Posts Tagged ‘Basket Plant’

Callisia fragrans

Common name: Basket Plant, Chain Plant, Inch Plant, False Bromeliad, Purple Succulent, Basketplant, Fragrant Inch Plant, Octopus Plant

Family: Commelinaceae

Synonymous: Spironema orthandrum
Rectanthera fragrans
Spironema fragrans

Callisia fragrans

Callisia fragrans

Distribution and habitat: Callisia fragrans is endemic to Mexico and naturalized in the West Indies, scattered locations in the United States, and a few other places.
Callisia fragrans is a long-lived creeping herbaceous plant with leaves crowded into rosette-like clusters and spreading laterally via long runners. It occurs in pinelands, hammocks and disturbed areas.

Description: Callisia fragrans is a sprawling plant. It has elliptic, pointed leaves up to 25cm (10 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide carried on fleshy stems up to 90cm (35 inch) long. The fresh, glossy green leaves tend to become reddish purple in strong light. In young plants the short teams are arranged in a rosette-like shape, but they rapidly lengthen. The occasional flowers are white and fragrant, clustered towards the tips of long flowering stems. Individual flowers are almost stalkless with three elongated petals, short-lived that wilt at noon. The fruit are small, three-celled, capsules.

Houseplant care: Callisia fragrans is very hardy and may able to take much abuse as overwatering or neglect of watering. It is odd-looking plant and grows fast. Provide ample room for this big, spreading plant.

Light: Give Callisia fragrans bright light including about three or four hours a day of direct sunlight at all times.

Temperature: Callisia fragrans thrive in warm rooms. It is advisable, however, to give them a short winter rest period at 10-16°C (50-61°F), if possible.

Watering: During the active rest period water plentifully, enough to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but never allow pots to stand in water. In rest period water sparingly, giving enough to make the potting mixture barely moist and allow the top two-thirds to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Use standard liquid fertiliser once every two weeks in the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use either soil-based or peat-based potting mixture. Callisia fragrans grows fast and needs repotting every spring; large specimens may require 12 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pots. If a plant begins to lose its lower leaves it should be replaced.

Gardening: Callisia fragrans flourishes in warm subtropical climates but can tolerate a mild frost.
Pinch plants frequently to encourage branching and prevent long, scraggly growth.

Position: Callisia fragrans can be planted in part sun to shade. If grown in shade the plants are full and compact; in sun the leaves color more brightly.

Soil: The substrate for Callisia fragrans should be gritty loam. It grows well in fertile soils.

Irrigation: Callisia fragrans prefers moist soil, but once established will tolerate extensive drought. When watered this plant can get of good size. If no rain, water regularly every 1-2 weeks, moistening the soil thoroughly. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again and do not allow plants to stand in water. During the winter rest period, stop watering.
Expect this plants to shed their leaves while getting established.

Fertilisation: For healthy growth use a fertiliser for flowering plants which can be added to the irrigating water, every 20-25 days. Alternatively, sprinkle the plants with a slow release fertiliser every 3-4 months.

Propagation: Take 5cm long tip cuttings in spring or summer. Insert one cutting of Callisia fragrans in a 5 or 8cm pot of standard potting mixture, and keep in bright filtered light, watering sparingly. After two or three weeks, when the new roots have developed, treat them as mature Callisia fragrans.

Recommended varieties:
Callisia fragrans cv. ‘Melnikoff’ have lengthwise white or cream coloured stripes of different widths.

Availability: Callisia fragrans is often sold bareroot tips which have already aerial roots formed. They will root readily and grow quickly. Alternatively, buy Callisia fragrans seed or palnted in pots or hanging baskets from specialised nurseries.

Note: Callisia fragrans is a known weed in subtropical gardens where forms a dense spreading ground-cover that can rapidly overtake bushland areas. It therefore has the potential to crowd out native species and prevent their regeneration. It becomes extremely aggressive and dominant in the places where it is found.

Uses and display: Callisia fragrans can be used decoratively in many ways: as edgers in hanging baskets, urns and window boxes spillover; as a groundcover beneath Zingiber (Gingers), Musa (Bananas) species and other taller tropicals; or to fill bare spots in the garden. It suits tropical designs.


Foliage – green
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)
Spread: 1.2-1.8mcm (4-6 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 16°C (50-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 21°C (61-70°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10b-11

Callisia fragransCallisia fragransCallisia fragransCallisia fragrans flowersCallisia fragrans Melnikoff

Evergreen, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Common name: Basket Plant, Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine

Family: Gesneriaceae

Synonymous: Aeschynanthus aucklandiae
Aeschynanthus splendens

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Distribution and habitat: Aeschynanthus speciosus is a species of trailing ephiphytic flowering plant, in wild growing on branches of trees in the tropical rainforests. It is native primarily to Southeast Asia (the Malay peninsula, Java and Borneo island). It is a perennial woody subshrubs. The stems are branching and it has a spreading, weeping habit. The vines cascade downwards with long, graceful stems that can extend to more than 3m (10 feet) long.
As an epiphyte, Aeschynanthus speciosus does not live off its host like a parasite but rather, it takes nourishment from fallen leaves and twigs that accumulate in the crevices of tree’s branches.

Description: Aeschynanthus speciosus is perhaps the most spectacular species within its genus. Its dark green leaves are carried along the stems in pairs or whorls of three, but there are 4 to 8 leaves at the stem tip, where they surround a cluster of 6 to 20 flowers. The leaves are up to 10cm (4 inch) long and 4cm (1.5 inch) wide and their tips are more sharply pointed than their bases. The green calyx sheathes only a portion of the flower, which may be 10cm (4 inch) long. Both calyx and corolla are slightly hairy. The flowers are orange with the inside of the mouth orange-yellow and with a dark red bar across the lower lobes which also have scarlet borders.
These plants normally have a summertime flowering season indoors and individual flowers last for only two or three days. An Aeschynanthus speciosus plant is displayed to best advantage in a hanging basket, where the broad surface area allows the trailing stems to root down at intervals and send out abundant side-shoots. The plant will mature in 2 to 5 years.

Proper care: Aeschynanthus speciosus are perfect as hanging or trailing plants. They require high humidity and warmth throughout the growing season, as well as strong, but not direct, light. These plants are perfect for a greenhouse, sunroom or conservatory.
After the season is over, cut the trailing stems back in preparation for another year—otherwise, it will tend toward leginess.

Light: Provide bright light for Aeschynanthus speciosus plants  – but with no more than two or three hours of direct sunlight a day.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for Aeschynanthus speciosus as long as humidity is kept high. Place trays of moist pebbles bellow the trailing stems and mist-spray plants daily during the flowering period. A humidifier can help to a great extent.
Avoid sudden temperature changes.

Watering: When an Aeschynanthus speciosus is in flower, water it plentifully. At other times water moderately, enough to make the mixture moist throughout, but allow the top 1cm (0.4 inch) to dry out between waterings. If kept in humid warmth, these plants do not have a rest period and so they require this much water all year long.
They must not be allowed to dry out when in bloom.

Feeding: Use a liquid fertiliser containing an equal-parts mixture of nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Apply a one-eighth-strength dose to these plants at every watering.

Potting and repotting: Since Aeschynanthus speciosus plants like an acid growing medium, coarse sphagnum peat moss may be used alone as the potting mixture. Equally suitable is an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and such substances as perlite and vermiculite which, if packed loosely, gives much-needed aeration around the roots.
Shallow 13 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pots or baskets are the best containers with several young plants placed in each for good effect. Repotting may be done at any time of year. When roots fill the pot, move plants into a pot one size larger. Or, preferably, cut them back by about one-third and repot the plants in the same pot, but with fresh potting mixture.

Gardening: Keep Aeschynanthus speciosus warm and humid in the spring and summer, above 18°C (65ºF). The plant can withstand day temperatures of above 23ºC (75ºF) and 18 to 21ºC (65-70ºF) during the night; but the night temperatures should not be below 13ºC (55ºF). In the winter, a brief period of 13 to 18°C (55-65ºF) will promote flowering. These plants require a humid atmosphere.
After the flowering season these plants may be trimmed. As the flowers emerge from the tips of the stalks, excessive trimming can hamper with flowering.

Position: As Aeschynanthus speciosus are native to tropical regions, they need humidity, moisture and sunlight for a healthy growth. Sunlight is one of the important factors that can affect the growth of these plants, but direct sunlight can cause adverse effects – the leaves can fall off or turn brown – unless the plants are kept moist. It is always better to grow these plants in a warm, part shaded location.

Soil: Aeschynanthus speciosus require for healthy growth evenly moist, fertile and well-drained soil. Light sandy soil with a mix of peat or humus is preferred for these plants.

Irrigation: Water Aeschynanthus speciosus plants generously, but take care not to make the soil soggy. Regular watering is more important during summers and in dry weather conditions, wherein the leaves can be moisten too to improve the atmospheric humidity. It is always better to use tepid water rather than cold water, as the latter may cause spots on the leaves that may also turn brown.

Fertilise: Adding fertilisers during the spring and summer season, can trigger flowering in Aeschynanthus speciosus plants. Use a nitrogen-free fertiliser at half the recommended strength, once in two weeks. The fertilising and watering frequency has to be reduced during the fall and winter, to allow the plant to get a resting period.

Propagation: Tip cutting 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long will root in three to four weeks at any season. Plant the cuttings in 8cm (3 inch) pots of the recommended potting mixture thoroughly moistened, enclosed them in plastic bags and keep them at normal room temperature in bright filtered light. When rooting has occurred, the bag should be removed and the new plants given just enough water to keep the potting mixture barely moist. About a week later pot several of the new plants together in a shallow 13 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pot and treat them as mature specimens. Make a particular effort to provide high humidity for these young plants.

Problems: If the Aeschynanthus speciosus plant has lost a lot of leaves over the winter, prune it more sharply, cutting the stems back to 15cm (6 inch) above their base.

Keep a watch for aphids which attack young leaves of Aeschynanthus speciosus. These tiny, highly prolific insects feed by sucking the plant sap. They form dense colonies on young shoots and under leaves and also feed on plant stems, bark, roots and fruit.
Treatment: Inspect the plant regularly for insects and use a suitable spray insecticide when necessary.

The scale insects (Coccoidea) are another pest capable of damaging Aeschynanthus speciosus plants when they are grown indoors.
Treatment: Spraying the plant with a diluted horticultural oil or soap can be an effective treatment.

Flower buds drop off and/or wilted leaves can be caused by not enough water during the growing period
Treatment: Immerse pot for 10 minutes in room temperature water and then let drain. After that adjust watering frequency.

Leaves drop off and roots rot can be caused by too much water in winter
Treatment: Cut off damaged roots and repot plant in a well-drained soil mixture. Consider cutting back on watering.

Leaf margins turn yellow and the new shoots drop off can be caused by the fact that the air around Aeschynanthus speciosus plant is too dry.
Treatment: Increase relative humidity by using a humidifier or place a tray with moist pebbles under plant pot and spray mist the foliage.

Avoid moving the plant once the flower buds have formed, to prevent them from dropping off.

Uses and display: In cultivation, Aeschynanthus speciosus is grown for its ornamental beauty in hanging baskets or pots, displaying long pendulous stems with dark green foliage and crowned with clusters of exotic flowers and buds in brilliant contrast. It is ideal as houseplants and for a conservatory or greenhouse. Perfect for hanging baskets/pots to best display their lovely cascading stems and attractive flowers or in containers placed on a pedestal or windowsill. A vine-like plant that can be trained as a climber on fences and wire-frames or grown on ground or allowed to creep on mossy rock surfaces.

The plant can be kept in a bathroom window sill or kitchen for increased humidity.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – climbing and trailing
Height: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 11


Aeschynanthus speciosusAeschynanthus speciosusAeschynanthus speciosus

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