NWFGS is a multi-day plant-centric show held here in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center. There are seminars, competitions, vendors selling everything from art, a vast array of plants and gardening tools. There is a sweet little vintage market too!
Safe to say, plant purchases where plentiful! So, let's dive right in!
Our first plant was a super fun Tillandsia funckiana from Owens Gardens. Unfortunately, Owens doesn't have much of an online presence or storefront. The only time you can buy directly from them is at shows like NWFGS or street fairs. I had previously procured a Tillandisa xerographica, Tillandisa seleriana and a Tillandisa medusae from them at Issaquah Salmon Days in 2017. These plants are all thriving and putting out new growth left and right! The T. funckiana is a funky little air plant. It came with a pup too! Super duper cuter!
The second round of plant purchasing was done at the booth of N&M Herb Nursery! This was where the majority of my new plants came from.
At N&M, I picked out a cold hardy Musa basjoo and Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'. These are also referred to as banana plants. If you checked out my February Houseplant Favorites video, you'll be familiar with my delight in how gratifyingly fast-growing this plant is.
The Eneste ventricosum 'Maurelii' is producing new foliage almost as quickly as the M. basjoo. I can't get enough of the burgundy, green and purples of this plant's leaves. These plants love their light. The cold hardy M. basjoo is a perfect plant to put next to your window as it will tolerate lower temps of being next to a window in the winter and soak up any sunlight without much worry for leaf sunburn. Though, do mind your plants and listen to what they may be saying. Sometimes what they're supposed to do on paper isn't what they do in the widely varied home environment.
The next block of plants were a trio of of Alocasia and Colocasia.
- Alocasia 'Calidora'
- Colocasia esculenta 'Fontanesii'
- Alocasia 'Portora'
These plants can be referred to by the common name 'Elephant Ears'. I originally thought this common name applied to one plant. However, I soon found there is so much variety between Alocasia, Colocasia and their hybrids. Neat stuff, huh?
If these plants thrive in my care and environment, I'll be adding a Colocasia esculenta 'Black Magic' to my wishlist. The plant is dark purple and rather striking.
These are plants that do enjoy their humidity and regularly watered soil. If substandard care is taken in maintaining these parameters, your plant will struggle tremendously. So, take note of your own indoor humidity, watering routine, substrate and planter choice when you are setting up a place for an Alocasia or Colocasia in your home.
At home here in the PNW, our indoor air gets rather dry during the winter from the heater kicking in. So if you're in a similar set up, keep that in mind!
Pebble trays and grouping plants together can help boost local humidity around plants. However, in my personal experience, those tactics simply aren't enough when trying to combat how drying central air can be.
I highly recommend ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers. The area you need boosted humidity in and how high you need it will determine how large or fancy of a humidifier you'll need.
And if you haven't already, definitely grab yourself a humidity monitor. They usually run you about 10 dollars, often track current temperature in addition to high and low humidity percentages around a 24 hour period. They're super useful if you're trying to assess humidity and troubleshoot plant care.
My next plant pick was influenced by my affinity for plants with a thick caudex. What is a caudex?
Aka, that bulbous woody bit that looks really cool.
The plant I picked up from N&M looks to be a Beaucarnea recurvata or 'Ponytail Palm'. I'm sure it's some variety of B. recurvata but I haven't gotten an full ID just yet!
Because I was poking around to buy plants on the last day of the show, N&M was doing a sweet deal of "buy three, get one free". Was looking around for my 'free' plant and happened upon a cluster of Albuca spiralis (common name 'Frizzle Sizzle'). Then I noticed they had plants with inflorescences! Not being sure if I could get one to bloom for me, I quickly grabbed up one with a nice inflorescence.
The blooms have developed and they smell of vanilla and 'green' or something like when a bouquet of daisies gets old. The 'green' smell becomes more prominent the older blooms get. At least that's what happening for me right now.
In my opinion, this is another plant for a perfect window sill. It's a cold and drought hardy plant.
So, you won't kill it with a chillier placement in your home if you get cold weather and if you forget to water it, it should be ok. That said, I also feel this is one of those plants who is extremely prone to overwatering, so be mindful of that. Cool it with that can! It also can be in direct sun. In fact full to partial sun are the recommended light growing conditions.
Which brings me to my next point. If you look at my particular plant, you'll notice there isn't the dramatic curling of the foliage going on like what you'll see with most Frizzle Sizzle images floating around on the internet.
Lower light conditions will usually influence the development of foliage. Albuca spiralis is not exempt from this generalization. If this plant is grown in a high light environment, it will produce those tightly curled leaves iconic to the common name.
The last plant I picked up from N&M was this Abutilon 'Red Tiger'. This is a flowering shrub with leaves that look similar to a maple. But don't be fooled! These plants are not related.
As you could probably tell from the abrupt cuts on the larger branches, this is a rooted cutting.
They had a larger plant displayed in the booth that was in bloom. I think they look unreal.
This plant enjoys sun to partial shade, so I'm really excited for spring to be here and this cold snap to be over so I can chuck it out into our front yard!
The third plant booth I purchased from was from Raintree Nursery where two little pots of Wasabi Starts were added to our collection. Perhaps in a few years we'll be able to consume some freshly grated wasabi!
The last and final round of plant purchases was the most time consuming.
And that was because, this booth, my friends, was Andy's Orchids.
Andy has been a near lifelong plant lover and grower. He eventually found his niche in orchids. His nursery is based down in southern California where he grows and sells species orchids. Aka: the stuff you'd find out in the wild. If you're in the area, you should definitely attend an open house or make an appointment to visit and take a gander around this renowned orchid grower and provider.
The first orchid I picked was a Holcoglossum quasipinifolium. I had kept a Holcoglossom wangii alive with great results and figured choosing another plant from that genus wouldn't hurt. Plus, the foliage and mount compositionally compliment each other so well!
Three weeks after bringing this plant home, I've since noticed three new fans developing on this plant. I am so thrilled.
The second orchid I picked up was this leafless orchid, Chiloschista extinctorfomis, in spike!
Because they lack leaves, these plants photosynthesize through their roots. Which is why this plant makes for an excellent candidate for being grown on a mount. (And also why you never grow these IN a growing media.)
The buds are still developing and haven't blasted yet. Hopefully, this plant will bloom and I can make a new post to tell you all about it!
OK, hold onto your butts because this next orchid is intense. The third and final orchid is this glorious, gorgeous, absolute QUEEN of an orchid, the Laelia anceps 'Pale L&R'.
This plant was being grown in full, live-giving, California sun, hence the freakin' sweet tan of oranges and pinks. (Succulent pals, you know what I'm talking about!)
However, since being in my care in lower light, this plant has lost quite a bit of that coloration. But once spring finally gets here, I have the perfect spot outdoors for my new, sun-loving friend to hang out.
And check it out! There are active root tips galore and growing at full speed ALL OVER this mount. The ones pictured below are literally ten times the length they were here, three weeks ago.
The flowers on this plant are going to be huge and I will be besides myself with excitement if I'm able to provide an environment for this plant to bloom!
Well, that's it for the haul! I hope you enjoyed looking at these plants! If you have any of these plants, I would love to hear your experiences with them and what has worked well for you and your photosynthesizing friends!
Oh and PS:
Andy's did have a large mounted Tillandsia of some sort that was about to be in bloom. I'm kind of kicking myself for not grabbing up that impressive plant. But a ton of new plants with three new orchids was probably a good stopping point. :)
The Northwest Orchid Society's Annual Auction is happening on March 12th... So you may not need to wait long for another...