Rochea coccinea

The several preceding species were of interest from the ecological and biological viewpoint but not much can be said for them in the way of room decoration. However, the following plants make up for this.

Rochea coccinea is one of the 3 species that constitute this genus native to South Africa, where it grows high up in the mountains in sandy, well-drained localities in the partial shade of taller shrubs.

This small shrub with succulent leaves bears dense, cymose clusters of red flowers in April. After flowering has finished the plant should be moved outdoors to the garden, or else placed in an open sunny window. The tips should be pinched out in late June to promote branching as well as growth. Feed should be supplied regularly but watering must not be too copious. In winter, the plant should be put either in a cool room or in an unheated corridor. In modern houses it is generally impossible to provide ideal winter temperatures, that is 3 to 5°C (38 to 41°F). In early spring, from about March onward, the plants may be propagated by taking 5- to 7-cm-(2- to 2-3/4-in) long cuttings from the tips and inserting them in a peat and sand mixture in a warm room, where they will quickly form roots.

Other popular genera of this family may be grown in the same way, requiring only slightly warmer conditions in winter, for example Crassula por-ndacea and Kalanchoe blossfeldiana.

Rochea and the other mentioned genera should be grown in a light mixture such as a blend of peat, leaf mould and sand, or one of the soilless composts. Feed should be supplied only in summer.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rochea coccinea

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