Sunday, December 23, 2018

Could Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses' be a Major Minor Crop?

Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses'

            A flowering houseplant that should get attention is Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’.

            My leading buyer wants plants that are variegated or flowering.  Why?  Because they sell.

            We get both with H. ‘Candy Kisses’ --- a variegated flowering plant.  It’s a guaranteed short day to flower plant, so it flowers in the winter time when we want some color in the house.  Self-branching and easy to propagate, it is easily programmable It could be flowered year around by artificially giving it short days.  It fits in small pots, so can be an affordable low-cost bit of color.

            We have two clones --- ‘Candy Kisses’, with white and green variegation and ‘Lemon Lime’, with light and dark green variegation.  They are interesting plants with a minty aroma when not in flower.  Both can be used in spring combination planters for summer patio growing where variegated filler plants are needed.

            ‘Candy Kisses’ and ‘Lemon Lime’ are worth producing in large quantities to gauge the sales potential.  Somebody should do that !

Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses' - Budded from short days

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Another mystery of Lipstick Plants discovered

Young growth on old plant (R), Young growth on young plant(L)

We have hanging baskets of the common Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus lobbianus) in various stages waiting for them to flower/sell.

The group held over from their non-flowering summer are first to bud.  The group that were propagated from new growth – a pair of leaves that rooted and branched with new shoots are growing well but no buds.

The middle group are last year’s baskets, cut back short and allowed to branch with new growth.  These budded and will flower second.

So, in order to budding ---- uncut old branches, old growth cut back with new shoots, and last, new propagations.

The flowering response of Lipstick is not precise.  The only thing I know for sure is it’s a function of age.  Young shoots don’t flower.

But now I know that young shoots from old growth will flower sooner that young shoots from young growth.

So, how will this discovery help speed up production?

1.      If you have baskets that stop flowering in the summer heat, cut them back hard.  The new growth will flower by Christmas.

2.      If you’re propagating cuttings in cell packs, don’t worry about keeping them moving.  You can hold them in cell packs, which take less space, to let them get age.  The shoots will reward you with faster flowering when potted up.

If you are a homeowner with one Lipstick hanging basket, it would make sense to cut it back 1/3 at a time for three months so you would always have flowers forming.

      ---Too complicated?

Then, just know to keep your old plant and cut it back in Summer.  It will flower faster than if you start a new basket.

Old growth on old plant(R), Young growth on old plant (L)