This odd, but spectacular, Brazilian plant may still be offered for sale as Pavonia multiflora; if well-grown, the unusual flowers are absolute show-stoppers, and for that reason Triplochamys multiflora has been a popular conservatory plant for many years. While forced plants are available all year through, plants kept from year to year will bloom from Summer through to Autumn. The long (25cm/10in), narrow leaves are a good deep green and contrast well with the scarlet of the bracts and flowers, which appear in the upper leaf axils. Each flower has a whorl of long, narrow, red, hairy bracts, which are slightly longer than the purple sepals; the blue-anthered stamens provide additional visual interest.
Triplochamys multiflora needs cool conditions in Winter, with a minimum of about 16°C (61°F); in Summer 18°C (65°F) is a preferred temperature. Be sure to ventilate well if temperatures exceed 24°C (75°F).
This plant should be provided with good, bright, direct light, although light shade will be tolerated.
Water Triplochamys multiflora well during the Summer growing season, adjusting the amount of water given to match both the size of the plant and the growing conditions: large plants may need water twice a day in Summer. The surface of theshould just begin to dry before watering again. In the Winter, give the plant just enough moisture to prevent the foliage from shrivelling.
If the temperatures are kept cool in Winter, this plant will need no additional humidity. However, in the heat of Summer, mist the foliage each morning and make sure that the plant is completely dry before it is exposed to any direct sunshine.
Feed this plant every two weeks with a proprietary feed from late Spring through to the end of the growing season.
Repot this plant every Spring, using a good-quality, free-draining, loam-based compost, which will add stability to this tall plant; at the same time, reduce the size of the plant by half.
Spring, any dead, crossing or damaged shoots should be removed: in addition, remove any excessively leggy stems by pruning back hard.
Whitefly attack new succulent growth: adopt a programme of preventativein early Spring, using one of the many products available for controlling this pest.
Red Spider Mite will rapidly take hold if given a chance: act quickly to gain any chance of control, using an insecticide-impregnated plant spike or the biological control Phytoseiulus persimilis.