as you give it enough water, it will produce pretty yellow flowers in the fall and come back in the spring. Here are some photos I took last year:

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 8:53PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

That is really gorgeous, John! It's been on my list for quite awhile, but since there are so many things on there it hasn't made it into the yard yet. Things from Taiwan are supposed to do well here--south Louisiana. And by the way, the Peter Shalit chiritas you recommended are coming into bloom--well, a couple have been in bloom for months!--and I'm grateful for your advise.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 11:17PM
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I agree this is a great plant - it's done well outside for me for several years now. These are gorgeous pictures, too - I've had a hard time photographing this one, for some reason. Very illustrative, too, of the link between gesneriads and scrophs - kind of like Rehmannia (sp?), which I think has finally settled into the foxglove family after years of being shuttled back and forth between the two groups. I think it's amazing that, in this day and age, we're not absolutely certain about things like that.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 4:08AM
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