Midnight lantern columnea

averil(8b)May 4, 2014

Hi folks, I have a small midnight lantern that I bought as a plug last year. I first put it in the bathroom, west facing to give it lots of humidity but it shed leaves at an alarming rate. I moved it to a south facing window and it picked up a lot. I had the first and only flower around 3 weeks ago and I'm amazed because the flower still looks fresh but it's starting to drop again. It is growing new leaves but I'm wondering how to stop the drop. Any clues?
Kind regards
Averil (uk)

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snappyguy

Sudden loss of vigor can be related to many things. A change in growing environment (this sounds like the situation when you first acquired it), insect infestation, over/under watering, and needing to be repotted can all cause a plant to drop leaves. Only after checking each possibility will you know what the culprit is.

Mark

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 12:59PM
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averil(8b)

Hi Mark, thanks for your response. I've thoroughly checked for insects but no sight of any. As you say it's possibly because it was moved. I shall keep an eye on it and see how it gets on. Many thanks
Averil

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:01AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Averil -
'Midnight Lantern" is notorious in its ability to defoliate without any cause. Every so often it agrees to grow nicely... and then it does its thing again.

Guys - if anybody figured out the secret of this particular Columnea - can you share?

Irina

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 5:08PM
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gregsytch(z9b Tampa Bay)

i grow 'Midnight Lantern' here in my Tampa Bay yard, and have a greenhouse (actually a shadehouse that gets covered from late Nov thru early Mar). It grows very bright, hangs at the top, and both are in 8" baskets and obviously rootbound. Blooms nonstop. Being epiphytic, it enjoys being rootbound. I fertilize all year. Even in our heavy storms, just keeps doing its thing. Rootbound is the key with all Columneas. My mix is Fafard peat, large perlite, pine bark mulch fines. My Nematanthus even grow in the ground here. Although I am zone 9b, most winters I am zone 10a (32-35F lows maybe once or twice). Protect Columnea from under 37F.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 5:43PM
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averil(8b)

Hi Irina and Gre. Thanks very much for your response. I phoned the nursery I bought it from and she told me to plant it in a peat based, soil free houseplant compost and give it tomato feed. I replanted and I have to say it seems to have perked up and is starting to bud again. I shall keep my fingers crossed because I do love this plant
Kind regards
Averil

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:21AM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Averil - I am using peat based soilless mix... and it still misbehaves.
Let's move to Florida - and build a shadehouse near Greg's one.

I.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:43PM
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averil(8b)

Hi Irina, yep a move to Florida would suit me just fine ha ha

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 5:48AM
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snappyguy

I also wonder if extremely high humidity might help reduce the sudden defoliation issue. I have found that my Columnea purpureovittata is fine at 45% humidity unless the potting mix starts to dry just a little, then it defoliates. I've heard that keeping this particular species under a dome helps prevent this. It makes me wonder if something similar might be occurring here with Midnight Lantern.

Mark

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 8:16PM
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averil(8b)

Thanks for that Mark. I've started giving it a spray on warm days. It certainly seems fine since it's repot but time will tell

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 5:25AM
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