When two hurricanes just a month apart seriously damaged our Victorias' foliage, we became quite interested in the mechanism that stopped the plants from blooming until they replaced their damaged pads. A few days after each storm, well developed buds rotted under water and blooming didn't resume until the pads were entirely replaced.
We had also noticed that it seemed that each new leaf was accompanied in the same "compartment" of the crown's protective sheathing by a bud. In adverse times these did not always develop but we thought they were there.
We had a small cruziana in serious decline and, urged on by our houseguests Helen Nash and Marilyn Cook, we decided to dig it up before it died and look at it. The rather large rhizome under the active crown was rotting and we had to slice within several inches of the top of the crown to get into healthy tissue. We were curious to see 1) if our observation of the leaf/bud relationship was true and 2) if so, when do the buds develop and not develop?
After carefully tweezing away the sheath, number 1 appeared
to be true. Each new leaf is followed by a bud that develops
to bloom as long as the plant isn't stressed. For us 'Adventure'
made a new pad and a new bud every other day during the main
part of the season, with the others making pad and bud usually
every third day. Elsewhere, if the span between new pads is longer
the blooms will be farther apart but predictable. As to number
2, we couldn't tell when the plant decides. In this dying plant
the buds were forming right at its very heart, the apical meristem.
After removing the "sheath", the little leaves and
buds were exposed. The scale can be determined by Ben's hand
in the picture at the top of the page. We then halved the crown
vertically. It was like looking at a miniature fairy tale scene.
What the "Enchanted Forest" showed us was 7 leaves (and buds) under water and developing from the apical meristem. If pads reach the surface here 2-3 days apart, the timing is about right -- 16-24 days to recover from the trauma of the storms and resume blooming. It seems that it is this axis that is affected by trauma. This may help us help the plants through difficult periods.
Enchanted Forest | Can It Happen? | Open The Door!
1999 The Adventure Continues | 2000 A Very Bad Year | 2001 A Banner Year
2002 An Even Better Year | 2003 We Like It Like This | 2004 Trust
2005 Recovery | 2006 Normal? | 2007 Weird | 2008 Year of the Hare
2009 Year of the (White) Tortoise