Columnea minor

Columneas are native to tropical America and most grow as epiphytes. Even though there are 100-120 species of Columneas, only very few ‘pure’ species are cultivated. Hybrids are more popular. They are usually hardier and often have more striking features, such as larger flowers, than the type. They are among the loveliest of plants for hanging containers, for the trailing stems with numerous flowers are exceptionally attractive in such an arrangement. C. minor is native to Ecuador. It has longish-ovate, hairy leaves. Single tubular flowers, thickly covered with carmine-red hairs, grow from the leaf axils. They are produced over a period of nearly four months.

It requires a light position, but not in direct sun. It grows best at a temperature of 20° C (68° F), but in summer it will tolerate even 30° C (86° F). In winter the temperature should be about 18°C (64° F). It requires a very high level of humidity but should be watered only in moderation. Too much water causes the leaves to drop. Feed during the growth period with organic fertilizer. Propagate by means of stem cuttings, taken with two pairs of leaves, or by means of seeds.

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