Without any disrespect for other peoples' opinions, let's talk novelty plants. Make no mistake, I'm not degrading any of these plants, or anyone who would enjoy one. If they didn't appeal to someone (and generate a profit,) they wouldn't be out there, these are just my opinions. I'm sure I have many plants that would be unappealing to others.
There's a lot of them out there, over the years. Whether you love one or hate it, I'm sure you've noticed some and have an opinion, or maybe a question. What have you seen? How did it make you feel? Stories about rescuing them - or maintaining as they were?
I'm not a fan of these, because I don't think they are destined to live long, have been stunted, downright fugly (I'll let you guess which adjective might go with which, if you want, not the point):
- 'lucky bamboo' in water
- Tillandia glued in a glass sphere or seashell
- painted plants
- glittered plants
- Venus flytrap in lucite box
- faux bonsais (none of the plants at a BBS have ever been or will ever be real bonsais - as sold. There may be a specimen with potential out there occasionally.)
- anything involving a layer of glued rocks
- anything in a pot without a hole in the bottom that's full of water, unless the cache pot is worth the whole price, which is sometimes the case. I always assume the plant is already mortally wounded when 'swimming' like that.
- cacti with glued-on flowers
- cacti with what looks like unnaturally colored sections grafted on top since I don't know what's going on with these at all, or what they're supposed to 'do.'
One good novelty I've seen over the years is the Ti logs in a bag. But those have not been around for many years. I'd like to see those make a come-back.
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Another area of novelty is seasonal plants. In my own mind, I differentiate them as 'real house plants,' 'should be outside,' and 'sheer novelties.'
These I would consider real house plants: holiday cacti, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, some of the 'scented' geraniums (Pelargoniums,) including 'mosquito plant.'
I wouldn't get if I didn't have somewhere (climate-suitable) outside to plant them: shamrocks, Easter lilies and other in-bloom potted bulbs, boxed Amaryllis.
I don't even agree with myself on some of this. Apparently if it's intended to be planted outside (in a nursery pot and displayed with the annuals,) it's OK to purchase as temporary, but if it's not hardy and in a more upscale pot as a novelty house plant, and I know I can't keep it alive in the house, it's not OK. What is that? IDK. I'm just weird I guess, but I'm not the only one with this particular quirk.
Sheer novelties: hanging baskets of Fuchsia that apparently have been told "you're for Mother's Day" so therefore see no reason to keep living for long afterward, along with Norfolk island pines. Cute little mini roses of mystery hardiness which should be outside, and farther south if not hardy - but no way to tell.
(Yes, I know there's someone out there for each of these plants that's had them *forever.* These are my opinions about what would happen at *my* house. Not saying that anybody should or should not buy any of the plants mentioned, for any of the reasons mentioned yet or not. And let's hear those 'forever' stories!)
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What about plants that could be novelties or seasonal, but aren't? Kalanchoe (diagremontiana, x houghtonii, delagoensis) seems to be a plant everyone who lives too far north for it to be hardy wants. As fast as mine can produce babies, people want them in trade. Sure, if it gets outside and hardy where you are, it'll try to take over the world, but so will asparagus fern, spider plant, Tradescantia, and SO many other plants that are commonly found in pots, and they still have plenty of pots of those available for sale.
Pothos in water. Everyone does it at home, these would definitely sell.
Moss. So many people want moss. 'Irish' is about the only option occasionally available. I often use the presence of moss to decide on a potted plant if there are multiple specimens available.
Tiny lawn flowers. With the explosion in mini gardening the past couple years, it's become fairly common to find tiny plants, but they are mostly traditional succulents. Some of the coolest tiny plants are right in the lawn, though many of them are probably too ephemeral for a permanent display. Many of the displays I've seen are definitely not going to live long anyway.
Little crape myrtles which bloom so reliably on new wood. Seems like those up north would scoop up pots of these as readily as so many other non hardy plants to be enjoyed temporarily, like a 'last flowers of the year' kind of thing. Never had any trouble finding a Mandevilla vine to buy in OH - but that would be in the spring.
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One thing that can't be denied about novelty plants is that they do keep a display more lively and active as they shift the selection. Even if I'm scoffing at "what's over there this time," I'm interested and looking.