Neomarica gracilis: Apostle Plant

Amongst plant-lovers one will find quite a number who are willing to grow a specimen even if its blooms last for only one day, for example the garden tigridia or genera such as Cypella or Herbertia.

Neomarica also has flowers that last for only a single day, but these are produced in such profusion that the flowering period is lengthier. And they are so exquisite, that it is definitely worthwhile growing this plant.

The narrow leaves of Neomarica gracilis (syn. Marica gracilis), indigenous to the area extending from Mexico to Brazil, form a fan about 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in) high. The plants have a slender, creeping underground rhizome by means of which they spread very rapidly. This should be kept in mind when putting neomarica in, say, a dish arrangement together with other plants.

The inflorescence is generally no higher than the leaves. The flowers, approximately 5 cm (2 in) ac-cross, open in succession, always only about 2 or 3 every day. Usually they are self-pollinated and are followed by tricapsular capsules containing a great number of seeds.

Neomaricas may be divided when they are repotted, but they may also be multiplied by seeds, sown on a mixture of peat and sand and covered with a layer of sand about 0.5 cm (1/4 in) thick. These germinate and grow rapidly into plants that bear flowers the following year. They should be potted in John Innes potting compost No 1. Sometimes young plantlets are formed also at the tips of the flower stems; these may be detached and grown in the usual way.

Neomaricas do very well in modern homes, even in windows exposed to full sun; however, a lightly shaded spot is better.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neomarica gracilis: Apostle Plant

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