Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hybanthus communis

This is a plant I've had, off and on, forever, from the time I got seeds from an outfit called Major Howell's Seed Service in the UK, when I was in college. Some years I've grown it in the garden, where it sometimes resows as an annual. I also saved and refrigerated seed, which was a good thing, since I lost it and was able to restart it this year from my stash. I have never seen it in anyone else's garden nor at a botanic garden yet, though it is a rather nice plant. The foliage is attractive as are the white spade shaped flowers. It is native to South America, and is a species in a genus of shrubs and small herbaceous plants related to, of all things, violets and pansies. This year I brought the two pots I had during the summer inside where they are continuing to grow and bloom under lights--the photos do show some glare from the lights above the specimen portrayed. I find they are susceptible to spider mites and sometimes whiteflies when brought indoors, but a good miticide does wonders in keeping them in check. The newer acaricides are prohibitedly expensive if brought from typical commercial sources in the container sizes that they sell. However only minute amounts are needed and even then only very infrequently--so luckily there are sellers on such places as ebay, who repack the stuff in small quantities more suitable for home growers. The funny thing is most of their customers are probably hydroponic dagga growers, but their products also benefit little old lady African violet growers (no offense to AV lovers, I also growsome AVs) and other plant geeks like myself!

1 comment:

Panayoti Kelaidis said...

Always wondered what Hybanthus looked like. I think we are supposed to have a native one in Colorado (I suspect not so showy). Sure don't look like any viola to me...

Very cool!