Just what I need, more plants!

I already have a yard rather full of plants, pretty much filling my existing planting beds. I already have a driveway full of containers of all kinds, many of which will be planted in the remaining spots in my garden this year, but many are for next year. Although committed gardeners will always tell you there is room for more plants, something new, sometimes there really is not enough room.


Fortunately I'm not yet at the "can't cram any more in" point in my yard, so when a package arrives advertising "live plants" it's not a cause for concern, but something to be excited about!


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I've mentioned before that I love trading plants with other gardeners, and although I do a fair bit of my plant shopping locally, I do some mail-order purchasing too.


Like in this case, where I ordered from a specialty nursery in Virginia. So it's obvious I've purchased some bulbs or plants that grow from bulbs, but what exactly?

Packaging doesn't really tell you too much, except I have to point out its ingenious design:


These little tabs are holding 4" pots in place, ensuring they don't shift during shipping, crushing the plants with the weight of their own pots as they're turned upside down. The holes formed by these tabs gives the plants some air as well. Great design!


It appears that the packing material is shredded copies of their old catalogs. Smart!

Finally we can see what I've purchased to add to my collection:


Elephant Ears! I know you might be thinking "didn't I just read a post about your dozens of extra Elephant Ear bulbs?". Yes, that's true, but these are special cultivars with some different properties that the straight species Colocasia esculenta that I have so many of don't show.


These for instance have red stems of different shades, from pink to deep red.

Plus the leaf coloring is different, which isn't very obvious while the plants are small:


You can see the one plant has darker leaves and more red in the veins. The differences will become more apparent when the plants are larger.


The varieties I received are: 'Red stem rhubarb', 'Sangria', 'Pink China', and 'Nancy's Revenge'.

Some of these are really looking for more room:


So it's time to put these into bigger pots. It's cool that red stems translates into red roots in this case:


This pink-stemmed variety called 'Pink China' has a baby plant already:


Looking at the root structure, I can see why:


There are several offsets forming even from this small plant:


I love plants that produce backup copies of themselves! It makes it easier to experiment with different growing conditions, overwintering strategies, and to share with other gardeners.

I put these into 1-gallon nursery pots for now, and will give them partial sun and plenty of water.


It hopefully won't be too long before I need to transplant these into even larger containers. Here I've added the two Elephant Ears varieties I got in a recent plant trade:


So those are all of my new varieties this year... except for the one that was on backorder so didn't arrive in this shipment. Adding those to the five that I already had and my collection of Elephant Ears is becoming quite respectable!

I can't wait to start spreading these new (to me) varieties around my garden!

I guess the driveway does have a little more space left on it...

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Steve Lau  – (May 9, 2011 at 11:18 AM)  

You can never have too many plants. I'm ordering a couple of the pink stem z6 hardy EEs online, and that should get here later this week.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (May 9, 2011 at 2:53 PM)  

Steve: philosophically I agree that you can't have too many plants, but practically, yes, you can. There comes a point where you just can't care for them all to the extent you want to. That's when you have too many. Note that this differs for everybody -- for some people one or two plants is too many. :-)

Gerhard Bock  – (May 9, 2011 at 5:06 PM)  

Alan, these are great-looking plants--big and healthy.

Steve Lau  – (May 9, 2011 at 7:59 PM)  

Pink China is the exact same species I ordered because it is reputed to be cold hardy to zone 6 so I should be able to leave them in the ground.

Yea, I can see there is a limit to how many plants you can have, but I try to plant more of stuff that requires little or no care like perennials, blueberries, and obviously bamboo.

anne  – (May 9, 2011 at 8:21 PM)  

okay, now you have me thinking about getting an elephant ear. I am considering Pink China as well since I am zone 5 - not that it matters if I have to bring the bulb inside for the winter. I also like the Illustris....do you keep yours in sun, shade or sun/shade? Are all your ee's in pots?

I know a local artist who makes handmade cement leaf sculptures out of single leaves, and her elephant ear "leaves" are her largest ones of course - they are really great and so unique.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (May 10, 2011 at 7:40 AM)  

Anne: Do it! :-)

I started with the "regular" Colocasia esculenta because the bulbs were cheap, something like 3 for $5. They grow surprisingly large from even small bulbs the first year. Mine are mostly in pots, but I had a couple in the ground last year because I had so many. I expect to have more in the ground this year too. They're in full to partial sun. I haven't yet tried one in mostly shade but will this year.

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