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
Year of the Hare
by Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images
We have often called V. amazonica the "tortoise" and
V. cruziana the "hare", given the slow steady growth
of amazonica and the speedy grow, seed and decline of cruziana.
In 2008, amazonica never had a chance. We count on fall flowers
for amazonica and 'Adventure' seeds but Tropical Storm Fay changed
The middle of August, as Fay approached, we decided to sink most
amazonica pads to the bottom of the ponds, since they are more
susceptible to wind damage than cruziana or the hybrids. Fay
sat on top of us for days, dumping 20" (51cm) of rain and
causing severe flooding throughout east central Florida. The
wind was never that severe but would have bent and flipped the
amazonicas. In hindsight, the plants might have recovered better
from the wind damage. As it turned out, the pads were submerged
for so long that they effectively drowned. When we let them up,
they soon rotted.
V. amazonica pads submerged with
rocks during Tropical Storm Fay
The only good news for amazonica was that two plants had started
to flower and provided carefully rationed pollen to make 'Longwood
Hybrid' seeds. The seed pods on the amazonicas ruptured prematurely
as the plants declined and died way too young.
There are several other tales to tell. The first is a documentary
of the growth rate of Victoria cruziana when first installed
in pond bottoms. We just happened to snap pictures at the right
time to show this. See The
Astounding Growth Rate of V. cruziana.
Speaking of Stalling, we grew out two cruzianas stalled for
more than a year and two started last spring. At maturity we
could see no difference in size or general health except for
the BIG ONE, a spring plant that achieved the greatest size we
have ever had for cruziana, actually for any Victoria, at 68"
(173cm). It crowded out a small amazonica in Reflection and threatened
to overwhelm 'Adventure', itself a big plant. Only removing perfectly
healthy pads from the cruziana kept it from covering 'Adventure's'
Learning more about stalled plants 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 (now that we know from our own and others' observations
that they attain normal size). They are also a hedge against
poor germination or seedling disaster in the new year as well
as offering options for people with small ponds. Just how much
abuse can these minis take? See 2008
By the end of August
the big cruziana had taken
over the entire end of Reflection and was pushing pads over the
A fifth cruziana plant is a survival story beyond our experience.
Several cruzianas survived the winter of 2007-2008 but struggled.
Late in April we dug out of Reflection a barely alive plant that
had been a primary parent in 2007. We chopped the old rhizome
off, potted it down to 6" (15cm) and put it in slightly
heated Sun. It got turned partly over. It got down to one half
of a 4" (10cm) pad. It got righted and decided not to just
live but to thrive. Installed in Dune for the 2008 season, it
actually got bigger than it did in 2007. It is one of our illustrations
Astounding Growth Rate of V. cruziana.
One of the stalled cruzianas that we grew out was an original
from the 2000 collection in Paraguay. It is amazing to note that
those seeds still sprout from time to time. The seedlings are
usually weak and don't survive, but this was an exception. It
tells us never to give up on old seeds, no matter how nasty they
appear (and smell).
That cruziana did something we have never seen before -- on three
occasions it had two same night flowers with no skip days. We
have often seen a first and second night flowers on the same
plant but usually there was then an out-of-rhythm gap before
the next flower. During the main season, 'Adventure' and cruzianas
have a new flower every other night, amazonicas usually every
A report on how fall plants would do from 2007
Why Is That? is fairly amazing. The
V. 'Adventure' in Treasures bloomed all winter and spring and,
in summer, was bigger than ever. It bloomed every third night
like clockwork. Sand was added around its crown once but nothing
else was done to help its survival except fertilization. It made
69 flowers over nearly two years and finally didn't survive being
pushed over in February 2009.
We grew 13 plants to adulthood, though three amazonicas didn't
bloom before they died. We had only 290 flowers, not including
the miniatures, down significantly from 2007, largely due to
the premature loss of the amazonicas. Our seed yield per pod
was our highest ever, probably the result of the huge flowers
of the big cruziana.
We had to discard quite a few seeds that were premature. Even
the cruzianas reacted to TS Fay by rupturing numerous pods at
the same time before they were ripe. Fortunately, they soon returned
to their expected schedule of maturing pods, producing viable
< Early in September Tropical Storm Hanna passed offshore,
not doing any damage but producing enormous (and very beautiful)