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Regional differences in gesneriads?

Posted by greenelbows1 z9--so LA (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 9, 06 at 1:44

I was just going over the Gorgeous photos from the 2005 Gesneriad convention (if you haven't looked, check it out! Go to AGGS web site--it's now the Gesneriad Society, but the name of the website hasn't been changed yet). Usually it seems to me the photos from convention shows leave a lot to the imagination--they may look pretty but they don't give a very good idea of the real features of the plant. These are by far the best I ever remember seeing. Anyway, I was musing about what I've grown, am growig, would like to grow--like most of us I'm sure--and got to thinking about Sinningia hirsuta, which I'm guessing is one of the parents of the gorgeous S. 'Amazade', awarded Best in Show. I grew S. hirsuta easily and well in Nebraska. Made a beautiful plant and bloomed heavily with no extra-ordinary care. I've lost the several I've tried here. I've often read that Streptocarpus won't like the heat here, but I've never read anything like that about S. hirsuta. I wonder how many other plants have that kind of regional preference, and beginners try them and they die and the growers think it's their fault (I've just got brown thumbs! as I've heard too many times to count) when it's really just getting the wrong plant for the wrong place. If there's one thing I'd like to do in gardening more than any other I think, it would be to help other gardeners find the plants that will do well for them and get them addicted to this wonderful 'hobby', if such it can be called. (Can the love of your life be called a hobby?) I grew episcias in Nebraska but it was more of a challenge--find a warm place, grow most in terrariums, that kind of thing. Here I put 'em outside for about six months or more and they grow like weeds. One of the best 'Cleopatras' I ever grew was as a groundcover outside. I still have aescynanthus, columnia, nematanthus, chirita, outside and doing pretty well--would be better if I didn't forget to water 'em. Most the hardy sinningias haven't even gone dormant yet, tho' we've had some (light) frosts. I'd really be interested, and I think others might be too, in what grows easily and what's a challenge (or an impossibility) in your climate. Are there petrocosmeas I could grow down here, for instance?

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RE: Regional differences in gesneriads?

Streptocarpus do well here. In fact, a local home nurseryman has them planted outside and they thrive in shade in spite of our 100+ daytime summer temp and 73 nighttime temp. I had some outside during the winter in pots and they even survived 70 inches of rain. We don't have your humidity during the summer though so maybe that helps them survive the heat. I don't grow any of the other gesneriads yet.

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