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Tillandsia recurvata

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

Family: Bromeliaceae

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

Tillandsia recurvata

Tillandsia recurvata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 8a-11

 

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



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

Tillandsia stricta

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

Family: Bromeliaceae

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

Tillandsia stricta

Tillandsia stricta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

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



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

Begonia bipinnatifida

Common name: Fern Leaf Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Synonymous: Begonia warburgii

Begonia bipinnatifida

Begonia bipinnatifida

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bipinnatifida Begonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifidaBegonia bipinnatifida



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

Begonia bogneri

Common name: Begonia

Family: Begoniaceae

Begonia bogneri

Begonia bogneri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Begonia bogneriBegonia bogneriBegonia bogneri



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

Bertolonia marmorata

Common name: Jewel Plant

Family: Melastomataceae

Synonymous: Eriocnema aenea

Bertolonia marmorata

Bertolonia marmorata

Distribution and habitat: Bertolonia marmorata is an evergreen species of pretty, dwarf, creeping, tender perennials, native to tropical forests of Brazil (South America).

Description: Bertolonia marmorata has nearly pointed, heart shaped leaves 12-20cm (5-8 inch) long which arch slightly toward the tips; they are vivid green with a slightly satiny texture and usually broad, silvery white lines running lengthwise along the veins on the upper surface. The stems are crawl over the surface of the potting mixture, turning upwards their tips, but these plants never grow over 15cm high. Purplish flowers with five petals, about 2cm (0.8 inch) across, appear at intervals throughout the year. The flowers open singly on stiff flower stalks 7-10cm (3-4 inch) long.

These herbaceous clump-forming plants are grown for their colorful, velvety, ornamental foliage.

Houseplant care: Bertolonia marmorata require special conditions of constant warmth and very humid atmosphere and will not thrive without them. Growing them in terrariums can be easily attain the necessary humidity.

Light: Bertolonia marmorata needs medium light. Avoid direct sunlight.

Temperature: These plants like normal room temperatures and high humidity. Stand the pots on trays of damp pebbles but do not spray the foliage since water lodging on leaves can cause unsightly markings.

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully, keeping the mixture thoroughly moist. In the rest period water only enough to keep the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Apply a liquid fertiliser every two weeks in the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a potting mixture composed of equal parts of peat moss, leaf mould and coarse sand or perlite. Bertolonia marmorata do best in small pots, half pots or shallow pans. Move small plants into larger container only when leafy stems have covered the surface area and are trailing over the edges of the pots or pans.

Propagation: Take tip cuttings in early spring. Plant each cutting in a small pot filled with slightly moistened potting mixture (as recommended for mature plants), enclose the pots in plastic bags and stand them in medium light. Rooting should occur in six weeks. Thereafter, treat the new formed Bertolonia marmorata as mature plants.

Problems: Bertolonias can be prone to mealy bugs. Be sure to inspect new plants for bugs and insects to avoid infecting other plants.

Recommended varieties:
Bertolonia marmorata var. aenea has leaves of a coppery tinge and almost no silvery white markings.

Uses and display: Bertolonia marmorata are excellent plants for terrariums or plant windows.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – creeping
High: 15cm (6 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 11

Bertolonia marmorata Bertolonia marmorata Bertolonia marmorata flower Bertolonia marmorata flower Bertolonia marmorata aenea Bertolonia marmorata aenea



Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants , ,

Aphelandra squarrosa

Common name: Zebra Plant, Saffron Spike

Family: Acanthaceae

Synonymous: Aphelandra chrysops
Aphelandra coccinea
Aphelandra leopoldii
Aphelandra oostachya

Aphelandra squarrosa

Aphelandra squarrosa

Distribution and habitat: Aphelandra squarrosa is a compact evergreen shrub growing to 2m (6 feet) tall in its native tropical habitat in Brazil. In the wild, it thrives in the high humidity and frequent downpours of the rain forest.

Description: Aphelandra squarrosa plants have glossy green leaves with bold white leaf veins. The dramatic leaves are ovate to elliptic growing up to 23cm (9 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide within the center of the leaf and they have pointed tips.
The plume of bright yellow flowers from yellow or orange yellow flower laden bracts up to 4cm (1.5 inch) long are an added attraction. The spikes appear at the top of the plant and sometimes there are additional spikes between the upper leaves. The small yellow flowers with attractive scent last for only a few days, but the cone-shaped spike of bracts remains attractive for 4 to 8 weeks.
Potted plants usually grow to no more than 30-45cm (12-18 inch) tall on a stout stems and are best kept in pots no larger than 15cm (6 inch) in diameter.
If properly cared for, the Zebra plant can grow as tall as 2m (6 feet) outdoors or a little over 30cm (1 foot) if kept indoors.

Houseplant care: Unfortunately, Aphelandra squarrosa are not easy plants to bring into bloom. They are usually purchased when in flower and will flower again only under the right conditions of light, temperature and humidity.
Keep the plant in a cool room for about 2 months during the winter rest. As light becomes more abundant in late spring, move plant to a bright place near a south or west window, but not in direct sunlight. Or, shift it to a shady porch or patio. When exposed to bright light for 3 months, Aphelandra squarrosa will usually rebloom in the fall, its natural bloom season. Light intensity rather than day length triggers flowering. This plant may not bloom when kept in low light, but it will earn its place with its exotic foliage. It will often bloom a second time during the year when given enough light. Aphelandra squarrosa plants are typically known to flower in the fall, but with care and attention, it can develop its distinctive yellow blooms at any time of the year.

Cut off the bracts after they deteriorate and wipe leaves often with a damp cloth to keep them glow.

Light: Aphelandra squarrosa plants need bright light, but not direct sunlight. In spring and summer place the plant in bright light. In fall and winter give them moderate light.

Temperature: Aphelandra squarrosa love warm temperatures: 18-27°C (64- 81°F). During the active growth period provide for Aphelandra squarrosa plants high humidity along with temperatures of at least 18°C (64°F). Pots should be kept on trays of moistened pebbles. Immediately after flowering, give the plants a short winter rest in a relatively cool position, but not below 12°C (54°F).

Water: Keep the potting mixture constantly moist. Do not let this plant dry out. During the active growth period water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. During the short winter rest period make the entire mixture barely moist, allowing the top half to dry out between waterings; this should be just enough water to keep the leaves from drooping.
Maintain moderate to high humidity. use lukewarm water to keep soil temperature elevated. Mist frequently during growing season.

Feeding: Aphelandra squarrosa must be given standard liquid fertiliser every week during the active growth period.
Leach pots once during the summer.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture incorporating peat moss or leaf mould. These plants can be moved into pots one size larger as necessary. Keep plants slightly rootbound. Most varieties will flower in 13-15cm (5-6 inch) pots. A plant that has flowered should be cut back to a single pair of healthy leaves every spring before being repotted in fresh potting mixture. This will promote flowering. As much of the old potting mixture should be removed from the roots as can be done without harming them. This treatment often results in the production of two or three main shoots per plant instead of only one.

Longevity: Aphelandra squarrosa will live in home conditions for one to several years or indefinitely if propagated from rooted cuttings.

Gardening: Like many true jungle plants, however, the Aphelandra squarrosa plant poses a challenge to indoor growers in temperate areas. It requires lots of moisture, warmth and food to really thrive. Nevertheless, even a short-lived specimen is an interesting plant and can be expected to last for several months before it succumbs.

Location: Place Aphelandra squarrosa plants in a location that provides filtered light and protection from the hot afternoon sun. Plant these plants outdoors under trees that provide light filtering with leaf cover.

Soil: Aphelandra squarrosa plants like rich soil that retains water, but drains well. Plant Aphelandra squarrosa plants outdoors in a hole that is twice the size of the plant’s root ball and the same depth as the container the plant is presently in. Add compost to the hole to increase moisture retention. Remove the plant from the container and separate the roots. Place the plant in the hole and fill with soil by lightly packing it around the plant.

Irrigation: Water Aphelandra squarrosa plants regularly so the soil is moist, but not wet. Water generously when the top 2 inches of soil become dry. Check the plant regularly as environmental factors affect soil dryness. Mulch outdoor plants to maintain soil moisture.
Plants should be watered a minimum of once a week when there is less than 2.5cm (1 inch) of rainfall per week.

Fertilise: Fertilise Aphelandra squarrosa plants every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer that is quick release. Provide a winter rest period by not fertilising during the winter months as this will initiate new bloom growth.

Propagation: Propagate – preferably in late spring – by means of tip cuttings 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long. Plant them in potting mixture recommended for mature  Aphelandra squarrosa, moiten it well, enclose the whole in a plastic bag and keep it in a warm, humid place in bright light filtered through a translucent blind or curtain. No further watering is necessary. Cuttings should start to root in six to eight weeks.

Problems: Though it prefers humidity, the Aphelandra squarrosa plant can die if it gets too much water, as well; misting with a light application of water every day is appropriate for its needs. Cold environments will kill it, as it grows best in temperatures that fall in a fairly narrow range: 18 to 21°C (65-70°F).

Leaves become crinkled or curled. This can be caused by too much light.
Treatment: Move plant to a shadier location.

Growing tips wilt because the potting mixture is too dry.
Treatment: Aphelandra squarrosa requires constant moisture which can be a challenge in summer when the plant is kept in bright light. Rehydrate pots that may have dried out in the center. This often happens with rootbound plants grown in a peaty potting mix.

Lowest leaves wilt and drop off is caused by too dry, too wet or excessive fertiliser.
Treatment: Maintain constant moisture and reduce strength of fertiliser solution. Leach pots to remove possible accumulated salts.

Small yellow spots on leaves; tiny flying insects are present. This is caused by infestation with whitefly.
Treatment: Isolate plant and install sticky traps. Remove and destroy badly infested plat growth. Keep plants clean at all times and use an adequate pesticide regularly.

Plant is weak; grows slowly; small flying insects present. This is infestation with fungus gnats.
Treatment: The moist, peaty soil Aphelandra squarrosa prefers is attractive to this irritating pest. Keep soil slightly dry for several days, then trap larvae with potato pieces placed on the potting mixture.

White cottony masses on stems are caused by mealybugs.
Treatment: Remove mealybugs with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol or vegetable oil. Use an adequate pesticide.

Small sucking insects on leaf undersides and new leaves are caused by aphids.
Treatment: Clean plant thoroughly with water, then spray with insecticidal soap.

Recommended varieties:
Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Louisae’ is a compact form with leaves 20-30cm long and with broad yellow or orange-yellow flower bracts.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Brockfeld’ is compact with dark green leaves.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Dania’ has silvery leaf margins. It is the most difficult Aphelandra squarrosa plant to bring into bloom.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Fritz Prinsler’ has sharp leaf colour contrast.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Red Apollo’ features stems and leaf undersides blushed with red.

Aphelandra squarrosa ‘Apollo’ is another cultivar with white dramatic venation.

Uses and display: Aphelandra squarrosa are used for foliage display as well as for their showy spikes. This plant thrives best in a highly humid environment, making it ideal for bright bathrooms and greenhouses. Outdoor gardens in humid climates are also highly conducive for the Aphelandra squarrosa plant. Display in a prominent place in fall when the plant is in bloom.

Also, Aphelandra squarrosa are good plants for terrariums.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegated
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
High: 1.2-1.8m (4-6 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 18°C (55-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Aphelandra squarrosa LouisaeAphelandra squarrosa BrockfeldAphelandra squarrosa DaniaAphelandra squarrosa Red ApolloAphelandra squarrosa Aphelandra squarrosa



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Vriesea splendens

Common name: Flaming Sword, Painted Feather, Zebra Bromeliad, Flaming Sword Bromeliad

Family: Bromeliaceae

Synonymous: Tillandsia appuniana
Tillandsia longibracteata
Tillandsia picta
Tillandsia speciosa
Tillandsia splendens
Vriesea longibracteata
Vriesea speciosa

Vriesea splendens

Vriesea splendens

Distribution and habitat: Vriesea splendens is native to Venezuela and Trinidad, Guiana and Suriname. In its natural habitat Vriesea splendens is growing terrestrial among the roots of trees in soil rich in leaf mould, but mostly it is founded growing  epiphytic in dense forests in shady wet areas. It has the typical bromeliad rosette form and water vase.

Description: Vriesea splendens is prized for both its handsome foliage and its showy flower spikes, being one of the showiest and dramatic bromeliads. It has stiff, sword-shaped leaves with smooth edges arranged in a loose rosette that is capable of holding water in the rather cup-like centre. The rosette is composed of about 20 leaves 38cm (15 inch) long and 3-5cm (1-2 inch) wide, that are dark green with purple-black cross-banding.
Like other bromeliads, Vriesea splendens do not flower until it is three to five years old. Its strongly coloured, usually erect, sword-shaped flower spikes, which can be produced at various times of the year depending on conditions, are very long lasting – an effect largely derived from brilliant bracts rather than the short-lived flowers. The flower spike up to 60cm (24 inch) tall is capped by a 30cm (12 inch) long flattened blade of brilliant red overlapping bracts; 3-5cm (1-2 inch) long yellow tubular flowers emerge from this. The spike persists for several months, after which the plant slowly declines while producing one or more offsets.

There are many forms of Vriesea splendens, some with darker foliage, same with larger or differently shaped flower spikes.

Houseplant care: Vriesea splendens are suitable subjects for growing on a bromeliad tree: the roots are wrapped in a ball of sphagnum moss and wired on to a dead branch or piece of driftwood. They must not be allowed to dry out and will need foliar feeding.

These bromeliads are not as easy to grow as some other bromeliads, but they will succeed when provided with bright light, warm temperatures and moderate to high humidity.

Light: Vriesea splendens must have bright light with three or four hours a day of direct sunlight, in order to flower. Do not subject them to scorching midday sun, however.

Temperature: Vriesea splendens need normal temperature and high humidity; to increase humidity it is recommended to place pots on trays of moist pebbles. Protect this bromeliad from temperatures below 10°C (50°F).

Watering: Water actively growing plants plentifully by filling the central cup of the rosette until water spills over into leaf axils and seeps through to the potting mixture. During the short day months Vriesea splendens may rest and they should watered just enough to make the potting mixture barely moist.

Refill the water vase every two weeks with fresh water. Spray leaves weekly. Use soft water if possible. Allow water to stand for several hours before using it.

Feeding: Give all actively growing plants half-strength  liquid fertiliser about once a month. Apply the fertiliser to both the potting mixture and central cup. Do not fertilise during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use the mixture recommended for bromeliads.  Two possible potting mixture consist of equal parts of coarse leaf mould and peat moss or equal parts of lime-free, soil based mixture and peat moss. Repot Vriesea splendens only when roots fill their pots – every two or three years – this is best done in spring. The largest pot size required is 13cm (5 inch). When reppoting these plants, do not pack the potting mixture too firmly; roots cannot penetrate heavy soil.

Gardening: Vriesea splendens prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on moderately moist soil. They are hardy to zone 10. It can be planted in the ground in a humus rich soil or attached to the side of a fern tree. In summer the plants prefer moderate humidity and need protection from direct sunlight. Bring this bromeliad inside during winter months. Propagate a new plant from the pups when the parent plant is close to expiring.

Propagation: Around flowering time, Vriesea splendens will produce offsets either from leaf axils or around the base of the rosettes. A basal offset should be from 8-15cm (3-6 inch) long (depending of the mature plant size) before being detached with a sharp knife; retain roots if they have already been produced. Plant the offset in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of moistened standard mixture for bromeliads, enclose it an plastic bag and keep it in warm room in bright filtered light until roots are established (in about four to six weeks). There after, treat the young plant as recommended for mature Vriesea splendens.

Offset arising from leaf should not be detached but allowed to grow in natural way. They will take over from the parent (which after having flowered, slowly dies) over a period of about a year.

Also Vriesea splendens can be propagated from seed. The seeds need to be freshly gathered since they lose their viability quickly. Sow the seeds in spring and use shallow pan or half-pot filled with mixture of two parts of peat moss to one part of coarse sand. Sprinkle the seeds thinly and evenly over the surface, pressing them down lightly without burying them. After thoroughly moistening the potting mixture, place the container in a plastic bag or heated propagating case. If it is kept at a temperature of about 24-27°C (75-81°F) fresh seeds will germinate in a week or two.
Leave the seedling still enclosed in the bag or case, in a warm position that gets bright filtered light until they have made three or four leaves. Once the leaves have appeared, gradually allow more air to the bag or case to accustom the seedlings to normal room conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days. After the seedlings are fully uncovered, begin to water them moderately allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings; start feeding once a month of liquid fertiliser at half strength. When the seedlings have made at least six leaves, pot each young plant in a 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot of one of the recommended potting mixture for adult bromediads and treat them as mature plants.

Problems:
Brown patches on leaves may be caused by exposure to direct sunlight.

Also, leaf blotches can be a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection. Bacterial spots are rather angular and yellow-rimmed while fungal spots usually are rather rounded with an area of fruiting bodies.
Treatment: Destroy affected parts, additional apply fungicide in fungal infection cases.

Brown tips on the leaves usually indicate insufficient humidity in air or the bromediad vase has not been filled with water.

Sudden wilting and pale green discolouration indicate a fungal infection (phytophthora).
Treatment: Remove infected plants. Avoid further infection by improving drainage and avoiding over-fertilisation.

Scale insects that sit on the undersides of the leaves and excrete honeydew.
Treatment: Scale insects can be controlled with insecticide.

Rotting at the base may be due to overwatering of the potting mixture.

Rotting at the base, if the plant has flowered, may be due to natural death of the parent rosette, however.

Uses and display: Vriesea splendens is suited as container plant and as indoor plant. The vibrant leaf colors make this bromeliad a unique focal point, even when the plant is not in bloom. Since the spread of this plant is wide, a good location is a raised platform or plant stand, with other low-light plants used as accents beneath. It is widely used as a container plant in indoor commercial sites.
Vriesea splendens can be grown as an epiphyte plant mounted on a piece of bark or a tree branch. The young Vriesea splendens arise from seed can be used for bottle gardens or terrariums as this bromeliad is a slow grower.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegated
Features – flowers
Shape – rosette
Height: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Vriesea splendensVriesea splendensVriesea splendens - flowers

 

 



Bromeliads, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taxiphyllum barbieri

Common name: Java Moss, Christmas Moss, Dubious Bladder Moss, Mini Moss, Singapore Moss, Triangular Moss, Willow Moss

Family: Hypnaceae

Synonymous: Vesicularia dubyana

Taxiphyllum barbieri

Taxiphyllum barbieri

Distribution and habitat: Taxiphyllum barbieri is a moss native to Southeast Asia. In its moist tropical climates it grows on the ground, on tree trunks and rocks, often on banks of periodically flooded rivers. In the wild this species is often found growing in association with Microsorum pteropus.

Description: Taxiphyllum barbieri is the most common of the mosses used in aquariums. It is a delicate moss with small branched stems. Branching is irregular and covered with rows of tiny overlapping oval-shaped leaves 2mm long. The elongated bright green leaves of the submerged forms of Taxiphyllum barbieri are much smaller than those that grow on land. It has no true roots, instead absorbing nutrients primarily through its leaves and stems. It will grow free floating or will send out rhizoids to attach itself to rocks, decorations, driftwood, as well as gravel or sand. However, these rhizoids do not absorb nutrients as roots do. The only purpose they serve is to attach the plant to an object.

Care: This moss can be allowed to float, weighed down to a gravel substrate where it will eventually attach itself or affixed to wood or rock or wrapped around wood or rock to which it will become attached, growing on almost any surface. It does not require soil.

His growing rate is slow to moderate. It is quite easy to grow as it is a hardy plant, tolerating and growing in a wide range of water conditions after a period of acclimatisation. Regular trimming will help to keep it in shape. It has no special requirements.

In aquariums it should be planted where there is good water current because debris gets stuck on it easily giving a brown fuzzy appearance to this hardy moss. Also, Taxiphyllum barbieri grown on the bottom of the tank is prone to collecting debris, which can be unsightly and even damaging to the plant if large amounts build up. To clean the moss, remove it from the tank and rinse it well in water. Do not worry about being too rough with it, as Taxiphyllum barbieri is quite sturdy.

Light: This plant is undemanding as far as lighting is concerned, doing well in both high and low light. In high light, the plant will grow dense and lush while in low light, the plant will be darker and lankier.

Water: It accepts all kind of waters, even weakly brackish. Soft, acid water is the ideal.

Temperature: It grows best at 21 to 24°C (70-75°F), but can live in temperatures of up to 29 to 32°C (85-90°F).

However, too warmer water temperature tend to slow the growth of this moss.

Fetilization: While CO2 and fertilisation will enhance growth rates, this moss will prosper without them as well. To promote deep, healthy green color, iron fertilisation with a commercial liquid fertiliser is recommended.

Propagation: Java moss can be easily propagated via division. Pull clumps from the parent mass and attach them to their new location with nylon line or cotton thread or by placing small pebble on top of it. Within a few weeks the moss will attach itself to the object sending out rhizoids and grow out covering the thread. As it grows it will spread both horizontally and vertically in rows, often forming dense tufts of heavy growth. As it grows it should be trimmed to keep a good shape and promote further growth. Pieces that are trimmed can be used to start new plants.

Problems: The main problem with Taxiphyllum barbieri may be the algae growth. Once algae begins growing in the moss, it is almost impossible to remove and the entire plant has to be discarded. The best way to avoid algae growth is to avoid excessive light and keep the water clean.

Taxiphyllum barbieri can overwhelm filters or clog the fountain if it is not thinned out occasionally.

Uses: Taxiphyllum barbieri is commonly used in freshwater aquariums. It attaches to rocks, roots and driftwood. Also, it can be used in coldwater aquariums and is ideal for breeding tanks. Taxiphyllum barbieri is very useful for softening the harsh effect of tank furnishing, giving them an aged, timeless appearance. Even it can cover the filter entirely, converting it into an attractive feature in aquarium.

Due to its clinging nature Taxiphyllum barbieri can also be transformed into a moss wall. This can be accomplished by folding a net and spreading the moss evenly across it. Then, the net can be secured together by polyester strings, and held on the aquarium wall by using suction cups. It is a slow starter until it has established itself.

It makes a good mid or foreground plant. It is especially popular among aquarists raising fry (baby fish) and tadpoles, to protect them from cannibalistic adults.

Taxiphyllum barbieri is suitable for both aquariums and vivariums or paludariums. Can be used in pond or fountains.

Summary:

Height: to 10cm (4 inches)
Width: to 10cm (4 inches)
Growth Rate: Slow to Medium
Placement: Mid and Foreground
Lighting Needs: Low to Bright
Temperature: 15 to 32°C (59-90°F)
Hardiness zones: 6a-11
pH: 5.5 to 8.0
Hardness: to 20 dGH



Aquarium Plants, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Terrarium Plants, Water Plants , , , , , , , ,

Pilea cadierei

Common name: Aluminum Plant, Watermelon Pilea

Family: Urticaceae

Pilea cadierei

Pilea cadierei

Description and habitat: Pilea cadierei is a fast growing evergreen perennial native to tropical Southeast Asian rainforest. It has been naturalized extensively in many tropical location around the world. It spreads rapidly in its tropical native habitat where it grows as a groundcover.

Description: Pilea cadierei are attractive foliage plants upright-growing. After about a year, however, when it has reached a height of 25-30cm (10-12 inch), it may drop its lower leaves, leaving bare basal stems. Leaves are thin, up to 8cm (3 inch) long, oblog-oval and arranged in opposite pairs. Their edges are slightly incised and the surface has four rows of raised silvery patches between the green vein areas. Tiny flowers may appear at any season but are scarcely noticeable.

Houseplant care: Pilea cadierei is an easy maintenance indoor plant as long as its need for humidity is supplied. Keep Pilea cadierei out of cold or hot drafts.

The main shoots of Pilea cadierei naturally divide into side branches and dense growth is usually automatic. But it may be advisable to nip out over-ling shoots sometimes, thus balancing and encouraging further division. Also, pinch off the flowers when appears in summer.

Light: Pilea cadierei do well in semi-shade and can be grown at a short distance from a window in summer. Avoid very bright light – especially direct sunlight – at all times.

Temperature: These tropical plants like a combination of warmth (16-24°C (60-75°F)) and humidity. Pots should be stood on trays of moist pebbles. Pilea cadierei cannot tolerate temperatures below 13oC (55oF).

Watering: Water sparingly making the entire potting mixture barely moist but never allowing the mixture get too wet. Let the top two-thirds of the mixture dry out between waterings. Use tepid water or, if it is possible, rain water to water Pilea cadierei.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks, from mid-spring through summer only.

Potting and repotting: Use either an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and soil-based potting mixture or a peat-based mixture. Pilea cadierei do not have a large root system and will thrive in 8-10cm (3-4 inch) pot or in shallow pans. Because Pilea cadierei deteriorate, they should not be moved on. Restart from cuttings.

Cultivation: When kept outdoors in the garden, the Pilea cadierei grows hardy to zone 10a to 11. It grows in moist, well-drained soil, preferring loamy soil. In tropical environments Pilea cadierei is popular as a smaller scale ground cover for shady spots in humid climates.

Propagation: Propagate Pilea cadierei by cuttings taken in late spring. Cut the stem just below a node – the place where a leaf is attached. Take young tip cuttings up to 8cm (3 inch) long, dip their cut ends in hormone rooting powder and insert each in a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pot of gritty rooting mixture (one part of coarse sand or perlite to two of peat moss). Each cutting will normally root in about three to four weeks if placed in a warm, shady position and watered enough to keep the mixture barelly moist. When the cutting is well rooted move it into recommended mixture and treat it as a mature plant.

Problems:
Foliage on Pilea cadierei plant will discolor in the sun.
Treatment: Locate the plant in the full shade to prevent this.

Discoloured leaves with brown tips and edges are caused by overexposure to light or a sudden drop in temperature.

Excessive leaf fall in winter indicate either overwatering or low temperatures.

Mites can spoil the foliage in hot, dry weather.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide and follow manufacturer instructions.

Recommended varieties:
Pilea cadierei ‘Minima’ is a dwarf variety very similar with Pilea cadierei, but it has leaves about half as big as those of the original species and it seldom grows to become any more than 15cm (6 inch) in height.

Usage: Window sill and potted plant are the simplest ways of displaying this plant. Pilea cadierei contrast well with the foliage of other plants with which they may be quite effectively grouped together. Also, Pilea cadierei can be used for hanging baskets or cascading down a wall. Pileas are grown mainly for their highly textured and metallic foliage. A collection of several different varieties would make an attractive display on a window with bright but indirect light.

The love of Pilea cadierei for humidity makes this plant suitable for terrariums.

By using this plant as ground cover it will resemble its natural habitat.

Notes: Sometimes, Pilea cadierei is sold in pet shops as aquatic plat. The plant will survive fine underwater for a few months, maybe even a year, but it will steadily decline until it finally die. Since it is not true aquatics, it cannot survive submerged for long periods of time. Expected life span of Pilea cadierei while submerged is about 4 to 6 months.

Lifespan: Cut back each year and it will last for several years. If it gets too leggy, take cuttings and discard the plant.

 

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – bushy
Height: 25-30cm (10-12 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11



Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants , ,

Homalomena wallisii

Common name: King of Hearts

Synonymous: Curmeria Wallisii
Adelonema wallisii
Chamaecladon wallisii
Diandriella wallisii

Family: Araceae

Homalomena wallisii

Homalomena wallisii

Distibution and habitat: Homalomena wallisii is a perennial species of flowering plant in the Araceae family. It is tropical native plant found in humid climes of Columbia and Venezuela. It reaches about 15cm (6 inch) in height but with a much wider spread. Homalomena wallisii is an evergreen plant with simple leaves arranged opposite one to another. They are elliptic with entire margins. Spathes arranged solitary are followed by berries.

Description: Homalomena wallisii is a very compact Aroid with ornamental leathery leaves. The broadly ovate-lanceolate leaves are of a deep velvety green with markings of a marbled yellow. The leaf blades are about 13-20cm (5-8 inch) in length, on rather short stalks, arching or recurving. The spathe is quite inconspicuous, being of a yellowish white color, shorter than the spreading leaves. The plant grows to a height of 20-25cm (8-10 inch), forming a mass of foliage from underground stems.

Houseplant care: Lush, tidy, clumping plant, Homalomena wallisii is a relatively easy indoor plant to grow with lovely, exceptional leaf shapes and colouration.

Homalomena wallisii requires heat and moisture for its development, hence it is best for a terrarium when grown as a house plant.

Light: Homalomena wallisii likes a partially shaded position when grown outdoors.  As houseplant it does well in medium to low light exposures but truly thrive in medium light conditions.

Temperature: The warmest place in the house should be reserved for Homalomena wallisii. A suitable bay-window or a terrarium is best for Homalomena wallisii plants.
Homalomena wallisii will require an optimal temperature of between 15- 32ºC (60-90ºF). It can withstand temperatures as low as 4ºC (40ºF) with little to no damage.

Whenever the temperature climb over 18oC (64oF), it is a good idea to increase the level of humidity by standing the plants on trays of moist pebbles and spray them. Use soft rainwater to mist the Homalomena wallisii.

Water: Homalomena wallisii love the moisture. Water plentifully as much as necessary to keep the soil thoroughly moist in active growing period. Empty the plant saucers after watering, as stagnant water could damage the roots.
During the winter rest period water sparingly, allowing the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Dry soil will turn the foliage yellow and spartan.

Fertilising: Fertilise regularly with a liquid plant food about every two weeks during the active growth period. Reduce feedings in winter.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mix that retains water yet drains well.  Move Homalomena wallisii into containers one size larger in spring. Homalomena wallisii do not have a deep root system and grow well in shallow pans or half-pots.

Propagation: Homalomena wallisii can be propagated by division in spring when repot the plants. Carefully detach a section of rhizome bearing two or three leaves from the main rootstock and place it in a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pot of moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand.
Enclose the whole in a plastic bag and keep it warm in medium light until the new roots will develop. Then remove the new plant from the bag and treat it as mature Homalomena wallisii.

Problems: No major insect or disease problems.

Low humidity will cause browning along the leaf edges.

If temperature is dropping below 4ºC (40ºF) the foliage of growing Homalomena wallisii plants may yellow or rot.

An over abundance of sun will scorch the foliage – causing burnt spots on the leaves.

Uses: Homalomena wallisii, although too tender for general use, makes a fine object for table decoration. It is suitable for pots or for group planting. This low-growing plant is also suitable for terrariums.

Homalomena wallisii is proved to reduce ammonia levels as per NASA researches, so it is not only beautiful but also an efficient air-filtering plant for home.

Notes: Homalomena wallisii can be confused with the rather similar Aglaonema.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegated
Shape – bushy
Height: 20-25cm (8-10 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 21°C (55-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 21°C (64-70°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-11



Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , ,

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