By Kit Knotts
with Travis Andrews & Joe Summers
When a very small V. cruziana began to bloom in the
summer of 2002, we were completely charmed by it, though it didn't
really fulfill the need for a larger one in our seed production
plan. Growing in a 10 gallon pot (where we have previously grown
plants to 40" or more), this one never exceeded 27"
in pad size. It was the smallest Victoria we have ever
bloomed but made 13 flowers and actually produced quite a few
Little did we know we were going to experience far smaller! In late October 2002, a cruziana that we had cramped in an 8" pot all summer made a single flower. It was so cute! We self-pollinated the flower and await the results. The two pads that it maintained never exceeded 12".
At about the same time, Travis Andrews of Missouri Botanical Gardens wrote, "Here's a picture of a mini 'Longwood Hybrid', grown completely in the greenhouse in 12" of water and in a 6" standard plastic pot. In the second picture you can see a tape measure stretched to 24". Mine tend to have one larger leaf and several smaller ones."
There is historical precedence for these miniatures. William Tricker wrote (in The Water Garden, 1897): "Last year a few plants that were not wanted were allowed to remain in eight-inch pots, where they produced flower buds and one perfect flower, and would have continued to flower had they not been removed."
We also know that Stan Skinger bloomed very small Victorias at Denver Botanic Gardens (or in his basement) as did Joe Summers at MBG. It seems to occur very late in the season with plants limited in pot size and fed very little.
Please note that these are normal Victorias which could have attained the large size of their siblings if moved to larger containers at the appropriate times. We think their tendency to bloom in the fall is triggered by both the plants' age and shortening day length. Since it doesn't happen often, we are just speculating.