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
by Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images
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
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.