Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Propagating This Plant Couldn't Be Easier

Though I've grown houseplants for nearly 40 years, there's always something new to learn, which is one of the big appeals that gardening in general holds for me.  I seem to have a thirst for knowledge and whether learning something by seeking it out or discovering something by accident, it keeps life from ever becoming boring.

I learned something about one of my newer houseplants this summer via accident that at first alarmed me, and then as logic took hold, it made me smile.

Tropical plants, for the most part, make great houseplants, especially for those of us that live in non-tropical climates.  Though we think of them as needing full sun to grow well, the tropics have shady areas too, so the plants which like shadier tropical spots do particularly well inside.

Cryptanthus bivittatus

Earlier this year, I acquired a Cryptanthus, more commonly known as Earth star or starfish plant.  It's a low care plant that would go in the "Easy Breezy" chart of the plant guide that Jenny and I put together for our book, Indoor Plant Decor: The Design Stylebook For Houseplants.

For the most part, I ignore it.  It's a bromeliad (so is a pineapple!) and it likes evenly moist soil, prefers some humidity, and needs bright light.  I grow this in a south window, but it doesn't get much direct sun during summer because a tree shades the window for most of the day. In the winter, when the leaves are off the tree, it does get direct sunlight, but the light is weaker because of the position of the sun. We don't have that many bright sunny days during winter anyway.

About two months ago, I noticed that it was producing offsets (often called "pups") at the top of the plant.  It had bloomed just before this and the flowers were small and non-descript.  I don't even remember what color they were.  White, maybe?

The new offsets were reddish and looked really pretty set against the green mother plant.  I just happened to bump one of them and OOPS!  It fell off. 

This offset is a new plant.

At first I was horrified, thinking I had broken it.  But it was then that I realized they're made to do this.  So, I simply got a small pot of soil and set the pup on top of it.  I made sure the soil was damp and in time, the new pup will form roots and in a couple of years, it will bloom like its mother did. A few days later, another one fell off and I added it to the new pot.

I'll pretty much ignore these, too.  Except when I'm admiring them.

The glass cloche was provided by Longfield Gardens.  Link to my book is an Amazon affiliate link.  If you click through to Amazon via that link, and make any purchases there, I receive a small percentage of the total price.  Your privacy is assured, however.  Amazon never reveals to its associates who makes purchases through links.


Anonymous said...

How wonderful to be able to start new plants with the pups. How long will it be before the pups have roots long enough for you to transfer them to bigger pots?

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