THE BLOG

Sprout Home Plant Of The Week Pocketbook Flower

01/04/2013 05:32 pm ET | Updated Mar 06, 2013

I can not tell you that the Pocketbook flower's name is literal in the sense that it will give you a fatter wallet, but what I can tell you is that the blooms of this quirky plant will give you a smile or even an outright chuckle every time you catch a glimpse of it. The Pocketbook flower, or Calceolaria, is also called Lady's purse, Slipperwort and Slipper flower because of the amusing flowers that look like a pocket, shoe or purse.

pocketbook flower
Flickr user doegox

In Latin the name appropriately means "shoemaker." The colorful blossoms usually have a base color of yellow or orange and, depending on the variety, can be splashed with a variety of other colors from red to purple and brown. They can range in height and flower size but one thing that stays consistent is the flower's ability to make a statement.

The large Genus of Calceolaria is comprised of shrubs, vines and herbaceous perennials and if you are lucky enough to run across a Pocketbook plant at your local florist or garden center COM chances are it is a Calceolaria crenataflora hybrid native to Chile.

If cared for properly the Pocketbook flower can bloom for several weeks. They need to be well drained and evenly moist being careful to not saturate the crown as to avoid rot. Do not get water drops on the slipper flowers either as they will discolor and spot. They thrive in bright filtered light or partial shade and do not take kindly to mid-day direct sun. They will bloom best if given a cooler atmosphere preferably in the low-to-mid-60's but avoid heavy drafts. Feed with a diluted fertilizer to see the slippers take shape.

The Pocketbook flower can be grown as a outdoor potted annual or even as part of a garden bed in warmer climates. They also make for a fun houseplant even though they are difficult to get to re-bloom. After they shed do not despair -- you can always grow them from stem tip cuttings or seed if you miss them...and you will.

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