Our Adventure With Victoria 2002
by Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images to enlarge
Just when we think we are beginning to understand cruziana, it throws something newly aberrant at us. One example in 2002 was the Paraguayan plant that came up to size fairly early in the season, looked great, aborted several buds (as cruziana is prone to do initially), declined and died without blooming. We could find no reason for this except the remote possibility that it didn't get enough light, a stretch since we have grown cruzianas in the Victoria Pool for many years.
This was especially disappointing since we were anxious to cross two Paraguayans and had only one other, a plant that matured rather late in the season. We were able to obtain only a very few seedlings from seeds of the previous year's plant and they failed to thrive. Most of our seeds were produced by two domestic cruzianas.
With another year's experience and data under our belt, we are more convinced than ever that cruziana has a built-in mechanism that tells it to die after it has produced a certain number of flowers and seeds. Of course we had one that did not die as the last pod ruptured but, though small, continued to appear healthy until cold weather got it.
We discovered another weird thing about cruziana that is different from amazonica and the hybrids - how it deals with crowded conditions. If there is no space for a newly emerging leaf, the plant will send it on a very long stem completely under the plant to an open spot, where it will unfurl normally. We saw this a number of times. In one case the new leaf opened vertically against a rock wall! Amazonica and the hybrids will instead wedge new pads up at the crown.