Monday, April 15, 2024

Columnea: long and spindly

Question:  How to I get Columnea ‘Light Prince’ to be full?  I have a pot from a previous order that actually has some buds, but is long and ‘spindly’.

Answer:  C. ‘Light Prince’ is a beautiful plant, and can bloom quite heavily, but it tends to be more seasonal in nature than some of the other Columnea.  We find that it blooms best in spring, when nights are still a bit cool but days are getting longer and brighter.  It will bloom other times of year, but never as heavily or as well.  As for keeping it “full” looking, you’ll need to get in the habit of occasionally trimming or “pinching” the tips of stems.  This will encourage the plant to branch and produce new growth.  If not done, individual stems won’t tend to branch on their own and will just keep getting longer and longer.  Most plants, columnea included, tend to produce bloom from the newest growth, which means that there’s no point in trimming the plant back now, when you have buds appearing.  As soon as those blooms disappear, though, trim your plant back and let it fill out with new growth.  Next time, you’ll have a fuller plant, with more stems, more new growth, and even more blooms!

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