The majority of these are only suitable for growing in the greenhouse or garden room where the temperature can be maintained at a minimum level of around 18°C (6S°F). Allied to high temperature it is necessary to dampen regularly the interior area of the greenhouse in order to provide the maximum amount of humidity. High temperature on its own will only create a very dry atmosphere and one of the great secrets of success with plants in the greenhouse or garden room is to create the proper 'feeling'. This is done by keeping the atmosphere moist while at the same time avoiding dank, airless conditions.
Dipladenias are green foliage plants which will readily climb any form of support and will also offer a colourful display of funnel-shaped flowers over a long period. The most popular species is the pink-flowered Dipladenia splendens. This is also one of the easiest to grow as a pot plant indoors, but to retain a compact and attractive appearance the growth should be twined around a simple framework placed in the pot rather than allowed to grow in thin strands on a single cane. Plants can be kept in check by being pruned back nearly to the base in February.
Dipladenias require copious watering while they are growing but as this should be combined with good drainage an open peaty compost should be used. The plants need protection from strong sunlight and to be sprayed over to increase the humidity. Increase by cuttings of young growth taken in summer and rooted in a heated propa-
When grown as a room plant Gardenia jas-minoides. Cape jasmine, will require cool, light conditions. It will also be essential to keep the compost permanently moist while the plant is producing new leaves, and a little dryer at other times. Like the azalea, it is one of those plants which will benefit lar use of hard water will in lime result in plants growing with yellow, discoloured foliage. A similar appearance will also result if the plant is potted in compost with a high lime content.
It is an advantage for any plant to have natural glossy foliage, and in this respect the gardenia is well endowed. However, the principal attraction is the double white flowers thai arc produced during the spring and summer months of the year - these have
Growth is comparatively slow, but plants that have been well cared for will develop seldom necessary and should be confined to the trimming back of any shoots that have an untidy appearance. Older plants arc often better for being grown in clay pots that have had a liberal supply of 'crocks' placed in the bottoms to ensure adequate drainage. Leaves that take on a hard yellow appearance can also be a problem, and this is best counteracted by watering a solution of sequestrated iron into the compost. Proprietary compounds are available for this and manufacturers' directions should be followed. Premature loss of buds is due to wide variation in the growing conditions, cither fluctuating temperatures or varying amounts of water.
Closely related to the dracaenas. Pleomele reflexa variegata has wiry stems that produce short, pointed leaves which are closely grouped on the main stem of the plant. The young leaves at the top of the branch have an exquisite lime-green colouring which changes to golden-yellow and then to cream as the leaves mature. Specimen plants with many branching stems are among the choicest of all foliage plants, and will improve the appearance of any display or collection. In common with most of the dracaenas of this type it is quite usual for these plants to shed their lower leaves as they increase in height and this, rather than marring their appearance, seems to make them more graceful with their clumps of growth atop of slender stems.
The plant originates from the regions of India and Ceylon, and the common name is song of India, which would seem to assure it of popularity if only it was quicker growing. Pleomele requires warmth, good light and conditions that are never too wet. It will also exist for a long time in the same pot. and seems to prefer this sort of treatment to the more conventional handling that would require it to be potted on more frequently. When potting is undertaken a reasonably heavy compost. John Innes potting compost No. 3 for example, should be used and there should be ample drainage provided as pleomele abhor wet conditions - particularly wet and cold situations.
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