Monday, July 14, 2014

Crazy Summer

This summer has been crazy so far. It started off with a long heatwave which, in my case, resulted in losing 18 of my plants – some of which didn't even have doubles.
This happened to some bacterial infection received with the ready-made soil purchased in a shop. High humidity and high temperature awoke this "ancient evil" so to say. Bacterial wilting, as the scientific name goes, shows itself on the 5th day with a leaf or two wilting. At first you think it is nothing, just too much sunlight, but the next thing you know is that it is too late.
In my case, Bella Yellow wilted within hours; other plants wilted more gradually, so that I eventually managed to save three of them.
Anyway, losing so many plants left room for contemplation and research. Here are some conclusions: acidic soils are more prone to the development of bacterial diseases, so I switched to the neutral one. A great addition that I now use to improve the soil is clay. Clay has a number of benefits, which you can read about in Wikipedia. All I can say is that my abutilons love clay!

This summer, as planned, I wanted to experiment with cross-pollination even further, although losing hybrids and starting from scratch again (that is from green cuttings) set me a bit back. But! I already have started pollinating with Alcea, Sidalcea and Hibiscus pollen.
Alcea x abutilon pollinations were quite successful last year, but hibiscus x abutilon weren't. Here is my guess: fancy, large flower hibiscus hybrids will not cross-pollinate with abutilons. However, some wild varieties might.