Codonanthe Gracilis

This pretty trailing plant produces dainty, waxy flowers which appear in late Spring and Summer. In the wild, it is a tree-dwelling plant, which favours a close relationship with the residents of aerial anthills: at the base of some of the leaves may be seen red nectary glands which attract the ants. It is thought that they provide a cross-pollination and seed transportation service for the plant. In the home, use this graceful plant in a basket or on a pedestal so that the sweeping stems may be seen to advantage. Grow at a Winter minimum of 10°C (50°F), with an optimum range of 15-30°C (60-86°F). It has been suggested that lack of flowers may be overcome by the provision of a cool Winter rest period: from December to February keep the plant at 10-14°C (50-57°F) in good light.

This plant likes good, but indirect, light: the weak light of the sun in Winter is alright, but keep out of direct sunlight for the rest of the year.

The amount of water required will depend upon the average growing temperature: at the higher end of the range, the plant may need a lot of water when in active growth. Always allow the top of the compost to dry before watering thoroughly again; in Winter, reduce the amount given to prevent wilting. If peat-based compost is used, total drying out must be avoided, as it is very difficult to remoisten.C. Gracilis tolerates low humidity levels: during the Summer growing period, growth is often improved if a fine atomizer is used to mist the surrounding air. Feed fortnightly during the growing season, using a high-potash (K) fertilizer at half strength.

Repot each year after flowering. A blend of equal parts by volume of moss peat and perlite, plus half a part by volume of chopped sphagnum moss, is free-draining and has been found successful.

The waxy leaves which enable this plant to tolerate low humidity are still prone to shrivelling in Winter if the plant is kept very dry: water just enough to keep the leaves turgid.

PLANT SURGERY

Mealy Bugs will hide in the leaf axils under their protective waxy coating: eradicate with a cotton bud and methylated spirit, or a systemic insecticide. Botrytis (grey mould) will be a problem if the humidity level is too high, or if the plant is kept wet around the crown. High temperatures and a lack of ventilation create a fungal paradise: remove all rotting debris, correct the growing conditions and treat with a fungicide.

21. June 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Comments Off on Codonanthe Gracilis

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