TOLMIEA MENZEESD (piggy-back plant)

This hardy plant is the only one of the genus, and one of the easiest and accommodating of all houseplants. It is especially useful for the chilliest and most draughty places, where other plants might soon fade away. It originates from western United States and is a vigorous ground cover type of plant growing only about 15cm (din) in height, spreading by means of creeping rhizomes. However, in pots it will form clumps and remain reasonably compact. The foliage is pale green, slightly hairy in texture, and maple-like in shape. At the point where the leafstalk joins the leafa tiny plantlet forms. This eventually

grows large enough to weigh down the parent leaf, and in the natural environment the plantlet will root when it touches the soil. When tolmieas are grown as pot plants those leaves carrying a plantlet can be removed by hand and placed in separate pots for propagation. The phenomenon of bearing these plantlets has also led to the common name of youth-on-age. In summer, the plant produces stems about 45cm (1 ft) tall bearing spikes of greenish-white tubular flowers. A shady position is suitable and if possible the plant should be raised on a low support to allow stems to cascade over the side of the container. Most of the plantlets seem to form at the ends of the stems. The plant is also suitable for small hanging containers or wall pots.

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