Cissus antarctica

August 23rd, 2014

Common name: Kangaroo Vine, Kangaroo Ivy

Family: Vitaceae

Synonymous: Cissus oblonga

Cissus antarctica

Cissus antarctica

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9-10

Cissus antarcticaCissus antarcticaCissus antarctica

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

Aeschynanthus speciosus

August 20th, 2014

Common name: Basket Plant, Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine

Family: Gesneriaceae

Synonymous: Aeschynanthus aucklandiae
Aeschynanthus splendens

Aeschynanthus speciosus

Aeschynanthus speciosus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can even keep the plant in a bathroom window sill or kitchen for increased humidity.

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 11

 

Aeschynanthus speciosusAeschynanthus speciosusAeschynanthus speciosus

Climber, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , , , ,

Aeonium arboreum

August 6th, 2014

Common name: Tree Aeonium, Tree Houseleek, Irish Rose, Houseleek Tree, Tree Anemone, Desert Pinwheel Rose

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Sempervivum arboreum
Aeonium manriqueorum

Aeonium arboreum

Aeonium arboreum

Distribution and habitat: Aeonium arboreum is a subtropical succulent sub-shrub native to the hillsides of the Canary Islands where their natural range includes arid desert regions.
It bears rosettes of leaves and large pyramidal panicles of bright yellow flowers in the spring. Each rosette that bloom will die.

Description: Aeonium arboreum is a treelike in that its woody steams branch out freely, but it is unlikely to exceed 90cm (3 feet) in height. The 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long leaves of its rosettes are spoon-shaped and shiny green. The leaf rosettes are arranged at the ends of its branches.
These plants grow quickly and produce abundant small, star-like, bisexual, yellow flowers on racemes from late winter through early spring. Flowers stems emerge from the center of the rosettes. The rosette die after flowering. If the plant has produced side shoots, they will live on. If not, the entire plant will die off. New plants can be started from the seed.

Proper care: In regions where winters are cool, Aeonium arboreum plants appreciate summer sun outdoors and then can grow indoors as houseplants when weather cools.
Aeonium arboreum plants are quick growers. Leggy branches do tend to fall over and snap off from the weight of the rosettes. If this happens, the broken stem can be used for propagation.
The plants tend to go dormant in the summer and look a little tired sometimes, but they perk up again in the fall. Care should be taken with these plants to avoid overwatering.

Light: To keep their form, Aeonium arboreum need full sunlight, even during rest periods when they are not actively growing. Too lithe light will result in elongate, prematurely falling leaves and gap rosettes.

Temperature: Aeonium arboreum grow well in warm rooms about 18 to 24°C (64-75°F), but like most other succulents – they are not tropical plants. If possible they should be encouraged to rest during the winter months by being moved to a cool place – preferable around 10°C (50°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water Aeonium arboreum moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top 1cm (0.4 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.
During the rest period, allow half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. Less than this will result in shriveled leaves. On the other hand, over-watering will encourage soft, untypical leaf growth, which is likely to droop.

Feeding: Use liquid fertiliser about every two weeks during the active growth period only.

Potting and repotting: Use a porous potting mixture composed of one part coarse sand or a substance such as perlite added to two parts of a standard soil based mixture. Because Aeonium arboreum can grow quickly, the taller kinds should be moved into pots one size larger every year, preferably just as new growth begins. Newly potted plants should be especially firmly pressed into the potting mixture and taller Aeonium arboreum must be staked.

Gardening: The Aeonium arboreum thrives in temperatures that range from 4 to 38°C  (40-100°F). During the winter, it will grow best with nighttime temperatures of 10°C (50°F). These succulents can be interesting and fun plants to grow, thriving outdoors in areas with dry summers and warm winters. The ideal climates are Mediterranean- relatively dry with seasonal rainfall (preferably in winters, not summers) and no freezes. Growing these plants in the tropics, the hot deserts or where it snows will be very difficult.
These plants are suitable for pots and they can be moved in and out depending on weather situations. Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in ground.

Position: Aeonium arboreum grows best in full sun during the cooler months and when grown in coastal areas. When grown inland or during the summer, provide these succulents with afternoon or partial shade. Avoid placing Aeonium arboreum plants in sites with western sun exposures.

Soil: Though Aeonium arboreum tolerate a variety of soil types – as long as the soil is well-drained – it prefers light, porous soil. Is recommended to amend the planting site with sand and limestone chips. For container gardening, plant Aeonium arboreum in a moderately moist medium with excellent drainage such as a planting mix that includes 2 parts sand, 1 part loam and 1 part peat moss with a handful of small gravel pieces thrown in to enhance drainage.
Although it is recommended to place a thin layer of inorganic mulch, such as ornamental rock, around the plants.

Irrigation: Water Aeonium arboreum plants deeply but infrequently. Allow them to dry thoroughly in-between waterings. In the wild, these succulents go dormant in summer, so water sparingly during the hotter months, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Watering during the summer is require only in very dry conditions.
During the winter months restrict water to about once a month or just enough to keep the foliage from shriveling. In extreme heat, their leaves will curl, to prevent excessive water loss.

It growing these succulents along the coast, the humidity and rains or mist will often be enough to satisfy the water needs of these plants.  But in dry climates they will probably need to be watered frequently or put on drip irrigation. They do not need to be thoroughly watered, though as the main water-absorbing roots are near the surface with the deeper roots functioning nearly solely as support.

Fertilisation: The Aeonium arboreum does not require much fertilizer. Two to three applications of a balanced fertilizer during the growing season will feed these succulents.

Propagation: Aeonium arboreum are easy to propagate from tip cuttings. The best time to do this is early in the growth period. Cleanly detach a complete rosette together with 2-4cm (0.8-1.5 inch) of stem, dip the stem into hormone rooting powder to encourage rooting and plant it is a moistened mixture of equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or a substance such as perlite.
Cuttings will root in two to there weeks in a warm room – 18 to 24°C (64-75°F) if given bright light and watered only enough to make the potting mixture barely moist. They can then be repotted in the potting mixture that is used for mature plants.
Propagate by seed sown at 18-24°C (64-75°F) in spring, but is a slow propagation method.

Problems: Aeonium arboreum plants enter dormancy as summer temperatures climb, dropping their foliage rosettes to direct energy toward their stems or growing tips and roots. Leaf loss from seasonal dormancy is temporary and natural and is not accompanied by other worrying symptoms such as wilting, discoloration or stem dieback. Fall rain revives the plants until colder temperatures set in and prompt a second, less profound dormancy period in winter.

Though Aeonium arboreum is not particularly susceptible to infestations, insect pests include aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and thrips.
Treatment: Combat these  insects with horticultural soaps or neem oil. However, care should be taken when using soap spays as too frequent spraying can cause discoloration and lesions on the skin of the plant.

If an Aeonium arboreum succulent is planted in a site with poor drainage, its roots may rot.
Treatment: Root rot is prevented by using clay pots with good drainage or checking soil percolation prior to planting. Keep the roots moist but never soggy.

Temperatures below minus 7°C (20°F) will badly damage the leaf tips and may cause foliage loss. Conversely, direct sun exposure and temperatures above 38°C (100°F) will also cause foliage loss and damage, particularly if the soil is too dry.

Slugs, snails, deer, grasshoppers can do some damage to Aeonium arboreum plants and the occasional bird may take a bite.

Lifespan: Aeonium arboreum is a monocarpic species, meaning that it dies after flowering. It is expected to live about 3 to 10 years as it reach its full maturity. Although their yellow flowers are attractive, each time they bloom, a rosette dies. Flowering can be avoided by clipping off the flowerheads as they begin to emerge. Also, this succulent can be preserved in time by cutting the terminal rosette every year in late winter and propagating it by planting the rosette at the plant’s base, where it will form roots, creating a new Aeonium arboreum plant.

Recommended varieties:
Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum (Dark Purple Houseleek Tree, Black rose, Black Beauty, Black Tree Aeonium) has a slightly smaller deep purple leaves, but the colouring loses intensity if the plant is grown in full sunlight.

Aeonium arboreum cv. Schwarzkopf (Aeonium Blacktop, Black Rose, Black Beauty, Black Tree Aeonium) is a variety with almost black foliage.

Aeonium arboreum var. albovariegatum is a variety with white margined leaves.

Aeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum forma cristata (Crested Black rose, Crested Black Beauty, Crested Black Tree Aeonium) is a crested succulent shrub that produces magnificent, fun shaped purple, leaf rosettes at the ends of its branches and seems to to change in and out of its crested mode during the years.

Companion plants: Consider growing Aeonium arboreum as part of a cactus or succulent display. It can be combined with other plants such as Aloe, Agave, Crassula (jade plants), evergreen Echeverias species  or can be combined with other members of its own genus.

Note: Aeonium species are often confused with Echeverias species or  other several rosette-like succulents such as Dudleyas, Graptopetalums, Pachyverias and Graptoverias species.
One thing that sets these plants apart is the way their leaves attach to the stem – they are wrapped around the stem with a fibrous attachment so that when a leaf is pulled away, the stem is intact with only a transverse line showing where the leaf was attached. The other rosette Crassulaceas have succulent attachments and their being pulled off the stem leaves a divot in the stem.

Uses and display: Aeonium arboreum make excellent bedding plants, since their architectural shape contrasts well with most other bedding plants. When grown in the garden, Aeonium arboreum command the most attention in masses.  Place them along sunny borders or in rockeries or they can be used as part of xeriscaping, being drought tolerant plants. These succulents are often used in architectural city and courtyard gardens in coastal mediterranean sub-tropical climate. In temperate or cooler zones, frost may kill the foliage and the rosette will fall off. If the plant is mulched it will grow a new one in spring.
Aeonium arboreum can also be used effectively planted in containers and grown indoors. Consider growing them as part of a cactus or succulent display. Aeonium arboreum is a tall variety with bonsai like look when they get shrubby. They can be trimmed if they get leggy.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green or coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 90cm (3 feet)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 13°C (50-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 9b-11

Aeonium arboreumAeonium arboreum var. atropurpureumAeonium arboreum cv. SchwarzkopfAeonium arboreum var. albovariegatumAeonium arboreum var. atropurpureum forma cristataAeonium arboreum cv. Schwarzkopf

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

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,