Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dracaena


Dracaena
Silhouette plant , florida beauty , striped dracaena or fountain plant

Ideal conditions

Light and position
All dracaenas need good light but care should be taken to avoid putting them in very bright sunlight as there is then a possibility of scorching . they should also be protected from cold draughts . taller plants can be placed on the floor

Temperature range :
Dracaenas can survive quite low temperatures in the region of 10 C ( 50 F) , although their leaves will droop in such conditions and eventually fall off . however 3 couple of weeks in such temperatures will do no harm . the ideal temperature is somewhere between 15-21 C ( 59-70 F ) .

Watering :
The plant needs plenty of water , especially during the growing period , throughout which the potting mixture should be kept very moist be careful , however , not to stand the pot in water and in the winter months , keep the soil fairly dry . they also need a humid atmosphere , so stand the plants on trays of damp horticultural aggregate .

Feeding
Use a liquid fertilizer during the growing period but it should not be fed during the winter . do not use a foliar feed as dracaenas do not do well if their leaves become wet

Seasonal care :
During the summer months , when the plant is growing , water is the most important thing to remember . making the roots excessively wet should be avoided , so allow the plant to dry out to some extent between each watering . do not allow it to get bone dry in winter . many of the taller growing plants will need cutting back , and this can done at any time of the year

Soil
Use soil – based potting mixture and pot on the plants during the summer months , ensuring that the new pots are not too large . it is a good idea with some plants to remove the top layer of old soil and replace it with fresh mixture . pot on only when the plant is nearly pot-bound 












Azalea indica (Florists azalea)




Azalea indica
Florists azalea

Ideal conditions
Azaleas can grown both indoors and out , and in both cases need a light location out of direct sun . if there is danger of frost , azaleas must be brought indoors . so they will survive from one year to the next , azaleas should be put outside during the summer months

Temperature range
Azaleas prefer cool temperatures of between 10-15 C ( 50-59F ) which will ensure that the plants continue to flower abundantly . when moved indoors , the temperature in the room should not be allowed to rise above 10 C ( 50 F ) or the plants will dry out

Watering
When in flower , azaleas need copious amounts of lime – free water which should be given every two days , never let a plant dry out , check it at least twice a week . if dry plunge into a bucket of tepid water until beads of moisture appear on the topsoil

Feeding
A weak liquid fertilizer given at regular intervals will help maintain lush, green foliage , but avoid heavy applications when in flower , add fertilizer to the water every two weeks

Seasonal care :
Much greater than the danger of pests and diseases is that of neglect , especially neglecting to water the plants adequately , at all stages of development , whether indoors or out . the roots of the azalea must be kept wet . in late spring the plants can be moved outside . plunge the pots to their rims in a bed of wet peat in a shady location . bring the plants indoors before the first frost . avoid pruning as this will result in fewer flowers the following year .

Soil
Potting should be done in the spring with commercially prepared azalea compost . press the mixture firmly around the rootball , water it well and place the plant in a shady location 






Allamanda cathartica (Golden trumpet vine)





Allamanda cathartica
Golden trumpet vine

Light and position :
Allemandes love strong direct sunlight , for two or three hours a day in summer whenever possible . if the allamanda is grown in a sunroom or conservatory , encourage the plant to grow up into the roof space it will love it there and provide the plants below with natural shade

Temperature range :
Winter minimums around the 16 C ( 16 F ) mark are vital to the well – being of allamandas

Watering :
Provide allamandas with moderate amounts of water  during the spring and summer allowing the top 12 mm (1/2 in ) of compost to dry out between waterings . in winter only give enough water to prevent the compost from drying out completely  they like to be grown in a moist atmosphere so mist the plant regularly with soft rainwater . if this presents a problem , stand the plant in a tray containing a dampened horticultural aggregate . the moisture from this will gradually evaporate as the temperature rises , providing just the sort of humidity that an allamanda thrives on

Feeding
Feed allamandas with a liquid fertilizer once a fortnight during the growing season.

Seasonal care :
 During the growing season allamandas can make a huge amount of growth . they will need an annual prune in early spring not just to keep them under control but because pruning also encourages new growth to break out along the stems and it is the new growth that carries flowers , pruning will kick – start the plant into growth so start giving it extra water as soon as the pruning has been completed

Soil :
Allamandas prefer a soil – based mixture which provides them with good drainage . they will grow best in a large planter or a border . report annually . when the maximum pot size has been reached , top- dress annually.




Beloperone guttata




Beloperone guttata:
Shrimp plant

Light and position :
The shrimp plant needs plenty of light to maintain the colour of its bracts and encourage flowering but in common with many plants must be protected from direct hot sunlight , it will not tolerate continual shade or a cold , draughty position

Temperature range :
The plant is fairly tolerant with regard to temperature , enjoying 3 range between 13-21 C ( 55-70 f) . extreme conditions of heat or cold are not usually good for any houseplant , and the shrimp plant is no exception it will prefer the cooler end of the temperature range during winter

Watering :
 water can be added to the soil from the top of the pot . this is a plant which likes moist conditions , but not saturation , if the soil is allowed to become too dry , on the other hand , the leaves will quickly droop so watering should be frequent in summer

feeding :
frequent , regular feeding is essential for a well – established plant . if the plant develops yellowing. Curled foliage , it is probably suffering from chlorsis ( iron deficiency ) and should be treated by watering the soil with a special iron solution

seasonal care :
active plants require ample watering during summer months , and may need almost as much during the winter , since the soil must not be allowed to dry out . the shrimp plant has a tendency to become rather spindly , and this can be countered by pinching out the growing tips of a young plant to encourage bushiness when the plant needs pruning this can be done following the main summer flowering or in the spring when it moves into a more active period of growth

soil :
it may be necessary to report a strong , young plant twice in its first year , and in general , frequent potting on is essential . use a soil – based potting mixture and pot the plant firmly . for propagating top cuttings , use a peat and sand mixture 




Browallia speciosa (Sapphire flower or bush violet)




Browallia speciosa
Sapphire flower or bush violet

Ideal condition
Light and position
Once mature , browallias need strong light , two or three hours of direct sunlight a day whenever possible . seedings will need to be kept out of direct sunlight , but they do need good light

Temperature range
Anything much higher than 16-17 ( 61-63 F) while flowering will make the buds drop, which will in turn shorten the flowering period . while raising seedlings. Maintain a minimum temperature of 10 C


Watering:
Water browallias freely while flowering , providing as  much as is necessary to moisten the compost thoroughly at each watering but allowing the top 12 mm ( 1/2 in )  of potting mixture to dry out before watering again . at other times allow the top 18 mm (3/4 in ) to dry out between waterings . remember that while browallias are growing freely in good strong light , the compost will dry out very quickly during warm weather m so they may need plenty of watering attention . although these little plants thrive in normal humidity levels , hot dry air may cause bud drop . help to prevent this by standing the pots on trays of horticultural aggregate or by regular spraying with soft rainwater

Feeding :
Once the plants have started flowering . provide normal doses of liquid feed at two –weekly intervals .

Seasonal care :
Pinch out growing tips from time to encourage bushier plants . provide good winter light when growing on winter seedings . dispose of plants after flowering

Soil :
If grown from seed the plants will need to be started in seed compost and then moved to a soil based potting compost as they mature . mature plants purchased from a garden centre will not need repotting at all






Brunfelsia pauciflora



Light and position :
Brunfelsias need light shade during the summer , the sort they will get if they are placed beneath another taller plant . during the winter months they need stronger light , if possible two or three hours of sunlight a day

Temperature range :

A minimum winter temperature of 10 c ( 50 F) is perfect for these plants while they are resting . given a slight boost to 15 c ( 59 F) in the early spring , the plant will start to produce new growth in preparation for the summer flowering display

Watering
Water freely during the spring and summer when the plants are actively growing . give as much water as is necessary to keep the compost thoroughly moist at all times . during their resting period they need the bare minimum of water so provide only enough to prevent the compost from drying out completely .
Brunfelsias will really thrive if the air around them is kept moist , so give them a daily spray with soft rainwater .
Alternatively , stand their pots on trays of moist aggregate

Seasonal care :
To encourage the plants to produce new flowering wood and to keep them withen their allotted space, they will need a really good prune in early spring . using sharp secateurs , remove as much as half of the previous season's growth

Soil

Brunfelsias like to be firmly planted in a soil – based compost . provide extra drainage in the form of broken crocks at the base of the pot . repot annually at pruning time until the final pot size is reached thereafter top-dress