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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 , , , , ,

Capsicum annuum

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

Family: Solanaceae

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

Capsicum annuum

Capsicum annuum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diseases include Verticillium wilt and mosaic virus.

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 8-11

Capsicum annuumCapsicum annuumCapsicum annuum



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

Begonia bipinnatifida

Common name: Fern Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia warburgii

Begonia bipinnatifida

Begonia bipinnatifida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bipinnatifida Begonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifida



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

Begonia bogneri

Common name: Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Begonia bogneri

Begonia bogneri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bogneriBegonia bogneriBegonia bogneri



Begonias, 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 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

Begonia caroliniifoliaBegonia caroliniifoliaBegonia caroliniifoliaBegonia caroliniifoliaBegonia caroliniifoliaBegonia caroliniifoliaBegonia caroliniifolia



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

Begonia incarnata

Common name: Metal-Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia aucubifolia
Begonia ciliata
Begonia insignis
Begonia martiana
Begonia metallica
Begonia papillosa
Begonia subpeltata
Knesebeckia aucubifolia
Knesebeckia incarnata
Knesebeckia papillosa

Begonia incarnata

Begonia incarnata

Distribution and habitat: Begonia incarnata is a species of evergreen perennial succulent herb in the family Begoniaceae, native to Mexico. It is found in deciduous and pine forests of medium and high altitudes from 800 to 1700m (2600-5600 feet) or growing as secondary vegetation in damp places and shallow soils. This plant thrives in habitats that include wet and shaded slopes.

Description: Begonia incarnata is a fibrous-rooted hirsute begonia with fleshy stems and bushy habit, growing up to 90cm-1.2m (35-47 inch) tall. Its 15cm (6 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) wide, oval leaves are alternate and lobed, tooth-edged and covered with white hairs. Leaf colour is olive green with metallic gloss and the deep-set veins are purple. The slender petioles about 2.5cm (1 inch) long. Sometimes stipules can be observed (at the base of the petiole) narrowly ovate , pointed, up to 1cm (0.4 inch) long, reddish.
The whitish, summer-blooming flowers are covered with pink hairs. The inflorescence with few flowers pedicellate – pedicels up to 2.9cm (1 inch) long – are clustered towards the apex of slender stalks – up to 7cm (3 inch) long. The peduncles and pedicels are without hairs. The flowers are unisexual and plants are monoecious or rarely dioecious. Male flowers are preponderant. The male flowers have 4 tepals (undifferentiated petals and sepals): two of them are external nearly circular up to 1.3cm (0.5 inch) long and the other two are shorter and narrower placed between the external tepals. In the middle of the male flowers are numerous elliptical stamens with the filaments bonded to the base and topped by anthers. The female flowers have 5 tepals oblong-ovate, up to 8mm (0.3 inch) long with the ovary which is continued by three styles united at the base. The flowers are accompanied by deciduous, narrow , bracts up to 8 mm (0.3 inch) long, pointed. The fruit is a capsule with 3 wings most probably with one wing larger then others.

Houseplant care: Begonia incarnata is primarily grown for its beautiful foliage, but the blooming can be a bonus for its appearance. Keep the leaves of Begonia incarnata clean and glossy by dusting them with a soft brush, supporting each leaf with the hand to prevent damaging it. Avoid using leaf-shine products. Pinch the plant tips and prune outer stems in the growing season to make a bushier plant. Regularly remove spent flowers to encourage new flowers to develop.

Light: Begonia incarnata needs bright light without direct sunlight to form great foliage, but can take some sun in winter.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for actively growing Begonia incarnata. Overwinter these plants at no less than 13°C (55°F). This species does not tolerate temperatures below 10°C (50°F) and will suffer in dry air. For increased humidity stand pots on trays of moist pebbles. These plants need a constant temperature and fairly high humidity to flourish.

Watering: Water actively growing Begonia incarnata 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. Water these plants avoiding wetting their leaves.
Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Promptly remove the standing water.

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

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.

Gardening: Begonia incarnata does not tolerate temperatures below 10°C (50°F), therefor in temperate regions it must be grown under glass. They do not like cold weather.
These shrub-likes begonias need tip-pruning in the early stages to encourage lateral growth and an overall pruning as adults to achieve the desired shape and size. This may be done at any time.
Begonia incarnata grow well in the garden and they are also well suited to being a potted plant.

Location: Begonia incarnata prefer semi-shade position. The ideal place to plant Begonia incarnata is where they get morning sun and dappled shade during the day but are protected from the hot afternoon sun.

Soil: Begonia incarnata prefer a free draining 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: The leaves on Begonia incarnata are sensitive to water and need to be watered from below. Water will blister and discolor the leaves.
In the garden, water them deeply as required. They are succulent plants so they will accept quite dry conditions.
Water pot-grown Begonia incarnata 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 incarnata ca be propagated by cuttings or seed.
Cuttings propagation: Take a 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long cuttings of nonflowering shoots in spring or early summer. Trim each cutting immediately bellow a leaf, carefully remove the leaf and dip the 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. 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 coccinea.

Problems:
Yellow patches on the leaves indicate a virus.
Treatment: There is no cure and the plant should be destroyed to prevent the infection spreading.

Brown or black spots on the leaves are signs of rot which can result from overwatering or poor air circulation.
Treatment: Drench with a mild solution of fungicide to prevent the rot spreading and move the plant to an airy spot.

White spots on stems and leaves indicate an attack of powdery mildew.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable fungicide and carefully remove any dead leaves or flowers as they may be affected. Repeat the treatment at regular intervals until all the white spots have gone.

Sudden leaf drop is caused by fluctuating temperatures and irregular watering.
Treatment: Cut back the stem tips and keep the plant warm and moist. The plant will grow new leaves quite quickly.

Scorched, brown leaf tips are caused by lack of humidity and water.
Treatment: Water frequently during hot weather and raise humidity by standing the pot in a saucer of pebbles which are kept constantly damp.

Life span: With some care, Begonia incarnata will live for many years.

Companion plants: Contrast the glossy foliage of Metal Leaf Begonia with a Euphorbia pulcherrima (Christmas flowers) or Begonia semperflorens (Wax Begonia) to create an attractive display.
While they can be grown in the flower bed, try them among ferns, Cordyline species (cordylines), Croton species (crotons) and bromeliads as a contrast in height and shape.

Usage and display: Begonia incarnata are prized for their attractive foliage, but their flowers are an add-on to plants appearance. They grow well in the garden and they are also well suited to being a potted plant. These plants can be kept in standard pots or in hanging pots. It is the perfect choice for beds and borders as well as it is superb for baskets, containers and window boxes. Also Begonia incarnata is an wonderful choice for combination plantings.
It makes a wonderful specimen plant for a big room or hallway. Display it in a large pot on a pedestal to show off the leaves and their hanging clusters of flowers to best advantage.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – upright
Height: 90-120cm (35-47 inch)

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 incarnata flowersBegonia incarnata leavesBegonia incarnata



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

Calathea makoyana

Common name: Peacock Plant, Cathedral Windows, Brain Plant, Calathea Peacock

Family: Marantaceae

Synonymous: Calathea olivaris
Goeppertia makoyana
Maranta iconifera
Maranta makoyana
Maranta olivaris
Phyllodes mackoyana

Calathea makoyana

Calathea makoyana

Distribution and habitat: Calathea makoyana is a species of evergreen perennial native to eastern Brazil, occurring in the undergrowth of the tropical forests. It grows from a thick rhizome and reaches a height of 30-50cm (12-20 inch). In their native environment, the soils are sandy and seasonally moist, not consistently wet.

Description: Calathea makoyana is a tropical plant with decorative foliage. Although the leaves may seem to rise directly from the root stock, they are normally connected to short multi-trunked or clumping stems. It has roughly oval leaves 25-30cm (10-12 inch) long on 25-30cm (10-12 inch) long stalks and they turn slightly to display the pinkish-maroon underside as well as the green upper surface. Both surfaces have very fine lines running from the central vein in a V-shape to the leaf edges, along with elliptic patches dark green on the upper surface and deep maroon on the underside. The new leaves are rolled up when they emerge and are pinkish-red on the undersides.
Flowers may be seen peeping through pale green bracks on mature plants, but they are insignificant. They are white and appear periodically throughout the year.
The Calathea makoyana plants will reach their maturity and ultimate height in an interval between 5 to 10 years.

Hoseplant care: Typically tropical, Calathea makoyana need heat and humidity and shade from direct sunlight. Remove the dying or discoloured leaves.

Light: Calathea makoyana prefers medium light – for example at a tree-shaded window. Bright light is often the cause of spoiling the foliage.
Move the plant outdoor in the spring and summer, bringing them indoors in autumn.

Temperature: A temperature ranging between 16°C (60°F) and 21°C (70°F) is ideal. In warmer rooms high humidity is essential and the foliage should be mist-sprayed daily. Rainwater is excellent for this, since it leaves no unsightly white lime deposit.

Watering: During the active growth period water plants plentifully – as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. In the rest period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist, but allow the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Use water at room temperature.

Feeding: Calathea makoyana should be given generous amounts of standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period. Additional, foliar fertiliser with nitrogen or iron content can be used if the foliage colour needs improvement.

Potting and repotting: Add up to one third leaf mould or peat moss to a soil based potting mixture. In later case, however, the mixture must be kept constantly supplied with application of liquid fertiliser when plants are in active growth. Healthy plants need to be moved into pots one size larger every year – which should preferably take place in late spring or early summer.

Gardening: Calathea makoyana can be grown outdoors in warm, sheltered, frost free climate in draught-free conditions.
The dead leaves should be pruned away.

Position: Bright or direct light will cause the leaves to appear washed out. Calathea makoyana plants need shade from full sun, but can stand a little morning sun.
Very low light will cause leaf colour to pale.

Soils: Calathea makoyana thrive in well-drained acidic soils and will grow in clay, sand or loam soils as long as they are given sufficient organic material. Amend garden soil with organic matter such as compost and ground bark to enhace both drainage and water-holding capacity.
Keep the plants mulched with 3cm (1 inch) of organic matter such as ground bark. Work the mulch into the bad as it rots and replace it with fresh one.
Space the plants 30cm (12 inch) apart in beds.

Irrigation: Water only as the soil begins to dry. Water thoroughly, keep soil evenly moist to touch (not saturated). Do not allow plants to sit in water. In winter, water only when the soil becomes dry and do not soak the soil to avoid root rot.
Prepare to water outdoor plantings very regularly, using shaker hoses or dip irrigation.

Fetiliser: Feed with a liquid fertiliser every two weeks during spring and summer and once a month during autumn and winter. Do not fertilise the plant too often as overfertilising may cause leaf spots.

Propagation: In late spring divide any overcrowded clumps of Calathea makoyana, making sure that some roots remain on each part. Plant the sections in 8cm (3 inch) pots of moistened standard mixture, enclose them in plastic bags and keep them in medium light. Remove the plastic bag when the new roots have formed on the sections.

Problems:
Brown tips or edges on leaves indicate low humidity, fluoride in water or too much fertilizer.
Treatment: Increase the humidity around plants by placing the pots on trays of moistened pebbles. Use only soft water to water the plant or to spray the foliage. Flush the pot with water to wash the potting mixture from fertiliser surplus.

Plants do not thrive in low humidity where leaves may roll or brown up.
Treatment: Increase the humidity around plants by placing the pots on trays of moistened pebbles. Additionally mist-spray the plants with soft water. Water the plant adequatelly in high temperatures.

New leaves that are lighter in color are not getting enough nitrogen or iron.
Treatment: If the fertiliser does not contain nitrogen and iron nutrients, use a foliar spray that lists these nutrients on their label. Improvements should appear within a few weeks.

Calathea makoyana plants tend to be vulnerable to root rot.
Treatment: Avoid constantly wet soil. Water the plants only when necessary as recommended.

Spider mites are common plant pests of the Calathea makoyana plant. Signs of an infestation include bronzing, flecking or scorching of leaves. Once injured, the leaves will fall off and the plant may die if the infestation is not controlled.
Treatment: To control spider mites, ensure the plant has adequate water. Occasionally hose the dust off leaf surfaces to remove and kill spider mites. For heavier infestations use suitable miticides, but these do not affect the eggs and must be repeated in two-week intervals until the mites are under control.

Watch for aphids and scale insects.
Treatment: Remove the scale insects by gently scraping them off. Aphids should be removed by hand. Isolate plants that show signs of insect pest infestation to prevent infestation of other plants.

Slugs and snails may damage the beautiful foliage of these plants.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

Bacterial diseases which may affect Calathea makoyana plant is Pseudomonas leaf spot.
Fungal diseases which may affect Calathea makoyana plant are Alternaria leaf spot, Fusarium root rot and Helminthosporium leaf spot.
Parasitic nematodes which may affect Calathea makoyana plant are Burrowing and Root-knot.
Viral diseases which may affect Calathea makoyana plant is Mosaic.
Treatment: Prevent and treat most fungal and bacterial diseases with a broad spectrum bio-fungicide which uses a patented strain of Bacillus subtilis that is registered for organic use. Isolate or discard affected plants to contain the diseases. Sanitize the soil and containers of the affected plants.

Note: Calatheas are closely related to marantas and species from the two genera are often confused.

Companion plants: Calathea makoyana plant is excellent in combinations with Burbidgea scheizocheila (Golden Brush Ginger) and cane Begonia species and looks sweet beneath Medinilla magnifica (Malaysian Orchids) and Rhapis excelsa (Lady Palms). It will work good when planted with Orchid, Aglaonema or Bromeliad species.

Uses and display: The handsome leaves of Calathea makoyana plant are the attraction for tropical gardeners and indoor plant lovers as well. These warm climate plants will grow well under taller plants in their dappled shade or under trees. They will make a wonderful ground cover foliage in shaded positions.
Also, this plant is perfect for home or office if humidity can be provided. It is perfect for all kinds of containers and is very decorative on a small table or in a hanging basket. Calathea makoyana plant are mostly used for sub-tropical patio planting or as container plants. They look best when grouped with other foliage plants. Also, as these plants need high humidity and are relatively small in size, they can be used in a bottle garden or terrarium.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegate
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-50cm (12-20 inch)
Spread: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 21°C (61-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 21°C (61-70°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Calathea makoyana leafCalathea makoyana Calathea makoyana Calathea makoyana flowersCalathea makoyana



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

Asplenium scolopendrium

Common name: Hart’s Tongue Fern

Family: Aspleniaceae

Synonymous: Phyllitis scolopendrium
Scolopendrium vulgare
Asplenium altajense
Phyllitis japonica

Asplenium scolopendrium

Asplenium scolopendrium

Distribution and habitat: Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern widely distributed in central and southern Europe, eastern Iran, northwestern Africa, Korea, Japan, Sakhalin and scattered populations appear in eastern North America. It occurs at sites on or near dolomite (magnesium-rich limestone) that remain consistently moist year-round such as sinkholes, cave entrances, wooded limestone ravines and talus slopes and steep north-facing slopes with rich, moist soil. Within these sites, it is typically found in microhabitats such as moist crevices, moss mats, depressions, spray zones and shady cliff margins.
The common name is in reference to the supposed resemblance of the frond shape to a deer’s tongue.

Description: Asplenium scolopendrium is commonly grown as indoor plant. Tufts of fronds unfurl from an upright, branching rhizome that lies partly above, partly below the surface of the soil. The rhizome which is covered with light brown, furry scales, is usually hidden by the fronds stalks.
Depending on their age and growing conditions, the stalks are from 2 to 25cm (0.8-10 inch) long and their colour is usually black at the base shading to green at the point where they became the midrib of the bade. Frond blades are strap-like, pointed at the tip, lobed at the base and medium green in colour. In the wild each blade can grow 50cm (20 inch) long and 13cm (5 inch) wide, but in potted plants they are seldom more than half that size. The fronds grow erect at first, but arch over as they lengthen. Spore cases grow in a herringbone pattern on the beck of the most of them. The edges of blades can be undulate and sometimes frilled and the tip of each blade can be either pointed or crested like a cockscomb. These differently shaped blades can all be present at one time on the same plant. In fact, it is this characteristic of Asplenium scolopendrium that chiefly appeals to many indoor gardeners.
Asplenium scolopendrium is often grown as an ornamental plant, with several cultivars selected with varying frond form, including with frilled frond margins, forked fronds and cristate forms.

Houseplant care: Asplenium scolopendrium grow actively throughout the year under ideal condition. Growth slows down, however, during the short-day winter months.

Light: Medium light is best for these ferns throughout the year. They should never be subjected to direct sunlight which will scorch the fronds.

Temperature: Asplenium scolopendrium grows well in normal room temperatures and can also tolerate temperatures down to 10°C (50°F). These ferns need high humidity in warm positions. When the temperature rises above 18°C (64°F), stand the ferns on trays of damp pebbles.

Watering: Water moderately, giving enough at each watering to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. If room temperature is allowed to fall below 13°C (55°F) for more than two or three days at a time, water more sparingly during this cool period, allowing a full half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Use half-strength standard liquid fertiliser. Frequency of feeding depends on the type of potting mixture. For plants that are potted in soil-based potting mixture monthly feedings should be adequate. For those ferns grown in peat-based potting mixture apply fertiliser once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Either use a peat-based potting mixture or one composed of half soil-based mixture, half leaf mould.
If peat based potting mixture is used, add a tablespoon of lime chips to each cupful of mixture in order to neutralise the acidity of the peat. Repotting is necessary only when roots fill the pot. When this happens, carefully move the ferns into pots one size larger. This is best done in spring.
After maximum convenient pot size – probably 15-20cm (6-8 inch) – has been reached, use these ferns for propagation or carefully cut away about one-third of the root ball and replace plants in the same pot size, adding fresh potting mixture at the same time. When repotting, always plant rhizomes vertically with half of each rhizome below and half above the surface or the potting mixture.

Gardening: Once planted, Asplenium scolopendrium fern grows slowly and needs little attention apart tidying in spring. Tatty or damaged fronds can be removed in early spring as or just before the new growth emerges. Removing the old fronds prevent disease and limits lasting damage and the ferns will look tidy.

Position: Asplenium scolopendrium need a cool shady place to thrive. Plant these ferns in part shade to full shade. If grown in full sun, the ferns are yellow and stunted, while the ferns that grow under the shade are luxuriant and dark green. In alpine areas, plant them in a sheltered location where they are exposed to sun rays only during the coolest hours of the day.

Soil: Asplenium scolopendrium thrives in humusy, limestone soils. It needs superior soil drainage to avoid root rot. The ideal growing conditions are a slightly alkaline well-drained but moist soil that has lots of leaf mould incorporated.
In wild these ferns can be found growing with their roots in very small amounts of soil founded between rocks and crevices. This kind of environment can be replicated in the garden but ferns grown in poor conditions will be small.
It is recommended to mulch annually around the plants with compost to keep the soil moisture even.

Irrigation: Water Asplenium scolopendrium ferns regularly during the growing season and keep them on the dry side during the cold winter months. Keep these ferns in medium moisture without overwatering. Do not allow the soil to dry out until the ferns have become established otherwise the tips will dry out. Once established, they becomes more tolerant of dry soil.
Avoid watering fronds by watering straight to the roots whenever possible, not on the crown. Also watering in the morning allow ferns to dry their frond before the cold night. These precautions help to avoid crown rot.

Fertilising: Asplenium scolopendrium planted in the ground, like a spring dressing of blood and bone or cow manure as well as a regular liquid fertiliser at half strength in the summer months.

Propagation: Propagate old Asplenium scolopendrium ferns in spring by cutting off small branched of the main rhizome. Make sure that each cutting bears a tuft of fronds. Plant cuttings individually in 8cm (3 inch) pot of one of the recommended potting mixtures, only half-burring each cutting. Place the potted cuttings in medium light at normal room temperatures and make the potting mixture barely moist throughout until new growth develops. Thereafter, it is possible to treat the new ferns as mature Asplenium scolopendrium ferns.
These ferns may also be propagated from spores at any time of the year, best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. The spores usually germinate in the spring. Spring sown spores germinate in 1 – 3 months at 15°C (59°F). Pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse. Keep the plants humid until they are well established. Once the plants are 15cm (6 inch) or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring.

Problems:
Root rot can be a problem in poorly drained soils. Also crown rot may appear when the crown is wet in cold conditions.
Treatment: Apply a suitable systemic fungicide and clear all debris away from the crown to facilitate good air circulation.

Greenfly and blackfly are rare in the garden; they are more likely to occur on ferns grown indoors or in greenhouse. Capsids are graze the frond creating tiny white blotches at random.
Treatment: Apply a suitable insecticide as indicated on the label. To avoid scorching, spray in evening when there is no risk of the sun burning the damp fronds.

Slugs and snails are sometimes attracted to the thicker textured fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium ferns.
Treatment: Use a snail and slugs pesticide to prevent and control them.

Vine weevil grubs are a common pest, their grubs eating any part of the ferns, usually starting with the roots and moving to the leaf base. Vine weevil is common in gardens, but rarely cause any problems outdoors; it is with pot grown plants the real damage done.
Treatment: Pick up and destroy adults. Plants with badly damaged roots cannot usually be saved. Immediately on sighting an adult weevil, drench the potting mixture with a suitable pesticide.

Typically eelworm damage is seen as dead patches of fronds confined by larger veins.
Treatment: Control is just about impossible. It is best to remove fronds suspected of being infected as soon as possible. The problem is most likely to occur in damp, humid conditions.

Recommended varieties:
Asplenium scolopendrium with frond blade margins or tips that are non-variable in shape.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Capitatum’ has fronds blades with undulating edges and heavily crested tips.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Crispum’ has deeply indented and greatly undulating or frilled edges (like an Elizabethan ruff) with simple pointed tip.

Asplenium scolopendrium ‘Crispum cristatum’ has frond blades with crested tips as well as very frilled edges.

Note: Asplenium scolopendrium has been placed in a segregate genus Phyllitis. Asplenium scolopendrium forms hybrids with other Asplenium species, including those species sometimes classified in the separate genus Camptosorus, which is one reason that both Phyllitis and Camptosorus species are now generally included in Asplenium. On the other hand, a recent phylogenetic study of the Aspleniaceae family suggests that Asplenium scolopendrium is only distantly related to other Asplenium species and that the genus Phyllitis should again be recognized.

Companion plants: The tall vertical straps of the Asplenium scolopendrium fern are perfect partners for the rounded foliage of the small-leaved Hosta species. Wide clumps of the Asplenium scolopendrium look particularly good underplanted with the variegated foliage of Hosta ‘Ginko Craig’. Ferns grow well together and those with more delicate foliage associate successfully with the leathery fronds of Asplenium scolopendrium.

Uses and display: Asplenium scolopendrium fern grows wild in shaded areas, often forming large drifts under trees amongst rocks and streams where its upright pointed tongues contrast strikingly with the softer shapes of damp-loving wild flowers. In gardens, these evergreen ferns are good for shaded wild gardens and are also invaluable for year-round interest amongst shrubs or other shade and moisture-loving perennials. In decorative groupings the unusual shape of these ferns, along with their fresh colouring, makes an interesting contrast with flowering plants.
It makes a good selection for shady areas of limestone rock gardens, alpine and shade gardens or for edging in a moist woodland garden. It is also valuable for adding vertical interest towards the front of a partially shaded border or for underplanting established trees and shrubs.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-40cm (12-16 inch)
Spread 30-45cm (12-18 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 5a-9b

Asplenium scolopendrium Asplenium scolopendrium CrispumAsplenium scolopendrium Asplenium scolopendrium - fronds variation



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

Blechnum gibbum

Common name: Silver Lady, Silver Lady Fern, Dwarf Tree Fern

Family: Blechnaceae

Synonymous: Lomaria gibbum
Lomaria gibba

Blechnum gibbum

Blechnum gibbum

Distribution and habitat: Blechnum gibbum is a species of the genus Blechnum along with another 200 species, belonging to the Blechnaceae family. It is a small tree fern, 90-120cm (36-48 inch) high, from tropical and subtropical climates. Native to Fiji, New Caledonia and the Pacific Islands, Blechnum gibbum is growing as an under story plant in forested areas where thrive in filtered light and high humidity in moist fertile soils.

Description: Blechnum gibbum is a neat, symmetrical rosette of fronds up to 90cm (36 inch) long and 30cm (12 inch) wide, which eventually crowns a scaly, black trunk up to 90cm (36 inch) tall. The many leaflets of each frond are shiny green and slightly drooping. There are several forms distinguished by having either narrower, wider or more pointed leaflets.
Unlike other tree ferns this dwarf variety is reasonably fast growing and the fronds will spread to over 1m (3 feet) in good conditions.
Blechnum gibbum have both sterile and spore bearing fronds.

Houseplant care: Blechnum gibbum is widely circulated as a houseplant.

Light: Bright light, but without any direct strong direct sunlight is most suitable for Blechnum gibbum ferns.

Temperature: These Blechnum gibbum ferns grow vigorously in warm – not hot- rooms. Tough tolerant of dry air, the plants should be given as much humidity as possible during the active growth period from mid-spring to late fall. Stand pots on trays of moist pebbles throughout the warmer months. With the resultant adequate humidity, they will tolerate temperatures slightly above 24°C (73°F). Lower temperatures are better in winter, though. Around 15°C (59°F) is ideal, but these ferns can even stand 10°C (50°F) if kept fairly dry.

Watering: Water actively growing ferns plentifully, as often as necessary to keep the mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow the pot to stand in water. If the temperature falls below 12°C (54°F) water moderately, allowing the top 1cm of the mixture to dry out between waterings.
This fern prefers rainwater because it has an intolerance of lime.

Feeding: One or two applications of half-strength liquid fertiliser during the active growth period will suffice.

Potting and repotting: Use equal parts of soil based potting mixture and leaf mould. Move plants into pots one size larger only when roots begin to appear on the surface of the potting mixture – about once every two years.
Maximum pot size recommended for these small tree ferns is around 40cm (16 inch). After that top dress this fern with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Blechnum gibbum ferns grow in a wide range of climates from temperate to sub-tropical locations, however this fern needs reasonable ventilation. It is not frost tolerate, although it has been reported to survive temperatures down to -4°C (25°F) and can re-grow if frozen. All fronds eventually blackened but new growth will emerge early in spring.
Its popularity can be attributed to its fast growth, perfect symmetry, attractive broad fronds and its ability to beautify the difficult dark parts of the garden. It is generally quite easy to grow.
Remove old, browning fronds by trimming off at their base. In time, this reveals a narrow trunk, reminiscent of this feature of larger tree ferns.

Position: Plant Blechnum gibbum fern in shady area of the garden where nothing seems to grow very well. This fern is probably at its best when multi-planted adding a cooling, yet tropical, feel to the garden. It will thrive placed by a stream edge which will provide it with added air humidity.
Blechnum gibbum can also be used to add an exotic effect in a patio tub or as a house plant in a bright location out of direct sun.

Soil: Blechnum gibbum will perform best in moist, free-draining, compost-enriched and slightly acidic soil. It has a reputation for being sensitive to transplanting.
Mulching is recommended to keep the roots cool and moist.

Irrigation: Keep the soil moist throughout the year for Blechnum gibbum. This may mean a weekly watering in winter and increase the frequency in warmer months. It is recommended to use drippers, rather than overhead watering, so the foliage avoids staying wet for long periods.
Containerised plants should generally be watered more frequently than in-ground plants. Water when the top layer of potting mix appears dry. Try not to over-water Blechnum gibbum fern as this may cause root rot.

Fertiliser: Feed Blechnum gibbum ferns with a controlled release fertiliser in early spring. Alternatively, can be either replaced or supplemented this application by liquid feedings on a more regular basis during the warmer months.

Propagation: Commercially, Blechnum gibbum are grown from spores which can take between one and three months to germinate. Occasionally, these ferns produce basal offsets which can be detached from the parents, potted up and treated as mature ferns.

Problems: If overwatered fronds will quickly turn brown and the Blechnum gibbum fern is unlikely to recover without immediate action.

Bronze fronds are not a feature. This can be caused by a lack of ventilation and over watering.

Blechnum gibbum is not overly prone to pest or disease attack however it is possible to see the effects of aphids, caterpillars, slugs, scale or mealybugs.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides and follow the instruction on the label.

Note: The root systems of Blechnum gibbum are often used to produce a substrate for growing orchids.

Uses and display: Plant enough of Blechnum gibbum close together and they will make an interesting under tree groundcover. It can be grown in pots also and makes a wonderful focal plant. This fern looks great when used in large pots for display around patio or planted in shaded moist areas in the garden, included in a tropical planting or shown off to great advantage in a courtyard in a decorative pot. It has become popular choices for gardens to add a large, finely textured green presence in their landscape.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – rosette
Height – 90-120cm (36-48 inch)
Wide – 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 16°C (50-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

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