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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 , , , , , , ,

Bougainvillea glabra

Common name: Paper Flower, Paperflower, Lesser Bougainvillea, Bougainvillea

Family: Nyctaginaceae

Bougainvillea glabra

Bougainvillea glabra

Distribution and habitat: Bougainvillea glabra is an evergreen, climbing shrub with thorny stems. It usually grows 3-4m (10–12feet) tall, occasionally up to 9m (30 feet). Tiny white flowers usually appear in clusters surrounded by colorful papery bracts, hence the name paperflower.
Bougainvillea glabra is native to Brazil growing in well drained sandy desert soils, slopes, mesas and disturbed rocky soil in a broad elevation range, anywhere from sea level to 750m (0-2500 feet). Its natural habitat is equatorial where day and night lengths are almost equal. Bougainvillea glabra in these areas tend to bloom year round. Elsewhere, best blooming occurs when the night length and day length are almost equal (in spring or fall).

Description: Bougainvillea glabra is a vigorous climbing species, which flowers at an earlier age than most kinds. It is a subtropical woody plant armed with spines. Though normally climbers – as seen outdoors in warm climates – they can be trained and pruned to keep them bushy indoors and there are some recently introduced dwarf-growing kinds that remain bushy without special attention. Their oval leaves are sparse and uninteresting, but they have decorative papery bracts surrounding small cream-white coloured flowers. The bracts appear in clusters of 10 to 20. Purple or magenta bracts are produced in late summer and fall and the varieties include other colours.
They tend to flower all year round in equatorial regions. Elsewhere, they are seasonal, with bloom cycles typically four to six weeks. But the real flowers are tucked away inside the papery bracts from summer to autumn.

Houseplant care: Bougainvillea glabra are not easy to grow indoors. Because they require better condition than are normally available, they are grown most successfully as windows plant. In naturally warmer areas they will do well in sunrooms or conservatories.
These plants have spines; use extreme caution when handling them.

Light: In order to flower, Bougainvillea glabra need at least four hours of direct sunlight every day during the active growth period. And they must have bright light at other times or they will not thrive in an indoor situation.

Temperature: Normal room temperature are suitable during the active growth period. In the winter rest period they should be kept cool but not bellow 10°C (50°F).

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, giving enough to moisten the potting mixture thoroughly; allow the top two-thirds to dry out between waterings. Amounts should be drastically reduced as the rest period approaches and the potting mixture should just be kept from drying out.

Feeding: Begin applications of a complete liquid fertiliser as soon as growth starts in early spring and continue the applications once every two weeks throughput the flowering period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with a little extra peat moss well mixed in. Move young plants into pots one size larger in early spring. Disturb the roots as little as possible because the plant might go into shock and take weeks to recover. Bougainvillea glabra blooms best when pot-bound. Do not repot these plants in pots unnecessary large.
Annualy top dress these plants with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Bougainvillea glabra is heat and drought tolerant and frost sensitive. They can usually tolerate die back from a freeze, but will withhold blooms for a while.
If unsupported, these plants will remain compact or behave as ground covers, while if given support they will climb vigorously, using their sharp thorns as a means of attachment.

Also, Bougainvillea glabra takes well pruning which is a useful attribute in styling bonsai. Because these plants generally blooms on new growth, each branch, as blooms begin to fade, should be cut back to a point somewhat shorter than the desired length. Seal all cuts to prevent rot. If rot is detected on a collected specimen, cut it out completely.

Position: Bougainvillea glabra needs full sunlight, warm weather to flower well. The length of time they will bloom is dependent upon the health of the plant and the environment they are in, the more sun and heat, the better. However, long days and short nights limit a Bougainvillea glabra ability to bloom, this plant preferring equal days and night length as flowering season.
It is rampant by nature and will cover a whole shed or large tree stump – but it is best trained over a trellis against a warm wall.

Soil: For best results, plant Bougainvillea glabra in a light well-drained soil.

Irrigation: Although drought tolerant, they need plenty of moisture during the flowering season. Give copious quantities of water in the hot weather, but allow almost to dry out in winter.

Fertilising: Fertilise once in the spring with a low nitrogen fertiliser and maybe once again in the fall.

Propagation: Cuttings of new growth 15cm (6 inch) long may be taken in spring. After dipping the cut ends into hormone rooting powder, insert them in a moistened equal-parts mixture of soil-based potting mixture and coarse sand or perlite. The potted cutting should then be placed in a heated propagating case and kept at 23°C (73°F) in bright filtered light. Roots will form in eight weeks after which plants can be repotted in standard mixture. Considerable care is required when repotting to avoid damage to the delicate roots of the young plants.

Problems: It is not common for Bougainvillea glabra to be affected by pests and diseases, but some problems may appear due to unbalanced feed and poor conditions.

Overfeeding will produce masses of foliage but very little in the way of colorful bracts.

The old established method of forcing flowers is to withhold water to a point of causing severe stress to the plant.

Caterpillars, aphids and scale  may infest Bougainvillea glabra plants.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide to eradicate these pests.

Bougainvillea glabra may also develop chlorosis as response to mineral deficiencies:
Nitrogen deficiency: Older leaves turn a pale green and the veins are usually a reddish color. New growth will be stunted.
Phosphorus deficiency: The veins will turn red to purple and the plant as a whole will look purplish.
Potassium deficiency: Causes the edges of older the leaves to be a purple color and the leaf tips will be a brownish color.
Magnesium deficiency: First appears on older leaves where they turn a spotted yellow or tan color.
Zinc deficiency: (rare) Will look almost like magnesium but here the leaf will be twisted.
Iron deficiency: Young growth is stunted and pale, but the veins on the leaf remain green.
Calcium deficiency: Dead areas appear in young growth and the tips soon die.
Treatment: Recommended remedy for any of the deficiencies above is the application of a complete micronutrient blend.

Root rot will appear when plants are over-watered or are subjected to water logged conditions.
Treatment: These situations are easier to be prevented. Apply a broad spectrum fungicides during transplanting or planting in landscape.

Fungal and Bacterial Leaf Spot (Pseudomonas and ropogonis) infections appear as dark necrotic spots on leaves and bracts and  puckered and distorted growth. Defoliation will occur when leaf spotting, blighting or marginal necrosis becomes severe. Care must be taken that fungus does not invade other trees and shrubs around.
Treatment: Maintaining dry foliage is the primary control measure. Remove and dispose infected leaves and/or plants from the growing area. Apply fungicides as preventive measure.

Uses and display: Bougainvillea glabra can be easily grown as a hedge, an arch or a tree on the ground and in pots. It is a characteristic porch and arbor vine in warm countries and sometimes grown in greenhouses. It can groomed as a ground cover, pruned as an espalier, trained as a tree or contained in a pot in a variety of shapes. This plant is ideal for bonsai. Also, this plant can be grown in hanging basket with a hard pruning to maintain the shape and size, making a splendid specimen for balcony or sunroom.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing

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

Height: 5-6m (15-20 feet)
Spread 3-5m (10-18 feet)

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Bougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabraBougainvillea glabra



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

Allamanda cathartica

Common name: Golden Trumpet, Yellow Allamanda, Golden Cup, Allamanda

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonymous: Allamanda aubletii
Allamanda cathartica var. grandiflora
Allamanda cathartica var. hendersonii
Allamanda cathartica var. nobilis
Allamanda cathartica f. salicifolia
Allamanda cathartica var. schottii
Allamanda cathartica var. williamsii
Allamanda chelsonii
Allamanda grandiflora
Allamanda hendersonii
Allamanda latifolia
Allamanda linnaei
Allamanda salicifolia
Allamanda schottii
Allamanda wardleyana
Allamanda williamsii
Echites salicifolius
Echites verticillatus
Orelia grandiflora

Allamanda cathartica flowers

Allamanda cathartica flowers

Distribution and habitat: Allamanda cathartica is an evergreen arching, long branched shrub native to Brazil. It is growing near coasts, climbing through trees or shrubs in mangrove swamps and along lowland streams. It prefers moist, well-drained soils in tropical regions, being often found in moist areas as the edges of rivers or swamps.
Allamanda cathartica is widely cultivated as ornamental plant which was escaped and naturalised outside of its natural habitat throughout much of the tropics. It become a weed of roadsides and bushlands, especially along river margins and canals. It is an invasive plant in Australia and some Pacific islands.
The long, trainable stems of Allamanda cathartica plants admit them to classification as vining plants. But the growth is lax and pliable only when it is young, and becomes brittle at maturity.

Description: Allamanda cathartica is a perennial plant which become quite woody over time, but it requires a trellis or a fence for support. It does not twine, nor does it have tendrils or aerial roots. These tropical plants are referred to as vines but they are really shrubs with long stems. It can be pruned into a shrub form. If not pruned it can sprawl to a height of 6m (20 feet).
It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its large beautiful flowers. Glossy, dark green leaves are 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long and 3-6cm (1-2 inch) wide. They are arranged opposite to whorled of four, with wavy margins and pointed at both ends. The flowers consist of a 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) long tube flaring into five petals that span 13cm (5 inch). They are golden yellow, occasionally with white markings in the throat. The flowers are produced in clusters (cymes) at the stems tips in summer to fall.

Houseplant care: Allamanda cathartica is a vigorous grower. Provide a trellis to support its vigorous, climbing stems and to show off those glorious golden flowers.
In late winter cut plants back by as much as tow-thirds to control its size, encourage new growth and more flower buds. Cut off spent blooms to encourage more flowers.

Light: Provide bright light to Allamanda cathartica plants with three of four hours a day of full sun. Put the plant in a sunroom or by a sunny window.
Moving this plant outdoors for the summer will enhance the blooming power. Outdoors, place the plant in a semi-sunny spot, protected from the hot afternoon rays. Bring it back inside before the temperature drops to 16°C (60°F) at night.

Temperature: Allamanda cathartica does not like the cold at all. This tropical plant needs average to warm temperatures 18-27°C (65-80°F). It will tolerate a minimum of 15°C (59°F) in winter.
Also this plant needs moderate to high humidity (50% relative humidity or higher). Use a humidity tray or room humidifier to raise the moisture in the air around it.

Watering: During the active growth period water Allamanda cathartica moderately. Water thoroughly, then allow the top 5cm (2 inch) of potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Empty drainage tray to prevent soggy soil.
During the winter rest period water this plant sparingly.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser to actively growing plants about once every two weeks.

Potting and repoting: Use a soil based mixture. Move plants to larger pots in spring. When the maximum convenient pot size was reached top dress the plants with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Allamanda cathartica is sensitive to frost. It can be kept over winter in greenhouse conditions. Growth will remain active in a tropical greenhouse in winter – continuing flowering all year long – or the plant can be forced into dormancy in an unheated greenhouse. In plant is taking a winter rest, cut back the stems by half, withhold nourishment and allow the soil to dry out between waterings until spring.
The stems must be tied to supports or allowed to ramble over or through other plants. Also, Allamanda cathartica can be pruned and maintained as a shrub. In any case, it may be desirable to prune annually in any case to control for size. Pinch the new stem to encourage basal growth.

Location: Allamanda cathartica plants need bright light and high temperatures during the growing season. The ideal light conditions mimic its native jungle habitat – the roots and lower leaves shaded with its new growth reaching out to the sun. A good compromise for pot plants in hot climates is morning sun with afternoon shade.
These plants do not tolerate shade.

Soil: Allamanda cathartica plants like good, rich soils, growing on clay soils, sandy clay soils and feel well in moist substrates. They thrive well in most soils, but becomes chlorotic in very alkaline conditions. So, give them a rich humus soil that is acidic (5.6-6.0 pH) to strongly acidic (5.1-5.5 pH). Plant them with 1.2-1.8m (4-6 feet) between them.
If grown in a container transplant every two years. If the plant is large, do not step up to a bigger pot, but prune the roots instead and replace with a rich potting mix.
These plants do not tolerate salty or alkaline soils.

Irrigation: Allamanda cathartica plants tolerate wet feet, but boggy soil is not compulsory once growth begins. The soil should not dry out. During its flowering period the plant very often requires some extra water to avoid flower loss.
In areas where there is seasonal change, keep fairly dry during winter and prune in spring before growth begins. Continue watering as long as the plant is still blooming, but when flowering is done keep the plant on the dry side until spring.

Fertilisation: Fertilise Allamanda cathartica at regular intervals throughout the growing season. Feed with a liquid food once every two weeks. Stop feeding the plants if they have a winter rest.

Propagation: Plant 8-10cm long tip cuttings of early-spring growth in 8cm pots of a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Place each cutting in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light at 21°C. When rooted, treat the young plants as mature. Move them into the standard mixture after two months.

Problems: Older leaves of Allamanda cathartica plants may turn yellow and fall off. This is normal process of changing its foliage.

Wilting leaves and dropping shoots are is signs of lack of water.
Treatment: Make sure the plant is receiving enough water, especially during warm, dry times of the year. If the plant is potted and drys out, set the pot in a bucket of water to allow the potting mixture to soak up thoroughly.

Aphids and whiteflies can be a problem, especially indoors. If appear brownish spots or stunted growth, look for aphids on tender growth. White and cottony appear­ance of leaf undersides may be caused by whiteflies.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate both aphids and whiteflies infestations.

Watch for mealybugs treat any infestation immediately. Heavy infestations will coat the leaves with sticky honeydew. They appear as white cottony masses found in the leaf axils, underside of leaves and other protected areas.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides. Remove with an alcohol­ saturated cotton swab or wash plants with soapy water and a soft brush or cloth or pick off with tweezers or a toothpick.

Allamanda cathartica are especially susceptible to damage from spider mites. The symptoms are pale looking foliage and cobwebs on the underside of leaves. Leaves begin to drop.
Treatment: Treat the plants with a suitable miticide.

Fungal leaf spots also occur.
Treatment: Apply fungicides and repeat the treatment as directed on fungicide instructions.

Toxicity: The milky sap of Allamanda cathartica plant contains a strong toxin, which may cause severe skin irritation. It is recommended to wear gloves when handling it. All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested.

Note: Allamanda cathartica is considered an invasive species throughout the tropics. Cutting is ineffective as a means of control, because the plants respond by coppicing.

Uses and display: In the tropics, Allamanda cathartica are often pruned and used as blooming hedge plants. Their growth can be controlled so that they become slender trees crowned with their glorious blooms at the top portion of the plant. In any climate they are brilliant subjects for showy display in outdoor containers, if they can be brought indoors for the winter.Plant tropical Allamanda cathartica in a large planter for holding over winter or in the ground for a bushy summer annual. The lax stems can be guided onto trellis work or pergola, arbors, tree trunk or mail box pillar and will cascade over the edge of a patio pot, hanging basket or retaining wall. Allamanda cathartica is use as a climber with yellow flowers and is well suited to plant window. Its beautiful, clear yellow flowers attractive, glossy green leaves perfect for covering fences in warm climate gardens.
These plants are suitable for tropical, coastal and cottage garden styles. In Southern gardens the Allamanda cathartica are used in many ways – as accent or specimen in landscape or border; trained or espaliered against fence or wall; on all kinds of garden structures; and even as a showy hedge.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height indoors: 2.4m (8 feet)
Height outdoor: 6m (20 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 27°C (61-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Allamanda catharticaAllamanda catharticaAllamanda cathartica



Climber, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cissus antarctica

Common name: Kangaroo Vine, Kangaroo Ivy

Family: Vitaceae

Synonymous: Cissus oblonga

Cissus antarctica

Cissus antarctica

Distribution and habitat: Cissus antarctica is an evergreen climbing plant widespread in warmer rainforest of Australia’s coastal regions. It is a true climber, supporting itself by tendrils.
Because Cissus antarctica plants can grow high into rainforest canopies, their presence will be noticed because they spread fruits on the ground. These vines are also common plants of rainforest edges, with foliage forming a screen right down to the ground.

Descriptions: Cissus antarctica is the best-known species of this genus. It can grow 2-3m (7-10 feet) tall indoors use as trained or hanging baskets. Its pointed-oval leaves are shiny, medium green and up to 10cm (4 inch) long. They have lightly toothed edges and are produced singly on short, red leaf-stalks. Where overhead space is restricted, growing points can be pinched out regularly to encourage the development of side-shoots. This will make the plants lower-growing and more bushy. If permitted, they can produce at least 60cm (24 inch) of new top growth in a single year.

Houseplant care: Cissus antarctica is a popular interior or houseplant with handsome serrated leaves and airy look which will thrive in a pot or hanging basket producing cascades of fresh foliage. Pinch out growing points of the plants periodically to promote branching. Any plants that lose a large number of lower leaves and become bare at the base should be cut back (if necessary, severely) in spring.
Cissus antarctica can be trained on support. Train any vigorous stems into place and, if necessary, tie them to their supports.
It is advisable to shorten the main growth of large plants by a third in early spring. At the same time cut back lateral growths to a node within about 2cm (0.8 inch) of the main stems.
Spray and gently wipe leaves of Cissus antarctica plants when they look dusty.

Light: Cissus antarctica will adapt well to a wide range of light intensity, even in subdued light. Ideally, they should be grown in bright light, but without direct sunlight throughout the year. Over-exposure to sun causes transparent leaf markings, which will eventually turn brown.
Once established, these plants should be kept in the same position, as they dislike change.

Temperature: Cissus antarctica likes warmth, 16 to 24°C (61-75°F) during the active growing period, but it does best if given a winter rest period at around 13°C (55°F). During the rest period, it does not do well above 15°C (59°F), especially when exposed to central heating, which can cause the leaves to drop.
It can stand wide temperature changes and is fairly tolerant of draughts, but dislikes hot, dry air. Provide some additional humidity in the air in winter. Mist spray the foliage regularly, especially in extended hot conditions.

Watering: Water Cissus antarctica moderately during the active growth period, enough to moisten the entire mixture at each watering and allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out before watering again. During the rest period water Cissus antarctica plants just enough to keep the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Apply liquid fertiliser about every two weeks from early spring to early autumn.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants into pots one size larger each spring. As long as they are adequately fed, quite large plants with a height or spread of up to 2m (7 feet) can be accommodated in 20-25cm (8-10 inch) pots. After maximum convenient pot size has been reached, top-dress Cissus antarctica plants with fresh potting mixture instead of moving them on.
Do not over-pot Cissus antarctica plants since they will grow very big quite quickly.

Gardening: Cissus antarctica is often used as a vine in warm temperate to sub-tropical climates as an ornamental plant in gardens. It can be used as spreading groundcover or climber.

Position: Cissus antarctica plants should be placed in diffused sunshine to partial shade. Their leaves are hardy to full sun, but these plants prefer their roots to be well-shaded or under a thick layer of mulch.

Soil: Cissus antarctica plants will do well in loamy, sandy loam, clay loam soil, enriched soil with pH between mild acidic to mild alkaline. However, well drained soils are preferred. To increase soil drainage use additional compost or other organic matter.
Although it is recommended to place a thin layer of organic mulch to helps to feed these vines and keeps the soil cool and moist during the hot weather.

Irrigation: Cissus antarctica plants need little to moderate watering. Keep the soil either dry between watering to constantly moist, but not wet. If the rain fall is abundant, good soil drainage will keep the plants healthy.
Also, these vines can tolerate periods of drought and light frosts.

Fertilise: Cissus antarctica plants are heavy feeders as they are fast growing plants. Fertilise them every 2-3 months.

Propagation: Young tip cuttings 8-15cm (3-6 inch) long will, if taken in spring, root in six to eight weeks under suitable conditions. Strip the lower leaves from the cuttings and dip the cut ends in a hormone rooting powder; plant four or five cuttings in an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing an equal-parts mixture of moistened peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite. Enclose the potted cuttings in a plastic bag and stand them in a warm place with bright filtered light. When new growth indicates that the cuttings are rooted, remove the bag and begin to water sparingly, enough to make the potting mixture barely moist but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When they are well established, repot the young plants in a standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.
If preferred, trailing shoots can be layered into a nearby pot of suitable rooting medium.

Problems:
If the air in the room is especially dry, watch out for red spider mites which may gather on the underside of leaves and can cause considerable damage.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Brown patches on the leaves may be the result of sun exposure.
Treatment: Provide Cissus antarctica with some shade.

Shriveled, yellowing and falling leaves indicates over-watering and this may lead to rotting, if not corrected.
Treatment: Withhold watering till surface of soil has dried.

Brown dry foliage indicates lack of moisture in the air.
Treatment: Improve humidity and cut out unsightly stems once the plant shows signs of recovery.

Leaves crinkle and drop is caused by cold temperature.
Treatment: Place Cissus antarctica in an even warm temperature.

Mildew on the leaves is a sign of water-logging or inadequate drainage.
Treatment: Spray these plants with a suitable fungicide at regular intervals. Avoid over-watering and poor soil drainage.

The Cissus antarctica plants grow lush and invasive.
Treatment: Stop feeding and cut back to a more satisfactory size. Cut at a leaf joint.

LifespanCissus antarctica is long-lived and fast-growing vine which can be trimmed right back in spring if they become too larges for their position. It is an easy to grow plants and will not require special attention.

Note: Cissus antarctica is safe plant to be used in reptiles enclosures.

Recommended varieties:
Cissus antarctica ‘Minima’ is a very slow growing dwarf form which produces spreading rather than upright branches. It is therefore an ideal plant for hanging baskets.

Uses and display: Cissus antarctica is often trained on bamboo support as a room divider or as a backdrop to a collection of plants. It will fight to live, even in the most unfavourable, dark places. In shops and offices it can often be seen, the sole survivor in a container once filled with plants.
Outdoors, a vine can be used to cover a fences or convert a large pergola into a shady outdoor space or left to scramble up a large tree. Cissus antarctica are also used as ground covers on large banks and road batters. Often used in public and private shows garden sculpture is an impressive display of outdoor art that reflect the playful personalities of it is fun loving gardeners. These vines are suitable for bush and tropical designs, used as informal screens, pergolas, groundcovers, spillovers, pots or hanging basket plants.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 2-3m (7-10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight
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 – low

Hardiness zone: 9-10

Cissus antarcticaCissus antarcticaCissus antarctica



Climber, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , ,

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Common name: Basket Plant, Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine

Family: Gesneriaceae

Synonymous: Aeschynanthus aucklandiae
Aeschynanthus splendens

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Distribution and habitat: Aeschynanthus speciosus is a species of trailing ephiphytic flowering plant, in wild growing on branches of trees in the tropical rainforests. It is native primarily to Southeast Asia (the Malay peninsula, Java and Borneo island). It is a perennial woody subshrubs. The stems are branching and it has a spreading, weeping habit. The vines cascade downwards with long, graceful stems that can extend to more than 3m (10 feet) long.
As an epiphyte, Aeschynanthus speciosus does not live off its host like a parasite but rather, it takes nourishment from fallen leaves and twigs that accumulate in the crevices of tree’s branches.

Description: Aeschynanthus speciosus is perhaps the most spectacular species within its genus. Its dark green leaves are carried along the stems in pairs or whorls of three, but there are 4 to 8 leaves at the stem tip, where they surround a cluster of 6 to 20 flowers. The leaves are up to 10cm (4 inch) long and 4cm (1.5 inch) wide and their tips are more sharply pointed than their bases. The green calyx sheathes only a portion of the flower, which may be 10cm (4 inch) long. Both calyx and corolla are slightly hairy. The flowers are orange with the inside of the mouth orange-yellow and with a dark red bar across the lower lobes which also have scarlet borders.
These plants normally have a summertime flowering season indoors and individual flowers last for only two or three days. An Aeschynanthus speciosus plant is displayed to best advantage in a hanging basket, where the broad surface area allows the trailing stems to root down at intervals and send out abundant side-shoots. The plant will mature in 2 to 5 years.

Proper care: Aeschynanthus speciosus are perfect as hanging or trailing plants. They require high humidity and warmth throughout the growing season, as well as strong, but not direct, light. These plants are perfect for a greenhouse, sunroom or conservatory.
After the season is over, cut the trailing stems back in preparation for another year—otherwise, it will tend toward leginess.

Light: Provide bright light for Aeschynanthus speciosus plants  – but with no more than two or three hours of direct sunlight a day.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Aeschynanthus speciosus as long as humidity is kept high. Place trays of moist pebbles bellow the trailing stems and mist-spray plants daily during the flowering period. A humidifier can help to a great extent.
Avoid sudden temperature changes.

Watering: When an Aeschynanthus speciosus is in flower, water it plentifully. At other times water moderately, enough to make the mixture moist throughout, but allow the top 1cm (0.4 inch) to dry out between waterings. If kept in humid warmth, these plants do not have a rest period and so they require this much water all year long.
They must not be allowed to dry out when in bloom.

Feeding: Use a liquid fertiliser containing an equal-parts mixture of nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Apply a one-eighth-strength dose to these plants at every watering.

Potting and repotting: Since Aeschynanthus speciosus plants like an acid growing medium, coarse sphagnum peat moss may be used alone as the potting mixture. Equally suitable is an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and such substances as perlite and vermiculite which, if packed loosely, gives much-needed aeration around the roots.
Shallow 13 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pots or baskets are the best containers with several young plants placed in each for good effect. Repotting may be done at any time of year. When roots fill the pot, move plants into a pot one size larger. Or, preferably, cut them back by about one-third and repot the plants in the same pot, but with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Keep Aeschynanthus speciosus warm and humid in the spring and summer, above 18°C (65ºF). The plant can withstand day temperatures of above 23ºC (75ºF) and 18 to 21ºC (65-70ºF) during the night; but the night temperatures should not be below 13ºC (55ºF). In the winter, a brief period of 13 to 18°C (55-65ºF) will promote flowering. These plants require a humid atmosphere.
After the flowering season these plants may be trimmed. As the flowers emerge from the tips of the stalks, excessive trimming can hamper with flowering.

Position: As Aeschynanthus speciosus are native to tropical regions, they need humidity, moisture and sunlight for a healthy growth. Sunlight is one of the important factors that can affect the growth of these plants, but direct sunlight can cause adverse effects – the leaves can fall off or turn brown – unless the plants are kept moist. It is always better to grow these plants in a warm, part shaded location.

Soil: Aeschynanthus speciosus require for healthy growth evenly moist, fertile and well-drained soil. Light sandy soil with a mix of peat or humus is preferred for these plants.

Irrigation: Water Aeschynanthus speciosus plants generously, but take care not to make the soil soggy. Regular watering is more important during summers and in dry weather conditions, wherein the leaves can be moisten too to improve the atmospheric humidity. It is always better to use tepid water rather than cold water, as the latter may cause spots on the leaves that may also turn brown.

Fertilise: Adding fertilisers during the spring and summer season, can trigger flowering in Aeschynanthus speciosus plants. Use a nitrogen-free fertiliser at half the recommended strength, once in two weeks. The fertilising and watering frequency has to be reduced during the fall and winter, to allow the plant to get a resting period.

Propagation: Tip cutting 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long will root in three to four weeks at any season. Plant the cuttings in 8cm (3 inch) pots of the recommended potting mixture thoroughly moistened, enclosed them in plastic bags and keep them at normal room temperature in bright filtered light. When rooting has occurred, the bag should be removed and the new plants given just enough water to keep the potting mixture barely moist. About a week later pot several of the new plants together in a shallow 13 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pot and treat them as mature specimens. Make a particular effort to provide high humidity for these young plants.

Problems: If the Aeschynanthus speciosus plant has lost a lot of leaves over the winter, prune it more sharply, cutting the stems back to 15cm (6 inch) above their base.

Keep a watch for aphids which attack young leaves of Aeschynanthus speciosus. These tiny, highly prolific insects feed by sucking the plant sap. They form dense colonies on young shoots and under leaves and also feed on plant stems, bark, roots and fruit.
Treatment: Inspect the plant regularly for insects and use a suitable spray insecticide when necessary.

The scale insects (Coccoidea) are another pest capable of damaging Aeschynanthus speciosus plants when they are grown indoors.
Treatment: Spraying the plant with a diluted horticultural oil or soap can be an effective treatment.

Flower buds drop off and/or wilted leaves can be caused by not enough water during the growing period
Treatment: Immerse pot for 10 minutes in room temperature water and then let drain. After that adjust watering frequency.

Leaves drop off and roots rot can be caused by too much water in winter
Treatment: Cut off damaged roots and repot plant in a well-drained soil mixture. Consider cutting back on watering.

Leaf margins turn yellow and the new shoots drop off can be caused by the fact that the air around Aeschynanthus speciosus plant is too dry.
Treatment: Increase relative humidity by using a humidifier or place a tray with moist pebbles under plant pot and spray mist the foliage.

Avoid moving the plant once the flower buds have formed, to prevent them from dropping off.

Uses and display: In cultivation, Aeschynanthus speciosus is grown for its ornamental beauty in hanging baskets or pots, displaying long pendulous stems with dark green foliage and crowned with clusters of exotic flowers and buds in brilliant contrast. It is ideal as houseplants and for a conservatory or greenhouse. Perfect for hanging baskets/pots to best display their lovely cascading stems and attractive flowers or in containers placed on a pedestal or windowsill. A vine-like plant that can be trained as a climber on fences and wire-frames or grown on ground or allowed to creep on mossy rock surfaces.

The plant can be kept in a bathroom window sill or kitchen for increased humidity.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 11

 

Aeschynanthus speciosusAeschynanthus speciosusAeschynanthus speciosus



Climber, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , , , ,

Tradescantia zebrina

Common name: Inchplant, Wandering Jew, Inch Plant, Cockroach Grass, Purple Wandering Jew, Silver Inch Plant, Silvery Inch Plant, Striped Trad, Striped Wandering Creeper, Striped Wandering Jew, Wandering Zebrina, Zebra Plant, Zebrina

Family: Commelinaceae

Synonymous: Commelina zebrina
Cyanotis zebrina
Tradescantia pendula
Zebrina pendula
Zebrina pendula var. quadrifolia

Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina

Distribution and habitat: Tradescantia zebrina is native to the Gulf Coast region of eastern Mexico. It is a weed of waste areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, urban bushland, riparian vegetation, open woodlands and forests in sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions.
Tradescantia zebrina was widely naturalized in the coastal districts of eastern Australia and on several Pacific islands. It is reported as invasive in many areas in the Pacific, spreading across shady or damp areas.

Description: Tradescantia zebrina are trailing plants that have oval leaves roughly 5cm (2 inch) long, with an iridescent upper surface and a rich purple underside. Two glistering stripes of silvery green surrounding a medium green central portion run the length of the upper surface of its pointed-oval leaves
They produce clusters of small, three petaled flowers in spring and summer. They are purple-pink coloured.

Proper care: Tradescantia zebrina is noted for its ease of culture and tolerance for wide range of growing conditions. It is quick growing and a very decorative, particularly in hanging baskets where its brilliant leaf colouring can be fully appreciated.
Pinch out growing points of lengthy shoots regularly to encourage the production of side branches. Remove all poorly coloured stems in early spring.

Light: Give Tradescantia zebrina plants bright light at all times for close growth and brilliant leaf colour. Plants can normally be grown at a short distance from a sunny window without too much loss of colour, but growth will probably become straggly and colours will tend to fade as this distance lengthens.
Tradescantia zebrina plants can be taken outside in summer. Keep them out of the direct sun light.

Temperature: Tradescantia zebrina likes warmth but they can tolerate temperatures down to 12°C (54°F). In cool conditions they grow very slowly.
Tradescantia zebrina tolerates dry air very well.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top couple of centimetres  (1 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When plants are resting, give them just enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout and allow the top half to dry out between waterings. Tradescantia zebrina that have been grown slightly on the dry side show the best colour.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move Tradescantia zebrina into pots one size larger when their roots fill the pot. Plant several rooted cuttings together to create a bushy effect – as many as 12 to 15 in a single hanging basket.

Gardening: Tradescantia zebrina is a succulent-stemmed plant that creeps and sprawls and trails all over itself to make a dense groundcover. Pinch stems as needed to encourage dense foliage growth.
Individual leaves will burn and stems will die back, at around 0°C (32°F), but the plant can regrow as long as it do not get colder than minus 7°C (20°F).

Position: Tradescantia zebrina tolerates a wide range of light levels, but prefers bright shade or semi-shade. Place Tradescantia zebrina plants somewhere light, for otherwise it may lose its beautiful colours and turn green. Make certain it does not catch the full light of the midday sun, but it will love standing within some of the soft beams of morning sunshine.
Groundcover plantings can be established effortlessly, then ripped out and moved with ease when the landscape plan changes.

Soil: Tradescantia zebrina prefers rich organic soil and thrives on mulch.
When Tradescantia zebrina is grown as a groundcover, new branches cover the bare stems and fill in the planting space.

Irrigation: Tradescantia zebrina plants like a consistently moist but well-drained soil during the growing season, with reduced watering from fall to late winter.
Water Tradescantia zebrina modestly. It does not like to get too wet. Allow the soil to dry out a little before watering again.

Fertilising: Feed Tradescantia zebrina once a fortnight with diluted fertiliser during the growing season. Do not fertiliser these plants in autumn and winter.

Propagation: Because older leaves dry up leaving bare stems, it is advisable to produce new plants quite frequently. Tip cutting of Tradescantia zebrina, about 8cm (3 inch) long taken in spring or early summer will root easily in an equal-parts rooting mixture of peat moss and sand.
Keep the cuttings in bright filtered light, giving just enough water to make the mixture barely moist, and roots will develop in three or four weeks; plant four to six rooted cuttings together in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.
Alternatively, root tip cuttings in water. Place the cuttings in small – preferable opaque – glasses of water and keep them in bright filtered light. They will develop roots 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long in two to three weeks and they can then be moved into standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.

Problems: Tradescantia zebrina has no serious insect or disease problems.

Root rot and stem rot may occur if soils are kept too moist.

Watch for aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies and spider mites.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide to prevent these infestations.

Spindly growth and bare stems: This happens naturally with age for this plant but lack of light, water or plant food can also cause spindly growth. If the plant is old and conditions are fine (water, light etc.) then it could be time to replace it.

All green leaves: Variegated leaves turning green and losing their variegation is most likely due to too much light.

Limp stems is usually a sign that the plant is lacking water.

Toxicity: Contact with Tradescantia zebrina plant sap may cause skin irritations.

Recommended varieties: Tradescantia zebrina is the parent of a number of varieties:

Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor has irregular pink, green, cream and silver stripes on the leaves. It is the most attractive plant of this genus, although it is more difficult to grow.

Uses and display: Tradescantia zebrina is a very popular trailing plant, commonly grown in hanging baskets or pots as a houseplant. Trailing stems cascade down from a hanging basket. Where winter hardy, it is commonly grown as a groundcover that roots at the nodes as stems spread along the ground.
A few pieces poked into the soil amongst container plants in the greenhouse will quickly flow into a colorful winter carpet.
And it can be used to make a gorgeous flower arrangement out of practically anything by sticking a couple of  Tradescantia zebrina sprigs in with it.
Tradescantia zebrina are suitable for mixed plantings in bowls or for training up fan shaped trellises.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 21°C max 24°C (70-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tradescantia zebrina flowersTradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor



Climber, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thunbergia alata

Common name: Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Family: Acanthaceae

Synonymous: Endomelas alata
Thunbergia alata var. fryeri
Thunbergia alata var. albiflora
Thunbergia alata var. aurantiaca
Thunbergia alata var. bakeri
Thunbergia alata var. vixalata
Thunbergia alata var. lutea
Thunbergia alata var. reticulata
Thunbergia alata subvar. doddsii
Thunbergia alata var. sulphurea
Thunbergia alata var. albiflora
Thunbergia alata var. alba
Thunbergia alata var. retinervia
Thunbergia albiflora
Thunbergia aurantiaca
Thunbergia backeri
Thunbergia doddsii
Thunbergia fryeri
Thunbergia manganjensis
Thunbergia reticulata

Thunbergia alata

Thunbergia alata

Distribution and habitat: Thunbergia alata is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant species in the Acanthaceae family. It is native to Eastern Africa and has been naturalised in other parts of the world. It is found in Cerrado vegetation of Brazil and Hawaii, along with eastern Australia and the southern USA in the states of Texas and Florida.

Description: Thunbergia alata is a fast growing twining plant with attractive flowers. Its leaves are tooth-edged, triangular to arrow-shaped, up to 8cm (3 inch) long and wide, borne on slender stalks along the twining stems. Flowers are about 5cm (2 inch) wide and are produced on short stalks from the leaf axils, consist of a 2cm (0.8 inch) long tube flaring out into five petal-like lobes. Petal-lobe colour varies, but in all forms there is a central deep chocolate ‘eye’ – the centry point to the tube for insects; the tube itself is sark purple and each flower is backed with a pair of 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) long, pale green bracts. The most common lobes colours are orange-yellow, bright yellow or white. The flowering period normally last from late spring to late autumn.

Proper care: Thunbergia alata is the only species of this genus sometimes grown as an indoor plant.  Although actually a perennial, it is usually treated as a temporary indoor plant to be enjoyed during the  and then discarded.
Thunbergia alata plants usually twine around three of four thin sticks pushed into the edge of the pot but they will also climb up a string fixed to the side of a window. In either case, they are probably best cut down and discarded when flowering strops.
Be sure to remove faded flowers by nipping them out with the fingertips. If this is not done regularly, flowering will be needlessly brief.

Light: Thunbergia alata must have bright light with two to three hours a day of direct sunlight to flower properly.

Temperature: These Thunbergia alata plants will do well in any normal room temperature during their stay in the home. Nevertheless, they can tolerate much cooler conditions – down to 10°C (50°F).

Watering: Water young Thunbergia alata plants moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist at each watering, but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. As these swift-growing plants get bigger and begin to flower, they need more water. Throughout the flowering period water them plentifully to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist.

Feeding: Give standard liquid fertiliser to flowering Thunbergia alata every two weeks throughout year.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Young Thunbergia alata plants should be moved on when they grow too big for their original pots. When roots begin to appear through the drainage hole in the bottom of a pot, move the plant into a pot two sizes larger. Probable maximum pot size needed is 15cm (6 inch).

Gardening: Since Thunbergia alata vines are perennial, they can be potted up and bring them indoors for the winter. They can be cut back to a more manageable size, when prepared to be indoor overwintered.

Position: Thunbergia alata will prefer full sun. In hot climates, growing the plants in partial afternoon shade is recommended.

Soil: Thunbergia alata likes a fairly neural soil pH, of around 6.5 and a soil rich in organic matter. When setting out plants, work about 5cm (2 inch) of compost into the soil, if it is not sufficiently rich to start with.

Irrigation: Thunbergia alata do not like sitting in wet soil, they also do not like being hot and dry. Mulching around the base of the plants will keep the roots cool and moist, without fear of rotting.

Fertiliser: Thunbergia alata is quick growing and repeat blooms throughout the summer. That means they will get hungry and will need a light feeding every 4-6 weeks, with a complete fertiliser, to keep it growing strong.

Propagation: Seed can be grown indoor without too much difficulty if it is sown early in spring. These seeds should be planted in a single 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened soil based potting mixture.
They will usually germinate in three to five weeks if kept in a warm room in a position where they get bright filtered light and are watered enough to make the mixture moist, but with the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture allowed to dry out between waterings. The new plant will grow quickly and may be transferred to individual 8cm (3 inch) pots and treated as mature Thunbergia alata when they are 15cm (6 inch) high.

Problems: Thunbergia alata is not prone to many problems, particularly if the vines are kept healthy and have plenty of sun, water and air circulation.

Whiteflies and spider mites can be potential problems, especially during hot weather and if brought indoors with dry heat.
Treatment: Keep a keen eye, to catch and treat any out breaks quickly with insecticidal soap.

Buying tips: Buy Thunbergia alata young plants only a few weeks old in the spring.

Companion plants: With their quick growth habit and sprawling nature, Thunbergia alata vines can overtake nearby plants and are often grown as solo performers. However a nice option is to mix the Thunbergia alata vines with another vine that will intertwine with them. Species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae (Morning Glories) are often used for this purpose, particularly the purple varieties, which make a nice color combo. Purple Hyacinth bean is another good choice.
They look beautiful near shorter purple flowers, like salvia and veronica, too. On the flip side, can be played up their flair with hotter colors, like brilliant red zinnias or canna, for a more tropical look.

Uses and display: Thunbergia alata are grown as ornamental plants in gardens and in hanging baskets. These vines grow quickly, once the temperature warms up. They will tangle themselves around the nearest support or spill over edges. They are perfect for hanging containers, but flow just as easily over walls and raised beds.
A lattice or link fence makes a good choice for coaxing and weaving this vine into a living wall, but these plants will clamber over just about anything, from the mail box to an old tree stump.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 1.8-2.4m (6–8 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-10b

Thunbergia alataThunbergia alataThunbergia alataThunbergia alata Thunbergia alata Thunbergia alata



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

Piper crocatum

Common name: Celebes Pepper, Ornamental Pepper, Ornate Pepper Vine, Red Betel, Marmorpeppar, Ornamental Pepper

Family: Piperaceae

Synonymous: Piper ornatum
Steffensia crocata

Piper crocatum

Piper crocatum

Distribution ad habitat: Piper crocatum is a vine endemic to Peru, South of America, most commonly found in the understory of lowland tropical rainforests, but can also occur in clearings and in higher elevation life zones.

Description: Piper crocatum is a climbing or tailing vine that is prized for its colourful leaves that makes it an exotic indoor plant.
Piper crocatum has slender stems bearing pointed, heart-shaped leaves up to 13cm (5 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) wide. The leaves have reddish, 2cm (0.8 inch) long leaf-stalks, which are attached not at the end of the leaf, but slightly toward the middle. Leaf surface are puckered. The upper surface is olive green heavily spotted with pinkish silver markings. The pink tinge is almost pronounced wherever a marking occurs near main veins. Leaves undersides are unmarked deep maroon. The plant does not normally produce flowers when is grown indoors.
Piper crocatum is a rare species that is seldom commercially available and it is sought-out by many plant collectors.

Proper care: Piper crocatum plant is a somewhat demanding plant, steady environmental conditions being essential for its health and development. It is particularly suitable for growing in a large terrarium or special plant window. They are vining in habit and can be supported to climb upon-like a tree trunk or a moss stick or grown in hanging baskets. Prune these plants only to maintain form and control size. Piper crocatum is a sturdy plant yet slow growing.

Light: Grow these plants in direct filtered sunlight (a translucent blind or curtain is a useful filter). An east or west window is the best place for growing this plant.

Temperature: Piper crocatum must have warmth – a minimum of 15°C (59°F) – or they will shed most of their leaves. They do not flourish if subjected to fluctuating temperatures and dry air. Keep the temperatures as constant as possible and increase the humidity by standing pots on shallow trays of moist pebbles. Mist-spray the foliage once a week.

Watering: Throughout the year water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top couple of centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again.

Feeding: Except in midwinter, feed plants every two weeks with standard liquid fertiliser. Piper crocatum do not have a distinct rest period, but they grow less actively in winter.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Piper crocatum have fairly small root systems and should not be planted in needlessly big containers. A 13-15cm (5-6 inch) pot should be the biggest needed for an ordinary potted specimen. Move a plant into a pot size larger only when it has made so much top growth that there is an obvious imbalance between top growth and pot size – a relatively dependable indication of the need for more root space. Repotting may be done at any time, as long as the plants are actively growing. For the best effect in a hanging baskets in a 20cm (8 inch) basket and replace them with fresh specimens every second year.

Propagation: Propagate Piper crocatum in late spring or early summer by stem cutting 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long. Trim each cutting just bellow a leaf, remove the bottom leaf, dip the cut end of the stem in hormone rooting power and plant it in a 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot of moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand. Do not substitute perlite for sand as perlite retain too much moisture for these plants. Place the cutting in a plastic bag or heated propagation case and stand it in bright filtered light at a temperature of about 23°C (73°F). When renewed top growth shows that rooting has occurred – normally in four to six weeks – uncover the rooted cutting gradually over a course of about two weeks. The objective of this procedure is to acclimatise the new plant to the less humid air outside the bag or propagator case.
Water very sparingly until the plant has made some further growth. It is probably best to wait for 10 or 12 weeks after the start of propagation before beginning to feed the plant with fertiliser. When roots have completely filled the pot, as indicated by 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) of top growth, move the young plant to a slightly larger pot of soil based potting mixture and begin to treat it as a mature Piper crocatum plant. At this point, instead of repotting the plant singly, it can of course be planted with others in a hanging basket.

Problems: No known problems with insects. Piper crocatum plants are susceptible to root diseases.
Treatment: It is important to maintain warm temperatures and accurate watering to circumvent this problem.

Like most pipers, Piper crocatum form exudates or small beads on the backsides of the leaves and stems. In time, there appear tiny black dots. This is normal physiology and not an insect infestation.

Use and display: Piper crocatum is often grown upright and trained around three or four thin stakes, but it also makes an attractive display when the shoots are permitted to trail down from a hanging basket.
A spectacular tropical vine terrifically suited for the terrarium.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height:  90-120 cm (36-48 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 15°C max 24°C (59-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Piper crocatum - leavesPiper crocatum - indoor displayPiper crocatum



Climber, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , ,

Monstera deliciosa

Common name: Fruit Salad Plant, Hurricane Plant, Split-Leaf, Swiss Cheese Plant, Cheese Plant, Window Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Delicious Monster, Ceriman

Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Monsteroideae
Tribe: Monstereae

Synonymous: Monstera borsigiana
Monstera deliciosa var. borsigiana
Monstera deliciosa var. sierrana
Monstera lennea
Monstera tacanaensis
Philodendron anatomicum
Philodendron pertusum
Tornelia fragrans

Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa

Distribution and habitat: Monstera deliciosa is a species of flowering plant native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico to southern Colombia. It has been introduced to many tropical areas and has become a mildly invasive species in Hawaii, Seychelles, Ascension Island and the Society Islands.
When growing in the wild, Monstera deliciosa climb up the trunks and along the branches of trees, climbing to the bark by means of thick aerial roots which not only anchor the plant to the tree but also help it to take up water and nutrients.
Wild seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can find until they find a tree trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.

Description: Monstera deliciosa is the most popular species as indoor plant within this genus. This member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20m (65 feet) high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25 to 90cm (10-35 inch) long by 25 to 75cm (10-30 inch) broad.
Indoor, the shiny leaves of a mature Monstera deliciosa grow up to 45cm (18 inch) across, have 30cm (12 inch) long stalks and are basically heart-shaped, but deeply incised from the edges almost to the central vein and perforated in the remaining sections.This breaking up of the leaf area helps the wild plants to withstand high tropical winds – and perhaps explain the origin of one of their common names, Hurricane Plant.
Mature Monstera deliciosa with active aerial roots have the most attractive leaves, with the most pronounced incisions and holes. The leaves of young plants may be entirely unbroken. As they develop, they acquire the characteristic perforations and split edges.
The inflorescence which is rarely produced indoors, is a half oval creamy white spathe with a thick 25cm long spadix in the middle. The spadix develops into white , edible fruit that tastes something like pineapple.

Proper care: If treated well, Monstera deliciosa plants can grow very big – 3-5m (10-16 feet) tall and 2-3m (6-10 feet) across – and thrive indoors for years. Moss covered poles that simulate the bark of trees the plants climb on in the wild add considerably to the health of Monstera deliciosa grown indoors.
Train the aerial roots to moss-covered poles if these are used; if not, train them into the potting mixture. Keep the leaves clan by means of frequent sponging.

Light: Actively growing Monstera deliciosa do best in bright filtered light, but these plants may be placed in direct sunlight in winter. In an adequately lit position, the long leaf-stalks will become extended and the leaves smaller and somewhat less divided.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Monstera deliciosa plants. In temperatures above 21°C (70°F) in is a good idea to place pots on trays of damp pebbles for increased humidity. These plants need average to high humidity (at least 40% relative humidity).

Watering: Water sparingly, making the potting mixture barely moist and allowing the top third to dry out before watering again.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with addition of a one-third portion of coarse leaf mould. Move the Monstera deliciosa plants into pots which are one size larger each spring until maximum convenient pot size is reached. Thereafter, top-dress plants with fresh potting mixture annually.

Gardening: Monstera deliciosa plants grow very quickly and can easily take over a landscape if not pruned regularly. Snip branches and leaves by cutting them where they meet the stem without cutting into it. The best time for major pruning is during the spring when the plant is in a vigorous stage of growth. Light pruning can be done in spring, summer or fall.

Position: In their natural setting, Monstera deliciosa plants thrive in lightly shaded, humid conditions below the canopy of the tropical forest.

Soil: Monstera deliciosa grow best in high-pH, alkaline soils that drain well.

Irrigation: Monstera deliciosa plants do not like wet feet and will not grow in saturated ground. During dry periods these plants should be given about 3cm (1 inch) of water weekly.

Ferilising: Monstera deliciosa established in the landscape should not need much fertilizer. It can be applied a complete fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (N-P-K) and magnesium in spring and late summer.

Propagation: Home propagation is difficult because of the awkwardly large expanse of leaf and consequent high loss of moisture through transpiration. A tip cutting, including at least two leaves, will root in spring, however, if it is planted in a 10cm (4 inch) pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand. Enclose the cutting in a plastic bag and keep it warm in bright filtered light. When new growth indicates that the cutting has rooted, repot it in the potting mixture recommended for adult plants and treat it as mature.
If it proves impracticable to root cuttings, Monstera deliciosa plants can be air layered – a reliable but slow method. Seed, too, will germinate easily in a warm room, but Monstera deliciosa plants grown from seed normally lack the attractive incised leaves for at least two years.

Problems:
It is quite easy for a Monstera deliciosa plant to start looking very untidy once it matures in size and age. Here are some potential problems and their possible causes:

Leaves yellowing: If  Monstera deliciosa plant has quite a few leaves yellowing and they are wilting it is possible to be caused by over-watering it. If the plant is not suffering from over-watering than the yellowing leaves could mean the plant soil needs fertilizer.

Leaf tips and edges turning brown: Low humidity and dry air is the most common fault here, although a pot bound plant can have the same affect on a plant.

Leaves not forming slits or holes: This is usually due to lack of something which will be light, not enough water or not enough fertilizer. If the plant is tall then it is recommended to check if the aerial roots are in compost and if they are not then place the roots in soil or on a moist moss pole.

Indoor monstera plants may attract mites and scale insects.
Treatment: Spraying the plant with a diluted horticultural oil or soap can be an effective treatment.

Outdoor plants are not usually susceptible to mites and scales infestations, but grasshoppers can cause serious damage to the foliage of Monstera deliciosa.

Monstera deliciosa can also develop bacterial diseases such as leaf spot and root rot.
Examine the plant periodically for signs of disease and use recommended recommended fungicide and destroy the affected leaves. Correct application and timing are critical.

Toxicity: The leaves of Monstera deliciosa plant are poisonous and can cause severe burning in the mouth if eaten. They can also cause skin irritation, so it is recommended wearing gloves when handling this plant.

Recommended varieties:
Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’ has leaves splashed with white or cream-coloured patches of irregular shapes and sizes.

Uses and display: Indoor Monstera deliciosa make dramatic plants whether they are young specimens with only three or four leaves or tall mature ones that need to be supported on stout canes or poles.
This climbing shrub is an ideal plant for a conservatory or large rooms, including a hotel or restaurant foyer.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height:  3-5m (10-16 feet)
Wide: 2-3m (6-10 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Monstera deliciosa VariegataMonstera deliciosa - new plantMonstera deliciosa - flower and fruits



Climber, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aporocactus flagelliformis

Common name: Rattail Cactus

Family: Cactaceae

Synonymous: Aporocactus flagelliformis
Aporocactus flagriformis
Aporocactus leptophis
Cereus flegelliformis
Cereus flagriformis
Disocactus flagelliformis

Aporocactus flagelliformis

Aporocactus flagelliformis

Distribution and habitat: Aporocactus flagelliformis is lithophytic or epiphytic cactus native to southern Mexico and Central American deserts. In its natural habitat is found trailing or pendent, often epiphytic over rocks or up in trees.

Description: Aporocactus flagelliformis is an epifhitic cacti which has pendant stems that can grow up to 1.5m (5 feet) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) thick in course of only five years. Each of these bright green stems has 8 to 12 narrow, low ribs separated by broad, slightly raised areoles carry clusters of brownish spines, each about 3mm (0.1 inch) long. Tubular, crimson-pink flowers about 5cm (2 inch) long and 2.5cm (1 inch) wide appears on mature growth.
Flowers are produced profusely in spring. The flowering season lasts for about two months and individual blooms can last for several says.

Houseplant care: Their trailing stems make these cacti ideal plants for a hanging basket. Line the basket with sphagnum moss before filling it with potting mixture and make sure it is hung where the prickly stems will not pose a treat to the unwary. If Aporocactus flagelliformis is grown in a pot, hang the pot up or attache it to a high shelf. If it is left free-standing, it can soon be overbalanced by the lengthening stems.

This cactus has spines; use extreme caution when handling.

Light: Aporocactus flagelliformis requires full sunlight. Hang the pot or basket in the sunniest window available. If possible, hang the plant outdoors in summer to give it fresh air and extra light.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperatures are suitable. In winter these plants should be rested at 7-10°C (45-50°F), if possible, but they tolerate temperatures up to 15-16°C (59-61°F).

Water: During the active growth period water plentifully, keeping the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but do not let plants stand in water. During the winter rest period just keep the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Use half-strength liquid fertiliser sprayed on to the stems of the plant once every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Aporocactus flagelliformis likes a fairly rich potting mixture – ideally a combination of two-thirds soil-based mixture and one-third leaf mould. If leaf mould is not available, use old milled cow manure or commercial orchid compost. Since the plant is fast-growing, it should be repotted annually – preferably when it has finished flowering, but not necessarily in a larger container. The main reason for repotting is to provide the plant with fresh potting mixture; for Aporocactus flagelliformis use up nutrients swiftly. Use a container one size larger only when the current container is full of roots. Maximum convenient size is likely to be a 23cm (9 inch) baskets or 15cm (6 inch) pot. If a plant has outgrown such a container, it should be discarded and restarted from a cutting.

Propagation: To propagate, use either 15cm (6 inch) tip or 15cm (6 inch) segment of any part of the stem. Allow each cutting or segment to dry for three days; then insert it about 2cm (0.8 inch) deep in a small pan or pot of the recommended potting mixture for mature plants; be sure that any stem segment is planted with the bottom end down. If this shallowly inserted cutting tends to fall over, it can be supported by being gently tied to a small wooden stick. Cultivation needs of cuttings are the same as those for mature Aporocactus flagelliformis and rooting will occur within a few weeks.

These plant can also be grown from seed.

Uses: Aporocactus flagelliformis is suitable for growing indoors, in containers. It is drought-tolerant make it suitable for xeriscaping.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Length: 1.5m (5 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – direct
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: 10a-11



Cactus, Climber, Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , ,