Though this plant appear to be simple and easy, I must say that this is one of the challenging plants to cultivate as it has easily gone dormant and many times totally disappeared from my garden and had replaced them by exchanging plants from other gardeners.
Hence for this reason there are few matters to be concerned and to be observed as what to watch of for to make sure this particular plant last in the duration of long-term basis in the gardening experience.
Commonly known as Black Flamingo or Sunset Bells (Chrysothemis pulchella) belonging to the Gesneriaceae family where it is considered a shade loving plant similar as African Violets and Episcias.
Due to their nature it is ideal to consider their nature to be similar with a gesneriad species where high humidity, bright indirect light and in a condition where it is like greenhouse or terrarium set-up.
Also this plant can easily susceptible for mealybugs and white fly attack and therefore must be vigilant in the pest control or else this plant will succumb to its demise.
Shaded plant - will not able to tolerate direct hot sun as the foliage will have burned at its edges.
Best placed indirect morning sun where it will promote good flowering formation as total shade may make this plant leggy and without flower.
Adequate watering - not too much water as it may cause root rot / too less watering will make the plant wither and limp.
Propagation - dividing the rootball as there are corm formation below the rootball.
Cuttings may root better with rooting hormone but can prove challenging.
This plant do not produce fruit or seeds.
Container Garden - It works well in well drained medium in a contained pot rather than open garden spaces. Replanting is necessary as they behave like annuals.
I would suggest to propagate and have spares of this plant as this can prove challenging in case in that singular pot the whole plant disappears. I had experienced this many times and wondered if it is worth cultivating a fussy plant however I just love the non-green feature where the foliage are in copper and those bright showy leaves are just a must have plant in a shade loving garden.
Do share your thoughts and experience concerning this plant and how you care for this plant.
Love to hear from you.
Thank you for the helpful information. I live in South Florida where this plant is easy to find in the summer months. What I'd like to know is what is the lowest temperature it can live in. Mine seem to get very weak and wither down to almost nothing in November or December. And, will they go dormant and come back when the temperature rises in the spring?
Hi David Berkowitz
I'm not sure about the lowest temperature on this one - where I live - its constant tropical zone in my place. What I can say is that it does get weak and wither down after few months. I normally remove the pups and replant it again as few shoots appear from the center crown. Often there is a corm and it restart all over again after it's season.
Do keep it indoors as I doubt it is a temperate plant and may not able to handle frost or winter well.
Very accurate information- the flower doesn't like direct sunlight as it burns on the edges but that's how I have been managing the flower though - without adequate shade. The plant easily multiplies when grown with another plant especially devils tongue or you can possibly try planting it with some flowers that can provide shade for it from too much direct sunlight
Thanks for your thoughts and your tip on planting together with companion plant for providing shade.
Hi there. My Black Flamingo leaves are turning a rusty brown in the center of the leaf. I water it adequately and it gets a little afternoon direct sunlight. I don't think the leaves are burned and it doesn't look like a disease...yet. Any thoughts?
Does anyone know if this plant is toxic for cats? Recently got one and can’t find anywhere on google if it is safe
Hi Zane, Orlando, Florida:
My Black Flamingo leaves are turning a rusty brown in the center of the leaf. I water it adequately and it gets a little afternoon direct sunlight. I don't think the leaves are burned and it doesn't look like a disease...yet. Any thoughts?
The Burned crisp can be the sign of too much minerals in the potting medium such as strong fertilizer - do understand that these are indeed sensitive plants which can be quite difficult to cultivate due it is fussy behavior - however if you manage to get the right location and a good growing set up for it - it can last for almost a year. Again, they do go dormant time to time and you may have to repot and propagate it using tuber/corm for the next season.
As for the next question:
Does anyone know if this plant is toxic for cats?
Recently got one and can’t find anywhere on google if it is safe
Believe me - I had lots of cats coming into my garden and all of them are safe and happy. So far, I find that cats have their 6 senses to know what to consume - unlike dogs, they don't really mess with toxic plants. However I can say personally that this one does not have any sap or milk like euphorbia. Provided the cats don't really consume these greenery like a cat nip - I think it should be ok.
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