Thursday, May 8, 2008

Calissia fragrans . . . thriving in my Paradise

They are multiplying and blooming for the first time . . .
they must love acid since I have been feeding them coffee.

Calissia fragrans is an unusual and tropical semi-epiphyte (grows mainly in trees, but will root in soil). Individual leaf rosettes may be 8" wide at the center stalk. Snaking out from the stalk are runners that trail as much as several feet to find a new place to root. Fragrant white globular flowers on upright spikes bloom in summer, then fade and lose their fragrance, then perk up and become fragrant again on and on.

Flowering or not, it is a spectacular plant that would look awesome hanging from a tree in a shady spot in the greenhouse or in a hanging basket as a houseplant. I plan on lining my carport jungle with hand painted hanging containers loaded with these gorgeous plants.

This is where the plants in the carport jungle began . . . I cleared out a few of these plants that were growing in the pathway and placed them in this container that I use to start plants or experiment with my propagation projects.

At the moment, I am experimenting with the calissia fragrans in my carport jungle, planting the runners into individual containers. I've been doing this for several months and those babies are already putting out their own runners. I left the runners intact in this container and they are growing another rosette. How cool is that? You can see some of the runners in the above photo.

I have a few spots in the yard where I planted a few here and there and now have my "farm" of mass plantings. Hopefully, they will be one of the plants to start my mail order plant business.

It all started about 7 years ago when I had a gardening group on MSN and made some local gardening friends that I swapped plants with. These came from Sally in St. Petersburg . . . she is very much into native plants and I have some other plants I got from her that are still thriving through neglect. There is something to be said about native plants!

All my container plants in the carport jungle have been getting a regular dose of watered down coffee and water that I boiled vegetables in (without salt) . . . the calissia fragrans are especially responding successfully and I have never seen them looking so healthy and big. Keep in mind that I have not used commercial fertilizer on them at all.

These are my new perfect plant . . . as you can see from the following photos taken from previous seasons, I have them growing in my "trash to treasure" book rack lined with moss. They went through one winter night freeze, neglect, no watering, no fertilizer with minimal damage. The ones in the carport jungle look much better since they are being pampered and I will soon transfer some of them to renourish the rack. I'll take some recent photos soon.

I'm getting the gardening bug again . . .
it makes me smile!