Solandra : Greenhouse Plants
W – warm, minimum of 13°C (55°F) / T – tropical, minimum of 18°C (65°F)
My favourite species is Solandra maxima (S. hartwegii) the Chalice Vine or Gold Cup from Mexico which, although growing more profusely in tropical conditions, can manage very well under lower temperatures. It is a strong climber which does not cling and must therefore have some support. I find that when grown cooler it will shed its leaves after flowering and spend the lower temperatures of winter in a dormant state during which it should be kept only just moist and not fed. This is actually beneficial to flowering and they are worth striving for. Each flower is a huge trumpet which opens a creamy-white but gradually changes through age to an orange-brown colour. The scent of this exotic flower is reminiscent of pina colada. Fortunately, this plant will flower when only 1 or 1.2 cm (3 or 4 ft) tall although a large greenhouse is needed to appreciate it fully. Propagation is byor seed. Just before the plant is due to begin growth it pays to shorten the flowering shoots to restrict the size of the plant.