Crossandra 13°C/55°F; India

The variety most often seen is C. undulijblia ‘MonaWalhed’, which is a compact little plant that seldom attains more than 21cm/8in in height, and is well suited to the dish garden or the crowded windowsill where only small plants can be accommodated. Leaves are a dark glossy green in colour and the orange flowers are colourful for a long ence, but may be sown later to give a succession of flowering plants. A peaty mixture is needed and plants should be potted on into slightly larger pots as required. Good light, but shaded from hot sun, and a moist mixture is important and dead flowers should be regularly removed to prevent them rotting leaves. As plants develop a tuber is formed from which leaves and flowers are produced. Give a weekly feed when buds appear. When flowers and leaves naturally die down in the autumn of the year the mixture should be allowed to dry out, and the tuber, or corm, should be stored though a few are variegated; the flowers of many of the hibiscus are quite breathtaking, and come in many shades of yellow, red and orange in both single and double forms. In most instances the flowers last for but one day, although some of the single forms will give two days’ pleasure. However, the short life of individual flowers should not deter you from acquiring these plants, as there is a continual succession of flowers on healthy, vigorous plants. To keep plants in good order they require lots of water during the spring and summer months, with a little less in winter. period during the summer months. A peaty mixture is ideal and it must be kept moist during the summer and a little on the dry side in winter. Feed while actively growing and provide a light position that is shaded from the sun. Propagate from cuttings 10cm/4in in length in warm conditions in spring.

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