This section of the web site reviews each year of our adventure, with details not found in other sections of the site -- things like plant and flower numbers, successes and failures, big and small things we've learned. It also discusses things we want to do, things we want to know, things we speculate about. It is sequential, often with questions raised one year answered the next. We don't go back and rewrite.


Our Adventure With Victoria 2008
Still Stalled
by Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images to enlarge 


As we said in 2008 Year of the Hare, learning more about stalled plants (see Stalling Young Victorias for details) can be very helpful for several reasons. These plants can provide a quicker start in spring than waiting for new seedlings to grow to installation size. They are also a hedge against poor germination or seedling disaster in the new year or an option for people with small ponds. Just how much abuse can these minis take? A lot!

Several years ago we initiated an experiment (2004 Survivor Paradise) comparing stalled Victorias in water heated to not less than 80F (27C) with only six hours of sun in winter and others in water just slightly heated above ambient temperature but in the full sun of the dune. We found little difference in survival.

Because of that, in subsequent years we have moved stalled plants to "Sun", the smallish pond on the dune side of the garden slightly heated with two 300 watt aquarium heaters. These little plants are mostly in 6" (15cm) pots and are fed a maximum of 30cc of "Graduate Cocktail" weekly. They are not pampered with rinsing of hard water deposits or removal of sand that the wind blows onto the pads.

A huge bonus of keeping these plants stalled is that they tend to bloom in the colder months after the adults have overgrown and stopped blooming (or died) for the year. The same little 'Longwood Hybrid' we featured in 2007 is now three years old and produced several flowers in December. Other hybrids and several cruzianas also bloomed, providing our Victoria "fix" in winter. In all they produced 18 flowers with a few others making the surface but not opening in our coldest period. None of the plants had pads bigger than 12" (30cm); the cruzianas' pads were a maximum of 8" (23cm). 

In 2007 Speaking of Stalling, we asked, "If the cruzianas do make it and are grown out, will they achieve the same size as younger plants? Based on only two previous examples, we don't think so. We think cruziana is 'programmed' for rapid growth and won't do as well if that is interrupted, as in being stalled for a year."

We were wrong. We now know from our own and others' observations that they attain normal size. So do the hybrids. No amazonicas made it into the 2008 experiment. Even small ones declined and died after TS Fay, possibly related, possibly not. 

When several of our brainstormers reported failure to overwinter stalled plants, we decided to examine what we might have done differently for ours to be successful. They repotted late. We didn't. Our last repotting of several totally overgrown miniatures was in July. After that, we figured (hoped) that the fall slowdown in growth rate would be enough to hold them.

It held most of them until February 2009 when the hybrids were hanging on only by a few anchoring roots. With days lengthening and spring not far away, we hope they will survive the repotting. We left one of them alone for comparison, upper right in the picture taken after the repots went back in the water.


Year of the Hare
The Astounding Growth Rate of Victoria cruziana
Still Stalled | Gallery of Miniatures

 1998 The Adventure Begins | 1999 The Adventure Continues
2000 A Very Bad Year | 2001 A Banner Year
2002 An Even Better Year | 2003 We Like It Like This
2004 Trust | 2004 The Hurricanes | 2005 Recovery
2006 Normal? | 2007 Weird | 2008 Year of the Hare
2009 Year of the (White) Tortoise

 Our Adventure Overview
Index to all years

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