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tjsangel

Columnea question

tjsangel
16 years ago

Hi,

This may sound stupid, but here goes. I have a small Columnea banksii (sp?) It's in a 4 inch pot. My question is, how big do they have to be to flower, and do they flower all year? Mine hasnt gotten buds yet but I've only had it a few months. I keep it in bright morning sun. Thanks!

Jen

Comments (18)

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Columnea 'Banksii' est un hybride connu depuis longtemps. Ses tiges rampantes peuvent atteindre 1,20 m. Ses feuilles sont charnues, soyeuses, vert sombre, de 2,5 4,5 cm de long sur 1,5 à 2 cm de large. Les corolles sont écarlates au c½ur veiné de jaune. Elles mesurent 6,5 cm de long et sont enserrées dans un calice vert de 1,3 cm. La floraison peut se poursuivre toute l'année.

    Jen - sorry - that's what came first on the search. My guesstimation of this all French will be - it is a Hybrid but of the long standing, corolla of the flower is yellow and red, 6,5 sm long - just under 3 inches, calyx - lower part of the flower is 1.3 sm, .....Blooms all year...

    The critical thing about Columneas - they like to be cold at the night time - so put yours between the curtains and the window - so in a day time it will be warm, in the night - cool. If you will cool it down to 55F - you will scare it to flower.

    Some species bloom once a year - but looks like this one will bloom intermittenly through the year.

    Cheers

    Irina

  • stonesriver
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi, Jen:
    I have over 20 different columnea varieties and I find they need to be pot bound to to bloom well.

    I have one, 'Maureen O'Hara,' which desperately needs to be potted but has so many blooms I'm going to wait. They also don't like to be over fertilized. I use a 1/4 tsp to a gallon of water of Dyna-Gro when I'm wanting roots and the same of Dyna-Bloom when I want blooms. I only use fertilized water every other time I fill the reservoir. Some of my columnea are in windows (Southern exposure) and some are under lights. All of this works for mine in my environment but may not work for you.

    I bought a 'Midnight Lantern' from Lauray of Salisbury and it took that plant well over a year to look like anything and then longer to bloom. I bought two starter plants from Lyndon Lyon Nursery, put them in a 6" pot, set them next to the Lauray columnea and they bloomed within a month. Maybe they finally spurred the Lauray plant to do something besides sit there. ;-)

    Hope this helps.

    Linda

    BTW, Jon, I'm now addicted to Chiritas!!! :-)

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  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Linda - hi,

    Midnight Lantern is a pain in a neck. Looks like it likes to be under lights and high humidity.

    I got a starter - it was shedding leaves, didn't grow - so I cut off the tips, stuck them in a small pot and forgot it on a shelf. It grew well, attached itself to the mat and started blooming like crazy. I unattached it from the mat, took it to the show, got my blue ribbon and Best in Class. it didn't like dry air in a show room - I brought it home - now it is in a position number 1 - sheds leaves and looks awful. The second columnea which doesn't do good for me is a Canary Song from Kartuz. Just about the same.

    Alladin's Lamp, microphyla, Early Bird, Carnival, 2 noname from Lowe's, Schoenbrunn, Julia - do good without any complaints.

    Alladin's Lamp is the most rewarding and easy for me. It sure needs to be repotted - but it is covered with blooms, then with berries and then with blooms again. I water everything with 1/8 of a teaspoon of Peters's for AVs. It is very dry here in Denver - and 1/4 of a teaspoon produces salt deposits.

    So - Jen - you can consider getting this one - the bloom is HUGE.

    What Chiritas do you have and which do you recommend?

    Cheers

    Irina

  • stonesriver
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi, Irina:
    I had never had problems with 'Midnight Lantern' thriving and blooming except the cuttings I got from Lauray. I think the cuttings I received were of poor quality as 'Midnight Lantern' was the only one of 15 varieties that even survived. I've grown/rooted columnea for 15+ years and never had that "death rate." :-)

    The Chiritas? Well, I love 'Moonlight,' 'Betty,' 'Diane Marie,' 'Kazu,' 'Hisako,' 'Aiko,' 'Tamiana' and 'Starburst.' All are under lights and have grown and bloomed very well for me. Some are more upright ('Moonlight' and 'Kazu') and others are the rosette shape ('Hisako'and 'Betty'). I just love them.

    All of mine came from "Kathystrep" on eBay and were healthy starter plants.

    I know what you mean about dry conditions. It's why I gave up on episcias. We heat with a wood stove and it's awful. I reservoir water and to help with the buildup of salts, I take each plant to the sink every four to six weeks and flush the plants until the water runs clear. It really perks them up.

    Nice to "meet" you. I've been out of pocket for several months. . . but I'm baaaaaack. :-)

    Linda

    PS: I also have begonias (mostly rhizos), trailing African violets and self-heading philos.

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Linda,

    Could it be that it was the wrong time of the year or moon cycle? My Columneas usually root like weeds - but last time the cutting survival was poor.

    I have Chirita Tamiana - I started it from seeds - God - it took me some time to give away all the babies - lots of them. Hisako blooms quite often in a natural light and grows really beautiful - but my husband always trips it over and damages the leaves. May be I will put it in Oyama pot - it is much more stable. I have Chirita Angustifolia - but it doesn't grow symmetrical for me - someway it looks like a magpie nest whatever I do.

    I have a couple of begonias from Rob - China Doll and Queen Olimpus - so far they are on wicks and mats together with rest of the plants.

    I have several Kohlerias, they do good for me - grow on natural light on the southern window behind the screen. I have 4 Aeschynanthus plants, 5 Nematanthus and 100 some violets.

    I have my episcias in a fish tank with lights. They do good most of the time - but beware of the botrytis - I just lost a lot of them - it is like a forest fire. No way I can grow them outside.

    What is self-heading philos?

    Cheers

    irina

  • jon_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i always have good luck rooting columneas under lights and enclosed. I am now using the domes that fit on the 10/20 flats, rather than individual ziplocks for each pot. I find that in the larger domes the humidity is more to their liking. Under baggies they sometimes can rot, due, probably (guessing here) to the constant condensation on the baggies coming into contact with the cuttings. But, definitely, the health of the cutting has a lot to do with its survival and rooting. When I have something particularly rare, such as a new cutting of something or a cutting that isn't in the best health, I will forgo my usual perlite/vermiculite mix and, instead, pot up in long fiber sphagnum moss. The very best moss is what we call "New Zealand Moss" (it often now comes from Chile). But, for gesneriads the domestic long fiber moss from Wisconsin works about as well. It is often available in small bales at nurseries, and can be ordered from Moser Lee, which seems to be the main (only?) distributor. In using the moss, I first saturate a clump at the sink, letting the fibers fully absorb all the water they can. I do this either by submersion in a bowl or by running tap water through a handful. Once the moss is fully saturated like a crumbly sponge, I squeeze out all the excess water, and then fluff up the medium to lightly moist moss. Then I wrap it around the cutting and pot up in a small pot and put under the dome (label and date!). When I want to propagate cuttings from my own plants that are healthy, I put the cuttings down in moist perlite/vermiculite and generally get most if not all to root. Monitor the cuttings for dead leaves or stems and remove promptly.

    About that Chirita sinensis 'Angustifolia'. It is notorious for not making a symetrical rosette. I have heard this complaint from many people. But, it has beautiful leaves and is a fine variety. I would just let it creep along in the pot and let it become a multi-headed clump. Another chirita I like to grow as a multi is 'Kazu'. It clumps very close, until all the leaves converge into a tight mass of upward facing foliage. Then, when it flowers you get many many stems. I have counted over 20 at a time, growing in a six inch terra cotta. Each stem then produces a bunch of buds. Many of the other chiritas I like as single rosettes--particularly the beautiful 'Betty'. There is a photo of a spectacular specimen on the Gesneriad Reference Web. It is a foliage plant. I believe it came from a selfing of 'Hisako', which in turn has 'Angustifolia' as a parent. So, that is where 'Betty's beautiful natural variegation comes from. I once had a seedling of 'Angustifolia', which had better variegation than the common clone. But, I stupidly lost it. So, now I will have to wait for myself or someone to self pollinate it, to get more seed. Planting seeds from selfings of sinensis clones is always worthwhile. Actually I have never selfed a chirita. So, that's on my "to do" list (which is three miles long).

    Oh, one more thing. Rooting chirita leaves is very easy and worthwhile. I recommend everyone growing chritas become experienced at this. My first attempt was when I cleaned up a ratty old clumping 'Hisako'. I had a pile of old damaged, broken, brown tipped, and/or pitted leaves and hated to toss them, so I put them down in perlite/vermiculite, enclosed in a bag, placed on a windowsill and forgotten. I figured that chiritas, like AV's would root poorly from old damaged leaves. Instead, when I discovered the pots again, they were full of sprouting plants. I ended up with a couple dozen little 'Hisako's for my club. Later I perfected the rooting of leaves, so that now I make two or three cuttings from each medium sized leaf. The cuttings will each send up one or two or more plantlets. I put them in small pots under domes under lights.

    Jon

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Jon - a question to you.

    I usually buy more expensive sphagnum moss sold for Orchids - it is pale beige, smell is pleasant and works well to prevent the rot. I needed lots of it to put on a bottom of a fishtank for episcias - so I grabbed Moser Lee bag.

    It is dark brown, smells musty and full of straw, weeds, etc. And it is written on a side label that it is for lining hanging baskets.

    I poured boiled water on it to reconstitute it just for the sake of it- didn't want any insects crawling out of there.

    Did you use it? Can it be detrimental to the plants? Is there any antifungal property left in it - it lookes half-way to the peat moss...

    Cheers

    Irina

    PS - and thank you for Angustifolia advice - I will accept that it will grow unruly and stop worrying.

  • stonesriver
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello, Irina:
    Self-heading philos are those like 'Black Cardinal,' 'Moonlight,' 'Prince of Orange' and the one you can't kill, 'Red Congo.' They do not vine or climb. I've included a link to some of them.

    Hi, Jon ~ 'Tis good to see you again, :-)

    It's your fault I have these chiritas. You know ~ way back when I was trying to decide which three varieties to get? And wasn't quite sure I liked them? LOL

    I love the clumping, too. My 'Aiko,'Kazu' and 'Moonlight' are such a delight. And so many blooms at once. And then, to have the single bloom turn into a double or triple when the original flower part falls off! What a surprise the first time that happened!!! I have 'Tamiana' seedlings in my philos, begonias and AVs! Prolific little bugger.

    When I received the columnea cuttings, they were shipped bare in plastic bags; no moist paper towels wrapping the ends. The cuttings were bare tip cuttings so by the time I cut off the dried up ends (they didn't rehydrate), I had two or so leaves left. As you know, I've rooted many, many cuttings and rooted some from Pat's Pets at the same time and under the same conditions and they did beautifully.

    I'm sold on Lyndon Lyon's. They may be more expensive but the plants you receive are exquisite. Each of the columnea I ordered had three or more establised cuttings in the pots.

    BTW, Julie Mavity-Hudson with the Gesnariad Club has joined our AV club of which I have been elected president.

    Linda

    Here is a link that might be useful: Self-heading philodendron

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Linda

    I have an ungodly huge Monstera. Is it a S-H philodendron too?

    My congratulations with a new member in your club. You got a treasure.

    Cheers

    Irina

  • jon_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Linda, I've known Julie for years. We often have dinner together at the gesneriad convention, along with Carol Ann, also from Nashville, and now pres of the society. I also see a lot of Molly, from the Nashville chapter every year. All my favorite people.

    I've been propagating lots of chiritas lately. I put down small older leaves, and cut up larger leaves into two or three cuttings. They all seem to root and send up plants, on their own sweet time.

    My current project is to figure out how to get the most silver out of the varieties with silver veining--such as the various forms of sinensis and the sinensis hybrids. If you look at the photos on the Gesneriad Reference Web site, of varieties like sinensis, s. angustifolia, 'Hisako', 'Moonlight' s. latifolia (which I always thought was all green), 'Betty' (the best of them), and a few others, you will see plants, often grown by members of the Toronto chapter, photoed by Ron, that are all spectacular and with much of this natural variegation. I grow some of the same plants and get mostly all green plants with slight silvering. So, I am on a quest to find the answer. I think it might to be, that these plants in the photos were all grown under lights, and are mature plants that have been allowed to really get to full maturity. Older rosettes seem to make more highly colorful, wide leaves. I have my plants under lights, in window sills and in my greenhouse. Anyway, that is my goal.

    Also there i

  • jon_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The light tan colored moss used by orchid growers is the best. We call it New Zealand Moss, though it seems to be coming from Chile too. It seems to be less risky for enclosures.

    But, Moser Lee moss is pretty good too. It is what I often call Wisconsin sphagnum, as that is from where it comes. I have a big bale of that stuff too. It was used a lot for terrariums in the past, and before the NZ moss made it on the scene. Your heat treatment should also help. I don't generally have a problem with it, and I have used it in terrariums too. But, in any enclosure you will eventually have problems no matter what you use. They need to be replanted just like potted plants. Use new moss and remove the old stuff, as much as is possible without wreaking the roots. This gives plants a real lift.

    I am, however, guilty of not doing this and then trying to overcome whatever problems I have--fungal growths, green slimy algae on the moss, etc. It ain't pretty. Also, the plants will rot a bit, and make some crud, which needs to be cleaned out. Restarting a terrarium is the way to go. Why don't I listen to myself?

    To feed an already moist terrarium, I will water with my fertilized water (1/8 to 1/4 tsp. per gallon ), making such that there is a pond of standing water at the bottom. Then I use my old turkey baster and remove all standing water, putting the baster down to the bottom of the terrarium. That leaves the media saturated but not overly wet (no standing water!). I might try to squeeze out a little extra water too. But, try to keep the moss light and fluffy, not packed down. Also, keep air roots off the sides of the container. That really makes a mess, and can leave blemishes on the container. Never pack the moss--instead pre-moisten and keep it all fluffed up. A secondary advantage of this is, you use a lot less moss.

    Jon

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Jon - the question,

    I was plagued with botrytis in my terrarium - you know - moist and warm and some leaves naturally dying and providing the fodder. Lost everything in one fish tank. Star of Bethlehem and Kee-Wee bit the dust - I tried to restart the stolons...but they just kept dying from the growth point.

    Now i repotted everything - with Moser moss bottom layer, sprayed everything with benomil - but you disturb episcias - you are to loose some leaves - they are so tender. So I am really worried about the return of the botrytis. I keep a part of the lid open to reduce the humidity and let out the heat from the light.

    What would be your suggestion to keep botrytis at bay?

    Irina

  • jon_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hmmm, Irina, I don't know. I'm not that experienced with this type of problem. But, if your light fixtures are giving off heat then I suspect you are using older fixtures that are less efficient. I used to have a problem with heat coming from my fixtures, but now I use "delux shop lights" sold at a local hardware store chain ($20 @ Orchard Supply), that are optimized for T-8 tubes. I don't get that much heat anymore--not enough to heat up the inside of a closed container. I suspect that heat may be what is encouraging the rot. But, if the plants are infected then it may be tht you are losing the cuttings because they are already infected. I have had that problem in the past--where a gesneriad is rotting and the cuttings won't take. Try keeping the episcias much drier. I find that they can be quite drought tolerant. Right now, I am bringing back my episcias, which I really tested for dryness (not intentionally--it just happened that way. They went quite long and yet are recovering. Even with the cool temperatures and heat on, they seem to be fine out in the open. Ones under domes though, as usual, are most happy.

    Also try rooting the cuttings in small pots of very lose Moser Lee sphagnum. What I do with this or NZ moss is pretty straight-forward. I put some in a basin, fill with water and work the moss until it is totally saturated in the water. Then I strain out the water and take this moss and squeeze it out, straining out the excess again. Then I take this lightly moist moss and fluff it up as loose as I can. Use this moss, wrapped loose around the cutting in a small pot, enclose under a dome or community terrarium, or a ziplock and put in bright light. This is how I save special things or when I have weak cuttings. Last night I did this with the last legs of a Columnea gloriosa. First I soaked off all the mucky soil, and saw that I actually had bits of short live roots, then put it down in the moss. I think I will save this one, though it is a looong way from blooming (a few tiny tiny leaves on a few twigs at present).

    Jon

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Jon,

    My episcia tank is actually a fish tank with a fish light - which I presume to be equivalent to the grow-light. And some natural light on the top of it. They loved it - until the botrytis - I had huge fat Kee-Wee with leaves the size of my hand trying to shade everything.

    I started some variegated episcias - and I was amazed how much abuse Cleopatra could take. It got out of its brandy snifter, so I removed the glass and just put a seran wrap loosely on the top - and watered pretty sparingly - and tough old bird was doing good. Now I repotted it in a fruit bowl - with nice sphagnum, a dome - and it is loosing leaves. I am drying it off a bit. Moonlit Valley - this one is not tough. I guess even less chlorophil.

    So far - I did not excel in terrarium plants yet. Nautilocalyx pemphidius just bit the dust. Leaves were rotting if you keep it closed, or drying - if you keep it open - and it was never vigorous. What temperature does it like? It seems to me that you even manage to grow gesnerias - so you should know how.

    BTW - what happened to your C. gloriosa? WHy it was so sick?

    Fast recovery to it

    Irina

  • jon_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Gloriosa started out as a weak plant when I got it, then dried out a few times, and just was weak. Being out on a windowsill tray it was partially covered up, and just didn't get a good start. That can happen around here in the land of too many plants. I put it under lights but didn't repot; and I think the soil was old and not helping it reroot. When I unpotted it I found short but live roots, indicating that it was making a weak comeback. I think my repotting into moss will work, if I didn't set it back by all of this. I have grown gloriosa in the past, and had nice baskets with flowers. It can be one of the most beautiful species if well grown. Once I had a Worst in Show plant of gloriosa in a chapter dog show. It was flowering on long stems that were bare of leaves for the first 30". When gloriosa is grown from seed, the seedlings often have variation in leaf color--some will be all green and some will be bronzy red. The bronzy ones were once called "gloriosa supurba".

    I don't know why terrariums are being problematic for you. I didn't do well once when I had a large aquarium type with a light on top. It heated up too much. I tried putting a cover between the lights and the plants, but it still was too hot. I would suggest putting your terrariums on a shelf on a light stand, with the fixtures well over head. Or, I would put the terrarium in roomlight that is as bright as possible but not in any direct sun. I have done well with them as long as I didn't totally ignore them. I had good luck growing plants in pots within an aquarium in natural light many. But, I would ignore them, since they didn't dry out. One collection got covered up by a vigorous Begonia 'Buttercup'. That was about ten years ago. Upstairs I have a Nautilocalyx cordatus recovering from a bad spell of drying out. It is coming back but the leaves are very pale, and are very slowly greening up. I am taking care of it now, but need to repot and take leaf cuttings. I am not sure if I should try cuttings of leaves that are so pale. But, I am not losing this one--as long as I don't ignore it.

    I got back pemphidius recently. I have a little start in a pot, enclosed in a small ziplock and under lights. I looked at it yesterday, for the first time in a month, and it looks happy enough. Its tiny but I am going to take a few leaves for proping. A healthy leaf from pemphidius can send up multiple little babies--I once counted 7 from a single medium sized leaf. I would root it in a 2 1/4" rose pot (31/2" deep) in long fiber NZ moss, enclosed in a bag or in a humid terrarium, and on a shelf on a lightstand in a reasonably warm room. By "warm", what I really mean, it being winter, is not cold at night. I think it is the nightly drop that is a problem with these low elevation tropicals. They want a room as close to 70 degrees as possible (62-78). Here, I have the thermostat set at about 61, but the temperature in rooms is quite variable.

    Another idea I learned at a recent meeting: A member who grows terrarium begonias is using potting mix on top of sphagnum in her terrariums. But, the mix should be pretty clean--no packaged mix. I would use a mix of peat or coir, perlite and vermiculite in a 2-2-1 type mix (lots of perlite, not much vermiculite), and perhaps cook it for several hours at a low setting, to kill off any spores. Cooking will keep the mix from getting algae, moss, white fuzzy fungus, liverworts, ferns, and molds.

    Jon, rambling along

  • irina_co
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Jon,

    I tried to put some charcoal, then perlite then a light dressing of vermiculite on the bottom of the terrarium - worked OK. This time I am looking at Moser Lee only. Since I didn't cook it for several hours - I guess I can expect - these - how you call them - liverworts, kidneyworts and white fuzz. I already got white fuzz - experimented on my own mix based on Whitney Farms soil - yuk. Now -it is everywhere. Looks like if I sprinkle sulphur on the mats and spray lysol on the soil - it keeps my shelves presentable.

    What do you think about the light for N. Pemphidius? Regular 2 tubes - or less? I have N. Glandulifer and N.Goteburg in a small fish tank with a pretty low light - and they do good. Too good - they are trying to get out of it - and Goteburg is full of buds - so I am to see the blooms first time soon.

    I got a Best in Dog show one time with noname Columnea from Lowes - one of these Tropical Angel plants. It is an upright thing with abundant orange bloom. It was misnamed so funny - something like Orange Jasmine - so I got the biggest Dog Bone cookie - Allison Brigham baked all the prizes for us.

    Cheers

    Irina

  • stonesriver
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My Gloriosa didn't do worth beans so it's one of the ones I tossed. I've tried it three times and three times it went kaput!
    Linda

  • jon_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Gloriosa is not the easiest but not impossible. It like higher humidity. It may just not be one for you. That happens, and why fight it, unless you are determined to grow every single gesneriad out there, which I seem to be afflicted with. With columneas some do well in one part of the country and poorly in others. Out here, erythrophaea hybrids do well, but in Florida they suffer from too much heat and humidity. Schwarz hybrids, developed here are all erythrophaea hybrids. Jerry Trowbridge developed hybrids that do well for him in Fla. His hybrids do well here too; but he used species native to warm humid low elevations of the tropics.

    Irina, I don't get liverworts with Moser Lee but with regular ole Canadian milled sphagnum moss. That white fungus got into pots in one of my domed trays too. A good way to get rid of it, is to spray with some aerosol athlete's foot spray, like tinactin (tolfinate). It is quick and easy and doesn't hurt the plants, even tiny seedlings. You don't have to have the fungus yourself to purchase the spray, for those quick and easy spot treatments of your terrariums. I need to search my medicine cabinet and see if I still have some. The generic tolfinate spray at someplace like Walgrens would be the cheapest. A powder aerosol would be better than a liquid (alcohol) aerosol.

    Pemphidius doesn't need a lot of light. AV light should be fine. Being a terrestrial, it would be growing on the floor under a dense canopy in humid low elevation tropics. So just replicate that in your terrarium ;) My long sought goal with pemphidius--Grow a reasonably big plant--in order to get plenty of leaves to put down as cuttings. Raise a big number of little rosettes to about an inch to two inches in diameter, and then use them as a ground cover in a show terrarium. It would be temporary of course. Use my idea with my blessing. I would love to see someone try this some day.

    Jon

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