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Passiflora caerulea

Common name: Blue Passion Flower, Common Passion Flower, Hardy Passionflower, Passion Vine, Passionvine

Family: Passifloraceae

Passiflora caerulea

Passiflora caerulea

Distribution and habitat: Passiflora caerulea is a species of flowering plant native to the rain forests of South America (Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil). It is a woody vine capable of growing to 15–20m (49-66 feet) high where supporting trees are available. It is found on margins of forests and gaps and in riparian zones (banks of watercourses).

Description: Passiflora caerulea is a vigorous, deciduous or semi-evergreen tendril vine growing to 10m (33 feet) or more, with palmate leaves and fragrant, blue-white flowers with a prominent fringe of coronal filaments in bands of blue, white, and brown. The long, thin stems attach themselves to any available support by means of spiral-shaped tendrils. It has a wiry, dark green, angular stems bearing shiny and deep green leaves. The leaves are alternate, palmate-shaped – five-lobed like a spread hand (sometimes three or seven lobes), 10cm (4 inch) long and wide. The base of each leaf has a flagellate-twining tendril 5–10cm (2-4 inch) long, which twines around supporting vegetation to hold the plant up. Short-stalked, saucer-shaped flowers open up from fat, pale green, oval buds that appear singly along the stems throughout the summer and early autumn. Each 8cm (3 inch) wide flower consists of five white petals and five white sepals of equal lengths encircling a wheel-shaped collection of fine, colourful filaments with five prominent golden antheras and three brown stigmas in the centre. The filaments are purple at the base, white in the middle and blue at the tip. In the wild and in the garden the flowers are followed by 5cm (2 inch) long, yellow to orange, fleshy, edible fruit, but this are not produced indoors.

The plant has a very long flowering period, from early summer to early autumn, though individual flowers only live for about 48 hours. The flowers are open all night and start to close in the morning and they are delicately scented.

Houseplant care: Passiflora caerulea is grown as an indoor plant, it is relatively easy to care after and will flower when still young, even in a small pot. It require supports to cling to and they usually benefit from drastic pruning. In early spring cut young plants (but not recently rooted cuttings) down to within 15cm (6 inch) of the potting-mixture surface. Prune older plants as much as necessary and cut back every side branch to 5-8cm (2-3 inch). Drastic pruning of older plants will not affect them adversely.

Provide all plants with thin supports to which tendrils can cling. Guide young growth by twining it gently around the supports until the stems produce tendrils. Passiflora caerulea are particularly attractive when they are trained over two hoops of stout wire. Place the two hoops opposite each other in the potting mixture.

Light: Grow Passiflora caerulea in bright light throughout the year. It should be exposed at least three to four hours a day to direct sunlight.

Temperature: During the active growth period Passiflora caerulea will thrive in a warm room, but it needs a winter rest period in a cool position, ideally at a temperature of about 10°C (50°F).

It requires moist air. Stand the pot on a tray of wet pebbles and spray-mist the leaves daily with room-temperature water.

To ensure blooming, give your plant slightly cooler nighttime temperatures. A difference between day and night temperatures of 8°C (15°F) will do. It also requires 4 hours or more of direct sunlight.

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

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

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Although a young plant will flower in a 10cm (4 inch) pot, it must be moved into a 15cm (6 inch) size pot in the following spring. There after, move the plant into a one size larger pots in spring whenever necessary. Because larger pots tend to encourage stem and leaf growth at the expense of flowers, use pots no larger then 20cm (8 inch) and top dress with fresh mixture annually.

Propagation: Propagate in summer by 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long stem cuttings. Take each cutting just below the leaf, remove the lower leaf, dip the cut end in a hormone rooting powder and plant the cutting in an 8cm (3 inch) pot filled with moistened equal parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagator case and stand it in bright filtered light.

Rooting should normally occur in three or four weeks. When new growth begins to appear, uncover the plant, move it into bright light and begin to apply standard liquid fertiliser about every two weeks. Water only sparingly, however and stop feeding the new plant at the beginning of winter. Leave it in its pot and give it the winter rest recommended for mature plants. In early spring move the young plant into a 10cm (4 inch) pot of standard mixture and treat it as a mature Passiflora caerulea.

Problems:
It is a good idea to inspect the passion flowers plant for mealy bugs.
Treatment: If you see a white cottony substance, wipe them away with a cotton swab or cotton ball dipped into rubbing alcohol.

Availability: Passiflora caerulea is available for sale nearly year-round at some online garden sites that offer tropical plants.

Uses: Passiflora caerulea is widely cultivated as a wall-climber or as ground-cover. In milder temperate areas it can be grown outside and can become invasive, the twining shoots constantly appearing unless eradicated.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 10m (33 feet)

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

Hardiness zones: 6a-10b

Passiflora caeruleaPassiflora caeruleaPassiflora caeruleaPassiflora caeruleaPassiflora caeruleaPassiflora caerulea



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

Hoya carnosa

Common name: Wax Plant, Waxvine, Porcelainflower, Hoya, Honey Plant, Hindu Rope, Porcelain Flower

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonymous: Asclepias carnosa

Hoya carnosa

Hoya carnosa

Distribution and habitat: Hoya carnosa is one of the many species of Hoya that are native to Eastern Asia and Australia.
Hoya carnosa grow in lowland tropical rainforests where they wrap around or hang high in the trees. They are semi-epiphytic (not parasitic) and like constant moisture (around 5000mm (200 inches) of rain per year) and high humidity. In wild, Hoyas that climb more often they not start growing at ground level, gradually working their way upwards towards light or others scrambles over rocks, growing continuously and reaching lengths of 6m (20 feet) or more.

Description: Hoya carnosa is a fast growing climber with glossy, elliptical, dark green leaves 8cm (3 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) wide. The leaves grow in opposite pairs and have short leaf-stalks. Hoya carnosa is a common house plant grown for its attractive waxy foliage and sweetly scented flowers. Flowers are growing in clusters of convex umbel of 10 to 30 are white to very pale pink, always with red centre. The flowers are star-shaped and their surface are covered in tiny hairs giving them a fuzzy sheen appearance. They are 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) wide carried on a woody spur about 2cm (0.8 inch) long which arises from the leaf axil. The long lasting clusters of flowers are produced every year – normally throughout the summer – on 3-5cm (1-2 inch) long stalk. These flowers which last about one week produce lots of nectar and have a strong sweet fragrance that it can fill an entire room at night.

Houseplant care: Hoya carnosa is one of the easier Hoya to care for. It can tolerate the drying climate of a room better than other members of the genus and it is less vulnerable to cold temperatures.

When grown indoors – the climbing Hoya carnosa can grow quite tall – are usually grown on small trellises or are trained around wire or stakes. When is young and small look attractive when grouped together in a hanging basket.

The flowers sometimes drip sticky honeydew that could make mess on furniture.

Allow the flowers to dry and fall off on their own. Hoya spurs produces flowers year after year. By removing spurs (little leafless stem) will has as effect a reduced flowers quantities for the future.

The plant’s long vines can be pruned back to keep it compact or instead, prune the main stem to encourage more side shoots that may produce flowers later. The best time to prune is early spring, before Hoya carnosa start their most vigorous time of growth.

Light: Three to four hours a day of sunlight are essential for healthy growth and flowering. Harsh afternoon sun can burn the leaves, so it is best to place the plant where it will receive early morning or late afternoon sun. Place Hoya carnosa plant in a sunny, south- or west-facing window for the best results. Also, Hoya carnosa will grow well in artificial light.
If a Hoya carnosa is mature but has not bloomed, it is usually because it is not getting enough light. Keep it in bright, indirect light for best results.

The flowers will always face toward the brightest light. Do not turn the plant when flower buds are forming or it may abort the blooming process.

Temperature: Normal room temperature are suitable for these plants. Keep the air temperature above 10°C (50°F) in winter and provide temperatures of 16 to 21°C (60-70°F) in summer.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately, allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out between waterings. During the rest period water only enough to keep the mixture from drying out.

Fertilising: Give Hoya carnosa a high-potash liquid fertiliser once every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move climbing Hoya carnosa into pots one size bigger each spring until maximum convenient pot size is reached. Move trailing plants on only once in two years. After reaching maximum pot size, top-dress these plants instead of moving on. Never repot a plant when it is in bloom because it may drop its flower buds.

Propagation: Propagate Hoya carnosa in spring by means of stem cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long. Take each cutting immediately below a pair of leaves, dip the cut end in a hormone rooting powder and plant two or three together in a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite.

Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand in medium light until rooting occurs (normally, in six to eight weeks). Uncover the new plants and begin to water them sparingly. After future top growth appears, start regular feeding. About three months after the start of propagation move the new plants into soil-based mixture and treat them as mature Hoya carnosa.

Problem: Hoya carnosa is generally trouble-free.

Overwatering will result in leaves turning brown.

Hoya carnosa that dry up and drop their buds have been allowed to become too dry between waterings.
They will also drop their buds if the potting mixture is constantly kept too wet.
Do not move the plant when buds are forming because changes in light may cause them to drop. Raising the humidity can help.

However they do not dry up in this case but become yellow and spongy or brown and mushy. The buds that open but fall off soon after are probably placed where a cool draft is hitting them, maybe from a fan.

The tip ends of the new growth of Hoya carnosa dies off. The causes of stem tip burn can be: low humidity, overfertilising, stems touching a cold or hot surface.

Hoya carnosa can be attacked by mealy bugs (white cottony patch) and scale insects (small brown insects that cling to stems and leaves, secreting a sticky residue on the plant).
Treatment: Treat the plant against mealy bugs and scale insect with a mix of a little mild dishwashing detergent with water and spray the infected plants. The soap will coat and suffocate the insects. Rinse the plants off with clean water to make sure the pores on the leaves are open so the plant can breathe.

Sometimes tiny little little black flies that fly around potted Hoya carnosa plants. These are Fungus gnats (Bradysia species). They lay eggs in the potting mix. The eggs hatch out into tiny almost microscopic worms that feed on the peat moss and often on the roots of plants.
Treatment: A very small amount of a systemic pesticide watered into plants every five weeks or so, will get rid of them.

Toxicity: Hoyas carnosa produce a milky sap laden with latex and are considered toxic. This does not necessarily mean they are poisonous; however, it would be best to keep them out of the reach of pets and children. Anyone with an allergy to latex should avoid handling the plant if it is damaged.

Note: Hoya carnosa has been in cultivation for more than 200 years and has given rise to many cultivars that vary in foliage form or flower color.

Like all Hoyas, this species flowers from specialized perennial structures referred to as spurs. These appear from the axils of the leaves and stem; flowers may not be produced when the spurs first appear, but in time buds emerge from the tips. Each season new flowers are produced on these same spurs, so they should not be damaged or removed.

Use: Hoya carnosa is usually grown indoors in hanging containers or containers that allow the plant to climb. Fold the stems back over the pot when they get too long.  Flowers are fragrant. This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and bird.

Recent studies at the University of Georgia have shown Hoya carnosa to be an excellent remover of pollutants in the indoor environment.

Recommended varieties:
Hoya carnosa ‘Exotica’ is a variegated leaved form of Hoya carnosa. It has a broad yellow stripe down the centre of each leaf.

Hoya carnosa ‘Variegata’ (Golden Wax Plant) has leaves bordered in creamy white, which may even be pink-tinged.

Hoya carnosa ‘Krinkle Kurl’ called  Hindu rope is one of the most commonly grown form of Hoya carnosa. The leaves of this cultivar are twisted and contorted, crowded along the stem, and folded lengthwise.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 3.6-4.7m (12-15 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

 

Hoya carnosa ExoticaHoya carnosa VariegataHoya carnosa mature flower spur



Climber, Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ceropegia woodii

Common Name: Chain of Harts, Collar of Hearts, String of Hearts, Rosary Vine, Hearts-on-a-String, Sweetheart Vine

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonymous: Ceropegia barbertonensis
Ceropegia collaricorona
Ceropegia euryacme
Ceropegia hastata
Ceropegia leptocarpa
Ceropegia linearis
Ceropegia schoenlandii

Ceropegia woodii

Ceropegia woodii

Distribution and habitat: Ceropegia woodii is native to South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. It is an evergreen succulent trailing vine that grows to 10 centimetres (4 inch) in height and spreads to reach up to 2–4 metres (6.5–13 feet) in length. It lives in forested areas with its small tubers embedded on rocky ledges or in banks of soil. In its natural environment, root development is stimulated when the nodes touch the soil. The plant is thus easily grown from cuttings.

Description: Ceropegia woodii are trailing stemmed plants, pendent arising from a tuberous rootstock. Only Ceropegia woodii from Ceropegia species is popular as indoor plant, which is a highly effective trailer for use in a small hanging basket.

The tuberous base of Ceropegia woodii is quite hard, gray, woody and wrinkled and it can eventually measure as much as 5cm (2 inch) across. It usually sit on the surface of the potting mixture and from it emerge several purple, thread-like stems. These stems can grow 1m (3 feet) long, but do not generally exceed 45cm (18 inch).

Along stems, at about 8cm (3 inch) intervals, grow opposite pairs of fleshy, heart-shaped leaves on short leaf stalks. The delicate little leaves are dark green and marbled with silvery white on the upper surface and purple on the underside. From the leaf axils appear 2cm (0.7 inch) long flowers vertically oriented, each of which is a narrow, fresh-coloured tube housed in a small, round, purple base. The flowering season for Ceropegia woodii is usually late summer to early autumn. The flowers last up to six weeks.

Here and there along the stems of Ceropegia woodii, tuberous growths are produced and these are used for propagation. The flexible stems branch occasionally, usually at one of these small tubers.

The stem can grow free hanging down over the edge of the pot or basket, but alternatively the long stems can be trained upward on miniature trellises.

Houseplant care:
Light: Ceropegia woodii needs at least three or four hours of direct sunlight every day. Too little light impairs leaf colouration and extends the gaps between the pair of leaves.

Partial shading is useful when the plant is grown outdoors.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Ceropegia woodii throughout the year.

It can be grown outdoors only in subtropical and tropical areas, with a minimum temperature of 15°C (59°F).

Water: In the active growth period water sparingly, just enough to make the potting mixture barely moist, allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During winter, water very sparingly , just enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Fertilising: During the active growth period give standard liquid fertiliser once a month, but only to fully mature healthy plants.

Potting and repotting: Use an equal-parts combination of soil-based potting mixture and coarse sand. Be sure to have a shallow layer of clay pot fragments in the bottom of pots for quick drainage. Move small plants into pots one size larger in spring; older plants will continue to thrive in 8cm (3inch) or 10cm (4 inch) pots or half pots for several years. When planting a few Ceropegia woodii in a single hanging basket, place the tubers about 4-5cm (1.5-2 inch) apart to get them the most effective display.

Propagation: At any time during the active growth period, Ceropegia woodii can be propagated by means of the tuberous growths produced along the stems. After removing a stem tuber, set it in a small pot of recommended potting mixture over which a centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of coarse sand has been sprinkled. Placing the tuber just on top of sand to prevent rot.

Alternatively, stem cuttings 15cm (6 inch) long may be used instead; they should be planted in same mixture, but some extra sand should be trickled down the hole made for the cutting as insurance against rotting.

The potted tuber (or cutting) should then be stood in medium light and watered very sparingly – allow about two-thirds of the potting mixture to dray out between applications – until the new feeding roots are established. New top growth will appear before these roots have been made; this may take around eight weeks, after which growth will be quite quick. When the young plant is established and growing well, move it gradually into a position where it will get direct sunlight. From this stage the plant can be treated as a mature Ceropegia woodii.

Problems: Ceropegia woodii is generally trouble-free.

Yellowing leaves may indicate rotting of the tuber, due either to over-watering or to winter temperatures that are too low.
Treatment: Remove soil from around the tuber and allow it to dry out if the damage is not too severe. Unfortunately, if the tuber has rotten the condition cannot be reversed and the plant will have to be discarded.

Ceropegia woodii has few pests, but mealybugs can be a problem.
Treatment: Treat any infestation immediately with an appropriate pesticide. Spray all top growth with pesticide. During the next month examine plants weekly for traces of re-infestation.

Uses: Ceropegia woodii is often grown in hanging baskets so the long trailing branches can hang down with their leaves spaced out like a row of long beads.

Ceropegia woodii may be used as a focal plant to attract interest, because the flowers have a unique shape. It is ideal for hanging baskets that could be hung from tree branches or above a patio. Alternatively, consider potting the plant and training it to grow along a small, circular trellis to produce a decorative hoop of leaves. It will be attractive when hung against a wall like a curtain or from the top of a pergola. It is best used as a container plant under roofed patios, on verandas, balconies of flats or any other place in and around the house where space is restricted.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – trailing
Height: 1m (3 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 10 – 11

Ceropegia woodii leavesCeropegia woodii flower

 

 

 

 

 

 



Bulbs, Corms & Tubers, Climber, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Euphorbia milii

Common name: Crown of Thorns, Christ Plant, Christ Thorn

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Synonymous: Euphorbia Splendens

Euphorbia milii

Euphorbia milii

Distribution and habitat: Euphorbia milii is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family Euphorbiaciae, native to Madagascar. It is a succulent climbing shrub with densely spiny stems. The straight, slender spines help Euphorbia milii scramble over other plants. The leaves are found mainly on new growth and are obovate. The flowers are small, subtended by a pair of conspicuous petal-like bracts, variably red, pink or white.

Description: Euphorbia milii is a dense shrub up to a metre (3 feet) or so tall, it has 2cm (0.8 inch) tick dark brown stems armed on all sided and at frequent intervals with sharp spines of varying length (mostly around 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch)).

Clusters of bright green, elliptic, 5-6cm (2-2.4 inch) leaves, which are produced near the growing tips of the stems, last for at least several months before dropping off, leaving the plant’s spiny stems permanently bare. Old leaves are not replaced and new ones will appear only on new terminal growth.

The flowers are tiny, but each is surrounded by a pair of 2cm kidney-shaped, bright red bracts, which look rather like petals. Clusters of from two to six of these paired, flower-like bracts appear on 5cm (2 inch) stalk at the ends of actively growing spiny stems. They are not produced on the old stems. A sticky substance on the flower stalks adheres to the finger if touched. The main flowering season normally last from early spring through late summer, but flowering can be continuous if plants get exceptionally good light.

Houseplant care: Euphorbia milii does not require too much care but as Euphorbia milii is one of the spiniest plants, be particularly careful when handling the plant.

Euphorbia milii is not fast growing, so pruning is usually not necessary until the second or third year. Pruning is best done during cool, dry weather in late spring to lessen the risk of stem disease. Remove only dead and overly tangled stems.

Light: Euphorbia milii needs all the sun it can get. The brighter and more constant sunlight, the longer its flowering season will be.

Temperature: Warm rooms and dry air normally suit these plants, through they can, if necessary, tolerate temperature as low as 13°C (55°F). If the air becomes any cooler, the leaves are likely to begin falling prematurely.

Watering: Water plants grown in normal room temperatures moderately, enough to make the entire potting mixture moist, but allowing the top couple of centimetres (0.8 inch) of the mixture to dry out between waterings. After the main flowering season ends, give to plant a little less water; and if the temperature fall below 16°C (61°F) for long time, let the top half of the mixture dry out between waterings. Never let the roots to dry out completely as dry roots can cause premature leaf-fail.

Fertilising: Apply week liquid fertiliser every two weeks from the late spring to early autumn. If plants are in such an ideal condition that they will continue to flower during the winter, feed them once a month.

Potting and repotting: Use a combination of two-thirds of soil-based potting mixture and one third of coarse sand or perlite for good drainage. Move the plants into pots one size larger in early spring every second year. Older plants which have reached maximum convenient pot size should be top-dressed annually with fresh potting mixture.  It is essential to pack the mixture firmily around the roots of the plant when potting Euphorbia milii.

Gardening: When grow Euphorbia milii outdoors, choose a sunny, well-drained planting site. This plant will tolerate a few hours of shade during the hottest part of the day but does require sunshine for at least two-thirds of the day. Soil drainage must be excellent or the plant will develop root rot, fatal for plant. Add soil amendments, such as compost or peat moss, if the soil is sandy or of poor quality.

Dig a hole for each plant as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Space plants 0.5m (2 feet) apart to ensure proper air circulation. Carefully remove the plant from its container and inspect the roots. Prune away any broken, shriveled or mushy roots, then gently loosen the soil around the outside of the root ball with the fingers. Set the plant into the planting hole at the same level as it was in the container. Backfill around the roots with soil, pressing firmly with the hands to remove air pockets. Water around the base of the plant to settle the soil; keep water off the foliage.
Water newly planted Euphorbia milii often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. The plant has established itself when it start new growth. At that point, water Euphorbia milii only when the top 3cm (1 inch) of soil is dry.

Propagation: New plants can be raised from short tip cuttings taken in spring or early summer. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut off growing tips 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long and stop the latex flow immediately by spaying the old plant and dipping the cuttings in water. Allow the cuttings to dry out for a day before setting them in small pots containing a slightly moist equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand or perlite.

It is important not to let the mixture become more than slightly moist; if the potting mixture is too wet, the cuttings will rot before they can produce roots. Place the pots where they can get bright light but without direct sunlight, at normal room temperature. Keep the potting mixture just barely moist, allowing the top two-thirds to dry out between waterings. When rooting occurs (in five to eight weeks), move the young plants into the standard soil-based potting mixture and treat them as mature specimens after they have made around 5cm (2 inch) of top growth.

Problems: Euphorbia milii is generally trouble-free.

The plants will survive drought conditions, though under extreme drought leaves will drop permanently.

Stems that are cold-damaged (soft stems with burned leaves) are likely to rot and should be removed as soon as the damage is evident. Plants should be protected from freezing temperatures.

Uses: Euphorbia milii easily develops a hanging habit and is grown in window boxes or terrace planters. The attraction is the bright scarlet-bract flowers which may appear all year.

Both salt and drought-tolerant, Euphorbia milii  is a valuable addition to tropical gardens.

Toxicity: The sap of Euphorbia milii can irritate the sensitive skin; that of some species is poisonous and acrid and it is therefor advisable to place the Euphorbia milii where they are unlikely to be knocked and out of the reach of young children.

Recommended varieties:
Euphorbia milii var. hislopii has tick stems armed with 2cm (0.8 inch) long spines; its lance-shaped leaves are 2cm (0.8 inch) long and its red or pink bracts are up to 2cm (0.8 inch) across.

Euphorbia milii var. splendens differ from the species in that it can grow 2m tall, its stem are 1-2cm thick and its leaves are more oblong in shape than those of Euphorbia milii.

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Euphorbia milii var. hislopiiEuphorbia milii var. splendens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Climber, Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs, Succulents , , , ,

Mansoa alliacea

Common name: Garlic Vine, Wild Garlic, Ajo Sacha, Amethyst Vine

Family: Bignoniaceae

Synonymous: Adenocalymma alliaceum
Adenocalymma pachypu
Adenocalymma sagotii
Bignonia alliacea
Pachyptera alliacea
Pseudocalymma alliaceum
Pseudocalymma pachypus
Pseudocalymma sagotti

Mansoa alliacea

Mansoa alliacea

Distribution and habitat: Mansoa alliacea is an evergreen climbing plant native to tropical South America, where it grows wild in the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, the Guianas and in Costa Rica. It is especially abundant in the forests near the Amazon, Ucayali and in the Peruvian Amazon.

It grows into a semi-woody vine that attaches itself around the trunk of a large tree for support as it climbs skywards to reach for sunlight. The terminal leaflet of this plant is often modified into a tendril that helps the vine to cling onto a support.

Description: Mansoa alliacea is an ornamental evergreen vine, 2-2.5m (6 to 8 feet) tall; opposite leaves divided into two ovate leaflets, up to 15cm (6 inch) long. The leaves are bright green.

Two special features makes this plant pretty unique: First, the tri-colour blooms. Secondly, its specific garlic-like odor when parts of plants are crushed.
Deep lavender flowers with white throat are fading to a paler lavender as they mature. Three different colour of flowers can be seen at the same time on the plant. The vine blooms heavily twice a year: in fall-winter and in spring, although it may also have some flowers on and off throughout the year.
Crushed leaves smell like garlic, although of course the plant is not related to the common edible onion or garlic at all. Usually the odor is noticed when its leaves are crushed or when prune its branches. The heavy clusters of  flowers do not emit any scent at all, so no worry that the garden or home will heavily smell of garlic when this plant blooms!

Mansoa alliacea can be described as either a shrub or a vine because it produces numerous woody vines from the root, that grows only 2-2.5m (6 to 8 feet) tall and form a shrub-like appearance.

Houseplant care: Mansoa alliacea is a vine with a moderate growth rate. It can be grown in containers and should be trimmed after the flowers are gone. Plants in 12-20cm (5-8 inch) pots should be kept them to about 90cm (35 inch) height; one way to keep them within reasonable limits is to train new growth around an inverted hoop of rattan cane or wire.

Outdoors grown Mansoa alliacea should not be overly pruned as flower buds appear on new growth. By pruning away the vines to keep new growth in check, plants will became flowerless.

Light: When grown indoors, Mansoa alliacea need bright light and some direct sunlight to flower.

Outdoors, plant the Mansoa alliacea in full sun position. Although the plant accept half-shade, but positioning them in a totally shaded location, should be avoided. The lack of sunlight  is leading to the development of foliage at the expense of flowering.

Temperature: Mansoa alliacea likes warm temperatures in summer and cooler in winter. Normal room temperature is great for Mansoa alliacea all year round.

Hardy to temperatures above 1-2º C (34-36°F ), avoid freezing temperatures. Ideally for subtropical regions only, when grown outdoors.

Water: During the active growing period water plentifully – enough to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but do not overwater. Requires regular watering, especially during the flowering period.

Reduce watering in resting period. Water just enough to make the potting mixture moist, but allow the top centimeter (0.5 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out between waterings.

Mist leaves every day for increased humidity.

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

Potting and repotting: Mansoa alliacea does well in compost-enriched soil that is well-draining. Move the young plants of Mansoa alliacea into pots one or two size lagers in summer. After they reach the 20-25cm (5-8 inch) pot size, annual top dressing with fresh potting mixture will suffice.

Gardening: Mansoa alliacea prefers a sunny to half shady site and can withstand temperatures only above 1-2º C (34-36°F ). It is best to grow it in well-drained soil that is mulched at the base with compost to keep the roots cool and moist. Keep it well-watered so that plants do not shed its lower leaves which can make vines look straggly.

The plant is a climbing vine that turns woody and heavy over time. Hence it is recommended to grow it on a strong timber trellis in an exposed area where it can receive direct sunshine for most of the day. Mansoa alliacea is a showy climbing vine for strong supportive structures.

Propagation: Mansoa alliacea can be propagate from cuttings. Semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken for propagation. Each stem should have at least 3-4 nodes and can be stuck into a mixture of sand and compost to start the rooting process, after removing some leaves to reduce water loss. Rooting hormone powder is usually not needed.

Uses: It said that this houseplant pushes out all the bad luck from the house. It is one of the most rewarding flowering vines, bearing beautiful lavender hued bell shaped flowers. It can be grown in containers and should be trimmed after the flowers are gone. Mansoa alliacea serves a two in one purpose of air purification and treatments (as will be mentioned bellow).

Mansoa alliacea is great for chain link fences (or any fence), or a large trellis. It is a vine with a moderate growth rate and one need not worry that is will become an unruly resident in the garden. It can be grown as a loose flowy bush, but is most attractive on supports, fences, trellises, pergolas, etc. It is a vigorous grower and establishes quickly.

This plant is even used as substitute for garlic in food. The entire plant – roots, stems and leaves – is used in herbal medicine systems in Peru and Brazil. It is considered analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and anti-pyretic. Both the bark and the leaves are used in tinctures and decoctions. In addition, the leaves are also used as a common remedy for coughs, colds, flu and pneumonia and as a purgative.

Mansoa alliacea is also effective as a mosquito and snakes repellent.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 2-2.5m (6 to 8 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11



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Philodendron hederaceum

Common name: Heartleaf Philodendron, Heart-leaf Ivy, Philodendron, Sweetheart Plant

Family: Araceae

Synonym: Philodendron cordatum
Philodendron cuspidatum
Philodendron micans
Philodendron oxycardium
Philodendron scandens

Philodendron hederaceum

Philodendron hederaceum

Distribution and habitat: Philodendron hederaceum is a hemiepiphyte vine native to Central America and the Caribbean. Most of these plants occur in humid tropical forests, but can also be found in swamps and on river banks, roadsides and rock outcrops. Philodendron hederaceum are often found clambering over other plants or climbing the trunks of trees with the aid of aerial roots.

Description: Philodendron hederaceum is an evergreen climber growing to 3–6m (10–20 feet), with heart-shaped glossy leaves 10cm (4 inch) long and 8cm (3 inch) wide with 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long leaf-stalk. The leaves have acutely pointed tips. The leaves look slightly brownish and almost transparent when they are new, but they quickly become deep green as they grow to maturity. Occasionally spathes of white flowers appear in mature plants.

Philodendron means “tree loving” and many of these species have two growth phases, a juvenile form and a mature form, which often look very different as leaf size and shape. Container-grown specimens almost always stay in the juvenile phase.

Houseplant care: Philodendron hederaceum is one of the easiest of all house plants to grow. It is very vigorous grower that can take a wide range of conditions.

Experienced growers recommend regular pinching out of the growing tips in order to make the Philodendron hederaceum bushy. Otherwise, the stems tend to grow too long giving the plant a skimpy look.
Try to pinch close to the node because any bare stem that is left will die, and the node will not grow a new stem. Use sharp scissors or pruners.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately, giving enough at each watering to moist the potting mixture throughout and allowing the top centimeter (0.4 inch) of so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During the sort midwinter rest period water only enogh to keep the entire mixture from drying out completely.

Philodendron hederaceum is not terribly set back by dry indoor air, but moist air does seem to lead to larger leaves and faster growth. Mist the plant to increase the humidity. It is best to use purified water, minerals in tap water build up on the leaves.

Light: Philodendron hederaceum will tolerate low light, for quite a long time, though like most “low-light” plants, it will do better if given bright indirect light.

Temperature: Philodendron hederaceum will grow well in normal to warm indoor temperatures 24-27ºC (75-80ºF).  Philodendron hederaceum cannot tolerate temperatures which drop below about 13ºC (55ºF).

Fertilise: Throughout the months while the Philodendron hederaceum is actively growing apply standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Like other houseplants, philodendrons benefit from repotting to a larger container when they become root bound and outgrow the original pot.

Use a combination of half soil-based potting mixture and half leaf mould or coarse peat moss. Move Philodendron hederaceum into container one size larger only when their roots have completely filed the current one. Do this at any time of year except during the short rest period. After the maximum convenient pot size has been reach (probably about 25-30cm (10-12 inch)), an annual spring top-dressing with fresh potting mixture will help to keep the plat healthy.

Use a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot. If  a decorative container without drainage is used, then use it as a cachepot – just slip the plain nursery pot into the cachepot. It is recommended to cover the bottom of a cachepot with pebbles to keep the plant above the drainage water.

Propagation: Cutting and layering are popular methods of Philodendron hederaceum propagation. Try propagating them during the growing season.  Along the vine branches there are small brown nubs formed where the leaves meet the stem. These nubs, when in contact with soil or water, will grow roots. There are many ways to propagate this plant, the easiest being to cut a branch just below a root-nub and place it in water with a few pieces of horticultural charcoal to reduce the likelihood of rot. As soon as new leaf growth is noted, pot in rich soil. The plant can also be propagated within its own pot by pinning vines at the root-nub to the soil with hairpins or bent wire. The root-nub in contact with the soil will sprout new roots shortly. When sections of Philodendron hederaceum are rooted, the plant will greatly benefit from misting several times a day (with purified water, if possible).

Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids, spider mites, mealybugs and scale. Leaf spots may occur. Root rot can occur in overly moist soils.

Small leaves or long spaces between leaves show that the plant is not getting enough light.
Treatment: Move the Philodendron hederaceum plant to a brighter location, but not into direct sun.

Interesting facts: There is about 200 year old discussion going on about the true name of this plant. There are still references to Philodendron oxycardium, Philodendron scandens and Philodendron cordatum in houseplant books etc., but Philodendron hederaceum is the actual correct name. The reason for all the names, in part, is that the plant has a really variable habit, depending on its age and growing conditions, so specimens collected at different times and places may differ in size, habit, coloration and texture.

Toxicity: Parts of the plant are known to contain calcium oxalate crystals in varying concentrations. Although the plant is known to be toxic to mice and rats, the current literature is conflicting with regards to its toxicity in cats. Its possible toxic effects on humans are currently unknown although likely very mild if not harmless.

Uses: Known for their ability to thrive in low-light conditions typical of many homes and offices, Philodendron hederaceum plants are often grown for their lush foliage. It can be grown as a climbing or training specimen depending on whether its long stems are trained up supports or are allowed to trail over the rims of the pots or hanging baskets.

Philodendron hederaceum as a climbing species is usually tried to a stake inserted into the potting mixture for support. For best results, dress the stake in sphagnum moss until form a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) thickness over the full length of the stake above the potting mixture level. Alternatively, nail a piece of rough-textured cork-bark to the stake. The sphagnum moss or cork-bark being used must then be sprayed with water at least once a day. Doing this it will stimulate the aerial roots of the Philodendron hederaceum to get a firm hold on this support. Be sure that the support is tall enough to accommodate the eventual total growth of the plant.

In the tropical and humid subtropical regions Philodendron hederaceum can be used as a ground cover or on arbors or trellises for dependable, soft green color and a tropical look, particularly around patios, windowsills and pools.

Philodendron hederaceum is also noted by NASA among the best types of houseplants for removing formaldahyde, especially higher concentrations. It is capable to absorb between 80 and 90% of the formaldehyde present in water-based paint, roofing felt or insulation material, glues in fitted carpets or even laminated wood floors!

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 3–6m (10–20 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11



Climber, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , ,

Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’

Common name: Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, Hunter’s Robe, Ivy Arum, Money Plant, Silver Vine, Solomon Islands Ivy, Taro Vine

Family: Araceae

Synonyms: Epipremnum aureum
Pothos aureus

Distribution & Habitat: Native range extends from Northern Australia through Malesia and Indochina into China, Japan and India. The species have become naturalised in tropical and sub-tropical forests worldwide, where it has caused severe ecological damage in some cases. Scindapsus aureus can become a highly invasive species when introduced into tropical countries where it is not native. Having no natural enemies, it completely overgrows the forest floor as well as the trunks of trees, causing severe ecological disruption.

Scindapsus  'Marble Queen'

Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’

In temperate regions Scindapsus aureus is a popular houseplant with numerous cultivars selected for leaves with white, yellow, or light green variegation. It is often used in decorative displays in shopping centers, offices and other public locations largely because it requires little care and is also attractively leafy. Scindapsus aureus is also efficient at removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. As a houseplant it can reach a height of 2m (80 inch) or more when given suitable support.

Description: Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ has large, glossy, heart-shaped leaves of green marbled with cream, are a feature if this indoor plant. Train up a totem pole or grow in a hanging basket or decorative pot to best display its attractive foliage. The leathery, shiny-surface, hart-shaped leaves are arranged alternately on 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long leaf-stalks. Flowers are not produced indoors. Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ is closely related to heart-leaf philodendron, which it resembles.
Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ can be trained to grow upright on stales, wires or strings. they also can be encouraged to use their aerial roots to support themselves on stabs of rough tree bark as long as the bark is kept constantly moist. Or they can trail down from either, pots or hanging baskets.

Proper Care: Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ is a very easy plant to grow and as long as certain instructions are followed, this pretty plant will grow quickly and provide the rooms with a colourful leaf display. Best grown in warm spot protected from droughts. Keep moist but not wet and apply liquid fertilizer during the growing season for lush new growth.

In order to prevent the Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ from growing too big, cut back the stem of larger plants every spring to a point just in front of a healthy leaf.

Water: Water it regularly but less so in cold weather. The leaves need frequently mist. Leaf drop is a good indication of over watering. Scindapsus cannot survive in waterlogged soil.

During the active growth period water moderately, allowing the top cm (0.5 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the winter rest period give just enough to prevent the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Light: Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ prefers indirect or curtain-filtered sunlight. Bright filtered light throughout the year is best for those plants. At low light levels the leaves lose much of their colour contrast.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable during the active growth period. Give to Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ a winter rest around 15°C (59°F), if possible. Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ is extremely sensitive to a sudden drop in temperature below 10°C (50°F).

For increased humidity in warm rooms it is a good idea to stand pots on trays of damp pebbles, and suspended saucers of water under hanging baskets.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks during the active growth period. To fertilize new plant wait six months.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plats into pots one size larger every spring until maximum convenient size (probably 20cm (8 inch)) has been reached. Thereafter, top dress every spring. If plating in a hanging, place five or six rooted cuttings around the rim of the basket. These will have enough space for only two or three years. After that replace them with newly rooted cuttings in fresh mixture.

Uses: Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ as a tropical vine with variegated foliage and vigorous growth is used as indoor planters or greenhouse plant. Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ is ideal plant for offices, shopping centers, hotels and other public areas because easy maintenance and relative reduced light requirements and because they are efficient at removing indoor pollutants. This plant is ideal equally as homeplant in a hanging basket, climbing a plant pole, or spilling over the edge of a table or shelf.

NASA places this plant among the top 3 types of houseplants great for removing formaldhyde. Also known for removing carbon monoxide and increasing general indoor air quality.

Propagation: Propagate it from stem cuttings, from sections of main stems or by air layering.

Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ can be propagated in spring from tip cuttings 8-7cm (2.5-3 inch) long. Take each cutting immediately below a node, remove the bottom leaf and dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder. Plant three or four cuttings together around the rim of an 8cm (3 inch) pot (or several into a hanging basket)  of soil-based mixture and treat them as mature specimens.

Toxicity: The plant is toxic to house pets such as cats and dogs, because of the presence of insoluble raphides. Care should be taken to ensure the plant is not consumed by house pets or children. Symptoms may include oral irritation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Some people develop a skin rash as a result of contact with the plant sap. Wear gloves when pruning Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ ivies to prevent this kind of reaction.

Problems:
Yellowing and Falling Leaves: The cause is overwatering especially in winter. Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ cannot survive in waterlogged soil.

Brown and Shrivelled Leaf Tips: The air is too dry, mist the leaves regularly.

Brown Leaf Edges; Brown Spots On Leaf Surface: The cause is underwater during the growing season. The surface of compost should become dry between waterings but root ball must not be allowed to dry out.

Curled Limp Leaves: The cause is cold air damage. Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ is extremely sensitive to a sudden drop in temperature below 10°C (50°F).

Pest: There are a few problems you may encounter with this plant. Mealybugs are one of the most common insect problems that will have the Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’. Treat the plant a week or two with a spray mixture of water and rubbing alcohol, followed with a wash down with mild liquid dish soap and water. Treat until run off, let dry then apply the second wash. Apply this treatment twice a week for two weeks and the plant should be safe. Never apply this treatment with the plant in the sun or when the soil is dry.

Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ characteristics:

  • Can be trained  to climb on a totem pole
  • Scindapsus aureus ‘Marble Queen’ is suitable for hanging basket as well
  • Indoor filtered light
  • Liquid Fertilizer
  • Low maintenance
  • Plant type: Climber
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Foliage colour: Green marbled with cream
  • Flower: Insignificant
  • Suitability Climate zones: Humid subtropical, humid tropical
  • Light requirements: Shade, semi-shade
  • Soil type: Loam
  • Minimal temperature: 14-16°C (57-60°F)
  • Optimal Temperature: 22-26°C (71-78°F)
  • Size: 1-2 m (40-80 inch)
  • Hardiness zone: 10a-11


Climber, Foliage Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Platycerium bifurcatum

Common Names: Elk Horn Fern, Elkhorn, Stag’s Horn Fern

Synonymous: Platycerium alcicorne

Family: Polypodiaceae

Platycerium bifurcatum

Platycerium bifurcatum

Distribution and habitat: Platycerium bifurcatum is an epiphytic rainforest fern native to Australia and New Guinea. This fern will fix itself on trunks or branches of trees with a shielded-shaped frond that clasps on its host bark. A second type of fronds grows on the same fern – the fertile fronds – spreading or drooping and forked like a stag’s antlers, which is what gives its common name.

Decsription: Platycerium bifurcatum is growing to 90cm (35 inch) tall by 80cm (31 inch) broad, it has two kinds of fronds: heart-shaped sterile fronds and arching grey-green fertile fronds. The sterile fronds are 12–45cm (5–18 inch) long growing at the base of the plant and clasps the plant’s support. The fertile fronds are forked and strap-shaped and grow up to 90cm (35 inch) long.

The sterile frond main function is – apart form holding the plant to its support – to trap debris that can be broken down into nutrients as it falls from the branches of the host tree. In time this frond becomes brown and papery and a new green one forms in its place.
The single sterile frond is constantly being replaced, each new one appearing as a small silver spot on top of its predecessor and gradually spreading over the dry brown rather papery surface of the earlier one. When it is young, the new ‘shield’ is a soft peppermint green, which gradually turns brown. At first it clings tightly to the brown patch bellow it, but is unfurls for the last few centimeters (1 inch) of its growth and it is this upward-turning section that catches falling leaves and any other tree debris in the wild.

The fertile fronds are more decorative. They are several in number, fleshy and deep green which is overlaid with fine, white, felty scurf. The overlay of white scurf give the fronds a silvery green appearance. When mature, they have brown spores arranged in dense clusters on their undersides, mainly concentrated at the tips of the fronds.
The fertile fronds develop from the centre of the sterile one; they can extend up to about a metre (3 feet) or so with each of the terminal ‘antlers’ as much as 22cm (9 inch) long. These long folds are often semi-erect with the divided parts drooping a little. There are a number of quite different forms, which have fronds of varying colours and length.

Houseplant care: Platycerium bifurcatum is much the easiest species of Platycerium to grow indoors. It will do best when it grows on a pieces of rough bark or tree fern. Alternatively, Platycerium bifurcatum can grow in moss filled baskets.

Clean the fronds by leaving them in gentle rain in mild weather or by mist-spraying them; Wiping them with a soft cloth or sponge is not a good idea as it will remove the attractive felty scurf. Do not allow water to remain on the fronds.

Light: Platycerium bifurcatum should be kept in a well-lit position away from direct sun.
Strong direct sunlight, however, will rob the fronds of much of their colour and may cause unsightly markings.

Temperature: Platycerium bifurcatum likes temperatures up to 24°C (75°F) as long as humidity is maintained high.  An ideal summer temperature is about 21°C (70°F) with a minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F).

Maintain a humid atmosphere by mist-spraying the plant once a day.

Airy, well ventilated places suits these ferns best. For this reason is best to grow them suspended on a piece of bark or in hanging baskets.

Water: During the spring and summer give to Platycerium bifurcatum enough water at every watering to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely before watering again. During the rest period water these ferns much more sparingly than in the growing period, giving only enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Because the ‘shield’ frond often covers the surface, it may be virtually impossible to water some potted Platycerium bifurcatum from above. The way to solve this problem is to submerge the root portion in a large container of water until it is soaked. During the active growth period leave the plant in water for 15 minutes or so at each watering. During the rest period leave the plant in the water for no more then one or two minutes at a time. Whatever the plant is growing actively or resting, do not soak it again until it is obviously in need of water, which will be indicated by abnormally droopy fronds or by an evident loos of weight of the plant.

Fertilising: Feeding is rarely necessary, but mature plants – especially  those growing on bark – should have two or three applications of standard liquid fertiliser during the period of active growth. For a satisfactory feeding, the bark section that carries the roots should be immersed for a few minutes in the fertiliser solution until it is thoroughly soaked.

Potting and repotting: There are three ways to grow Platycerium bifurcatum. The most natural way is to let them attach themselves to the rough and moist surface of a piece of bark or similar material; another way is to plant them in wooden hanging baskets; the least satisfactory way is to pot them.

Platycerium bifurcatum plants are often sold growing  on a piece of tree fern or bark. When the sterile fronds of such plants have almost covered their backing, fasten the fern onto larger piece of material, either tying or carefully nailing the two together.
To fasten a plant initially to bark wrap the small, spongy root mass in an equal parts mixture of very coarse peat moss and sphagnum moss and tie this bundle securely to the backing with some strong cotton – not nylon – thread. Keep both bark and root mass moist until the roots (which are sparse) and the sterile fronds have adhered to the support.

Alternatively, plant the fern in a wooden, slatted hanging basket (similar to those used for orchids) which is filled with same mixture of peat and sphagnum moss. When established, the plant will gasp the slats firmly.

Platycerium bifurcatum can be grown in pots only when very small, since they wrap their supportive fronds around the pot, which must be broken to sever their hold. It is extremely difficult to move them into larger containers.

Gardening: Within its hardiness zones the Platycerium bifurcatum it is usually grown outdoors. When you grow them epiphytically on a tree, the way they do in nature, they require very little care. The sterile fronds collect falling debris which composts itself in the space between the frond and the tree. This composted organic material absorbs water during rains, which the plant uses when rain becomes scarce.

If not in suitable climate for leaving these plants outdoors all year long, Platycerium bifurcatum is attached to a piece of wood or is grown in hanging baskets. In both cases the fern can be sheltered to safety during harsh winter conditions.

Place them in a well lit position away from direct sun and care them as per indicated above.

Propagation: Propagation is usually from spores and not practical for the indoor amateur grower.

Larger plants occasionally develop more than one growing point and a small side growth can be detached without harming the rest of the plant; this can be treated as a new young specimen on bark or in a basket.

More often, however, old plants are broken up into several separate sections, but it should be kept in mind that the braking-up process may cause considerable damage to some sections.

Problems: Any problems that arise are likely to be the result of incorrect care – insufficient humidity in hot dry conditions or overwatering in winter.

Dry indoor air will cause brown tips.
Treatment: Mist the fronds regularly to keep the humidity high.

However, do not allow the base of the fern to stay wet, which may cause it to rot.

Avoid damaging the fronds by over-handling.

Platycerium bifurcatum are not often troubled with pests, but scale insects sometimes infest the underside of the fronds.
Treatment: They can be treated by applying methylated spirit on a fine-tipped brush direct to each on the insects.

Uses: Platycerium bifurcatum is used as house plant. It is best grown on large slab of bark or wood. It can also be effective in a hanging basket.

Outdoors Platycerium bifurcatum can be grown epiphytically on a tree as well as mounted on a piece of wood or grown in hanging baskets in shaded position.

SUMMARY:

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

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 18°C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a – 11

 



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