Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Cunning Conandron

I have long been interested in hardy gesneriads, but as a whole they have not been happy with the conditions I have had to offer.  Two species of Haberlea have been long-lived and permanent, but the highly desirable species of Ramonda and Corallodiscus have had only had a fleeting presence in my collection.  When I finally am able to offer the right conditions for these species I will definitely try them again.

Enter Conandron.  Conandron was a plant high on my wish list, but never seemed to be available when I had the money, or more importantly, the interest in purchasing the plant.  So, like many of the best and personal favorite plants in my collection, I acquired a plant of Conandron solely by association and happenstance.  A good friend successfully obtained a small plant at an auction and promptly handed it over to me.  After the a moment of shear terror when the realization hit that this plant might fade away faster than previous members of this family, I read up and gave it my best shot.  The results have been astounding!  Not only did the plant put on new growth, but it produced three flower spikes loaded with dainty purple flowers.

Conandron grows on wet, shady cliffs in its native Japan.  In cultivation I have given it a a moist, but well drained medium consisting of peat, perlite, and turface, fertilized with holly tone, and placed in a aquarium with moist gravel at the bottom to keep the humidity high and constant.  Although I have only had this a few months, the plant is thriving.

The reverse of the flowers

The whole plant in flower

A profile of the entire plant.  The flowers appear as candle snuffers from this view.  

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