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.


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

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

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