any tips for alsobia and chirita?

shiverFebruary 3, 2006

Hello all----I usually hang out in the AV forum but have now decided to give other gessies a try. I'll fell in love with alsobia 'cygnet' and chiritas 'stardust' and 'aiko.' I bought them on impulse before I knew their exact requirements (naughty me!) and am a bit unsure how to care for them. Is it all the same as AVs? Since I failed miserably with streps (they just rotted away) I thought I'd better get some help from the experts this time. :)

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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Hi, Shiver:
I treat my chiritas exactly like I do my AVs. They're on reservoirs and under lights. They are thriving....maybe a little too well ;-)

BTW, I have 'Stardust' and 'Aiko.'


    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 12:03AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Alsobia takes the same treatment too. Pretty easy--just be sure, like you are with AVs, to keep them moist but not soggy. They can use a little more light to bloom well, and those flowers are worth it!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 12:48AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Chiritas are really easy. They can get large if grown with lots of fertilizer and moved up into large pots. But, they can bloom well if kept small, with small pots and less frequent feedling. Some can rot if wicked--they like to dry out just a bit between watering. But, otherwise, they are like AV's. Here, I can grow them outdoors, as they are hardy into the 20's (for brief periods overnight). But, I have most of mine indoors, where I can keep the foliage better looking. Be sure to start plants from leaves. You can use the older leaves, even if small, to start new plants. Having backups helps while learning how to grow, as well as giving you more plants to enjoy. I have both 'Stardust' and 'Aiko', and agree they are good ones. 'Stardust' will get more silver veining as it matures. For me, the best plants seem to be ones I grow under lights, but window sills and greenhouse work well too.

Alsobias will be semi-dormant now. So, don't be surprised if your plant does little growing for the next few months. Just take care of it and be patient. In late spring and summer it will grow fast and become a beautiful foliage and flowering plant.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 3:40PM
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Thanks for the tips everyone. No doubt this good info will help make the lives of my new gessies happier, and decrease the chances of them going to plant heaven way before their time! :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 6:56PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

The way to deal with plants on wicks that need to dry out a little is to forget to fill the reservoirs. (Or you could do it intentionally actually!) But I often forget. If I didn't wick-water the 'forgettings' would be fatal Amazing what you can wick-water if you let the reservoirs go dry regularly.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 1:32AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

I'm so absent minded about refilling reservoirs that, like Greene, I've avoided chirita . . . and begonia . . . fatalities :-)

BTW, did you know you can line the reservoir with a plastic bag to avoid algae cleanup? Yep, just throw the baggies out when they get grungy. And, I wrap the edges of my plastic pots with plastic wrap and they leaves don't become damaged. Some of my AV club members use plastic tubing like you buy at a fish store but the plastic wrap works just as well for me.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 2:04AM
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Southernwood(z6 NJ)

Since you mentioned your problems with my favorite gessies - streps! - I just thought I'd mention that when streps rot away, the problem is usually too heavy a potting medium for them. Many people find streps do best for them in a mix that is at least 50% perlite. Also, many people find that it is best to repot them fairly frequently - say, every 6-8 months. I repot my streps when the flower stalks start getting shorter.

So, try another strep some time, and for your trial run be sure to get a vigorous, faster-growing variety. (Most of the more popular Bristol's are ideal for this, but of course they are not the only ones.)

In the meantime, best of luck with your Alsobias and Chiritas. I wouldn't THINK of giving you advice on these; my last Alsobia languished and eventually died (though I think there's still a piece lurking in the rooting box, so I'll second that piece of advice :), and my Chiritas seem to neither grow nor die ... still a work in progress. Better luck to you ...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 10:23AM
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domeman(NSW Aust)

Alsobia likes to be watered more frequently than chirita. Alsobia likes a brighter environment.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some pics

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 10:59AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

Great pictures, Domeman. Certainly shows what alsobia flowers look like! Enjoyed them all--you could make a pillow with those seeds (after you cleaned them, of course--wouldn't want to put seeds in a pillow, just the fluff!)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:06AM
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domeman(NSW Aust)

Thanks for the compliment greenelbows1

Just added another image - 'lipstick' flower

Here is a link that might be useful: A. lobbianthus

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:40AM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

That shows so well why they're called 'lipstick' flowers! I don't usually prefer common names, but that is certainly one that fits, isn't it? Beautiful picture.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 10:58PM
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does anyone know if I am doing anything wrong or right with my alsobia?

its growing great and blooming but its growing tall and not trailing it has a long upright stem I thought they were to be short like a A. Violet.
anyone know if its o.k.? or should i lower it in the pot I dont know what to do.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 8:41PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Julie -

it depends what species of Alsobia you grow -

A. dianthiflora is more of a ground cover type of trailer, A.punctata grows more upright - and there are a couple of new species that grow just plain upright.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pics

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 2:07PM
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mine is the alsobia chiapas look yp violet barn and its still on a long and upright, i am so scared its going to get top heave i might get a small icecream stick and just tie it to help me feel better i am just scared its going to break or something terrable. oh its had 2 new blooms sence my last post s I know I must be doing something correct.

bye for now

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:46PM
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