20 July 2015

Pachypodium brevicaule: Oh she blooms

The most favored of all the specimens on the bench, this young P. brevicaule seedling opened spring with several flower buds, proving the cold-region culture to be correct: in winter dormancy, the plant needs to be cold enough to trigger the spring show. After shedding its leaves in autumn, keep your plant well lit in the winter, with daytime temperature somewhere between 5 to 10C.  Make sure night temperatures never drop below freezing, just to be safe. And keep it dry. 

Towards spring, once temperatures rise above freezing at night, the plant will start growing new leaves. Give it a sip of water at this point. I put them back outdoors when daytime temperatures are above 10C and definitely after the last frost.

In this first blooming season, only one of the buds went on to mature and open, but for a grafted two-year old seedling, that's not bad. The flower itself is relatively uncontaminated with excessive frills, but it is vibrant and dramatic, nonetheless. In full sun, the flower will remain open for about a week. 

You will observe that the flower will spend about two days half-open. No idea why, it just stayed that way before finally opening wide.
What it looked like in 2013
Related post: Pachycauls

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