Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why does my Streptocarpus wilt?

Streptocarpus from Polish hybridizer
Story # 120,

Why does my Streptocarpus wilt?

            There are three possibilities for Streptocarpus to show wilt.

Case 1,  Dry

            The plant is in good health and has dry soil that is causing the wilt down.  When the pot is watered enough to saturate the soil, the plant will recover without harm.

Case 2,   Heat

            The plant is in good health and watered but it is wilted.  If the temperature is above 85 degrees F, Streptocarpus will naturally wilt as a survival mechanism.  Watering does not help.  The plant needs cool and will recover once the temp goes below 85 degrees.

Case 3,  Rot

            The soil is watered and the temperature is below 85, but the plant is still wilted continuously.  This is usually a sign that the plant has root rot and, to the extreme, will rot off and dies.  This can be the result of overwatering or continuously sitting in water.  You can attempt to reestablish roots by carefully monitoring watering.  Run on the dry side until new roots form.  If the clone is important to you, propagate immediately from leaf cuttings, in case the root rot kills your plant.

            Streptocarpus grow better in smaller pots and less soil volume.  Being dry occasionally is better than too wet all the time.

            Heat tolerance in Streptocarpus may be improved someday, but for now, wilt is normal in high temperatures.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Coleus 'Vanessa' has a story.

Coleus 'Vanessa' grown on Vicky's deck.

Story # 119,

Vanessa always wanted to have a plant named for her.  Since she is not a hybridizer of plants, she can’t create one on her own.

I can help her with that.

Plant species, which are all ‘weeds’ somewhere in the World, follow a strict set of rules for naming.  The Genus, Species naming system is important to take the chaos out of plant identification.

Hybrid names or selections of certain clones are a little more free form.  Names are picked by the hybridizer or originator.   Selections that can be commercially grown are given names that fit the marketing program --- ‘Knockout’ Roses.  Commercial names used in Europe are often changed for the U.S. market --- ‘Ladyslipper’ Streptocarpus.

I looked for a plant that could be ‘Vanessa’ and decided on Coleus ‘Combat’.  It is a European variety listed by an Israeli propagator.  It has a wild and crazy foliage pattern which would match Vanessa’s personality.  It’s bright and vibrant --- Definitely worth promoting.

If you didn’t get one this year then watch for Coleus ‘Vanessa’ next Spring at Longwood Gardens’ Plant Shop.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Is it better with flowers?

Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses'
Story # 118,

            Is it better with flowers?

            We had forgotten to watch for flowers on the Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’.  After finding a source for the variegated plant that has every appearance of being a Plectranthus,  I’ve grown tip cuttings as a ‘Mini’ plant.

            The short days of Fall have triggered the budding on the terminals.  It has an interesting pink flower, different from other Plectranthus I’ve seen, which are white or purple.

            It could be grown in a shallow tray to create a look similar to Bonsai.  It could be shaped and branched by trimming.  Winter flowering would be a bonus.