Friday, March 09, 2007

The Nautilocalyx!

I'm very excited to welcome a new contributor to the blog today! Jude not only grows beautiful African violets but has an extensive collection of very interesting, gorgeously grown gesneriads! She's agreed, from time to time, to share some of the lesser known and quite fascinating gesneriads and their culture with us! Enjoy!

I've become interested in the gesneriad Nautilocalyx over the past year. My first one was Nautilocalyx pemphidius, well actually it was my third. The first and second I accidentally allowed to dry out. Never, ever allow a Nautilocalyx to dry out. They die immediately, they don't even say good bye, they just leave! Nautilocalyx pemphidius, affectionately called "Naughty Little Pimp", is a small growing plant. At present, mine is seven inches high by seven inches wide. It grows by sending out side shoots and I expect it will soon fill out the twelve inch shallow bowl that it's planted in. The Plant was growing in a very porous medium. I took it out of it's pot and placed it in the domed bowl and filled in around it with long fibered sphagnum moss which I keep damp at all times. The plant has small, pebbled, strappy leaves in a bronzy green. It blooms easily and quite heavily but the flowers are very small. They look like little white stars against the dark foliage.

My next variety was Nautilocalyx forgettii. This is a larger growing plant with pebbly emerald green leaves with a red center and fuzzy red stems. I'm told that it will have small yellow flowers but I would grow it just for the lovely foliage. This plant is also growing in a very porous medium. I propagated it from cuttings that Bill Price was giving away at the '06 AVSA Convention. I asked if I should plant the whole cutting or take off leaves to plant. He said "Do both" so I did. Every piece grew. This one is growing in a large plastic open topped box to give it plenty of humidity.

I have now started seeds of Nautilocalyx Burle Marx and I have no idea what this one will look like. But I do know not to let it dry out.

I'm told that these plants may or may not form tubers. So far I have not found any in the pemphidius but the forgettii seems to be producing tubers. With tubers I always feel that I have a second chance if something goes wrong.

Many thanks to Jude Neumann for writing this entry today. Please leave comments and questions about the plants and their culture for us! We all learn from the exchange of ideas.


Barb W said...

Great to have Jude contributing! She's a great grower.

So, can these plants be grown using wicking? Do the leaves need the high humidity to stay fresh and green looking or will they look dried out if grown in open air? Do they have to be kept in a contained environment to keep from looking leggy?

Sharon said...

Welcome Jude, thanks for writing. I, too, have a question. Do they bloom? if so what color? I assume the flowers would be very small.

Jude said...

In answer to the first comment ---I've only grown them in enclosed or partly enclosed containers. Since they like being wet I think wicking would work just fine.
To answer the second ----Yes, they bloom. Forgettii is yellow (Or so I'm told. Mine hasn't bloomed yet) and pemphidius is white.

Jude said...

I've had another thought (Ouch!Ouch!) a wicked plant on matting would work well. The matting would give that extra humidity.