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Aspidistra elatior

July 21st, 2013

Common name: Cast-Iron Plant, Bar Room Plant

Synonymous: Aspidistra lurida

Family: Asparagaceae

Aspidistra elatior

Aspidistra elatior

Distribution and habitat: Aspidistra elatior is a perennial which grows in wild up to 0.6m (2 feet) height and 0.45m (1.5 feet) width, native to islands in southern Japan. It is a forest plant and occurs in association with species such as Ardisia sieboldii and Castanopsis sieboldii.

Description: Aspidistra elatior has dark green, leathery leaves 38-50cm (15-20 inch) long, which rise from a creeping rhizomatous rootstock lying half-buried in the potting mixture. The long, lance-shaped, glossy, dark green leaves grow directly from a number of short stalks. Inconspicuous, dull-purple flowers are produced at soil level, but these are often hidden by the foliage.

Houseplant care: Aspidistra elatior can withstand poor condition and will survive where few other houseplants could; hence its name Cast-Iron Plant, bestowed in Victorian days when the introduction of gas lightning produced fumes that killed most other plants. It tolerates considerable neglect: tolerant of low light, low humidity, temperature fluctuation and irregular watering. An indoor Aspidistra elatior will, however, respond well to good care.

The brilliant glossy green of Aspidistra elatior leaves can be maintained with occasional spraying or cleaning them with sponge using plain tepid water.

Light: Although Aspidistra elatior may be kept in dark corners and other poorly lit positions, they will produce little growth there, whereas they thrive in medium light – for instance, at a sunless window. The variegated form needs brighter light to maintain leaf colour contrast, but keep the plant out of direct sun light.

Strong light will fade the green colour of the foliage, except in winter when the plants appreciate a spell closer to the window. Also direct sunlight can scorch its leaves.

Temperature: Aspidistra elatior is tolerant of wide range of temperatures, it will flourish equally well in either hot or cold rooms. Average to cool conditions are best suitable for Aspidistra elatior with a minimum of 7oC (45oF) in winter.

Water: Aspidistra elatior need to be watered moderately throughout the year, enough to make the potting mixture barely moist. The top two-thirds of the potting mixture must be allowed to dry out completely before watering again.

A common sign of overwatering in Aspidistra elatior is the appearance of unsightly brown marks on the surface of the leaves.

Fertilising: Apply liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the active growth period to encourage development of new growth.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Aspidistra elatior is a slow growing plant and will do best when left alone, needing repotting only at three or four years intervals. An overcrowded plant should be moved into a pot one size larger just as new growth begins in spring. Be sure there are plenty of clay pot fragments in the bottom of the pot for good drainage. Any plant that has reached maximum convinient pot size should be top-dressed with fresh potting mixture every spring.

Gardening: Aspidistra elatior outdoors prefers a shady position in a rich well-drained soil. It tolerates poor soils and drought, though. These plants can withstand temperatures down to about -5°C (23°F) if they are well sited, being killed by frosts of -5 to -10 °C (23-14 °F) or below. Combine Aspidistra elatior with fine leaved blooming shrubs and perennials like Aquilegia species (Columbine), Fuchsia species (Fushcia), Illicium mexicanum (Mexican Anise-tree) and Campanula species (Bellflower) in a shady bed or woodland setting. Purple leaf Heuchera sanguinea (Coral Bells) and Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape Holly) both add contrast and texture to the flat, green leaves of the Aspidistra elatior.

Propagation: Aspidistra elatior propagate by dividing overcrowded clumps in the spring. Each piece of rhizome should carry at least two leaves and several pieces may be planted together in one 10cm (4 inch) pot. Do not feed newly propagated plants; their roots should be encouraged to utilise nutrients founded in the new potting mixture. Otherwise, the needs of the new plants are those of the mature Aspidistra elatior. Regular feeding of liquid fertiliser can begin in the following spring just at the start of the growth period.

Problems: Generally Aspidistra elatior is trouble-free when is positioned out of the sun and is not waterlogged.

Avoid getting chemicals on the foliage. Do not use leaf-shine or other foliage cleaners. Tepid water will do the job of cleaning the foliage.

Mites and scale may cause occasional problems.
Treatment: For mites use an adequate spray pesticide following the instructions on the label.
For scale control examine every crevice for scale and wipe them off with a damp cloth or a fairly stiff brush dipped in soapy water or an appropriate pesticide solution. Then apply the pesticide to the whole plant.

Outdoors, its leaves and roots may be subject to browsing by hoofed mammals such as deer, as well as rodents and rabbits.

Recommended varieties:
Aspidistra elatior ‘Variegata’ is an less common form of Aspidistra elatior; has white or cream coloured stripes of varying widths running the length of the leaves.

Uses: Aspidistra elatior is the only species of this genus grown indoors, being suitable for container or above-ground planter as accent or edging plant. It is a handsome, large-leaved foliage plant, well known for its robust constitution.

Aspidistras can be grown as a ground cover in a shady position by spreading to cover ground and out competing weeds under shrubs or trees. It grows within a woodland garden or in a shady edge. This sturdy, long lasting plant can be used in areas where all else fails; it is always green and can handle deep shade under deck stairs or along foundations that receive almost no sunlight.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height: 38-50cm (15-20 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – moderately
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 18°C (45-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 27°C (61-81°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 7-11

Aspidistra elatior VariegataAspidistra elatior flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , ,

Acorus gramineus

July 18th, 2013

Common name: Grassy-Leaved Sweet Flag, Dwarf sedge, Japanese rush, Japanese sweet flag

Family: Acoraceae

Acorus gramineus

Acorus gramineus

Distribution and habitat: Acorus gramineus is native to Japan in eastern Asia, where it usually occurs in wetlands and shallow water. It can grow fully or partially submerged or in very moist soil, but it will usually only flower when at least partially submerged.

Description:  Acorus gramineus narrow leaves, which grow in a dense clump or tuft rising from a slender rhizome that lies just below the surface of the potting mixture, are up to 45cm (18 inch) long. There is a green slower spathe, but is is barely noticeable since it is so fine that it looks almost like another leaf.

Houseplant care: Acorus gramineus grow more or less continuously, but its active growth will slow down under reduced light.

Light: Medium light or direct sunlight filtered through a translucent blind or curtain will suit Acorus gramineus.

Temperature: An indoor Acorus gramineus will grow well in normal warm room temperatures, but can also tolerate temperatures as low as 4ºC (39ºF). High humidity is essential; stand plants on trays of moist pebbles throughout  the year and mist-spray the leaves during the warm periods.

Water: Because they are marsh plants, Acorus gramineus needs more water than most other types of plants. These plants must never be allowed to dry out at the roots. Water plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. The pot may even  be allowed to stand in shallow saucer of water.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks during spring and summer.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil-based potting mixture. In spring move small plant into pots or shallow pans one size larger if their tufts of leaves have completely filled the surface area of the mixture. 13cm (5 inch) pots or half-pots are likely to be the largest size needed.

Gardening: Acorus gramineus when grow outdoor is easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in both boggy conditions (including very shallow water) and consistently moist garden soils. Scorched leaf tips will occur if soils are allowed to dry out. Appreciates some relief from hot summer sun (e.g., afternoon shade or filtered sun) when grown in hot summer climates. Slowly naturalizes by spreading roots, but is not too aggressive.

Acorus gramineus can be planted in baskets in shallow water. It also makes a useful aquarium plant but is short-lived where water temperatures exceed 22°C (72°C) for long periods. Divide every few years to prevent congestion.

Propagation: Prapagate by separating overcrowded clumps in spring or summer. Carefully pull the clumps apart with the fingers, making sure that a piece of rhizome is attached to each section and treat each divided clump as a mature plant.

Problems: Acorus gramineus has no serious insect or disease problems.

Scorch will occur if soils are not kept consistently moist to wet.

Recommended varieties:
Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’ is a variegated-leaved form of Acorus gramineus. It has white stripes on its green leaves.

Acorus gramineus ‘Albovariegatus’ is a variegated-leaved and dwarf form of Acorus gramineus. Its leaves grow rarely much larger than 15cm (6 inch).

Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ (Golden dwarf sweet flag) is a dwarf cultivar if Acorus gramineus to 25cm (10 inch) tall and 15cm (6 inch) wide. It has linear fans of glossy, pale green and cream-striped leaves that have an overall golden effect.

Uses: Acorus gramineus can be used as groundcover, in erosion control, rain garden or as a water plant.

Acorus gramineus are generally paludal (marsh plants) and are equally suited to aqua-terrariums and garden ponds, although they will also survive totally submerged.

Acorus gramineus can be used to form mass as ground cover in small areas of water gardens, along streams or ponds or in moist open woodland gardens. It is frequently used around the edges of ponds and water gardens, as well as submerged in freshwater aquaria. Acorus gramineus is ideal for foregrounds in aquariums. Also effective in rock gardens or border fronts or as small landscape accents as long as the soil moisture requirements can be met.

Acorus gramineus is the only one species from genus Acorus often grown indoors. Acorus gramineus provide a pleasant contrast with the more substantial foliage of other house plants.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green or coloured
Shape – grassy
Height: 45cm (18 inch)

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

Hardiness zone: 5a-10b

Aquarium Plants, Bog Plants, Container Grass, Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Ornamental Grasses & Sedges, Submerged (Oxygenating) Plants, Water Plants , , , , , , ,

Peperomia obtusifolia

July 7th, 2013

Common names: Baby Rubber Plant, Pepper Face

Family: Piperaceae

Peperomia obtusifolia

Peperomia obtusifolia

Distribution and habitat: Peperomia obtusifolia is a species of epiphytic flowering plant native to Mexico to northern jungles of South America and the Caribbean. It is an evergreen perennial growing to 25cm (10 inch) tall and broad, with cupped leathery leaves and narrow spikes of white flowers up to 12cm (5 inch) long.

Description: Peperomia obtusifolia has long stems and flashy, glossy, rounded but blunt-edged leaves 8-10cm (3-4 inch) long. Leaf colour is deep purplish green and the stems are slightly purple. Maximum height is about 30cm (12 inch). White flower spikes only 5-8cm (2-3inch) long appear between late spring and early autumn.

Houseplant care: Occasional pinching out of growing points during spring and summer will induce plants to produce more side-shoots and become bushier.
Light: Peperomia obtusifolia with green leaves need to be shaded from the hot sun during the sunniest months, but those with variegated foliage like a few hours of sunshine every day. There for these plants should be placed quite close to a bright window, especially in winter.

Temperature: Peperomia obtusifolia thrive in normal room temperatures. Even when not actively growing, they must have a temperature of at least 13°C (55°F). Despite of their appearance like succulents, they are not desert plants. They need high humidity during the growing season. In very warm rooms the plants will lose their leaves in dryness. It is recommended to keep the plants on trays of moist pebbles on in larger pots of damp peat moss.

Watering: Water the plant only when is clearly needed and then very sparingly. Allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely between waterings. Too much water even for short periods will result in considerable leaf loss and may even bring on complete collapse of the plants.

The thick, fleshy leaves of these plants allow them to withstand short periods of drought. If at any time the leaves look unusually transparent, this probably indicates that the plant needs water.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser once a month at half-strength from mid-spring to autumn only. Too much feeding will result in soft, untypical growth and eventually the plant  will collapse.

Potting and repotting: Peperomia obtusifolia best grown in a peat-based potting mixture. Because they have little root they will do well in small pots, half-pots, shallow pans, bowls and hanging baskets.
Young plants may need to be moved into pots one size larger in spring. Mature plants in 10 to 13cm (4-5 inch) pots are unlikely to need repotting. All pots should have a shallow layer of clay-pot fragments or other drainage material in the bottom to promote drainage.

Propagation: Peperomia obtusifolia can be propagated from 5-8cm (2-3 inch) long tip cuttings. Take cuttings in spring or early summer and insert several of them in same pot of 5-8cm (2-3 inch) with barely moist equal-parts of peat-moss and coarse sand or perlite. Keep the potted cuttings at a temperature of about 18°C (64°F) in bright light but not in direct sunlight and water them very sparingly. Tip cuttings are likely to root in four to six weeks. Move the rooted new plant into larger pots only when they have completely filled their pots with roots and clearly need more space.

Recommended varieties:
Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Alba’ is a variegated form with pale lemon yellow new leaves, deepening in colour as they age.

Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Albo-marginata’ is a variegated form with silvery white borders on a grey-green leaf.

Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Variegata’ & Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Greengold’ are both variegated forms with patches of cream or yellow.

Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Minima’ is a dwarf form of Peperomia obtusifolia.

Problems:
Peperomia obtusifolia is susceptible to grey mould (botrytis) that may appear at the base of the stems if the air is too stagnant. Brown-tipped leaves may be caused by sudden drops in temperature.
Treatment: Keep the plant in well ventilated place to avoid grey mold to appear. Remove the affected leaves immediately and always keep the plants away from droughts and cold window-sills.

Overwatering will result in wilting or discoloured leaves or/and stems and leaf root.

Uses:  Peperomia obtusifolia is used in terrariums, mixed planters or in shelves by warm, sunny window.

These houseplants clean the air by emitting high oxygen content, and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde or other toxins.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green or variegated
Feature: flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 30cm (12 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – sparingly
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 21°C (55-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Peperomia obtusifolia VariegataPeperomia obtusifolia GreengoldPeperomia obtusifolia

Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , ,

Aglaonema modestum

June 17th, 2013

Common name: Chinese evergreen, Aglaonema

Family: Araceae

Aglaonema modestum

Aglaonema modestum

Distribution and habitat: Aglaonema modestum is rhizomes evergreen plant, native to the tropical swamps and rainforests of southeastern Asia. Aglaonema modestum has lanced-shaped leaves on leaf stalk 30cm (12 inch) long that rise from the central growing point. A plant may occasionally form a short trunk-like stem scarred with circular markings where leaves were once attached, giving the plant up to 60cm (24 inch) height. Mature plants produce in summer or early fall an arum-shaped flower head comprising a white or yellow spathe with central stalked spadix and this is followed by red or orange berries.

Description: Aglaonema modestum is a foliage plant with large, lance-shaped, waxy, undulate, medium green leaves 20cm (8 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) wide. Some mature plants may produce arum-like flower spathes. Indoors, this plant is grown for the effect created by its handsome foliage rather than for flowers.

Houseplant care:
Light: Aglaonema modestum needs a shaded spot away from direct sun and will tolerate dark position.
Never expose them to direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves.

Temperature: Normally warm room temperatures are suitable. Aglaonema modestum needs a constant temperature, ideally between 16 and 21°C (60-70°F) all year round. Winter temperatures should never drop below 13°C (55°F) and avoid droughts and exposure to gas fumes.

Water: During the active growth period water moderately – enough to make the entire potting mixture moist, but allowing the top 2-3cm (0.78-1 inch) of the mixture to dry between waterings. During the rest period (which may be very short or even non-existent) water only enough to keep the potting moisture from drying out completely.

A high degree of humidity is required by Aglaonema modestum, so stand the plant on a tray of damp pebbles and mist the leaves regularly.

Fertilising: Use standard liquid fertiliser monthly except during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Move young plants into pots one size larger in spring, but repot older Aglaonema modestum plants only once every two or three years.
Aglaonema modestum do not need large containers; they will thrive in 13 or 15cm (5-6 inch) pots. When maximum convenient size has been reached, top-dress them annually.

Propagation: The best time to propagate is in spring. Plant a basal shoot bearing three or four leaves, preferably with some roots already attached, in a pot containing moisturized mixture of equal part of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the potted shoot in a plastic bag and keep it in medium light. Rooting should occur in six to eight weeks, after which the new plant can be treated as mature.

If an old and unwanted plant is to be broken up, sections of the main stem of the basal shoots can be used for propagation instead of basal shoots. Aglaonema modestum may also be air layered.

Problems:
Shriveled leaves and brown tips and edges usually indicate low temperatures, dryness or exposure to droughts.
Treatment: Keep the plant always above 13°C (55°F). For extra humidity place the plant on a tray of damp pebbles or mist the leaves and water the plant regularly.

Roots can rot if the potting mixture is kept too wet.
Treatment: Do not over water the Aglaonema modestum.

Pests: Infestation by mealy bug amongst the leaf stalk can be a problem. Red spider will attack if conditions are too dry.
Treatment: spay plants with appropriate pesticide.  Repeat the treatment after 3 days and again 10 days later. If the insect attack persist, try a different pesticide. Daily mist-spraying will help in keeping the plant healthy.

Uses: Aglaonema modestum is used for mass planting, container or above-ground planter, ground cover. It is suitable for houseplant or interiorscape. Its tolerance of shade makes Aglaonema modestum a good plant for problem corners.

Aglaonema modestum emits high oxygen content and purifies indoor air by removing chemicals, such as formaldahyde, benzene or other toxins.

Toxicity: All plant contain Calcium oxalate crystals which can develop skin irritation after contact with cell sap. If chewed, irritation of mouth, lips, throat, and tongue will occur.

Recommended varieties:
Aglaonema modestum Variegatum is a variegated-leaved form with yellow patches on the green.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green or variegated
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-60cm (1-2 feet)
Width: 30-90cm (2-3 feet)

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

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Aglaonema modestum Variegatum

Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , ,

Peperomia caperata

June 13th, 2013

Common Names: Peperomia, Ivy-Leaf Peperomia, Emerald Ripple Pepper

Family: Piperaceae

Peperomia caperata

Peperomia caperata

Distribution and habitat: Peperomia caperata is an epiphytic in the jungles of South America which is their natural habitat.

Description:  Peperomia caperata has heart-shaped, dark green leaves up to 4cm (1.5 inch) long with corrugated surface; the green of leaves tend to look almost black in the base of the corrugations.
The leaf-stalk of Peperomia caperata are red or pink; white flower spikes of varying lengths may be produced throughout summer and autumn. The flowers are not particularly colourful in their own way, but quite charming, reminding one of attenuated Anthuriums or Arum Lilies. They do in fact consisting of a myriad small flowers arranged along arching stems that are sometimes tinted red or brown.

The plant does not normally grow above 25cm (10 inch) high.

Houseplant care: Peperomia caperata should be occasional pruned during the spring and summer to keep the plant bushy.
Light: Peperomia caperata is growing well in good light conditions. A slightly shaded position away from direct sun is ideal during the summer months, but in winter give it much light as possible.

Peperomia caperata thrive under fluorescent light and makes ideal specimen for bottle gardens and terrariums.

Temperature: Peperomia caperata need an average temperatures, with a winter minimum of 10°C (50°F).

Provide a humid atmosphere from spring to fall. Plunge the pot in moistened peat or place the pot on damp pebbles and mist the plant twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In winter ensure that there is some ventilation, but avoid droughts.

Water: Water sparingly at all times. Allow the compost to dry out between waterings and keep it almost dry throughout the winter. Water form beneath or carefully from above – the stem rot very easily – and use tepid water.

Fertiliser: Peperomia caperata needs occasional liquid fertiliser at half-strength from late spring to early autumn.

Potting and repotting: Peperomia caperata should be repotted annually in spring but the maximum pot size necessary is 9cm (3.5 inch). Peperomia caperata has very small root and can be potted in half-pots, shallow pans, bowls or hanging baskets. Use a peat-based potting mixture. All pots should have a layer of drainage material in the bottom to promote drainage and prevent plants from being exposed to over-watering.

Propagation: Peperomia caperata can be divided at potting time in spring. They are removed and separated into smaller pieces, each with a few roots attached.

Leaf or stem cuttings can also be taken in the spring or summer. The lower leaves of the shoots are removed and a cut is made below the bottom node (joint). They are then laid on a bench for an hour or two to allow a protective corky skin to form over the cuts. They are then inserted in a propagating case with bottom heat of 21-24°C (70-75°F). It is best not to seal the top completely, as the plants are semi-succulent in nature and excessive humidity is detrimental. When enough roots have formed, cuttings can be planted in 8cm (3 inch) pots or in hanging baskets. Tip cuttings are likely to root in four to six weeks. Leaf cuttings may take a little longer.

Problems:
Overwatering will result in wilting or discoloured leaves and/or stem and leaf rot.

Grey mold (botrytis) will appear at the base of stem if the air is too stagnant. Brown-tipped leaves may be caused by sudden drops in temperature.
Treatment: Remove the affected leaves immediately and always keep the plant away from droughts and cold window-sills.

Uses: Peperomia caperata can be used in terrariums, mixed planters or in shelves by warm, sunny window.

Peperomia caperata makes a perfect foil for larger variegated Peperomias.

In frost-free gardens, Peperomia caperata can be used as ground-covers.

Recommended varieties:

Peperomia caperata ‘Emerald Ripple’ is a shorter plant with smaller waxy leaves in a denser cluster.

Peperomia caperata ‘Little Fantesy’ is a dwarf form.

Peperomia caperata ‘Variegata‘ (also known as Peperomia caperata ‘Tricolor’) has smaller leaves.

SUMMARY:

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – colored
Features: flowers
Shape – bushy
High: 10-25cm (4-10 inch)

PROPER CARE:
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 21°C (55-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-12

Foliage Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants, Terrarium Plants , , , , , , ,

Gibasis geniculata

June 7th, 2013

Common name: Tahitian Bridal Veil

Family: Commelinaceae

Gibasis geniculata

Gibasis geniculata

Description: Gibasis geniculata is a charming, hardy, cascading house foliage for hanging baskets or pots. Foliage in dotted with tiny white blossoms. Leaves colour is dark green with purple underneath.

Uses: Gibasis geniculata is a wonderful plant to grow indoors or in a fernery. Also attractive as a ground cover, potted plant, or as an accent plant.

Light: Gibasis geniculata requires a protected site and shelter from direct sunlight.

Water: Water and fertilise on a regular basis.

Planting: Cultivate the soil before planting. Dig hole twice the width of the container. Remove the plant from container and place it into the hole so the soil level is the same as the surrounding ground.

Gibasis geniculata proper care:

  • Indoor filtered light
  • Part shade
  • Hanging basket
  • Warm position
  • Moderate watering
  • Well drained soil
  • Fertilise regularly
  • Hardiness zones: 9b-13
  • Size: 0.6m (1.9 ft.) tall ; 0.75m (2.4 ft.) wide

Although a hardy plant, Gibasis geniculata does need a bit of care to achive best results.

CHARACTERISTICS:
Foliage – green
Shape – bushy

PROPER CARE:
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 15C max 30C
Humidity – high

Foliage Plants, Ground cover ,

Casuarina galuca

May 29th, 2013

Common Names: Cousin it

Casuarina galuca

Casuarina galuca

Casuarina galuca is an Australian native plant. Casuarina galuca is an unusual and extremely tough native ground cover featuring fascinating glaucous green, leafless stems! Casuarina galuca has a spreading cascading habit that makes it perfect for harsh growing conditions where in can effectively grow over unsightly pipes, strumps or any ground obstacle with style!

Position: Adaptable to most soil types, prefers a full sun position.

Habit: Spreading, cascading habit.

Use: Ideal for pots and gardens, including banks and retaining walls and all ground cover situation. Provides good weed suppression.

Care: Casuarina galuca responds well to extra moisture and general purpose garden fertiliser, but will tolerate dry conditions. A light prune will keep the plant looking tidy. If planted in the ground, then little to no irrigation will be needed after the initial establishment period.

Casuarina galuca characteristics:

  • Full sun
  • Light frost tolerant
  • Drought tolerant
  • Height to 10cm
  • Width to 1m
  • Pot
  • Garden
  • Coastal

Garden Plants, Ground cover ,

Tacca chantrieri

May 28th, 2013

Common Names: Bat Flower, Black Bat Flower, Cats Whiskers, Devil Flower, Bat Head Lily, Bat Plant, Devil’s Tongue, Black Tacca, Jews Beard, Voodoo Flower

Family: Dioscoreaceae

Synonymous: Clerodendrum esquirolii
Schizocapsa breviscapa
Schizocapsa itagakii
Tacca esquirolii
Tacca garrettii
Tacca macrantha
Tacca minor
Tacca paxiana
Tacca roxburghii
Tacca vespertilio
Tacca wilsonii

Tacca chantrieri

Tacca chantrieri

Distribution and habitat: Tacca chantrieri grow wild in the tropical forest from the regions of West Africa and Southeast Asia, where they can get as tall as 90cm (35 inch). Most of these oddities thrive on the moist soils of the forest floor in well-drained soil and high humidity.

Description: Tacca chantrieri is a clump forming herbaceous perennial bearing exotic, log stemmed flowers. It grows from an underground rhizomes. The kinds in cultivation have creeping rhizomes or rootstocks and large, oval, crinkly foliage. Reaching lengths of up to 38cm (15 inch) broad, 20cm (8 inch) wide, the smooth, lanceolate leaves, with angular pleats, are dark green with an under surface colour of greyish green. The flowers are black and up to 30cm (12 inch) across. Curious plant with up to 25 flowers on bat-like (both in shape and color) inflorescences, where each umbel has a pair of large spreading, wing-like rich maroon-black bracts. The four large black bracts look almost like bat wings with long 10cm (4 inch) threadlike tails extending from the tip of each of the flower petals, leading to another of its common names, ‘Cat’s Whiskers Plant’. The bracts are accompanied by 25cm (10 inch) long trailing filaments or “whiskers” forming a flowing forked tail, which emanate from the nearly black with some purple, flower scape. The scapes (flower stem from the base of plant to where the flower actually is) are about 63cm (24 inch) long. The small black 5 petals flowers are succeeded by heavy berries.

They bloom mainly during the summer once they reach 2 to 3 years old. Flowering seems to begin when the plants have produced 2-3 full-size leaves. Each plant produces at least 6 and up to 12 flower stems during the warm months of the year. Each flower lifespan is five to seven weeks. After the plant blooms, it will develop seed pods. Tacca chantrieri is capable of setting seed without pollinators. Seed pods will remain on the plant for quite a long time. The leathery capsules (about 4cm (1.5 inch) long) require up to a year to ripen.

Houseplant care: When Tacca chantrieri like the conditions, they grow, flower a lot and even produce offsets. When something is not right, they slowly decline and eventually die. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to know if you can provide them the right conditions is by trying. Large plants seem to do better than smaller ones. However they grow fast and flower a lot when the conditions are just right.
Tacca chantrieri plants are evergreen but they have a rest or dormancy period. Because they are not from a place which freezes, therefore during their dormancy, they retain their foliage, they simply stop growing.

Flower stalks may be staked to best display the blossoms.

Light: This plant loves medium to bright (indirect) light. Avoid direct sunlight as it will scald the thin leaves. It prefers at least 4 hours of bright indirect sunlight a day. The light is an important factor to promote the bloom of these plants. Set the plant in an east- or south-facing window where it receives bright, indirect light.

Temperature: Provide to Tacca chantrieri plant a temperature of 25-29°C (77-84°F) through the summer and 15-18°C (59-64°F) through the winter. These plants will prefer daily temperatures of 3-8°C (5-15°F) higher  than night temperatures.
Humidity is essential for this plant survival. Tacca chantrieri plant needs moderate to high, preferably 50-70% relative humidity. Elevate the humidity by using a humidifier, grouping plants or using humidity trays. Never mist in low humidity settings as the misting actually opens the plant pores, which causes the leaves to transpire out more moisture than the misting supplied, eventually resulting in a dead plant.
Avoid drafts from heating or air conditioning vents as this will cause the edges of the leaves to brown.

Watering: During the growing season (late spring to late summer) the plants will need frequent watering to keep the potting mixture evenly moist. Water with warm tap water until the excess drains from the bottom. Use a pot with a drainage hole and drain the excess water from the drip tray to prevent soggy soil which will cause the rhizomes to rot.
Allow to dry down a bit more during the winter resting period. Keep the potting mixture just barely moist until the plant resumes growth in spring.

Feeding: Feed every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser or orchid fertiliser diluted by half while plant is growing and flowering. Do not fertilise during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Unlike many others rhizomatous plants, Tacca chantrieri plants do not like to be crowded (to be root-bound) and appreciate a wider, shallow pot. Repot them every year in early spring when the growth is active. Never repot a blooming plant of any kind. This is a good time to divide rhizomes and pot them separately. Typically this plant can be grown in a 15cm (6 inch), 20cm (8 inch) or 25cm (10 inch) pot.
When the maximum pot size was reached – 25cm (10 inch) -, wash the soil, cut most of the roots off and remove most of the leaves. Remove and pot separately the offsets and repot the old plant in the same pot cleaned and filled with fresh soil.
The soil is one of the most important things for success with these plants. The mixture needs to be light, very porous and something that drains well. Use something like: 60% peat moss, 30% perlite and 10% vermiculite or use a potting soil mix designed for orchids. During repotting, add controlled-release fertilizer pellets to the potting mixture. Avoid tamping the soil too much. Water to get the soil to settle around the roots and let it drain away. Put the transplant in low to medium light and allow to harden off for about 8 weeks before moving to a brighter location.

Gardening: These frost-tender plants can be grown outdoors in tropics and subtropics, but elsewhere require the protection of a greenhouse during the winter months, as frosty conditions will inevitably kill this very delicate plant. Potted plants are easy to be moved in a sheltered location during winter season. Never pot up unless there are still 2-3 months of warm weather as in winter these plants go dormant.

Tacca chantrieri is not particularly demanding once it is given everything it needs to succeed, humidity and protection from strong winds. When they like the conditions, they grow, flower a lot and even produce seeds, otherwise they slowly decline and eventually die.

If you grow the Tacca chantrieri outdoors, cover it with a bucket when outdoor temperatures will or may drop below 13°C (55°F). Also, they do not like too much heat or air that is too dry.

Location: Tacca chantrieri like shade and good air circulation. The plants thrive in 70-80% shade.
This plant should be planted in partial shade and in a humid and warm environment.

Soil: The soil is one of the most important things for success with these plants. The mixture needs to be light, very porous and with excellent drainage properties as Tacca chantrieri will not tolerate wet soil at their roots. When plant these plants outside in the garden, the soil should be acidic, fertile and rich in organic matter with a loamy to sandy consistency.
These plants require a soil ph of 6.1-7.5 meaning it does best in weakly acidic to weakly alkaline soil. Alkaline soils will cause the leaves to turn yellow.

Irrigation: Plants should be watered on a regular schedule. Care must be taken to not allow soil to remain soggy or to dry as the plant wilts. Stress of wilting will inhibit flower production.
Watering should be done through the spaces of the leaves, as well as directly on to the compost.

Fertilise: Give these plants a good dose of fertiliser on a regular basis from late spring through mid autumn. Tacca chantrieri tolerates most commercial plant fertilizers and organic composts. Do not fertilise them during the rest period.
Spread 8 to 10cm (3- 4 inch) of shredded pine-bark mulch around the plant to help with moisture retention and reduce weed growth.

Propagation: Tacca chantrieri can be propagated by dividing rhizomes (including offsets) or by seed.

The rhizomes can be divided at repotting time in the spring. Make sure each rhizome section contains a bud. Plant the rizhomes in a pots that are at least 15cm (6 inch) wide – one piece per pot. Use recommended potting mixture for mature plants. Plant the rhizome upright. Let 1/8 of the rhizome show above the soil when starting. Add compost as the plant grows in the pot. Water the plant weekly during the growing season and once monthly with a foliar fertiliser mixed at half strength. Growing season is spring until late fall. Keep it in a humid area with plenty of indirect light.

Tacca chantrieri can be propagated from seed. Once the seed ponds dry out or fall, remove and split them open to remove the seeds. Let the seeds dry only a few days before sowing them. When they split along their sides, numerous 0.5cm (0.25 inch) seeds are revealed embedded in a sticky pulp. The seeds should be cleaned of the pulp and air dried. After that, soak the Tacca Chantrieri seeds 24 hours in warm/hot water. Use a thermos bottle to keep the water hot during this time. Sow at 1.5mm (1/16 inch) deep in trays or pots, using a good, moist, seed starting mix in a propagator or warm place to maintain optimum temperature of 27-30°C (81-86°F). It is essential that the soil temperature is high and kept steady. Germination usually takes 1-9 months. The seedlings benefit from frequent dilute applications of soluble fertiliser. When small, they pass through a stage of almost chronic chlorosis, even with regular fertilisation, but overcome this in a few weeks. Transplant the seedlings when they are large enough to handle into 8cm (3 inch) pots of a recommended potting mixture for mature Tacca chantrieri. During the growing season (late spring to late summer) the plants will need to be watered very regularly and the compost must be well drained. Pot on as required into 10cm (5 inch) and finally 25cm (10 inch) pots. Furthermore treat the plants as mature Tacca chantrieri. The plants will reach flowering size in about two to three years.

Problems: Bat flower seems to be mostly pest and disease free.

Soil borne disease is common. To minimize problems, keep soil moist not wet and provide air circulation.

Slugs and snails do occasionally bother these plants.
Treatment: Use a bait See Snail and Slug bait to control them.

The plant needs more humidity if leaves start to brown, grow crinkled or lay down rather than standing upright.
Treatment: A good idea is to take the plant in bathroom, turn on the hot shower and let the room steam up. Close the door and leave the light on overnight. This will perk up a Tacca chantrieri quicker than anything else. They love the moisture and heat. Furthermore, find a place with better humidity or choose grouping the plants to rise the humidity.

Sometimes, with out warning, Tacca chantrieri can go dormant and play dead in less than ideal conditions. It is a tender semi-evergreen perennial. It is evergreen in warm moist climates, but goes dormant where seasonally cool or dry conditions prevail.
Treatment: Treat the plant as mentioned for resting period. Water the plant just to prevent the potting mixture from drying out and stop fertilising. Often they will start making new leaves in an few months when the conditions are improved.

Tacca chantrieri new leaf that grew turned black and died. This may happen because Tacca chantrieri plants are highly sensitive to dry air to too much direct light. Another factor may be that the plant is getting chilled or heat-scorched from being too close to the glass.
Treatment: Change their location with one where the plant can receive better conditions. Do not place the plant too close by the window glass.

Note: Tacca chantrieri is a tender, long-lived semi-evergreen rhizomatous perennial. It is evergreen in warm moist climates, but goes dormant where seasonally cool or dry conditions prevail.
These plants will have a dormancy period when they grow in warm environments too, but they will not loose their foliage and just stop growing and producing flowers.
When they are grown in cool environments, the plants will loose their leaves, resuming all vital aspects into their underground rhizomes. After the rest period, when environment condition are optimal the plants will restart their growth from their rhizomes.
The plant flowers usually after it has produced three or four full sized leaves. Another unexpected surprise regarding Tacca chantrieri is its capability of self-pollination despite the fact that in nature they look like being pollinated by flies.
Tacca chantrieri is a magnificent plant which mimic the orchid flower, making place for confusions. The two plants may share the love for humidity, shade, same soil preference,  they may have both unusual flowers, but Tacca chantrieri is not an orchid.

Uses and display: Tacca chantrieri are grown mainly for their flowers, which typically emerge during the warmest months of the year and then will produce up to 8 long lasting flowers over the course of a single season. The flowers should be left on the plants — they do not survive in a vase for long and cannot really be used as cut flowers, but there are voices which classify these flowers being suitable for vase. It makes a peculiar and unique plant for a massed shady groundcover or a container. They also make an amazing display as tropical houseplant. It makes a great container plant and is a real conversation piece.

Height: 60-90cm (24-36inch)
Space:  90-120cm (35-47 inch) apart
Hardiness zone: 10-11

Tacca chantrieri Tacca chantrieri

Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Ground cover, Indoor Plants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Selaginella kraussiana

May 27th, 2013

Common Names: Club Moss

Selaginella kraussiana

Selaginella kraussiana

The Selaginella kraussiana is a mat forming perennial featuring tiny, lacy, fern-like, green leaves. New foliage is tinted in a distinctive golden shade.

Add beauty, style and design to courtyards, patios and verandahs with these easy to care feature plants. Provided green life to the indoors and helps to freshen the air of your home.

The Selaginella kraussiana aurea is easily maintained, requiring only a few minutes of your time per week. For best results, regularly feed with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.

Recommended Varieties:
Selaginella kraussiana aurea Golden Club Moss or Selaginella Gold has green and gold coloured leaves that enhance terrariums, pots and ferneries.  New foliage is tinted in a distinctive golden shade.

Selaginella GOLD

Selaginella GOLD

Selaginella kraussiana characteristics:

  • Indoor positions
  • Part shade
  • Great for pots
  • Foliage Plant

Selaginella kraussiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferns, Ground cover , ,

Selaginella emmeliana

May 27th, 2013

Common Names: Club Moss

Selaginella emmeliana

Selaginella emmeliana

An ancient group of plants, the Selaginella emmeliana is closely related to ferns. These primitive plants are prostrate, spreading ground covers with attractive branching green foliage.

Uses: Originally from the forest floors Selaginella emmeliana are perfect for shady moist positions in the garden, in pots, hanging baskets and terrariums. Plant around rocks and water features for s softening effect.

Position: Well drained and moist position with filtered light or full shade.

Care: Water well especially during dry periods. if planting in containers use a premium potting mix. Add organic matter to the soil before planting for best results. Feed with a liquid fertilizer in the warmer months.

Selaginella emmeliana characteristics:

  • Shade plant
  • Groundcover
  • Height: 30cm

Ferns, Ground cover ,