Painted leaf - 50 seeds
Painted leaf - 50 seeds
Growing to 60–75cm (24–30 inch) tall and wide, it is a bushy, woody-based evergreen perennial, widely grown for its highly decorative variegated leaves. It has been assiduously hybridized over the years into a very large number of vegetative propagated and seed propagated strains with an almost infinite number of leaf color combinations including most colors of the spectrum except true blue.
Although Solenostemon scutellarioides plants are perennials, many growers treat them as temporary foliage plants, to be enjoyed and then discarded when past their best. This is because they are sometimes difficult to overwinter and also because they are easy to grow from cuttings. Their soft, rather thin leaves very considerably in shape, size and colour (which can be almost any shape of yellow, red, orange, green or brown or a mixture of three or more of these). Solenostemon scutellarioides plants have opposite leaves and blue to lilac colored flower spikes. Such flowers as they produce have little decorative value and are best nipped out when they are still developing; this procedure will help to keep the plants bushy.
Solenostemon scutellarioides is the only species of Solenostemon commonly grown as indoor plant. Some of its forms have hart-shaped leaves and others have slender, sometimes contorted pendulous leaves. Young seedlings only 2-5cm (0.8-2 inch) high, but already showing their true colour, can be bought in spring and these may grow into 60cm (24 inch) tall plants in one season. Named hybrids of this species are also frequently available.
Houseplant care: All Solenostemon scutellarioides should have their growing tips nipped out regularly to help them remain bushy. The flowers are best pinched out before they form to keep the plant in good shape.
If the plant is kept for a second season, prune it back to about one third of its original size in late winter or very beginning of spring.
Light: Provide bright light at all times – including several hours a day of direct sunlight, if possible. Insufficient light will result in spindly growth.
Temperatures: Solenostemon scutellarioides do well in warm rooms. In temperatures above 18°C (64°F), though, the air should be humidified by standing plants on trays of damp pebbles or moist peat moss. If the temperature is allowed to fall much bellow 13°C (55°F) leaves are in danger of wilting and dropping down.
Watering: These plants should be watered plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist. If the mixture is permitted to dry out even for a short period, the leaves of Solenostemon scutellarioides will collapse; and although plants may appear to recover fully when they are watered once more the lower leaves will probably still drop off.
If the plant is being kept over winter then reduce watering and keep this plant on the dry side.
Avoid getting the velvety leaves wet. Hard water will cause white spots which cannot be washed off. Always use room-temperature water when watering these houseplants.
Feeding: Apply a liquid fertiliser about every two weeks throughout the active growth period.