Chirita Aiko

LisaSW(8 TX)August 11, 2003

I have this chirita and it has put out what I thought were buds at the base of seven different leaves but now they don't seem to be doing anything. The "buds" have a set of small leaves and the biggest "bud" has a stem of about 3/4 inch long. If these are flowers how long do they take to bloom? I have it is an eastern window in a Oyama planter.

Also, does anyone know how often chirita Hisako blooms?

Thanks,

Lisa

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dwarferz(5 WI)

One site I was reading suggested that Hisako can be reluctant to bloom. It also mentions that Chirita sinensis 'Hisako' is the proper name, in case you go searching ;)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2003 at 2:12PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Many chiritas will form tiny "resting buds" in the leaf axils, which then sit and don't do anything for a long time. The rosette chiritas tend to be seasonal plants that go semi-dormant in the winter; keeping them cooler and a bit drier during this time encourages these buds to develop, often in a spectacular flush of bloom in the spring or early summer. I think that failure to give them this rest period is one reason for the reluctance of many chiritas to bloom.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2003 at 11:03AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Chiritas don't flower for as long a time as modern hybrid AV's. Perhaps someday, the hybrids will become everblooming. But, for now, they often have just one or two periods of flowers in a year, depending on the variety. But, they have wonderful rosettes of succulent leaves--some types are well marked with patterns of light colored patches or veining. Some of the hybrids make thick upright stems. To an AV grower, these may seem objectionable but I think they are a decorative feature of the plants. I have seen these trunks grow to over a foot in height, with their interesting pattern of leaf bases. I actually tried to encourage a stemmed plant when I repotted it, hoping for a sort of bonsai/palm look. But, I found that in this instance the stem did not support good roots and the crown of leaves got smaller and weaker, until I realized that I needed to restart it as a crown cutting. Some of the hybrids that grow trunks are the ones with C. Species 'New York' or related species in their background (like 'Chastity').

'Hisako' will put on a beautiful display of flowers. One of the issues of the Swedish gesneriad magazine had a lovely picture of a window sill plant in full bloom. But, one of the easiest and best flowerers for me is the hybrid, 'Kazu'. Right now it has a cloud of flowers over it. In the past I have counted up to 20 flower scapes at one time. It is not a rosette now, but a mass of offsets, which I think aids in the production of flowers. Interestingly this particular plant is my oldest, which I potted up about 5 years ago. It is in a 6-7" terra cotta pot. When I planted it, I put in a mulch of dolomite chips around the the surface. They may well be contributing to the vigor of this plant, since dolomite is lime. The chips are small white stones, about 3/8" size. They would look a bit garish but the foliage covers them up nicely.

Jon

PS: I mentioned 'Hisako' and 'Kazu'--both are hybrids by the Japanese gesneriad grower, Nagahide Nakayama. Hisako is his wife's name and Kazu is his son. Nagahide (pronounced Na-ga-he-dee) has made some very popular hybrids--well worth growing.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2003 at 3:39PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

A few of the chirita species from warmer areas and their hybrids bloom well under warmer conditions and don't require a cool winter rest. Among these species are C. flavimaculata, C. heterotricha, C. sp. 'New York', and their hybrids C. 'Chastity', C. 'Dreamtime', and C. 'Sweet Dreams'. One characteristic of these species, passed on to their hybrids, is that they can grow quite large (although they will often begin to bloom while still quite small). 'Chastity' isn't too bad, size-wise, but the species C. tamiana from Vietnam is a true miniature, has no dormant period, and blooms almost continuously.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2003 at 11:24AM
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jon_d(Northern Calif.)

Ach, how could I forget tamiana! That little plant is amazing. I am waiting for it to catch hold in the general mass produced plant market. I know it will. (I just hope some unscrupulous corporation doesn't try to patent it!) Hmmmm, forget that last comment--you can't patent a seed strain, and it produces tons of seeds and grows very easily from seed--blooming in just a few months. The only knock on tamiana is that it blooms so frequently, if not continuously that one could get tired of the constant flowering. But, I love the neat little leaves as much as the flowers. They look much like mini African Violet leaves. But, unlike AV's I think tamiana looks best when three or more seedlings are potted together and allowed to offset a bit. The more crowns in the pot, the more flowers and the neater the overall appearance.

John, thanks for the information on the three species--I didn't know they were from a warmer climate than other rosette type chiritas. I grow them outside here in California (except for tamiana).

    Bookmark   August 22, 2003 at 3:40PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

I have a chirita 'Dianne Marie'. I took a long time to bloom [almost 2 years], but now blooms pretty steady. I had called Robs' violets where I bought it and they told me it was a slow bloomer.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2003 at 11:24PM
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susancarol(7)

JohnnieB:We live in the same general area. Can you find chiritas locally in our area? Thanks for any information. I've become addicted just by looking at a picture.

Susan

    Bookmark   August 27, 2004 at 7:47PM
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