Alpinia vittata

August 30th, 2014

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

Family: Zingiberaceae

Synonymous: Alpinia sanderae
Alpinia tricolor
Guillainia vittata

Guillainia vittata

Guillainia vittata

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problems: Generally, Alpinia vittata is problem free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Guillainia vittataAlpinia vittataAlpinia vittata

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

Allamanda cathartica

August 29th, 2014

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

Family: Apocynaceae

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

Allamanda cathartica flowers

Allamanda cathartica flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Allamanda catharticaAllamanda catharticaAllamanda cathartica

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

Aichryson laxum

August 28th, 2014

Common name: Tree of Love, Mice Ears

Family: Crassulaceae

Synonymous: Aeonium laxum
Aichryson dichotomum
Aichryson dichotomum var. hamiltonii
Aichryson laxum var. latipetalum
Aichryson laxum f. subglabrum
Sedum dichotomum
Sempervivum annuum
Sempervivum dichotomum
Sempervivum laxum

Aichryson laxum

Aichryson laxum

Distribution and habitat: Aichryson laxum belongs to the group of hairy herbaceous species. It is endemic to the Canary Islands, occurring at over 1000m (3280 feet) altitudes. It is adapted to dry areas, but prefers partial shade where is less exposed to direct sun, growing as understory plant. Aichryson laxum forms small populations along woods or sheltered by cliffs with its roots embedded on the crevices of volcanic rocks. This plant does not like wet feet, but the local frogs provide it with minimum humidity necessary to sustain its vegetation.
Aichryson laxum is annual or biennial, but it will produce volunteer seedlings around itself after flowering.
This species is also naturalised in Portugal. Is is a pretty rare species in culture may be because of its potential short life.

Description: Aichryson laxum is probably one of the most attractive species within this genus due to its large ovoid dark green leaves which are very hairy on both sides. It is a succulent that is freely branching shrublets. Of dwarf-tree-like appearance, it seldom grows over 30cm (12 inch) high. Its many thin, forked branches bear spoon-shaped leaves on short leaf stalk. The leaves form rosettes at the stem ends and blooms in the center of the rosette in numerous buds grouped. Clusters of many pale yellow flowers are regularly produced. This plant is liable to die after it has finished flowering.

Houseplant care: Aichryson laxum is a fast growing plant, but tends to lose their lower leaves.
In order to promote vegetative growth, the inflorescence should be cut off in time, otherwise this species will naturally grow as a biannual, dieing after flowering.

Light: Provide bright light with some direct sunlight. Aichryson laxum grow spindly and fail to bloom if they are grown in poor light.

Temperature: Aichryson laxum plants do well in wide range of temperatures. Under normal room conditions, Aichryson laxum that survive after flowering grows continuously. If they are kept in place where the temperature falls below 13°C (55°F) – and where the light is poor -, however, they will have a short winter rest period.

Watering: During the active growth period water Aichryson laxum moderately – enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top half of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. During the rest period, if any, water only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: In areas where light and temperature are low in winter (and plants have a rest period), apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period only. Elsewhere, Aichryson laxum plants may be fed throughout the year.

Potting and repotting:
Use a soil based based potting mixture. Because Aichryson laxum have small root systems, they do not need large pots but should be able to mature and flower in 10 or 13cm (4-5 inch) pots. If necessary, move small surviving plants into pots one size larger in spring.

Gardening: Aichryson laxum can tolerate minimum temperature as low as 2°C (36°F) when planted in ground.

Position: In culture Aichryson laxum plants are placed in light shade or sunny positions, but according with their natural habitat they will prefer light shade, especially in hot climates. The leaf colour varies depending on exposure to sunlight. In the shade they are green and in full sun they become slightly brownish green or khaki.

Soil: The planting substrate for Aichryson laxum plants should be sandy, gritty-sandy, loamy, sandy-loamy, clay, sandy clay or loamy clay soil, a well drained soil with mild acidity (around 6.1 to 6.5 pH).

Irrigation: Aichryson laxum prefer moderately moist soil at their roots. These plants will thrive in humid atmosphere. Short showers are preferred to deep irrigation. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.   They tolerate a cool, frost-free winter if kept fairly dry.
They are drought-tolerant plants protected by the hairy leaves.

Fertilising: The Aichryson laxum does not require much fertiliser. Two to three applications of a balanced fertiliser during the growing season will feed these succulents.

Propagation: Small tip cuttings root easily if taken in spring or summer. Take shoots 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long, strip them of their lower leaves and plant them in a slightly moistened potting mixture of equal parts peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Give the cuttings bright light and just enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out. Rooting should take place in three to four weeks. When rooted, plant the cuttings in 8cm (3 inch) pots of soil-based mixture and treat them as adult plants.
Seeds are produced in abundance and will easily sow themselves.

Problems:
If too many leaves seems to be falling, it may be happening because Aichryson laxum plants are probably getting to much hot, dry air or scorching sun.
Treatment: Move them to a more suitable position.

Lifespan: Aichryson laxum tends to behave like an annual or biennial. This plant may die after flowering – but by no means always.

Uses and display: Aichryson laxum plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. As succulent plant, it is suitable for xeriscaping or rockeries, suitable for shaded parts of the landscape. Also it is used as houseplant. Consider growing it as part of a cactus or succulent display.

SUMMARY:

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

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

Hardiness zone: 9b-12

Aichryson laxumAichryson laxumAichryson laxum

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

Achimenes grandiflora

August 26th, 2014

Common name: Hot Water Plant

Family: Gesneriaceae

Synonymous: Trevirana grandiflora
Salutiaea grandiflora
Achimenes cordata
Achimenes grandiflora var. glabrescens
Achimenes grandiflora var. incisa
Achimenes grandiflora var. liebmannii
Achimenes grandiflora var. pubescens
Achimenes incisa
Achimenes liebmannii
Gesneria calcarata

Achimenes grandiflora

Achimenes grandiflora

Distribution ans habitat: Achimenes grandiflora is a subtropical rhizomatous perennial flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America, growing in mountainous regions from Chihuahua to Nicaragua.
It is cultivated as an ornamental plant because of its showy purple flowers.

Description: Achimenes grandiflora has hairy, upright, green or red steams 30-45cm (12-18 inch) tall. The leaves are hairy and rough, dark green on the upper surface and pale green or red underside. They are notable large – up to 15cm (6 inch) long and 8cm (3 inch) wide. Flowers appear on short flower stalk from the leaf axile, consist of a narrow tube flaring out into five broad lobes. They are deep reddish purple with a white throat and they can be up to 4cm (1.5 inch) long and 4cm (1.5 inch) wide. Each flower lasts for only a few days, but the flowering season is extensive: from summer to late autumn.
The roots are growing from a number of small rhizomes, each of which sends up a single stem that carries opposite pairs of heart-shaped leaves on short stalks. Achimenes grandiflora normally produces several such stems.

Houseplant care: For bushy growth, regularly pinch out the tips of young side shoots of the Achimenes grandiflora plant. It may also be necessary to provide some support to maintain the upright habit of this plant.
After the flowering season the leaves starts to shrivel. When they dry out, cut off the steams just above the surface of the potting mixture and put the dormant plant aside in its container until the following spring.

Light: An actively growing Achimenes grandiflora does best in bright light but should never be subject to the midday sun. During the long period of dormancy light is not a consideration. Bright light encourage the flowering.

Temperature: During the active growth period, Achimenes grandiflora plants thrive in temperatures ranging from about 15-26°C (59-79°F).
They tolerate temperatures as low as 13°C (55°F), but they cannot stand temperatures above 26°C (79°F). If high heat persists for more than a day or two, bulbs will turn brown and fail to open.
Rhizomes may be stored in any cool spot, but they will not survive frost.

Watering: Correct watering is especially important for the successful blooming of Achimenes grandiflora plants. As soon as the rhizomes start into growth in early spring, begin to water plentifully, as much as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. If the mixture is allowed to dry out even for a short period, the plant is likely to return to dormancy. Increase frequency of watering when plants are in flower, but limit the amounts; never let a flowering Achimenes grandiflora stand in water. After the flowering period, gradually reduce the quality and do not water at all during dormancy.
Avoid wetting the hairy leaf surface when watering the plant. Use warm or slightly hot water, never cold water.

Feeding: During the early weeks for the active growth period use a nitrogen-rich liquid fertiliser to encourage leafy growth. As buds form, change to a fertiliser that contains more phosphate and potash than nitrogen. Apply a one-eighth-straighten dose of fertiliser at every watering until the flowering period has ended.

Potting and repotting: Use an equal-parts mixture of peat moss, coarse sand or a substance such as perlite and vermiculite. To reduce acidity, add three or four table-spoons-fulls of dolomite lime, lime chips or crushed eggshells to four cups of mixture.
In early spring the clumps of newly spouting rhizomes should be carefully shaken out of the previous year’s potting mixture and, if desired, separated – they pull apart easily. Single rhizomes will soon form larger root system if placed horizontally about 1cm (0.4 inch) below the surface in a shallow pots of fresh mixture. Plant three or four rhizomes of Achimenes grandiflora in a 10cm (4 inch) pot. The mixture should not be packet down firmly, as this can cause waterlogging.

Gardening: Achimenes grandiflora, in subtropical regions can be cultivated outdoors. They are generally easy to grow as long as their basic requirements are met.
They have a winter dormancy and overwinter as scaly rhizomes, which should be kept dry until they sprout again in the spring. Some of the species and their hybrids are moderately hardy and can be grown outdoors year-round in zone 8, or even zone 7 with protection.
Stop watering altogether and allow the stems to die back naturally before cutting them back. Allow the rhizomes to dry out completely, then either store them in their pots or in dry peat or sand at a winter temperature of no less than 13°C(55°F). If stored over winter, plant them outdoor in beds or repot them in spring.

Position: Place Achimenes grandiflora in bright but indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight in the afternoon, but bright light will encourage the bud formation.

Soil: Achimenes grandiflora thrives in fertile well-drained loose soil. Any combination of leafmold, peatmoss, vermiculite and loam will work.
In early spring the clumps of newly spouting rhizomes should be carefully shaken out of the previous year’s potting mixture and, if desired, separated – they pull apart easily. Single rhizomes will soon form larger root system if placed horizontally about 1cm (0.4 inch) below the surface in a raised bed or a shallow pots of fresh potting mixture.

Irrigation: To start up Achimenes grandiflora in spring, water or immerse the pot in warm water. Thereafter water sparingly until signs of vigorous growth appear. Keep the soil or potting mixture moist at all times during the flowering season. Drizzle with warm or slightly hot water because cold water does upset the plant. Never over-watered Achimenes grandiflora since excessive moisture in the soil will kill the plant. Instead it appreciates the moisture in the air. Avoid wetting the hairy leaf surface.
Stop watering completely once flowering is finished to allow plants to prepare for winter dormancy.

Fertilising: Give to Achimenes grandiflora a montly liquid fertiliser from bud-formation until the flowers begin to die back.

Propagation: New plants are customarily grown from detached rhizomes, but an Achimenes grandiflora can be propagated from an 8cm (3 inch) tip cutting taken in early summer. A cutting will root easily in the recommended potting mixture if kept at normal room temperature in bright filtered light and watered plentifully.

Problems: Achimenes grandiflora is a trouble free plant if the care.

Give an occasional spray-mist with water to Achimenes grandiflora plants to prevent red spider mite infestation which is favourised by dry air.
Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Uses and display: Achimenes grandiflora can be used as houseplants, greenhouses or outdoor window displays or bedding plants.
As indoor plant, place Achimenes grandiflora on the window ledge or will make a pretty top table plant. Outdoors, these plants will look their best planted in a window box in a shaded position. Never less, Achimenes grandiflora will work planted in beds under a tree shade.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 64cm (25 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight
Temperature in rest period – min 4°C max 13°C (-55°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 27°C (61-°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 7-8

Achimenes grandifloraAchimenes grandifloraAchimenes grandiflora

Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rotala rotundifolia

August 26th, 2014

Common name: Pink Baby Tears, Roundleaf Toothcup, Pink Rotala, Dwarf Rotala

Family: Lythraceae

Synonymous: Ammannia rotundifolia

Rotala rotundifolia

Rotala rotundifolia

Distribution and habitat: Rotala rotundifolia is an emergent perennial aquatic plant and has its origins in southeast Asia. In the wild, this species is often found in a semi-emersed state at the edges of rice paddies and in moist locations. The current distribution of Rotala rotundifolia has expanded beyond its native range. It was introduced in United stated where it has the potential to become invasive.
Its Latin species name rotundifolia means “round-leaved”, however, the round leaves that gave the plant its name are only found in its creeping swamp form. The leaves of Rotala rotundifolia have an elongated oval or even linear shape.

Description: Rotala rotundifolia is a creeping aquatic perennial with soft stems that branch often to form low, creeping clumps. This species has both submersed (underwater) and emergent (out-of-water) forms, which differ in a number of characteristics. The small leaves – less than 2.5cm (1 inch) long – are arranged in groups of two or three around plants’ pink stems. However, emergent Rotala rotundifolia has fleshy, bright-green and rounded leaves; submersed Rotala rotundifolia has darker green or reddish leaves that are thin and lanceolate – sword-shaped. Growth habit differs between the forms as well. Low-growing populations of emergent Rotala rotundifolia creep along shorelines and banks, with plant height rarely exceeding 15cm (six inch). Submersed plants form tight, mounded colonies in water as deep as 1.8m (6 feet), but they eventually grow to reach the surface of the water, where they form dense mats that block light penetration and impede water flow. Rotala rotundifolia produces spikes of small, bright pink to fuchsia flowers, but flowering only occurs on plant tips that are aerial or emergent. Flowers occur in spikes at the tip of stems. Plants flower prolifically in spring and early summer.
Rotala rotundifolia can spread by floating stem fragments, which root adventitiously at lower nodes. The plant also produces viable seeds. Fruits are dry capsules that split open to disperse seeds.
Rotala rotundifolia is a favorite of the aquarium and water garden industries, being appreciated for both its leaves and flowers.

Aquarium care: Rotala rotundifolia are ideal aquarium plants for beginners. The species is a typical example of a rapidly growing stem plant and responds favorably to frequent and even heavy pruning. This plant can be used as regulator in a newly cycled tank. Pruning must be done on a frequent basis as the side shots will grow considerably under good condition, keeping the leaves at the base of the plant away from the light. Without pruning, the plant will take a bushy appearance which could be suitable for fry or breeding tanks. Although they are difficult to grow beyond the water surface; established plants will flower small, purple flowers above the water line.
This plant looks best when planted in large groups. Once it is flourishing, it propagates easily through new shoots or cuttings. Rotala rotundifolia is best placed in the middle or in the background of a tank.
Rotala rotundifolia is considered to be a fragile plant that should be excluded from environments with very active or large fish that may damage their fragile stems.

Water: Adaptable, decorative and fast growing, Rotala rotundifolia will tolerate large fluctuations of both pH and General Hardness (GH). Ideally, the pH should be between 5.5 and 7.5, with dH below 15.

Substrate: Rotala rotundifolia can be plated directly on the bottom substrate of the aquarium. The substrate could be plain sand or small granulated gravel. Soil fertiliser is not required to grow this plant successfully.
Rotala rotundifolia is beautiful in clumps, though have to have enough space between stems when planting. Cut plant stem above lead strip with sharp scissors and strip the bottom 4-5cm of leaves from the stem. Individually insert plant into substrate. Take should be taken not to damage the stem. It is recommended to use tweezers to plant Rotala rotundifolia.

Light: Rotala rotundifolia has a green leaf which will turn reddish pink under bright light. Low or medium light will produce a somewhat lanky, yellow-green specimen. This species requires a moderate to high level of light at 3.5 to 5 watts per gallon provided by full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs.

Temperature: Rotala rotundifolia is suitable for tropical aquariums with water temperature below 30°C (86°F), but not lower than 21°C (70°F).

Feeding: Rotala rotundifolia plant displays the most beautiful colours at a low nitrate level (5 mg/l) and high phosphate and iron/micronutrient levels. Varying fertiliser doses bring colour hues from pink to yellow. Maintaining nitrates below 5 ppm and phosphates above 1 ppm will further enhance this appearance.

Pond care: Rotala rotundifolia is a tropical species and is not considered cold-tolerant. However, emergent populations cultivated outdoors die back after multiple hard freezes during winter and then quickly regrow when spring arrives. So it can withstand relatively cool temperatures. In temperate zones it may even survive mild winters in a pond. Outside of its hardiness zone, Rotala rotundifolia can be cultivated outdoors during the warm months and treated as annual.
It can be grown emerse in shallow water where it will flower. Masses of dainty pink flower spikes are produced Spring through Autumn. It is also capable of producing a heterophyllous growth form – different in form and coulour for aerial leaves compared with the submersed ones.
This plant grows to 15cm (6 inch) in height and usually is placed in water to 20-30cm (8-12 inch) deep.

Light: Rotala rotundifolia will grow in part shade to full sun. It will grow fast in high light conditions – up to one 2.5cm (1 inch) per week.
Rotala rotundifolia enjoys receiving direct light. It will grow adequately in low light compositions, where most of the leaves will remain a bright green. To truly showcase this plant’s properties, intense light will bring out the rich red and pink tones that can make an aquascape stand out. The more light provided the smaller and more densely packed the leaves will be.

Pond water: Water requirements are not really an issue. Rotala Rotundifolia supports a wide range of water conditions. It thrives in shallow water to 30cm (12 inch) and grows to 15cm (6 inch) in height.

Pond planting: Rotala rotundifolia can be planted directly into pockets of gravel of the pond. For easy maintenance and containing, use a sallow tray or a 25cm (10 inch) pan size to create mass effect. These species can became invasive, so these plants may need to be severely trimmed to keep them tidy. Make sure to take precautions with this plant disposal.

Pond fertiliser: Soil fertiliser is not required for Rotala rotundifolia health. However, iron and NO3 should be present to avoid stunting the plant. Lean NO3 (nitrate) levels, high PO4 (phosphate) levels, with heavy, regular dosing of iron and trace elements in addition to CO2 injection, will produce intense coloration and vigorous growth.

Problems:
When there is inadequate light, the lower parts Rotala rotundifolia may lose their leaves.
Treatment: Improve light exposure.

Companion plants: Rotala rotundifolia looks excellent when mixed in with other low growing bog or marginal plants such as Myosotis scorpioides (Forget-me-not), Mentha spicata (Mentha) or Bacopa monnieri (Bacopa).

Propagation: The propagation of Rotala rotundifolia is easy: simply cut the top half of a strong stem and gently replant it in the substrate after removing any leaves from the last node of the stem. The parent stem will quickly develop new shoots and the newly planted cutting will quickly develop a root system. Over time, this topping process will develop lush, bushy plants.

Note: The tremendous capacity for vegetative regeneration of Rotala rotundifolia is considered as a serious indicator of potential invasive aquatic plant species. Precautions in disposal this plant always should be taken.

This plant has frequently been confused with Rotala indica and is still commonly advertised as such by many retailers. Differences in the inflorescence provide the key to proper identification.

Uses and display: Rotala rotundifolia popularity is increased over time because its ease of cultivation and beautiful growth pattern. Both Dutch and Nature-style aquascapes often feature this versatile plant. Because of its rapid growth and size, this plant is usually placed in background position, but is also wonderful when is used as ascent plant forming a good clump under reasonable conditions.
Under intense light with good micronutrient levels it will acquire a nice pink coloration which will make a nice contrast with other green aquatic plants. It said that Rotala rotundifolia look its best as mass planting.
As pond plant, Rotala rotundifolia can be used for its beautiful flower heads in shallow water or grown as aquatic plant up to 30cm (12 inch) deep.

Aquarium summary:
Environment: freshwater
Height: 5-20cm (2-8 inch) above the surface
Width: 15-36cm (6-14 inch)
Growth rate: fast
Difficulty: easy
Placement: middle to background
Lighting needs: medium to high
Substrate: gravel
Temperature: 22°C – 26°C
pH: 6.8 – 7.2
Water Hardness: 150 – 200ppm
Water depth: 5-76cm (2-30 inches)

Hardiness zone: 8-12

Rotala rotundifolia Rotala rotundifolia Rotala rotundifolia

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

Eleocharis acicularis

August 25th, 2014

Common name: Dwarf Hairgrass, Needle Spikerush, Needle-Spike Rush, Hair Grass

Family: Cyperaceae

Synonymous: Heleocharis acicularis
Scirpus chaeta
Eleogiton exigua
Limnochloa acicularis
Eleocharis acicularis forma fluitans
Eleocharis acicularis forma inundata
Eleocharis acicularis forma longicaulis
Eleocharis acicularis forma submersa
Eleocharis acicularis var. submersa

 Eleocharis acicularis forma submersa

Eleocharis acicularis forma submersa

Distribution and habitat: Eleocharis acicularis is widespread across Europe, central and southeastern Asia, North America and northeastern South America as far south as Ecuador. Actually, this species is found all the way around the north pole and is common in areas from low to moderate elevations. It is also found in Australia, where it is probably an introduced species.
Eleocharis acicularis grows in wet meadows and along muddy edges of pools and streams. It often forms thick mats. This plant prefers areas where the water is present throughout the season. Lemna and Scirpus species are often found with Eleocharis.

Description: Eleocharis acicularis is an annual or perennial spike-sedge with long, grass-like stems to about 12-15cm (5-6 inch) in height, shorter in bog conditions, raising from a creeping rhizome. It has very thin stems hair-like and a single terminal inflorescence. Dense colonies of plants with a mat-like appearance are often produced from the rhizomes.
In shallow water it will form short spikes of tiny flowers amongst flat overlapping bracts. The tiny flowers are less than five millimeters in diameter and are borne at the tip of each stem in single, sharply pointed, lanceoloid spikelets up to about six millimeters long. The florets are cross-pollinated by wind. The resulting achenes are small enough to be blown about by the wind or they can be carried by currents of water. In wild, the culms of these colonial plants are initially erect, but they may later lean in different directions. Leaves are not retained year to year.
Submerged, usually nonflowering plants are abundant throughout much of the range of the species. They have been called Eleocharis acicularis forma fluitans, Eleocharis acicularis forma inundata, Eleocharis acicularis forma longicaulis, Eleocharis acicularis forma submersa or Eleocharis acicularis var. submersa. The culms of the submerged plants are terete, smooth, soft to flaccid.
Although Eleocharis acicularis is very variable, recognition of varieties is premature pending a worldwide taxonomic revision of Subgenus Scirpidium. Much of the variation is apparently due to phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental factors, especially water depth. The Eleocharis acicularis has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate.
Eleocharis acicularis is a plant of marshes, vernal pools and bogs. It is sold commercially as a aqua-scape plant suitable for artificial aquatic environments such as aquariums, paludarium and ponds.

Aquarium care: Eleocharis acicularis is amphibious and will thrive either partially or fully submersed. It grows moderately fast and will quickly spread from throwing out runners, covering the bottom of the aquarium with a tick carpet of grass.
Eleocharis acicularis is a great plant for beginners in aquarium scape. Usually, Eleocharis acicularis is placed in the foreground or midground areas of the aquarium. The grass-like appearance can either balance well with against rocks or other carpet foreground plants such as Hemianthus callitrichoides, Glossostigma elatinoides, or Sagittaria subulata. Eleocharis acicularis can also be used as ascents to an aquascape, by strategically placing small patches of the plant among rock crevasses or other plants such as Riccia fluitians. It will make an excellent spawning medium.
Eleocharis acicularis may require cutting or pulling of brownish, dying material or replanting of healthy bunches. However, it seldom gets out of hand and is very easy to control by cutting the wandering stems in the spring before the next growing season begins. Use a pair of good quality aquarium scissors to trim the Eleocharis acicularis to the desired length. Use a soft fish net to remove the clippings from the tank. Make sure to give adequate water flow and clean it by light vacuuming any unnecessary debris that collects onto the grassy leaves. These plants tend to get algae infested or dirty quickly if conditions are not appropriate.
With Eleocharis acicularis is not a big problem keeping it contained once it is established. Just pull out the plants as they spread to undesired areas.

Water: Eleocharis acicularis require acidic to slightly alkaline water (pH 6.0-7.2) and mild hardness (KH to 10). It thrive submerged in depths up to 30cm (12 inch) deep and good water flow will keep it looking nice and clean. This sedge grows even in brackish.

Substrate: Eleocharis acicularis will thrive in a fine-grained, nutrient-rich substrate and quickly form a dense carpet over the entire aquarium substrate. The rhizome and roots will penetrate approximately 1.2cm (0.5 inch) deep and stretch through fine grain substrates.
Gravel or sand is a good substrate for Eleocharis acicularis. Substrate granulation is an issue: with 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. Ideal size is 2-3mm gravel or 1-2mm corarse sand layered in about 7cm (3 inch) on the bottom of the tank. The bottom one third 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. These supplements are not effective when used in tanks with under-gravel filter system as the nutrients will be sucked directly into the filter instead of keeping it within the bottom of the gravel.

Light: Eleocharis acicularis require medium to high level of light. Provided plenty of light 10-14 hours per day, about 0.5 watt per litre (2 watts per gallon) or more, in the color temperature of 5000 to 7000 Kelvin (day white to cool white light). The brighter light is, the lower this sedge will stay.

Temperature: Eleocharis acicularis makes an easy addition to cool to tropical tanks. It can be housed in water from 10 to 30°C (50-86°F).

Feeding: Give to Eleocharis acicularis high quality liquid and substrate fertilizer. Root tabs should be added to the substrate under the plants and liquid or powdered fertilizers should be added to the water. It will also benefit from CO2 supplementation. If your plants have a deficiency of even one of these factors, their growth will be limited.

Companion plants: Once dense or overgrown Eleocharis acicularis can be trimmd down to 2-3cm (0.8-1.2 inch) to encourage new growth. It also looks effective when planted between rocks or against other foreground plants such as Hemianthus callitrichoides, Glossostigma elatinoides, Sagittaria subulata or Riccia fluitians.

Pond care: Eleocharis acicularis is ideal for natural ponds to help prevent soil erosion at the edges or as plant in baskets for ease of maintenance. It is either aquatic or marginal plant in shallow water or damp soil.
These plants offer a good habitat for pond life – it will provide welcome cover for amphibians, fry and other aquatic life; in deeper areas it is a good spawning medium for fish. This is a very low maintenance aquatic plant which spreads to form large clumps quickly. All wandered stems may be cut to control plant growth. Usually, these sedges are grown as oxygenating plants from the bottom of ponds or water features. Their submerged leaves give off bubbles of oxygen, improving the water quality for fish and other pond life and maintaining the ecology balance of the the pond. These plants also absorb mineral salts from the water and reduce algae growth.

Pond water: Eleocharis Acicularis is an aquatic submerged perennial plant which is adaptable to shallow or deep water. If planted above water level, the plant will produce tiny flowers atop each stem in summer.
Eleocharis acicularis is a great plant for small water features. Also grown as a fully submerged aquatic plant in outdoor and indoor ponds with up to 45cm (18 inch) of water above the planting basket. It can be housed in non alkaline water with medium-hard hardiness – 4-12°GH. Good water flow is preferred to stagnant water.
This sedge has low tolerance to drought and has medium salinity tolerance.

Pond substrat: Eleocharis acicularis plants should be placed in pond plant baskets filled with aquatic soil – ideally, soil containing silt, sand or mud – and topped with a thin layer of gravel to help prevent the soil from washing away. Plant Eleocharis acicularis in spring in a medium sized pot, keeping plant spacing at about 20-40cm (8-16 inch).  Clay, loamy or sandy soils with pH from acidic to alkaline or neutral can also be used to plant Eleocharis acicularis.

Pond position: Eleocharis acicularis thrive in full to partial sun. It does not tolerate the shade. Most growth and development occurs during the warmer summer months.
Eleocharis acicularis is frost resistant.

Propagation: Eleocharis acicularis propagates with runners that branch off from the root area forming thick culms. Cuttings from a mature culms can be replanted in the substrate to form new plants. For best results under optimal conditions, plant Eleocharis acicularis in small 1cm (0.4 inch) groups in the substrate at roughly 2.5cm (1 inch) intervals. In aquariums these plants look their best when planted directly into the substrate. In ponds, they can be planted in medium sized pots for easy maintenance.
Fully submerged Eleocharis acicularis plants will not produce flower, so culms dividion remain the only way to propagate these plants.
Additional, at commercial scale Eleocharis acicularis is propagated by bare root, seed or springs.

Problems: Eleocharis acicularis are diseases free and easy to grow if the requirements for light and fertiliser are met.

Eleocharis acicularis turn brownish in absents of CO2.
Treatment: Give these plants CO2 injection for healthy growth.

Overabundance of fertilisers  may cause problems, such as plant malnourishment, undue algae growth or toxic buildup.

In wild, there are several species of leaf beetles and leafhoppers known to feed on Eleocharis spp. Other insect feeders include few caterpillars. Some of these insect species are associated with wet prairies and they are quite rare.
The seedheads of spikerushes are eaten by such wetland birds as rails, coots, ducks and geese.

Note: Submerged Eleocharis acicularis plants may closely resemble aquatic forms of some other species, especially Eleocharis parvula, Eleocharis robbinsii, and Schoenoplectus subterminalis.

Uses and display: Eleocharis acicularis are suited for aquaterrariums but they can be cultivated in aquariums for wispy, soft and natural feeling. It is an attractive bottom covering plant with long light green grass-like leaves. Eleocharis acicularis is a fantastic plant for an Iwagumi aquascape. It has much to offer an aquarist looking for a fast, forest-green cover or accent clumping. In nano aquascapers, Eleocharis acicularis has the potential to make a great background plant.
This plant can be use for ponds, ground covers, bog gardens, water features, streams, waterfalls, usually as mass plantings. It is suitable for small, medium and large ponds. Also this sedge is grown as a fully submerged aquatic plant in outdoor ponds.

Aquarium summary:
Environment: freshwater
Height in aquariums: 10cm (4 inch)
Width in aquariums: bottom covering plant
Growth rate: moderate
Difficulty: easy
Placement: foreground, midground
Lighting needs: high
Substrate: gravel
Temperature: 10 to 30°C (50-86°F)
pH: 6.5 – 7.5
Water hardness: Medium 4-8KH
Water depth: 30cm (12 inch)

Width outdoor: 12-15cm (5-6 inch)
Height outdoor: 10 (4 inch)
Hardiness zone: 6-11

Eleocharis acicularis - flowers Eleocharis acicularis forma submersa Eleocharis acicularis forma submersa

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

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 , , , , , , , ,