Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Pictures - My Petrocosmea Seedlings

Now that spring is officially here in southwestern Pennsylvania, the sun is brighter, the hours of daylight are growing longer and the temperatures are warmer. The plants can certainly sense the changes. I am seeing strong, and rapid growth from the Petrocosmeas, as well as most of the other gesneriads. Today, I spent several hours in the basement growing area repotting seedlings, grooming last years older, yellowing leaves from the outer rows of the Pet rosettes, putting leaves down to root, and dividing those Pets that have formed offsets.

As I worked, I found myself working with the trays of seedlings from last year's most exciting cross...P. 'Asa Blue' x begoniifolia. I raised around 40 seedlings from that cross. As I worked wtih the seedlings in these trays, I was reminded of the flowers on each one as I picked them up one by one to scrutinize them and groom them. No offsets on any of them....Good!!! (I am choosing seedlings that show a reluctance to form offsets, since I feel that offset formation often ruins a beautiful showplant and spoils the flat, symmetrical contours of the rosettes.) The variation in the flowers from seedling to seedling was fantastic, and I was continually amazed at the different markings and shadings on the flowers. This cross gives me high hopes for the future of Petrocosmea hybridizing. I decided to share some photos that I took from some of the more exciting seedlings......

The photo above is a seedling from this cross. There were four seedlings that showed the extra petals in the center...which surprised me. Most flowers took the form of the petals from the begoniifolia parent, as well as showing the two yellow spots that the white begoniifolia flower exhibits. The seedling above is, so far, unnamed. I've kept it to test for another season of bloom and to test for offset production before deciding whether to name it.

There were a couple of realy odd flowers. This one shows lots of yellow in the throat as well as touches of yellow on the lower petals. I kept this one just to see what it does in the second season. The flower is not necessarily attractive, but it might be helpful in getting more yellow into the petals of future hybrids. This one also hints at striping in the petals....reminded me of chimera African Violet flowers.

I loved this one! The coloring is so delicate and the lower petals retained the greenish coloration seen here. I also liked the cupping of the petals...and the bell-shaped flower apperance. Again, I kept it, but have not named it so far.

The flowers above, were the first to show extra petals, and the deep blue coloring with the white center halo was consistent as the plant continued to bloom over a long season. Flowers were numerous and large. One additional nice thing about this seedling was that as it had finished it's round of bloom, it put up a second round of bloom about two months later...all of this on a seedling that was at that point, only eight months old. I named this one 'Keystone's Belmont' in honor of my college alma mater in Tennessee. The school's colors just happened to be blue and white also!

A trio of siblings from the cross....showing variation in coloring and shading. I kept all three of these. The one on the left was named 'Keystone's Barnswallow' in honor of the barnswallows that I remember so fondly from my childhood on my grandfather's farm.