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Clerodendrum thomsoniae

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

Family: Lamiaceae

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

Clerodendrum thomsoniae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Clerodendrum thomsoniae Clerodendrum thomsoniae VariegatumClerodendrum thomsoniae DelectumClerodendrum thomsoniae Delectum Clerodendrum thomsoniae



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

Camellia sinensis

Common name: the China Tea Plant, Tea Plant, Tea Shrub, Tea Tree, Tea Tree Camellia, Black Tea, Green Tea, Chinese Tea, Common Tea, Tea, Tea Camellia

Family: Theaceae

Synonymous: Camellia angustifolia
Camellia arborescens
Camellia assamica
Camellia dehungensis
Camellia dishiensis
Camellia longlingensis
Camellia multisepala
Camellia oleosa
Camellia parvisepala
Camellia parvisepaloides
Camellia polyneura
Camelia sinensis (Misspelling)
Camellia thea
Camellia theifera
Camellia waldeniae
Thea assamica
Thea bohea
Thea cantonensis
Thea chinensis
Thea cochinchinensis
Thea grandifolia
Thea olearia
Thea oleosa
Thea parvifolia
Thea sinensis
Thea viridis
Theaphylla cantonensis

Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis

Distributiona and habitat: Camellia sinensis plants are evergreen, medium sized woody shrubs growing to a height of 2 to 2.4m (7-8 feet) native to South East Asia and China. It is found growing at the forest edges and gaps, at high altitudes, in well drained soils where it grows as a tree of up to 15m tall. This is the species of plant whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce the popular beverage tea. Today it is grown as a cash crop in plantations at high altitudes in East Africa. In Tanzania, Camellia sinensis plants have been noted to escape from cultivation and are considered to be invasive in parts of the Usambaras.

Description: Camellia sinensis is a small evergreen shrub cultivated to a height of 1.8m (6 feet), but growing wild much taller and much branched. The bark is rough and grey. The leaves are dark green, lanceolate or elliptical, on short stalks. They are usually 5-10 cm (2-4 inch) long, blunt at apex with the base tapering and shortly serrate margins. The young leaves are hairy, but older leaves become glabrous.
The flowers with mass of yellow stamens appear solitary or two or three together on short branchlets in the leaf axils. They are somewhat drooping on short stalks with a few small bracts, 2.5 to 4cm (1-1.5 inch) wide. The flowers are up to 4cm (1.5 inch) diameter, formed from five up to o nine white, occasionally pink, petals, unequal, strongly rounded, concave, spreading and caducous. The petals are surrounded by five sepals imbricate, slightly united below, ovate or rounded, blunt smooth and persistent.
It is up to one year and four months from buds blossom to fruits mature. The fruit is a smooth, flattened, rounded capsule splitted into one to five chambers, each chamber containing a solitary seed.

Houseplant care: Camellia sinensis is an attractive, glossy green leaves plant which grows indoors to a height of about 60cm (24 inch) or more and usually needs a minimum of attention. It has become a popular indoor species, partly become of the novelty of the fact that as the common name suggests, the processed young leaves of the plant yield commercial tea. Although one bush growing indoors would not yield a great amount of tea, indoor growers can try their hand at harvesting the young shoots and making their own tea. When sufficient growth has been made to allow the growing point of future shoots to be picked, these young leaves can be naturally sun dried. When these leaves are dried, they can be lightly rubbed between the hands, thus producing tea leaves. It is said that the tea is best quality when is made from tea leaves used immediately after drying and not months after.
Indoor cultivation of Camellia sinensis is bound to be plagued by some problems as these plants are very sensitive to any change in their position, temperature, humidity and moisture.

Light: Grow Camellia sinensis in bright filtered light throughout the year.
In warm weather, they are better moved in the garden – the pot can be buried in the soil – or to a semi-shady spot on a verandah.

Temperature: In the dry warmth of the average home Camellia sinensis will not flower, but they grow well in cool porches, patios and plant rooms such as conservatories. An ideal temperature during the bud-forming stage (autumn and winter) is between 7 and 16°C (45-61°F). Camellia sinensis cannot survive for long time indoor temperature above 18°C (64°F). Stand the pots on trays of moist pebbles and mist-spray the plants at least once a day.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully but never allowing the pot to stand in water. During the rest period – about six weeks from the end of the flowering season until late spring or autumn (depending on the variety) – water only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out.
They drop their buds easily, especially if they do not get enough water when they are forming flower and leaf buds – and in any case, they are unlikely to flower well indoors, unless they are grown in a cool, conservatory type situation.

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

Potting and repoting: Use equal parts of peat moss, coarse leaf mould and a lime-free soil based potting mixture. Move plants into slightly larger pots in spring whenever necessary. After maximum convenient size pot has been reached, top-dress the plant with fresh potting mixture at the end of each rest period. Do not repot plant in flower.

Gardening: Tropical and subtropical climates best suit the growth of Camellia sinensis. These plants needs warm weather and shade to grow fruitfully.
Camellia sinensis plants will grow into a tree if left undisturbed, but cultivated plants are pruned to waist height for ease of plucking. Young plants can be pruned early at about 20cm (8 inch) to promote a low, spreading branches, as needed.

Position: A half-day of sun or partial shade makes good planting place for Camellia sinensis. Plants will grow in full sun, but in colder locations will do best when protected from winter sun and winds. It does well in the dappled shade beneath larger trees.

Soil: Camellia sinensis will grow well in moist, free draining, fertile acid soils. For best results enrich the soil with well rotted compost and preserve the moisture by adding a tick layer of mulch.
The ideal time to plant Camellia sinensis out in the garden is in early fall or spring, but summer time is good enough if the plants are kept moist. After preparing the soil, dig a hole 60cm (24 inch) wider than the root ball, re-filling with conditioned soil after centering the plant.

Irrigation: These shrubs prefer a generous watering regime during growth period. Regular watering will encourages new growth.

Fertilising: Fertilize lightly in early spring with a balanced mix. Use a slow-release source of nitrogen for plants  heavily harvested, ideally no later than mid summer.

Harvesting: When being harvested for tea the shoots and 2-3 top leaves are harvested every 8-10 days. However, it is their spring leaf tips that are valued the most. Camellia sinensis usually will produce an abundant crop twice a year, once in the spring and again in the summer. Harvesting can be done every seven to 15 days during these periods, until the plant no longer produces new growth. Plucking should be done by hand so as not to damage the plant or bruise the leaves. Hold the stem and gently pinch the stem with one hand. With the other hand, gently pluck the desired leaves from the stem. Place freshly plucked leaves in a shallow basket while continuing to harvest. Using the basket to house the leaves while harvesting will allow air to flow within the leaves and discourage wilt.
Camellia sinensis plant is a perennial crop with life span of several decades even up to several hundreds years. When under good management, Camellia sinensis plants can be harvested on a small scale in 3-4 years after planting. In 5 years, it can reach a big annual output and then remain at it for above 30 years.

Propagation: Camellia sinensis can be grown from seed but the seed has a hard shell, so before sowing it must be soaked in tepid water for up to 48 hours. This can speed up the germination process considerably. Sow the seed just bellow the surface and firm down the soil. To germinate, these seeds must have a temperature of about 23°C (73°F). A seed propagator or greenhouse is ideal, but a useful alternative seed raiser can be organised. Simply sow the seed in plastic pots, water, then place the whole pot in a polythene bag, making it airtight, before putting the pot in a position where the required temperature can be achieved. Wherever possible, water the plant from the base. Refresh the air and water every two or three days.
While the plant is still a seedling, about 5-15cm (2-6 inch), a regular mist-spray of water will assist growth. Transplant the plant when is about 15-20cm (6-8 inch) tall to a 20-25cm (8-10 inch) pot.

Also Camellia sinensis plants are usually propagated by cuttings. However, this procedure is quite difficult to carry through successfully. The amateur gardener is advised to purchase a healthy young tree from a reputable nursery or plant supplier.

Problems: Camellia sinensis naturally shed older leaves, so a small amount of leaf loss is normal. Large amounts of dead, yellowed, or blotchy leaves can be a sign of disease or pest.

Algal leaf spot caused by Cephaleuros virescens. Infested plants have roughly circular, raised and purple to reddish-brown lesions developed on their leaves.
Treatment: Usually Cephaleuros does not harm the plant. Prevention methods include: avoiding plant stress and avoiding poorly drained sites. Promote good air circulation in the plant canopy to reduce humidity and duration of leaf wetness.

Brown blight and grey blight are caused by Colletotrichum sp. and Pestalotiopsis sp. Small, oval, pale yellow-green spots first appear on young leaves. Often the spots are surrounded by a narrow, yellow zone. As the spots grow and turn brown or gray, concentric rings with scattered, tiny black dots become visible and eventually the dried tissue falls, leading to defoliation. Leaves of any age can be affected.
Treatment: These diseases are very difficult to eradicate or even to manage once established. Avoid plant stress. Grow Camellia sinensis  bushes with adequate spacing to permit air to circulate and reduce humidity and the duration of leaf wetness.

Blister blight is caused by Exobasidium vexans. Small, pinhole-size spots are initially seen on young leaves less than a month old. As the leaves develop, the spots become transparent, larger and light brown. After about 7 days, the lower leaf surface develops blister-like symptoms with dark green, water-soaked zones surrounding the blisters. Following release of the fungal spores, the blister becomes white and velvety. Subsequently the blister turns brown and young infected stems become bent and distorted and may break off or die.
Spores that land on a leaf with adequate moisture will germinate and infect it, producing visible symptoms within 10 days. The fungus can directly penetrate the leaf tissue. The basidiospores have a low survival rate under conditions of drought or bright sunlight. The life cycle of the fungus is 3–4 weeks.
Treatment:  Apply an appropriate foliar or systemic fungicides to protect the plants.

Horse hair blight is caused by Marasmius crinisequi. Black fungal threads resembling horse hair are attached to upper branches and twigs by small brown discs. The fungus penetrates and infects the twigs from the discs and produces volatile substances that cause rapid leaf drop.
Treatment: Remove a and destroy all crop debris from around plants; prune out infected or dead branches from the plant canopy.

Twig dieback and stem canker is produced by Macrophoma theicola. The first symptoms include browning and drooping of affected leaves. As the disease spreads into the shoots, they become dry and die. The entire branch can die from the tip downward. Dying branches often have cankers shallow, slowly spreading lesions surrounded by a thick area of bark. The fungus usually requires wounded plant tissue to gain entry and initiate infection.
Treatment: Control of this disease should be attempted through a combination of chemical and cultural methods. Fungicides should be used during the spring at leaf drop to prevent spread of this disease. These fungicides will act as a protectant against the fungus but will not cure the disease after infection has occurred. Fungicides should also be sprayed following pruning, especially during the spring when temperature and moisture is ideal for the fungus. Pruning of plants to allow for good air circulation throughout the plant and proper spacing of camellias will help to reduce, the incidence of disease. Avoid excessive applications of nitrogen as tender new growth is more susceptible to the fungus than that which has hardened. Infected plants should be removed from healthy plants to prevent spread of the disease.

Camellia flower blight is caused by Ciborinia camelliae. Small, brown, irregular-shaped spots appear on the flower petals; the whole flower is turning brown; finally, flowers are dropping from plant. This disease emerges early in spring during periods of high moisture.
Treatment: Remove all infected flowers from plants and remove all crop debris from around plants. Drench the soil with appropriate fungicides can help to reduce the intensity of the disease.

Root rot caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. The leaves are turning yellow; plant growth is poor; entire plant is wilting; roots are discolored; rapid death of plant is occurring.
Treatment: This disease is difficult to manage once plants become infected so control methods should focus on protecting plants; always plant Camellia sinensis in well-draining soils which are not as favorable for the survival of the pathogen; application of appropriate fungicides can help to protect plants from infection.

Poria root disease (Red root disease) caused by Poria hypolateritia. The foliage is yellowing. The plant is wilting and / or occur sudden death of part of plant. The withered leaves remain attached to the plant for several days. Uprooting the plant reveals whitish mycelium and red discoloration of the roots.
Treatment: Remove and discard any visibly infected plant and any adjacent plants which are showing signs of yellowing. Remove any stumps or trees within infested area. All living and dead roots which are about pencil thickness or more should be removed from the site by digging using a fork. All material collected should be destroyed by burning. The plants surrounding the infested area should be treated with an appropriate fungicide applied as a soil drench and the cleared site should be planted with grass for a period of two years before Camellia sinensis is replanted.

Scab, Sunburn and Salt Injury. Symptoms of scab are rather varied; however, it usually appears first as a tiny, water-soaked, and often raised area on the underside of the leaf. These spots enlarge and may become corky, brown in color, and of irregular size and shape. The condition may also appear on the top of the leaf. Too high a concentration of salts in the soil or in the irrigation water or the use of heavy doses of fertilizer coupled with inadequate irrigation will cause this condition. This problem will develop rapidly in container grown plants.
Treatment: Place the plant in draped shade. Do not expose plants to increased light radiation without acclimatisation. Plant them in a medium with good drainage. An occasional heavy irrigation will help to leach away the excess salts.

Damage caused by scale insects is usually serious, but not deadly to the Camellia sinensis plant. If the problem goes undetected for a long period of time with no treatment it is possible for all or part of the plant to be killed. Plants infected with scale insects appear unhealthy and produce very little new growth. Scale insects that attack foliage are usually seen on the underside of the leaf. Symptoms on the upper leaf surface appear as chlorotic areas. Heavily infested leaves will often drop off.
Treatment: Use a suitable insecticidal spray. Plants should by spaced to allow air to circulate between them and pruned to open them and allow air to circulate through them. This will aid in the reduction of insect populations. Insecticide applications are usually made during the spring after bloom and in the fall prior to blooming. Spring applications will greatly increase mortality of scale crawlers

Spider mites may be found on both the under and upper sides of leaves and may not be detected until high populations have occurred. Infested plants exhibit a speckled appearance on the upper leaf surface resulting in a silver or bronzed cast.
Treatment: Use a suitable acaracide to control mites insects. Often, some control may be obtained by spraying foliage with a hard spray of water.

Aphids are commonly found in large numbers on the shoots of new growth. They injure plants by sucking their juices with long feeding tubes. Aphids also excrete honeydew which attracts ants and promotes the growth of sooty mold.
Treatment: A heavy stream of water may be used to wash aphids off of young foliage. Also it can be used the soap sprays. Insecticidal sprays may or may not be necessary for control of these insects. Aphids are generally a problem only during periods when new growth on camellias is soft and succulent.

Camellia sinensis plants are hosts for a number of beetles, weevils, grasshoppers, caterpillars and other insects that chew or consume plant tissue. The size, shape and location of the injury may help to determine the pest responsible.
Treatment: Control of these pests is through proper insecticidal sprays applied to the foliage.

Buying tips: Inspect plants closely before buying. Look for wounds or scars at the base of the plant that can become cankerous and cause the plant to die. Check the root system as well. Look for white roots. If the roots are brown, the plant have been poorly cared for or may have a soil borne disease.

Note: White tea, yellow tea, green tea and black tea are all harvested from Camellia sinensis plant. The difference in the teas is dependent on the age of the leaves and post-harvest processing to attain different levels of oxidation.
The first tea plant to be discovered, recorded and used to produce tea is dating three thousand years ago.

Uses and display: Camellia sinensis are primarily used for commercial production of green ans black teas. Also these shrubs are used as ornamental evergreen hedges as they respond well to regular trims. In cold weather climates, this shrub is used as indoor potted plant.

SUMMARY:

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

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7oC max 16oC (45-61oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 7oC max 18oC (45-64oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 7b-9b

Camellia sinensis  flowersCamellia sinensis hedgesCamellia sinensis potted plantCamellia sinensis treeCamellia sinensis harvested leavesCamellia sinensis seeds



Commercial Cultivation, Evergreen, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Common name: Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow, Morning-Noon-and-Night,Kiss Me Quick, Brazil Raintree

Family: Solanaceae

Synonymous: Brunfelsia calycina (basionym)
Brunfelsia pauciflora var. calycina
Franciscea pauciflora (basionym)

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Brunfelsia pauciflora

Distributiona and habitat: Brunfelsia pauciflora is a species of flowering semi-deciduous shrub, endemic to Brazil, growing in light woodland and thickets. This shrub is growing up to 3m (10 feet) with a 3.6m (12 feet) spread. It is cultivated for its fragrant flowers. The species name, bonodora, is from the Latin, and means ‘sweet-smelling’.

Description: Poted Brunfelsia pauciflora are small shrubs, up to 60cm (24 inch) high with a 30cm (12 inch) spread, that have 8-15cm (3-6 inch) long lance-shaped, glossy, yet leathery leaves and showy, often fragrant, flowers. Its common name, Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow, comes from the way its flowers are changing in colour form one day to the next. Each bloom opens violet-purple, fade to pale lavender-blue, becomes almost white and is dead by the fourth day. Flat, five-lobed flowers are up to 5cm (2 inch) across, with a small, white, puckered eye – the entry point for insects to a short tube behind the floral surface. Flowers appear in clusters of up to 10 on the end of long stems, but open singly. Under favourable conditions, Brunfelsia pauciflora can bloom throughout the year.

Houseplant care: Brunfelsia pauciflora is the only one species from Brunfelsia genus grown indoors. Prune old plants drastically in spring or just at the end of the rest period if they have one. When pruning take out as much as half the previous year’s growth. To encourage more vigorous bushy growth, pinch out the growing tips – this can be done any time.

Light: Bright light, including three or four of direct sunlight daily, is essential throughout the year for satisfactory flowering.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperature is suitable. Stand pots on trays of damp pebbles for increased humidity. Where warm, humid condition are provided in winter, these plants will not have an appreciable rest period, but they will not suffer as a result. If such condition are not provided, move Brunfelsia pauciflora to a really cold possition – ideally between 10°C (50°F) and 13°C (55°F) – so they can have at least a four to six weeks rest.

Watering: In the active growth period water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but allow the top 1cm (0.4 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. If plants are given a rest, water them only enough during the rest period to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants an application of standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks to promote vigorous growth.

Poting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Brunfelsia pauciflora flower best when their roots are confined in small pots – 13-15cm (5-6 inch) at most. Repot in fresh potting mixture every spring, but do not increase pot size. Simply replace the old mixture with new.

Gardening: Brunfelsia pauciflora are long-lived, romantic flowering shrubs. Warm subtropical gardens are ideal, but the plants will also flourish in colder climates. They will even endure light frost, but will be deciduous during the cooler months. Outside of its hardiness zone, grow Brunfelsia pauciflora in a pot so it can be moved indoors when temperatures drop.
They are quick and easy to grow. No pruning is needed for garden plants except to control growth and spreading. A light trim after flowering will help keep it tidy yet bushy.

Position: Brunfelsia pauciflora do best in full sun but needs some shady protection during the heat of the day to look their best. Also do well in filtered shade.

Soil: Provide rich, moist, but well drained soil with liberal quantities of compost worked into it. Brunfelsia pauciflora prefer acidic soil with a pH balance just below the neutral 7, so mulch with pine-needles, moss or acidic compost around their bases.

Irrigation: Keep the soil moist around the Brunfelsia pauciflora , but not overly wet. Do not allow the soil to dry out. If rain is not imminent, water the soil, especially during the hot summer days.
Container plants should be checked daily for moistness. Reduce watering plants in containers in fall.

Fertiliser: Fertilise plants with 10-10-10 (nitrogen-phosphate-potassium) water-soluble fertiliser, using full strength for garden plants once a month and diluted in half for container plants every two weeks. Only fertilise the plant during spring and summer months.

Propagation: Propagate Brunfelsia pauciflora in spring when tip cuttings of new growth are available. Dip cutting 8-13cm (3-5 inch) long in hormone rooting powder and plant it in an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Place the cutting in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light. When new growth is produced (in four to six weeks), uncover the young plant, begin moderate watering and apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks. About four months after the start of propagation, move the new Brunfelsia pauciflora plants into standard potting mixture and treat it as a mature plant.

Problems:
Pale or yellow leaves result from potting mixture that is not acid enough.
Treatment: Repot the plant in potting mixture that contains some peat and add some iron sulphate to the water when watering. Another way of ensuring healthy deep-green foliage is to sprinkle a handful of nitrogenrich fertilizer granules around the root zones and to water it in immediately thereafter. Do not overdo this treatment at the expense of potassium-rich fertilizer, though, otherwise the plant will have gorgeous foliage but the production of flowers will be diminished.

Weak growth is a sign of aphids, which suck the sap of the plant.
Treatment: Wash them off with a gentle stream of tepid water.

Fine webbing at leaf axils and under the leaves is made by the red spider mite, which thrives in dry conditions.
Treatment: Raise the humidity around the plant by mist spraying and standing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles. Serious infestations should be treated with a suitable insecticide.

Mealy bugs and whitefly may infest the  Brunfelsia pauciflora plants.
Treatment: Apply sprays of suitable insecticides.

Can get thrips when plants are grown under glass.
Treatment: Although thrips are susceptible to insecticides, their control is difficult as they are capable of flight and they may hide inside the buds and other floral structures and out of the reach of the insecticides. Hence, multiple sprayings may be needed with severe infestation.

Recommended varieties:
Brunfelsia pauciflora cv. ‘Floribunda’ is a profusely flowering miniature kind.

Brunfelsia pauciflora cv. ‘Macrantha’ has flowers measuring up to 8cm (3 inch) across.

Companion plants: Brunfelsia pauciflora makes a good companion to Rhododendron (Azaleas) and Fuchsia species (Fuchsias). Grow it with Cineraria (Cinerarias) or Muscari species (Grape hyacinths) placed at its feet to enhance the colour of its blooms. Canna, Tibouchina, Lantana speacies are good companions for these colourful shrubs, highlighting each other.

Toxicity: Brunfelsia pauciflora plant is toxic, especially the fruit. The plants are known to be poisonous to domestic animals such as cats, dogs and horses due to their brunfelsamidine content.
Also caution should be taken due to its strongly scented flowers, reason for which Brunfelsia pauciflora is not the ideal plant for hay-fever sufferers.

Usage and display:  With pruning, Brunfelsia pauciflora can be kept to a manageable 60-90cm (2-3 feet) size and makes an excellent indoor plant. In mild climates, Brunfelsia pauciflora makes an attractive specimen shrub or use it in a mixed hedge or foundation planting. Can be used for creating perfumed spots in gardens, designing tropical gardens and hedge or screen seaside gardens or as a specimen plant. It is great for privacy screening on decks or blocking unsightly views.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers, frangrance
Shape – bushy
Height indoors: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)
Height outdoors: 3m (10 feet)
Spread outdoors: 3.6m (12 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
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: 9-11

Brunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia paucifloraBrunfelsia pauciflora



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

Ardisia crenata

Common name: Coralberry, Christmas Berry, Australian Holly, Coral Ardisia, Coral Bush, Coralberry Tree, Hen’s-Eyes, Spiceberry

Family: Myrsinaceae

Synonymous: Ardisia crenata var. bicolor
Ardisia crenata subsp. crassinervosa

Ardisia crenata

Ardisia crenata

Distribution and habitat: Ardisia crenata is a species of flowering plant in the colicwood family, Myrsinaceae, that is native to East Asia.
Ardisia crenata is a compact shrub that reaches 1 metre (3.3 feet), often with a single stem. Leaves are dark green, thick, glossy and have tightly waved edges The flowers are small, white or reddish, fragrant and form clusters. The fruit is a glossy, bright red drupe. The seeds are able to germinate under a dense canopy and are dispersed by birds and humans. Usually this shrubs are seen in fairly large colonies, since the plants re-seed freely.
Ardisia crenata is an invasive species in the southeastern United States, escaping captivity in wooded areas of Florida. Also, it is viewed as an environmental weed in Australia, particularly in its rainforests. Mature plants are prolific seed producers and can be surrounded by many seedlings, also leading to reduced seed germination of valued native species.

Description: Ardisia crenata is a popular indoor plant most appreciated for its long-lasting bright red berries that are produced in large numbers at the bottom half of the plant. When grown in a pot, it reaches a maximum height of only about 90cm (35 inch), with a spread of about 30-38cm (12-15 inch). It has glossy, dark green leathery leaves up to 15cm (6 inch) long. Thick clusters of star-shaped white or rose-pink flowers are produced usually in early summer. These are followed by very decorative shiny berries which are held on nearly horizontal stalks. The berries are gradually take on a bright red colour and normally persist on the plant until flowering time the following year.

Houseplant care: Red berries, glossy foliage and low maintenance distinguish this beautiful little shrub. Prune it back to keep this shrub compact. Pruning each spring before flowering will keep it in shape. This shrub will grow to a slow rate.

Light: Provide Ardisia crenata with bright light at all times with several hours every day of direct sunlight.
In summer, Ardisia crenata can be moved outdoors on a part shade spot.

Temperature: Ardisia crenata plants prefer to be grown cool, ideally at a maximum temperature of 15°C (59°F). In higher temperatures, high humidity is essential in order to prevent the berries from falling prematurely. It is a good idea to stand the plants on trays or saucers of moist pabbles and also mist-spray them daily to increase humidity.

Watering: While plants are in active growth, water them plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. During the rest period allow the top centimetre or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings if the plants are kept at normal room temperature; if the temperature can be held below 15°C (59°F), however, water even more sparingly, allowing at least half the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Apply to Ardisia crenata plants liquid fertiliser about every two weeks while plants are in active growth.

Potting and repotting: For the best result with Ardisia crenata use a soil based potting mixture. Move young plants into pots one size larger each spring until they reach the 13cm (5 inch) size where they will probably flower and fruit. Older plants tend to deteriorate and should be replaced when they have obviously begun to lose their vigour.

Gardening: Ardisia crenata is evergreen shrub unless killed back by very hard freezes without spring recovery. Where freezes are severe, these shrubs should be placed in a protected area or covered.
Prune lightly early spring to maintain its height and shape. Pinch back to promote a bushy habit.

Location: Ardisia crenata tolerates some direct sun, but not much without showing signs of distress. It grows best under a canopy of trees in fairly deep shade and protected from cold and drying winds.

Soil: Ardisia crenata likes deep soil rich with lots of organic matter, but it can also thrive in almost any non-soggy soil.

Irigation: These shrubs thrive in moist to average moist soil, but established Ardisia crenata is able to survive drought.

Fertilising: Mulch around plants or allow leaves and other debris from overhead trees to fall down naturally around them.

Propagation: Ardisia crenata plants are normally raised from seed sown in spring. Although this is possible in home, it is easier to buy young plants, which are usually sold in 8cm (3 inch) pots.
An alternative method of propagation is to take heel cuttings from lateral shoots during late spring or early summer. Sideshoot cuttings come away easily from the main stem with a small heel attached. Pot them in an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand and water them sparingly – just enough to keep the mixture moist. They should root in 6-8 weeks, especially if some form of bottom heat is provided from an electrical heated propagator. If this is not feasible, enclose the potted cuttings in a plastic bag and keep the bag in a place where it gets medium light and adequate warmth – not bellow 21°C (70°F) – until the roots have developed.
Ardisia crenata can also be propagated by air layering, a more difficult procedure.

Problems:
Ardisia crenata refuses to bloom.
Treatment: Give to Ardisia crenata plant more humidity and sunlight in spring, before starting to form buds. Regular misting with tepid water will help increase the moisture in the air around it.

Dropping flower buds are caused by drafty or cold air.
Treatment: Ardisia crenata likes it cool, but not too cold. It will tolerate a minimum winter temperature of 7°C (45°F).

Ardisia crenata plants are prone to mealybugs infestation.
Treatment: A regular, careful inspection is needed. Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

Note: Ardisia crenata is sometimes wrongly called Ardisia crispa, which is the name of a very similar plant.

Uses and display: Plant Ardisia crenata under trees and allow to colonize freely, thinning as necessary. Group in shrub borders, shade gardens or woodland areas. For best effect, plant a group of at least three. In frost-free areas, Ardisia crenata can become quite large and a single specimen might occupy the same space allowed for two or three elsewhere.
Ardisia crenata is easily transformed into a houseplant and is attractive for the shiny foliage and its persistent berries. It is a fine looking species which should be displayed in a prominent position. Also, it is great looking in a conservatory or hall way and grow well in greenhouses.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers and berries
Shape – upright
Height: 90-100cm (36-40 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 7°C max 21°C (45-70°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8a-9b

Ardisia crenataArdisia crenata flowersArdisia crenata



Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , ,

Justicia brandegeeana

Common name: Mexican Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Plant, Shrimp Flower, False Hop

Family: Acanthaceae

Synonymous: Beloperone guttata
Calliaspidia guttata
Drejerella guttata

Misspelling: Justicia brandegeana

Justicia brandegeeana

Justicia brandegeeana

Distribution and habitat: Justicia brandegeeana is an evergreen shrub native to Mexico and also naturalized in Florida. It is a sprawling, suckering, tropical evergreen shrub which grows to 1m (3 feet) tall (rarely more) with spindly limbs. This shrub is cultivated for its very decorative flowers and long lasting flowering season.
Pollination is usually by hummingbirds.

Description: Justicia brandegeeana is a perennial shrub and will last for several years. It has become a quite common indoor plant. It is popularly known as Shrimp Plant because of its drooping, shrimp-like flower spikes. The most prominent parts of these spikes are terminal bracts, which are heart-shaped, reddish brown or pink and up to 2cm (0.8 inch) long. The bracts almost conceal white flowers that protrude from between them. The 10-13cm (4-5 inch) long flower spikes are produced continuously during the growing season, which lasts for as much as 10 months a year.
The leaves, which have 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) long leaf stalk and are carried on upright woody stems, are 2-8cm (0.8-3 inch) long, oval, fresh green and slightly hairy.
Unless Justicia brandegeeana is kept well trimmed, it tend to become a rather untidy shrub; also, if it is left alone, it usually grows over 60cm (24 inch) tall. It therefore needs cutting back annually if it is to hold its shape and retain a manageable size at the same time.
This shrub is expected to last for 10 to 20 years.

Houseplant care: Justicia brandegeeana thrive in containers and survive well as houseplants with a long flowering season. Apart from periodical pinching out of growing points to encourage bushy growth, mature Justicia brandegeeana require cutting back annually. Cut away up to half the top growth (down to any leaf axil) just as the plant is beginning to make new growth in the spring.

Light: Bright light with some direct sunlight is essential for satisfactory production of the colourful bracts.

Temperature: Normally warm room temperatures suit Justicia brandegeeana plant, but too much heat makes for soft and spindly growth. The recommended winter temperature is 18°C (64°F).

Watering: Water Justicia brandegeeana sparingly – enough to make the potting mixture barely moist and allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Feed Justicia brandegeeana plants from late winter to early autumn only using standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with the addition of a one third portion of peat moss. Move these plants into pots one size larger every spring until the maximum convenient size – probably 15cm (6 inch) – have been reached. Thereafter top dress the plant annually with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Justicia brandegeeana is winter hardy to hardiness zones 9 to 11. Roots may survive in zone 8. Frosts will kill it to the ground, but it comes back in spring. As it dislikes temperatures below 7°C (45°F), it is best grown under glass in cooler temperate areas, where it is excellent as a potted houseplant, owing to its ability to tolerate low light and some neglect. The plants grown in containers may be overwintered in a warm sun room or watering can be severely reduced to force plants into dormancy for winter storage in a dark, cool, dry location. Alternatively, Justicia brandegeeana can be treated as a fast-growing annual plant in hardiness zone 9 or colder.
The shape is generally long and spindly. If trimmed back regularly, it can maintain a bushy habit and will not need support. If the branches are allowed to grow long, they will become unable to support themselves and sag towards the ground. Prune annually after flowering for a more compact, formal appearance and to encourage branching. Keeping the shrubs tip pruned will promote fullness as well as increase flowering.
These plants grow quickly and may form buds in the first year.

Position: Justicia brandegeeana can handle a variety of environments, more sun on the coast, more shade inland. Plant it in full sun to partial shade in sheltered, frost free spot in cold climate. The colourful flower bracts tend to bleach out in full sun, so these plants are generally best grown in part shade with some protection from hot afternoon sun. Bright light with some direct sun is ideal for bloom formation. This plant thrives in the shade in tropical areas.

Soil: Plant Justicia brandegeeana outdoors in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. It does best in well-drained sandy or loamy soil, but will tolerate most soil types which drain well.

Irrigation: Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Keep soil evenly moist from spring through fall. Allow to stay only slightly drier in winter.

Fertiliser: Feed with a general purpose fertiliser before new growth begins in spring.

Propagation: Tip cuttings 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long will root easily in spring. Insert each cutting in a small pot containing a moistened mixture of equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the pot in a plastic bag and keep it in a bright filtered light. Rooting should occur in six to eight weeks. To produce a bushy plant, pot three or four cuttings together in the recommended potting mixture for mature Justicia brandegeeana. Water sparingly and do not move the pot into direct sunlight for another month or two.

Problems:
Yellow leaves are caused by overwatering.
Treatment: Allow the soil to dry out almost completely before watering again and always use a pot with a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil. Water less in winter.

Leaves may drop if soil is either too wet or too dry.
Treatment: Test the soil by pushing a stake into the potting mixture. If the stake is dry, the plant should be watered. If the stake is too wet can be caused by poor drainage, cool conditions and oversized pots.

These plant are susceptible to fungal leaf spot and rust.
Treatment: Apply fungicides and repeat the treatment as directed on fungicide instructions. Provide adequate air circulation and water the  plants in the morning, so plants get a chance to dry out during the day.

Watch for whiteflies and spider mites, particularly when grown indoors.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate whiteflies infestations. For spider mites, spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Justicia brandegeeana are prone to become leggy plants.
Treatment: Constantly pinch and prune, start new plants from cuttings.

Pale leaves is usually caused because the plant is lacking food.
Treatment: Feed the plant.

Drop or pale flower heads is because the plants need more light.
Treatment:  Move the plants to a brighter location.

Recommended varieties:
Justicia brandegeeana cv. ‘Yellow Queen’ is a rarer form with yellow bracts.

Justicia brandegeeana cv. ‘Fruit Cocktail’ has yellow and green bracts with pink flowers.

Companion Plants: In a location with filtered shade, plant near an exotic fern, such as the Dicksonia antarctica (Tasmanian Tree Fern) or groundcover Nephrolepis exaltata (Sword Fern).
Can also be used to cover the unattractive base of tropical foliage plants, such as Ensete ventricosum (Abyssinian Banana) or Philodendron x ‘Xanadu’ (Xanadu Cut-Leaf Philodendron).
They can be folded in among Zingiber (Gingers), Musa (Bananas) and Canna species (Cannas) for a contrasting look. Also Justicia brandegeeana can be associate with Begonia (Begonias), Porphyrocoma pohliana (Brazilian Fireworks) or Curcuma longa (Curcuma).

Uses and display: Justicia brandegeeana are grown as ornamentals in tropical and subtropical gardens and as conservatory plants in temperate areas. These showy perennials are good plants for mixed borders and beds where they produce masses of ornamental flowers. These plants are great display  anywhere a splash of continuous colour is needed since they bloom almost all year long. They will display the best color when planted in a bright location that receives direct sunlight. In cooler climates, Justicia brandegeeana plants can be grown in containers and brought indoors for overwintering.
Although featured this striking plant in the garden, Justicia brandegeeana can be used in different settings. Their lush foliage and distinctive flowers make them a natural for a tropical garden. They are also showy and long-blooming enough to feature by themselves in a large container or as a focal point in a part-shade location.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height indoor: 60cm (24 inch)
Height outdoor: 1m (3 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 9-11

Justicia brandegeeanaJusticia brandegeeanaJusticia brandegeeana



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

Tibouchina urvilleana

Common name: Glory Bush, Lasiandra, Princess Flower, Pleroma, Purple Glory Tree

Family: Melastomataceae

Synonymous: Tibouchina maudhiana
Tibouchina semidecandra
Lasiandra semidecandra

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

Distribution and habitat: Tibouchina urvilleana are evergreen plants from the tropical rainforest in southern Brazil. They are widely cultivated in warm regions for its soft foliage and showy purple flowers.
The Tibouchina urvilleana grows as a large, woody shrub or tree up to 3m (10 feet) height and it is a truly spectacular plant when in full bloom, bearing magnificent, saucer-shaped purple flowers with an iridescent sheen which are set off to perfection by the velvety foliage.
Tibouchina urvilleana can become invasive species in tropical and subtropical environments outside of their cultivation range. All Tibouchina species are considered noxious weeds in Hawaii.

Description: Tibouchina urvilleana is a shrub that grows up to a metre (3 feet) as so tall indoors. Its four-angled stems and branches are soft, green and covered with fine, reddish hairs when young. Later the stems turn woody and brown. The velvety, pointed-oval, paired leaves are medium to deep green with prominent, pale green, lengthwise veins and finely toothed edges. Each leaf is 5-10cm (2-4 inch) long and 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) wide.
The striking saucer-shaped, five-petaled flowers are rosy purple to violet colour with a cluster of protruding purple stamens in the centre. Each flower is about 8cm (3 inch) across. The flowers are produced in clusters at branch tips from mid-summer to early winter.

Proper care: Tibouchina urvilleana is grown as indoor plants but require some special conditions and are unlikely to thrives without them. It has a fairly narrow margin for error: leaf drop and plant decline are unfortunately common, most often because of watering or temperature issues.
It is a fast growing shrub. Shorten main shoots by half their length and cut side-shoots back to two pairs of leaves each spring. In this way the leggy  growing habit of Tibouchina urvilleana is kept under control and will enhance the flower display.

Light: Give Tibouchina urvilleana bright filtered light from early spring to mid-autumn. During the short-day months keep plants where they can get about four hours a day of direct sunlight.

Temperature: During the active growth period normal room temperature are suitable. During the midwinter rest temperature of about 10°C (50°F) are best. It is a good idea to stand actively growing Tibouchina urvilleana on trays or saucers of damp pebbles to increase the humidity around the plant.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow pots to stand in water. During the rest period give only enough to make the mixture barely moist throughout.

Feeding: Apply to Tibouchina urvilleana plants standard liquid fertiliser about every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants into larger pots every spring until maximum convenient size is reached. Thereafter, top-dress annually with fresh mixture.

Gardening: Tibouchina urvilleana thrive in moist, humid, tropical, subtropical and warmly temperate regions. Out of its hardiness zone, the plant grows as a large, woody shrub which is best kept in a conservatory, sunroom or heated greenhouse. It will tolerate light to moderate frost if they are planted in a very warm, protected part of the garden, the plat is covered in winter and the roots thickly mulched. If the plant is cut right back by frost it will usually grow back from the roots in spring.
Their growth habit tends to become somewhat leggy if the plants are not frequently trimmed to keep them bushy; and because they bloom on new growth, trimming immediately after flowering will encourage more new growth and consequently more flowers. They do however have a remarkable ability to re-grow from ground level after being snapped off, and consequently respond well to hard pruning.

Position: Tibouchina urvilleana love full sun, but too much harsh sunlight can also be a problem; in a very hot or dry region plant these shrubs in a sunny location which is semi-shaded during the hottest part of the day.
These plants are brittle and prone to breaking in the wind, so plant them in a sheltered position in the garden.

Soil: Tibouchina urvilleana prefer slightly acidic soils with a good amount of organic matter and good drainage, but will adapt to most well-drained garden soils: from very acid to slightly alkaline. Tibouchinas will not thrive in soils that are too alkaline and will show signs of burn around the leaf margins and yellowing between the leaf veins. They are adapted to chalk, clay loam, loam, loamy sand, sandy clay loam and sandy loam soils; but if the soil is less than ideal, dig lots of acid compost into the planting hole and mulch the roots often.
These plants can sometimes be difficult to establish, and after planting, they may seem to lack the growth for a season or two, but once they are fully settled they will suddenly became fast growers.

Irrigation: Water regularly during dry spells to prevent the plant from drying out, but do not keep the soil saturated or root rot can result.

Fertilisation: Feed regularly with a balanced organic fertiliser to encourage new bud formation.

Propagation: Take stem or tip cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long in spring. Trim each cutting to just below a pair of leaves, remove the bottom leaves and dip the cut end of cutting in hormone rooting powder. Plant the cutting in an 8cm (3 inch) pot filled with a moistened equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in a warm room in bright filtered light.
When new growth appears, uncover it and begin to water it moderately. After a further eight weeks, move the young plant into a 10cm (4 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat it as a mature specimen.
Tibouchina urvilleana can also be propagated by seed. Sow seeds in spring using a mixture of three parts soil-based compost and one part gritty sand. Do not cover the seeds. Place the pot or tray in indirect light at about 21°C (70°F) until the seeds start to germinate. Pot on when the seedlings are large enough to handle.

Problem: Tibouchina urvilleana are susceptible to gray mold, mushroom root rot, leaf spots, root rot of seedlings, spider mites and nematodes. If exposed to cold drafts or strong sunlight, expect the plant to start dropping leaves.

Mushroom root-rot can occur if drainage is bad or the plants are over watered.
Treatment: There are no effective chemicals to control the disease.

If there is not sufficient air circulation, leaf spots and spider mites can be problematic.

Leaves turn yellow and drop in winter if the plant is overwatered.
Treatment: Allow to dry out and water less in future.

Leaves turn brown and dry during the summer when the growth environment are too dry.
Treatment: Increase water and humidity levels and move out of the sun.

Yellow stippling on the leaves is due to red spider mites (which look like tiny red dots) on the undersides.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Mealy bugs look like small blobs of fluffy white cotton.
Treatment: Remove them with a cotton swab dipped in diluted methylated spirit. Use a suitable insecticide for severe attacks.

Companion plants: Border companions for Tibouchina urvilleana blooming shrub include the Pink Bower Vine (Pandorea jasminoides ‘Rosea’) to scramble over a nearby arbor, Dwarf New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium ‘Nanum Ruru’) with its tight growth and pink flowers and Oleander (Nerium oleander).

Uses and display: Tibouchina urvilleana growth habit is somewhat weedy, requiring training and pruning to develop and maintain it as a tree. It can be trained as a standard or espaliered against a west-facing wall receiving at least five hours of full sun. It can also be trained on a trellis or arbor as a vine. Pinching new growth helps increase branching and will enhance the flower display. It is a nice addition to contemporary, cottage or tropical gardens. This plant will attract butterflies into the garden.
Plant it near outdoor living areas where its flowers can be closely enjoyed. The handsome foliage adds texture and interest to shrub borders and foundation plantings and delivers splashes of color that grab the attention of all who come near.
The spectacular Tibouchina urvilleana flowers are used as cutting for bouquets.
Also, Tibouchina urvilleana are suitable for container accent, being favored by modern designers for its pubescent foliage and intense color. Large specimens can be trained on a trellis or against the wall of a conservatory.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height indoor: 1m (3 feet)
Height outdoor: 3m (10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 13°C (45-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tibouchina urvilleana Tibouchina urvilleana Tibouchina urvilleana - Flower



Cutting Flowers, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , ,

Myrtus communis

Common name: Common Myrtle, True Myrtle, Bride’s Myrtle, Roman Myrtle, Sweet Myrtle., Sweet Roman Myrtle, True Roman Myrtle

Family: Myrtaceae

Synonymous: Myrtus acuta
Myrtus acutifolia
Myrtus angustifolia
Myrtus augustini
Myrtus aurantiifolia
Myrtus baetica
Myrtus baetica var. vidalii
Myrtus baui
Myrtus belgica
Myrtus borbonis
Myrtus briquetii
Myrtus christinae
Myrtus communis var. acutifolia
Myrtus eusebii
Myrtus gervasii
Myrtus italica
Myrtus josephi
Myrtus lanceolata
Myrtus latifolia
Myrtus littoralis
Myrtus macrophylla
Myrtus major
Myrtus media
Myrtus microphylla
Myrtus minima
Myrtus minor
Myrtus mirifolia
Myrtus oerstedeana
Myrtus petri-ludovici
Myrtus rodesi
Myrtus romana
Myrtus romanifolia
Myrtus sparsifolia
Myrtus theodori
Myrtus veneris
Myrtus vidalii

Myrtus communis

Myrtus communis

Distribution and habitat: Myrtus communis is native across the northern Mediterranean region. It is a common and widespread shrub and the sole representative of the Myrtaceae in the Mediterranean Basin. It is typically found in Maquis shrubland together with other low-growing shrubs which have been developed after the clearing of the primary woods of the Mediterranean in the lower mountain environments.
Thought to originate from Iran and Afghanistan, Myrtus communis has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region since the beginning of recorded history. The species type develops an irregular upright oval form, eventually becoming a small tree 4 to 4.5m (12-15 feet) tall in old age; plants are often shorn to maintain a lower profile, say under 1.5 or 2m (5-6 feet); overall plants are fine textured and are reminiscent of the Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) in form.

Description: Myrtus communis is an evergreen shrub or small tree, growing 4.5m (15 feet) tall in its native habitat, but usually only 60-90cm (24-35 inch) high indoors. This species is a branching shrub with densely crowded, pointed-oval leaves, which are dark green, shiny and fragrant when crushed. The scented flowers have a diameter of about 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) and are composed of a mass of yellow stamens concealing five small, white or pale pink petals. The flowers are normally produced singly on short flower stalks in late summer.

Proper care: Myrtus communis are the most commonly plants of this genus grown as indoor plants. These small shrubs can be easily kept in shape by judicious pruning, which should be done only when strong growing shoots that might otherwise spoil a plant’s symmetry have become apparent. Too much heavy pruning will reduce the likelihood of flowers, but a certain amount of regular pinching out of growing tips is essential for building up healthy, dense growth.

Light: Provide Myrtus communis with the brightest possible light at all time. If these plants are placed more than 30-60cm (12-24 inch) away from a fully sunlit window, they become spindly. Turn the plants regularly in order to avoid lop-sided growth and provide airy conditions when they are cultivated indoors.

Temperature: Although Myrtus communis prefers relatively cool conditions, it grow well in normal room temperature. If possible, however, give this plant a winter rest period at about 7°C (45°F). Otherwise, the relatively warm, dry air will make the leaves to fall. Fresh air during active growth period will toughen up growth, so these plants may be stood in a sunny position outdoors throughout the summer. They should be gradually accustomed to sunlight because the leaves are not used to ultraviolet rays after spending winter indoors. Also the root ball should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully. During the rest period water moderately, giving enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout at each watering but letting the top few centimetres (0.8 inch) of the mixture dry out before watering again. If at all possible, use rainwater or some other calcium-free water.

Feeding: Do not feed these plants until they have been lodged in same pot for more than three months. Thereafter, apply to Myrtus communis plants standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with addition of one third portion of leaf mould or peat moss. The basic mixture should be lime-free, because myrtus species do best in neutral or slightly acid medium. As plant get bigger, move them into increasingly larger pots, one size at a time. This is best done just as new growth is starting in the spring. Young specimens should be repotted every 1 to 2 years, older plants every 3 to 4 years. It is important to pack the potting mixture firmly around the roots and to set these plants at the same level in successive pots – never deeper than before. Once a Myrtus communis is lodged in a pot of maximum convenient size – about 18-20cm (7-8 inch) – simply top dress each spring.

Gardening: Myrtus communis species does not succeed outdoors in the colder parts of the world. When fully dormant Myrtus communis is hardy to between -10 and -15°C (14-5°F) as long as it is sheltered from cold drying winds, though it does withstand quite considerable maritime exposure. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts.
Myrtus communis is a moderately fast-growing plant when young but soon slowing with age. Overall, the growth is moderate to fairly slow, particularly on the compact cultivars. The plant is very tolerant of regular clipping and can be grown as a hedge. Any pruning is best carried out in the spring.

Position: Locate Myrtus communis plants in full sun to light shade. These plants are heat, drought and salt tolerant; avoid exposure to winds to reduce winter injury.
They cannot grow in the shade.

Soil: Myrtus communis succeeds in any reasonably good soil so long as it is well-drained. It prefers a moderately fertile well-drained neutral to alkaline loam.

Irrigation: Myrtus communis plants are intolerant of poorly drained soils and high humidity, so they are often planted in raised beds or containers. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Established plants do well with one deep irrigation each month in summer. Shallow, frequent irrigation may cause plants to turn yellow.

Fertilising: Needs little or no fertilizer. Eventually, use a general purpose fertiliser before new growth begins in spring.

Propagation: Cuttings with a short heel (meaning with a little of the old bark attached) are normally used for propagating these plants. The process require patience, since rooting may take six to eight weeks. Inset several cuttings together around the rim of an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened rooting mixture and enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case. Keep it in medium light – at a slight shaded window for instance – at a temperature of about 15°C (59°F). When new top growth appears, move each rooted cuttings individually into 8cm (3 inch) pots of the recommended potting mixture for adult plants. Thereafter, treat the new specimens as mature plant.

Problems:
Myrtus communis is prone to infestation by scale insects and subsequently sooty mold may develop; root rots occur on wet soils; thrips and spider mites can attach in hot weather.

Toxicity: The essential oil contained in the leaves of Myrtus communis plants is slightly toxic. It may cause headaches, nausea, indigestion, and may colour urine purple if consumed in larger quantities (above 10 ml).

Recommended varieties:
Myrtus communis cv. ‘Boetica’ (Twisted Myrtle or Desert Myrtle) has leaves about 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) long which have a pronounced fragrance.

Myrtus communis var. microphylla (Dwarf Myrtle) grows no taller than about 60cm and bears leaves less than 2.5cm (1 inch) long. Myrtus communis microphylla can be pruned and trained into practically any shape.

Myrtus communis subsp. tarentina is compact and its 2cm (0.8 inch) long leaves are usually tough. More compact and rounded than the species plant, it is a great choice for a sheltered, sunny spot in the garden.

Myrtus communis cv. ‘Variegata’ has sharply pointed green leaves bordered with creamy white.

Uses and display: Myrtus communis is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant for use as a shrub in gardens and parks. Formal sheared hedges are the principle use for the species; old specimens can be limbed up into small trees. Myrtus communis is excellent for hedges, screens, patio planters and pots or for providing a dark green background for perennial or annual color plantings. It is a classic for Mediterranean gardens and historic, period, scent or educational gardens; compact forms are a favorite for knot garden borders. This plant is a favorite of coastal landscapers and works as a bonsai. It takes pruning well and is suitable for topiaries. When trimmed less frequently, it has numerous flowers in late summer. It requires a long hot summer to produce its flowers and protection from winter frosts.
Myrtus communis is often cultivated in the Mediterranean, where the plant is regarded as a symbol of love and peace and is much prized for use in wedding bouquets.
An essential oil from the bark, leaves and flowers is used in perfumery, soaps and skin-care products. An average yield of 10g of oil is obtained from 100 kilos of leaves.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers and fragrance
Shape – bushy
Height outdoor:  4.5m (15 feet)
Height indoor: 60-90cm (24-35 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8b-11

Myrtus communisMyrtus communis - bonsaiMyrtus communis - topiariesMyrtus communis trimmedMyrtus communis - berriesMyrtus communis Boetica Myrtus communis microphyllaMyrtus communis tarentinaMyrtus communis Variegata



Cutting Flowers, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fuchsia magellanica

Common name: Fuchsia, Lady’s Eardrops, Fuchsia Angel Earrings, Earring Flower, Hardy Fuchsia

Family: Onagraceae

Synonymous: Fuchsia gracilis
Fuchsia macrostemma
Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis
Fuchsia magellanica var. macrostema
Fuchsia riccartonii

Fuchsia magellanica

Fuchsia magellanica

Distribution and habitat: Fuchsia magellanica is found in forest clearings and margins, especially in mixed evergreen/deciduous woods of South America – Argentina and Chile. Also, this plant was widely naturalised in Bolivia, the UK, the Azores, the Canary Islands, eastern Africa, New Zealand, Hawaii, western USA (California and Oregon) and in the coastal districts of southern Australia.

Description: Fuchsia magellanica is an upright deciduous shrub with lance shaped leaves that have reddish undersides. It grows to 3.6m (11 feet) by 2m (6 feet) at a medium rate and produces many small, tubular, pendent flowers in shades of red, pink and sometimes white. The branching structure is horizontal with the flowers dangling beneath the stems. The flowers are emerging from a deep tube that flares to become pointed petals, while the corolla and petals are protrude. Blooms profusely over a long period from late spring through late fall. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. Flowers are followed by reddish purple fruits.

This cold tolerant species is the parent of most hybrid cultivars of today.

Gardening: Fuchsia magellanica plants are popular garden shrubs with medium growth rate and, once planted, they can live for years with a minimal amount of care. These plants are hardy in mild temperate areas. The long branches may be nipped during frosty weather, but the shrub will rebound in spring. In Hardiness Zone 6 a heavy mulch in late fall will help to bring plants through the winter.

Keep these plants blooming longer by picking off spent blooms and seed pods. To encourage branching, prune plants heavily in the spring and pinch off the tips of the new growth. Continue to pinch until the plant is filled out.

Location: Fuchsia magellanica prefers part sun. It should be located in morning sunlight and afternoon shade, especially in warm, sunny climates. Very dense shade is not desirable as it will inhibit flowering.

Soil: Plant Fuchsia magellanica in rich, moist soil. If the soil does not drain well or puddles after a rain, improve drainage by mixing 8 to 10cm (3 to 4 inch) of organic material such as compost.

Irrigation: Water Fuchsia magellanica deeply enough to saturate the soil only when the top 3 to 5cm (1-2 inch) of soil is dried. Do not over-water. The plant will be more susceptible to fungal disease if the soil is not allowed to dry between watering.

Fertilisation: Feed the Fuchsia magellanica every three to four weeks during spring and summer, using an all-purpose fertiliser for blooming plants. Alternatively, apply a balanced time-release fertiliser every three to four months. Apply the fertiliser after watering and never fertilize dry soil. Refer to the fertiliser label for specific instructions and rates of application, which may vary depending on the size of the plant and the type of soil.

Container plants: Fuchsia magellanica is a favorite for hanging baskets and, under the proper care, will give abundant colorful blooms throughout the season. But this plant is difficult to keep in good condition indoors without a cool, shaded planthouse or conservatory. Good air circulation is essential, but shelter it from hot, dry winds, which remove moisture too rapidly and cause wilting.
Occasionally trim back the long branches of Fuchsia magellanica kept in a hanging basket to obtain a fuller plant. Trimming the plant will not harm it, but enable it to bush out and create more blossoms.

Light: Fuchsia magellanica enjoy bright light, but keep it safe from the hot afternoon sunlight.

Temperature: Fuchsia magellanica are not frost hardy and like a mild winter temperature of 10°C (50°F), especially when grown as potted plants. In cold winter areas, Fuchsia magellanica needs special care over winter. Prune the plant back to 10 to 15cm (4-6 inch), removing all leaves and store it in a cool, dark place. Placing it in a dark environment will prevent the plant from beginning to sprout and grow before climate conditions are optimum. Water the dormant Fuchsia magellanica plant only two or three times just to prevent the potting mixture to dry completely during this resting period. When the last frost has passed, move Fuchsia magellanica back to its summer placement so it can begin to grow.

Water: Water them regularely. To water Fuchsia magellanica, submerge the pots in room-temperature water until completely saturated and then allow them to stand until all dripping has stopped. Do not allow the plants to remain in standing water or root rot may result. On hot days, mist the foliage with water.

Feeding: Feed Fuchsia magellanica with a water-soluble bloom fertilizer.

Potting and repotting: Grow them in large 25 to 30cm (10-12 inch) pots or hanging baskets of rich, peaty compost mixed with sand and bone meal. Repotting should be strictly attended to, never allowing the plant to form a mat of roots around the ball before it gets a shift into a larger pot.

Propagation: Fuchsia magellanica can be propagated easily from softwood cuttings. The best time to root them is spring or autumn. The cutting should be 8cm (3 inch) in length potted singly in 5cm (2 inch) pots, in three parts sand, one part loam and another of leaf-mold. Place the pots in a shady position with a temperature of not less than 15°C (60°F) at night. When the small plants are well rooted, shift them along into a 10cm (4 inch) pot, using this time potting mixture recommended for adult plants. In this size of pot, the shoot will have made four or five joints and should now be pinched to encourage side breaks. The plant, where it is stopped, will start into two breaks and the strongest should be taken for a leader; pinch the weaker one when two leaves are well formed. Strict attention from now on should be paid to keep the plants in good shape. The side shoots must be kept in bounds, so that the symmetry of the plant is preserved, pinching “the stronger ones hard and allowing the weaker to grow a little longer so that they gain more vigour. The leader may be allowed to make six pairs of leaves, and then be stopped, always choosing the strongest breaks to increase the height of the plant.

Problems:
Watch out for scale insects and spider mites, pests which love to invade Fuchsia magellanica. Problematic mites include the fuchsia gall mite (Aculops fuchsiae) and red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae).
Treatment: First thoroughly spray the plant, both top and underside of leaves with water, then administer either insecticide or insecticide soap according to the label instructions.

Fuchsia magellanica are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) and the Black-lyre Leafroller Moth (“Cnephasia” jactatana). Other major insect pests include aphids, mirid bugs such as Lygocoris, Lygus and Plesiocoris spp., vine weevils (Otiorhynchus spp.), and greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum).
Treatment: Use an adequate pesticide following the label recommendations.

Rust (Puccinia graminis), gray mold (Botrytis blight), crown gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens), rots (Phytopthora cinnamomi), southern blight (Sclerotium rolfsii) and verticillium wilt (Verticillium alboatrum and Verticillium dahliae) can also damage or kill Fuchsia magellanica shrubs.
Treatment: Because eradicating these bacterial diseases is difficult or impossible, the best recourse for infected plants is to remove and destroy them. The treatment begins with good sanitation to prevent the spread of the disease. Destroy affected plants and remove the surrounding soil and garden debris that has come in contact with them. Do not transplant any nearby plants to other parts of the garden. Quarantine new plants by growing them in a bed that is isolated from the rest of the garden until proven that they are disease-free.

Life span: Fuchsia magellanica plants will remain in bloom for several weeks, with each flower lasting several days, depending on location and care. The plants can last for years with proper care.

Companion plants: Fuchsia magellanica mixes well with other semi-tropical flowers, such as Salvia, Plectranthus and Justicia species.

Note: Fuchsia magellanica is regarded as an environmental weed in some parts of the world such as Australia and some islands in the Indian Ocean.

Uses and display: Fuchsia magellanica is used for planting in temperate and subtropical gardens, within conservatories and for containers on patios, balconies and sunny houseplant positions. Fuchsia magellanica adds bright colors and a tropical feeling to the garden. Use as a specimen or in a bed or border. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Fuchsia magellanica is a large, fairly hardy, tropical-looking shrub with many showy flowers, used as beds, borders and hedge plant in garden or as specimen plant in containers.

Height: 60-120cm (23-47 inch)
Spread: 60-90cm (23-35 inch)

Hardiness zone: 6a-9b

Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica Fuchsia magellanica hedge Fuchsia magellanica bonsai



Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , ,

Acalypha wilkesiana

Common name: Match-Me-If-You-Can, Jacobs Coat, Beefsteak Plant, Fijian fire plant, Fire Dragon Plant, Redleaf

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Synonymous: Acalypha circinata
Acalypha compacta
Acalypha godseffiana
Acalypha hamiltoniana
Acalypha illustris
Acalypha macafeeana
Acalypha macrophylla
Acalypha marginata
Acalypha musaica
Acalypha torta
Acalypha tricolor
Acalypha triumphans
Ricinocarpus wilkesianus

Acalypha wilkesiana

Acalypha wilkesiana

Distribution and habitat: Acalypha wilkesiana is shrub which occurs in tropical and subtropical rainforest, dry rainforest and vine thickets of the Pacific Islands.

Description: Acalypha wilkesiana is an evergreen shrub which can grow to 1.8m (6 feet) tall. The stem is erect with many branches. The branches have fine hairs. It has a closely arranged crown. Its pointed oval leaves which are about 12cm (5 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide, are coppery green, mottled and streaked with copper, red and purple. The leaves are finely hairy. They can be flat or crinkled. The flowers are reddish in spikes at the end of branches. They have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers are in long spikes which hang downwards while the female flowers are in short spikes. They do not show up easily as they are often hidden among the leaves.
Acalypha wilkesiana plants are prized for their attractive foliage rather for their insignificant flowers.

Houseplant care: Acalypha wilkesiana branch and become bushy naturally and therefore it is never necessary to pinch out growing tips. But, to keep these plants within bounds in warm areas, they may need to be cut back annually and severely (taking out at least half the previous year’s growth). Rather to do this, indoor plants are renewed from cuttings each year and discarded the overgrown plants.

Light: Acalypha wilkesiana plants need plenty of warmth and light. In inadequate light they tend to become spindly and they will lose much of the leaf colouration that makes these plants so attractive.

Temperature: Warmth is essential. Even during the winter rest period the temperature should not be permitted to fall below 16°C (61°F). Acalypha wilkesiana will thrive in temperatures as high as 27°C (81°F). But because they are particularly sensitive to dry air, the potted plants must be set on trays of moist pebbles or damp peat moss throughout the year.

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

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

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move small plants into pots one size larger whenever, on examination, roots are seen to fill their pots. This is best done in late spring but may be needed more than once a year. If Acalypha wilkesiana plants are to be kept more than one year, they should be repotted into larger pots annually in late spring.

Gardening: Acalypha wilkesiana is best grown as annual bedding plants or in containers which can be overwintered indoors. Stems may be pinched to control size and shape and to promote bushiness. Cutting back once a year keeps the foliage fresh and well coloured, and the plant more compact.

It is damaged by both drought and frost. It needs a minimum temperature above 10°C (50°F).

Position: Acalypha wilkesiana plants grow in full sun to part shade, sheltered from strong winds. Best foliage colour is optioned in full sun. In hot climates it suits a protected shady position.

Soil: Acalypha wilkesiana prefers light well drained, average to moderately fertile soil. Some sand to loam  within 5.5 to 7 pH range will suit these beautiful plants.

Irrigation: The soil must be kept consistently moist for Acalypha wilkesiana plants. If soil dry out, rapid leaf drop usually occurs.
Do not overwater during winter months; slightly dry is better.

Fertiliser: A mixture of all purpose fertilizer and potash can be used in spring; the potash will enhance the leaf colours.

Propagation: Acalypha wilkesiana are most attractive when young. Plants are usually discarded in their second year after being used for propagation. The simplest way to increase a plant is to take tip cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long in early spring. Alternatively, short side-shoots can be used. To encourage side-shoots, in early spring cut the old plant down to 0.5m  (1 foot) from the potting mixture. Keep the plant in bright filtered light. Mist-spray Acalypha wilkesiana daily and water enough to keep the potting mixture moist.
When new side-shoots are 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long they should be removed – each with a heel attached. After taking either tip or side-shoot cuttings, place each in a 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened mixture of equal parts of peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite. Enclose the pots in plastic bags and place them in bright light filtered at a temperature of at least 20°C (68°F). No further watering is required until new growth indicates that the cuttings have taken root. Then remove the plastic bags. Thereafter, water just enough to keep the potting mixture barely moist and feed the plant with half strength liquid fertiliser every two weeks.
When cuttings are 30cm (12 inch) tall, move them into 10cm (4 inch) pots containing the regular potting mixture. They can then be treated as mature plants.

Problems:
Indoors, scale insects, spider mites, whiteflies, and mealybugs may be problems. Keep a careful watch for mealy bugs and red spider mites to which these plants are especially vulnerable. If unnoticed, such pests can do untold damage.
Treatment: Mealybugs – Remove manually the infested parts of the plant. Dip a cotton swab in alcohol and apply it to any bugs you cannot remove or areas which the bugs have heavily occupied. Discard infected plants if prior steps are not enough to eradicate the bugs.
Red spider mites – Wash the affected plants with soft dish soap solution or use an insecticidal soap. Repeat two or three time this treatment.

In the garden, downy mildew, powdery mildew, rust leaf spots and fungal root rots can occur.
Treatment: Prevention is more efficient than controlling the fungal disease.  Provide adequate air circulation and water the  plants in the morning, so plants get a chance to dry out during the day. However, to combat a fungal  disease, use an adequate pesticide.

Recommended varieties:
Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Godseffiana’ (sometimes called Acalypha godseffiena) has shiny green leaves with creamy white margins.

Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Macrophylla’ has leaves more nearly heart shaped than oval, of russet-brown with pale brown margins.

Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Marginata’ has heart shaped, olive green leaves tinged with bronze and margined with a line of carmine-red.

Acalypha wilkesiana ‘Mosaica’ called the giant red leaf, has hart shaped leaves that are bronze-green with orange and red markings.

Uses and display: Typically grown as an annual or houseplant. Acalypha wilkesiana can be grown in a warm greenhouse, in a border or as a specimen or hedging plant (especially in warm areas). Bedding plant, filler in borders or container plant as focal point will provide stunning colour addition to any display.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – bushy

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Height indoors: 90cm – 120cm (35-47 inch)

Height outdoors: 1.2-1.8m ( 4-5 feet)
Spread outdoors: 1.2-1.8m ( 4-5 feet)

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Acalypha wilkesiana

Acalypha wilkesiana  in container

Acalypha wilkesiana Godseffiana

Acalypha wilkesiana Macrophylla

Acalypha wilkesiana Marginata

Acalypha wilkesiana Mosaica



Annuals, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Shrubs , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Abutilon hybridum

Common name: Flowering Maple, Albution, Chinese Lantern, Chinese Bell Flower

Family: Malvaceae

 

Abutilon hybridum

Abutilon hybridum

Distribution and habitat: Abutilon x hybridum (Abutilon hybridum) are cultigens, not occurring in the wild. Cultivars produced by hybridising some of the South American abutilons have all been placed in one group known as Abutilon x hybridum.
Abutilon x hybridum is a popular group of hybrids that are semi-tropical, frost-tender shrubs typically growing up to 2-3m (6-10 feet) tall in zones where can be left in the ground year-round. It is an evergreen shrubs with attractive maple-like leaves and an open, pendulous habit.

Description: Abutilon hybridum is the name given to a group of hybrids of mixed parentage.
The common name ‘Flowering Maple’ cames from the shape of its broad, five-lobed leaves, but it is not a true maple. It is more closely related to the Alcea species (hollyhock) and to the weed known as Abutilon theophrasti (velvet leaf).
There are many named varieties of Abutilon hybridum, which can grow up to 1.5m (5 feet) spread and can start to flower while very young. The pendent blooms are usually about 5cm (2 inch) long and bell shaped with prominent orange or yellow stamens and pale green calix (the papery, bract like growth that protects the unopened flower bud).
When given good light and proper care, Abutilon hybridum is producing papery blossoms on drooping stems nearly year-round. Flowers may be red, yellow, pink, orange or peach, depending on variety. Some varieties feature leaves mottled with yellow, but the strongest growers have solid green leaves.

Houseplant care: Abutilon hybridum plants tend toward legginess, so it is important to prune them back by one-third their size in the spring, just before the most vigorous flush of new growth begins. Remove any thin shoots that crowd the centre and reduce other stems by one-third. Also pinch back stems occasionally through the summer to promote a full, bushy shape. Regular pruning makes it easy to keep an Abutilon hybridum less than 45cm (18 inch) high and wide. If an upright plant is wanted to 1m (3 feet) tall, tie long branches to sturdy stakes.

Abutilon hybridum benefit from being kept outdoors in filtered sun during the summer months, but must be returned indoors before frost.

Light: Abutilon hybridum plants need bright light with at least three to four hours of direct sunlight every day. Place the plant to receive the light from a south or west window.

Temperature: This plant grows well in average room temperatures 18-24°C (65-75°F) year-round. Minimum temperature is 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water moderately, enough to moisten the potting mixture throughout, but allowing the top 1.5cm (0.5 inch) to dry out between waterings. In the rest period water only enough to keep the mixture from drying out completely.
This plant needs moderate humidity. Mist foliage with room-temperature water every few days when needed, especially in winter when indoor humidity is low. This practice will help to prevent problems with spider mites.

Fertiliser: Aply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only. In winter, feed monthly, as plants grow more slowly.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants into pots one size larger in spring. It is best to discard Abutilon hybridum after two or three years.

Gardening: Abutilon hybridum plant stems tend to be weak. Pinch stem tips of younger plants to promote both bushiness and stronger, more compact plants. It can also be pruned back hard in the spring, if size control is needed.
In frost zones, these plants are usually grown as annuals in the garden or in containers.

Location: A full sun position is best, but Abutilon hybridum will also flower in part shade. Best in part shade (a position where the plants receive morning sun) in hot summer climates, particularly for those cultivars with variegated foliage. Foliage may wilt in full afternoon sun.
These plants will not cope so well with full shade as they need sunny spots to bloom over a long period of time (about 9 months per year or even year round).

Soil: Abutilon hybridum plants like a rich, well drained soil and a cool root run.

Irrigation: Water well and keep it protected with mulch. Abutilon hybridum needs consistently moist soils which do not dry out. This plant abhor dry conditions.

Fertilising: Avoid heavy feeding as Abutilon hybridum are inclined to produce foliage at the expense of flowers.

Propagation: Take tip cuttings 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long from the plant in spring or summer, dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder, insert them in small pots in a mixture of equal parts of moistened peat moss and coarse sand or in perlite and cover each pot with a plastic bag.
Place pots in filtered sunlight; cuttings will root in three to four weeks. Thereafter, move them into slightly larger pots of soil-based potting mixture, but keep the uncovered pots in filtered light for another two or three weeks and water just enough to keep the potting mixture barely moist. The plants can then be treated as mature Abutilon hybridum.

Longevity: Plants become woody and unattractive by the time they are 3 or 4 years old, but can be kept indefinitely by propagating stem tip cuttings.

Problems:
Plant does not bloom when has not enough light or needs additional fertiliser.
Treatment: Move plant to a place where it will get bright natural light half the day. Switch to a high-phosphorous fertilizer. Some plants bloom very little in winter, but vigorous hybrids should bloom year-round with good light and regular feeding.

Flowers and low leaves drop when uneven watering, resulting in some roots remaining dry; also, these drops can be promoted by too much direct sun.
Treatment: Rehydrate pot. In summer, move plant to a place where it will be protected from hot midday and afternoon sun.

Sticky leaves can be caused by aphids; these small insects are present on leaves.
Treatment: Prune plant to remove badly infested leaves. Clean thoroughly with plenty of water every 3 days for 2 weeks. Can be used insecticide soap.

Leaves are pale and stippled with yellow dots and faint webbing appear on leaf undersides. The cause are the spider mites.
Treatment: Isolate plant and and prune off and dispose of badly infested leaves. Clean undersides of remaining leaves with warm, soapy water. Mist daily for a week and see if plant shows signs of recovery. If plant has a stem that is not infested, attempt to propagate its tip, because seriously damaged plants may not be worth saving.
To prevent an infestation of these pests it is important to provide a humid atmosphere around the plants and to spray the plants with water occasionally.

Diseases affecting Abutilon hybridum include: root rot, rust, Alternaria and Cercospora leaf spot.
Treatment: These can be controlled by providing air circulation, keeping the leaves dry and using a fungicide, if necessary.

There is also Abutilon mosaic virus, but the leaf discoloration or variegation is usually considered a feature.

Recommended varieties:
Abutilon hybridum ‘Boule de Neige’ has white flowers with striking orange stamens.

Abutilon hybridum ‘Golden Fleece’ has yellow flowers.

Abutilon hybridum ‘Master Hugh’ has rose-pink flowers.

Uses and display: In addition to being grown in pots or hanging baskets, Abutilon hybridum can be trained to assume a treelike shape by tying the main stem to a sturdy stake and inching off all branches that emerge from the lowest 38cm (15 inch) of stem.
It is also a beautiful addition to cottage garden, shade garden shrub border where dense screening is not required.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Indoors: 1.5m (5 feet)
Outdoors: 2-3m (6-10 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Abutilon hybridum VoodooAbutilon hybridum in potAbutilon hybridum Boule de NeigeAbutilon hybridum Golden FleeceAbutilon hybridum Master HughAbutilon hybridum



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