All posts by Vesi

A Quick Update and “The Fuchsia Project”

So…., I haven’t posted anything for a long time…

Here is a quick update on some new plants and projects I’m currently focusing on.  A lot of the “recent” plants I purchased are now starting to flower more and more. I have some exotic and fascinating seedlings slowly but surely growing, and I have also undertaken what I call “The Fuchsia Project”.

I spent a year battling with fuchsias and getting them to grow and flower year round. All of that inspite of a lot of fuchsia growers insisting that indoor growing is difficult and fuchsias certainly need a dormancy period.  😉

My indoor garden!

Well!!! Guess what, I did it! Year round of fuchsia growth and flowering. Granted some died along the way, some were a lot harder to keep… and yet some not only managed to stay bug free but flowered heavily and continuously!

I’ll be ordering more fuchsias this spring and this time around I know what keeps them ticking. I’ll be focusing on which ones can make it through year round growth and flowering.

It’s definitely been a learning experience, but I’ve got a few fuchsia keeping tricks up my sleeve that I’ll be sharing with you soon!

Here are more pictures of newer plants in my collection but mostly the fuchsias. Fuchsia Joan Cooper. That one “performed” the best out of all of them for some reason.

Fuchsia Sophie Lousie

Stay tuned! I’ll be sharing my fuchsia secrets soon. Those are just some of the fuchsias I got from last year, and I’ll be getting more for “The Fuchsia Project”.


If you are RxR HaCkEr, thank you for not deleting my stuff or changing my password! I totally freaked out when I saw your post on my site lol!

Streptocarpus thompsonii

Streptocarpus thompsoniiStreptocarpus thompsonii 
is a lovely little streptocarpus, that resembles a streptocarpella more so than a streptocarpus.

One of the most striking features of this plant is the transparent purple-spotted stem. Its swollen base makes this little plant look like an alien bonsai.Streptocarpus thomsonii


Streptocarpus thompsonii originates form Madagascar. It has tiny bell flowers, and though I could not find explicit information on the web, mine flowers yearround and constantly produces little seed pots. I sporadically find seedlings of this plant growing in my other plant’s pots. Some cultivars have white flowers, mine is pale blue.

The flowers are extremely tiny, and might be unnoticeable at first, but they are numerous and cute. It’s this plants unique and bizarre stem that makes it so attractive.



Watering needs:

Streptocarpus thompsonii has average watering needs. This plant likes a well drained medium and moderate watering. It can tolerate drying out.


Part shade is ideal for this plant. I have grown in on north/east/west windows. The plant pictured on the right is growing on a north window. This little jem is very easy to keep. It tolerated quite a range in conditions.


Streptocarpus thompsonii doesn’t seem to mind lower humidity levels. Higher humidity will make it more resistant to infestations though. I’ve had some mealybug problems in the past, when it was kept in dryer conditions.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

I use a well draining mix. African violet soil with extra perlite, or regular potting mix with perlite/vermiculite and peat moss will do the trick. I apply mild fertilizer during the growing season, usually a diluted african violet fertilizer.


This plant is very easy to propagate. I’ve propagated it from cuttings in the past, both in water and in moist soil. The plant also self pollinates. It quickly forms seed pots and self seeds in random places. I’ve found it growing in random pots. Even the seedlings have that interesting purple spotted, translucent stem.

Streptocarpus thomsonii seedlings

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Though this plant spreads though seed like a weed, it doesn’t have an aggressive growth habit. I’ve drown it with different gesneriads in the same pot, and they get along just fine. Streptocarpus thompsonii has a gentle root system. It will occasionally get leggy and tall, but it takes on pruning quite well. You can shape it however you want, and show off it’s unique stem.Streptocarpus thompsonii


Springtime Madness – Busiest Season for the Indoor Gardener

Springtime brings joy, longer sun hours, warmth, and for the indoor gardener .. tons of work. It’s an overwhelming season especially if like me, you have accumulated a ridiculous amount of plants. Repoting, making cuttings, taking plants out for the summer, trimming,…and more!

spring cuttings

Worst of all, I do tend to get more plants during the winter and early spring, taken by melancholy for some extra greeniness and variety.  I get tempted to buy some orchids in bloom from my local orchid nursery (best prices ever) or order some new exotic tropicals. Mid spring, feeling all adventurous, I sometimes order seeds from exotic and strange looking plants.

orchids in the winter
Winter temptations

Things to Watch Out For

During the winter time, your plants need less watering, growth is slow, and there is no need for fertilizing. Spring time, however, everything becomes more upbeat and here are few things you need to watch out for:

  • Pay special attention to your plants’ watering needs! As the daylight hours and temperature increase, your plants will require more frequent watering, yet not as much as in the heat of summer.
  • This is the best time to repot your plants, giving them extra space to grow and fresh, nutrient rich soil.
  • Fertilizing comes into play, but you shouldn’t fertilize newly re-potted plants, so you’ll have to plan ahead.
  • As it warms up outside, some of you plants can be taken out to enjoy some good sunshine. However, you’ll have to pay special attention to the weather forecast to make sure there are no freezing days ahead.  It’s April in Chicago, the weekend temperature was in the 70s, yet it snowed yesterday and it might again tomorrow 🙁
  • Trimming some of the leggy winter growth, to get the plant nice and bushy is especially important if your plant flowers on the new growth.
  • At this point in time plants that took the wintertime poorly are at their worst state. Extra care has to be given to plants suffering from spider mites or any other type of problem related to the cool, dry, and low light winter conditions.
  • As mentioned earlier this is also the time to get some new plants to cheer you up. Local nurseries have just started acquiring new plants, seedlings and all sort of exiting gardening equipment!
  • One of the most important aspects of spring time though is that it’s propagation time. Some plants you can propagate year round, others are more difficult and spring time is your best bet at getting a cutting to root for example,doing air-layering and so on. It’s great to have a back up, and/or share your plants with firends!

 Some Useful Tips

When to Repot/Fertilize
new spring growth
Already re-poted, this citrus plant had tons of new growth and is rapidly growing…

So how do you know when it’s time to repot your plant or start fertilizing? Well the best way is to watch out for new growth. Not your slow and steady winter growth, but tons of new buds and baby branches appearing on your plant.

If your plant hasn’t outgrown the pot (you propagated it in the fall and/or it was potted late last year), you can simply start with some mild fertilizer and wait for it to grow out (maybe repot in late spring or even early fall).

If your plant has grown roots all though the soil and showing sings for a growth spur, it’s time for it to be repotted. On general wait a few months after reporting to start fertilizing. Your new soil is rich in nutrients and fertilizing it wont be necessary.

You can wait to repot your plants all in one day, but in my case that would be impossible. When it comes to re-potting I like to group my plants based on hardiness. I have quite a few that are hardy up to zone 8, even 7, but are not deciduous when grown indoors. I tend to repot those first, and follow through based on cold tolerance. I have about 4-5 re-potting sessions during the spring time, and almost as many early fall. If you have too many plants, I would recommend looking into ways to set up some to be passively watered along with repotting them. That would be a major help in the hot summer days, when you’ll have an endless amount of plants waiting to be watered almost everyday.

Starting Rhizomes

If you have gotten yourself some rhizomes, the best way to start them is planting them in moist soil in a ziplock bag. You can leave them there short of bursting out of the ziplock bag, and you wont have to watch out for watering them just so (too much will rot them), or having them dry out on accident.achimenes started in ziplock bag
ziplock bag sprouting

Propagating Plants

It’s always a good idea to propagate your plants and have a back up in case you overlook and kill some of them. You can use the ziplock method mentioned above for cuttings as well. Dipping the cutting in growth hormone will speed up the rooting process. Once your cuttings are set up in the ziplock bags with a bit of moist soil, you can just leave them there. The will not require any watering since the ziplock bag creates a closed system, and they can stay there until you are ready to deal with them.
magic jarsAnother awesome way to propagate your plants, and that one works even better than the ziplock bag, is the magic jar. You lace the bottom with small rocks (aquarium gravel) a bit of sand, then top with a layer of soil. Water just enough to get the soil thoroughly moist and put the lid back on. plant in jarYou’ve just created a well drained, high humidity environment, that unlike the zip-lock bag is not sealed off from the outside and can “breathe”. The bottom part with rocks and sand creates a good drainage, but it’s also like a water reservoir. You’ll have to pour a bit of water in your magic jar once every couple of months, depending on how long you leave the lid off while inspecting your plants in there. All you need is a sunny, but not full sun location and you are set. You can grow some of your smaller high humidity plants in there permanently. It’s a nice almost minimum maintenance set up. magic jar

When to Take Your Plants Outside

plants outsideJust like with re-poting, it helps to group your plants based on cold tolerance and take them out for the summer in waves.

Even a frost tolerant plant should not be takenoutside and left overnight if there is the danger of freezing temperature. It’s already growing and frost will kill the new growth and possibly your plant as well. Slowly accustom your plant to the colder outside conditions first.

Once the night temperatures are more or less steadily in the 50s F, or upper 40s F, you can permanently leave your colder tolerant plants out. I would however take them back at night for the first couple of days, before leaving them out permanently.  That will help them acclimate. I would wait for the night temperatures to be in the 60s F to leave some of the more tender tropical plants outside.


Sinningia ‘Georgia Sunset’ x Macrostachya

Sinningia hybridThis is a wonderful sinningia hybrid. ‘Georgia Sunset’ x Machrostachya is a power house when it comes to blooming. It’s a very vigorous plant, and cuttings start blooming merely a month or two after rooting! The newly plated cuttings quickly grow a large tuber. Though its parent, Sinningia machrostachya, requires dormancy and flowers only during the summer, this hybrid, despite having a tuber, flowers year round and requires no dormancy. This is a very easy and vigorous plant to grow.

The leaves are somewhat large, deep green and textured. The flowers are orange red, pinker and somewhat spotted on the inside. They are large and come in clusters. The flowers are nicely displayed and last quite a bit.

This sinnigia hybrid tends to grow out and get leggy and disordered. Pruning and/or staking is a must with this plant. This can be grown out to a large and showy specimen, though I prefer keeping mine small (I’m running out of space).Sinningia machrostachya hybrid


Watering needs:

This plant has average watering needs. Let the soil dry out lightly between watering, but never leave it soggy, as it might cause the tuber to rot. It can take quite a bit of drought as well. Keep it on the dry side during the winter. I like to let this plant dry out and then soak the pot to water it.


Medium light is required. The pant does tend to get leggy, so having more light will help keep it denser, but it will flower and grow even on a north facing window. I would recommend east/west windows, or a north garden window.Sinningia machrostachya hybrid


Higher humidity is a plus, but do not spray the leaves. Humidity tray will help keep this plant looking its best.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

African violet soil with added per-lite or a mixture of per-lite, peat moss and regular potting soil will be perfect. When you repot a plant that already has a tuber formed, it is important to leave the top of the tuber exposed. If you plant the whole tuber under the soil it will likely rot, and also struggle spouting new growth. Diluted african violet fertilizer will be perfect.


Propagation is very easy though cuttings. I have even propagated this plant through a leaf. The cuttings root both in water or in moist soil under high humidity. Newly rooted plants come to flower very quickly.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

It’s a great plant to have! It flowers heavily and from an early age. The flowers are quite showy and numerous. The leaves are deep green and interesting. The plant does tend to get a bit out of hand, and unshapely, so don’t be afraid to prune it heavily if need be. The older leaves do get unsightly (they just seem to get bigger and bigger on top of just aging), so I tend to periodically remove them to keep the plant looking neat. I think this one can be shaped like a bonsai as well, to show off its tuber. Sinningia georgia sunset x machrostachya

Pachystachys lutea (Lollipop Plant)

pachystachys lutea lollipop plantPachystachys lutea, also known as lollipop plant or golden shrimp plant, is a great houseplant to add to your everblooming collection. It makes quite a showy bush with lush leaves. You can keep it small and in shape by pruning, or grow it out to a large specimen at 3 feet in a pot, more if planted in a greenhouse.


This plant is a relative of the shrimp plant Justicia brandegeana, and just like it, has colorful, attractive bracts. It’s the bracts that are really the interesting aspect of the plant. The actual flowers emerge from the bracts and are small, white, and tubular.


The lollipop plant  is not a fussy plant, and does not require high light level to flower. It’s a very rewarding and reliable plant with lush tropical foliage. It’s easy to grow indoors and can be maintained at a medium or a larger size. pachystachys lutea lollipop plant


Watering needs:

Pachystachys lutea is not as drought tolerant as the regular shrimp plant, and does tend to soak up quite a bit of water during the warm months. Overall it has average watering needs. I would recommend letting the soil somewhat dry out between watering, especially during the winter months. If you accidentally dry out the plant, make sure you soak it in water and then drain the excess water well to ensure the soil is thoroughly moist.


pachystachys luteaEast/west or south windows are the best for this plant. Couple of hours of direct sunlight are ideal to keep the plant happy. They do tend to get leggy as they age, so a good light source and some pruning are essential to have a neat plant. I do take this plant out in the summer, and slowly acclimate it to higher light levels without any trouble.


Pachystachys lutea likes higher humidity, and  does like its leaves sprayed occasionally. Lower humidity levels will be tolerated, however the plant will be more susceptible to whiteflies, aphids and spider mites.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Regular potting mix with a bit of extra per-lite to keep the soil from compacting to much. Pachystachys lutea is not very needy. A regular fertilized and occasional blooming fertilizer applied during the growing season (spring to fall) will keep the plant looking its best.


Pachystachys lutea is very easy to propagate through cuttings.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

This is a great plant to have. It will brighten the dull winter months with its stricking yellow candle-like flowers. The flowers (by that I mean the bracts) are pretty large and showy. The lollipop plant makes a wonderful bush and can even be trained into a tree. Pruning it is very important (it flowers from the tips of the branches therefore you want a well branched plant), and form my experience this plant can take quite a hard pruning, returning to blooming in no time.pachystachys lutea golden shrimp lollipop plant

Clerodendrum ugandense (Blue Butterfly Bush)

Clerodendrum ugandenseClerodendrum ugandense, also called Rotheca myricoides, and commonly known as Blue Butterfly Bush, is a wonderful plant to have at home. It’s not a fussy, high requirement plant, and it’s very rewarding to have. The flowers sport two hues of blue and truly resemble butterflies, especially the way they flock around the plant.

The Blue Butterfly Bush requires warmth and light to flower. It flowers heavily during the warm months, and even if you cannot provide enough light and warmth during the winter time it might sporadically flower anyway. In the winter I grow mine next to a west facing window with additional grow lights and it’s doing great. In my experience it’s a very easy to grow plant, virtually pest free, and the only downside is that it can get quite leggy when not pruned.

The plant itself is an average looking bush with light bark and ordinary looking leaves. The leaves have a bit of a peppery smell to them, and that’s probably the reason why this plant is quite resistant to bug infestations. The flowers are relatively small, but the way they are positioned around the plant (like flocking butterflies) and the fact that they are quite numerous, makes up for it.  It can survive down to 20°F, and sprout back from the root ball, but if grown indoors it’s evergreen and with enough light everblooming. Blue Butterfly Bush


Watering needs:

Clerodendrum ugandense has average watering needs. In the hot summer months, I would recommend keeping the soil evenly moist, while during the colder months it will be better to let it dry out a bit between watering to prevent root rot.


Full sun to partial shade is ideal for this plant. Full sun will help get fuller growth and more flowers, though it will flower and grow well at partial sun as well. South/east or west windows are ideal for it. I grow mine on a west facing window and supplement it with grow lights to get a more uniform growth. You can take your plant outside during the warm months for best results. If you do bring your plant back indoors and provide enough light it will flower year round.


Higher humidity is preferable, though this plant can tolerate lower humidity as well. For best results, grow on a humidity tray or next to other humidity loving plants.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Blue Butterfly PlantClerodendrum ugandense doesn’t seem to have any special preference about the soil type. I grow mine in generic potting mix with extra sand/per-lite added to it and a bit of peat moss. It’s a moderate feeder, and requires regular fertilizing from spring to fall. A generic fertilizer should be fine. As usual I would suggest fertilizing with more diluted than the recommended solution.


The butterfly bush can be easily propagated though cuttings, and it does sprout suckers once the plant is well established. Very easy to propagate and share with friends.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Clerodendrum ugandense seems to flower at the tips or new growth. Feel free to trim it anytime it seems to be growing out of proportion. I think the flowers look the best when the stems are hanging out and down, they seem to stand out more that way. I would say this plant is more of a vine-like bush and it will benefit from having some support or having it’s branches braided in a way. I will try to shape mine like a small willow tree, I think that would be the best way to showcase those wonderful little flowers.Clerodendrun ugandense

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

crown of thornsEuphorbia milii is a very easy plant to grow, that thrives on neglect and puts out a colorful display of bracts around the unnoticeable flowers. The crown of thorns, generally blooms heavy in the winter and intermittently throughout the year. However when you have a large specimen plant it’s more or less a continuous bloomer. Interestingly enough light during the night time can disrupt the flowering cycle of this plant according to Tropica Nursery.Crown of thorns euphorbia milii

Crown of Thorns sap is poisonous and can be a skin irritant so be careful when trimming or reporting the plant. If you are making cuttings you can use cold water to stop the oosing of the sap from both the plant and the cutting.

There are variety of hybrids available with colors ranging from red , orange, yellow all the the way to white. The bracts can be stripes even dotted. There are dwarf varieties and variegated ones as well. Flowering depends on the hybrid type, not all are prolific bloomers.Euphorbia milii crown of thorns


Watering needs:

This plant can thrive on neglect. It can tolerate dry soil pretty well. Overall it has lower to medium watering requirements. Don’t let the soil be soggy, as your plant will most likely rot. Some of the hybrids however prefer a bit more frequent watering than your tipical succulent plant.


The higher the better. This plant will grow well on east/west and south facing windows.


Dwarf euphorbia milii
Dwarf Euphobria milii

Euphorbia milii is very tolerant of dry environments and is not needy in any way. It’s pretty much indifferent to the humidity level as you can just as well grow it next to higher humidity plant.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Cactus soil and cactus fertilizer work just fine for Euphorbia milii. You can use a regular fertilizer as well, at low dilution. Be careful during reporting time, I would recommend using gloves or wrapping the plant in newspaper to help with handling it.


Can be propagated though cuttings very easily. As with most succulents, it helps to leave the cutting out a few days to dry out a bit before planting it in moist sand to root. Rooting hormone can be used to speed up the process.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Euphornia miliiThe plant tolerates well being re-potted lower than the original level it was in its old pot. Euphorbia milli can get leggy and the higher the light, the better the plant growth and flowering habit.

Most hybrids available are very easy to flower, are free branching and have a bushy growth habit in general. If the plant grows leggy don’t feel bad for cutting it back.


Episcia ‘Suomi’

Episcia suomiEpiscia ‘Suomi’ is a little gem of a plant. It is a bit of a fussy episcia, but once you match it’s requirements it will rapidly grow out and flower profusely. It’s a very free flowering plant, and with the right condition, especially if grown under lights, will flower year round.

Episcia ‘Suomi’ is a tiny leaved episcia. The leaves are glossy , dark olive green, and have a silver stripe through them. The coloration varies slightly between cultivars and different conditions. The flowers are creamy yellow, with a bit of orange in the center, though some cultivars may lack the orange hint in the flowers.

This plant is perfect for terrarium culture. In fact it pretty much requires it. If grown outside, the leaves crumple and get curled up at the corners, and the plant will eventually end up dying. I grow mine in a glass bowl open at the top, or in a sealed terrarium. Though I’ve had some success growing it outside of a terrarium as well, I’d recommend sticking to a terrarium culture.

This episcia, though a bit tricky to grow at first (I definitely killed a few in the beginning), is a pleasure to have at home, and absolutely lovely to look at. The contrasting foliage, creamy yellow flowers and the tiny stature of the plant are really cute.Episcia suomi


Watering needs:

Episcia_suomiEpscia ‘Suomi’ loves to be watered. If you manage to keep the soil evenly moist, the air humid enough and the temperature warm, you can grow it outside of a terrarium as well. I’ve had some success growing it with a hygrolon strip through the soil, making sure the soil is kept constantly and evenly moist, and planted with some other high humility plants in the same pot to keep the humidity around Suomi high.


Tiny episcia suomiThis espicia is a low light plant. If the light is too low, however, the leaves will get longer, and the plant will produce long stolons that plant themselves at a considerable distance from the main rosette. If the light is too high the leaves will be small and start curling up at the edges. I grow mine in a closed environment next to a west facing window where it doesn’t really get direct light (because it’s to the side of the window) but plenty of very bright indirect light. This plant flowers and grows profusely. I’ve grown this episcia with equal success on a north facing window and well grown up terrarium facing east. I have several episcias ‘suomi’ growing in multiple glass bowl set ups, where the plant adds its dark foliage and lovely yellow flowers to those mini-gardens.


Episcia ‘Suomi’ loves humidity. It is essential for the plant, as it will not tolerate lower humidity. If you manage really high humidity you can let the soil dry out a bit between watering, but having soggy soil and dry air is a sure way to kill this plant. Soggy soil and very humid and warm air (rot conditions) seem to be well tolerated by this episcia. Episcias don’t like to be sprayed, and though this variety has more of a glossy type leaves, it is still no exception. Spraying it will cause wilt spots on the leaves, and you might loose your plant to rot.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Light soil with plenty of per-lite. I use either african voilet soil with extra per-lite, or equal parts generic potting mix, peat moss and per-lite. You can also use vermiculite instead of  per-lite, but keep in mind that vermiculite is more moisture retaining. This is a tiny low light plant, and I use very diluted fertilizer (usually african violet fertilizer) from spring to fall.


Very easy to propagate. Epsicia ‘Suomi’ grows tons of stolons that just plant themselves next to the mother plant. You can simply wait for them to root and repot them, or cut and root stolons yourself. It is great to simply root multiple in propagation jars (a closed glass bowl or terrarium with drainage and constantly moist soil with a tad bit of rooting hormone in there). That way you can have multiple Suomis to experiment with, and try different conditions, knowing that you have a back up. I generally do that with almost all miniatures as soon as I can get enough material form them to propagate them.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Episcia SuomiThis low light miniature is a terrarium plant to be admired. I will recommend growing it in a terrarium and propagating it, before trying anything else. Light level is also very important. It will grow at very low light levels, but you will not get much flowers out of the plant in that case. Bright indirect light, or artificial light is ideal. Episcia ‘Suomi’ can take some early morning or late evening light, but it will die if the light is too strong. It takes a bit of playing with the light levels to get the perfect amount, where it’s not enough to damage the foliage, but plenty to induce tons of flowers. Once you match its needs, this plant becomes a piece of cake to take care of, and its rapid growth and easiness of propagation will give you plenty of material to share, or experiment with.

Passiflora citrina (Yellow Passion Flower)

Passiflora citrinaPassiflora citrina is a cute passiflora vine. It’s relatively small, and though you can really grow it out (it’s a rapid grower), you can easily maintain it small and compact. The leaves have an interesting shape to them and have yellow stripes.

The plat looks it’s best when you get the foliage dark and luscious, since the flowers are yellow. If there is not enough light, or the soil is not rich enough, the leaves will get lighter and yellower, and though you will still get plenty of flowers, they Passiflora citrinawon’t be very noticeable.
For best results, besides giving plenty of warmth, light, and fertilizer you can even add slow release iron supplement to the soil to get the leaves dark enough.

The flowers are not as large and showy as other passionflowers. They are solid yellow and look like numerous stars on the passionflower vine. Before they open and after they close, they look like yellow candles, and are still decorative (each passion flower opens for only a day). They are freely produced year round and are a joy to look at!

Passiflora citrina originates from Central America, and can tolerate lower temperatures for short periods of time. When grown as a house plant, it’s evergreen and everblooming. This passionflower is small and compact, very easy to take care of, and very forgiving of neglect. And given suitable conditions it will constantly bear flowers. Though the flowers are not big and showy, they are lovely to look at and so numerous, when the plant is grow well, that it’s quite a sight.Passiflora citrina


Watering needs:

Passiflora citrina has medium watering needs. In my experience it handles drying out and over watering quite well. When the plant is dried out it seems to drop leaves instead of wilting, and when overwatered the leaves get paler and the soil gets washed off from nutrients. Overall a very forgiving plant. Water generously when the soil feels dry to the touch and use a well draining medium for best results.


Passiflora citrinaIn my experience Passiflora citrina prefers part shade over full sun. You can grow it on east/south or west window inside, but if taking it outside for the summer, it will prefer part shade. This plant will flower with lower light level as well, but it will not do well on a north window.


Passilora citrina is not as fussy s other passionflowers, and can tolerate lower humidity levels quite well. It’s also quite resistant to bugs. When the humidity is really low, the leaves become more brittle, so for best results keep the humidity higher.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:

Rich well draining medium is perfect for this plant. You can use a generic potting mix with slow release fertilizer and some sand or per-lite. I like to add a bit of compost to my mixture, and it seems to give the extra richness to the soil. Generic fertilizer will do just fine. I would say this plant is a moderate feeder, though not as much as some of the more showy passifloras, so be careful not to over-fertilize.


Just like other passifloras, Passiflora citrina is very easy to propagate through cuttings. I’ve successfully rooted cutting any time of the year and any type of cutting would work. The plant grows rapidly, and reaches blooming size in half a year or less depending on the conditions.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Passiflora citrinaAs a rapid growing vine, this plant requires support. Feel free to cut back loose growth and wrap the plant and shape it however you like.

To have a nice dark foliage it helps to add a bit of slow release iron granules to the soil, and ensure the plant is getting plenty of light.

Passiflora citrina doesn’t require as much light as other passionflowers, and can be grown successfully at lower light levels, as well as under grow lights (daylgiht LED works just fine if you provide enough lux to the plant).



Very easy plant to grow, and a generous bloomer, this passiflora makes  a wonderful houseplant!Passiflora citrina

Ruellia brevifolia

Ruellia brevifoliaRuellia brevifolia
is an interesting delicate looking plant. Native to Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, this plant likes a warm and humid environment. They are generally found growing under trees. The plant grows somewhat tall, to about 20 inches, though individual plants don’t spread wide. The flowers are very delicate and almost look like made of thin bright red paper, and appear freely throughout the year.


Ruellia brevifolia is also known by “short leaf petunia”, “red Christmas pride”, “tropical monkey plant”,

Ruellia makoyana
Ruellia makoyana

“firecracker plant’ and other similar names. It’s related to the more widely known Ruellia makoyana, that is more commonly found and has many cultivars and hybrids available. The R. makoyana plant is a more seasonal bloomer, though often flowers out of season as well, nevertheless it’s grown primarily for foliage.

This plant is relatively easy to grow, and is very easy to flower. It quickly sets seed and readily self seeds in it’s pot. It does greatly benefit from couple of hours of direct light, and though Ruellia brevifolia may look delicate, it has quite a wide spreading and strong root system, that quickly takes over a pot.Ruellia brevifolia


Watering needs:

This plant requires medium watering. It can tolerate quite a bit of drying out, if the air is humid enough. Water less in the winter, and water generously in the summer. Ruellia brevifolia can take some neglect.


Ruellia brevifoliaPart shade is ideal for this plant. East and west windows will be perfect. You can grow it at lower light, or a north facing window as well but since the plant is already naturally leggy, it might not be feasible. Strong direct noon sun will burn the leaves. If you slowly acclimate your plant to higher light level you could grow it in almost full sun, though the leaves might turn a bit purple at the edges.






Ruellia brevifolia likes high humidity. Spraying the plant frequently will help reduce the risk of it getting spider mites. A humidity tray can also be quite beneficial. The plant has somewhat large, glossy leaves and loves being sprayed. Make sure the place you are growing it is not stagnant and has some air flow to prevent fungus infections.

Soil Type and Fertilizer:
Ruellia brevifoliaI use normal potting mix with a bit of peat moss, sand, and a bit of per-lite. This plant seems to rapidly grow roots in a sandy soil. It’s not very fussy about the soil type and you can probably grow it in other soil types and even in the pots of larger plants you grow. I use diluted generic fertilizer spring to fall.


Ruellia brevifolia easily makes seed and seeds itself. I believe it can also be propagated though cuttings, as easily as its relative, though I haven’t tried it since all the seedling it produces grow very quickly and start blooming early.

Other Care Tips and Personal Observations: 

Ruellia brevifoliaThis plant is cute and delicate looking, but very easy to grow. The flowers are thin, wrinkled, tubular and bright red. It’s a great plant to have. I think in could make a wonderful ground cover in warmer climates. Though it spreads quite easily and grows wide roots, it doesn’t seem to suffocate other plants grown in the same pot, even the tiny delicate ones, so I think it will make a great plant for floral arrangements. Ruellia brevifolia is overall a pleasure to have at home.