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Tillandsia recurvata

Common name: Ball Moss, Small Ball-Moss, Ballmoss, Bunch Moss

Family: Bromeliaceae

Synonymous: Renealmia recurvata
Diaphoranthema recurvata
Tillandsia monostachya
Tillandsia uniflora
Diaphoranthema uniflora
Tillandsia pauciflora
Tillandsia recurvata var. contorta
Tillandsia recurvata var. minuta
Tillandsia recurvata f. contorta
Tillandsia recurvata f. minuta
Tillandsia recurvata f. minor
Tillandsia recurvata f. elongata
Tillandsia recurvata var. ciliata
Tillandsia recurvata var. genuina
Tillandsia recurvata f. major
Tillandsia recurvata f. argentea
Tillandsia recurvata f. brevifolia
Tillandsia recurvata f. caespitosa

Tillandsia recurvata

Tillandsia recurvata

Distribution and habitat: Tillandsia recurvata is indigenous to the warmer regions of the Americas; it ranges from the southern United States to northern Argentina and Chile. The northernmost limit of its natural occurrence is coastal Georgia, although it has been introduced into coastal South Carolina on landscaping trees. It has been reported in nature from Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Mexico, most of Central and South America and many of the islands in the West Indies.
The epithet recurvata is derived from the way the leaves tend to curl back (recurved leaves).

Description: Tillandsia recurvata is gray-green with scaly, recurved, linear leaves 5-15cm (2-6 inch) long. The leaves occur in two ranks on opposite sides of the steam. The overlapping scales which cover the steams and leaves absorb water when they are wet (rain or fog). The scales are also responsible for the relative tolerance of cold weather of this species.  They tends to form a spheroid ranging in size from a golf ball to a soccer ball. In autumn they produce 15cm (6 inch) erect spikes with one to seven funnel-shaped,  1cm (0.5 inch) long flowers with pale blue or violet petals and gray-scaly bracts at their bases.  After flowering, produce club like greenish-brown seed capsules. Most seedlings germinate on tiny branches and less often on vertical bark of tree hosts, which has been suggested to indicate that local spread of Tillandsia recurvata is mainly by seeds sprouting from bird droppings on stems of shrubs and trees. Rival authorities suggest that wind is the main agent of seed dispersal. Mature seeds have no apparent adhesive on the exterior and very little nutrient supply to support sprouting, but, like many other epiphyte seeds, they are borne plentifully and are armed with fine, straight hairs that could well adhere to wet or clinging surfaces such as rough bark.
Tillandsia recurvata does not have roots.

Houseplant care: Tillandsia recurvata is an easy to grow and prolific plant. They are very common in the commercial houseplant trade and are often decoratively attached to pieces of rock or driftwood.

Light: Tillandsia recurvata used as house plants do best in bright filtered light (a translucent blind is a useful filter). The Tillansia recurvata  with its white scales can better handle sunlight than Tillansia  species with the smooth shiny leaves.
Leave outside in the rain during the summer and bring indoors when temperatures start falling below freezing. When moving plants outdoors, gradually accustom them to increased light levels and never place them where they must endure the midday sun. When shifted to bright light too quickly, their leaves can sunburn.

Temperature: Room temperature ranging from 10 to 32°C (50-90°F) are fine for Tillandsia recurvata. These plant will adapt well to dry atmosphere by becoming dormant,  but thrives when is spray mist. They appreciate fresh air movement, so moving plant outdoor when the temperature allows is beneficial.

Watering: Soak Tillandsia recurvata  (fully submerged)  once a week during active growing season for 30 minutes to an hour, then shake them and allow to almost completely dry before replacing them in any kind of enclosure. The water should be dried in 4 hours. Do not use distilled water or softened water. Filtered water, tap water that has sat long enough for the chlorine to dissipate, bottled water are fine. Pond water, aquarium or rain water are all preferred.
Water sparingly during the winter.
Spray misting is insufficient as the sole means of watering but may be beneficial between regular waterings in dry climates to increase the humidity.
During the holidays, to leave alone the plant unattended for over two weeks, soak Tillandsia recurvata  in water for 12 hours before going in holiday and again for 12 after returning from holiday.

Feeding: Tillandsia recurvata does not require fertilising. However, an occasional dilute solution of foliar fertiliser applied during the growing season will speed up the growth.

Mounting: Hang a portion up with a wire and Tillandsia recurvata will form a cool-looking ball-shaped cluster.

Gardening: Tillandsia recurvata is relatively cold-tolerant species, but is sensitive to freezing, particularly when moist. It can tolerate temperatures as low as  minus 6°C (20°F).

Location: Tillandsia recurvata grows well in areas with low light, little airflow and high humidity, which is commonly provided by southern shade trees, often the Quercus virginiana (Southern Live Oak). It can grow in full sun but is happiest under a tree canopy.

Irrigation: Tillandsia recurvata  absorbs water from rain and can tolerate dry periods by becoming dormant. Tillandsia recurvata , like other bromeliads, is sensitive to lime. Irrigate with rain water or water that has been demineralized. To get the water where it needs to be, in the leaf axils and on the stems, use a sprayer or mister.

Fertilising: An occasional mist with quarter strength of foliar fertiliser applied during the growing season will speed up the growth.

Propagation: In nature, Tillandsia recurvata is propagating by seed. The dispersed tiny seeds that land on a tree branch, stick fast and develop root-like attachments to the bark.
Tillandsia recurvata, as ornamental plant, is propagate by dividing the balls. Clumps can be pulled apart to start new plants.

Problems:
Tillandsia recurvata is especially sensitive to lime, use pond water, aquarium or rain water ( low pH ) water for watering. Filtered water, tap water that has sat long enough for the chlorine to dissipate, bottled water are fine.

Do not plant Tillandsia recurvata in soil and do not allow them to stay wet for long time as they are prone to root.

Note: Tillandsia recurvata is a flowering plant that grows upon larger host plants. It derives mainly physical support and not nutrition from its host; it photosynthesizes its own food. It gets water and nutrients from the rain, atmosphere and dust. Tillandsia recurvata is a nitrogen fixer, meaning that it is able to convert atmospheric nitrogen (which is unusable to plants, except by legumes) into a form that plants can use. Though not a harmful parasite in the same sense as plants such as mistletoes that feed on the sap of the host, Ball Moss may compete with a host tree for sunlight and some nutrients and by restricting available surface area for new branch sprouts; however, except on stressed host trees (e.g., in some urban settings) it rarely has a noticeable effect on growth or health. When Tillandsia recurvata ball falls to the ground, it actually fertilizes the soil for other plants.
Despite their common name, the ‘ball mosses’ are not really mosses; Tillandsia recurvata are actually perennial flowering plants in the Bromeliad family and are closely related to Ananas comosus (Pineapples) and Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss).
Tillandsia recurvata is the only epiphyte that regularly lives on telephone wires. Clumps of Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss) sometimes land on wires, but they do not survive.

Uses and display: Tillandsia recurvata can be grown like other bromeliads or orchids, tied to a decorative piece of wood or tree bark or in an orchid basket.  Also, they are used as slow-growing decorative plants for terrestrial terrariums.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – spheroid cluster
Features – flowers
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
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 – high

Hardiness zone: 8a-11

 

Tillandsia recurvata Tillandsia recurvata Tillandsia recurvata Tillandsia recurvata Tillandsia recurvataTillandsia recurvataTillandsia recurvata



Air Plants, Bromeliads, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tillandsia stricta

Common name: Tillys, Air Plant, Airplant, Erect Tillandsia, Upright Air Plant

Family: Bromeliaceae

Synonymous: Anoplophytum strictum
Tillandsia rosea
Tillandsia conspersa
Anoplophytum bicolor
Anoplophytum krameri
Tillandsia langsdorffii
Tillandsia krameri

Tillandsia stricta

Tillandsia stricta

Distribution and habitat:  Tillandsia stricta is native to Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina, growing either on both the sands of beach dunes and in trees in the foothills of the Atlantic Range. This means that this plant has adapted to lots of different climates and would have leaves to match this diversity.
Despite the fact Tillandsia stricta is typically an epiphyte, growing upon another plant to collect light, water and nutrients, it is not an parasite plant. These plants use their roots only to anchor upon their host and they  rely solely on leaves to absorb water and nutrients.

Description: Tillandsia stricta are evergreen, clump-forming, short-stemmed, epiphytic perennials with leaves arranged into thick rosettes. They are a compact species to about 10cm (4 inch) across. There is a large number of variations that can be found in Tillandsia stricta plants: from soft leaved specimens to much harder, stiffer types and different coloured forms from light green leaves to silvery leaves and even verging on black. In early summer, they produce, when mature, bright red or bright rose bloom spikes with bright blue flowers. The spike is first held upright but then droops as it lengthens. The actual flowers are not long-lived, lasting for about a day at best, before it starts wilting, but the colourful bracts remain attractive for up to 10 weeks.
Tillandsia stricta hard leaf is one of the most vibrantly colored blooms in the genus and form a wonderful clump over time. The forms of Tillandsia stricta with gray-scaly, pale green leaves are adapted to take more sunlight than the green forms.
Tillandsia stricta plants, like other airplants, have little or no roots and absorb most or all of the water and food through their leaves. The eventual roots are used by these plants only to attache themselves to rocks or tree hosts.
The origin of this plant’s scientific name epithet (stricta) means ‘erect’ and describe the upright habit of this plant.

House plant care: Tillandsia stricta, after the initial introduction into their new home (about a month), have a much better chance of surviving in home condition than a potted plant. These plants are extremely adaptable, require low maintenance and can withstand some time of neglect.

Light: Bright filtered light is the general rule for Tillandsia stricta plants and the higher the humidity of the air the higher light will be tolerated. Place them at no more than 3m (10 feet) from the window. Direct sunlight may cause sunburn and leave unsightly marks on plants.
Tillandsia stricta can be grown in artificial light. Full spectrum artificial light (fluorescent) is best. The plant should be placed no further than 90cm (35 inch) from the fluorescent tubes and can be as close as 15cm (6 inch). A four-tube 122cm (48 inch) fixture works well. Bulbs can be any full spectrum type. Incandescent bulb are not suitable for plants grow lights. Provide 12 hours light per day.

Temperature: Optimum temperature range for Tillandsia stricta is 10 to 32°C (50-90°F). They also need moving air, not closed stale conditions. During the summer it is recommended to move this plant outside, in a shaded position to benefit from fresh air.
If Tillandsia stricta is kept in a terrarium, make sure they have air openings and is not placed where sunlight could magnify heat through the glass housing. An occasional placement in an shady outdoor place for a day can revive it.

Watering: Thoroughly wet Tillandsia stricta once a week; more often in a hot, dry environment; less often in a cool, humid one. Soak them (fully submerged) for 30 minutes to an hour, then shake them and allow to almost completely dry before replacing them in their globe or any kind of enclosure. If the plant is boasting a flower bloom, do not submerge the actual flower (just the body of the plant) as the esthetic appeal of the flower is permanently compromised.
Do not use distilled water or softened water. Filtered water, tap water that has sat long enough for the chlorine to dissipate, bottled water are fine. Pond water, aquarium or rain water are all preferred.
Plants should be given enough light and air circulation to dry in no longer than 4 hours after watering. If the plant dries within a very short period of time, it is not hydrating at all.
Spray misting is insufficient as the sole means of watering but may be beneficial between regular waterings in dry climates to increase the humidity.
If the plant is in a shell, be sure to empty the water out. Tillandsia stricta will not survive in standing water.
It is much better to water in the morning than at night. Airplants absorb the carbon dioxide from the air at night instead of the day time. If the plant is wet, it does not breath therefore, unless it can dry quickly at night, plan on morning baths.

Feeding: For Tillandsia stricta plants fertilising is not vital. Occasional fertiliser in water will speed up the growth, reproduction of pups and gain a more vibrant bloom. Apply a water soluble foliage fertiliser at quarter strength recommended on the label only during the warm months of reproduction.

Mounting: Tillandsia stricta can be grown basically anywhere, on rocks, in a seashell or on coral, in ceramic or pottery, attached to wood, but first should be considered how the plants are going to be watered. Also they should placed in a position accordingly with plants need for light. The following attaching materials are suitable to be used in air plants mounting: waterproof glue, plumbers glue, goop, shoe glue, Tilly tracker, fishing line, twisty ties, strings or even nails. Only use nails and stapling to tie around the plant. Nailing or stamping through the body of the plant will kill it. Also, do not not use superglue or copper wire as these will kill the plant.

Propagation: At the base of the mature plants will appear one to three pups or young plants that will grow to replace the mother plant now blooming that will degrade and die soon after. They will take a year to grow as large as their mother. The plant will multiply during the year with simultaneous blooms in a whole clumping community. The clump can be left to continuously grow or separate one or more pups to start new families. It is important to allow the pups to grow to 1/3 or half of the size of the original plant before removing it from the parent plant.  To separate the pups, grip with one hand the base of the mother and the base of the grown up pup in the other hand and tug apart with a slight twist. It should be easy to separate them and will not hurt the plants.
Tillandsia stricta is one of the fastest growing tillandsias from seeds. There are many cultivars of this species. Tillandsia stricta has been used in hybridization with other species such as Tillandsia albertiana and Tillandsia recurvifolia to obtain new hybrids that exhibit characteristics of both species.

Gardening: Tillandsia stricta are curious plants that may be grown outdoors as long as temperatures do not drop below 7°C (45°F).

Position: To grow Tillandsia stricta, locate this plant in a well ventilated place where there is under a shade with lots of indirect daylight and protection from hot sun. A brief morning or evening sun – about 1 hour – is fine especially for the northern climates.

Irrigation: In temperate climate with some humidity, Tillandsia stricta hanging in a tree may never need to be watered. Otherwise outdoor plants can be sprayed with a water hose twice a week for 5-6minutes and let to dray in plenty of day light. Misting them once a week is helpful but is not a substitute for soaking.
If grown outdoors, keep dry during winter.

Fertiliser: From mid spring through fall, mist daily and once a month, mist with quarter strength water soluble fertiliser.

Problems:
Do not plant Tillandsia stricta in soil and do not allow them to stay wet for long time as they are prone to root.
Treatment: Rotting areas on plant need to be removed to prevent spreading the rot.

Most commonly, Tillandsia stricta die as a result of water setting in the centre of the plant for too long.

Under-watering is evidenced by an exaggerating of the natural concave curve of each leaf, void of vitality or brown tipped leaves.
Treatment: Soak the plants as indicated on watering section.

Lighter colour in leaves is a sign that the plants needs more daylight.

Note: Tillandsia are some of the oldest members of the plant kingdom. This genus includes over 600 species. Not all of the 600 plus Tillandsia species are easy to maintain and cultivated as ornamental plants. On average, there are approximately 40-60 species available for sale and an appreciable number of hybrids and cultivars.

Buying tips: Steps that should be taken upon arrival of new air plants are the following: To reduce the plant stress, give them a bath for about 20-30 minutes. Simply soak them in a bowl of lukewarm water. Next lay them out to dry completely. Then they can be planted in a glass terrarium, mount them on a wall display or use them in other arrangements. The unsightly roots, if any, can be cut off and the brown leaves can be peeled off.
Do not fertilise plants for three weeks following their arrival, but be sure to follow directions for light and water.

Holidays: To leave alone the plant for over two weeks, soak Tillandsia stricta in water for 12 hours before going in holiday and again for 12 after returning from holiday.
Another option is to set them outdoors in all day shady area where the automatic water sprinkler system can water them twice a week.

Uses and display: Tillandsia stricta plants are suitable for epiphyte branches. They can be displayed to grace a tabletop, adorn the walls, drape across windows or nest among other plants. Tillandsia stricta grown in glass globes are becoming very popular and trendy way to display. Outdoors, grow Tillandsia stricta plant in dappled (partial) shade mounted upon a tree branch or crotch where it receives natural rainfall and has good air circulation. Use it as a tropical hanging basket specimen or as a companion to orchids in slatted wood trays. It can be grown upon a pot of coarse tree bark nuggets when young. Once it clumps into a rounded cluster, it can be set on a tray or table outdoors in frost-free regions.
Tillandsia stricta way of displays are unlimited from a single plant to collections of Tillandsia plants, from terrariums and holders to more natural mounts, from vertical gardens to container gardening or gather many of Tillandsia species together and frame them in a painting-like fashion.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – rosette
Features – flowers
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tillandsia strictaTillandsia strictaTillandsia strictaTillandsia strictaTillandsia strictaTillandsia strictaTillandsia strictaTillandsia stricta Tillandsia stricta hard leaf Tillandsia stricta soft leafTillandsia stricta



Air Plants, Bromeliads, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cleyera japonica

Common name: Sakaki, Cleyera, Japanese Cleyera

Family: Pentaphylacaceae

Synonymous: Cleyera fortunei

Cleyera japonica

Cleyera japonica

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 7a-10b

Cleyera japonica flowersCleyera japonicaCleyera japonica Tricolor



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

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

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

Family: Lamiaceae

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Clerodendrum thomsoniae Clerodendrum thomsoniae VariegatumClerodendrum thomsoniae DelectumClerodendrum thomsoniae Delectum Clerodendrum thomsoniae



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

Cattleya bicolor

Common name: Bicoloured Cattleya

Family: Orchidaceae

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

Cattleya bicolor

Cattleya bicolor

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

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

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

Light: Cattleya bicolor need bright light without direct sunlight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Cattleya bicolorCattleya bicolorCattleya bicolorCattleya bicolor



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

Catharanthus roseus

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

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonymous: Vinca rosea (basionym)
Ammocallis rosea
Lochnera rosea

Catharanthus roseus

Catharanthus roseus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catharanthus roseus is grown commercially in the pharmaceutical industry.

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Catharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseusCatharanthus roseus OcellatusCatharanthus roseus Alba



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

Begonia bipinnatifida

Common name: Fern Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia warburgii

Begonia bipinnatifida

Begonia bipinnatifida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bipinnatifida Begonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifida



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

Begonia luxurians

Common name: Palm-Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia luxurians var. sampaioana
Scheidweileria luxurians

 

Begonia luxurians

Begonia luxurians

Distribution and habitat: Begonia luxurians is an unusual species from the rain forests of Brazil that looks more like a palm tree than a Begonia. It is a tall shrubby cane-like begonias growing up to 4m (13 feet) tall over a few years. Its natural habitat would be in humid, semi shady locations. Although it is grown primarily for its highly decorative foliage it does bear pretty flowers, which are quite fragrant by all accounts.

Description: Begonia luxurians is an erect woody herb with purple stems.This robust, upright-growing species can grow 2.5 to 4m (8-13 feet) tall. The stems are hairy when young and become hairless with age. The leaves have 7-18 palmate lobes and hairy stalks. The lobes are lanceolate, acute, sharpy toothed, hairless. The stipules are lanceolate, acuminate and hairless. Large cymens carries pink flowers. The bracts are lanceolate. This plant has many male flowers and only few female flower. The male flowers has four perianth-segments, obovate and the outer surfaces are rough or hairy. These flowers are filaments free. The female flowers have five perianth-segments and are oblong and hairless with undivided placentae. The flagrant flower clusters appear from late winter into summer at the tops of the branches. The fruits are three celled capsule, about 6.7-9mm. They are hairy and equally three winged.

Houseplant care: Begonia luxurians is seldom flowering indoors. It is a large-leafed shrub-type growing 2.5m (8 feet) tall indoors, although it may be pruned to any size.

Light: Begonia luxurians plant enjoys filtered light but can take some sun in winter.
Plants grown under natural sunlight on a window side will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for actively growing plants. Overwinter these plants at no less than 10°C (50°F).
They will suffer in dry air. Over about 50% humidity is best for these plants. For increased humidity stand pots on trays of moist pebbles.

Watering: Water actively growing Begonia luxurians plants moderately, allowing the top couple centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the winter rest period water more sparingly, allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. It is recommended to use lukewarm water when watering these plants.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to actively growing Begonia luxurians plants. Do not apply fertiliser to newly repotted plants for about one month.
Also remember that a soilless potting mixture will need more frequent fertiliser applications than most soil based potting mixtures.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal parts of soil based potting mixture and coarse leaf mould. Place a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of pots for extra drainage.
Move the plants into pots one size larger every spring until maximum convenient pot size has been reached – probably 15-20cm (6-8 inch) . Thereafter, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture.
When potting and repotting these plants, simply sprinkle some mixture around the roots and tap the container briskly to settle the mixture. Do not firm it down with the fingers.
These plants are top heavy, so it is recommended to use heavy clay pots.

Gardening: Begonia luxurians is a very ornamental foliage plant very popular in cultivation. The species is readily grown in a greenhouse or – in suitably warm areas – the outdoor garden.
Begonia luxurians might be able to survive a light, brief frost, but it is strongly recommend keeping it above 2°C (36°F). Although extremely hot temperatures might stress this plant. Excess sun and wind cause flowers and leaves to dry up and the tropical luxuriance of the plant is diminished.

Position: Begonia luxurians requires bright filtered to part sun situation, but avoiding the mid-day sun. It enjoys dappled sunlight or bright shade. Protect it from strong sun exposure and winds.

Soil: Begonia luxurians prefer a free draining soil that tends towards being more acidic with a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. It does not like soggy soil though, so in heavy-rainfall areas, use a looser soil mix.
Use leaves to form a thick natural mulch layer around the plants that holds in the moisture and also breaks down to enrich the garden soil.

Irrigation: In the garden, water them deeply as required. They are succulent plants so they will accept quite dry conditions. Allow the soil to dry thoroughly before watering again. Do not to overwater these plants.
Water pot-grown Begonia luxurians when the soil surface dries out – test with fingertip to 2cm (0.8 inch) depth. When water the plant ensure that the pot is saturated, but do not allow them to stand in water.

Fertiliser: Add controlled-release fertiliser to the planting hole and apply a good general-purpose liquid fertiliser once a month.

Propagation: Begonia luxurians are best propagated via stem cuttings taken from near the base of the plant or by seed.
Stem cuttings propagation: Take a 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long cuttings of stem, best taken from near the base of the plant in spring or early summer. Trim each cutting immediately bellow a leaf, carefully remove the leaf and dip the base cut end of the stem in hormone rooting powder. Plant the cutting in a 8cm (3 inch) pot of a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite and enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case. Stand it in bright filtered light until renewed growth indicates that rooting has occurred. It will take about three to six weeks to root, less in case it is used the basal part of the steam. Uncover the rooted cutting and begin to water it sparingly and to apply standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks. Do not overwater to avoid rotting. About six months after the start of propagation, move the young plant into a slightly larger pot of standard potting mixture and treat it as a mature plant.

Propagation from seed: seeds are very tiny and should be not buried when sown. Mix them with little fine sand before sowing. Sow seeds trays in any standard germination medium (equal parts of peat and perlite or equal parts of vermiculite and perlite). A light mist spray of the surface will settle the seeds adequately. Keep the propagating trays in warm, moist conditions (intermittent mist ideal) in bright light, but no direct sun.
Prick the seedlings out into individual cells or small pots 6-8cm (2.5-3inch) when the first three leaves are formed. Use same potting mixture as for mature plants. The seedlings benefit from dilute applications of soluble fertiliser every two weeks. Re-potting will be necessary in about six months or so. Pot the new plants in pots one size larger when the root ball fill the pot. Thereafter treat them as mature Begonia luxurians.

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

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

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

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

Slags and snails are a problem in open garden.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Companion plants: Begonia luxurians associates well with other shade loving foliage plants such as ferns. It grows in the shade of larger plants such as bananas, tall grasses and palm trees.

Uses and display: While the flowers are certainly pretty, the real excitement of Begonia luxurians plants is its highly decorative foliage. The fan-like leaves emerge in an alternating, zig-zag pattern from each stem, for a great tropical look. It grows well indoors in a pot, and may even be raised as a bonsai specimen. It can be used as a tender perennial in a planter, where it can be grown to great effect alongside a palmate-leaved palm.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – bushy
Height: 2.5 to 4m (8-13 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10oC max 16oC (50-60oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 27oC (61-81oF)
Humidity – moderate

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Begonia luxuriansBegonia luxuriansBegonia luxuriansBegonia luxurians Begonia luxuriansBegonia luxurians



Begonias, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , ,

Begonia dregei

Common names: Dwarf Wild Begonia, Maple-Leaved Begonia, Wild Begonia, Wildebegonia, Grape-Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia richardsiana
Begonia caffra
Begonia favargeri
Begonia homonyma
Begonia macbethii
Begonia natalensis
Begonia partita
Begonia parvifolia
Begonia richardsiana
Begonia richardsoniana
Begonia rubicunda
Begonia rudatisii
Begonia sinuata
Begonia suffruticosa
Begonia uncinata

Begonia dregei

Begonia dregei

Distribution and habitat: Begonia dregei is an erect perennial to 1m (39 inch) tall, but usually to 40cm (16 inch) tall in cultivation. This plant has developed at the base a caudex. Between different populations of the species there is a large variation in leaf shape and size. These plants are found in small isolated population in nature and they hybridize easily with one another.
Begonia dregei is native to southern Africa and occurs in forests, on rocky, mossy cliffs and steep banks, from the coast up to about 600m (2000 feet) in altitude. It is grown as an ornamental plant and there are numerous hybrids of this species.

Description: Begonia dregei is a semi-tuberous, fleshy perennial that grows to about 40cm (16 inch) tall, typically with a swollen stem base (caudex). The stem are pale green to reddish green or gray-brown, hairless, branched or branchless. The leaves are small with the blade above green, often with reddish or purplish veins and margins, sometimes white-spotted, especially when young, hairless, beneath paler green, hairless, asymmetric, in outline ovate to ovate-lanceolate, apex acute to shortly acuminate, base deeply to very shallowly cordate or almost truncate, margins entire, toothed or with three to five short or long lobes, the lobes themselves sometimes lobed or toothed, veins palmate. The stipules are persistent, linear-oblong to ovate-oblong.
The inflorescence appear in upper leaf axils. It is a few-flowered, bisexual cymose; the flowers are fragrant; the bracts are deciduous, ovate to broadly ovate or oblong. The male flowers are formed by tepals two, white, sometimes pink-tinged or pink, circular or kidney-shaped. The stamens are about 50, arranged in a flattened spherical mass and the anther connectives projecting. The female flowers have bracteoles absent or rarely present and then small and insignificant; the tepals are in number of five, same color as males, ovate, elliptic, almost circular or obovate. The flowers appear in spring and summer. The fruit is three celled capsule, about 1–2cm across the wings.

Houseplant care: Begonia dregei is quick-growing and in winter becomes semi-dormant and it may lose some of its stems and leaves. They are an interesting arty looking plant, makes them ideal as a bonsai like as they resemble small trees. Their preference for under potting also contributes to growing them in this manner. They respond to pruning to shape to please the eye.

Light: Give Begonia dregei plants bright filtered light all year round. Plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperatures are suitable for Begonia dregei. In temperatures above 18°C (64°F) stand pots on trays of moist pebbles. During the winter keep these semi-dormant plants at a temperature of about 13°C (55°F) in bright filtered light as they retain their foliage while resting.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top couple of centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. As growth slows down, reduce amounts of water gradually. During the winter rest period give to Begonia dregei plants just enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out.
Use tepid water for these plants. Avoid getting water on leaves and flowers except for occasional necessary rinsing for grooming purposes.

Feeding: Apply a high-potash liquid fertiliser to actively growing plants about once every two weeks. Stop feeding the plants which are going dormant.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal parts of soil based mixture and coarse leaf mould. This species prefers a shallow pot. Put a layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of pots for extra drainage. When potting or repotting, simply sprinkle some mixture around the tuber and roots and tap the container briskly to settle the mixture.
These semi-tuberous Begonia dregei should be moved into pots one size larger each spring. When repotting always keep the tuberous swelling at the same level in the mixture. After maximum convenient pot size – 15-20cm (6-8 inch) – has been reached, top dress annually with fresh potting mixture.

Propagation: Begonia dregei plants are normally propagated from 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip cuttings of new growth taken in late spring or summer. Trim each cutting immediately below a leaf, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder and plant it in 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal parts potting mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (generally in three to four weeks), treat the rooted cutting as a mature Begonia dregei, but do not move it into the recommended potting mixture for the mature plants until it has made at least 15cm (6 inch) of top growth.

Begonia dregei grows very well from seed, and the new seedlings develop the swollen base very quickly. The seeds are very tiny and should be not buried when sown. Mix them with little fine sand before sowing. Seed is best sown in early spring or summer. Sow seeds trays in any standard germination medium (equal parts of peat and perlite or equal parts of vermiculite and perlite). A light mist spray of the surface will settle the seeds adequately. Keep the propagating trays in warm, moist conditions (intermittent mist ideal) in bright light, but no direct sun.
Prick the seedlings out into individual cells or small pots 6-8cm (2.5-3inch) when the first three leaves are formed. Use same potting mixture as for mature plants. The seedlings benefit from dilute applications of soluble fertiliser every two weeks. Re-potting will be necessary in about six months or so. Pot the new plants in pots one size larger when the root ball fill the pot. Thereafter treat them as mature Begonia dregei.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uses and display: Begonia dregei species is well worth growing for its curious swollen caudex, which often gives it a somewhat gnarled appearance and makes it an excellent subject for a bonsai pot. It makes a good specimen plant and can be used as table top plant or preferable placed on a south facing windowsill in winter and est-facing one in summer to provide them adequate natural light. This plant is often used in hybridization. It is interesting that it crosses with plants from different horticultural groups.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – upright
Height: 40cm (16 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia dregei Begonia dregei - female flowerBegonia dregeiBegonia dregei flowersBegonia dregei Begonia dregei - bonsaiBegonia dregei - female flower



Begonias, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Hobbyist Plants, Indoor Plants, Rare & Unusual Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Begonia caroliniifolia

Common name: Hand Begonia, Carolineabegonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Gireoudia carolineifolia
Begonia rotata
Gireoudia rotata
Begonia carolineifolia (misspelling)

Begonia caroliniifolia

Begonia caroliniifolia

Distribution and habitat: Begonia caroliniifolia is a perennial evergreen rhizomes form of begonia native to Southern Mexico and Central America. In the wild, these plants often lean against tree trunks or rocks, sometimes grasping them with their wiry roots.

In moist forest on steep,rocky slopes at an altitude of 50-495m.

Description: Begonia caroliniifolia is an upright rhizomatous with a striking woody trunk with palmately compound leaves that look like palm fronds. This plant does not branch freely and becomes quite large when well-grown, up to 60-100cm (24-39 inch) high. The stem is exceptionally tick, bearing the scars of the felled off leaves. This swollen trunk-like stems sprout decorative frilly-edged palmate foliage each leaflet with its own petiole, dense heads of small pink flowers.
The digitate leaves are arranged alternate and the leaflets are lanceolate with undulate margins. The leaves are hairless above, with long rusty hairs beneath glossy green, 30-40cm (12-16 inch) in diameter and have long reddish stalks 1-2.7cm (0.8-1 inch) merging into leaf-blades and densely hairy. The stipules are large, ovate-acuminate with outer surface hairy.
The light-pink flowers with yellow hearts are an added boon to this already beautiful plant. Dichotomous cymes are bearing pink flowers. Elliptic, obtuse bracts with outer surface hairy are subtending only the male flowers. The male flowers are 6.7-9mm across with two rounded-obovate perianth segments and filaments that are slightly fused at base. Female flowers are smaller and have two perianth segments and three persistent styles. The flowers are produced in late winter and spring. The flowers regularly for at least three months and sometimes longer and are followed by loculicidal three celled capsules about 9mm diameter and unequally three winged.

Houseplant care: Begonia caroliniifolia is an easy to grow plant and it is highly decorative not only its foliage but also its flower add colour and beauty.
A winter rest time seems is beneficial for these plants.

Light: Begonia caroliniifolia needs bright light without direct sunlight. Plants grown under natural sunlight on a windowsill will often perform best when provided with a south facing position in winter and est-facing one in summer. Do not rotate Begonia caroliniifolia if it is in the windowsill as the delicate stalk may break as the flower tries to reorient towards the sunlight.
Plants grown in too dark location will result in unnaturally pale foliage that is stretched towards the brightest source light. However plants receiving too much light will often have pale, bleached leaves with dry brown margins.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for actively growing Begonia caroliniifolia. Overwinter these plants at no less than 12°C (55°F).  These plants need a constant temperature to flourish.
For increased humidity stand pots on trays of moist pebbles.

Watering: Water actively growing Begonia caroliniifolia plants moderately, allowing the top couple centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. During the winter rest period water more sparingly, allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Use lukewarm water when watering these plants.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to actively growing Begonia caroliniifolia plants. Do not apply fertiliser to newly repotted plants for about one month. Also do not fertilise sick or dormant plants because they are particularly susceptible to root damage.
Also remember that a soilless potting mixture will need more frequent fertiliser applications than most soil based potting mixtures.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based mixture or a combination of equal parts of soil based potting mixture and coarse leaf mould. Place a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments in the bottom of pots for extra drainage.
Move the Begonia caroliniifolia plants into pots one size larger every spring until maximum convenient pot size has been reached – probably 15-20cm (6-8 inch) . Thereafter, top-dress annually with fresh potting mixture.
When potting and repotting these plants, simply sprinkle some mixture around the roots and tap the container briskly to settle the mixture. Do not firm it down with the fingers.

Gardening: Begonia caroliniifolia tolerate temperatures only above at least 1°C (34°F). They are tender but very drought-proof. These plants make interesting subjects for containers or they grow well in the garden in areas with warm humid summers . Although they may be slow to establish.

Position: In warm sunny areas, Begonia caroliniifolia plants should not receive bright direct sunlight and light should be indirect (scattered off surrounding object) or filtered (by netting or trees). In northern regions this shading is often necessary during the spring and summer, but in fall and winter they will need far less shading.
Begonia caroliniifolia needs plenty of garden space (or a large tub) as it will spread its very large rhizomes over a considerable area.

Soil: Begonia caroliniifolia prefer a free draining, light and well aerated soil that tends towards being more acidic with a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil is alkaline, add some sulphur to increase the acidity. To improve the drainage, add some compost or other organic matter when preparing the soil for these plants.
Use leaves to form a thick natural mulch layer around the plants that holds in the moisture and also breaks down to enrich the garden soil.

Irrigation: In the garden, water them deeply as required. They are succulent plants so they will accept quite dry conditions. Use tepid water to water these plants.
Water pot-grown Begonia caroliniifolia when the soil surface dries out – test with fingertip to 2cm (0.8 inch) depth. When water the plant ensure that the pot is saturated, but do not allow them to stand in water.

Fertiliser: While Begonia caroliniifolia are actively growing they will benefit from a regular application of water soluble fertiliser containing a 20-10-20 mix of the three major plant macro-nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Always follow the instruction that come with the fertiliser. Overfertilising the plant can damage the roots.

Propagation: Begonia caroliniifolia can be propagated by rhizome cuttings which are similar with stem cuttings. Like other stem cuttings, use cutting with nodes. Rhizome cuttings can be made at any length. The rhizomes do not have to have leaves to root and grow. Tip cuttings from rhizomes can be rooted upright with the cut end stuck 1.2-2.5cm (0.5-1 inch) into the rooting medium. When using the tips of rhizomes remove the largest leaves as they will probably fall off during rooting anyway. Dip the cut rhizome in hormone rooting powder. Plant it in a 8cm (3 inch) pot of a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Make sure the rhizome has good contact with the rooting medium but not buried more than half way. Enclose the new planted rhizome in a plastic bag or propagating case. Stand it in bright filtered light until renewed growth indicates that rooting has occurred. Uncover the rooted plant and begin to water it sparingly and to apply standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks. Do not overwater to avoid rotting. About six months after the start of propagation, move the young plant into a slightly larger pot of standard potting mixture and treat it as a mature plant. Using this method of propagation it is obtained a new plant faster.

Propagation from seed: The seeds are very tiny and should be not buried when sown. Mix them with little fine sand before sowing. Sow seeds trays in any standard germination medium (equal parts of peat and perlite or equal parts of vermiculite and perlite). A light mist spray of the surface will settle the seeds adequately. Keep the propagating trays in warm, moist conditions (intermittent mist ideal) in bright light, but no direct sun.
Prick the seedlings out into individual cells or small pots 6-8cm (2.5-3inch) when the first three leaves are formed. Use same potting mixture as for mature plants. The seedlings benefit from dilute applications of soluble fertiliser every two weeks. Re-potting will be necessary in about six months or so. Pot the new plants in pots one size larger when the root ball fill the pot. Thereafter treat them as mature Begonia caroliniifolia.

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

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

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

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

Slags and snails are a problem in open garden.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uses and display: Begonia caroliniifolia is striking as a house plant and surely just as much an eye-catcher in your terrarium or as a exotic plant at home. It makes an excellent feature plant for any garden scheme. This distinctive and dramatic plant features large, light green compound leaves and an upright growing. It is an unusual specimens within its genus.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – upright
Height: 60-100cm (24-39 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 12oC max 16oC (55-60oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 27oC (61-81oF)
Humidity – moderate

Hardiness zone 10a-11

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