Calceolaria Houseplants: Tips On Growing Pocketbook Plants

Calceolaria Houseplants: Tips On Growing Pocketbook Plants

By: Anne Baley

Calceolaria’s nickname — pocketbook plant — is well chosen. The flowers on this annual plant have pouches at the bottom which resemble pocketbooks, purses or even slippers. You’ll find Calceolaria houseplants for sale in garden centers from Valentine’s Day until the end of April in the United States. Growing pocketbook plants isn’t very complicated as long as you remember that they like their environment cool and not too bright.

How to Grow Calceolaria Indoors

While this annual can be grown both indoors and out, the most popular use may be as a potted houseplant. Once you look into the native environment for this bright flower, you’ll know how to grow Calceolaria. It comes from Central and South America in the cooler plains areas where water and bright sunlight aren’t so abundant. Pocketbook plant care works best when you try to imitate its native home.

Keep the plant near a bright window, but out of direct sunlight. If your only window is on a bright southern exposure, hang a sheer curtain between the plant and outdoors to filter the brightest rays. Northern windows and tables away from the light source are more hospitable for these plants.

Pocketbook plant care includes carefully monitoring the water supply. These plants don’t do well with too much moisture on their roots. Give the plants a thorough watering, then let the pots drain in the sink for about 10 minutes. Allow the soil to dry out until the surface is dry before watering again.

Although pocketbook plant is a tender perennial, it’s grown as an annual. Once the flowers die off, you won’t be able to make a new batch appear. It’s better to simply enjoy these unusual flowers while they look good, then add them to the compost pile when they begin to dry up and wilt.

Pocketbook Plant Care Outdoors

Although pocketbook plant is most often grown as a houseplant, it can be used as a bedding plant outdoors. This smaller plant can grow up to 10 inches (25.5 cm.) tall, so place it near the front of the flower beds.

Amend the soil with a good amount of compost to aid in drainage, and place the plants about a foot (0.5 m.) apart.

Grow these plants early in the spring, when the night temperatures hover around 55 to 65 F. (13-18 C.). When the summer heat arrives, pull them and replace them with a more heat-resistant plant.

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How to Grow and Care for Snake Plants Indoors

With their spiky, sculptural leaves and low-key requirements, snake plants are one of the least demanding plants to grow indoors. They thrive on minimal attention and readily adapt to new locations and conditions. Learning how to grow and care for snake plants helps ensure your plants stay at their spiky best. Just follow these basics and you're on your way to snake plant success:

Snake plants come in low-growing nest-like forms as well as tall spikes.


Pocketbook Plant

The pocketbook plant's unique blossom shape, resembling a little pouch, is the origin of both the common name and the botanical name of this plant. In Latin, calceolus means "slipper."

Annuals Image Gallery

Description of pocketbook plant: Flowers appear like clusters of small grapes, although they're held upright rather than trailing and cover the foliage when in full bloom. In their preferred cool climates, they bloom all summer but can be used for fall, winter, and spring bloom in frost-free areas. Their ultimate height is 8 to 12 inches by 10 inches wide.

Growing pocketbook plant: Pocketbook plant grows best in moist soil with partial protection from intense summer sun. For spring and fail use, full sun will increase flowering. To induce repeat flowering, cut back plants when blossoms fade.

Propagating pocketbook plant: Start new plants by seeds or by cuttings. Sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to last frost without covering. They germinate in 8 to 18 days at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They may also be sown outdoors. Seedlings must be thinned to 6 inches apart.

Uses for pocketbook plant: Plant them near water -- by stream banks, at pool edges, or near bogs and moist woodlands in partial shade. So long as their roots are kept moist, they will also make good container plants.

Pocketbook plant related species: Good for the partially shaded rock garden is Calceolaria falklandia, a dwarf, tufted native of the Falkland Islands with purple spotted, primrose-yellow flowers. It survives winter only in frost-free gardens. Calceolaria mexicana is an annual with typical yellow flowers that bloom all summer.

Pocketbook plant related varieties: Goldcrest, Golden Bunch, and Midas are all sunshine-yellow in color. Goldcrest has larger flowers than the others. Bubblegum mix has large flowers in a range of oranges.

Scientific name of pocketbook plant:Calceolaria herbeofruticosa

Pocketbook plant's beautiful flowers can also brighten up your home, although not for a prolonged period of time. Go to the next page to learn about pocketbook as a house plant.


How to Grow Succulents Indoors

Because of their special ability to retain water, succulents tend to thrive in warm, dry climates and don’t mind a little neglect. This makes them well adapted to indoor growing and ideal for people desiring low-maintenance houseplants. If you’re choosing succulents for the first time, follow these steps for successful care of your new plants.

    1. Choose an appropriate succulent for your indoor conditions.

Most succulents like direct sunlight, but if all you have is a shaded corner in your house, go with low light-tolerant plants like mother-in-law tongue. If you plan to grow your succulent in a hanging planter, a trailing variety like string of bananas is a great choice. Always read the plant labels to determine the sunlight needs, size, and spread of your succulents.

    1. Provide a very well-draining potting medium.

Nurseries always plant their succulents in soil that’s too rich and retains too much moisture, so you’ll want to repot your succulent as soon as you bring it home. Start with a coarse potting mix with good drainage and aeration. You can find special cactus and succulent mixes at the nursery, or even use an African violet mix. To further improve drainage and prevent compaction, add perlite or pumice to the cactus or African violet mix (up to 50% of the total potting mix, depending on your particular succulent’s moisture needs). Always wet the mix before using to ensure it’s evenly moist.

    1. Choose your container.

When repotting, use a container that has a drainage hole and is at least 1 to 2 inches larger than the nursery container. Avoid glass containers (such as mason jars or terrariums) as a long-term potting solution, as they don’t allow roots to breathe and can cause root rot over time. Fill the bottom one-third of the container with pre-moistened potting mix, then position your plant inside and backfill with more pre-moistened potting mix.

    1. Place the potted succulent in a sunny location.

Most succulents prefer at least 6 hours of sun per day, so try to place them near a south- or east-facing window. You may notice your succulents becoming spindly or stretching toward the light if they don’t get enough sun.

    1. Allow the potting mix to dry out between waterings.

The number-one mistake many people make with succulents is overwatering them. It’s best to water more, but less frequently. Saturate the potting mix thoroughly (while ensuring water flows out of the drainage hole properly) but allow the mix to dry out slightly before the next watering. If the potting mix stays consistently wet every day, the plant may eventually die.

    1. Fertilize your succulents at least once a year.

The plants benefit most from fertilizer in the spring (when the days get longer and new growth begins), and again in late summer. Use a balanced, all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer (such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10) diluted to half the strength recommended on the package instructions. There is no need to fertilize succulents in winter when they’re semi-dormant., They don’t need the nutrient boost because they are not actively growing.


Why does it look like my shamrock plant is dying?

Don’t panic! Most species of shamrock, which grow from tiny bulbs, lose their leaves and go dormant a few times a year. The dormancy period, which may range from a few weeks to a few months, is part of the normal growing cycle. During dormancy, stop watering, and place the plant in a cool, dark place. When you see new growth, move your shamrock back into bright light and resume watering, says the University of Vermont Extension.


How to Grow and Care for Pocketbook Plants (Calceolaria)

Calceolaria, commonly known as Pocketbook Plants, Pouch Flowers or Slipper Flowers, is a genus of plants in the Calceolariaceae family. This genus consists of about 388 species of shrubs, lianas, and herbs, and the geographical range extends from Patagonia to central Mexico, with its distribution center in the Andean region.

Calceolaria's nickname (Pocketbook Plant) is well chosen. The flowers on this annual plant have pouches at the bottom, which resemble pocketbooks, purses, or even slippers. Growing Pocketbook Plants isn't very complicated as long as you remember that they like their environment cool and not too bright.

Growing Conditions and General Care

While this annual can be grown both indoors and out, the most popular use may be as a potted houseplant. Once you look into the native environment for this bright flower, you'll know how to grow Pocketbook Plant. It comes from Central and South America in the cooler plains areas where water and bright sunlight aren't so abundant. Calceolaria care works best when you try to imitate its native home.

Photo via selecta-one.com

Keep the plant near a bright window but out of direct sunlight. If your only window is on a sunny southern exposure, hang a sheer curtain between the plant and outdoors to filter the brightest rays. Northern windows and tables away from the light source are more hospitable for these plants.

Pocketbook Plant care includes carefully monitoring the water supply. These plants don't do well with too much moisture on their roots. Give the plants a thorough watering, then let the pots drain in the sink for about 10 minutes. Allow the soil to dry out until the surface is dry before watering again.

Although Pocketbook Plant is a tender perennial, it's grown as an annual. Once the flowers die off, you won't be able to make a new batch appear. It's better to simply enjoy these unusual flowers while they look good, then add them to the compost pile when they begin to dry up and wilt.

Although Pocketbook Plant is most often grown as a houseplant, it can be used as a bedding plant outdoors. This smaller plant can grow up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall, so place it near the front of the flower beds. Amend the soil with a good amount of compost to aid in drainage, and place the plants about a foot apart. Grow these plants early in the spring, when the night temperatures hover around 55 to 65 °F (13 to 18 °C). When the summer heat arrives, pull them and replace them with a more heat-resistant plant.

Propagation

Many different types are available as seeds, with gaudy color mixes being the norm. Sow seed in a peat-based compost in late summer, and grow the young seedling on through until late autumn. The plants soon develop the rosette of foliage and will need space.

Pocketbook Plants can also be propagated with stem tip cuttings, which should be taken in mid to late summer.

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