GROWING THE PACHYSTACHYS HOUSEPLANT

10 deg C/50 deg F

Pachystachys is very similar to jaco-binia, and the culture and requirements are also alike. The plants are evergreen and mostly from tropical America. The most frequently seen species is P. lutea, popularly called lollipop plant and gold hops. These names allude to the flowers. which consist mainly of yellow bracts covering small, white flowers. They somewhat resemble those of the aphelandra.

The leaves are spear-shaped, crinkled. and of a glossy texture. The flowering period is a long one and may begin in spring and end in autumn. This Peruvian species will reach about 1 m (3ft) in height, and can make an impressive houseplant. The species P. cocci nea, from the West Indies and North and South America, grows considerably taller, but can be kept compact by pruning. The foliage is similar, but the flowers are very like those of the Jacobinia. In this case, the plumes are bright scarlet. very showy, and borne in winter. It is not quite so amenable to room culture as the former species and demands a little more warmth and humidity. It has been sold by florists under the common name cardinal’s guard. Both plants are ideal for a conservatory or garden room where they can be given large pots and allowed to display their full glory in the space available.

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