I'm looking for starts of Raphiocarpus petelotii or any other Raphiocarpus. Does anyone know where I can get this plant. I would like to stay way from seed. I am doing research on hardy Gesneriads.
Derick, I grew Raphiocarpus petelotii for several years but lost it a couple of years ago. Plants usually survived the winter in my zone 7 garden, but the tender new spring growth was irresistible to slugs which invariably killed it so the only way I could keep it going was to propagate it in the fall and plant it out in the spring. It makes a nice foliage plant in a shady area.
BTW you should be able to grow a huge number of gesneriads outdoors in southern California! Some of the genera you should try are Achimenes, Hemiboea, Lysionotus, Seemannia, Sinningia, and Titanotrichum. I have had excellent luck with T. oldhamii, which has been in my garden for about 5 years now. (For some reason the slugs rarely touch it, maybe because it comes up late enough that there is plenty of other food for them.)
Here is a link that might be useful: Raphiocarpus photos
Thank you for the reply and I am still on my search for this plant. I do have they plants you mentioned but I live in Northern California and in a zone 9b which is just enough to freeze the tender stuff. While doing my research I have found others that maybe hardy as well such as Briggsia and the Mediterranean species. Now I'm on the hunt for Briggsia and the only information and plants I have seen in in England.
You might check out some of the chiritas too--some are too tropical, but I had C. 'New York' outside last winter and it came through without any protection (not that it looked too good!) so this year I'm giving a larger one a little protection with a frost blanket. My z9a might be more of a challenge than your z9b, tho' sometimes our plentiful summer heat and humidity helps things store up heat so they can tolerate winter better. Something that should be researched more seriously than I'm able to do I guess. This year I also have several other chiritas outside with minimal protection. And if you find Raphiocarpus let us know!
Thank you for the information on the Chiritas. I had two large Chiritas growing out last winter one species and one hybrid called Chasity. Both were old plants and had eventually formed small trunks like little palm trees. They were both sitting under a evergreen tree and when frost hit the both went down. I believe we got down to 24f but a friend of mine said he saw 14f. This was when the big freeze hit Southern Cal but seemed to pretty much miss me up here in Sac. Well anyway the species seemed to have died but Chasity froze to soil level and eventually grew a new rosette. It is currently in my open greenhouse and doing fine. My temps so far for the year have hit around 32f only light freezes for me this year. What were the other Chiritas are you growing?
The one I've had outdoors for several years now is C. sp. 'New York'. I do put a frost blanket over it when it lookes like it might frost--we seldom get much below freezing, and when we do it's usually only for part of a night, but there are those unexpected times when it gets a little colder for a little longer, so I do use a frost blanket if I think it might need it. This year I thought the yard looked like I was decorating for Hallowe'en! I have a pretty good list of chiritas, but only last fall put out others than 'New York'--C. spadiciformis, and 'Blue Moon', and 'Silver Surfer' I think, maybe a few others. They still look good. I have a bunch more in the house, but I only put 'em out when I have extras to experiment with. If you're interested in other hardy gesneriads, there are a bunch of Sinningias, which you might have less to worry about than I do if my impression of your climate is accurate--I have heavy clay soil, much amended but still clay, and I'm concerned about drainage more than cold. And there are a number of others you could grow--I was quite taken with Hemiboea, but lost it when we lived out of the country for a year, and there's Seemannias, and Titanotrichum--can't think what else! They go from big and splashy to small and cute, and some at least bloom all summer long (C. 'New York' only stopped when I missed watering it, and started right back up again after I realized.)
I use "walls-o-water", which are designed for early season protection of tomato transplants, around things like Chiritas, small palms, and Helleborus lividus, which want to stay evergreen in winter but need some protection when the mercury dips into the 20's. They seem to work pretty well, and if it gets really cold I toss in a string of holiday lights and cover the whole deal with a piece of frost blanket or a white plastic bucket for the night. Not the most aesthetically pleasing sight, and my topping them off with ginormous metallic plastic Christmas balls ($1.37 at Walmart in January)really didn't help them much. Glad our neighborhood doesn't have a homeowner's association with any clout! You're in warmer zones, so maybe it's not important to go to such extremes to protect the gesneriads in question.
BTW, I agree wholeheartedly about the drainage issue - my soil's heavy clay, too, and it really does make things difficult in lots of ways.
Did you ever find this plant. I have a small one I'm sure I will be able to share cuttings this summer.