Pearcea hypocyrtiflora

bubba62January 30, 2009

I purchased a beautiful Pearcea hypocyrtiflora early last fall and have been attempting to grow it under lights in a large paludarium (a 45 gallon aquarium containing about 3" of water.) The plant is in a 5" plastic pot (in my standard gesneriad mix), which stands well above the water line on an inverted clay pot, but is allowed to drain freely into the aquarium. This is sort of my "hospital" area, where I grow things needing extra warmth, light, and humidity in the winter - temps range from 65-68F at this time of year. Growing very well alongside the Pearcea are two Episcias, Begonia prismatocarpa, a Nepenthes hybrid, some colocasias I'm wintering over as small plants, and a tropical Nymphaea tuber.

Given this cultural info, can anyone hazard a guess as to why the large leaves and stems of the Pearcea have gradually browned off? I would normally suspect overwatering, but there are still apparently viable growths being produced at the rhizome, which gives me hope. Is this species naturally deciduous? I'm treating it for now as I do most sinningias when they "crash" - does this species produce rhizomes like Achimenes, Smithiantha, Gloxinia, etc? I'd appreciate any info, as there isn't much cultural advice available on this plant.

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I do not grow these plants myself, but from what I read in "How to Know and Grow Gesneriads", pearcea are very similar in growing requirements to Kohleria. On the Gesneriad Reference website there was a mention that the plant likes to have higher humidity and less light than kohleria. Maybe your problem is too much light? I am sorry that I could not be of more help, hopefully someone with more knowledge will pipe in.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 9:42AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

It sounds like you're treating it about right. I don't have a lot of experience with Pearcea, although I did manage to bloom P. hypocyrtiflora several years ago. It bloomed during the winter in an unheated basement! The plants seem to like relatively low light (far less than most kohlerias), high humidity, and a well-drained medium that never dries out. This is one of the more difficult species to bloom; cool temperatures seem to help trigger blooming. It forms a large, sprawling, shallow-rooted plant that spreads by branching and by stringy rhizomes. No dormant period that I know of.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 2:24PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Bubba, I think you're in southern Virginia but it sounds like you might be interested in a couple of groups up our way. One is the local chapter of the Gesneriad Society, and the other is DCTropics, a local group of people growing hardy palms, (sub)tropicals & other rare and unusual plants. The two groups are very different, but there's some overlap between them. Send me an email if you want information on either group.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 2:28PM
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