Anyone grow vining Caleolarias (or want to)?

mark4321_gwFebruary 15, 2013

This is a post on a plant that really doesn't have an appropriate forum. It's a highland tropical plant, so this is as close as it gets.

I'm curious if anyone has experience with this plant or any of its close relatives. I also have a couple rooted cuttings that need homes.

In the Andes (I'm not sure exactly where they extend to), there are a group of Calceolarias that are termed "vining". They are large plants, and "climb" by sending shoots that I assume rely on the support of other plants. They don't twine, send out tendrils, etc.

As far as I'm aware, all are characterized by large furry perfoliate leaves and huge (for a Calceolaria) yellow flowers. Among this group of closely related species are Calceolaria perfoliata, tomentosa, calycina, pavonii, probably others as well.

Here are descriptions of a couple species:

Calceolaria calycina (Annie's Annuals):

http://www.anniesannuals.com/plt_lst/lists/general/lst.gen.asp?prodid=2784

Calceolaria tomentosa (Ebay vendor Strange Wonderful Things):

http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/158.htm
(link repeated at bottom)

Calceolaria pavonii (Roseland House, UK):

http://www.roselandhouse.co.uk/shrubs/calceolaria%20pavoni.htm

I bought a plant labeled Calceolaria perfoliata? (the question mark was on the tag) at the big Spring sale at the San Francisco Botanical Garden (Strybing). Nobody working a the sale was familiar with the plant. By the time I got home a couple pieces of the brittle plant had broken off in transit. It looked like this:

I soon put it in a 2 gallon pot, and placed it alongside a fence that gets mostly shade, some morning sun. By October it had grown considerably taller, and had cleared the fence. Here's one "vine":

Most reports have these blooming in the Fall. Mine never did. I consulted one of the growers of one of the other species, and the conclusion was that it would more likely bloom if planted in the ground. I didn't put it in the ground, but I'm piling soil around the pot so the roots can grow out. I expect this will have a similar effect once the plant roots out a bit.

So I'm curious if others have any experience with any of these vining Calceolarias and suggestions as to how to get blooms.

I also have a couple cuttings I need to find homes for, as soon as possible. These are for trade or postage, I don't really care too much. I'm more interested in finding a good home for them. As these are high elevation Andean plants (most reports seem to be from 2500 m or higher), they will likely like a cool, frost-free or nearly frost free environment. Combine this with a long growing season and it limits things a bit. I think ideally they would go to Sunset zones 15-17 or 23-24, or possibly to live outside in the Summer in Northwestern or possibly Northern climates. I doubt they would survive in warm summers (nights significantly above 60 or days above 80). I think they might do better inside than outside in such climates (which admittedly is most of the country).

I think these guys should take off in bigger pots or in the ground when warm enough. They are very floppy and probably brittle and might be tricky to ship. I've potted up #1 to stay here, so the ones I have are #2 and #3.

These are odd plants. It's sort of like growing a big piece of felt.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures and description of a related Calceolaria

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