Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tales from the Cryptanthus

Well, more like tales of the Cryptanthus, because while I may be a Crazy Plant Lady, I am not under the impression that plants talk to me. (Nor do I talk to them; if they want extra carbon dioxide, they can get it themselves.)

Anyway, I find the Earth Stars to be cool plants, so I've accumulated a few more this summer. I believe that these are all varieties of Cryptanthus bivittatus:

Cryptanthus bivittatus 'Ruby'
Cryptanthus bivittatus 'Pink Starlite,' I think
NoId Cryptanthus bivittatus varieties

All of the above were purchased at Home Depot, where I also saw what has got to be the worst example of plant marketing I've ever seen. Plant hucksters have been gluing strawflowers on cactus for years. Recently, they've been dyeing Phalaenopsis orchids blue. And now, they are giving us painted Cryptanthus:

Cryptanthus varieties defiled with pink and red enamel. These photos were taken surreptitiously in the store with my cellphone, (try saying that 5 times fast) hence the blurriness. These were in dish gardens, and in the one with the red paint, there is a naturally pink Crypt on the left.

This is ridiculous. I doubt the leaves will stay healthy with that stuff on them. Also, the painting was quite slapdash, and the result was ugly and totally unnatural-looking. It looked like a toddler had run amok with Mommy's nail polish.

But there are cute and clever things one can do with Crypts, as seen here in a couple of pics I took at the Chicago Botanic Gardens last week:

Flamingo topiaries in the Sub-tropical Greenhouse

Closer view of one of the flamingos, showing how densely the Cryptanthus are planted

I'm not usually a topiary fan, but I found these to be fun and fabulous uses of both form and color. Not something I'd try myself (where would I get enough crypts, let alone enough patience?) but definitely something that I can appreciate and enjoy sharing.

7 comments:

College Gardener said...

Cool plants! Sad/annoyed to see yet another variety of tacky plant abuse...

Ivynettle said...

URGH! to the painted Crypts - but the flamingos are seriously cool.

And I don't talk to my plants, either - I do occasionally insult them, though.

Emily said...

Wow, those painted bromeliads are awful to the point my questioning whether there
s anyone out there who really thinks that makes them more attractive? I mean, I know strawflowers have been proven to raise sales, but I doubt "spilled floricidal paint" will be a new winner.

I do, also, love the flamingo topiaries! And I'm so not a topiary person either, but those are just on point.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Those are beautiful. I don't think I have seen them before. And I very much dislike the gluing on of straw flowers that hurt the plant. And it is crazy that someone is painting leaves. That is terrible. But I love your new babies.

Tom said...

I love those flamingos, they're of my favorite things at the CBG. As for the painted cryps, WHY would anyone feel that is necessary? They're already so colorful!

Ivynettle said...

And another comment from me... I recently received the "Versatile Blogger Award", and since I'm supposed to pass it on to others, here goes - an award for you!
http://ivynettle.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/an-award-for-me/

Karen715 said...

Ivynettle: Thank you so much. I'm sorry it took so long to both publish your comment and to thank you. I'll be updating LATL soon, and I'll be sure to do a proper thank, link and participate post as well.