Pavonia multiflora, also called Brazilian
candle plant and Many Flowers, as it’s names suggest is an interesting Brazilian species that flowers profusely year-round.
It has tropical looking glossy long leaves, and fascinating flowers. The bracts are pale pink when the flower bud is just forming and grow darker and redder as the flower bud matures.
You don’t even have to wait for the flower to open, the color and interesting shape all comes from the bracts. The flower itself is deep purple and resembles a closed hibiscus flower. It makes sense since Pavonia multiflora is related to the Hibiscus family.
In nature Pavonia multiflora grows in part shade, in warm and humid environment, and grows up to 4-5 feet. Indoors this plant only grows to about 3 feet, and can be maintained smaller with pruning.
It likes it warm and humid, though it can tolerate both lower temperature and lower humidity. Very, very easy to grow in my experience!
The plant starts blooming when small and never stops. Though it doesn’t show very well on pictures, this plant is exquisitely elegant: thick light in color woody stem, long glossy deep green-laves that are spaced perfectly to reveal clusters of intricate flowers.
Medium watering requirements. If the humidity is high enough, Pavonia multiflora can tolerate quite a bit of dryness at the roots. Occasional soaking seems helps. It’s not very needy at all, and when I think of, I’ve been watering it rather erratic, and it can tolerate quite a range, in fact I don’t think it made any difference how I watered it.
This plant can tolerate a range of light levels. From part shade to full sun. I do take it outside in the summer, and slowly move it from part-shade to full sun where it gets covered with even more flowers. It will grow at low light levels as well, but the leaves will be spaced out more, and it will not flower as profusely. Indoors, you can grow it on a south/east/west window, and even a north window, though you won’t get as many flowers from it. The picture on the right shows a plant grown on a somewhat smaller east facing window, and as you can see it looks great.
Pavonia multiflora likes high humidity and enjoys its leaves being sprayed. Make sure it gets plenty of spraying in the winter time, when the air is drier. Humidity tray can be helpful too, though this plant is not as fussy as other humidity loving plants. If the humidity is not high enough, the leaves slightly curl down at the edges, and become more rigid and brittle.
Soil Type and Fertilizer:
Again, this plant doesn’t really have fussy requirements. I grow mine (I have a few of them lol), in general potting mix with small amount of peat moss (it seems to me right to make the soil a bit acidic, since it’s a hibiscus relative), and quite a bit or per-lite for good drainage. General houseplant fertilizer will do. And as with all plants, I would always recommend fertilizing at at least half strength, more often during active growth, and significantly less if the plant is growing slower (such as winter time).
Pavonia multiflora can be propagated through cuttings, as well as seeds. Soft wood cuttings are fairly easy to root, and you can also do air-layering.
Other Care Tips and Personal Observations:
Pavonia multiflora is not as sensitive to pests as other plants, but it’s still somewhat susceptible to mealy bugs, spider mites and scale. If you miss out and have your plant heavily infested, you can always prune it down to an inch from the soil, clear out the top layer of the soil, maybe even re-pot and shake of the old soil, and spray it with the appropriate pesticide. The plant will re-sprout and resume blooming in a couple of months. It is such a fun plant to have, so easy to grow, and I have no idea why it’s not more popular as a house plant. It’s not an aggressive grower either and you can make arrangements or plant other smaller ground cover plants in the same pot.
After hard pruning: