06 April 2012

Episcia 'Coco' Seedlings

Episcia 'Coco' was my introduction to the gesneriad world. It was the first gesneriad (from that bunch of three) that I didn't kill. I almost had a drop-down brawl with a lady who was shopping for plants while chatting with someone on the phone--I had been eyeing 'Coco' but was balking at the price. She picked it up and I wanted to cut her--that's how I knew 'Coco' and I were meant to be.

We had a great relationship. He bloomed and spread out, I shared his growth with others, and everyone was happy.

When I moved to Saudi Arabia (rather, when I moved back), my relationship with 'Coco' was severed. I had so much mourning to do, I feel bad I didn't feel his loss that acutely at the time. But, gardening friends took care of me, helping me rebuild what I had lost. When I received an Episcia 'Deco' among that group, I thought it strange--it was the same name as the then-Chirita that I had shared with that particular plant friend. But I never searched to check on the name.

That is, until suddenly there was a berry on the plant and it was slime-rotting. (Yes, it was 'Coco'; the 'Deco' label was just crossed neurons by associating me with the two gesneriads.) 'Coco' had flowered, self-pollinated (?), set fruit, matured, and started rotting, all within my plastic tub/humidity tray. I noticed the slimeberry when I got back from South Carolina on 19 March--when I poked at it, I saw well-formed, fairly large seeds for a gesneriad (like sage seeds). So I smeared the mass over moist potting mix and stuck it back into the tub to see whether they would germinate.

When I returned from New York on 3 April, I was greeted with this cheerful sight--my baby made successful babies! I have to start thinking of cultivar names for years down the road if anything interesting comes of this. I also need to buy a better camera that's able to focus on itsy bitsy things--only gesneriad growers would even recognize these green blobs as seedlings (they are literally the size of a grain of sand).

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