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Blooming Plants
            
 
  Blooming Plant of the Month
            Calceolaria

Botanical name
Calceolaria (kal-see-oh-LAY-ree-a)
Common names
Pocketbook plant, pocketbook flower, slipperwort, pouch flower, slipperflower, ladies’ purse
Description
This is a large group of plants consisting mostly of shrubs and soft-stemmed perennials. The plants are popular for their unusual flowers that are shaped like little slippers or bags. The sizes
of the flowers vary; some are up to 2 inches long
while most are about half an inch across.
Colors
The blossoms of Calceolaria are usually bicolored and are available in various hues and combinations of yellow, orange, red, rose, apricot, terra-cotta and brown. Some are splashed with contrasting or matching colors.
Shelf Life
Plants can bloom up to three weeks.
Availability
Calceolarias are available year-round.

Processing
1 Upon arrival, remove the plants from the shipping boxes by grasping their protective sleeves and lifting the plants out.
2 Carefully remove each sleeve by tearing along the seam upward from the bottom.
3 Inspect plant variety, size, color and quality.
4 Remove any damaged stems, leaves and blooms.
5 Inspect each plant for disease or damage. Isolate diseased or damaged plants, and report them to the grower or buying office immediately.
6 Determine water needs by pressing a finger into the soil 1 inch or using a moisture meter.
7 Water each plant, as necessary, with room-temperature water, and allow excess water to drain from each pot.

In-store Care
WATER
Keep the pots evenly moist, but allow water to drain.
light These plants do best in interior light levels of 200 foot-candles (bright light) or more.
ETHYLENE
Some Calceolarias are sensitive to ethylene gas. The blossoms will wilt when they are exposed, and the plant will not recover. Check with your suppliers to make sure their crops have been treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the farm or during transportation.
TEMPERATURE
Maintain the plants at 65 F for best longevity.

Challenges
CINERARIA MAGGOT (LEAF MINER)
This relative of the aphid makes whitish irregular markings, or “trails,” on leaves. Affected leaves must be picked off and burned.
GREEN FLY
This pest affects young plants and can be kept down only by fumigating, vaporizing or cleansing with a solution of safer soap.
APHIDS
If aphids infest the plants, they will eliminate the rich, green coloring that characterizes the foliage of healthy plants. Cleansing with a solution of safer soap will control them.
ALTERNARIA LEAF SPOT
Dark brown to black spots form on leaves. These enlarge to engulf large portions of the leaves and can cause leaves to break from their stems. To prevent this, remove infected leaves. Water in a manner that keeps leaf surfaces dry. Maintain low humidity.
PHYTOPHTHORA
Roots and stems rot at the soil line, and plants wilt and die. Plants need to be potted in pasteurized potting mix. To prevent, avoid overwatering. Discard the affected plants and pots.
VIRUSES
Leaves can be mottled or have yellow spots, dead flecks or line or ring spot patterns. Plants can be distorted, have flower color-breaking or can be stunted. Veins might be killed along with petioles and the entire plant. Discard affected plants.

 

You can reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com or by phone (415) 239-3140.

Images courtesy of The John Henry Company, Lansing, MI.

Some information provided by:
Ball Publishing, www.ballpublishing.com
Chain of Life NetworkÆ, www.chainoflifenetwork.org


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