Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane or leopard lily)







Dieffenbachia
Dumb cane or leopard lily

Light and position
Place dieffenbachia in a fairly light position , but shaded from direct sun . it should not be within range of heat from a radiator or cold draughts from a door or window . the colour of variegated plant will suffer if it has poor light

Temperature range
A dieffenbachia will live in a temperature of 15 C ( 59 F ) but would probably prefer nearer 21 C ( 70 F ) . in higher temperatures it is important to keep up a good level of humidity . a cool , moist atmosphere can be tolerated for a short period , but may cause some falling of the leaves


Moisture is required all year round , but the plant can be watered less in winter than in summer , when tepid water should be used . during spring and summer growth , watering should be generous and frequent .

Feeding
While the diffenbachia is producing new leaf growth it vshould be fred with every watering , using weak liquid fertilizer introduced through the soil . feeding with every other watering is sufficient at other times

Seasonal care :
Light and moisture all year around are vital to the health of this plant . a dark location or cold draughts will result in general decline , spindly growth and loss of leaves . in cold and wet conditions the leaves will brown at the edges . propagation is most successful from stem cuttings. Placed in peat and sand and kept moist and in a high temperature of 21-23 C (70-75 F) the plant requires the most attention receiveing plenty of food and water , during the summer months

Soil :
If the plant seems too large for its pot when purchased , it can be repotted immediately . otherwise , wait until the plant is well established and repot in summer , using an open potting mixture containing loam and peat 














Cyclamen persicum (Florist's cyclamen or shooting star)



Cyclamen persicum
Florist's cyclamen or shooting star

Light and position
Given cool , light and airy conditions , these plants remain in flower for a longer period and have a bright , healthy appearance . avoid subjecting them to direct sunshine

Temperature range :
A temperature range between 13-18 C ( 55-65 F ) suits a cyclamen very well and it will flower better if the temperatures are kept at the lower end of the range. If the surrounding environment is too oht and dry the leaves of the plant will yellow. In common with many other plants, the cyclamen abhors cold draughts or sudden changes of temperature.

Watering :
A cyclamen will be damaged if the soil becomes sodden. Water from below to moisten the compost , but never leave the plant standing in water . the plant will come to no harm if it gets to a stage where the leaves droop slightly before watering is repeated . ensure good humidity while flowering by standing plants in trays of horticultural aggregate

Feeding :
A weak liquid feed given through the soil with each watering is required while the plant is in leaf . as with the watering . any excess should be avoided . the plant must be given the most attention during winter and spring

Seasonal care :
The flowering season of the cyclamen is autumn to spring and the growth dies down after the flowering . the plant can then be allowed to dry out slightly and rest in a cool , but frost- free position until new growth starts in the summer . repot in midsummer when growth has re-started , leaving half the tuber above the level of the compost . at this stage the corm can be divided and the sections repotted for propagation of the plant

Soil
A good soil – based compost mixture is suitable for potting at any stage and can also be used to raise plants from seed .
Cyclamen flower well if slightly pot bound 

Columnea (Goldfish plant)




Columnea
Goldfish plant

Light and position
The columnea requires a position with good light . to encourage flowering , but shaded from direct sunlight . it is best seen as a hanging plant , so it could be placed near the window in a bright room . however , it will not tolerant draughts

Temperature range
Few plants care for a large temperature range or periods of excessive heat or cold . a suitable range from the columnea is 15-21 C ( 59-70F ) . maintain steady but cooler temperatures during the winter flowering period

Watering :
Water the plant regularly during the summer growth period , giving slightly less in winter . water the soil from the top of the pot or pour it into the saucer . always avoiding the foliage. Keeping the soil almost dry during mid winter will encourage better flowering . ensure high humidity at all times.

Feeding :
The plant is not too fussy in its feeding habits , but established plants should be fed about once week in summer when they are active , once months during winter . cease feeding towards the end of winter when the watering is cut to a minimum.

Seasonal care :
The columnea is quite easy to care for and if the period of near starvation is adhered to in winter , the plant will flower more freely . the foliage can be trimmed to shape at any time when the plant is not in flower , but it is as well to cut back all stems to two or three leaf joints once every two years at repotting time . Beware of over watering at all times , as this can ruin the leaves and ultimately whole branches

Soil :
Cuttings from the plant will root quite well moist conditions and a temperature of 21 C ( 70 F ) . when transferring them to a hanging basket , use a peat – based potting mixture and include at least five cuttings , to ensure full and impressive growth