Finally, a showy vine to brighten our homes when spring is having a hard time getting started. From late spring to late summer, the cascading limbs of Columnea gloriosa, its many cousins and newer hybrids will be decked out in fancifully shaped flowers, often with striking colors. While most focus on vegetative growth in the winter, there are some hybrids in cultivation that will bloom most of the year, even in colder northern climates.
If you treat yourself to one of these beauties, try to avoid exposing it to hot midday sun. Otherwise bright environments are best for promoting the biggest flower spectacle. During the warmest months, you can keep them evenly watered, but never totally saturated. During the shorter days of winter, allow the pot to feel light before watering again. It's also good to incorporate a balanced fertilizer about once a month. A well-kept plant will typically last 10 years, but growth tips can be propagated readily. This next generation will not bloom their first season, but should the following season. Repot only every other year, using a light, almost "soil-less" mix.
Photograph by Tara Heibel
For more great ideas, be sure to look through Tara Heibel's "Plant Of The Week" slideshow below.
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