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Aucuba japonica

Common name: Spotted Laurel, Japanese Laurel, Japanese Aucuba, Gold Dust Plant

Family: Garryaceae

Synonymous: Aucuba vivicans

Aucuba japonica

Aucuba japonica

Distribution and habitat: Aucuba japonica is a dioecious evergreen shrub 1–5m (3.28-16.40 feet) high. It is native to rich forest soils of moist valleys, thickets, by streams and near shaded moist rocks in China, Korea, and Japan.

Description: Although Aucuba japonica plant can reach a height of 4.5m (15 feet) outdoors, non of the several forms grown indoors is likely to grow more than 90cm (35 inch) tall. Their oval leaves are arranged in pairs, alternate on 1cm (0.4 inch) long leaf-stalk. They are 10-17cm (4-7 inch) long, glossy and coarsely toothed. They have leathery texture and green colour or attractively variegated in many cultivars on the rounded green stems. These plants form dense, upright, rounded shrub with a thicket of erect to arching shoots with limited branching.
Aucuba japonica are dioecious plants which means that they have separate male and female plants, but these plants are grown for their foliage rather than flowers or fruits. The flowers are small, 4–8mm (0.15–0.31 inch) diameter, with four purplish-brown petals; they are produced in clusters of 10-30 in a loose cyme. The fruit is a red berry approximately 1cm (0.4 inch) in diameter. It matures in fall and persists till spring, but often is hidden by foliage.

Houseplant care: Aucuba japonica has become a popular indoor plant. If it become inconveniently large, cut it back in early spring.

Light: Indoors Aucuba japonica need bright light or filtered sunlight. Some cool, direct morning sunlight is fine.
Do not move these plants outdoors unless they are provided with a cool, shady spot.

Temperature: Aucuba japonica plants are particularly good for use in cold, doughty positions; they can even withstand frost. But they cannot tolerate temperatures much above 23°C (73°F). In warm rooms should be provided a high degree of humidity. Stand pots on trays of moist pebbles in order to increase humidity.

Watering: Throughout the year water Aucuba japonica plentifully as often as is necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow pots to stand in water.

Feeding: Apply to Aucuba japonica plants a standard liquid fertiliser monthly throughout the year.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Aucuba japonica plants thrive in relatively small pots; a 12-20cm (5-8 inch) pot gives adequate root room for quite a large plant. Small plants may be moved into pots one size larger in the spring when necessary. After maximum convenient pot size has been reached, an annual spring top-dressing is advisable.

Garden: Aucuba japonica plant is valued for its ability to thrive in the most difficult of garden environments such as dry shade. It also copes with pollution and salt-laden coastal winds.
This plant is a moderate grower, although faster growth can be accomplished with yearly fertilizing and regular watering until it reaches the desired size. Prune to any shape or size. Aucuba japonica will take any pruning abuse inflicted on it and keep growing back.
They are low maintenance banks and slopes hedging and they form drought resistant screen.

Location: Aucuba japonica plant is tolerant of full shade, pollution and salt winds. It is used in full sun to part-shade. It will do best in full shade when used in hot summer areas.
It will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location.

Soil: Aucuba japonica is adaptable to almost any soil, except waterlogged soil. It will thrive either in loam, chalk or sand, soil which is moist but well-drained. If the soil is heavy clay, set Aucuba japonica in well-drained area in raised bed and add to the soil 1cm (0.5 inch) of pine bark.
This plant is not very fussy about soil conditions but would prefer a slightly acidic to near neutral soil. In alkaline soils the plant may need supplemental fertilizing to provide nutrients not readily available under this condition.
Do not plant deeper than the soil level in the container.
Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder zones. Mulch  the plants but keep it about 15cm (6 inch) away from the main stem.

Irrigation: Aucuba japonica does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times. Water this plants regularly always leaving the soil dry for a few days between one watering and the other. Deep irrigation every 2 to 3 weeks with one or two buckets of water.
For specimens grown in a container, overwaterig should be avoided. Keep the soil evenly moist from spring through fall. Then, cut back on watering in winter when growth has slowed.

Fertiliser: Fertilise Aucuba japonica with a slow release general purpose fertiliser or a liquid seaweed emulsion fertiliser and keep well mulched to retain moisture. Fertilise only lightly, spreading it evenly over the root zone.

Propagation: Cuttings 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long will root easily in spring if planted in small pots containing a moistened rooting mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Place each pot in a plastic bag and keep it at normal room temperature in filtered sunlight, giving no additional water until new growth indicates that rooting has occurred. Thereafter, remove the plastic bag, water the young plant sparingly and begin monthly feedings of liquid fertiliser. When the plant is 30cm (12 inch) tall, move it into a 10cm (4 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat the plant as recommended for a mature Aucuba japonica.

Problems: Wet root rot, Southern blight and fungal leaf spots may affect Aucuba japonica plants.

Crown rot is caused by the soil-borne fungus Sclerotium rolfsii. This fungus attacks and kills plants at the ground level when humid conditions resulting from a tight plant canopy or debris near the stem persist. Eventually, the black decay (necrosis) may extend several centimetres upwards in the stem. Foliage of affected plants wilts and the plant dies quickly. This fungus can attack both large and small plants.
Root rot of Aucuba japonica is caused by the soil-borne fungi Phytophthora cinnamomi and Phytophthora citricola. Above ground symptoms are similar to crown rot, however, the roots are usually more extensively rotted, white fungal growth and sclerotia are absent and decay may not extend as far up the stem. Diseased plants eventually die.
Several nematodes cause root damage to Aucuba japonica. The root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne sp.) is the most common and causes the development of galls on the naturally thick roots. These and other nematodes reduce vigor and growth, as infected plants cannot take up water or fertilizer as well as healthy plants.
A nonpathogenic root rot may also develop on Aucuba japonica growing in soil very high in organic matter and soil that is poorly drained. Excess fertilizer placed too close to the crown of the plant can also cause stem or root injury.
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.
Do not plant Aucuba japonica were other Aucubas, Azaleas or Rhododendrons have died before.

Foliage problems, such as wilting or necrotic spotting, may reflect a root problem or other stress condition. Aucuba japonica grow best in shaded areas. Plants growing in exposed areas may develop black leaf spots or blotches. A dieback characterized by total decay of leaves, petioles, and branches often occurs on exposed plants in early spring. This can be caused by exposure to full sun combined with cold injury. A weakly pathogenic fungus (Botryosphaeria sp.) is often found in such tissue and is common on many woody ornamental plants under environmental stress.
Treatment: Plant Aucuba japonica in partially shaded areas. Give exposed plants some protection during cold winter weather. Promptly prune out dead branches several inches below any sign of discoloration. Avoid excess fertiliser, especially during late summer and fall.

Significant dieback is often a sign that the plant may be under stress from root rot, crown rot, nematodes or other factors.
Treatment: These problems are much more severe in poorly drained and waterlogged soils. Control involves improving the soil drainage wherever possible and drenching with a suitable soil fungicide. Make sure the soil crust is broken beneath the plants so the fungicide will penetrate down into the root zone of the plant.

Recommended varieties:
Aucuba japonica cv. ‘Variegata’ is the most popular cultivar of this species. Its leaves are heavily spotted with gold-coloured markings. This is a female clone, a similar male clone being named Aucuba japonica cv. ‘Maculata’.

Aucuba japonica cv. ‘Crotonifolia’ with at least half its mid-green leaf surface white or ivory spots. This variety is a female clone with somewhat larger leaves than standard species.

Aucuba japonica cv. ‘Goldiena’ is a cultivar with a yellow centre and contrasting green margins.

Dwarf Aucuba japonica cv. ‘Nana’ is compact, tight form and 8 x 8cm (3 x 3 inch), slow grower; foliage green with dusting of yellow.

Toxicity: The fruit and leaves of Aucuba japonica are poisonous if ingested.

Uses and display: Aucuba japonica is often seen as an informal hedge, but may also be grown indoors as a houseplant.
In landscape, Aucuba japonica is cultivated as woody shrub, used for beds and borders, screening, hedge but can make a handsome specimen plant or focal point into the landscape. It is used for woodland garden styles, architectural patio and container plants for coastal locations.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height indoor: 90cm (35 inch)
Height outdoor: 4.5m (15 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 4°C max 24°C (39-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 7a-10b

Aucuba japonica cv. VariegataAucuba japonica cv. CrotonifoliaAucuba japonica cv. Crotonifolia fruits



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

Alpinia vittata

Common name: Ornamental Ginger, Marble Ginger, Striped Narrow Leaf Ginger, Sander’s Ginger, Variegate Ginger

Family: Zingiberaceae

Synonymous: Alpinia sanderae
Alpinia tricolor
Guillainia vittata

Guillainia vittata

Guillainia vittata

Distribution and habitat: Alpinia vittata is a species of flowering plants in the ginger family, native to a region from the Bismarck Archipelago in the Solomon Islands. They are evergreen rhizomatous soft-wooded perennial cultivated as ornamental plants. Alpinia vittata are plants of forest understory habitat in hot and moist climate all year round.
This plant is among the most attractive and commonly grown species of this genus.

Description: Alpinia vittata is a tropical, clumping perennial plant that grows from a rhizome. The stems are pseudo-stems – they are made up of many layers, which are leaf sheaths, tightly compressed together. It is growing up to 50cm (20 inch) tall indoor and has green pale, 20cm (8 inch) long leaves edged and banded from the centre to the margin with cream or white stripes. The leaves are more or less lance-shaped, arranged in two ranks on the reed-like pseudo-stems. These plant rarely flower in cultivation.
In the ground in warm climates it can grow to 1.5m (5 feet) tall or more, but tends to stay smaller if grown in pots. It forms a dense clump that makes a good accent plant. Large clumps produce pendulous pink flowers. Inflorescence are 18-25cm (7-10 inch) long. They form only on two years old stems consisting in a pendant branched spike carried terminally on a leafy stem.
Alpinia vittata is cultivated mainly for its beautiful and striking foliage.

Houseplant care: Alpinia vittata is a fast grower and can be used as indoor plant as long as a humid atmosphere is maintained. Remove spent leaves as they form and cut old canes to their base.

Light: Alpinia vittata thrives in medium light or filtered direct sunlight is best. Kept in too dark position will reduce variegation and make the leaves greener. Prolonged direct sunlight can cause foliage to scald, brown or bleach.
During the warm season these plants can be moved outdoor in a spot with partial shade. Bring the plants back indoors before the temperature drops under 15°C (59°F).

Temperature: During the active growth period, the warmer the better – temperatures must never drop bellow 15°C (59°F). High humidity is essential; stand Alpinia vittata plants on saucers of moist pebbles throughout the year.

Watering: Correct watering is essentially important for the successful growth of Alpinia vittata plants. As soon as the rhizomes start into growth in early spring begin to water plentifully, as much as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. After the active growth period gradually reduce the quantity and water only moderately during the rest period.

Feeding: Apply to Alpinia vittata a standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks from spring to summer.

Potting and repotting: In mid-spring, transfer Alpinia vittata plants into a pot one size larger. Use a soil-based potting mixture with blood and bone at the rate of one teaspoonful per 15cm (6 inch) pot.

Gardening: Alpinia vittata is best in tropical to sub tropical climates, but can be grown in frost free temperate areas in a warm spot. It can also be grown in a container. In cooler climates, it must be kept indoors or in a greenhouse over winter. This species has light frost tolerance. The tight clumps of tall slender erect stems will die back with freezing temperatures, but the rhizomes will sprout new foliage in spring. If grown in cold regions, the rhizomes can be dug up and stored indoors for the winter. Store them at 13°C (55°F) in dry pine bark mulch and then restart them in spring after frost danger has passed.
Because Alpinia vittata does not flower until its second year, it can only be enjoyed for its foliage in the cooler areas. These beautiful plants have a massive spread, so give them plenty of room to spread their wings. Place them 1.2 to 1.5m (4-5 feet) apart and allow at least 1.2m (4 feet) between these plants and the nearest shrub or tree. Alpinia vittata grow vigorously and where they spread to outgrow their allotted space in the landscape, rhizomes should be dug up split and replanted. Also, the larger specimens should be sheltered from winds to prevent the leaves from tearing.
The tallest stalks can be trimmed off to keep this plant to a lower size.

Position: Alpinia vittata is not picky when it comes to its location in the garden – it can grow in areas that provide at least six hours of sun and bright light throughout the day but can also thrive in partial shady areas of the garden. But too much shade will reduce variegation and make the leaves greener. Prolonged direct sunlight can cause foliage to scald, brown or bleach.

Soil: Alpinia vittata thrive in loose, but moist rich soil. A sandy soil that has a lot of organic matter is ideal. Before starting the plant, incorporate a layer of compost into it to promote soil moisture retention and provide nutrients. The soil should be mildly acidic (6.0-6.5 pH) to mildly alkaline (7.0-7.5 pH).
In cooler areas, a thick layer of organic mulch might help protect the roots.
The rhizomes should be planted as soon as possible. It is recommended to establish the plant in a pot before planting it in garden. The rhizome should be planted with the top up, no more than 3-4cm under the soil. Avoid planting them too deep to prevent rhizomes from rotting. Also, freshly planted rhizomes need oxygen to grow new roots and will die if the planting medium is too dense or too wet.
If planted in pots, these should be of sufficient size – at least 10 to 15cm (4-6 inch) wider than rhizome size. Keep the pots in a warm, sunny place. When leaves start to unfold the plants can be planted out – again in well drained soil.

Irrigation: Although Alpinia vittata plants do not mind dry conditions, they will look their best with regular irrigation timed so that the soil has a chance to dry out between waterings. These plants are moderately drought tolerant once established. Water regularly, especially during the initial growing season when the roots are establishing. Avoid overwatering, especially during periods of cool winter weather below 10°C (50°F), as rhizomes are prone to rot.

Fertiliser: Alpinia vittata will thrive with regular applications (3 times a year: spring, summer and fall) of a high potash (K) fertiliser such as a slow release 8/2/12 palm special. They require far less fertiliser however than palms and will fail to flower if too much is used. Fertilised plants require more water than unfertilised ones.

Propagation: Propagate Alpinia vittata by dividing overgrown clumps in late spring. These can be broken off or cut with secateurs. Pots of divided rhizomes should be kept in a warm, shaded spot for several weeks before being placed in their permanent position.
Alpinia vittata can be started from sections of rhizome in spring using a loose, airy but moist organic potting mixture. Make sure that they are not planted too deep – at most 2.5-5cm (1-2 inch). Avoid overwatering to prevent rhizomes from rotting. After planting, water thoroughly, then do not water again until soil is getting dry. Keep in warm position, evenly moist, but not wet, until shoots grow and leaves start to unfold.

Problems: Generally, Alpinia vittata is problem free.

Red spider mite may infest these plants when are kept in dry atmosphere.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

The edges of the leaves turn brown if the plant lacks moisture.
Treatment: Water the plants. Spread a thick layer of organic mulch over the soil around the plant to help promote soil moisture retention.

Older leaves will appear pale with brown necrotic areas is caused by insufficient potash. Interveinal yellowing is caused by iron deficiency and distorted leaves by manganese deficiency.
Treatment: Fertilise plants as recommended to correct trace elements, especially they are grown on limestone soils.

Companion plants: Alpinia vittata makes a sticking contrast when planted in landscape along with: Cordyline species, Schefflera arboricola (Green Arboricola), Nephrolepis biserrata cv.’Macho Fern’ (Macho Fern), Brugmansia species (Angel’s Trumpet), Strelitzia nicolai (White Bird of Paradise), Tibouchina heteromalla (Silverleafed Princess Flower) and Agapanthus species.

 Note: Alpinia vittata is often confused with Alpinia zerumbet cv. Variegata. They have different flowers (Alpinia zerumbet cv. Variegata has shell-like flowers, beautiful flowers used in exotic bouquets) and different hardiness zone (again Alpinia zerumbet cv. Variegata is a harder cultivar). The size is again different. These two species also share sometime their common name as ‘Variegate Ginger’.  Grow Alpinia vittata for its beautiful foliage.

Uses and display: Alpinia vittata is used in tropical landscapes for filling borders, in containers or as building foundation plantings. In cold climates, it often serves as a seasonal container plant for the patio. The foliage can be cut and used in fresh flower arrangements. It makes an excellent landscape plant that is easily cared for. Great for mass plantings and border areas. It works as a surround for trees or palms, a filler for a corner bed or an anchor plant for a mixed garden. It is suited for tropical, oriental and contemporary designs gardens. This species in drought-tolerant, therefore it is suitable for xeriscaping.
Alpinia vittata can be used in landscape in many ways such as: single yard specimen, center of a circular drive, large accent for a mixed bed, backdrop for smaller plants, in front of tall green shrubs, corner-of-the-house accent, pool cage plant (for a large bed), surrounding a palm tree or as an understory plant among large trees.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – variegated
Shape – bushy
Height – 1.8m (6 feet)
Wide – 0.8m (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 21°C (55-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 27°C (61-81°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Guillainia vittataAlpinia vittataAlpinia vittata



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

Allamanda cathartica

Common name: Golden Trumpet, Yellow Allamanda, Golden Cup, Allamanda

Family: Apocynaceae

Synonymous: Allamanda aubletii
Allamanda cathartica var. grandiflora
Allamanda cathartica var. hendersonii
Allamanda cathartica var. nobilis
Allamanda cathartica f. salicifolia
Allamanda cathartica var. schottii
Allamanda cathartica var. williamsii
Allamanda chelsonii
Allamanda grandiflora
Allamanda hendersonii
Allamanda latifolia
Allamanda linnaei
Allamanda salicifolia
Allamanda schottii
Allamanda wardleyana
Allamanda williamsii
Echites salicifolius
Echites verticillatus
Orelia grandiflora

Allamanda cathartica flowers

Allamanda cathartica flowers

Distribution and habitat: Allamanda cathartica is an evergreen arching, long branched shrub native to Brazil. It is growing near coasts, climbing through trees or shrubs in mangrove swamps and along lowland streams. It prefers moist, well-drained soils in tropical regions, being often found in moist areas as the edges of rivers or swamps.
Allamanda cathartica is widely cultivated as ornamental plant which was escaped and naturalised outside of its natural habitat throughout much of the tropics. It become a weed of roadsides and bushlands, especially along river margins and canals. It is an invasive plant in Australia and some Pacific islands.
The long, trainable stems of Allamanda cathartica plants admit them to classification as vining plants. But the growth is lax and pliable only when it is young, and becomes brittle at maturity.

Description: Allamanda cathartica is a perennial plant which become quite woody over time, but it requires a trellis or a fence for support. It does not twine, nor does it have tendrils or aerial roots. These tropical plants are referred to as vines but they are really shrubs with long stems. It can be pruned into a shrub form. If not pruned it can sprawl to a height of 6m (20 feet).
It is cultivated as an ornamental plant for its large beautiful flowers. Glossy, dark green leaves are 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long and 3-6cm (1-2 inch) wide. They are arranged opposite to whorled of four, with wavy margins and pointed at both ends. The flowers consist of a 2-3cm (0.8-1 inch) long tube flaring into five petals that span 13cm (5 inch). They are golden yellow, occasionally with white markings in the throat. The flowers are produced in clusters (cymes) at the stems tips in summer to fall.

Houseplant care: Allamanda cathartica is a vigorous grower. Provide a trellis to support its vigorous, climbing stems and to show off those glorious golden flowers.
In late winter cut plants back by as much as tow-thirds to control its size, encourage new growth and more flower buds. Cut off spent blooms to encourage more flowers.

Light: Provide bright light to Allamanda cathartica plants with three of four hours a day of full sun. Put the plant in a sunroom or by a sunny window.
Moving this plant outdoors for the summer will enhance the blooming power. Outdoors, place the plant in a semi-sunny spot, protected from the hot afternoon rays. Bring it back inside before the temperature drops to 16°C (60°F) at night.

Temperature: Allamanda cathartica does not like the cold at all. This tropical plant needs average to warm temperatures 18-27°C (65-80°F). It will tolerate a minimum of 15°C (59°F) in winter.
Also this plant needs moderate to high humidity (50% relative humidity or higher). Use a humidity tray or room humidifier to raise the moisture in the air around it.

Watering: During the active growth period water Allamanda cathartica moderately. Water thoroughly, then allow the top 5cm (2 inch) of potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Empty drainage tray to prevent soggy soil.
During the winter rest period water this plant sparingly.

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

Potting and repoting: Use a soil based mixture. Move plants to larger pots in spring. When the maximum convenient pot size was reached top dress the plants with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Allamanda cathartica is sensitive to frost. It can be kept over winter in greenhouse conditions. Growth will remain active in a tropical greenhouse in winter – continuing flowering all year long – or the plant can be forced into dormancy in an unheated greenhouse. In plant is taking a winter rest, cut back the stems by half, withhold nourishment and allow the soil to dry out between waterings until spring.
The stems must be tied to supports or allowed to ramble over or through other plants. Also, Allamanda cathartica can be pruned and maintained as a shrub. In any case, it may be desirable to prune annually in any case to control for size. Pinch the new stem to encourage basal growth.

Location: Allamanda cathartica plants need bright light and high temperatures during the growing season. The ideal light conditions mimic its native jungle habitat – the roots and lower leaves shaded with its new growth reaching out to the sun. A good compromise for pot plants in hot climates is morning sun with afternoon shade.
These plants do not tolerate shade.

Soil: Allamanda cathartica plants like good, rich soils, growing on clay soils, sandy clay soils and feel well in moist substrates. They thrive well in most soils, but becomes chlorotic in very alkaline conditions. So, give them a rich humus soil that is acidic (5.6-6.0 pH) to strongly acidic (5.1-5.5 pH). Plant them with 1.2-1.8m (4-6 feet) between them.
If grown in a container transplant every two years. If the plant is large, do not step up to a bigger pot, but prune the roots instead and replace with a rich potting mix.
These plants do not tolerate salty or alkaline soils.

Irrigation: Allamanda cathartica plants tolerate wet feet, but boggy soil is not compulsory once growth begins. The soil should not dry out. During its flowering period the plant very often requires some extra water to avoid flower loss.
In areas where there is seasonal change, keep fairly dry during winter and prune in spring before growth begins. Continue watering as long as the plant is still blooming, but when flowering is done keep the plant on the dry side until spring.

Fertilisation: Fertilise Allamanda cathartica at regular intervals throughout the growing season. Feed with a liquid food once every two weeks. Stop feeding the plants if they have a winter rest.

Propagation: Plant 8-10cm long tip cuttings of early-spring growth in 8cm pots of a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Place each cutting in a plastic bag or propagating case and stand it in bright filtered light at 21°C. When rooted, treat the young plants as mature. Move them into the standard mixture after two months.

Problems: Older leaves of Allamanda cathartica plants may turn yellow and fall off. This is normal process of changing its foliage.

Wilting leaves and dropping shoots are is signs of lack of water.
Treatment: Make sure the plant is receiving enough water, especially during warm, dry times of the year. If the plant is potted and drys out, set the pot in a bucket of water to allow the potting mixture to soak up thoroughly.

Aphids and whiteflies can be a problem, especially indoors. If appear brownish spots or stunted growth, look for aphids on tender growth. White and cottony appear­ance of leaf undersides may be caused by whiteflies.
Treatment: Successive sprays of insecticidal soaps or white oil will eradicate both aphids and whiteflies infestations.

Watch for mealybugs treat any infestation immediately. Heavy infestations will coat the leaves with sticky honeydew. They appear as white cottony masses found in the leaf axils, underside of leaves and other protected areas.
Treatment: Use appropriate insecticides. Remove with an alcohol­ saturated cotton swab or wash plants with soapy water and a soft brush or cloth or pick off with tweezers or a toothpick.

Allamanda cathartica are especially susceptible to damage from spider mites. The symptoms are pale looking foliage and cobwebs on the underside of leaves. Leaves begin to drop.
Treatment: Treat the plants with a suitable miticide.

Fungal leaf spots also occur.
Treatment: Apply fungicides and repeat the treatment as directed on fungicide instructions.

Toxicity: The milky sap of Allamanda cathartica plant contains a strong toxin, which may cause severe skin irritation. It is recommended to wear gloves when handling it. All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested.

Note: Allamanda cathartica is considered an invasive species throughout the tropics. Cutting is ineffective as a means of control, because the plants respond by coppicing.

Uses and display: In the tropics, Allamanda cathartica are often pruned and used as blooming hedge plants. Their growth can be controlled so that they become slender trees crowned with their glorious blooms at the top portion of the plant. In any climate they are brilliant subjects for showy display in outdoor containers, if they can be brought indoors for the winter.Plant tropical Allamanda cathartica in a large planter for holding over winter or in the ground for a bushy summer annual. The lax stems can be guided onto trellis work or pergola, arbors, tree trunk or mail box pillar and will cascade over the edge of a patio pot, hanging basket or retaining wall. Allamanda cathartica is use as a climber with yellow flowers and is well suited to plant window. Its beautiful, clear yellow flowers attractive, glossy green leaves perfect for covering fences in warm climate gardens.
These plants are suitable for tropical, coastal and cottage garden styles. In Southern gardens the Allamanda cathartica are used in many ways – as accent or specimen in landscape or border; trained or espaliered against fence or wall; on all kinds of garden structures; and even as a showy hedge.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height indoors: 2.4m (8 feet)
Height outdoor: 6m (20 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Allamanda catharticaAllamanda catharticaAllamanda cathartica



Climber, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cissus antarctica

Common name: Kangaroo Vine, Kangaroo Ivy

Family: Vitaceae

Synonymous: Cissus oblonga

Cissus antarctica

Cissus antarctica

Distribution and habitat: Cissus antarctica is an evergreen climbing plant widespread in warmer rainforest of Australia’s coastal regions. It is a true climber, supporting itself by tendrils.
Because Cissus antarctica plants can grow high into rainforest canopies, their presence will be noticed because they spread fruits on the ground. These vines are also common plants of rainforest edges, with foliage forming a screen right down to the ground.

Descriptions: Cissus antarctica is the best-known species of this genus. It can grow 2-3m (7-10 feet) tall indoors use as trained or hanging baskets. Its pointed-oval leaves are shiny, medium green and up to 10cm (4 inch) long. They have lightly toothed edges and are produced singly on short, red leaf-stalks. Where overhead space is restricted, growing points can be pinched out regularly to encourage the development of side-shoots. This will make the plants lower-growing and more bushy. If permitted, they can produce at least 60cm (24 inch) of new top growth in a single year.

Houseplant care: Cissus antarctica is a popular interior or houseplant with handsome serrated leaves and airy look which will thrive in a pot or hanging basket producing cascades of fresh foliage. Pinch out growing points of the plants periodically to promote branching. Any plants that lose a large number of lower leaves and become bare at the base should be cut back (if necessary, severely) in spring.
Cissus antarctica can be trained on support. Train any vigorous stems into place and, if necessary, tie them to their supports.
It is advisable to shorten the main growth of large plants by a third in early spring. At the same time cut back lateral growths to a node within about 2cm (0.8 inch) of the main stems.
Spray and gently wipe leaves of Cissus antarctica plants when they look dusty.

Light: Cissus antarctica will adapt well to a wide range of light intensity, even in subdued light. Ideally, they should be grown in bright light, but without direct sunlight throughout the year. Over-exposure to sun causes transparent leaf markings, which will eventually turn brown.
Once established, these plants should be kept in the same position, as they dislike change.

Temperature: Cissus antarctica likes warmth, 16 to 24°C (61-75°F) during the active growing period, but it does best if given a winter rest period at around 13°C (55°F). During the rest period, it does not do well above 15°C (59°F), especially when exposed to central heating, which can cause the leaves to drop.
It can stand wide temperature changes and is fairly tolerant of draughts, but dislikes hot, dry air. Provide some additional humidity in the air in winter. Mist spray the foliage regularly, especially in extended hot conditions.

Watering: Water Cissus antarctica moderately during the active growth period, enough to moisten the entire mixture at each watering and allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out before watering again. During the rest period water Cissus antarctica plants just enough to keep the mixture from drying out.

Feeding: Apply liquid fertiliser about every two weeks from early spring to early autumn.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move plants into pots one size larger each spring. As long as they are adequately fed, quite large plants with a height or spread of up to 2m (7 feet) can be accommodated in 20-25cm (8-10 inch) pots. After maximum convenient pot size has been reached, top-dress Cissus antarctica plants with fresh potting mixture instead of moving them on.
Do not over-pot Cissus antarctica plants since they will grow very big quite quickly.

Gardening: Cissus antarctica is often used as a vine in warm temperate to sub-tropical climates as an ornamental plant in gardens. It can be used as spreading groundcover or climber.

Position: Cissus antarctica plants should be placed in diffused sunshine to partial shade. Their leaves are hardy to full sun, but these plants prefer their roots to be well-shaded or under a thick layer of mulch.

Soil: Cissus antarctica plants will do well in loamy, sandy loam, clay loam soil, enriched soil with pH between mild acidic to mild alkaline. However, well drained soils are preferred. To increase soil drainage use additional compost or other organic matter.
Although it is recommended to place a thin layer of organic mulch to helps to feed these vines and keeps the soil cool and moist during the hot weather.

Irrigation: Cissus antarctica plants need little to moderate watering. Keep the soil either dry between watering to constantly moist, but not wet. If the rain fall is abundant, good soil drainage will keep the plants healthy.
Also, these vines can tolerate periods of drought and light frosts.

Fertilise: Cissus antarctica plants are heavy feeders as they are fast growing plants. Fertilise them every 2-3 months.

Propagation: Young tip cuttings 8-15cm (3-6 inch) long will, if taken in spring, root in six to eight weeks under suitable conditions. Strip the lower leaves from the cuttings and dip the cut ends in a hormone rooting powder; plant four or five cuttings in an 8cm (3 inch) pot containing an equal-parts mixture of moistened peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite. Enclose the potted cuttings in a plastic bag and stand them in a warm place with bright filtered light. When new growth indicates that the cuttings are rooted, remove the bag and begin to water sparingly, enough to make the potting mixture barely moist but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When they are well established, repot the young plants in a standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.
If preferred, trailing shoots can be layered into a nearby pot of suitable rooting medium.

Problems:
If the air in the room is especially dry, watch out for red spider mites which may gather on the underside of leaves and can cause considerable damage.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Brown patches on the leaves may be the result of sun exposure.
Treatment: Provide Cissus antarctica with some shade.

Shriveled, yellowing and falling leaves indicates over-watering and this may lead to rotting, if not corrected.
Treatment: Withhold watering till surface of soil has dried.

Brown dry foliage indicates lack of moisture in the air.
Treatment: Improve humidity and cut out unsightly stems once the plant shows signs of recovery.

Leaves crinkle and drop is caused by cold temperature.
Treatment: Place Cissus antarctica in an even warm temperature.

Mildew on the leaves is a sign of water-logging or inadequate drainage.
Treatment: Spray these plants with a suitable fungicide at regular intervals. Avoid over-watering and poor soil drainage.

The Cissus antarctica plants grow lush and invasive.
Treatment: Stop feeding and cut back to a more satisfactory size. Cut at a leaf joint.

LifespanCissus antarctica is long-lived and fast-growing vine which can be trimmed right back in spring if they become too larges for their position. It is an easy to grow plants and will not require special attention.

Note: Cissus antarctica is safe plant to be used in reptiles enclosures.

Recommended varieties:
Cissus antarctica ‘Minima’ is a very slow growing dwarf form which produces spreading rather than upright branches. It is therefore an ideal plant for hanging baskets.

Uses and display: Cissus antarctica is often trained on bamboo support as a room divider or as a backdrop to a collection of plants. It will fight to live, even in the most unfavourable, dark places. In shops and offices it can often be seen, the sole survivor in a container once filled with plants.
Outdoors, a vine can be used to cover a fences or convert a large pergola into a shady outdoor space or left to scramble up a large tree. Cissus antarctica are also used as ground covers on large banks and road batters. Often used in public and private shows garden sculpture is an impressive display of outdoor art that reflect the playful personalities of it is fun loving gardeners. These vines are suitable for bush and tropical designs, used as informal screens, pergolas, groundcovers, spillovers, pots or hanging basket plants.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 2-3m (7-10 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bight
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 – low

Hardiness zone: 9-10

Cissus antarcticaCissus antarcticaCissus antarctica



Climber, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , ,

Tibouchina urvilleana

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

Family: Melastomataceae

Synonymous: Tibouchina maudhiana
Tibouchina semidecandra
Lasiandra semidecandra

 

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 , , , , , , , ,

Tradescantia zebrina

Common name: Inchplant, Wandering Jew, Inch Plant, Cockroach Grass, Purple Wandering Jew, Silver Inch Plant, Silvery Inch Plant, Striped Trad, Striped Wandering Creeper, Striped Wandering Jew, Wandering Zebrina, Zebra Plant, Zebrina

Family: Commelinaceae

Synonymous: Commelina zebrina
Cyanotis zebrina
Tradescantia pendula
Zebrina pendula
Zebrina pendula var. quadrifolia

Tradescantia zebrina

Tradescantia zebrina

Distribution and habitat: Tradescantia zebrina is native to the Gulf Coast region of eastern Mexico. It is a weed of waste areas, disturbed sites, roadsides, urban bushland, riparian vegetation, open woodlands and forests in sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions.
Tradescantia zebrina was widely naturalized in the coastal districts of eastern Australia and on several Pacific islands. It is reported as invasive in many areas in the Pacific, spreading across shady or damp areas.

Description: Tradescantia zebrina are trailing plants that have oval leaves roughly 5cm (2 inch) long, with an iridescent upper surface and a rich purple underside. Two glistering stripes of silvery green surrounding a medium green central portion run the length of the upper surface of its pointed-oval leaves
They produce clusters of small, three petaled flowers in spring and summer. They are purple-pink coloured.

Proper care: Tradescantia zebrina is noted for its ease of culture and tolerance for wide range of growing conditions. It is quick growing and a very decorative, particularly in hanging baskets where its brilliant leaf colouring can be fully appreciated.
Pinch out growing points of lengthy shoots regularly to encourage the production of side branches. Remove all poorly coloured stems in early spring.

Light: Give Tradescantia zebrina plants bright light at all times for close growth and brilliant leaf colour. Plants can normally be grown at a short distance from a sunny window without too much loss of colour, but growth will probably become straggly and colours will tend to fade as this distance lengthens.
Tradescantia zebrina plants can be taken outside in summer. Keep them out of the direct sun light.

Temperature: Tradescantia zebrina likes warmth but they can tolerate temperatures down to 12°C (54°F). In cool conditions they grow very slowly.
Tradescantia zebrina tolerates dry air very well.

Watering: Water actively growing plants moderately, allowing the top couple of centimetres  (1 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. When plants are resting, give them just enough water to make the mixture barely moist throughout and allow the top half to dry out between waterings. Tradescantia zebrina that have been grown slightly on the dry side show the best colour.

Feeding: Give actively growing plants standard liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move Tradescantia zebrina into pots one size larger when their roots fill the pot. Plant several rooted cuttings together to create a bushy effect – as many as 12 to 15 in a single hanging basket.

Gardening: Tradescantia zebrina is a succulent-stemmed plant that creeps and sprawls and trails all over itself to make a dense groundcover. Pinch stems as needed to encourage dense foliage growth.
Individual leaves will burn and stems will die back, at around 0°C (32°F), but the plant can regrow as long as it do not get colder than minus 7°C (20°F).

Position: Tradescantia zebrina tolerates a wide range of light levels, but prefers bright shade or semi-shade. Place Tradescantia zebrina plants somewhere light, for otherwise it may lose its beautiful colours and turn green. Make certain it does not catch the full light of the midday sun, but it will love standing within some of the soft beams of morning sunshine.
Groundcover plantings can be established effortlessly, then ripped out and moved with ease when the landscape plan changes.

Soil: Tradescantia zebrina prefers rich organic soil and thrives on mulch.
When Tradescantia zebrina is grown as a groundcover, new branches cover the bare stems and fill in the planting space.

Irrigation: Tradescantia zebrina plants like a consistently moist but well-drained soil during the growing season, with reduced watering from fall to late winter.
Water Tradescantia zebrina modestly. It does not like to get too wet. Allow the soil to dry out a little before watering again.

Fertilising: Feed Tradescantia zebrina once a fortnight with diluted fertiliser during the growing season. Do not fertiliser these plants in autumn and winter.

Propagation: Because older leaves dry up leaving bare stems, it is advisable to produce new plants quite frequently. Tip cutting of Tradescantia zebrina, about 8cm (3 inch) long taken in spring or early summer will root easily in an equal-parts rooting mixture of peat moss and sand.
Keep the cuttings in bright filtered light, giving just enough water to make the mixture barely moist, and roots will develop in three or four weeks; plant four to six rooted cuttings together in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.
Alternatively, root tip cuttings in water. Place the cuttings in small – preferable opaque – glasses of water and keep them in bright filtered light. They will develop roots 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long in two to three weeks and they can then be moved into standard potting mixture and treat them as mature plants.

Problems: Tradescantia zebrina has no serious insect or disease problems.

Root rot and stem rot may occur if soils are kept too moist.

Watch for aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies and spider mites.
Treatment: Use a suitable pesticide to prevent these infestations.

Spindly growth and bare stems: This happens naturally with age for this plant but lack of light, water or plant food can also cause spindly growth. If the plant is old and conditions are fine (water, light etc.) then it could be time to replace it.

All green leaves: Variegated leaves turning green and losing their variegation is most likely due to too much light.

Limp stems is usually a sign that the plant is lacking water.

Toxicity: Contact with Tradescantia zebrina plant sap may cause skin irritations.

Recommended varieties: Tradescantia zebrina is the parent of a number of varieties:

Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor has irregular pink, green, cream and silver stripes on the leaves. It is the most attractive plant of this genus, although it is more difficult to grow.

Uses and display: Tradescantia zebrina is a very popular trailing plant, commonly grown in hanging baskets or pots as a houseplant. Trailing stems cascade down from a hanging basket. Where winter hardy, it is commonly grown as a groundcover that roots at the nodes as stems spread along the ground.
A few pieces poked into the soil amongst container plants in the greenhouse will quickly flow into a colorful winter carpet.
And it can be used to make a gorgeous flower arrangement out of practically anything by sticking a couple of  Tradescantia zebrina sprigs in with it.
Tradescantia zebrina are suitable for mixed plantings in bowls or for training up fan shaped trellises.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 90-120cm (36-48 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 21°C max 24°C (70-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tradescantia zebrina flowersTradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina Tradescantia zebrina quadricolor



Climber, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Common name: Kalanchoe Panda Plant, Panda Plant, Pussy Ears, Chocolate Soldier, Cocoon Plant, Velvet Leaf Kalanchoe, Plush Plant, White Lady, Panda-Bear Plant, Kalanchoe

Family: Crassulaceae

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Kalanchoe tomentosa

Distribution and habitat: Kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent sub-shrub native of Madagascar. It is found on granite rocks, growing up to 45cm (1.5 feet) tall.

The dense covering of hairs performs a vital function for the plant as water conservation adaptation. In the dry environment in which it lives, the plant must conserve what little water it can absorb from the soil. The dense mat of hairs growing from the leaf retards the movement of air directly across the leaf surface, thereby reducing water vapor loss due to transpiration process. In the same time, this unventilated  space created by the numerous trichomes insulates the leaf from its harsh external environment, too. In addition, the white-silver appearance of the leaves reflects light, lessening the chances of the leaves overheating.

Description: The Kalanchoe tomentosa is a very handsome foliage species. It has loose rosette of oval leaves borne on woody stems up to 45cm (1.5 feet) high. The 3-8cm (1-3 inch) long leaves are covered with fine, bristly hairs, which are silvered-coloured except in patches at the edge, where they change to rusty orange on young leaves or chocolate brown on older ones.
The thick stem produces branches and many groups of leaves, once it matures. When they are pruned well they have a kind of tree or bush look and can produce branches growing below pot level – therefore, this plant is suitable for growing in a hanging at this stage. The leaves are mainly oval shaped, although it is likely to have few leaves randomly grow in whatever shape and form.
Although this plant can flower within its natural habitat, producing fuzzy, bell-shaped flowers in spring and summer – it is rare to see flowers bloom indoors, so it is grown for primarily its foliage within homes or offices.

Proper care: Kalanchoe tomentosa is a fairly easy succulent plant species to care for and maintain.
If the furry leaves of this plant need to be cleaned, brush them gently with a soft, dry brush, such as a small paintbrush.

Light: Kalanchoe tomentosa is – like many other succulents loves growing in bright light and sunshine. This plant prefers a mixture of direct and indirect sunlight or shade.

Temperature: Temperatures between 15-23ºC (60-75ºF) are advised. Like most plants, Kalanchoe tomentosa will benefit from good ventilation, but should not be exposed to prolonged draughts.
Normal room humidity is fine and it may also tolerate dry air.

Watering: Only water Kalanchoe tomentosa once the soil has become dry and then soak the soil, but do not leave water in the bottom tray. During the winter this plant needs less water.
Because Kalanchoe tomentosa is a succulent – it stores water within its leaves –  even if it is neglected for a period of time the plant will survive.
Water from the bottom or water the potting mix. Avoid getting the furry leaves of this plant wet because they’ll easily rot.

Feeding: Feed Kalanchoe tomentosa once every four weeks with a diluted fertiliser, from spring until the end of summer. Do not fertilise this plant during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use a cacti and succulent potting mixture or a soil based potting mixture with the addition of a small amount of coarse sand. Good drainage is important; have a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments at the bottom of the pot. Kalanchoe tomentosa plant is a slow grower which will only need repotting into pots one size larger once every two years and then less once it matures. The maximum pot size needed should be about 13cm (5 inch).

Gardening: Kalanchoe tomentosa is one of the easiest-to-grow succulents and looks wonderful mass planted in a hot spot in the garden. It needs dry conditions and is not suited to outdoor planting in high rainfall areas.
Kalanchoe tomentosa branches freely to make a prostrate clump. After a while, it can become straggly and should be clipped back to keep it in check and make it neat and tidy.
They need warm temperature and should be kept at a minimum of 10°C (50°F). Protect them from frost. These plants come from very warm areas and may develop rot if kept too cool.

Position: Kalanchoe tomentosa plants need light shade or shade in summer. Bright light will give the plant a woolliest appearance. However, it should not be subjected to the direct sun of midday.

Soil: Kalanchoe tomentosa needs a porous soil containing about one third grit with adequate drainage. Soil mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part loam, with small gravel added to increase drainage

Irrigation: Kalanchoe tomentosa plants are drought tolerant, but came from damper climates than most succulents and like more water in the summer. Plants are watered and allow to dry thoroughly before watering again.

Fertilise: Fertilise only during the growing season (Spring and Summer) with a balanced cactus food or a liquid fertiliser diluted to half the strength recommended on the label.

Propagation: Leaf cuttings can be taken and planted in new soil during spring. Give the leaf cutting a week of drying out before re-potting, then they are expect to begin rooting within 4 weeks.
Propagation: It is propagated by stem cutting or by leaf cuttings in spring or summer. The trimmings resulted from shaping the plant, make ideal cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry out before repotting. These cuttings root easily in 8cm pots (3 inch) filled with a mixture of peat moss and sand. Place the pots in a warm position in bright filtered light. Water the mixture whenever the top 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) dries out. The cuttings usually will produce roots in about 4 weeks. When roots have formed and new growth appears, move each young plant into a pot of standard mixture. Make sure that the pot is large enough to hold the roots. Thereafter, it should be possible to treat the plant as a mature Kalanchoe tomentosa.

Problems: Kalanchoe tomentosa, like most members of the Crassulaceae family, have succulent leaves which are a great attraction for pests such as mealy bugs. While this species is no more prone to attack than others, because of the silvery-white hairy leaves, it is easy to miss the first signs of these pests. Treatment: A regular, careful inspection is sensible. Occasional watering with systemic insecticides based on Imidacloprid will keep the plants free of mealy bugs.

If rot affects the plant, it normally starts at the root.
Treatment: If spotted early, cuttings can be made easily from the tips of the stems to make new plants.

Recommended varieties:
Kalanchoe tomentosa cv. Chocolate Soldier: Individual leaves are more red-brown all around the edges and thinner and longer than for the standard species. It also grows a bit faster with more of a clumping habit.

Toxicity: All parts of Kalanchoe tomentosa plant are poisonous if ingested.

Uses and display: Once the Kalanchoe tomentosa plants matures, they look fantastic placed within a hanging basket or sitting in a conservatory. A conservatory is ideal because they do like their bright light and some sun. Whilst they are still small and growing, then near windows and on shelves which receive enough sunlight are good spots for displaying them.
Grow this Kalanchoe tomentosa in a rock garden or on a rock wall in mild climates. In cold areas, this heat-loving plant is grown as indoor plant or it is planted outdoors as an annual.
Kalanchoe tomentosa is drought-tolerant, therefore it is suitable for xeriscaping.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 45cm (1.5 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Kalanchoe tomentosa Kalanchoe tomentosa - flowersKalanchoe tomentosa - varietiesKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosaKalanchoe tomentosa chocolate soldierKalanchoe tomentosa chocolate soldier



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

Phoenix canariensis

Common name: Canary Island Date Palm, Pineapple Palm, Canary Date Palm, Slender Date Palm

Family: Arecaceae

Synonymous: Phoenix macrocarpa

Phoenix canariensis

Phoenix canariensis

Distribution and habitat: Phoenix canariensis is endemic to the Canary Islands where it occurs in scattered populations of varying sizes on all seven islands, with the largest populations of wild palms being found on La Gomera. It is found from sea-level up to 600 m in a range of habitats, from humid areas just below cloud forest to semi-arid areas where its presence usually indicates groundwater.

Phoenix canariensis is a large solitary palm, 10 to 20m (33–66 feet) tall, occasionally growing to 40m (131 feet). The leaves are pinnate, 4–6m (13–20 feet) long with 80–100 leaflets on each side of the central rachis.
Small, off-white flowers grow on brush-like stalks up to 2m (6 feet) long. Female trees bear a yellow-orange fruit about 2cm (0.8 inch) across that is attractive to birds. The fruit contain a single large seed. The fruit pulp is edible but too thin to be worth eating.

Description: Phoenix canariensis is the hardiness and most popular palm species. It has a husk-like stem consisting of wide, emerald green leaf bases partly covered with brown, fibrous hair. The dark green fronds are finely divided and their stalks are a paler green. The pinnae are quite stiff but not easily damaged. The many pinnae of each frond are all arranged in roughly herringbone fashion, some in opposite pairs, some not.
The pinnae (leaflets) vary to a considerable degree in length, shorter ones near the base and tip of the frond and longer ones in the middle. This palm will grow 2m (7 feet) tall, with fronds up to about a metre long, in a small tub.

Proper care: The Phoenix canariensis is a real joy to grow and easy to care for, if good drainage and enough light can be provided and they have enough space within a room. It lives for many years and grow slowly, so buy a Phoenix canariensis palm that is already at least 1-1.2m (3-4feet) tall to be able to display it in it is full glory.

Light: Phoenix canariensis loves growing in sunlight, but indoors is best to provide it with filtered light. An east or west facing window makes a good spot to place this palm.
It is recommended to move these house palms outdoors for the summer months in a place where they can get some indirect sun light.

Temperature: Average room temperatures of 16 to 24°C (65- 75°F) are suitable for growing these palms. They do best if they are encouraged to have a winter rest period at about 10-13°C (50-55°F). Avoid cold drafts.
Average room humidity is fine. To improve humidity mist the leaves during the summer (if air becomes dry) and when air is dry from artificial heating.

Watering: Avoid over-watering and provide good drainage for Phoenix canariensis palms. Allow the potting mixture to become slightly dry at the top and then water. Water sparingly, making the mixture barely moist during the rest period.
As winter approaches, begin to reduce amounts of water gradually. When active growth begins, increase amounts of water gradually.

Feeding: Use a specifically design fertiliser for palms because they are very sensitive to being over fed and need the right balance of nutrients suitable for them. Keep in mind that is better to under feed than over feed palms. Over feeding causes more serious problems.

Potting and repotting: Phoenix canariensis need to be repotted when it has become pot bound. Repot these palms in pots 5cm (2 inch) larger every two or three years just as new growth starts in spring. Use a peat based potting mixture with good drainage. Two parts peat and one perlite or sand makes a good potting mixture for these palms. Fine pine bark works well within a potting mixture too.
When repotting, it is essential to pack the mixture down firmly, but carefully not to damage the thicker roots. Pots from 25-30cm (10-12 inch) are big enough for a metre (3 feet) or so tall specimen; small tubs should be used for larger ones.
Once the maximum container size has been reached, every year top dress with a few centimetres (1 inch) of fresh potting mixture. Then every four years the potting mixture can be completely renewed. Check the root systems size and health. Roots may need pruning.

Gardening: Within the limits of its hardiness (down to about -10°C) Phoenix canariensis is adapted to more habitats and soils than almost any other palm. This, combined with its relative hardiness to cold, make it one of the most widely-planted palms in the world.
Growers sometimes prune the massive trunk and its sheath of fronds to resemble a pineapple,  reason for the one of its common names.
It is a slow growing palm. In ideal conditions, seedlings grow pinnate leaves within about a year from sprouting  and increase to full width in about 5 years, at which point they begin to form a trunk. They can then put on about 30cm (12 inch) trunk height growth a year, though they are usually much slower, particularly when young.
It will require pruning to remove old fronds. Only prune fronds which hang below the horizontal. Do not remove those growing upright since this may slow the growth and reduce the palm vigor. This palm has spines and sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling.

Position: While best in full sun Phoenix canariensis can tolerate a wide range of exposures, including deep shade.
It should be grown in full sun on fertile for best growth. It can be planted on the inland side of coastal condominiums and large homes due to moderately high salt-tolerance.

Soil: Phoenix canariensis prefers well-drained loamy soil, but will tolerate a wide range of soil types, including sand and heavy clay.

Irrigation: It has a unique ability to tolerate both severe drought and flooding very well, which makes them ideal to plant in housing tracts in which the soil was heavily compacted.
Water young plants for healthy look and fastest growth.

Fertiliser: Older leaves frequently become chlorotic from magnesium or potassium-deficiency. Preventive applications of appropriate fertiliser helps avoid this. Use a special designed palm fertiliser for right balance of nutrients suitable for them. Do not over-fertilise the palms.

Propagation: Commercially, Phoenix canariensis palms are raised from seed. This is a slow process (they take about 3 months to germinate), however, and is not recommended for amateur growers. Some gardeners plant date stones. The stones germinate easily in spring if they are placed in a warm position and kept moist, but the first leaf is a single undivided section, and it may take two or three years for leaves with divisions to appear.
Set the stones individually in 8cm (3 inch) pots or start those in seed boxes. In the latter case, pot in 8cm (3 inch) pots after they have germinated and have made about 5-8cm  (2-3 inch) of growth. Thereafter their cultivation needs will be those of mature Phoenix canariensis  palms.
If sucker shoots at the base of Phoenix canariensis are carefully detached, they should have some roots already formed, and such shoots can be used for propagation. Pot each shoot in an 8cm (3 inch) pot of the standard potting mixture, place it in bright filtered light and water it sparingly-just enough to keep the mixture barely moist. After new top growth indicates that the shoot is well rooted, treat the young plant in the same way as a mature Phoenix canariensis palm.

Problems:
May be attacked by glasshouse red spider mite, thrips, mealybugs and scale insects.

Availability: Phoenix canariensis are generally available in many areas within its hardiness range.

Note: Do not place young Phoenix canariensis palms too close to walkways where their sharp leaf spines might injure passersby.
In some Mediterranean and subtropical countries, Phoenix canariensis has proven to be an invasive plant.

Uses and display: Phoenix canariensis is too large for most residential gardens but it is sometimes planted in parks and along streets. For a dramatic statement use this huge imposing palm wherever there is space to accommodate it. This majestic palm it is suitable for xeriscaping.
Small specimens make great container plants – they look especially nice in large terra cotta pots. In colder regions they can be over-wintered indoors in a cool bright location. Small specimens are inexpensive and readily available and look great in pots on the patio, near the pool or in pairs flanking entryways.

Summary:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height outdoor: 10 to 20m (33–66 feet)
Height indoor: 2m (7 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 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 8a-11

Phoenix canariensisPhoenix canariensis Phoenix canariensis Phoenix canariensisPhoenix canariensisPhoenix canariensis - seed



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

Piper crocatum

Common name: Celebes Pepper, Ornamental Pepper, Ornate Pepper Vine, Red Betel, Marmorpeppar, Ornamental Pepper

Family: Piperaceae

Synonymous: Piper ornatum
Steffensia crocata

Piper crocatum

Piper crocatum

Distribution ad habitat: Piper crocatum is a vine endemic to Peru, South of America, most commonly found in the understory of lowland tropical rainforests, but can also occur in clearings and in higher elevation life zones.

Description: Piper crocatum is a climbing or tailing vine that is prized for its colourful leaves that makes it an exotic indoor plant.
Piper crocatum has slender stems bearing pointed, heart-shaped leaves up to 13cm (5 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) wide. The leaves have reddish, 2cm (0.8 inch) long leaf-stalks, which are attached not at the end of the leaf, but slightly toward the middle. Leaf surface are puckered. The upper surface is olive green heavily spotted with pinkish silver markings. The pink tinge is almost pronounced wherever a marking occurs near main veins. Leaves undersides are unmarked deep maroon. The plant does not normally produce flowers when is grown indoors.
Piper crocatum is a rare species that is seldom commercially available and it is sought-out by many plant collectors.

Proper care: Piper crocatum plant is a somewhat demanding plant, steady environmental conditions being essential for its health and development. It is particularly suitable for growing in a large terrarium or special plant window. They are vining in habit and can be supported to climb upon-like a tree trunk or a moss stick or grown in hanging baskets. Prune these plants only to maintain form and control size. Piper crocatum is a sturdy plant yet slow growing.

Light: Grow these plants in direct filtered sunlight (a translucent blind or curtain is a useful filter). An east or west window is the best place for growing this plant.

Temperature: Piper crocatum must have warmth – a minimum of 15°C (59°F) – or they will shed most of their leaves. They do not flourish if subjected to fluctuating temperatures and dry air. Keep the temperatures as constant as possible and increase the humidity by standing pots on shallow trays of moist pebbles. Mist-spray the foliage once a week.

Watering: Throughout the year water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top couple of centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again.

Feeding: Except in midwinter, feed plants every two weeks with standard liquid fertiliser. Piper crocatum do not have a distinct rest period, but they grow less actively in winter.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Piper crocatum have fairly small root systems and should not be planted in needlessly big containers. A 13-15cm (5-6 inch) pot should be the biggest needed for an ordinary potted specimen. Move a plant into a pot size larger only when it has made so much top growth that there is an obvious imbalance between top growth and pot size – a relatively dependable indication of the need for more root space. Repotting may be done at any time, as long as the plants are actively growing. For the best effect in a hanging baskets in a 20cm (8 inch) basket and replace them with fresh specimens every second year.

Propagation: Propagate Piper crocatum in late spring or early summer by stem cutting 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long. Trim each cutting just bellow a leaf, remove the bottom leaf, dip the cut end of the stem in hormone rooting power and plant it in a 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) pot of moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand. Do not substitute perlite for sand as perlite retain too much moisture for these plants. Place the cutting in a plastic bag or heated propagation case and stand it in bright filtered light at a temperature of about 23°C (73°F). When renewed top growth shows that rooting has occurred – normally in four to six weeks – uncover the rooted cutting gradually over a course of about two weeks. The objective of this procedure is to acclimatise the new plant to the less humid air outside the bag or propagator case.
Water very sparingly until the plant has made some further growth. It is probably best to wait for 10 or 12 weeks after the start of propagation before beginning to feed the plant with fertiliser. When roots have completely filled the pot, as indicated by 5 or 8cm (2-3 inch) of top growth, move the young plant to a slightly larger pot of soil based potting mixture and begin to treat it as a mature Piper crocatum plant. At this point, instead of repotting the plant singly, it can of course be planted with others in a hanging basket.

Problems: No known problems with insects. Piper crocatum plants are susceptible to root diseases.
Treatment: It is important to maintain warm temperatures and accurate watering to circumvent this problem.

Like most pipers, Piper crocatum form exudates or small beads on the backsides of the leaves and stems. In time, there appear tiny black dots. This is normal physiology and not an insect infestation.

Use and display: Piper crocatum is often grown upright and trained around three or four thin stakes, but it also makes an attractive display when the shoots are permitted to trail down from a hanging basket.
A spectacular tropical vine terrifically suited for the terrarium.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – coloured
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height:  90-120 cm (36-48 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 15°C max 24°C (59-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Piper crocatum - leavesPiper crocatum - indoor displayPiper crocatum



Climber, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , ,

Monstera deliciosa

Common name: Fruit Salad Plant, Hurricane Plant, Split-Leaf, Swiss Cheese Plant, Cheese Plant, Window Plant, Mexican Breadfruit, Delicious Monster, Ceriman

Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Monsteroideae
Tribe: Monstereae

Synonymous: Monstera borsigiana
Monstera deliciosa var. borsigiana
Monstera deliciosa var. sierrana
Monstera lennea
Monstera tacanaensis
Philodendron anatomicum
Philodendron pertusum
Tornelia fragrans

Monstera deliciosa

Monstera deliciosa

Distribution and habitat: Monstera deliciosa is a species of flowering plant native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico to southern Colombia. It has been introduced to many tropical areas and has become a mildly invasive species in Hawaii, Seychelles, Ascension Island and the Society Islands.
When growing in the wild, Monstera deliciosa climb up the trunks and along the branches of trees, climbing to the bark by means of thick aerial roots which not only anchor the plant to the tree but also help it to take up water and nutrients.
Wild seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can find until they find a tree trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.

Description: Monstera deliciosa is the most popular species as indoor plant within this genus. This member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20m (65 feet) high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25 to 90cm (10-35 inch) long by 25 to 75cm (10-30 inch) broad.
Indoor, the shiny leaves of a mature Monstera deliciosa grow up to 45cm (18 inch) across, have 30cm (12 inch) long stalks and are basically heart-shaped, but deeply incised from the edges almost to the central vein and perforated in the remaining sections.This breaking up of the leaf area helps the wild plants to withstand high tropical winds – and perhaps explain the origin of one of their common names, Hurricane Plant.
Mature Monstera deliciosa with active aerial roots have the most attractive leaves, with the most pronounced incisions and holes. The leaves of young plants may be entirely unbroken. As they develop, they acquire the characteristic perforations and split edges.
The inflorescence which is rarely produced indoors, is a half oval creamy white spathe with a thick 25cm long spadix in the middle. The spadix develops into white , edible fruit that tastes something like pineapple.

Proper care: If treated well, Monstera deliciosa plants can grow very big – 3-5m (10-16 feet) tall and 2-3m (6-10 feet) across – and thrive indoors for years. Moss covered poles that simulate the bark of trees the plants climb on in the wild add considerably to the health of Monstera deliciosa grown indoors.
Train the aerial roots to moss-covered poles if these are used; if not, train them into the potting mixture. Keep the leaves clan by means of frequent sponging.

Light: Actively growing Monstera deliciosa do best in bright filtered light, but these plants may be placed in direct sunlight in winter. In an adequately lit position, the long leaf-stalks will become extended and the leaves smaller and somewhat less divided.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Monstera deliciosa plants. In temperatures above 21°C (70°F) in is a good idea to place pots on trays of damp pebbles for increased humidity. These plants need average to high humidity (at least 40% relative humidity).

Watering: Water sparingly, making the potting mixture barely moist and allowing the top third to dry out before watering again.

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

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with addition of a one-third portion of coarse leaf mould. Move the Monstera deliciosa plants into pots which are one size larger each spring until maximum convenient pot size is reached. Thereafter, top-dress plants with fresh potting mixture annually.

Gardening: Monstera deliciosa plants grow very quickly and can easily take over a landscape if not pruned regularly. Snip branches and leaves by cutting them where they meet the stem without cutting into it. The best time for major pruning is during the spring when the plant is in a vigorous stage of growth. Light pruning can be done in spring, summer or fall.

Position: In their natural setting, Monstera deliciosa plants thrive in lightly shaded, humid conditions below the canopy of the tropical forest.

Soil: Monstera deliciosa grow best in high-pH, alkaline soils that drain well.

Irrigation: Monstera deliciosa plants do not like wet feet and will not grow in saturated ground. During dry periods these plants should be given about 3cm (1 inch) of water weekly.

Ferilising: Monstera deliciosa established in the landscape should not need much fertilizer. It can be applied a complete fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (N-P-K) and magnesium in spring and late summer.

Propagation: Home propagation is difficult because of the awkwardly large expanse of leaf and consequent high loss of moisture through transpiration. A tip cutting, including at least two leaves, will root in spring, however, if it is planted in a 10cm (4 inch) pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand. Enclose the cutting in a plastic bag and keep it warm in bright filtered light. When new growth indicates that the cutting has rooted, repot it in the potting mixture recommended for adult plants and treat it as mature.
If it proves impracticable to root cuttings, Monstera deliciosa plants can be air layered – a reliable but slow method. Seed, too, will germinate easily in a warm room, but Monstera deliciosa plants grown from seed normally lack the attractive incised leaves for at least two years.

Problems:
It is quite easy for a Monstera deliciosa plant to start looking very untidy once it matures in size and age. Here are some potential problems and their possible causes:

Leaves yellowing: If  Monstera deliciosa plant has quite a few leaves yellowing and they are wilting it is possible to be caused by over-watering it. If the plant is not suffering from over-watering than the yellowing leaves could mean the plant soil needs fertilizer.

Leaf tips and edges turning brown: Low humidity and dry air is the most common fault here, although a pot bound plant can have the same affect on a plant.

Leaves not forming slits or holes: This is usually due to lack of something which will be light, not enough water or not enough fertilizer. If the plant is tall then it is recommended to check if the aerial roots are in compost and if they are not then place the roots in soil or on a moist moss pole.

Indoor monstera plants may attract mites and scale insects.
Treatment: Spraying the plant with a diluted horticultural oil or soap can be an effective treatment.

Outdoor plants are not usually susceptible to mites and scales infestations, but grasshoppers can cause serious damage to the foliage of Monstera deliciosa.

Monstera deliciosa can also develop bacterial diseases such as leaf spot and root rot.
Examine the plant periodically for signs of disease and use recommended recommended fungicide and destroy the affected leaves. Correct application and timing are critical.

Toxicity: The leaves of Monstera deliciosa plant are poisonous and can cause severe burning in the mouth if eaten. They can also cause skin irritation, so it is recommended wearing gloves when handling this plant.

Recommended varieties:
Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’ has leaves splashed with white or cream-coloured patches of irregular shapes and sizes.

Uses and display: Indoor Monstera deliciosa make dramatic plants whether they are young specimens with only three or four leaves or tall mature ones that need to be supported on stout canes or poles.
This climbing shrub is an ideal plant for a conservatory or large rooms, including a hotel or restaurant foyer.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height:  3-5m (10-16 feet)
Wide: 2-3m (6-10 feet)

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

Monstera deliciosa VariegataMonstera deliciosa - new plantMonstera deliciosa - flower and fruits



Climber, Evergreen, Foliage Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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