Clivia miniata

Common name: Natal Lily, Bush Lily, Kaffir Lily, Clivia, Fire Lily, the South Africa Lily

Family: Amaryllidaceae

Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata

Distribution and habitat: Clivia miniata is a species of flowering plant native to damp woodland habitats in South Africa as well as in Swaziland. They are always found under tree cover in evergreen forests, growing in well-drained leaf mould rich with humus between boulders on slopes, but occasionally they may be found growing in the fork of a tree. The habitat may vary from subtropical coastal forest to ravines in high altitude forest. The Clivia miniata grows in dappled shade, often in large colonies.
Clivia miniata is also reportedly naturalized in Mexico.

Description: Clivia miniata will develop into impressive plants, but only if they are given a cool winter rest. They grow to a height of around 80cm (31 inch) with an underground fleshy stem consisting of a compact rhizome, which only rarely becomes aerial when plants are very old. Their dark green , strap shaped leaves, which vary in width from narrow to over 8cm (3 inch), fan out from a leek like base consisting of a thickly layered leaf based. The spread of a single plant can exceed 90cm (35 inch). Roots are so tick and flashy that they quickly fill the pots and some will appear on the surface of the potting mixture. In late winter thick flower stalks up to 45cm (18 inch) long begin to push up between the leaves – always slightly off-centre and each stalk will carry up to 15-20 trumpet-shaped flowers, each 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long, in the early spring, but sporadically at other times of the year. Flower colour is usually a combination of yellow and bright orange-red, but pure yellow and apricot coloured varieties are occasionally seen. The flowers are reported to have a faint, but very sweet perfume.
Clivia miniata are slow growers, so expect approximately 2-5 years for full maturity. Each stem produces one flower stock and over time produces multiple clumps, creating a magnificent flower display that lasts for weeks.
The fruits are bright orange when ripe (or golden in the case of the yellow flowered plants). The pulp should be removed from the seed when are prepared to be sown. The seeds are large with a pearly sheen and should be sown fresh for best results.

Houseplant care: Clivia miniata is a familiar house plant, long lived and fairly easy to grow and maintain. When it is in bloom, do avoid moving the plant. Wipe off the leaves with a damp cloth to keep them dust-free and shiny.
Flower trumpets fall as they fade, leaving behind embryo fruits. Remove these with a razor blade to prevent them from developing. If the embryo fruits are allowed to remain, they will grow large and absorb so much of plant’s energy that the Clivia miniata will be unlikely to flower the following spring. When the flower stalk begin to winter, pull them out from the cluster of leaves.

Light: A window position that gets bright light with early mornings or late afternoon sun is ideal for cultivation of Clivia miniata. Midday sunlight can scorch the leaves. Too little light can result in a lack of flowers.
They also enjoy a period of time outdoors at summertime in a shaded position and protected from the heavy rain.

Temperature: Though Clivia miniata thrive in warm rooms during the active growth period, they must be given a short early winter rest period – six to eight weeks – ideally at a temperature slightly bellow 10°C (50°F). If this is not possible, they may be forced into premature bloom, with flower stalks failing to rise above the foliage. Too much warmth also shortens the life of the flowers.
Avoid mist spraying these plants to keep excess moisture off the leaves.

Watering: During spring and summer water plentifully, as much as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but gradually reduce the amounts in the autumn and keep Clivia miniata almost dry during the rest period. When flower stalks appear towards the end of the winter, begin a gradual increase in quantity and frequency of watering.
Over-watering will cause root rot and kill the plant.

Feeding: Give Clivia miniata applications of a liquid fertiliser once every two weeks, beginning when flower stalk are half developed and continuing until a month before watering is curtailed.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Repot Clivia miniata only every three to four years; they flower best when pot-bound. Move a Clivia miniata plant into a bigger pot only when the roots fill the pot. Top dress in years when plants are not moved into bigger pots. Make sure to pack the potting mixture firmly around the thick roots and leave 5cm (2 inch) between the surface of the potting mixture and the rim of the pot, because the growing roots will force the potting mixture upwards. These plants can become top heavy, so it is best to use clay, not plastic pots. As a plant develops, it can be moved progressively into pots that are about 5cm (2 inch) larger. When maximum convenient size – probably 25cm (10 inch) – has been reached, top dressing every year is advisable. Carefully scrape away about 5cm (2 inch) of the old potting mixture ans replace it with fresh potting mixture which have been enriched by sprinkling of a substance such as bone meal.
Both repotting and top dressing are best done in late winter, just as flower stalks begin to develop.

Gardening: Clivia miniata grow well outdoors in a mild frost free climate. These plants are frost-sensitive and may be damaged if in a position that is exposed to cold winds especially. It takes a long time for the damage to grow out if this happens, so it is best to select a sheltered site.
The dark green, strap like leaves of Clivia miniata plants are attractive all year round and they slowly expand to form an excellent, low-maintenance groundcover in difficult shady spots. After flowering, remove spent flower stems near the base, unless seed is required.

Position: Clivia miniata plants thrive in shade, even quite deep, dry shade; in fact, their foliage and flowers will suffer if grown in too much sun. Protect them from milder frosts and hot sunlight by planting them under a tree or shrub canopy.

Soil: Good drainage is essential for Clivia miniata plants. Before planting them into the ground, improve the soil incorporating in some well-rotted compost and a small amount of slow release fertiliser.
Clivia miniata planted in beds will benefit from a thick layer of organic mulch such as well rotted compost, annually.

Irrigation: Clivia miniata appreciate watering in spring and summer during dry spells in their early days, but are tough and undemanding once established. Twice a week deep watering is enough for these plants during the active growth period and do not water them during the winter. Once they are established, they are remarkably drought hardy.

Fertilising: Feed immediately after flowering with a general purpose fertiliser. Generous amounts of slow release organic fertiliser (such as blood & bone) applied regularly from early Spring to mid Summer achieves maximum growth.

Propagation: To propagate, use the offsets that emerge through the tangle of the roots. Make sure to detach each offset carefully at the point where it meets the parent plant. Use a long, sharp knife. The best time to detach an offset is immediately after the last flowers of the season have dropped off, but not before the offsets comprises at least three leaves 20-25cm (8-10 inch) long. Plant it in an 8-12cm (3-5 inch) pot containing an equal parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite and keep it warm in medium light. Water it sparingly, enough to make the potting mixture moist, but allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When roots appear on the surface of the mixture, move the young plant into a soil based potting mixture in a pot one size larger and treat it as an adult Clivia miniata. It will generally flower about a year after being detached from the parent plant.
When propagated from seed can take up to three or five years for plants to flower and may vary in colour. Seed will germinate in six to eight weeks at a temperature of 21°C (70°F), sown just under soil surface (not deep), singly in 8cm (3 inch) pots of moistened standard seed mixture. They may remain in these initial pots for up to two years before they are large enough to plant on.
Old plants can also be broken into separate crowns with the aid of a stout knife and potted up in 10 or 12cm (4-5 inch) pots. In doing this be careful not to damage the fleshy roots.

Problems:
When grown outdoors, slugs and snails can destroy the leaves and flowers.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

The black and yellow striped amaryllis caterpillar (also known as the lily borer) can cause a lot of damage to the whole plant in a very short time and should be dealt with promptly.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide following the instructions on the label. They can also be picked off by hand and destroyed.

Conspicuous tufts of white, waxy wool appearing on the leaves indicates an infestation of mealybug, which may be troublesome.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides. Alternatively, remove mealybugs with an alcohol­ saturated cotton swab or wash plants with soapy water.

Watch for infestations scale insects and spider mite.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove scale insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.
Control spider mites with a suitable acaricide.

Aphids, white fly and thrips will cause a lot of damage if they are plague numbers.
Treatment: Use a systemic insecticide to disrupt their life cycle. Follow the instruction on insecticide label.

Non flowering can be due to inadequate feeding, over-watering that leads to water logging or under-watering.
Treatment: To check, knock the plant out of its container. Any dead or rotten roots should be cut away and sour, waterlogged compost replaced. It is best to error on the side of dryness for the health of the plant.

Brown patches on leaves may be due to scorching. This can occur when light is refracted through windows or water droplets collect on leave surface.

Where plants flower on short stalks and the blooms are hidden by foliage, the cause is likely to be an insufficient cool period over the winter. During the winter period keep plants at a temperature of 10°C (50°F).

Toxicity: Clivia miniata contains small amounts of lycorine, making it poisonous. Ingested in large amounts can be dangerous.

Companion plants: The lively colour of Clivia miniata flowers combines well with other hot coloured blooms of mid-late winter and early spring which grow in part-shade, such as Camellia japonica (red camellias), Abutilon, Tropaeolum species (nasturtiums) or Justicia rizzinii (golden shrimp). The startling and unusual flower of the Scadoxus puniceus (South African paintbrush lily) appears at exactly the same time as the Clivia miniata and enjoys the same garden conditions. The colour of the Clivia miniata is also an effective partner to shade-tolerant blue or purple flowers, such as Hyacinthoides non-scripta (blubells), Brunfelsia species or Streptocarpus saxorum (sometimes called the nodding violet). In small gardens, the same colour combination can be achieved by growing Clivia miniata in a bright blue pot.
Grow Clivia miniata with Cryptanthus (earth star), Dieffenbachia species (dumb canes) and Schefflera elegaantissima (false aralia) in pots or plant it with Ficus benjamina (weeping figs) and Peperomia obtusifolia (blunt-leaf peperomias) for at least three shades of green in one vignette.

Uses and display: Clivia miniata are popular as garden plants where the climates conditions allow. These plants are extensively planted as border plants in beds or used as mass plantings. Both their leathery, deep green leaves and their showy flowers have esthetic impact in landscape. Also, they are spectacular container subjects for indoor or on shaded patios.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – rosette
Height: 80cm (31 inch)
Spread: 90cm (35 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 10°C (45-50°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Clivia miniataClivia miniataClivia miniata



Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , ,

Cleyera japonica

Common name: Sakaki, Cleyera, Japanese Cleyera

Family: Pentaphylacaceae

Synonymous: Cleyera fortunei

Cleyera japonica

Cleyera japonica

Distribution and habitat: Cleyera japonica is a flowering evergreen tree native to warm areas of Japan, Korea, and mainland China. It can reach a height of 10m (33 feet) and is one of the common trees in the second layer of the evergreen oak forests.
Cleyera japonica is considered a sacred tree in the Shinto religion.

Description: Cleyera japonica is a branching shrub with glossy, elliptic, bunt-tipped leaves which are 7-10cm (3-4 inch) long and around 7cm (3 inch) wide. The leaves are dark green above, yellowish-green below. Young leaves and those grown in very bright light may have a rosy tinge, particularly near the edges. The short stalked leaves are arranged in tow ranks on the branches, one on either side.
When it is cultivated outdoor, it forms a dense, compact, rounded shape when young, but matures into an upright multi-trunked large tree up to 10m (33 feet) with handsome dark reddish brown and smooth bark. The small, scented, cream-white flowers appear on the previous year’s wood in late spring and early summer. The five-petaled, nodding blooms give rise to attractive small, fleshy, inedible fruits that are yellow-green maturing to bright red or black. These showy cherry-like fruits ripen in fall and persist through winter.

Houseplant care: Cleyera japonica is slow growing and it can be kept compact by occasionally removing the shoot tips. When pruning to control the size or shape of this plant, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.
Plants that are cultivated in pots indoors seldom grow more that 60-75cm (24-30 inch) high. They sometime produce small, white scented flowers.

Light: Grow Cleyera japonica in bright light. They will benefit from some direct sunlight every day, but it is not essential.

Temperature: These plants do well in normal room temperatures during the active growth period. During the winter rest period, however, they should ideally be kept quite cool 10-13°C (50-55°F).

Watering: Cleyera japonica have dense root structure consisting of many finely branched roots that dry out rapidly. During the active growth period water moderately, as much as necessary to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist and allow the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During the rest period let the top third of the potting mixture dry out between moderate waterings.

Feeding: Apply a liquid fertiliser regularly (about every two weeks) during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants in pots one size larger as soon as new growth begins each year. After they have reached maximum convenient pot size, an annual topdressing with fresh mixture at this time will suffice.

Gardening: Cleyera japonica grows at a moderate rate with graceful, spreading, arching branches. These moderately drought-tolerant plants are also low-maintenance and maintain their attractive foliage during the cold months, adding winter interest to the landscape.
Pruning may be needed to remove dead branches, encourage bushier growth, promote more flowers or maintain a specific size or shape. Best time for pruning is in spring. Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When prune for neatness, cut back any growth that is especially vigorous and out of place. Instead of cutting the tips of the stems out (which will result in two new stems growing at the outside of the tree), cut the stem back to the center of the plants. This technique will keep the inside or center of the plant full and eliminate excessive growth on the outside controlling the wideness of Cleyera japonica.
When Cleyera japonica is planted in group to form hedges, a regular shear may needed to keep them shaped. They can tolerate relatively hard pruning as hedge.

Position: Cleyera japonica excels in partial shade in a location that will allow its roots to spread and branches to grow freely. It will tolerate full sun, but especially the variegated form will appreciate some protection from afternoon sun.
Space this plants far enough from building foundations, walls and decks so that the growing foliage wold not crowd the structure.

Soil: Cleyera japonica thrives in sandy, fertile, acid soil, although it will tolerate slightly alkaline soils and some clay.
Prepare the planting area by digging a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. After removing the soil, mix it with some compost or peat moss. This enriches the soil and loosens the existing dirt so that new roots can spread easily. Remove the plant from the container by gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot. The container can also be removed by carefully cutting it down the side. Set the plant in the middle of the hole. Start filling the hole with soil and firmly pack it around the root ball. Fill the hole until the soil line is just at the base of the plant, where the roots begin to flare out from the main stem.
Add a layer of mulch, such as shredded bark, about 5cm (2inch) tick around the planting area to preserve the humidity into soil and keep away weeds from the plant. Keep the mulch at least 10cm (4 inch) away from the trunk of the plant as this can keep the bark too moist and cause it to decay.

Irrigation: New planted Cleyera japonica need regular watering through the first growing season. During hot spells thoroughly soak the ground around the plant every few days. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance. Water regularly when the top 5 to 10cm (2-4 inch) of soil is dry to touch. Monitor the new plants through the first two years to make sure they are getting the moisture they need. After that they should be sturdy enough to survive on their own.

Fertiliser: Established trees should be fertilized every 2-3 years. Feed in early spring when plants start growing. Use a slow release fertiliser designed for trees ans shrubs. Follow the fertiliser package directions for application rates and scheduling. Over-fertilising can hurt these plants.

Propagation: Take tip cuttings 7-10cm (3-4 inch) long in late winter or early spring. Strip away the lower leaves, dip the cut ends in hormone rooting powder and plant them in a moistened mixture of equal parts peat moss and sand or a substance such as perlite.
Keep the cuttings in a warm place in bright filtered light (a translucent blind or curtain is a useful filter) and water them moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist. After the roots have formed, probably in six to eight weeks, move the young plants into small pots of soil-based potting mixture and from then on treat them as mature Cleyera japonica.

Problem:
In hot rooms mist spray Cleyera japonica with water daily to discourage red sprier mites which thrives in very warm, dry conditions. It will also help to stand the plants on trays of damp pebbles.
Treatment: If the mites should become really troublesome (as indicated by leaves becoming yellowish with white webbing on the underside), spray the plants with an appropriate insecticide.

Recommended varieties:
Cleyera japonica ‘Tricolor’ is an attractive variegated leaved variety. The leaves are marbled in pale and dark green and edged with yellow. This variety rarely produce flowers.

Note: Cleyera japonica is often confused with Eurya Japonica, which is actually a closely related and very similar plant.

Uses and display: Cleyera japonica is commonly planted in gardens, parks and shrines. It is often associated with Japanese gardens. This is an exceptionally plant that looks great either pruned or left to its own devices. It is ideal for screening, large hedges or foundations and is pretty enough to plant as a specimen. It also works well as an outdoor or indoor container plant. It suits tropical, oriental, formal and cottage designs.
It is best used as a single specimen to provide some weight to the landscape or as a hedge. Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a formal or informal hedge, edging or formal foundation planting. They make beautiful evergreen hedge or screen. Red-tinted foliage adds a touch of color to mixed shrub borders.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height indoor: 60-75cm (24-30 inch)
Height outdoor: 10m (33 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 7a-10b

Cleyera japonica flowersCleyera japonicaCleyera japonica Tricolor



Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , ,

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Common name: Bleeding Heart Vine, Bleeding Glory-Bower, Glory-Bower, Bagflower, Beauty Bush

Family: Lamiaceae

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Distribution and habitat: Clerodendrum thomsoniae is an evergreen liana growing to 4m (13 feet) tall, native to tropical west Africa from Cameroon west to Senegal. In some regions it has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised.

Description: Clerodendrum thomsoniae is a vigorous twining shrub with striking flowers. The leaves are rather coarse, heart-shaped, up to 13cm (5 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide and coloured deep green with slightly paler vein markings. Flowers, which are produced on wiry flower stalks st stems ends during the spring and summer and early autumn, grow in clusters of 10 to 30. Each flower consists of 2cm (0.8 inch) long, white (or else greenish white), bell-shaped calyx with a scarlet, star-shaped bloom peeping through a split in its tip. The contrast of scarlet and white is highly effective.

Houseplant care: Clerodendrum thomsoniae can grow inconveniently high – 3m (10 feet) or more – but may be kept below 1.5m (5 feet) by having its stem tops pinched out regularly during the growing season; the stems themselves can also be trained around three or four thin stakes in the potting mixture. This species can make an attractive trailing plant when kept under control in a large hanging basket. Although not difficult to grow, it will not flower unless given adequate humid warmth during the active growth period.
At the end of the rest period, as new growth becomes apparent, cut back at least half the previsions year’s growth in order to keep these plants within bounds. Because flower buds are produced on current season’s growth, pruning at this time will encourage the production of vigorous flowering shoots.

Light: Grow Clerodendrum thomsoniae in bright filtered light. They will not flower unless there is a constant source of adequate light.
After pruning, move the plant to a warm, brightly lit location or outdoors if temperatures have warmed sufficiently.

Temperature: Clerodendrum thomsoniae plants will do well at normal room temperatures during the active growth period, but they should be given a winter rest in a cool position – ideally at about 10-13°C (50-55°F). To ensure satisfactory flowering, provide extra humidity during the active growth period by mist-spraying the plants every day and by standing the pots on trays or saucer of moist pebbles.

Watering: During the active growth period water Clerodendrum thomsoniae plentifully, as much as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow the pot to stand in water. During the rest period water only enough to keep the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants applications of liquid fertiliser every two weeks. Withhold fertiliser during the winter rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Young plants should be moved into pots one size larger when their roots have filled the pot, but mature plants will flower best if kept in pots that seems a little too small. Quite large specimens can be grown effectively in 15-20cm (6-8 inch) pots. Even when pot size is not changed, however, these Clerodendrum thomsoniae should be repotted at the end of every rest period. Carefully remove most of the old potting mixture and replace it with fresh mixture to which has been added a small amount of bone meal.

Gardening: Clerodendrum thomsoniae plants grow outdoors in warm, sheltered and frost-free areas. If these plants are damaged by light frost, burnt tips and leaves should be left on the plant until spring and then cut away to make way for vigorous new growth.
Clerodendrum thomsoniae plant can be kept pruned into a shrub or given support and allowed to scramble like a vine. This vine-like shrub does not spread much, thus is a good choice for a restricted support like a doorway arch or container trellis and not such a good candidate to cover a fence or arbor.

Position: Clerodendrum thomsoniae will tolerate full sun with adequate moisture but they will prefer partial shade. Best flowering results occur with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Keep these plants protected from strong winds, hot sun and frost.

Soil: Clerodendrum thomsoniae grown in garden like a well-drained soil, rich in organic material. If planted in a garden bed, make sure the soil is well-drained. Dig hole twice the width of the container. Remover plant from container and place into the hole so the soil level is the same as the surrounding ground. Fill hole firmly and water in well even if the soil is moist.

Irrigation: Clerodendrum thomsoniae likes high humidity and a moist, but not soggy, soil. Give it a generous watering regime during growth period. Regular watering will encourages new growth. As the plant grows its thirst grows with it. A Clerodendrum thomsoniae vine that occupies 9m (3 feet) trellis can drink 10l (3 gallons) of water weekly.

Fertiliser: Clerodendrum thomsoniae is a heavy feeder. To produce profuse flowers through the growing season, apply either a slow release-type fertiliser with micronutrients every two months or a liquid water soluble fertiliser with micronutrients monthly.  Bloom should continue throughout the season if adequate amounts of calcium are available to the plant. If the fertilizer chosen not have calcium, a separate calcium supplement may be applied. Crushed eggshells stirred into the soil are an excellent organic calcium supplement for plants.

Propagation: Propagate in spring from cuttings 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long. Dip each cutting in a hormone rooting powder and plant it in an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite. Enclose the pot in a plastic bag or heated propagating case and keep it at a temperature of at least 21°C (70°F) in a position where it gets medium light. Rooting will take four to six weeks; when new growth indicates that rooting has occurred, uncover the pot and begin watering the young plant sparingly – just enough to make the potting mixture barely moist – and start application of a liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
About four months after the beginning of propagation process, move the plant into a soil based potting mixture. Thereafter, treat it as a mature Clerodendrum thomsoniae plant.

Problems:
Watch for mealybugs and spider mites.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides. Alternatively, remove mealybugs  with an alcohol­ saturated cotton swab or wash plants with soapy water.

Glasshouse whitefly can be a problem, especially indoors.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations.

Clerodendrum thomsoniae blooms heavily in spring and summer. If it does not bloom much, move it to where it will get indirect light from a south- or west-facing window.

Recommended varieties:
Clerodendrum thomsoniae ‘Delectum’ has rose-magenta flowers in very large clusters.

Clerodendrum thomsoniae ‘Variegatum’ has flowers like those of the main species, but its leaves are pale green at the margins and have light and dark green marbling in the central portion.

Uses and display: Clerodendrum thomsoniae makes an excellent hanging container plant or can be trained on a trellis. It is a non-invasive climber for a fence, pergola or trellis indoor plant for brightly lit conservatory or sunroom bold, eye-catching flowers provide colour for much of the year. This evergreen climbing plant will clothe and decorate the wall, trellis or other support that it grows against. In a sunroom or conservatory it makes a splendid backdrop. For a formal look, grow this plant in a large white wooden conservatory box.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing or bushy
Height: 4m (13 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Clerodendrum thomsoniae Clerodendrum thomsoniae VariegatumClerodendrum thomsoniae DelectumClerodendrum thomsoniae Delectum Clerodendrum thomsoniae



Climber, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , ,

Cleistocactus strausii

Common name: Silver Torch, Wooly Torch, Silver Torch Cactus

Family: Cactaceae

Synonymous: Pilocereus straussii (Basyonym)
Borzicactus strausii
Cephalocereus strausii
Cereus strausii
Denmoza strausii

Cleistocactus strausii

Cleistocactus strausii

Distribution and habitat: Cleistocactus strausii is a perennial cactus native to high mountain regions of Bolivia and Argentina, above 3,000 m (9,843 feet). It is a slender, erect, grey-green columns which can reach a height of 3m (10 feet), but are only about 6cm (2.5inch) across. This cactus prefers free draining soils, strong sunlight, but not high temperatures — in fact it can withstand hard frosts down to -10°C. In its natural habitat it receives plenty of water during the summer, but almost none over the winter period.
There are about 28 species of these tall, slender desert cacti, but only Cleistocactus strausii is widely cultivated indoors.

Description: Cleistocactus strausii has a green stem that looks silvery grey because of the short, whitish spines that completely cover it. The columnar stem has about 25 low narrow ribs and each of the small, white areoles spaced at 2cm (0.8 inch) intervals along the ribs carries at least 30 thin, 2cm (0.8 inch) log white spines, together with 4 somewhat stouter, pale yellow ones that are up to 5cm (2 inch) long. The main stem often branches at the base, with upright-growing stems attached to the parent stem just above the surface of the potting mixture.
In a 20cm (8 inch) pot the plant can reach a height of 1.5m (5 feet) and will probably consist of several stems.
Cleistocactus strausii do not flower until they are 10 to 15 years old. When Cleistocactus strausii has become 1m (3 feet) or more tall, it will produce narrow, tubular flowers from areoles at the top of the main stem. The flowers are 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long and carmine-red and they appear in summer. They never fully opened, each last only for four or five days.

Houseplant care:  Cleistocactus strausii is an easy to grow plant if over-watering is avoided.
Cacti grown indoors tend to gather dust. These spiny cacti can be effectively washed down with a soft shaving brush. When cleaning them, it is a good idea to protect the roots by laying a piece of plastic sheeting over the potting mixture to prevent undue wetting at the base of the plant.
Use newspaper as a wrapping to protect the hands from the spines when handling the cactus.

Light: Like all desert cacti, Cleistocactus strausii needs as much full sunlight as it can get. Unless Cleistocactus strausii has full sunlight for several hours a day, it will not bloom. If possible, stand these plants in a sunny position outdoors during the summer months.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperatures are suitable. During the winter provide a rest period at 10-15°C (50-59°F). If the winter temperature is too high, plants will try to grow; and with insufficient light of short winter days, growth is bound to be unnatural thin.

Watering: During the active growth period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist and allow the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. In the winter rest period give only enough to keep it from drying out.

Feeding: At the start of the growth period, apply a dressing of long term slow fertiliser and stir it into the surface soil in the pot. As an alternative, fertiliser may be incorporated with the potting mixture when repotting.

Potting and repotting: A porous potting mixture is essential. Add one part coarse sand and to two parts or either soil based or part-based mixture. Cleistocactus strausii grows vigorously when young and needs to be moved into a pot one size larger every spring until a 20cm (8 inch) pot has been reached. Thereafter, top-dress plants with fresh potting mixture each spring.

Gardening: Cleistocactus strausii is a high altitude cactus which can withstand hard frosts down to -10°C (14°F), but does not tolerate well high temperatures.
Cultivated plants often flower freely.

Position: Choose a location where Cleistocactus strausii gets full sun. In hot climates, this plant will benefit from light shade during the afternoon.

Soil: Cleistocactus strausii grows well in the ground where climates are mild and conditions dry during the winter months. It thrives in well-draining soil. Amend the garden soil with at least 50% sand. If the soil is clay-based, add even more sand to improve drainage. Alternatively, use 25% sand, 15% pea gravel and 10% peat moss or compost. Without good drainage, this cactus will rot.
Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the roots. Set the cactus in the center of the hole and back fill until the roots are covered. Make sure the crown of the cactus does not sit below the surrounding soil surface.

Irrigation: Water the cactus during the spring and summer when the top 2.5cm (1 inch) of soil dries out. Water the plant deeply to a depth of at least 15cm (6 inch), then let the soil dry before watering again. Never water if the top of the soil feels damp. Waterlogged soil leads to rot fairly quickly.
During the fall, reduce watering to every five weeks if the ground dries out. In winter, keep the cactus dry. The moist ground combined with the cool temperatures and dormancy may cause the roots to rot.
Keep an eye on the cactus and it will indicate when it needs water. A healthy cactus is plump, but a thirsty cactus looks shriveled and wilted.

Fertilising: Fertilise Cleistocactus strausii plant with a low-nitrogen fertilizer during the active growth period. A slow-release fertiliser applied in the spring will be sufficient for the whole year. Follow the manufacturer instructions for rates and application methods.

Propagation: It is possible to propagate by cutting a small branch from a Cleistocactus strausii and rooting it, but this inevitably leaves a disfiguring scar near the base of the main stem. If an offset is removed to be used in propagation, remember to let it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal (cuttings planted to soon easily rot before they can grow roots). Rooting usually occurs within 3-8 weeks.
It is therefore best to raise these plants from seed. Be sure to get the seeds from a reputable source. Even under good conditions germination of Cleistocactus strausii seeds may be erratic. They can be sown in either pots or seed pans, depending upon the quantity. Use pots at least 5cm (2 inch) in diameter because seeds need moisture and very small pots tend to dry out too quickly.
Put about a centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of some such drainage material as gravel or perlite on the floor of the container. Then fill it to within a centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the top with standard seed mixture and top up with a layer of fine gritty sand. Next soak the potting mixture in water and let it drain. When the excess water has drained away, scatter the seeds thinly over the surface of the potting mixture; do not bury them. Finally, lay a sheet of glass or plastic over the top of the container to conserve the moisture and place the whole in warm position – 25-26°C (77-79°F) is ideal. Light is not needed until seeds start to germinate. But because they will not all germinate at the same time, it is best to place the container in medium light from the beginning. Never leave seedlings in full light. The seeds will germinate within 5 to 180 days. When the first seedling, which usually look like minute green balls, appear, raise the cover and keep it in slightly raised position to give the seedlings some much-needed air.
These seedlings benefit from being given a full year’s uninterrupted growth before being potted up and treated as mature plants. The best time for sowing the seeds, therefore, is spring. Seedlings will be ready for potting up the following spring, after a year in seed container. During the first year, keep them at normally room temperature and water them often enough to keep the potting mixture slightly moist.
When potting up young cacti plants, take care not to damage the roots, because root damage can kill the young plant. Before trying to move a plant, gently loosen the mixture around its roots. Then lift it gently, if necessary with a pair of blunt tongs. A 5cm (2 inch) pot is big enough for a little cactus. If preferred, put several young plants about 2cm (0.8 inch) apart in a container, where they can remain until they almost, but not quite, touch each other.

Problems:
Watch for infestations mealy bugs and spider mite.
Treatment: Spray the cactus with insecticidal soap spray if the plant is bothered by spider mites or mealy bugs. Reapply every four-to-seven days, as needed.

Cacti are particularly susceptible to rot caused by fungi or bacteria. Watch out for soft brown or blackish marks on the stems, especially in places where there has been some local damages.
Treatment: Cut away such indication of rot as soon as they appear. Otherwise, the rot is bound to spread. Be sure to cut right back to healthy green tissue and dust with sulphur. Rotting at the base of the cactus is usually caused by compacted, over-wet potting mixture. If a sufficiently porous mixture is used, this should not occur. If it does occur, however, remove all infected tissue from roots as well as stems and treat what remains of the plant as a cutting.

Recomended varieties:
Cleistocactus strausii forma cristata is forming large silvery mounds. This form is propagated usually by grafting or sometime by cuttings, but the cuttings will generally not root.

Uses and display: Cleistocactus strausii makes an attractive landscape plant and or container patio plant where some height is needed, being an attractive accent plant. This columnar tall cactus is suitable for large landscape. When this multiple columnar cactus reaches 1m (3 feet) tall it will produce many red/burgundy tubular flowers that also attracts humming birds. The silver colored spines offer an interesting color change in the landscape. Being a drought-tolerant plant, it is suitable for xeriscaping such as succulents garden or rock garden.
Its silvery spined stems branch from the base and then grow straight upwards towards the greenhouse roof, making a pleasant backdrop for the more numerous globular cacti.
Indoors make a spectacular ascent plant as mature Cleistocactus strausii and will flower if it is provided with enough light. When young, it fits very well between other low growing cacti.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 3m (10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 4°C max 10°C (39-50°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Cleistocactus strausii Cleistocactus strausii Cleistocactus strausii Cleistocactus strausii cristata Cleistocactus strausii forma cristataCleistocactus strausii Cleistocactus strausii Cleistocactus strausii



Cactus, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , ,

Echinopsis chamaecereus

Common name: Peanut Cactus

Family: Cactaceae

Synonymous: Cereus silvestrii
Chamaecereus silvestrii
Lobivia silvestrii

Echinopsis chamaecereus

Echinopsis chamaecereus

Distribution and habitat: Echinopsis chamaecereus is a species of mat forming  cactus with many crowded finger-like stems from mountains areas in Argentina, occurring at elevations to over 1200m (4000 feet). Established plants can reach a height of 15cm (6 inch) and width of 30cm (12 inch), with stems.
It is one of the most popular ornamental cacti and is grown for its unique finger-like shoots and bright scarlet flowers.
In cultivation Echinopsis chamaecereus plants apparently originated from one self-incompatible clone. With a low genetic diversity these cultivated cacti resist the development of new cultivars by conventional breeding techniques.

Description: Echinopsis chamaecereus young shoots somewhat resemble peanuts. With increasing age, however, the shoots of this cactus lengthen into cylindrical finger-like stems which are pale green, very soft and segmented lengthwise by 8 to 10 narrow, low ribs with broad, shallow indentations in between. The main stems are about 15cm (6 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) in diameter and they tend to lie on the surface of the potting mixture with many much smaller branches distributed among them. This cactus branches and spreads so rapidly that it will cover the surface of a 15cm (6 inch) half-pot in two years. Each of the small areoles that are closely spaced along the ribs carries 10 to 15 short, whitish spines. Deep scarlet, cup-shaped flowers about 2.5cm (1 inch) wide are produced from the areoles in early summer. Individual flowers last about a day, but the flowering period extends for two to three weeks and Echinopsis chamaecereus will produce numerous blooms during early spring to early summer period under favourable conditions.

Houseplant care: Echinopsis chamaecereus is an easy to grow cactus as it requires no special care. It flowers freely indoors if conditions are suitable.

Light: Echinopsis chamaecereus needs direct sunlight; it form thin, over-elongated shoots if grown in poor light. For a neat, attractive specimen that will flower well, keep the plant close to the sunniest window possible.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperatures are suitable. At other times this cactus will withstand temperatures down to freezing (although such an extreme is not advisable); ideally it should be given a winter rest in the coolest available position – no higher that about 7°C (45°F).

Watering: During the active rest period water Echinopsis chamaecereus moderately, enough to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but let the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry between waterings. During the rest period give limited amounts of water depending on the temperature. If a Echinopsis chamaecereus is kept very cool – bellow 5°C (41°F), it may be left completely dry for the winter; if kept in warmer room, it will need just enough water to prevent the soil from becoming completely dry. In either case, the aim is to avoid stimulating the the plant into growth during the short day months of insufficient light.

Feeding: At the begining of the growth period apply a dressing of slow release fertiliser and stir into the surface soil of the potting mixture or alternatively, this fertiliser may be incorporated with the fresh potting mixture when the plant is being repotted.

Potting and repotting: Use either soil based or peat based potting mixture with the addition of -third portion of course sand for good drainage. Because this cactus has shallow root system and spreads rapidly, it is best grown in a wider container about 8cm (3 inch) deep; deep seed trays are ideal for large clumps. Move the plants into a container one size larger in the spring whenever the stems become crowded – or, alternatively, break the plant up and re-start the propagation process from cuttings.

Gardening: Echinopsis chamaecereus survives outside without protection in winter and is hardy to temperatures as low as −7°C (19°F) if kept dry. This cactus needs a period of cool rest in winter to produce flowers abundantly.
A rock garden may be the best spot for this small cactus to plant it in the ground. Plant Echinopsis chamaecereus between a cluster of rocks. Though it may remain unseen for many months the bright flowers in the spring will get the attention.

Position: Sun exposure should be gradual so as not to burn the plants. Best placement for Echinopsis chamaecereus is an exposure to full sun  in cool climates or lightly shaded in hot climates; it is important to provide a good brightness which is necessary for the flowering period that runs from early spring to mid summer.

Soil: Echinopsis chamaecereus plants thrive in sandy or gritty very well drained soils with some added compost.

Irrigation: As regards the watering, Echinopsis chamaecereus have to be watered deeply every 15 days in summer and during the spring ; while in winter during the cold period is necessary to force this plant to rest, therefor the plant should not be watered at all. Avoid overwatering these plants, always allowing dry for a few days between waterings. However Echinopsis chamaecereus bears well the long periods of drought.

Fertilising: The fertiliser should be sporadic and based on a fertilizer low in nitrogen and rich in potassium and phosphorus.

Propagation: Echinopsis chamaecereus does not form seed; it is always propagated from cuttings – an extremely simple process. Remove a branch from the main stem – it can be easily detached – and place it in a 5-8cm (2.5-3 inch) pot of the kind of potting mixture in which the parent plant is growing; lay the cutting horizontally on the surface of the potting mixture. Or place several such cuttings in a large seed tray spacing them 8-10cm (3-4 inch) apart. If given the same condition as the parent plant, new growth will soon be produced and the young plants will probably be ready to flower by the following summer.
While the plant is being handled, small branches often break away from the main stem. These need not be wasted for they will root at almost any time. Unlike the cuttings taken from most cacti, these do not need to dry out for a few days before being potted up; the points of attachment of the branches are so narrow that there is little risk of rot at cut surface.

Problems:
Echinopsis chamaecereus is very sensitive to the attack of mealy roots and cochineal insects (also known as mealy bugs).
Treatment: Root Mealy Bug – Remove all soil and destroy it. Wash the roots thoroughly and treat (eventually immerging the whole plant) with adequate insecticide, letting the roots dry after treatment and before replanting in completely fresh, sterilized soil. Always cleanse and sterilize frames and all other items used when replanting. Regular applications (weekly for several weeks) of insecticide watered into the soil are also effective, it is also possible to immerse the plant pot up to the top of the soil in a bucket of insecticide solution.
Cochineal insects eradication can be easily achieved by spraying them with Neem Oil, following the manufacture directions. Eradication is most effective during the winter months. No scrubbing is required in order to kill the cochineal insects.

Watch for infestations scale insects and spider mite.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove scale insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.
Control spider mites with a suitable acaricide.

Cacti are particularly susceptible to rot caused by fungi or bacteria. Watch out for soft brown or blackish marks on the stems, especially in places where there has been some local damages.
Treatment: Cut away such indication of rot as soon as they appear. Otherwise, the rot is bound to spread. Be sure to cut right back to healthy green tissue and dust with sulphur. Rotting at the base of the cactus is usually caused by compacted, over-wet potting mixture. If a sufficiently porous mixture is used, this should not occur. If it does occur, however, remove all infected tissue from roots as well as stems and treat what remains of the plant as a cutting.

Recommended varieties:
Echinopsis chamaecereus f. lutea (Yellow Peanut) has stems that are pale yellow instead of green. This varieties is abnormal in that it does not possess chlorophyll (the green food producing material characteristic of plant life). Thus it cannot be grown on its roots and must be grafted on another cactus, such as a Cereus species. In all other respects – including the production of scarlet flowers, which look particularly attractive against the yellow stems – the plant is distinguishable from the normal Echinopsis chamaecereus. Though it cannot, obviously, be propagated from cuttings, amateur growers can buy young plants that are already grafted.
The tender body of this abnormal form needs shade from summer sun to prevent scorching. Grafting stock determines minimum temperature plant can stand but average is about 10°C(50°F).

Uses and display: Echinopsis chamaecereus is an easily grown cactus, suited to hanging baskets as well as pots. Because of its small size it is also good for succulent dish gardens. Also can be used for rock gardens. This cacti are drought-tolerant being suitable for xeriscaping.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – clustering
Height: 1m (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 2°C max 7°C (36-45°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Echinopsis chamaecereusEchinopsis chamaecereusEchinopsis chamaecereusEchinopsis chamaecereus luteaEchinopsis chamaecereus Echinopsis chamaecereus



Cactus, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , ,

Cattleya bicolor

Common name: Bicoloured Cattleya

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Cattleya bicolor var. caerulea
Cattleya bicolor subsp. minasgaerensis
Cattleya bicolor var. lewisii
Cattleya bicolor var. mearuresiana
Cattleya bicolor var. olocheilos
Cattleya bicolor var. splendida
Cattleya bicolor var. wrigleyana
Cattleya dupontii
Cattleya grossii
Cattleya measuresiana
Cattleya tetraploidea
Epidendrum bicolor
Epidendrum iridee

Cattleya bicolor

Cattleya bicolor

Distribution and habitat: Cattleya bicolor is native to Brazil where is occurring in different habitats. Typical, it is a species of epiphytic habit, but can also be found in earthly form growing on leaf litter and fallen pieces of wood of trees in forests, usually near rivers or swamps. In some regions can also be found growing on rocks. Also, it is found in savannah areas always between 500 to 1200m (1600-3900 feet) above sea level. When it is growing in savannah areas, does not tolerate direct sunlight, always growing in places where is protected from direct sun light and have good ventilation.
Some orchid growers are classifying Cattleya bicolor in different subspecies according to the state where they are found, but in fact it is the same species regardless of their morphological characteristics.

Description: Cattleya bicolor can grow to be a large robust plant and the larger the plant, the more flowers will be produced per spike. The slender stems are from 45 to 75cm (18 to 30 inch) high, jointed and covered with whitish membranaceous sheaths, bearing two leaves about 15cm (6 inch) long. The inflorescence is nearly erect, with 2 to 5 or more flowers. Flowers range from 8 to 10cm (3-4 inch) across. The sepals and petals are fleshy, with a distinct midnerve, greenish brown to olive-brown spotted with purple, the petals somewhat wavy, the lateral sepals bowed inward. The lip is wedge-shaped, without side lobes, curved downward with a central longitudinal depression or line, crimson-purple, occasionally with white margins. This species is unique in lacking the lateral lobes of the lip, a character usually inherited by its hybrid progeny, limiting its value in breeding. Variable in coloring, particularly with respect to the lip, this species blooms during spring and into midsummer, occasionally blooming twice, in spring and again in fall.

Houseplant care: Cattleya bicolor can be grown in a pot or basket and also mounted. It is a very demanding plant with respect to moisture and aeration of its roots, making its cultivation a little more complicated then other houseplants.

Light: Cattleya bicolor need bright light without direct sunlight.

Temperature: Warmth is essential. The minimum tolerant for Cattleya bicolor is in between 12 to 15°C (54-59°F). Protect this plants from sudden changes in temperature. For adequate humidity stand plants on shallow trays of moist pebbles throughout the growing season and mist-spray them daily whenever the temperature rises above 21°C (70°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully, but allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely between waterings. During the six-week rest period that Cattleya bicolor take after flowering, water the plants just enough to prevent shriveling of the pseudobulbs.
Mounted plants will need daily watering during the warmer months. The roots prefer a wet-dry cycle, so should be allowed to dry quickly between waterings. Plants seem intolerant of continually wet conditions around the roots – hence the need for excellent drainage. Good air circulation is important at all times as well as high humidity during the warmer months. In winter plants need a drier rest with reduced watering. Occasional applications of water or misting of the roots in the mornings of sunny days will ensure that the pseudobulbs do not shrivel excessively.

Feeding: Give a foliar feed with every third or fourth watering during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Cattleya bicolor are best grown in pine bark mixture. At the end of the rest period move the plants into pots 5cm (2 inch) larger if leading growth has reached the rim of the current pots. Repotting should be only necessary every 2 or 3years. Place the old part of each plant against the rim of the new pot so that there is room to forward growth and gently firm down the fresh potting mixture around the rhizome and roots. Water the potting mixture plentifully. Then move the repotted specimen into medium light for a week or two before exposing it to bright light. After the maximum convenient pot size has been reached, divide the plant as suggested on propagation section.
They grow well in clay pots or baskets of wood because they need good roots aeration. Also this species can be grown mounted on a piece of wood or a tree branch.

Gardening: Cattleya bicolor is one of the easiest and most popular orchids to grow. These orchids are suited to intermediate conditions – 21 to 27°C (70-80°F) during day time and 13 to 18°C (55-65°F) during night. In areas where these temperatures are met more or less, these orchids can be left in place all year. In these areas, with some protection from excessive sun, wind and rain, the orchid plants can be successfully cultivated on the patio or as a part of the landscape. Where frost or temperatures fall below the recommended ones, the plants can be brought into the home to be grown on windowsills, under lights or on an unheated patio where the coldest temperatures are avoided.
Cattleya bicolor are usually grown in clay pots or baskets of wood. Alternatively these plants can be grown epiphytic mounted on trees branches.

Position: In their natural habitat, Cattleya bicolor grow and flower best in strong dappled sunlight. The most common cause of failure to flower is insufficient sunlight. Foliage should be a medium olive green. If light is sufficient the leaves will be weak and floppy and very green. If the foliage is more on the yellow side and quite hard, the plants are receiving possibly too much light.

Tree mounted epiphyte: Choose a tree that allow adequate light. Quercus species (oaks), Citrus species, Callistemon viminalis or Callistemon citrinus (bottlebrush), species from Arecaceae family (palm trees), Brassaia actinophylla (schefflera) and the less-common Crescentia alata (calabash) are prime candidates. Species of Ficus genus often casts too much shade. Rough bark is an asset, though not essential for success.
Begin to attach Cattleya bicolor orchids to trees when root activity on the orchids starts (usually the regular potting time). Set the plant directly on the trunk or limb; do not apply a pad of sphagnum moss, osmunda or other medium. Doing so may keep the surface too wet and induce rot. The roots have the ability to cling to the host. Use cotton string that will eventually decompose and not harm the environment. It fades in a few weeks, blending in with its surroundings, and the plant will have rooted in place when the fibers deteriorate one year later. Plastic ties and monofilament are alternatives. Hot-glue guns are another choice; place a dab of glue on the rhizome or pseudobulb and hold against the tree for a few seconds. Position the orchid so the flowers can be enjoyed from a patio, walkway or inside the home. Match aesthetics with cultural needs.
Provide adequate care, especially during the first few months. Mist with a hose or run a sprinkler line up into the tree. Established plants are almost carefree, although periodic applications of water and fertilizer are beneficial. When it is necessary to prune trees on which orchids grow, take care not to injure them. Once established, orchids last for many years.

Irrigation: In nature, the roots of Cattleya bicolor are exposed to a rapid cycle of wetting and drying from daily tropical storms. Cultivated orchids in pots must duplicate this wet-dry cycle. In general mature plants will need watering no more than once per week whereas smaller and younger plants in smaller pots will need watering more frequently, depending on the daily temperature.

Fertilisation: Cattleya bicolor are moderate feeders. In their natural habitat they are accustomed to a constantly available mild nutrient solution. This can be achieved with a dressing of organic fertiliser four times per year supplemented with a weak solution of liquid fertiliser every second week during their active growing period.

Propagation: To divide a Cattleya bicolor wait until forward growth has started to institute new roots and when the roots are 5-10mm (0.2-0.4 inch) long, divide and repot in fresh potting mixture. The section taken should have no less than 4 bulb sections each with a forward growth or eye. Place pots in medium light for about four weeks, then treat as mature plants. After potting stake the plant if necessary to hold the plant firm in the pot.

Problems: Cattleya bicolor orchid should be kept fairly dry in winter or flowering is impaired.

Cattleya bicolor plants are susceptible to spider mites, so it is important to provide ample humidity with air movement.
Treatment: Spray the infested orchids with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Scale insects and mealy bugs sometimes attack these plants, lurking in particular under the dried-up leaves on pseudobulbs and at the base of old flower stalks after these have been cut back.
Treatment: Physically removing the scales and then controlling the immature stages with chemical sprays may help lightly infested plants. Use an adequate pesticide to combat the insects infestation.

Slugs and snails like them so watch out.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

Caterpillars sometimes chew the plant leaves.
Treatment: Apply a suitable pesticide to the foliage following the prescriptions on the label.

Aphids are occasionally a pest on Campanula isophylla plants.
Treatment: A heavy stream of water may be used to wash aphids off of young foliage. Also it can be used the soap sprays. Alternatively use a suitable insecticidal sprays to control these insects.

The plant failure to flower.
Treatment: Most common cause of failing to bring the plants in flower is the level of light. Artificial light work well to supplement the light quality and to increase the time to light exposure. Give to these plants no more than 16 hours a day to avoid stressing them.

Uses and display: The ornamental value of Cattleya bicolor lies especially in its fragrance. This orchid can be grown mounted on a piece of wood or on a branch tree or can be grown in clay pots or baskets of wood. Display these orchids at eye level, where its flowers can be seen up close. They suit tropical, oriental and bush garden designs.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – upright
Height: 1m (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 16°C (55-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Cattleya bicolorCattleya bicolorCattleya bicolorCattleya bicolor



Cutting Flowers, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Orchids , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Catharanthus roseus

Common name: Madagascar Periwinkle, Rose Periwinkle, Old Maid, Chula, Chatas, Vinca

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonymous: Vinca rosea (basionym)
Ammocallis rosea
Lochnera rosea

Catharanthus roseus

Catharanthus roseus

Distribution and habitat: Catharanthus roseus is an evergreen shrubs or herbaceous plant, sprawling along the ground or standing erect to 1m (3 feet) in height, native and endemic to Madagascar where its natural habitat was almost been lost. It was found growing on sand and limestone soils in woodland, forest, grassland and disturbed areas.
This herb is now common worldwide as ornamental plant. It is naturalized in most tropical and subtropical regions being escaped from cultivation, spreading in rocky outcrops and roadsides in dry savanna, urban open spaces and in cultivated areas.

Description: Catharanthus roseus is a small, upright shrub prized for its shiny green leaves and delicate looking flowers. The glossy oval leaves are 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long, have a white centre vein and are borne in opposite pairs on slender stems. One or more flowers are produced at the stem tips throughout a flowering period that generally lasts from mid-spring to early autumn. Each flower has a 1cm (0.4 inch) long tube flattened out into five lance-shaped petals at the month, which is up to 4cm (1.5 inch) wide. Flower colour is usually soft rose-pink or occasionally, mauve.
These plants may self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Houseplant care: Catharanthus roseus plants are usually acquired in early spring and discarded when the flowering season has ended. They are not normally worth overwintering because only young plants tend to look healthy and flower profusely when grown indoors.
Pinch it back early in the season to encourage branching and a fuller plant.

Light: Bright light, included three or four hours of direct sunlight daily, is essential for good flowering.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable at all times. Catharanthus roseus cannot tolerate temperatures that fall below about 10°C (50°F).

Watering: Water the potting mixture plentifully, but do not allow the pot to stand in water.

Feeding: Once flowering has begun, apply standard liquid fertiliser every tow weeks. These plants are not tolerant of excessive fertiliser.

Potting and repotting: Use soil based potting mixture when repotting these plants. Move them into pots one size larger every six to eight weeks. Probable maximum size needed is 10-13cm (4-5 inch).

Gardening: Catharanthus roseus is a tender plant and does not withstand frosts. It is best grown indoors in temperate climates. It thrives well in hot and humid environments, but it tolerates the hot temperatures in summer and it is also able to bear the extremes of drought and heavy rainfall.
In frostfree climates it develops a woody stem near the base and can get 0.6-1m (2-3 feet) tall and spread out just as wide. As annuals, they are usually smaller and more prostrate.
Pinch back early in the season to encourage branching and a fuller plant. The flowers drop off when they finish blooming, so no deadheading cleaning is needed.

Position: Catharanthus roseus should be planted in full sun or partial shade to promote flowers all year round in hot climates. They do best with some shade during at least some of the day during summer. They start to look a little frazzled by the end of the day without some shade and tend to get somewhat leggy when they get a lot of sun. A shady spot will promote lush foliage, but part sun seems to be their favorite spot, to obtain good foliage and plenty of blooms.

Soil: Catharanthus roseus plants are best grown as annual bedding plants in well-drained sandy loams. Superior soil drainage is the key to growing this annual well. Flowering will suffer if soils are too fertile.
The planting distance should be about 30cm (12 inch) between plants.

Irrigation: They need regular moisture, but avoid overhead watering. Catharanthus roseus plants should be watered moderately during the growing season, but it is relatively drought resistant once established. They will recover after a good watering.

Fertilising: Catharanthus roseus plants are not heavy feeders. If necessary, feed fortnightly or once monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Too much fertilizing will produce luxuriant foliage instead of more blooms.

Propagation: Catharanthus roseus can be propagated from tip cuttings as well as from seed, since plants grown this way will flower more profusely. Take a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip cuttings of new growth in late spring or summer. Trim each cutting immediately below a leaf, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder and plant it in 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot containing a moistened well drained potting mixture. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (generally in three to four weeks), treat the rooted cutting as a mature plant.
In late winter or early spring, sow a few seeds in a shallow tray of moistened rooting mixture, place the tray in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in warm position where it will get bright filtered light. When the seeds have germinated – in two to three weeks – uncover the tray and begin watering the seedlings moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist, but allowing the top 1cm (0.4 inch) to dry out between waterings – until they are about 1cm (0.4 inch) high. Transfer each seedling into an 8cm (3 inch) pot of potting mixture and treat it as mature Catharanthus roseus.
Outdoors, it will reseed itself if the soil is loose.

Problems:
Stem rot, leaf spot and aster yellows may occur.
Treatment: Avoid overwatering and soggy conditions. Use suitable fungicide to treat these diseases.

Watch for slugs and snails.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

Recommended varieties:
Catharanthus roseus cv. ‘Albus’ is a white-flowered form.

Catharanthus roseus cv. ‘Ocellatus’ has white flowers with a brilliant, carmine-red centre.

Toxicity: Catharanthus roseus is poisonous if ingested or smoked. It has caused poisoning in grazing animals. Even under a doctor’s supervision for cancer treatment, products from this plant produce undesirable side effects.

Uses and display: Catharanthus roseus makes excellent bedding or border plant for summertime annual or perennial garden. It is great as a ground cover, planted en masse with different colours or in mixed plantings. It is perfect for raised planters, containers or hanging baskets to display its colorful beauty at decks, patios, garden porches, windowsills and balconies. This plant is attractive to butterflies too. Certain varieties can be grown as a houseplant in a brightly lit location. Cut branches can be used as vase arrangement in homes.

Catharanthus roseus is grown commercially in the pharmaceutical industry.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 1m (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight
Temperature in active growth period – min 10oC max 24oC (50-75oF)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Catharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseus OcellatusCatharanthus roseus Alba



Annuals, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Capsicum annuum

Common name: Ornamental Peper, Christmas Pepper Plant, Hot Pepper, Chili Pepper, Bell Pepper

Family: Solanaceae

Synonymous: Capsicum abyssinicum
Capsicum angulosum
Capsicum axi
Capsicum bauhinii
Capsicum caerulescens
Capsicum cerasiforme
Capsicum ceratocarpum
Capsicum cereolum
Capsicum comarim
Capsicum conicum
Capsicum conoide
Capsicum conoides
Capsicum conoideum
Capsicum cordiforme
Capsicum crispum
Capsicum cydoniforme
Capsicum dulce
Capsicum fasciculatum
Capsicum fastigiatum
Capsicum frutescens
Capsicum globiferum
Capsicum globosum
Capsicum grossum
Capsicum indicum
Capsicum longum
Capsicum milleri
Capsicum minimum
Capsicum odoratum
Capsicum odoriferum
Capsicum oliviforme
Capsicum ovatum
Capsicum petenense
Capsicum pomiferum
Capsicum purpureum
Capsicum pyramidale
Capsicum quitense
Capsicum silvestre
Capsicum sphaerium
Capsicum tetragonum
Capsicum tomatiforme
Capsicum torulosum
Capsicum tournefortii
Capsicum ustulatum

Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum

Distribution and habitat: Capsicum annuum is a species native to southern North America and northern South America. Seeds was brought to Europe and Capsicum annuum began to be planted extensively in Portuguese colonies in Africa, India and Asia. Their popularity continues to grow across the world due to their ease of cultivation, frequently sharp taste and attractive appearance. It is now grown around the world, both commercially and domestically.
Although the species name annuum means ‘annual’ (from the Latin annus ‘year’), the plant is not an annual and in the absence of winter frosts can survive several seasons and grow into a large perennial shrub up to 1m (3 feet) tall. The species encompasses a wide variety of shapes and sizes of peppers, both mild and hot, ranging from bell peppers to chili peppers. There are numerous varieties and cultivars of Capsicum annuum which are classified on the basis of their fruit shapes.

Description: Capsicum annuum plants are prized for their bright coloured, fleshy, podlike fruit and is popular indoor species. They are bushy and low growing – 30-38cm (12-15 inch) tall and across. These plants bear fruit profusely. The stems are somewhat woody with thin, dark green branches carrying usually lance-shaped slightly hairy, green leaves 4-10cm (1.5-4 inch) long and 1-4cm (0.4-1.5 inch) wide on 1cm (0.4 inch) long stalks. White flowers are produced from leaf axils in early summer, but are insignificant. The fruit that follows the flowers usually remains decorative for 8 to 12 weeks after which it wrinkles and drop off. This species has been organized into five botanical groups of which only three – cherry, cone and cluster peppers – are familiar potted plants.
Cherry peppers have berry-like, bright yellow or purplish white fruit 2cm (0.8 inch) diameter.
Cone peppers have cone-shaped or cylindrical fruit up to 5cm (2 inch) long. Fruit colour may be green, ivory white, yellow, orange, red or purple and the colour may well change as fruit ripens.
Cluster peppers have slender pointed 8cm (3 inch) long, red fruit which grow in clusters of two or three.

Hoseplant care: Capsicum annuum are grown for the fruit and are discarded once the plant loses the fruit and the foliage becomes unattractive. The level of care needed to grow the pepper plant is moderately easy.
Pinch new growth to encourage the stems to branch out and become bushy.

Light: Capsicum annuum plants need bright light with at least three or four hours a day of direct sunlight. In inadequate light the leaves will begin to wilt and drop off prematurely.

Temperature: Capsicum annuum do well enough in normal room temperatures, but the fruit remains decorative longer in a temperature of 13-16°C (55-61°F). For increased humidity stand pots on trays of moistened pebbles.
Average room humidity is fine, but avoid too much dry air. Keep this plant away from drafts and heat vents.

Watering: Water plentifully, as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never let pots stand in water.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser once a month during spring and summer only.

Potting and repotting: Repotting is not required for these plants as they are discarded after the flowering season.

Gardening: Capsicum annuum will not survive the winter frost in temperate regions and they are grown as annual plants. They do well as container plants and can be maintained over longer periods with indoor wintering, providing sufficient sunny location.
These plants demand warm weather and do not like their roots disturbed.

Position: Plant seeds in a sunny warm location in peat pots (3 seeds to a pot, thinning to 1 plant per pot) 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting into the garden after all danger of frost is past and night temperatures are consistently at or above 13°C (55°F). Plant in full sun outdoors.

Soil: Soils must be well-drained, with optimum pH of 5.5–6.5, rich in organic nutrients. Avoid planting where Capsicum species (peppers), Solanum lycopersicum (tomatoes) or Solanum melongena (eggplants) grew previously. All three are members of the same family and are subject to similar diseases. After one or more plantings of any of these three in a particular location, carryover pathogens in the soil can infect new plants.
Plant Capsicum annuum in fertile well-drained soil 45 to 60cm (18-24 inch) apart in rows 45 to 60cm (18-24 inch) apart. Do not permit seedlings or plants to suffer from low temperature or drought.
Add a 5 to 8cm (2-3 inch) layer of mulch around the base of Capsicum annuum plants once they have become well-established, after about three weeks of growth. The mulch layer will conserve vital moisture and control weeds that may compete for nutrients. Use bark mulch, hay or leaves.

Irrigation: Water plants immediately after planting to settle the soil and encourage growth. Continue watering about once a week to keep the soil uniformly moist. Soak the soil to a depth of at least 15cm (6 inch) at each watering.

Fertilising: Feed Capsicum annuum using 3 tablespoons 33-0-0 NPK fertilizer per 3m (10 feet) of row once the first fruit reaches about 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter. Side-dress by applying the fertilizer to the ground several 8cm (3 inch) to the side of the plants. Fertilize capsicum once every two to three weeks using a high-phosphorus fertilizer after the fruit has completely set and continue until harvest time.

Harvest: Harvest Capsicum annuum fruit when they are full-sized, firm to the touch and green or coloured. Cut the stems while harvesting instead of pulling to prevent breaking the brittle branches of the plant. Store peppers in the refrigerator for two to three weeks or freeze to increase the lifespan of your yield.

Propagation: Capsicum annuum are raised from seed. Since it takes professional care to bring them to the flowering and fruiting stage for ornamental plants, however, this is not practical in the home.

Problems:
Capsicum annuum grown as indoor plant can be infested by spider mites in dry air conditions.
Treatment: Avoid dry air by misting the foliage with tepid water to rise the humidity around it and prevent this kind or infestation. Use a suitable acaracide to control mites insects.

Potential pests include aphids, white flies, cutworms, pepper maggots and Colorado potato beetles.
Treatment: Use a suitable insecticide to combat these pests, following the indicate on the label. Repeated treatment will be necessary.

Diseases include Verticillium wilt and mosaic virus.

Note: Capsicum annuum should not be confused with Piper nigrum (black pepper) which belongs to a distantly related plant family (Piperaceae).

Toxicity: The leaves and fruits of Capsicum annuum may cause indigestion and dermatitis. It is toxic only if large quantities are eaten. It can cause skin irritation. Avoid contact with eyes when handling Capsicum annuum.
The fruits are eatable when raw or coocked, but most are fiery hot.

Uses and display: Ornamental varieties of Capsicum annuum (the fruits of which are also edible) are grown primarily for the decorative value of their fruit, often displaying fruits in different development stage on one plant. The popular ‘Christmas peppers’ were originally available at Christmas time and had green and red fruits.
Capsicum annuum are also grown in gardens during summer and look attractive placed around borders or in containers.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – fruits
Shape – bushy
Height: 1m (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 13oC max 24oC (55-75oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8-11

Capsicum annuumCapsicum annuumCapsicum annuum



Annuals, Culinary crop, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Begonia bipinnatifida

Common name: Fern Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia warburgii

Begonia bipinnatifida

Begonia bipinnatifida

Distribution and habitat: Begonia bipinnatifida is a species with a fern-like leaf appearance from New Guinea. It was found in primeval forest growing high on Mount Horne in rocky places. It has a shrub-like growth habit and can get 25 to 30cm (10-12 inch) tall.
The name bipinnatifida comes from the Latin bipinnatus which means twice pinnate.

Description: Begonia bipinnatifida is shrub-like with erect and semi erect deep red stems that are branched. The deep red stems are somewhat zig-zag from thickened node to thickened node. Average mature leaves measure 13cm (5 inch) in length and 5cm (2 inch) wide. The upper surface of the leaves is deep green; in contrast, the undersurface is deep red. Leaf shape is obliquely oblong-ovate with an acute apex and an obliquely obtuse or slightly semi-cordate base. The leaf is deeply twice-divided outward on both sides of the deep red midrib into twelve to sixteen narrow taper-pointed divisions. Each division of the pinnate leaf is also pinnate: this gives the leaves a fern-like appearance.
Begonia bipinnatifida blooms infrequently and the flowers are tiny. The female flowers have five unequal pink tepals that are oblong or elliptic-obtuse. The styles and stigmas are golden yellow; threadlike erect styles are diverging and the velvety semi-crescent shaped stigmas are somewhat twisted. The deep pink ovary has three wings. Male flowers have two kidney-shaped pink tepals.

Houseplant care: Begonia bipinnatifida requires high humidity; this can usually be accomplished in a greenhouse or a terrarium. Careful watering and regular fertilizing are important. It can be a challenging species to grow but given the correct growing environment and care it grows into an outstanding species to enjoy.

Light: Begonia bipinnatifida plants are recommended to be grown in contained atmosphere (terrarium) under horticultural fluorescent lights. They require particularly bright light, therefore they need to be closed to the centre of the light where light levels are most intense. Timers may be used to provide 14 to 16 hours of light a day.
Alternatively, plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer. However, care should be taken if the plants are grown in glass containers to not overheat them by placing them on windowsill.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for actively growing Begonia bipinnatifida. Overwinter these plants at no less than 13°C (55°F). This species tolerate temperatures between 10 to 35°C (50-95°F). Rise the air humidity around the plant when not grown enclosed in a terrarium. Begonia bipinnatifida will need relative humidity around 70%.
Because it likes a very humid atmosphere, in cultivation Begonia bipinnatifida is usually grown in an enclosed grass container. Terrariums should be placed in cool places to not overheat the plants, as the temperature could building up in enclosed containers. Additionally the temperature inside the terrarium can be reduced by setting the lights to come on only at night time when conditions are usually cooler. A fan can also remove any excess of heat produced by the lights.

Watering: Water actively growing Begonia bipinnatifida plants moderately, allowing the top couple centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the winter rest period water more sparingly, allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.
Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Promptly remove the standing water.
Plants grown in contained atmosphere will need less watering then those in other situations. The only way to determine when to water is to touch the surface of the growing material to feel how moist it is. Water only when it become dry by spraying them with a fine mist. Rain or distillate water is preferable. Sealed containers will need watering only a few times a year. If a particularly dense build-up of condensation occurs on the inside of the container soon after watering, it means that too much water has been added. Use paper towers to remove the excess of water and leave the lid off for a few hours to correct the problem.

Feeding: Fertilising Begonia bipinnatifida grown in terrariums is rarely necessary. Otherwise, apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to actively growing Begonia bipinnatifida plants.
Soilless potting mixture will need more frequent fertiliser applications than most soil based potting mixtures.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal parts of soil based potting mixture and coarse leaf mould. Place a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of pots for extra drainage.
Move the plants into pots one size larger every spring until maximum convenient pot size has been reached . Thereafter, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture. Do not overpot Begonia bipinnatifida plant, otherwise excessive moisture may accumulate in the potting mixture and cause the roots rot. When potting and repotting these plants, simply sprinkle some mixture around the roots and tap the container briskly to settle the mixture. Do not firm it down with the fingers.
Also Begonia bipinnatifida plant can be grown in terrariums. The growing medium should be composed of chopped, long-fiber sphagnum moss and a small amount of perlite. Prepare the sphagnum for the mix by immersing it in boiling water to sterilize it, allow it to cool, then cut it with scissors into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Blot the wet sphagnum with a paper towels to remove any excess of water before mixing it with perlite. Place a thin layer of charcoal, about 0.5cm (0.2 inch) in the bottom of the terrarium to absorb soluble salts and other impurities before they have the chance to damage the roots. Add a layer of 2.5 to 7.5cm of the prepared growing medium mix. This medium will be enough moist, no additional water after planting is needed. Check annually the pH of the growing medium. If the pH has fallen below 5.8, ground limestone may be gradually worked into the growing medium until the pH is raised to correct level.

Propagation: Begonia bipinnatifida are fairly easy to propagate from cuttings (even leaf cuttings). As usually is grown in terrariums, propagate this plant by simply taking a cutting and putting it right in straight sphagnum, keep it moist, but not too wet, medium to high light and very humid.The cuttings will root generally in three to four weeks. Treat the rooted cutting as a mature plant, but do not move it until it has been well established, showing significant new growth.
Begonia bipinnatifida plants grown in pots are normally propagated from 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip cuttings of new growth taken in late spring or summer. Trim each cutting immediately below a leaf, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder and plant it in 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal parts potting mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (generally in three to four weeks), treat the rooted cutting as a mature plant, but do not move it into the recommended potting mixture for the mature plants until it has made at least 7cm (3 inch) of top growth.

Problems:
Begonia bipinnatifida is particularly prone to powdery mildew. All progeny hybrids are prone to this fungal disease.
Treatment: Manage this disease by restricting watering to morning so that water unwillingly splashed on leaves will quickly evaporate. Improve the air circulation around the plants. Severe cases may be treated with adequate fungicide.

Pythium rot root attacks the roots and stem bases of adult plants and cuttings. Affected plants at first will have a slightly wilted appearance, followed by yellowing their lower leaves. As the disease progress, the roots and stems turn black and musky, leading to the death of the plant.
Treatment: The use of sterilized potting mixture and use of appropriate fungicide will control this disease.

Bacterial leaf spot will produce water-soaked areas on the leaves that are surrounded by yellow rings. It may cause leaf drop and, in some cases, associated stem rot may occur.
Treatment: Once the disease is present, remove and destroy any affected leaves or stems and spray the plants with a bacterial leaf spot treatment.

Botrytis blight will produce gray moldy patches on leaves, stems and duds.
Treatment: This disease can be managed by improving the air circulation and plant hygiene by removing and destroying dead and dying leaves ans flowers. Use a suitable fungicide.

Rhizoctonia crown rot will be detected by the presents of brownish mould spreading from the soil to the infected stem base, a condition that will eventually lead to the collapse and death of the stem. This fungal disease appear only on plants that have been damaged or stressed by high temperatures or poor growing conditions.
Treatment: Maintenance of hygienic conditions and good cultural practice should prevent fungal growth. Fungicide sprays are also available.

A variety of viral diseases can attack plants causing symptoms like yellowing the leaves, pale yellow rings or spots, leaf malformation and stunted growth.
Treatment: Always use sterile potting mixture and treat insect infestations to prevent viral disease. Destroy all affected plants.

Mealy bug will appear on Begonia bipinnatifida plants in abundance before they show up on nearby plants. All its hybrids are prone also to these bugs.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

A number of tiny mite species can be problematic for Begonia bipinnatifida. Infested leaves are yellow speckled and, if the infection is severe, may be covered with wool like substance on their undersurface.
Treatment: Control these mites with a suitable acaricide.

Leaf nematodes and root nematodes are parasite to these plants.
Treatment: The best form to control is to destroy affected plants. In open garden avoid replanting Begonia bipinnatifida in contaminated soil. In case of potted plants, infestation may be prevented ans controlled by routinely using sterilized potting mixtures and washing the plant pots.

Scale insects may feed on Begonia bipinnatifida plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

Both the adults ans larvae of two kinds of weevils feed on these plants.
Treatment: Insecticides are capable of controlling these insects, but if they are inside the cavities of the plants, they will not be killed. To fully exterminate them, systemic insecticide are needed.

Whiteflies infest the under-surface of the uppermost leaves and if disturbed fly rapidly around the top of the host plants.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. Coverage of leaf undersides is important.

Note: For botanical classification Begonia bipinnatifida is placed in the section Petermannia with Begonia species with like characteristics.
Botanic name: Begonia bipinnatifida J.J.Sm.

Availability: This plant native of Papua New Guinea has been known for almost a century but is not common in collections. Begonia bipinnatifida is a rare type of Begonia which is ideally suited for a terrarium.
This plants are available for sale in small pots and may be shipped bare root, in sphagnum or still potted.

Uses and display: Begonia bipinnatifida can be grown in a hanging basket, windowsill pot or even planted in ground in a bright shade and humid area within its hardiness zone. But the most suitable way to grow this amazing plant is to plant it in a terrarium or to place it in a greenhouse where the high requirement for humidity can be achieved.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – bushy
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13oC max 18oC (55-64oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18oC max 27oC (64-81oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bipinnatifida Begonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifida



Begonias, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants, Terrarium Plants , ,

Begonia bogneri

Common name: Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Begonia bogneri

Begonia bogneri

Distribution and habitat: Begonia bogneri is a curios species from Begoniaceae family, with short, thin stems, grass like leaves and diminutive flowers. It is a rare species which was discovered in a remote mountainous part of Madagascar in an area called Hiataka which has an average annual rainfall of about 3500mm (140 inch) and a yearly average of 230 rainy days. It grows in deep shade on moss-covered granite cliffs covering the naked rocks among mosses, ferns and sometimes Pothos scandens (Climbing Aroid) at an elevation of 50m (165 feet).

Description: Begonia bogneri is an erect short stemmed tuberous perennial plant. The stem is pink to yellowish up to 4cm (1.5 inch) tall and form a weekly tuberous base, tuft-forming. The leaves have leafstalks which is not readily discernible and are crowded on the short stem. They are alternate stipulate with stringy appearance about 2mm (0.08 inch) thick and 15cm (6 inch) long, like green grass and margins with small irregularly spaced spicules. Like other species within this genus, the Begonia bogneri has male and female flowers. The inflorescence is 15cm (6 inch) tall with one or two male flowers and one female flower. The flowers are pink and the male flowers have 4 petals, while the female flowers have 6 petals. The flowers are usually produced in early and mid summer.
In cultivation the plant develops into a clump consisting of a number of stems all arising from the one tuber-like body.
This species is easily recognized by its unusual grass-like leaves. In nature the plants are probably deciduous, while in cultivation, the leaves are evergreen under right light conditions.

Houseplant care: Begonia bogneri has a slow growth rate. It is not an easy species as house plant or terrarium plant. In a terrarium this plant enjoys high humidity and temperatures. As a house plant it must be watered properly, though the soil must be kept wet but not overwatered. Prune out the dead stalks or fallen blooms.

Light: If grown in a greenhouse under natural light Begonia bogneri tends to become dormant in winter and will drop its leaves, but applying artificial lightining can prevent this resting period.
This plants may be grown in contained atmosphere (terrarium) under horticultural fluorescent lights. They require particularly bright light, therefore they need to be closed to the centre of the light where light levels are most intense. Timers may be used to provide 14 to 16 hours of light a day. This can be reduced temporarily to 12 hours a day for two months in early winter to encourage flower production.
Alternatively, plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer. However, care should be taken if the plants are grown in glass containers to not overheat them by placing them on windowsill.

Temperature: In cultivation Begonia bogneri is usually grown in an enclosed grass container because it likes a very humid atmosphere. It also prefers a relatively cool position and performs best within a temperature range of 18-21°C (65-70°F). Terrariums should be placed in cool places. Additionally the temperature inside the terrarium can be reduced by setting the lights to come on only at night time when conditions are usually cooler. A fan can also remove any excess of heat produced by the lights.
Rise the air humidity around the plant when not grown enclosed in a terrarium.  Begonia bogneri will need relative humidity around 60 percent.

Water: Use tepid water for these plants. Begonia bogneri tubers should be allowed to dry out between waterings.
Plants grown in contained atmosphere will need less watering then those in other situations. The only way to determine when to water is to touch the surface of the growing material to feel how moist it is. Water only when it become dry. Rain or distillate water is preferable. Sealed containers will need watering only a few times a year, making it great for people which are traveling. If a particularly dense build-up of condensation occurs on the inside of the container soon after watering, it means that too much water has been added. Use paper towers to remove the excess of water and leave the lid off for a few hours to correct the problem.
If it is grown mounted in sphagnum moss mounted on a piece of cork, never allow the sphagnum moss substrate to become saturate for this will cause the small tuber to rot. To solve this problem, suspend the mounted plant over a large storage tank of water inside a greenhouse. This arrangement provides the plant with necessary humidity without saturating the growing medium.

Feeding: Fertilising Begonia bogneri grown in terrariums is rarely necessary. Otherwise, apply standard liquid fertiliser once a month to actively growing Begonia bogneri plants.

Potting and repotting: Begonia bogneri should be repotted once at intervals of 2 years. Do not overpot this plant, otherwise excessive moisture may accumulate in the potting mixture and cause the roots rot. Use an open potting mixture containing lots of chopped sphagnum moss and perlite.
This species is also occasionally grown in sphagnum moss mounted on a piece of cork.
Also this plant can be grown in terrariums. The growing medium should be composed of chopped, long-fiber sphagnum moss and a small amount of perlite. Prepare the sphagnum for the mix by immersing it in boiling water to sterilize it, allow it to cool, then cut it with scissors into roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Blot the wet sphagnum with a paper towels to remove any excess of water before mixing it with perlite. Place a thin layer of charcoal, about 0.5cm (0.2 inch) in the bottom of the terrarium to absorb soluble salts and other impurities before they have the chance to damage the roots. Add a layer of 2.5 to 7.5cm of the prepared growing medium mix. This medium will be enough moist, no additional water after planting is needed. Check annually the pH of the growing medium. If the pH has fallen below 5.8, ground limestone may be gradually worked into the growing medium until the pH is raised to correct level.

Propagation: Propagation of Begonia bogneri is topically achieved by dividing the plant or taking cuttings of whole leaves or section of leaves. Place the cuttings in an open rooting mix, such as four parts sphagnum to one part of perlite. If the tiny leaves, either whole or in part are planted in moss, they eventually produce new plants.

Problems:
Pythium rot root attacks the roots and stem bases of adult plants and cuttings. Affected plants at first will have a slightly wilted appearance, followed by yellowing their lower leaves. As the disease progress, the roots and stems turn black and musky, leading to the death of the plant.
Treatment: The use of sterilized potting mixture and use of appropriate fungicide will control this disease.

Botrytis blight will produce gray moldy patches on leaves, stems and duds.
Treatment: This disease can be managed by improving the air circulation and plant hygiene by removing and destroying dead and dying leaves ans flowers. Use a suitable fungicide.

Powdery mildews produce unsightly white powdery patches on leaves, stems and buds.
Treatment: Manage this disease by restricting watering to morning so that water unwillingly splashed on leaves will quickly evaporate. Improve the air circulation around the plants. Severe cases may be treated with adequate fungicide.

Bacterial leaf spot will produce water-soaked areas on the leaves that are surrounded by yellow rings. It may cause leaf drop and, in some cases, associated stem rot may occur.
Treatment: Once the disease is present, remove and destroy any affected leaves or stems and spray the plants with a bacterial leaf spot treatment.

Rhizoctonia crown rot will be detected by the presents of brownish mould spreading from the soil to the infected stem base, a condition that will eventually lead to the collapse and death of the stem. This fungal disease appear only on plants that have been damaged or stressed by high temperatures or poor growing conditions.
Treatment: Maintenance of hygienic conditions and good cultural practice should prevent fungal growth. Fungicide sprays are also available.

A variety of viral diseases can attack plants causing symptoms like yellowing the leaves, pale yellow rings or spots, leaf malformation and stunted growth.
Treatment: Always use sterile potting mixture and treat insect infestations to prevent viral disease. Destroy all affected plants.

Mealy bug can be a common pest of these plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

A number of tiny mite species can be problematic for these plants. Infested leaves are yellow speckled and, if the infection is severe, may be covered with wool like substance on their undersurface.
Treatment: Control these mites with a suitable acaricide.

There are two kinds of microscopic, worm-like creatures parasite to these plants: leaf nematodes and root nematodes.
Treatment: The best form to control is to destroy affected plants. In open garden avoid replanting begonias in contaminated soil. In case of potted plants, infestation may be prevented ans controlled by routinely using sterilized potting mixtures and washing the plant pots.

Scale insects may feed on plants.
Treatment: If infestation is localized, remove insects by wiping affected areas with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or dipping the plant in a solution of soapy water and alcohol.

Both the adults ans larvae of two kinds of weevils feed on plants.
Treatment: Insecticides are capable of controlling these insects, but if they are inside the cavities of the plants, they will not be killed. To fully exterminate them, systemic insecticide are needed.

Whiteflies infest the under-surface of the uppermost leaves and if disturbed fly rapidly around the top of the host plants.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. Coverage of leaf undersides is important.

Availability: Begonia bogneri it is relatively new discovered plant – in 23 January 1969 by Josef Bogner. It is a species known to had very limited distribution in wild and as a result it is a plant with limited population. Unfortunately, this species is one of the few Madagascan begonias have ever introduced into gardens and they remain rare.

Uses and display: Begonia bogneri is a very rare terrarium begonia. Lovable pink flowers which have a long inflorescence make the Begonia bogneri even more appealing for your terrarium or windowsill. Alternatively it can be grown mounted in sphagnum moss mounted on a piece of cork.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: under 6 inch

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 18oC max 21oC (65-70oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bogneriBegonia bogneriBegonia bogneri



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