Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kissin' Cousins

Kohleria 'Peridots Mango Martini'
Recently, I attended my African violet club meeting, and the speaker introduced us to some cousins of the African Violet. The subject was rhizomatous gesneriads and the one that I came home with is a kohleria. I love it! This is my first kohleria, but I do have experience with its cousins, African violets and streptocarpus. I'm assuming this will require similar growing conditions. I have researched it and  found they are from Central and South America, and prefer high humidity and warm temperatures. It's cousins also prefer warmth and humidity. They also have fuzzy leaves. The big difference is obviously the rhizomatous properties of this plant. They grow from scaly rhizomes under the soil and new plants can pop up from the base of the plant. Propagation can be accomplished by separating the rhizomes and also by foliar tip cuttings.  The plants can go dormant for short periods of time, so don't throw them away. Wait, and foliage will reappear. Kohlerias are fast, vigorous growers and so must be cut back occasionally to help with fuller growth and at the same time, it will promote more flowers. They prefer filtered sunlight or should be placed under fluorescent lights that are on for 14-16 hours per day. If the light is too low, or the room too warm, they will get spindly.
This tubular, speckled flowered, fuzzy leaved plant has me hooked and I can't wait to see how it grows and if I can keep it healthy and happy.

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