THE CULTIVATION OF CINERARIAS AS POT PLANTS

Types

C. stellata can be used where tall plants are r<: quired. The most popular types are strains of C. multiflora nana, which are dwarf and compact.

Seed sowing

Sow in April for November and December flowering, or in June for a January and February display, and July for late spring flowering. Sow thinly in pots or trays at a temperature of 13°C. Seed is very small and needs only to be barely covered.

Compost

J.I. Seed compost, or peat/sand mixes may be used.

First potting

When the seeds have germinated and plants have two pairs of rough leaves they should be potted off into 75mm, pots. J.I.P.l. compost may be used, or a mixture of 2 parts sandy loam, 1 part peat, and 1 part grit, or a loamless mix. A sharply drained compost is essential for Cinerarias.

When the young plants have filled their pots, they should be potted on into 125mm pots, using J.I.P.2 compost or loamless equivalent. Any sucker type growths should be removed, and feeding can be commenced using dried blood and sulphate of potash, in equal parts, or proprietary liquid feeds. Aim at a temperature of 13 – 15°C.

Aftercare

Plants being raised in the summer months can be transferred to cold frames. Some light shading is necessary, also adequate ventilation. Before cold weather starts the plants should be taken out of the frames and placed in a cool glasshouse with a night temperature of 8 -10°C.

Watering

Although close attention to watering is needed, over-watering must be avoided as roots will be damaged and plants will flag (as if dry).

Brief details of propagation of some of the commonly grown plants are as follows:-

Chlorophvtum

C. comosum variegatum. This produces small plantlets (from the flowering spikes) which can be inserted as cuttings. Also C. capense variegatum – very similar with the variegation the reverse of C. comosum variegatum. Established plants can be divided in March – April.

Ficus

Ficus elastica decora is one of the most popular house plant subjects. Propagation is by leaf bud cuttings, or ends of shoots can be used as cuttings, but this gives less material.

Aphelandra sauarrosa louisae

Propagation is by cuttings 100 – 150mm long which need bottom heat and a temperature of 20 – 23°C for best rooting results. Rooted cuttings are moved on in 75mm, and later 125mm pots in J.I.P.I. or peat and sand composts.

Hedera

Several varieties are grown as house plants and H. Helix Chicago and its variegated form, H. canadensis are popular. Propagation is by leaf bud cuttings which are prepared by cutting a stem into pieces, each with a leaf and small portion of stem above and below the bud. Cuttings are inserted in a sandy compost, or half sand and half peat, in trays in a propagating frame and potted up into 75mm pots in J.I.P.I. when rooted. Variegated varieties are slower to root. Usually 3 or 4 plants are potted together to make up the plant as it is sold.

Sansevieria

S. trifasciata. This is another popular subject, although slow growing. The green leaf variety can be propagated by leaf cuttings. The variegated variety must be propagated by suckers, otherwise it reverts to green. A temperature of 18°C is needed in the propagation stages and 15°C later.

Tradescantia

T. fluminensis variegata is generally grown and sold in 75mm, or 90mm pots. Cuttings root readily and 3 or 4 are inserted around the edges of a pot and are grown on in the same pots.

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