Light: at 6:20 a.m., ~3 FC from the south-facing window (which faces the neighbour’s house) and ~15 FC from the kitchen lights. But who expects good light at this time?
Longest stem: ~6.5 cm from soil to node of top set of leaves
Number of strands: three
Largest leaf: 3 cm from node to tip; 2.3 cm wide
New growth: at tips. Pinched off 2/3 sets of newest leaves to encourage branching.
Signs of pests: none
Signs of care issues: new leaves at top had indentations three days ago; probably a sign of underwatering. I watered the plant immediately after noticing, and today, the indentations are gone in the smaller leaves. So that’s pretty neat.
Other care: Seems somewhat etoliated (leggy due to not enough light), but also is developing the red edges and undersides to the leaves (due to high intensity light). So… not enough light overall, but too intense when it gets it? Iunno, man. Probably.
New growth: new leaf unfurling (started before purchase)
Signs of pests: none
Signs of care issues: old leaves have small spotting damage; upward stem beside new leaf has open wound(?) at end, is moist
Isolation: keeping with fellows from same store in big, clear plastic bag with ventilation, in the dining room
Field notes — June 30, 2021
New growth: new leaf nearly unfurled
Signs of pests: wound and spot of honeydew on bottom of leaf, but no other signs. Will ask online.
Light: moderate to bright indirect
Humidity: minimum 40%; 60 to 75% preferred; no misting (can spot the leaves)
Temperature: 15 to 27 degrees Celsius; dislikes hot and cold drafts
Preference: allow the top two inches to dry before watering; don’t keep overly moist
Mode: wet thoroughly, let drain; keep dryer in cooler weather; use purified water source, neutralize chlorine; weekly shower to reduce risk of spider mites
Soil, fertilization, and pots
Soil type: coarse, well-draining (2 parts perlite : 2 parts orchid bark : 1 part [potting soil | coco coir | peat moss])
Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
Fertilization: in summer, every 4 weeks with diluted, balanced fertilizer
Repotting: once every 2 to 3 years in spring; keep slightly rootbound (they have limited roots); do a minimum increase in pot size
Grow style: faster at higher temperatures
Mature size: eighteen inches high and wide
Neat stuff: dark leaves suck up all the light* while the white veins push light away *exaggeration
Common problems: Root rot (signs: yellowing of leaves; due to: overwatering, overpotting, heavy soil) Spider mites (due to: low humidity) Fungal leaf spot disease (due to: excessive humidity or watering; cut off and discard affected leaves, increase air circulation, use less water) Overly bright (signs: leaves lighten) Light too dim (signs: spindly, languishes) Low humidity (signs: leaf disfigurement, spider mites) Dormancy (due to: cool temperatures, decreased light, dry soil; give same conditions as active growing season. Due to: stress; give minimal water, let it rest)
Pruning: remove dead leaves when mostly discoloured. Sterilize tool and cut close to base
Other care: Winter: goes dormant in cool weather, but can stay active year-round with adequate light and warmth Summer: can go outdoors in the shade, must come inside before a low of 13 degrees Celsius Dust: wipe periodically with a cloth using purified water; leaves may snap if too much pressure is used
Propagation: separate offsets or divide rhizome Offsets: remove and plant in a shallow pot using same soil as parent Rhizome: spring or early summer; unpot and divide into sections that each have growth; plant in same mix; place in humid spot with indirect light; keep hydrated but not soggy until tuber sprouts, then resume watering
I think I was told that this little guy is Tradescantia spathacea, but it seems images online include a purple-red underside that this one does not have. So let’s see! More likely Tradescantia fluminensis ‘Quicksilver’?
Original pot: none; bought as a cutting with a couple roots; allowed to continue rooting for nearly two more weeks
Current pot: 3 inch square plastic
Field notes — June 27, 2021
Longest stem: 5.5 cm from soil to base of leaves
Number of stems: 2
New growth: little leaves at end of each stem
Signs of care issues: browning on tip of one leaf, some spots on an older leaf (likely due to transport; the leaves are very delicate); I cut off some very brown tips in the earlier week
Light: bright indirect; low light will result in more green than purple
Humidity: moderate, 40%
Temperature: 18 to 27 degrees Celsius is ideal; minimum of 13 degrees Celsius; keep away from drafts and fluctuation of temperature
Preference: lightly moist, occasionally dry; allow the top two inches to dry out; reduce watering in winter; too little water is better than too much
Soil, fertilization, and pots
Soil type: peat-based, loamy, good drainage; good-quality all-purpose mix
Fertilization: every 4 weeks with balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer
Repotting: every couple years when plant is crowded, move up one size
Mature size: 15 to 30 cm high, 30 to 60 cm wide
Neat stuff: most Tradescantia grows downwards, but this one grows upwards
Common problems: Lack of humidity (signs: brown leaf tips) Spider mites (signs: webbing between leaves; pale, spotted, curled leaves; cut off affected areas and treat with insecticidal soap) Aphids (signs: sticky residue on leaves, especially new growth; isolate plant) Over-watering (signs: soft, limp stems; may cause root rot)
Propagation: Division: in spring; remove rooted offshoots from mother Stem cutting: cut with sterilized tool, root in soil or water
I’m off the edge of my usual houseplant map, exploring new areas, but I’m so glad I found you!
You’re sitting on my relatively new plant shelf in the dining room, a bit further from the light and the humidifier than most of the other plants on the shelf.
I’ve decided to also start a spreadsheet so I can track who wants moisture and fertilization more frequently, and you’re my first entry! I’ve also learned that cultivar names should be enclosed in single quotes or preceded by “cv.” and are never italicized.
Original pot: 3 inch square pot (was already root bound)
Current pot: 4 inch nursery pot, cut shorter
Field notes — June 18, 2021
Repotting: 1/4 regular potting mix + a little cactus mix, 1/4 perlite, 1/2 coco coir from 3 inch square plastic pot to modified 4 inch square plastic pot
Field notes — June 22, 2021
Soil moisture: 8.5 (wet)
Soil pH: 7.5
Light: 9 a.m.: 100 (dark) (honestly though, the area is close enough to the window and probably fine)
Longest stem with leaf: 7.5 cm, but the new ones will be longer!
New growth: two new stems (started before I bought it); five new leaves unfurled, 1 cm or longer
Signs of care issues: Leaf damage: probably during transport. Longest wound: 1.5 cm
Light: bright, indirect with possibility of morning or evening sun (maintains variegation); tolerant of low light (loses variegation, becomes leggy)
Temperature: 15 to 24 degrees Celsius, free from drafts
Preference: moist; water when top inch or third is dry
Soil, fertilization, and pots
Soil type: well-draining, soil-based, plenty of organic material (peaty)
Fertilization: biweekly in summer with houseplant feed, but water 24 hours before
Repotting: every other year; keep in small pots; will mature in a 5 inch pot
Grow style: slow, hardy and tolerant
Mature size: 60 to 160 cm, spread of 38 to 100 cm (can take 8 to 12 years)
Common problems: Root mealy bugs: use pesticide Too much light: and too little water (signs: curled, dried, brown leaves) Too little light: yellow lower leaves Overwatering: reduce watering if placed in a cool or low-light position (signs: yellow lower leaves, rotten stem, wilting, mouldy soil; brown, mushy roots) Underwatering: (signs: yellow leaves; loss of older leaves; stunted growth; wilting) Nitrogen deficiency: yellow lower leaves (nitrogen moves in the plant to where it’s needed — that is, from old leaves to new growth)
Pruning: prune and trim old stems to encourage new growth at cut sites; prune leggy stems to encourage bushiness
Other care: remove discoloured leaves; shower monthly (remove dust, hydrate leaves); wipe with neem oil to remove dust (neem also protects against infestations); becomes dormant in winter
Propagation: Division of rhizomes when repotting: separate pup 8 cm or more with several mature leaves (good to reduce chances of root-bound); cut stem with two root strands attached to base. Set pup into small pot with drainage and houseplant compost; bright indirect light and room-temperature; moist soil; allow top third of soil to dry out; after one to two months, treat as mature. Tip cuttings with three to four leaves: insert in 3 inch pots with moist mixture of peat and sand, enclose in plastic bag; place in room-temperature area in partial shade; do not add water for four to six weeks. After rooted: remove plastic bag, water moderately and allow top 1 cm to dry between next watering; apply half-strength fertilizer every two weeks. When roots appear on surface: move plant to pot one size larger with standard potting mixture and treat as mature.
I saw her from across the room and locked eyes with those dazzling leaves. No way I wasn’t going to try my luck! I sauntered over and caressed her pot. Soon she was in my hands and I banged her (gently) on the counter. It was that easy.
Binomial name: Calathea ornata
Given name: Laura Jenna Ellinoora Alexandra Camilla
Soil: Seemed dry. Watered bottom-up, but even after a while, did not seem as though top was getting moist.
New growth: 2 new leaves at base. Root has extended out of the nursery pot.
Signs of care issues: Some wounds on leaves, I think these were there when I bought them. Bottom two new leaves aren’t well. One has shriveled, the other is yellowing. Removed shriveled leaf.
Field notes-June 20, 2021
Signs of care issues: Wounds on leaves dusted with cinnamon to promote healing and act as a fungicide.
Field notes — June 21, 2021
Soil moisture: average 2 [scale: dry to wet : 1 to 10]. Too dry! From bottom of pot: barely moist.
Water: bottom-up with filtered water; moisture meter registers as “moist”. After 50 minutes, still not “wet” and top is dry. Used rest of water to water top-down; allowed to drain. When watering directly onto meter, it registers only as 7, the boundary between “moist” and “wet” and then flips immediately to 5 as soon as I stop pouring, so perhaps this soil is particularly efficient at draining.
Soil pH: 7–8
Light: 9 am, just above 0 [scale: dark to light : 0 to 2000]. Dark. Surprising, but it is a west-facing window and today is dim and overcast, so I will check again in the afternoon.
Largest leaf: 9.7 cm from base to apex
Longest petiole: 6.7 cm
Signs of pests: none, but what I assume is soil fertilizer on the surface, light yellowy balls, but looking unlike others I’ve seen before as they seem to have a partial shell. Reminds me of coriander.
Signs of care issues: Little leaf on the bottom is shriveling; plucked it out. Seems these two lower leaves yellowing and shriveling are signs of underwatering. Largest wound (with cinnamon on it): 2 cm long along edge of largest leaf; added picture for tracking. Spotted wounds on third-largest leaf: added picture for tracking.
Light: bright, indirect. Direct light will cause fading.
Temperature: 18 to 29 degrees Celsius
Preference: keep lightly moist, use distilled water
Frequency: water when soil starts to dry out (every 1 to 2 weeks in summer; less in winter)
Soil, fertilization, and pots
Soil type: retains moisture (coco coir or peat), but is loose enough to let the plant breathe (+perlite; soil with moss or bigger chunks). African violet soil will work.
Fertilization: balanced fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once a month during growing season. Overfertilization can burn or cause lankiness.
Repotting: in spring, when roots and leaves are quite large; often a year after purchase. Soak after repotting.
Grow style: moderate to fairly fast
Mature size: 2 feet high; 2 feet wide
Neat stuff: air purification; leaves open and close at morning and night.
Common problems: Spider mites (spray them off with shower head; coat leaves with [dish soap + water in a spray bottle | neem oil], which suffocates the mites, then wipe off; repeat (bi)weekly as needed) Too dry (signs: brown, crispy, or yellow leaves; give more humidity and mist) Yellowing leaves: normal for the odd leaf, but if widespread could be due to various causes Too much direct light (signs: pink stripes turning white)
Other care: use fingers or shears to remove brown leaves (this is normal); dust sometimes