Magic Carpet Saxifrage
From the much hardier Mother-Of-Thousands has been developed this attractive cultivar;stolonifera ‘Tricolor’ is more compact than the species and boasts richly-coloured, almost circular, foliage of dark green, silver-white and a variable rosy pink flush. Be choosy when selecting this plant: not all are as well and as richly coloured as the one illustrated. Small white flowers are borne, but are small and hardly noticeable. Whereas the species will withstand the cold, S. s. ‘Tricolor’ needs much warmer temperatures and is an ideal plant for the living room. Grown in a hanging basket, the plant’s form may be appreciated, while the many plantlets which form at the ends of the runners will add to the display.
Grow S. s. ‘Tricolor’ at an optimum temperature of 16°C (61°F), which is much warmer than the species can tolerate. If the temperature rises above 21°C (70°F), provide plenty of ventilation.
Provide bright, but indirect, light: direct sun will fade the leaf colour and may scorch the leaf surfaces. Water thoroughly during the growing season, allowing thesurface to dry out before the next thorough watering. In Winter, less water will be required, and basket-grown plants should be checked in case excess water is held in the drip tray. In addition, try to keep water off the leaves: in Winter, water in the morning to allow the maximum amount of time for the foliage to dry before temperatures fall at night.
This plant needs no additional humidity; even if temperatures increase, do not mist the hairy foliage, but check that the compost is moist, as this will give off enough moisture to satisfy the plant.
If this plant is repotted in fresh compost each year, feed should not be required; foliage colour may suffer if it is over-fed. If a feed is used, dilute it to half strength.
Repot the Magic Carpet Saxifrage each Spring, and replace every three years or so with newly-rooted plantlets. Grow basket plants in a peat-based compost – it places less strain on the supporting hook – but be sure to check the plant regularly, as the compost will dry out rapidly. If watering is likely to be a problem, grow this attractive foliage plant in a pot or half-pan, and use a loam-based compost instead.
The plantlets which appear at the stem ends – are easy to root: place the base of the plantlet onto suitable compost in a separate pot. Peg the stem in place with a hairpin or wire hoop: keep moist, warm and in good light. Disconnect the plantlet from the parent plant once it has rooted.
Pests: The temperature requirements of this cultivar make it prone to attack by Aphids and Red Spider Mite: use a suitable insecticide to control the former, and watch out for dappling of the leaves to indicate RSM. Plants may be rescued by use of an insecticide-impregnated spike, but discard badly-infested plants.
Leaf colour Over-use of a nitrogen-rich fertilizer will reduce leaf colour, as will insufficient light.