GOLDFISH PLANT

This epiphytic, tropical member of the Gesneriaceae family is related to both Saintpaulia and Sinningia, combining the glorious flowers of the group with a trailing habit to make one of the best of all houseplants for hanging baskets.

The Goldfish Plant has the added quality of variegated foliage, which provides interest all year through. The slender stems and leaves are covered in tiny red dish hairs, while the double lipped, scarlet, tubular flowers are marked with a yellow throat patch. These appear in Spring or Summer.

This plant needs a fairly IK high temperature for success: aim for an 18°C (65°F) minimum, with 24-30°C (75-86°F) during periods of active growth. Give the plant a rest period in Winter with peratures of 10-16°C (50-60°F); this often increases the amount of bloom produced.

Suspend the basket where the plant will receive strong, but not direct, light; in very hot Summer weather, it may be necessary to provide additional shading. For the best flower production, good light is essential.

Water this plant well and keep the compost moist during the growing season: it may be wise to use a hanging basket with drip-tray attached. During the Winter rest period, the compost should be kept barely moist.

In Summer, growth will be improved if the humidity level is increased in the plant’s immediate vicinity: use an atomizer to mist the surrounding air, but try to prevent excessive moisture adhering to the flowers, buds or foliage. Don’t mist if temperatures are low.

A high-potash (K) feed is beneficial if given at alternate waterings during the growing season: no feed is needed during the rest period.

Repot this plant every other year in late Spring, using a free-draining medium: a compost of equal parts by volume of moss peat and perlite, plus half a part by volume of chopped sphagnum moss has been found successful, as has a compost of equal parts loam-based compost and sphagnum moss. Use the former if the plant is in a hanging basket where weight may be a problem.

To stimulate new growth, prune stems back after the flowers have faded; dead-head regularly.

PLANT SURGERY

Aphids will gather in sticky masses at the ends of the new succulent shoots: eradicate and control these pests using a suitable insecticide._Leaf drop The leaves will begin to drop if the plant is kept in a draught. Water problems Over-watering may cause the flowers to wither and die prematurely. Under-watering will turn the foliage yellow.

10. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Comments Off on GOLDFISH PLANT

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