All posts by Vesi

Kohleria ‘Dale’s Copper Penny’

See all kohlerias.Kohleria Dale's Copper Penny

Kohleria ‘Dale’s Copper Penny’ is a larger robust kohleria hybrid.

It’s a tall upright plant, that readily produces offshoots and rhizomes. The stems are thick, robust, and covered with red fuzz.

The leaves are very bright green, with a bit of a coppery hue to them, which set this plant off from the many dark-leaved hybrids out there.

Overall, the plant has a sturdy natural look to it. The flowers are very long, bright-red and fuzzy.

From a presonal exprience this particular kohleria took a long time to grow and flower. It’s possible that it just might require more light than some of the other varieties and it was’t getting enough, but I did wait quite a bit to see if flower.

However, once it has started to flower, it hasn’t been without flowers. The flowers seem to last longer too.

Kohleria Dale's Copper Penny

Kohleria ‘Heartland’s Blackberry Butterfly’

Kohleria Heartland's Blackberry Butterfly

See all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘Heartland’s Blackberry Butterfly’ is a beautiful kohleria hybrid.

It’s a medium sized kohleria with an excellent growth habit. The leaves are very dark.

The flowers are bright magenta tubes with light-colored faces, speckles with dark-purple dots, and are displayed beautifully against the foliage.

The spots vary based on amount of light. The more direct light the plant gets, the more numerous the speckles on the face of the flowers. The leaves also become smaller and the plant grows denser. Slightly less light, and you’ll get larger leaves and brighter flower faces with less spots.

As most kohlerias the plant flowers while still small, but can grow to a pretty impressive specimen size.

Kohleria ‘An’s Nagging Macaws’

Kohleria An's Nagging MacawsSee all kohlerias.

Kohleria ‘An’s Nagging Macaws’, is a large showy hybrid. One of the larger growing kohlerias that I’ve had. It grows tall with robust stems, large medium green leaves, and flowers heavily.

The plant is a very rapid grower, and produces lots of offshoots and rhizomes.

The flowers are very showy, and come mostly in clusters from the tip of the plant, and less often along the stems.

Very easy to grow plant.

 

 

Kohleria ‘Silver Feather’

Kohleria Silver Feather

See all kohlerias.

Medium sized plant. Though the leaves are large and showy, the plant doesn’t grow very tall.

Kohleria Silver Feather

It’s a good rapid grower and quickly fills up a pot.

 

This hybrid is a bit more of a seasonal bloomer for me, but the foliage completely makes up for it. This kohleria sports showy, large leaves with beautiful silver markings in the center, pink metallic sheen to them, and white fuzzy hairs making the leaves took almost frosted.

The flowers are long , tubular, bright orange-red, and beautifully hang over the leaves. This plant has an excellent growth habit and stays dense, bushy and upright.Kohleria Silver FeatherKohleria Silver Feather

Kohlerias

Kohlerias are fun and easy to grow plants. They are free blooming in general. Some are more seasonal bloomers, others are everblooming. They come in large variety. Here are some cultivars and hybrids. All are very easy to grow.

An’s Nagging Macaws

This is a very showy variety. Heavy blooming with somewhat large flowers. This is a tall big plant with large leaves. One of the biggest growing kohlerias I’ve had.

If you want a large showy plant, this definitely will make you happy.

Rapid grower, that spreads and produces lots of rhizomes very quickly.

Designer’s Jewel

This plant has large flowers and leaves, but tends to stay very short. Heavy bloomer with large showy flowers.

The Leaves are fluffy and light gray.

 Heartland’s Blackberry Butterfly

Medium sized plant. Can grow pretty tall. Good growth habit. The dark speckles on the face of the flower vary. Bright magenta fuzzy tubes, nicely contrasted by the dark foliage.

Very consistent heavy bloomer.

Maki

This tiny little kohleria is really cute.

Not the best bloomer, but a lovely plant to have in your terrarium.

Needs higher humidity.

Rebecka

Medium sized plant with medium sized leaves and somewhat large flowers.

Flower tubes are orange-red, and the face is bright yellow. Beautifully contrasted by the dark foliage.

Nice growth habit and a heavy, generous bloomer.

This is a very pretty plant with dense base and longer upright stems that may or may not need stalking. Flowers through the length of the stem.

Red Ryder


Very showy plant. The flowers are very big and bright red.

Large lightly marbled medium green leave.

Blooms consistently. Despite the large flower and leaves, the plant stays relatively short.

Ruby

One of my favorite kohlerias.  Balanced growth habit, medium height. It’s not a very large plant at all. The flowers are nicely displayed throughout the height of the plant. Consistent bloomer. I love the overall appearance of this hybrid. The undersides of the leaves and the stems are purplish.

Pink Shadows

Another awesome kohleria. I expected this one to me a smaller growing variety, after I saw it at a gesneriad show, but it grew decently large for me. The leaves are very dark, very large, and beautifully marbeled. The flowers are numerous and mostly at the top of the plant, pink and creamy orange. It’s a really pretty plant.

Silver Feather

Medium to large plant. Showy large leaves with beautiful silver markings in the center.

The flowers are somewhat long and look like red tubes hanging over the leaves. This plant has an excellent growth habit and stays dense, bushy and upright.

Not a very consistent bloomer, but it is still more often in flower than not. The beautiful foliage makes up for it.

More sun = smaller leaves and more flowers

Less sun= larges leaves and less flowers.

Very easy to grow, and quickly fills up the pot.

Tropical Night

Smallish plant. Very heavy bloomer. The small salmon flowers are just so precious. They look beautiful against the dark reddish leaves. Very easy to grow.

Here is a post with more more about this specific kohleria: Tropical Night

Vanilla Sky

 

Large showy flowers. This a new plant, so I’ll have to see how large it will get. So far it seems to flower from the tip of the plant mostly.

Peridots Rolo

Cute somewhat small kohleria with bright pink flowers and beautiful marbled foliage.

More about this specific variety: Peridots rolo

Kohleria Peridots Rolo

Kohleria Peridots Rolo

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”.

P.S

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.

 

Requirements

Watering needs:

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

Light:

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.

Humidity:

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.

Propagation:

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
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

Requirements:

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.

Light:

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

Humidity:

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:

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