Tibouchina urvilleana

July 20th, 2014

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

Family: Melastomataceae

Synonymous: Tibouchina maudhiana
Tibouchina semidecandra
Lasiandra semidecandra

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina urvilleana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Tibouchina urvilleana Tibouchina urvilleana Tibouchina urvilleana - Flower

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

Faucaria tigrina

July 18th, 2014

Common name: Tiger’s Jaws

Family: Aizoaceae

Synonymous: Faucaria tigrina f. splendens
Mesembryanthemum tigrinum

Faucaria tigrina

Faucaria tigrina

Distribution and habitat: Faucaria tigrina is a subtropical succulent plant native of South Africa  in eastern Cape Province thicket and savanna and the Karoo desert. It is found in open, rocky patches, in a dark clay soil with a low pH, in mountain renosterveld.

The Latin name for these succulent house plants is Faucaria meaning jaws and tigrina meaning tiger.
The ‘teeth’ of the Faucaria tigrina however, are actually soft and harmless, and help to trap moist fog and direct it down to the roots. Fog that comes in from the coast provides a precious source of water for plants surviving in the hot, arid thickets.

Description: Faucaria tigrina are low growing succulent plants with four or five layers of leaves arranged in criss-cross opposite pairs, forming a thick, star shaped rosette. Each pair of leaves is united at the base and these are virtually no stems. The leaves are fleshy and pointed, 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) long and 2cm (0.8 inch) broad at the base. The roughly triangular leaves, which are usually edged with soft and bristle-like hooked teeth, have a flat upper surface, but the underside is convex. Leaf colour is greyish green marked with many small white dots. The teeth on the edge of the young leaves interlock, but they later strengthen and separate to give a jaw like appearance.
The plants send out basal offsets that form crowded clumps.
Relatively large, daisy-like flowers, which generally open in the afternoon, are produced from between the leaves in autumn. They are attractive golden yellow, stalk-less and can be up to 5cm (2 inch) wide.

Proper care: The plants in this genus represent some of the more easily cultivated succulent species.

Light: Faucaria tigrina must have at least three hours a day of direct sunlight all year long in order to flower.

Temperature: Faucaria tigrina needs warmer temperatures from spring through fall 21-32°C (70-90°F). It needs average temperatures in winter, 16-24°C (60-75°F).
If the plant is moved outdoors for the summer, be sure to bring it back indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 16°C (60°F).
This succulent plant requires an average to dry humidity.

Water: Keep Faucaria tigrina soil lightly moist spring through fall. In winter, allow soil to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: During the active growth period only, apply standard liquid fertiliser at half-strength once or twice during growth period. Too frequent feeding will result in soft, uncharacteristic growth.

Potting and repotting: Use a mixture composed of two parts of soil-based mixture to one part of coarse sand or grit. Because Faucaria tigrina have relatively little root, plant them in shallow pans or half-pots. When a clump has covered the surface of the potting mixture, move plants into a container one size larger. Repotting should be necessary, however, only one in two or three years. The best time to pot is early spring.

Gardening: In areas prone to frost, Faucaria tigrina should be overwintered in an intermediate greenhouse or conservatory, in pots of cactus compost. Although the plants will survive mild frost if kept dry – hardy as low as -5°C (23°F) – they should be protected from frost to prevent scarring.
Faucarias become woody and untidy as they age. New plants can be started by cutting a rosette and planting it.

Position: Faucaria tigrina plants need full sun to light shade.  Keep them shaded in summer, but provide maximum light the rest of the year. They do not do well in full shade as they tend to etiolate, fall over and rot easily.

Soil: Faucaria tigrina need to be located in an accentuated and drained substratum. The substrate should be gritty-sandy soil. They thrive on a little compost and some fine mulch spread between the plants would also be a good idea.
These succulent plants will grow in a well-drained soil mix, but can tolerate a wide variety of soil types and growing locations as long as there is plenty of sun.

Irrigation: Faucaria tigrina is native to a primarily summer rainfall area but in cultivation the plant can be watered year-round. The plants are well watered during the growing season and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again and will tolerate some over watering, but the challenge is to help them keep their compact form and prevent elongation of the stem.
Faucaria tigrina plants grow on winter rain and were heading for spring-summer dormancy. Requires little water otherwise their epidermis breaks (resulting in unsightly scars). Water moderately from the middle of summer to the end of winter and keep the compost almost dry when the plants are dormant. Water minimally in spring and summer, only when the plant starts shriveling (but they will generally grow even in summer if given water).

Fertiliser: Faucaria tigrina plants should be fertilised only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.

Propagation: Carefully divide overcrowded clumps of Faucaria tigrina in late spring or early summer just after plants have restarted into growth. As individual plants are separated, some will come away with their roots attached. Insert each such rooted Faucaria tigrina directly into an 8cm or 10cm (3-4 inch) container of the recommended potting mixture and treat the new plant as a mature specimen. For the first week or two, however, keep the Faucaria tigrina in medium light, well out of direct sunlight.
An individual plant without roots attached should be left unpotted for a few days to let the base of the plant harden. It may then be inserted in the recommended potting mixture. Surround the base with some additional coarse sand. This will help to prevent rotting and encourage the development of roots. Keep the plant in medium light and water only moderately until new growth indicates that rooting has occurred. Thereafter, treat the young plant as a mature Faucaria tigrina.

Problems:
The spring weather, with a high temperature swing between the day and night hours and pretty frequent rains, can favour the development of fungus diseases (phytophthora) indicated by sudden wilting and pale green discolouration.
Treatement: Remove infected plants and treat remaining plants preemptively with a systemic fungicide, before the gems grow excessively. Avoid fungus infections by improving drainage and over-fertilization.

Waxy fibres and honeydew on leaves and shoots indicate an infestation with mealybugs. Scale insects sit on the undersides of the leaves.
Treatment: At the end of the winter a wide range insecticide is recommended to be applied to prevent the insects attack. It is recommended to do these treatments when there are not flowerings in the garden. Alternatively, control biologically with predatory ladybirds or parasitic wasps can be used in garden.

Note: Continued urban development and over-grazing within its current natural habitat means Faucaria tigrina plant is classed as endangered in the wild.

Uses and display: Faucaria tigrina is used as a border or filler plant in rock gardens, xeriscaping or wild gardens. It will attract bees, butterflies and other insects into the garden. It is a suitable succulent plant for smaller gardens and can be used to stabilise banks and and reduce land erosion.  Although it can be grown just as easily indoors as windowsill plant, being well suited to growing in containers and pots.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – low growing, clustering habit
Height: under 15cm (6 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Faucaria tigrinaFaucaria tigrinaFaucaria tigrina

Evergreen, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Succulents , , ,

Anubias barteri

July 6th, 2014

Common name: Growing Plastic Plant, Anubias Barteri, Anubias

Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Aroideae
Tribe: Anubiadeae

Synonymous: Anubias barteri var. angustifolia
Anubias lanceolata
Anubias nana

Anubias barteri

Anubias barteri

Distribution and habitat: Anubias barteri is a flowering plant that hails from the west of Africa. In the wild, it can be found growing in streams, rivers and marshes. It is often found growing on large stones or logs (rarely in the substrate) immersed, semi immersed or (rarely) totally submersed.

Description: Anubias barteri is a flowering plant that has lush green arrow shaped foliage. This rosette plant may reach up to 40cm (16 inch) in width and has thick, creeping rhizomes. The leaves are thick, dark green and quite tough, with a leather-like appearance. Diagonal lines run from the center vein to the outer edge of the oval or arrow shaped leaves, depending of plant size and variety. The underside of the leaf is a lighter green than the top and the veins are clearly visible. Almost indestructible, individual leaves can last for years.

The Anubias barteri is an amphibious plant that will survive either totally or partially submersed underwater. In its emerged form, its leaves tend to be larger and its growth faster. Occasionally this plant will flower, either when fully submerged or when partially above the water line when is used in a paludarium. The flower is in the form of a creamy white spadix, similar to a cala lily. The flowers will last a long time, often several months. In sumerged condition, its flowers will also produce seeds. Seems that blooming occurs more often in submerged setups.

Care: Anubias barteri is a hardy plant that has lush green arrow shaped foliage. It is highly tolerant to a variety of growing conditions, including poor conditions, making it easy and ideal for beginners.
In order to keep these plants small, simply trim back the leaves near the rhizome with a sharp pair of scissors. Under correct water conditions, the Anubias barteri propagates by side shoots on the rhizome, causing rhizome division.
The rhizome stores food for the plant, which is one of the reasons this plant is so easy to care for. Even if it should lose all its leaves, the rhizome will slowly begin to sprout new leaves. Prune dead or damaged leaves back to the rhizome to keep the plant healthy. To encourage the growth of new leaves, make small cuts in the skin of the rhizome. New shoots will emerge from the cuts.
They are very slow-growing however, taking several years to reach their full size. Contrary to what was thought for years, this plant does respond to the use of CO2 and additional lighting, growing at a faster rate than without.

Water: Anubias barteri will grow successfully in soft and acid water conditions. The ideal water conditions for best results in gowing Anubias barteri are an alkalinity of 3 to 7dKH and a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, but it is extremely tolerant when it comes to pH and can adapt to a pH-value from 5.5 to 9.0. Water flow over the leaves is an encouragement for best growth.
Because of its robustness and its very good adaptation to a wide range of water conditions, Anubias Barteri can be kept in most tanks. Due to their bold leaf shapes and forms, Anubias barteri work best as single specimen plants in the tank. They look stunning planted next to an interesting piece of driftwood, especially if lit with a spotlight.

Anubias barteri plants make a welcome addition to any outdoor planted pond because the leaves are not very tasty to plant-eating fish and they tolerate almost any pH as long as water temperature is above 20°C (68°F). They typically grow in running water, but Anubias barteri plants can also grow in standing water. They grow well in freshwater ponds with plenty of shade at ideal water depth of 30cm (12 inch).

Substrate: Anubias barteri plant attaches itself to rocks, driftwood, substrate and may even float. It can also be found rooted in gravel and other substrates. When planting Anubias barteri in aquarium, special care should be taken of the rhizome and the roots. The rhizome should not be buried beneath the substrate, as it will rot and die off. In small grains the roots might not be able to get a good hold and the sand tends to compact, while larger gravel has a tendency to collect pockets of rotting detritus. The ideal size is 2-3mm gravel or 1-2mm coarse sand. The bottom 1/3 of the gravel can be supplemented with a fertilizer, of which popular choices are peat (softens water), laterite (a clay containing iron, usually used with undergravel heating systems) and soil.

A good technique to attach Anubias barteri to pieces of wood or rocks is to tie down its roots against the chosen substrate. Use cotton thread or light fishing line when attaching Anubias barteri plants to rocks or bogwood and tie it loosely to avoid damaging the plant. The plant will creep horizontally in a single direction, growing quite slowly. After a while its roots will anchor themselves to the substrate and the fishing line could be removed.

Anubias barteri will grow faster if the leaves are above the surface of the pond, although they can be submerged. There are few ways to use Anubias barteri in planted outdoor ponds:
- Anubias barteri plant prefers a rich substrate, but can also tolerate plain gravel. If there is substrate or gravel on the bottom of the pond, the roots will grow into it. Keep the rhizome above any substrate or gravel. The rhizome needs to be in the light for the plant to grow properly and may rot if buried.  This technique is best suitable for tropical areas where these plants can be planted permanently.
- If the bottom of the pond is bare, tie the plant to a rock or piece of driftwood to anchor it in place until the root system develops. The roots will grow around the rock or driftwood. Once this happens, remove the string.Otherwise, it may simply be stuck between rocks.
Anubias barteri may also be able to grow by floating freely in the water.

Light: Anubias barteri plant prefers moderate lighting, approximately 2 to 3 watts per 4liters (1 gallon) of water provided by a fluorescent fixture with daylight bulbs. The light should be consistently on 10-14 hours a day. If placed under high lighting conditions the leaves will grow faster, but will be more compact and susceptible to algae growth, particularly beard algae. The algae does not hurt the plant, but it does affect its appearance. However, care must be taken when using high lighting conditions, as the additional light can promote algae growth on the leaves, which is hard to combat. In these situations, keeping algae eating fish will help in dealing with algae growth. Another way to keep them away from algae and control algae growth on their leaves is to introduce them in the tank after you introduced fast growing plants. Fast growing plants will regulate and control algae outbreaks before introducing slower growing plants.
Under high lighting conditions, this plant seems to create more leaves but smaller in size. In the aquarium Anubias barteri should be placed in shaded areas to reduce the risk of algae developing on the leaves.

Anubias barteri is best in the midground or background areas of the aquarium due to its robust size.

As the name of this species suggest, Anubias barteri plants like shady locations when grown in outdoor planted ponds.

Temperature: Anubias barteri can thrive in a wide range of temperatures from 22 to 27°C (72-82°F).

Before placing them in outdoor ponds, check the temperature of the pond water. Anubias barteri tolerate most water conditions, but need temperatures between its hardiness – 20 to 30°C (68-86°F). Lower temperatures can lead to yellowing leaves which finally will die back.
Place plants in buckets of pond water and set them in an indoor area under plant lights or near a window if temperatures drop to freezing.

Feeding: Fertilization is not necessary, nor is the use of CO2, however additional CO2 will promote faster growth.
Anubias barteri plants are low demanding when it comes to nutrients and the organic waster produced by the fish is usually enough. They will also do well with the carbon dioxide exhaled by the fish and do not need additional carbon dioxide. High levels of phosphate (1.5-2 mg/l) seem to induce flowering independently of the other parameters in the tank or the health status of the plant. High phosphate levels in combination with a good iron and micronutrient supply reduce problems with spot algae under strong light.
A glut of hair algae growing on the leaves of your Anubias barteri can indicate low Co2 levels within the tank.
Liquid Plant Food, CO2 Injection, Trace Elements, Substrate and Iron-Rich Fertilizer can be used in tanks with Anubias barteri plants.

Propagation: Propagation for Anubias barteri is very simple and straightforward. In many cases the plants themselves will create new growth tips from the rhizome resulting in a full dense cluster of leaves and one large plant. This new growth tips and be cut off or broken free from the original woody stem when several leaves have developed which can provide enough light catching ability to make food for the plant. Several techniques can be employed to speed up reproduction or used just to reduce the size of one large plant. To create new growth tips or to just trim a large plant break off a section of the rhizome that has several healthy leaves on it. The portion of plant that did not have the new growth tip will produce a growth tip, assuming that it has several leaves of its own to begin with. To create a fuller single specimen take a sharp knife or razor blade and nick a small cut into the rhizome of a healthy plant. This will encourage a new growth tip to form. In these ways will form multiple plants to share or a monster show piece plant.
It is also possible to cultivate Anubias from seeds. Only plants that grow out of the water will produce seeds.

Note: Anubias barteri is not a true submerged plant, therefore it is not a true aquarium plant, being most suitable plant for paludarium. Because the plant is not hurt if kept totally submerged, these plant is a popular plant in aquarium-scaping. Underwater its development is slower. Anubias barteri var. nana is one of the most widely spread aquarium plants in Europe, Asia and the US.

In nature Anubias species are found in wet, forested areas, generally along the banks of waterways. These shady locations gave rise to the name given to this genus, which has been named after the god of the afterlife, Anubis. Today, Anubias are cultivated across the world, for use in aquariums and paludariums.

Recommended varieties:
Anubias barteri var. angustifolia (Synonymous: Anubias lanceolata f. angustifolia) is a long-stemmed plant with dark green, long, narrow and pointed leaves. The leave blades are 5-9 times as long as wide and the petioles are 0.5-1 times as long as the blade. It can reach a height of 30cm (12 inch) and has long lasting leaves (usually they will last several years), but is a slow grower – only 6 to 10 new leaves per year. This plant suits big tanks because of its size. This plant is also known under the name Anubias barteri var. afzelii.

Anubias barteri var. caladiifolia (Heart-Shaped Anubias) is one of the bigger kinds of Anubias Barteri. Growing as big as 12 inches, its heart-shaped leaves can be as long as 23cm (9 inch) and 13cm (5 inch) wide. Because of its size, it is recommended to plant it in a large tank or pond. This plant can be of the best effect if planted in group in the middle to back side of the tank.

Anubias barteri var. coffeefolia has is a deeper green, with dark ribbing on the leaves with textured, ribbed-leaf appearance. Also, as new leaves form on this plant the stems appear red and sometimes the new leaves are more yellowish in color, darkening as they mature. It is a relatively short plant that grows to a height of 15cm (6 inch), but is known to grow very wide. Anubias barteri var. coffeefolia is most suited in the midground area where it can form hedges and spread along driftwood. Although these plants have been traded under the name Anubias barteri var. coffeefolia, this name has no taxonomic status, being just a variation of the Anubias barteri.

Anubias barteri var. glabra (Synonymous: Anubias lanceolata, Anubias minima) are large, narrow-leafed Anubias barteri with leaf-stem up to 35cm (14 inch) long. The leaves are spear-shaped, up to 21cm (8 inch) long, 9cm (3.5 inch) wide. This plant will reach 30 to 50cm (12-20 inch) in height in aquarium, therefore it is suitable for large tanks in back position. Also suitable for ponds in warm environments. The usual growth rate is 4-8 leaves per year.

Anubias barteri var. nana (Anubias Nana, Dwarf Anubias, Nana) is a dwarf variety, only 5 to 15cm (2-6 inch) tall. This variety is even slower grower than Anubias barteri, often only producing one leaf in a months’ time. The leaves can reach a length of 3cm (1 inch) and be 2cm (0.8 inch) wide. Anubias barteri var. nana has charming heart-shaped leaves and a creeping growth fashion. Because of its reduced size, it is best to be placed in a front position in the aquarium.

Anubias barteria var. nana ‘marbled’ is variegated, with most of the leaf white and some speckling of green. It is a variation of  Anubias barteri var. nana.

Anubias barteri var. nana ‘gold’ is again a color variation of the common Anubias barteri var. nana. Its leaves have a yellow green colour. This colour could be misconstrued as simply sick, but it is a true color variation.

Lifespan: Anubias barteri are very robust plants and live for numerous years.

Availability: Anubias barteri is the most commonly available species of this genus.

Uses and display: Anubias barteri are commonly used in aquariums, usually attached to rocks or bogwood. They live equally happily fully submerged or partially submerged. These plants are so attractive that they are often used as a centerpiece. They can be used as a mid-ground plant or foreground plant and are often attached to driftwood or rocks. They will not only add beauty, but also improve the water quality and add color to the aquarium.
It is an extremely hardy plant, which makes it popular for aquarium use, as well as in paludariums. Because of its tick and tough leaves, it makes an ideal plant for aquariums with species of fish that are known to nibble on or uproot plants. Small fish will find this plant makes great a hiding place.
And to do something different with them, they also work very well in terrariums. Paludariums are their best option to be grown in.

Aquarium summary:
Environment: freshwater, flowing water
Height in aquariums: 25-45cm (10-18 inch)
Width in aquariums: 30-40cm (12- 16 inch)
Growth rate: slow
Difficulty: easy
Placement: foreground, mid ground
Lighting needs: medium
Substrate: gravel, attached by driftwood or rock
Temperature: 22-28°C (72-82°F),
pH: 6.5 – 7.5
Water hardness: 3-7KH
Water depth: 30cm (12 inch)

Width outdoor: 25-45cm (10-18 inch)
Height outdoor: 30-40cm (12- 16 inch)
Hardiness zone: 9

Anubias barteri var. coffeefoliaAnubias barteri var. nanaAnubias barteri var. glabraAnubias barteri var. caladiifoliaAnubias barteria var. nana marbleAnubias barteri var. nana goldAnubias barteri nanaAnubias barteri - flowerAnubias barteri

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

Linospadix minor

June 29th, 2014

Common name: Minor Walking Stick Palm

Family: Arecaceae

Synonymous: Areca minor
Bacularia intermedia
Bacularia minor
Kentia minor

Linospadix minor

Linospadix minor

Distribution and habitat: Linospadix minor is a small tropical forest palm. It has a limited distribution in Australia’s wet tropical forests up to 1200m (3900 feet) altitude. The wettest areas would receive over 3000mm (118 inch) rainfall per year. They grow as an understorey plant and are usually found in dense shade, never receiving any direct sunlight. In some locations there would be 6-8 plants per square metre (11 square feet).
Linospadix minor is the most variable species in the genus. These palms may be less an 1m (3 feet) to more than 4m (13 feet) tall, sparsely or densely clustered. Their leaves may be small to large with few to many segments. Conversely, flowers and fruit display little variation throughout the species’ range.

Description: Linospadix minor is a clustering small palm with stems between 7mm and 2cm (0.3-0.8 inch) in diameter, growing from 1m to 5m (3-16 feet) high, with a crown of 7 to 12 leaves. It grows a solitary, slender, cane-like trunk with closely spaced nodes. The leaves are up to 110cm (43 inch) long, irregularly segmented with united pinnae, segments broadly adnate to the rachis or regularly pinnate with narrow pinnae. There are 3 to 24 pinnae per leaf. The pinnae are semi-glossy dark green coloured above, lighter green below, with midrib prominent on both surfaces and veins that are not prominent on lower surface. The terminal pinnae are wider at the base than any of the lateral pinnae. The leaf petiole is 4-51cm (1.5-20 inch) long with almost vertical angle.
Linospadix minor produces inflorescence up to 80cm (31 inch) long. Male and female flowers may appear to be in separate spikes but both are produced in each spike and the males shed following anthesis. Petals are free in female flowers and fused in male. The fruits are small, cylindrical shaped, yellow or red when ripe containing one seed each.

It is little known outside Australia and fits perfectly in small modern interiors. In a 23cm (9 inch) pot, the trunk stays just the thickness of a walking stick growing strait and tall. The 30cm (12 inch) fronds are divided into about sixteen segments with large fishtail effect at the end, almost as if the leaf had been torn across. They are held at an almost vertical angle.

Proper care: Linospadix minor is a slow grower palm. In mild weather, half an hour outdoors in gentle rain will normally rid the fronds of the dust that settles on them. Otherwise, wash this palm under the bathroom shower or mist-spray the foliage or gentle sponge off each frond.

Light: Linospadix minor prefers bright filtered light. Although this palm can tolerate poor light for periods of several months, with totally inadequate light it will inevitably make very little growth and will slowly deteriorate.
It likes airy conditions and cannot tolerate drought, extreme heat or sudden changes in intensity of light. If the palm is moved outdoors during the warm season, acclimatise it gradually to breezes and bright light.  Bring the palm back inside before the onset of cool weather.

Temperatures:  Linospadix minor will do well in normal room temperatures which would not normally rise above 25°C (77°F) . They do best if they are encouraged to have a winter rest period at about 13-14°C (55-57°F).  Avoid drafts at all times.
Average room humidity is fine. To improve humidity, during the active growth period stand these palms on trays of damp pebbles.

Watering: Actively growing palms should be watered plentifully, enough at each watering to that some excess water runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot or tub. During the winter rest period water them only enough to keep the potting mixture barely moist.

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

Potting and repotting: Linospadix minor will thrive in a soil based potting mixture with some addition of peat moss or leaf mould. The drainage is essential for these palms therefore place a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments at the bottom of the pot. Once every two or three years, in the spring, move Linospadix minor palms into containers one size larger, until the maximum convenient size – probably 20-30cm (8-12 inch) – has been reached. Thereafter, top-dress the palms with fresh potting mixture every spring by replacing the top couple of centimetre (1 inch) of the potting mixture with fresh mixture. It is advisable to add a little slow-release fertiliser to this top dressing mixture.
When repotting this palm, press the potting mixture firmly around the palm, taking care not to break the thick roots.

Gardening: Linospadix minor is a great small palm. It is distinguished from other species by the combination of the clustering habit, elongate-cylindrical fruit, irregularly segmented pinnate leaf and long petiole. It is extremely hardy and will grow in a wide range of climatic conditions. It will do well in most gardens in warm climates. The winter minimum required temperature should be down to 2 or 3°C (36-37°F) when planted in ground, but never expose this palm to frost. It is quite drought hardy once established.

Position: In cultivation Linospadix minor offers few problems, being able to stand full sunshine (but preferring half shade). In deep shade, the leaves colour is a deep green. In semi-shade they change to mid green and lose a lot of their character.
Plant young Linospadix minor palms in deep shade, protected from wind. Wind turns leaf-tips brown and leaves lose their luster. Once in the ground and established, palms grow at a reasonable rate. The more shade, the larger the leaf and better appearance.

Soil: Linospadix minor will thrives in rich and sandy soil that drains well. Loving a deep rich loamy soil, it also grows well in a shallow soil if sand has been mixed in freely along with compost or other organic matter to improve its drainage and quality.
To plant Linospadix minor, dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the height of root ball. Loose the soil surrounding the roots and the dirt from the hole sides to allow easy establishment. Add water at the bottom of the hole and place the palm in centre making sure that is standing straight. Fill the hole halfway with soil and pack firmly. Fill in the hole while packing firmly around the base of the palm tree. Add about 8cm (3 inch) of organic mulch around the palm tree and water well.
Linospadix minor palm will not tolerate transplanting, unless a fair care is taken.

Irrigation: Water thoroughly after planting is completed. Newly planted palms like lots of water.  For the first two to three weeks, water daily. Continue watering three times a week. Once established, these palms require minimal watering. During the warmer months, water palm tree approximately two to three times per week. Water approximately once a week during the winter.

Fertiliser: Approximately six to eight weeks after planting – after new growth appears -, fertilise Linospadix minor with a high-quality, continual-release palm tree fertilizer. Thereafter, fertilisation schedule will be three times a year from spring to midsummer. Apply the fertiliser to the soil in a large ring at least 0.5m (2 feet) from the trunk.

Propagation: Linospadix minor seed germinates within one month if fresh. The seed should be cleaned and soaked in water for one day. The germination rate is grater than 90%. Seedlings are very slow initially and very tender. They should be handled very carefully at this stage. Once seedlings reach 15-20cm (6-8 inch) high, they become more durable and the growth rate increases. The young palms are now reasonably hardy and they love to grow up out of the pot, leaving them weak rooted and wobbly. It is recommended to use deep pots, but place seedling lower down in pot to compensate for upward movement. This avoids repotting until plant is big enough to actually use a larger pot. Constant topping up of potting mixture or repotting keeps roots strong and plants healthy.
Fertilise as for most palms, although do not expect to get good growing rates. Once palms are 45cm (18 inch) high, they can be planted out.

Problems:
Scales insects, mealy bugs and red spider mites are the most common pests that are attracted to indoor palms.
Treatment: Natural neem oil and insecticidal soaps are recommended to keep them at bay. White oil can be used for white palm scale but an insecticide is needed for the larger pink scale or black scale. Small amounts of scale can be removed by hand. Scale is not a major concern but it looks unsightly on palms.

If the soil is not well drained, root rot can occur.

Availability: Linospadix minor species is avoided because of the slow initial growth pattern and only specialised nurseries will handle it. These facts make Linospadix minor a collectors piece. If not fresh, seed may take 6 months to germinate in optimum conditions.

Note: Linospadix minor were used for walking canes because of the toughness and strength of its cane. The dug palm had all its roots removed, generally leaving a cylindrical to slightly oval, knobby ball which, when smoothed, sanded and polished, made an excellent hand-grip. The stem was then cut to a desired length and also polished. A rubber button was fitted to the end.
Actually, the name Bacularia did mean walking stick, while the name change to Linospadix simply means in a single spike, referring to the inflorescence of these palms.

Uses and display: Linospadix minor can be used an accent plant in bush, coastal or oriental designs. Also it can be used in large planter for exotic effect. It is a relatively good palm for understory or shadier gardens. The long strings of fruit look very attractive hanging from the plant. They are attracting bird into the garden. The leaves play host to the Yellow and the Orange Palm Dart Butterfly.
It can be potted and, because of its size, Linospadix minor palm is an appreciated indoor plant especially for modern small spaces.

Height: 1m to 5m (3-16 feet)

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Linospadix minorLinospadix minorLinospadix minor - flowers and fruits

Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Palms , , , , ,

Tradescantia zebrina

June 28th, 2014

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 you can 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

June 28th, 2014

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 steams 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 you can expect them 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 , , , , , , , , , ,

Thunbergia alata

June 24th, 2014

Common name: Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Family: Acanthaceae

Synonymous: Endomelas alata
Thunbergia alata var. fryeri
Thunbergia alata var. albiflora
Thunbergia alata var. aurantiaca
Thunbergia alata var. bakeri
Thunbergia alata var. vixalata
Thunbergia alata var. lutea
Thunbergia alata var. reticulata
Thunbergia alata subvar. doddsii
Thunbergia alata var. sulphurea
Thunbergia alata var. albiflora
Thunbergia alata var. alba
Thunbergia alata var. retinervia
Thunbergia albiflora
Thunbergia aurantiaca
Thunbergia backeri
Thunbergia doddsii
Thunbergia fryeri
Thunbergia manganjensis
Thunbergia reticulata

Thunbergia alata

Thunbergia alata

Distribution and habitat: Thunbergia alata is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant species in the Acanthaceae family. It is native to Eastern Africa and has been naturalised in other parts of the world. It is found in Cerrado vegetation of Brazil and Hawaii, along with eastern Australia and the southern USA in the states of Texas and Florida.

Description: Thunbergia alata is a fast growing twining plant with attractive flowers. Its leaves are tooth-edged, triangular to arrow-shaped, up to 8cm (3 inch) long and wide, borne on slender stalks along the twining stems. Flowers are about 5cm (2 inch) wide and are produced on short stalks from the leaf axils, consist of a 2cm (0.8 inch) long tube flaring out into five petal-like lobes. Petal-lobe colour varies, but in all forms there is a central deep chocolate ‘eye’ – the centry point to the tube for insects; the tube itself is sark purple and each flower is backed with a pair of 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) long, pale green bracts. The most common lobes colours are orange-yellow, bright yellow or white. The flowering period normally last from late spring to late autumn.

Proper care: Thunbergia alata is the only species of this genus sometimes grown as an indoor plant.  Although actually a perennial, it is usually treated as a temporary indoor plant to be enjoyed during the  and then discarded.
Thunbergia alata plants usually twine around three of four thin sticks pushed into the edge of the pot but they will also climb up a string fixed to the side of a window. In either case, they are probably best cut down and discarded when flowering strops.
Be sure to remove faded flowers by nipping them out with the fingertips. If this is not done regularly, flowering will be needlessly brief.

Light: Thunbergia alata must have bright light with two to three hours a day of direct sunlight to flower properly.

Temperature: These Thunbergia alata plants will do well in any normal room temperature during their stay in the home. Nevertheless, they can tolerate much cooler conditions – down to 10°C (50°F).

Watering: Water young Thunbergia alata plants moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist at each watering, but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. As these swift-growing plants get bigger and begin to flower, they need more water. Throughout the flowering period water them plentifully to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist.

Feeding: Give standard liquid fertiliser to flowering Thunbergia alata every two weeks throughout year.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Young Thunbergia alata plants should be moved on when they grow too big for their original pots. When roots begin to appear through the drainage hole in the bottom of a pot, move the plant into a pot two sizes larger. Probable maximum pot size needed is 15cm (6 inch).

Gardening: Since Thunbergia alata vines are perennial, they can be potted up and bring them indoors for the winter. They can be cut back to a more manageable size, when prepared to be indoor overwintered.

Position: Thunbergia alata will prefer full sun. In hot climates, growing the plants in partial afternoon shade is recommended.

Soil: Thunbergia alata likes a fairly neural soil pH, of around 6.5 and a soil rich in organic matter. When setting out plants, work about 5cm (2 inch) of compost into the soil, if it is not sufficiently rich to start with.

Irrigation: Thunbergia alata do not like sitting in wet soil, they also do not like being hot and dry. Mulching around the base of the plants will keep the roots cool and moist, without fear of rotting.

Fertiliser: Thunbergia alata is quick growing and repeat blooms throughout the summer. That means they will get hungry and will need a light feeding every 4-6 weeks, with a complete fertiliser, to keep it growing strong.

Propagation: Seed can be grown indoor without too much difficulty if it is sown early in spring. These seeds should be planted in a single 8cm (3 inch) pot containing a moistened soil based potting mixture.
They will usually germinate in three to five weeks if kept in a warm room in a position where they get bright filtered light and are watered enough to make the mixture moist, but with the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture allowed to dry out between waterings. The new plant will grow quickly and may be transferred to individual 8cm (3 inch) pots and treated as mature Thunbergia alata when they are 15cm (6 inch) high.

Problems: Thunbergia alata is not prone to many problems, particularly if the vines are kept healthy and have plenty of sun, water and air circulation.

Whiteflies and spider mites can be potential problems, especially during hot weather and if brought indoors with dry heat.
Treatment: Keep a keen eye, to catch and treat any out breaks quickly with insecticidal soap.

Buying tips: Buy Thunbergia alata young plants only a few weeks old in the spring.

Companion plants: With their quick growth habit and sprawling nature, Thunbergia alata vines can overtake nearby plants and are often grown as solo performers. However a nice option is to mix the Thunbergia alata vines with another vine that will intertwine with them. Species of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae (Morning Glories) are often used for this purpose, particularly the purple varieties, which make a nice color combo. Purple Hyacinth bean is another good choice.
They look beautiful near shorter purple flowers, like salvia and veronica, too. On the flip side, can be played up their flair with hotter colors, like brilliant red zinnias or canna, for a more tropical look.

Uses and display: Thunbergia alata are grown as ornamental plants in gardens and in hanging baskets. These vines grow quickly, once the temperature warms up. They will tangle themselves around the nearest support or spill over edges. They are perfect for hanging containers, but flow just as easily over walls and raised beds.
A lattice or link fence makes a good choice for coaxing and weaving this vine into a living wall, but these plants will clamber over just about anything, from the mail box to an old tree stump.

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-10b

Thunbergia alataThunbergia alataThunbergia alataThunbergia alata Thunbergia alata Thunbergia alata

Annuals, Climber, Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Phoenix canariensis

June 19th, 2014

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

June 19th, 2014

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 , , , , , , ,

Narcissus tazetta

June 17th, 2014

Common names: Paperwhite, Bunch-Flowered Narcissus, Chinese Sacred Lily, Joss Flower, French Daffodil, Cream Narcissus, Polyanthus Narcissus, Bunchflower Daffodil

Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae

Synonymous: Narcissus linnaeanus
Narcissus canaliculatus

Narcissus tazetta

Narcissus tazetta

Distribution and habitat: Narcissus tazetta is a widespread species, native to the Mediterranean region from Portugal to Turkey and across the Middle East and Central Asia to Bhutan, as well as from the Canary Islands, China and Japan. It is also naturalized in Australia, Bhutan, Korea, Norfolk Island, New Zealand, Bermuda, Mexico and the United States.

In wild Narcissus tazetta natural habitat are garigue (especially if with considerable amount of soil) uncultivated fields and valleys.

Description: Narcissus tazetta are bulbous perenial plants grown for their fresh coloured graceful scented flowers. This plant has thin, flat leaves up to 40cm (16 inch) long and 15mm (0.6 inch) wide.
Narcissus tazetta are bunch flowered (polyanthus) types of Narcissus and are most suitable species of this genus for use as indoor plants. Umbels have as many as 8 flowers, white with a yellow corona. The flowers have a cup (trumpet) shaped corona that are sometimes very much reduced in size and are backed by 6 petals.

Plants care: Indoors Narcissus tazetta bulbs can be forced to flower in winter. Potted plants can be enjoyed while coming into flower and during the brief flowering period, but they must be discarded when the flowers have faded. The bulbs will not flower twice indoors.

It is possible to buy Narcissus tazetta that have been subjected to a special cooling treatment that makes them flower earlier than than untreated bulbs. These treated Narcissus tazetta bulbs (always clearly labelled as such) may be started into growth either in the light or in the dark. The disadvantage of untreated bulbs is that they must be started in the dark. The best time for planting is early autumn and a cool temperature for the first few weeks is essential.

Do not subject budding Narcissus tazetta to room temperatures above about 15°C (59°F). Heat will cause flower buds to shrivel. It will also shorten the life of any that do develop.

Planting on pebbles: Use a water-proof container at lest 10-13cm (4-5 inch) deep and cover the bottom with pebbles. Place 5 or 6 ‘double-nosed’ bulbs (those partially divided into two flowering-size sections, but remaining attached to each other) or 8 to 10 fair-sized single buds on top of the pebbles. Stand the bulbs together, almost (but not quite) touching and put more pebbles around them as a support. Add only enough water to reach a point just below the base of the bubs. As roots are produced, they will work their way down to the water. This method is actually a form of hydroculture. Store the container in a cool place – not above 9°C (48°C) – and top it up with water from time to time.
The bulbs should remain at this low temperature (and, if untreated, in the dark) until they have made about 8cm (3 inch) of growth and flower buds have appeared through the neck of the bulbs.
There after, move the container gradually (over a period of about a week) into a brightly lit position. Once acclimatised the plants need as much as direct sunlight as they get.

Planting in potting mixture: For growing Narcissus tazetta in potting mixture or bulb fibre use either waterproof containers (such as decorative bowls) or pots or pans with drainage holes. Plant several bulbs together, each bulb half in and half above the fibre or potting mixture which may be either soil or peat based. Make sure that the fibre or potting mixture is moist, not sodden, before planting. Store the container in the coolest possible position and in the dark (preferable even for treated bulbs). Commercial growers plunge potted Narcissus tazetta in fibre or mixture in the ground under a thick layer of peat moss. If it is impossible to provide such outdoor treatment, enclose the potted bulbs in black plastic bags and place the bags in a cool position.
Examine the container once or twice during the nest few weeks. If the potting mixture appears to be drying out, add just enough water to keep it evenly moist. When the bulbs have made 8cm (3 inch) of top growth and flower buds have cleared the necks, move the container gradually (over a period of about a week) into a brightly lit position. Once acclimatised the plants need as much as direct sunlight as they get.

Gardening: Outdoors Narcissus tazetta plants bloom in late winter or early spring. They are not as hardy as the majority plants of this genus and will not do well in gardens with very cold winters. This species will not likely do well in colder or warmer zones than its hardiness zone. The dormant bulbs will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -5°C (23°F).
Remove flower stems at the base of the plants with hand clippers after the flowers fade. This tidies up the garden and prevents the plants from using their energy to produce seeds. They will save energy in their bulbs and will help them to produce prolific blooms again the next year. Do not cut back the plants until the foliage begins to fade (about 6 weeks), typically in summer when the bulb goes dormant. Use pruning shears and snip the foliage to the ground. As long as a Narcissus tazetta is green, it is still photosynthesizing sunlight into energy, which is stored in the bulb for the next growing season, so do not prune early.

Position: Narcissus tazetta is best grown in a warm sunny corner with shelter from cold winds. Place Narcissus tazetta bulbs in full sun so the flowers and foliage receive at east six hours of sunlight a day, preferably in the morning with afternoon shade.

Soil: Narcissus tazetta plants prefer a deep rather stiff soil but succeeds in most soils and situations. They grow well in heavy clay soils, but prefer an alkaline soil with a pH between 7 and 8. These plants can live in regular well-tilled garden soil, although, they grow best in well-drained loamy ground. The flowers are not so long-lived on light land as of those that are grown on loamy soil. On ground containing a lot of clay, sand should be mixed in freely along with compost or other organic matter.
Early through middle fall is the best time to plant the bulbs in the garden. Their size determines the depth at which they should be planted. Large bulbs should be covered no less than 10-13cm (4-5 inch), medium sizes should have a covering of 8-10cm (3-4 inch) and smaller ones with 5-8cm (2-3 inch). One of the most common mistakes is to plant them too close to the surface. Narcissus tazetta bulbs can be left undisturbed for many years until they become so crowded that they fail to bloom abundantly. Usually, they need to be lifted at the end of 3 or 4 years. When they are planted in grass or woodland, they should be set further apart so that they can be left undisturbed for a longer period of time. The best flowers are obtained by lifting and replanting them annually or in alternate years, as soon as the leaves have died down.

Irrigation: Water Narcissus tazetta from fall until spring while it is actively growing and when rain is insufficient. Keep the soil moist by watering it with 3cm (1 inch) of water when the soil is dry to the touch 5 to 8cm (2-3 inch) deep.

Fertilising: Apply low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertiliser after blooming if bloom performance was poor. Feed Narcissus tazetta with a bulb fertilizer or an all-purpose fertiliser after they finish blooming and the flowers have faded. Sprinkle the fertilizer around the foliage and, because nutrient rates differ among fertilisers, use the recommended rate as stated on the package label. Repeat every two weeks for two months for a total of four feedings; however, do not fertilise after the foliage turns yellow.

Propagation: Narcissus tazetta propagate by division or separation. Divide them after flowering or in the fall. Divide Narcissus tazetta if the clump is overgrown and produced fewer blooms than previous years. Simply dig up the bulbs with a garden fork and break off the small bulb offsets from the main bulb with your hands. Replant firm bulbs immediately and discard soft ones. Narcissus bulbs are planted with their bases 13cm (5 inch) deep and spaced 5 to 8cm (1-3 inch) apart.

Problems:
Narcissus tazetta is generally free of problems in good soil, but prone to diseases in wet soils. Mammal pests generally avoid this plant.

The main enemy from which the Narcissus tazetta seems to suffer is the fly Merodon equestris (Narcissus bulb flies), the grub of which lays an egg in or near the bulb, which then forms the food of the larva. This pest causes serious damage in Holland and the south of England.
Treatment: There is now no chemical preventative or curative for this pest available to the amateur grower. Hot Water Treatment will kill the grubs within the bulb but the damage has already been done. However, it may still be possible to save them by preventing infestation. If this pest is a problem in local area, consider covering the beds with either fleece or enviromesh to prevent the fly reaching the foliage to lay its eggs. This solution will not be effective against flies that emerge from the ground when the cover is in place.

Bulb scale mite can become a serious problem with the culture of many house plants or orchids. It is a light coloured mite which is only just visible to the naked eye and is likely to found only on Narcissus tazetta in storage above 17°C (63°F), where it attacks the top third of the bulb.
Treatment: It is killed by Hot Water Treatment and may controlled by an insecticide approved for that purpose.

Bulb Mites (Rhizoglyphus and Histiostoma spp) usually only attacks bulbs in storage which are already damaged by fungal infection.
Treatment: Control is achieved by good hygiene.

Slugs and Snails are an increasing problem for Narcissus tazetta growers where although causing normally minor damage to the foliage they may also be a vector in the spread of virus disease from already infected plants. They can create serious damage, usually overnight, to the flowers.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms, or by hand pick at regular inspections.

Dityenchus dipsaci (Eelworm or Stem Nematodes) is the most devastating pest of Narcissus tazetta. The Eelworm is not visible to the naked eye and the first symptoms are small yellow raised and lumpy lesions on the edges of leaves or stems. This is usually accompanied by large areas of the beds with weak growth, stunted plants or even no growth is seen. Bulbs cut across will show brown rings where the individual scales have been attacked by the nematodes.
Treatment: Infected plants should be destroyed and care taken not to transfer the infection on boots or clothing. There is no chemical treatment of Eelworm in the ground and infected areas should not be reused for growing these plants. Hot Water Treatment will kill the nematodes but this requires a high temperature, very careful temperature control and the use of appropriate chemicals within the solution.

Basal rot is an fungal disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum. This is the most serious disease of the Narcissus tazetta plants. The initial symptoms is the premature dying back of the foliage which when examination or at lifting time  reveals a soft or mummified bulb containing a chocolate brown rot spreading upwards from the base plate. At this point recovery of the bulb usually becomes impossible. The bulbs can become infected in storage or after planting and spores become widespread and are viable for over ten years in the soil.
Treatment: Control of this disease is very difficult even commercially. The avoidance of fresh manure or excessive nitrogen is essential and the early lifting of the bulbs is preferred. These should immediately be sprayed with a suitable fungicide and dried rapidly in a good air-flow by using fans. Storage should then be at a low temperature of 17-18°C (63-64°F) with planting in late autumn when soil temperatures are lower. Bulbs in storage should be inspected regularly and soft ones destroyed.
Do not plant bulbs that have white or pink fungus on them. Purchase and plant hot water treated bulbs.

Neck rot is a less common than basal rot. This disease spreads from the neck of the bulb towards the main body. There is more than one cause. Fusarium,(basal rot), enicillium, and botrytis (smoulder) are all implicated but usually separately.
Treatment: The avoidance of fresh manure or excessive nitrogen is essential and the early lifting of the bulbs is preferred. These should immediately be sprayed with a suitable fungicide and dried rapidly in a good air-flow by using fans. Storage should then be at a low temperature of 17-18°C (63-64°F) with planting in late autumn when soil temperatures are lower. Bulbs in storage should be inspected regularly and soft ones destroyed.

Smoulder is a disease caused by Botrytis narcissiola. Infestation will result in a lower bulb yield and unshowable flowers until the disease is eradicated. The symptoms are the appearance of a mass of grey spores as the leaves emerge from the bulb, causing the leaves to stick together. It is most likely to occur in cold, wet weather. The flowers are often spotted and the leaves can be polled away from the bulb revealing a grey mould at the base. It can also occur later in the season in cold conditions when it is less easy to spot.
Treatment: The primary infection usually occurs in the previous year so control is by Hot Water Treatment and foliar spray with an appropriate fungicide while the bulbs are in growth. Dead foliage should be removed from the beds that are left down for a second year.

Leaf scorch is a disease caused by Stagonospora curtissii. The symptoms are leaf tips that become reddish brown with a yellow border. The flowers may become spotted and there is usually premature die back.
Treatment: Control is by application of an appropriate foliar fungicide spray and Hot Water Treatment. Apply thiophanate methyl as new leaves emerge.

There are a large number of viral diseases that affects Narcissus tazetta. The most common is yellow stripe virus. It is identified by yellow stripes on the green foliage which is more apparent as the foliage emerges and which often disappears as the season progresses.
Other common viruses are cucumber mosaic virus, white streak virus and tobacco rattle virus. In some cases the flowers is also affected with breaking or light patches on the petals or dark streaks. In most cases even though the flowers are not affected there will be a loss of vigour and reduced yield in the plants involved.
Treatment: There are several vectors that transmit the various viral diseases including aphids above ground and nematodes and millipedes below ground. The spread of the disease may be slow or rapid throughout the collection but the only solution is to rigorously remove any obviously infected plants. It should be assumed that any very old cultivars are likely to be infected by viral diseases of this type and therefore it is probably wise to not grow them together with a modern collection. It is when the plant is stressed that the virus will normally be able to be most easily seen. Control is by destroying any infected bulbs and by controlling the agents that cause the spread of the disease by spraying regularly throughout the growing season to kill aphids and Hot Water Treatment for the control of nematodes.

Recommended varieties: All of the varieties named bellow bear three or four blooms per stalk.
Narcissus tazetta ‘Cheerfulness’ is a pale, creamy yellow, many-petaled form with orange petals in the centre.

Narcissus tazetta ‘Cragford’ has white petaled with a very short brilliant orange-scarlet cup.

Narcissus tazetta ‘Geranium’ has white petaled with an orange-red cup.

Narcissus tazetta ‘Paperwhite’ has white petals with a short white cup.

Narcissus tazetta ‘Soleil d’Or’ has yellow petals with an orange cup.

Toxicity: All parts of the Narcissus tazetta plant are poisonous and can cause a form of hyperactive seizure that leads to depression and possibly coma.

Uses and display: The Narcissus tazetta is one of the easiest to grow in pots in the greenhouse, conservatory and house in the winter and early spring. By potting them at intervals of a few weeks, from end of summer until the early autumn, it is possible to have blooming plants from early winter until the early of spring.
It is commercially grown outdoors for cut flowers and essential oil extraction that is used in perfume industry. The flowers of Narcissus tazetta are appreciates as cut flowers for early spring bouquets – some varieties are especially long lasting.
Narcissus tazetta are used in landscaping naturalistic garden, rock gardens or outdoor containers displays.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers and fragrance
Shape – upright
Height:  30-45cm (12-18 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in active growth period – min 4°C max 16°C (39-61°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 8a-10b

Narcissus tazetta -flowersNarcissus tazetta CheerfulnessNarcissus tazetta CragfordNarcissus tazetta GeraniumNarcissus tazetta PaperwhiteNarcissus tazetta Soleil d'OrNarcissus tazetta - hydrocultureNarcissus tazetta Narcissus tazetta - bulbs

Bulbs, Corms & Tubers, Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , ,