Friday, November 12, 2010

Petrocosmea 'Keystone's Bluejay'

"Just living is not enough - one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower". Hans Christian Andersen

I'm enjoying a beautiful day at home, with brilliant sunshine outside, and the beginning of Petrocosmea's peak bloom season inside. My spirits really got a boost this morning when I went down to my basement growing area to find the second flowering of one of my hybrids in full glory underneath the lights. The hybrid was one of the most challenging to produce. The only seedling that I kept from around tewnty that I grew from a cross between P. sericea and P. minor veined leaf form. I have named this hybrid Petrocosmea 'Keystone's Bluejay'.

P. 'Keystone's Bluejay' is one of my largest hybrids, and certainly one of the most challenging to create. P. minor had been particularly reluctant to hybridize. This cross was my first success with that species as a parent. The large blue flowers show an attractive ruffled texture, are significantly larger than either parent's flowers, and are distinctly fragrant. The scent is a spicy rose fragrance to my nose.

The plant is large, with rounded glossy leaves overlaid with a frosty silvery hair from P. sericea. The plant looks like a very large, frosted version of P. minor veined leaf form. The plant in all of its characteristics, is larger than either parent. The plant shown above is two and one half years old, growing in a five inch pan pot, with outer leaves 2.75" in diameter. The flower count is a nice surprise, since both parents can be shy bloomers with regard to flower count. The outer leaves are showing the yellowing of both age and neglect, which the plant suffered during this past summer. It tolerated the neglect well. Once flowering is complete, the plant will get some fresh soil and a little more tender loving care as a reward. Some dimensions on this plant are as follows: Total diameter of rosette is 11.75" (30 cm). Largest leaf diameter is 2.75 " (7 cm) and flower width is 1.25" (3 cm).

A close-up of a flower shows the ruffled texture of the flowers. The coloring in the photo is accurate and was taken in natural light.

This photo, from a previous blog post, shows P. 'Keystone's Bluejay' as a younger plant, when it won Second Best in Show and first place in New Hybrids' at the African Violet and Gesneriad Society of Western New York show last March in Buffalo, NY. I have been really happy with the performance of this hybrid. The extra effort was worth it!