Monthly Archives: December 2020

Kohleria Vanilla Sky

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kohleria vanilla sky
kohleria vanilla sky

Kohleria “Vanilla Sky” is a medium to large growing hybrid, that definitely needs staking, once it grows larger. This plant flowers heavily and is very showy.

Warm toned leaves and flowers, makes this an interesting hybrid. The leaves are olive green and lightly marbled with lighter and warmer toned olive green. The flowers are magenta and cream and are heavily spotted with large burgundy dots.

kohleria vanilla sky

I highly recommend growing this plant under lights. I have grown it on a windowsill and it was a bit limp and messy. The plant really shines if you grow it under lights, or on a brighter windowsill.

In my experience this hybrid needs a bit more light than your average kohleria. Other than that, it’s easy to grow and a very heavy bloomer once it grows to a larger size.

The warm tones give it interesting tropical vibe.

kohleria vanilla sky

Kohleria coccinea

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Kohleria coccinea is a kohleria species, I couldn’t find much information about. I bought a rhizome from ebay and it was shipped to me all the way from Germany.

kohleria coccinea

The plant is a slow, sturdy grower. Very thick robust stems, large bright green, velvety, serrated leaves, edged with dark red fuzz. The stem is covered with dark red hairs. The flowers are large and showy.

It’s on the larger side for kohlerias. Much sturdier than a typical kohleria hybrid, this pant doesn’t need as much staking (though I still did stake it out of habit) and can hold its own weight. Seems a lot more resilient towards infestations, and has been actively growing and producing rhizomes all year round for me.

Kohleria Dale’s Chameleon

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kohleria dales chameleon

Kohleria ‘Dale’s Chameleon’ is a lovely hybrid by Dale Martens. I acquired quite a few of her hybrids at a pre-epidemic gesneriad show, and so far I am in love with all of them!

This plant is so cute! I grew it under lights, and it has nice, bushy, compact growth, olive-green furry leaves, maroon furry stems, and such interesting flowers!

kohleria dale's chameleon

The flowers are bright magenta tubes and are covered with bright orange fuzz, giving them sort of a frosted chrome effect. It’s hard to capture that in a photo. The cream colored corolla is covered in magenta polka dots.

As a typical kohleria this plant is easy to grow and flower. In my personal experience, it seems to prefer warmer conditions. It really slows down if you try to grow it in a cooler environment, a bit more than your average kohleria.

Acalypha pendula – Strawberry Firetails

Acalypha pendula Firetail
Acalypha pendula

Originating from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Acalypha pendula is sometimes referred to as strawberry firetails, dwarf chenille plant, cat tails, and more. It is such a wonderful plant to have. The one in the picture above was hanging on the curtain rod of my east facing window, where it was always covered in fluffy bright tails, dangling over my orchids. This trailing, ground cover plant has small, round, serrated leaves and is perfectly suited for a hanging basket.

Flower production occurs all year, except for the coldest months. Since the flowers take a long time to develop and they last a long time, a well established plant is never out of blooms, making this a true everbloomer.

Requirements:

Watering needs: 

Being a member of the Euphorbiaceae family, this plant can take some neglect in terms of watering. In my experience, it has average watering needs, but can handle the occasional drying out. As always, water more generously in the hot weather and reduce the watering in the cold winter months.

Light:

Medium to high light. East, west or south facing windows will do just fine. Having some direct light definitely helps flower production. I have grown and flowered it on a north facing window, but the plant tends to grow leggy and flower less. If you are taking it outside for the summer, it can grow in a shadier area as well. I have not yet tried to grow this plant under grow lights, but I’m excited to try it out.

Humidity:

Acalypha pendulaPretty tolerant of lower humidity levels, but in my experience higher humidity results in better “tails”production. Generally speaking it’s not a fussy plant when it comes to watering and humidity, but warmth and light seem to be a lot more critical.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

This fast growing and heavy blooming plant needs a decently rich soil and fertilizer. Either a regular or a blooming fertilizer will work. In terms of soil type and pH, this plant doesn’t seem to have a particular preference.

Propagation:

Since it grows like a ground cover, this plant will self root, and you can simply divide it when repotting, or pull off an “offshoot”. You can also root a cutting fairly easy. Some store bought plants (especially if you bough it in a hanging basket as an annual plant) might be treated with growth inhibitors, making the rooting of a cutting nearly impossible. You might have to give it some time, and after several re-pottings the inhibitor effects will fade away.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

The furry tails are so fun to look at, and they feel light and furry when you touch them. Although the plant is not toxic to cats and dogs, it is mildly toxic to humans, so be careful if you have small children. The flowers are not fragrant. They start of as tiny, upright pointy things, but still as bright and puffy as the fully grown tails, and as they grow larger the tip rounds off and they start to hang. On the picture below, in the middle of the bottom shelf, you can see a young Acalypha pendula, flowering on a north facing garden window, despite its small size and lack of direct light. This plant is pretty easy to grow. However, it can suffer from spider mites, and underfeeding. Acalypha pendula tends to grow bushy and cover the surface of the pot, so it doesn’t need pruning to look good.