Introduction to growing Crossandra (Kanakambaram) in pots
The Crossandra flower is commonly called as ‘Kanakambaram’ is known for its beauty and color. Its scientific name is Crossandra infundibuliformis and it is also called Aboli. Crossandra plants with their bright orange flowers are grown as an annual or perennial, planted in the home garden or as wonderful flowering windowsill houseplant depending on where you live.
Crossandra is an evergreen plant that grows up to a height of one meter. About 30-35°C atmospheric temperature is ideal to ensure better growth of the Crossandra plant and the attractive color of the flowers. The flowers are found in varieties of yellow, orange, and red. But white and purple color varieties also are found nowadays. Though flowers are not fragrant like jasmine flower, Crossandra flower is noted for its attractive color. In this article we also discuss below topics;
- How long does a Crossandra tree take to grow
- Growing a Crossandra from cuttings
- Crossandra seed germination period
- Is Crossandra perennial or annual
- Crossandra plant propagation
- Temperature for Crossandra seed germination
- Crossandra plant care
- Growing Crossandra from seed
- Crossandra plant growing tips
A step by step guide to growing Crossandra plants in pots
Crossandra is prized for its constant show of bright orange flowers and shiny green foliage. Crossandra plant care includes keeping the soil moist and applying a balanced fertilizer every month, spring through fall. For indoor use, mist the plant leaves regularly. Start Crossandra from seeds indoors at any time. Very lightly cover the flower seeds with a sprinkling of soil and maintain warm temperatures for the best germination. Blooms can appear 4 months after seed sowing. Plant treat as an annual or a container plant in areas with frosts. Bring container indoors, and the Crossandra plant will brighten up your interior during the winter months. Crossandra is a versatile plant grown as an annual, perennial plant, or flowering houseplant, depending on where you live.
Different varieties of Crossandra for pot gardening
Local types (Orange, Dark Red (Ratan aboli), Yellow, Delhi Crossandra, Arka Ambara, Arka and Kanaka, etc
Size and growth rate of Crossandra
Crossandra grows to a height of about 12 to 18 inches tall, producing dark green foliage with the glossy leaves resembling Gardenia plant leaves. When orange marmalade Crossandra plant reaches the desired height it is a good idea to pinch out the tips helping the plant to branch nicely. A bushy appearing plant, the foliage is stalkless, and the leaves attach directly to the stem.
Soil and light requirement for growing Crossandra
Crossandra plants thrive best in bright, indirect sunlight. During the summer season, do not expose them to direct sunlight. In the winter season, provide as much light as possible. Indoors, your Crossandra plants can do well with bright artificial light.
A rich, peat-based potting soil with excellent drainage is beneficial for Crossandra. If grown outdoors, it wants to be in a well-drained spot and will enjoy having compost provided for nutrients.
Temperature range for growing Crossandra in pots
Crossandra enjoys the heat and high humidity. When they bloom, a temperature ranging from 70 to 75°Fis most recommended.
Propagating Crossandra for growing in pots
- You can easily propagate the Cassandra with stem cutting. Take cutting in the spring season and dip in the routing hormones, plant the cutting in the seed-starting mix, and then you will get the best results.
- Make cuttings out of non-woody shoots for about 3 to 4 inches long. Each cutting should hold a number of leaf buds and well-developed leaves.
- Then, remove the two bottom-most leaves and dip the cuttings’ moistened end in a hormone-rooting compound.
- Plant several cuttings in a pot and then devise a small greenhouse by securing a plastic bag over a wireframe with an elastic material.
- Maintain a temperature range of 22 to 23°F. Roots begin forming after 2 to 3 weeks. Alternatively, you can grow the Crossandra plant from seed which is a more difficult task.
- After a new growth, you plant it in a proper place. Young plants grow fast and need early re-pot.
The growing procedure of Crossandra in pots
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- Grow Crossandra flower in a pot filled with moist potting soil that’s rich in organic matter and holds moisture well. It is good soil to have moisture stored well. Check the proper drainage in the pot surface, so that excess moisture does not accumulate in the lower part of the pot, otherwise, the Crossandra plant may root rot.
- Set the plant in an indoor area that receives direct sunlight for at least 6 hours daily. Put outdoor plants in a location with bright morning sun and light afternoon shade. In the light sun of the morning, you can keep the container outdoor, but keep the container indoor the strong sun in the afternoon.
- Water Crossandra flower when the soil surface in the pot feels dry. The soil should remain moist, but not waterlogged, at all times. Empty any water that collects in the drip tray promptly after watering the plant. Potted plants need water because these plants prefer moisture. Be careful not to have water logging around the Crossandra plant. If the upper surface of the soil in the pot is dry, then give it water immediately. Do not let water gather on the drip tray, empty it.
- Then, dilute a soluble tropical houseplant fertilizer in water according to the directions on the fertilizer package. Fertilize the Crossandra plant with the solution once a month from spring to fall, when the plant is actively growing. Once a month in spring to fall, fertilize your Crossandra plant according to the instructions on the packet when the plants are growing actively.
- Snip off the flower stalks at the base after the blossoms wilt and die. Crossandra plants flower year-round, so prompt flower removal improves the appearance of the plant. Cut dead flowers from stalks and separate them. Crossandra grows flowers around the year, removing dead flowers improves the appearance of the plant.
- Repot the plant into a container one size larger every 2 to 3 years, or when the roots become crowded and begin growing from the bottom of the pot. Plant the Crossandra flower in the new pot at the same depth it was in its old pot. When the size of the Crossandra plant is large enough to re-pop it, its requirement falls in about 3 years.
Growing Crossandra plants in pots from seed
Crossandra is easily raised from seed germinated on sphagnum moss or soil containing vermiculite, and equal parts of perlite and peat moss. Crossandra seeds need temperatures between 21 to 26°C for the best germination. Transfer the seedlings to individual pots and pinch them back when they are 4 inches high. If grown in rich, moist soil at a temperature of at least 18°C, the seedlings will bloom in about 7 months from seed.
Crossandra can be propagated by sowing sprouted seeds or planting rooted stem cuttings. Finely crush soil and then mix it with an equal amount of cow dung powder, neem cake, and sand. Moisten the soil and sow the Crossandra seeds in it. Seeds will sprout within 5 days. Try stem cuttings for the varieties that cannot be propagated through seeds. Only well-rooted stem cuttings must be planted. After 45 days of planting or 4 to 5 pairs of new shoots emerge, replant the saplings. Saplings can be planted in flowerpots or flowerbeds at a distance of about 1.5 feet.
Flowering and fragrance of Cassandra plant
- Crossandra flowers are produced on exotic four-sided inflorescences which grow from the upper portions of the new growth.
- Within these four-sided growths are numerous buds, each of which produces a flat coral-orange flower.
- When several Cassandra flowers are in bloom, the strange inflorescence reminds me of an oriental temple.
- The color of blooms is difficult to describe as it is an unusual combination of pink, orange, coral, and yellow which blends into a pastel shade seldom seen in flowers.
- Though, if one must describe them, the color of its flowers is usually salmon pink while others vary from orange to red with no fragrance.
- The flowers measure about 1 ½ inch in diameter and sit upright in sheaf-like clusters. From April to October, Crossandra blooms beautiful flowers. The Crossandra flowers come from green bracts on four-sided spikes.
- A well-branched plant has several of these spikes each carrying many wide clusters of overlapping florets producing a truly unusual display. The slender, tubular part of each flower ends in a five-lobed, flat, clear apricot-salmon colored showy bloom.
Watering and feeding for Crossandra plant
Keep the soil moist with warm water in summer, reduce water during winter. Coldwater triggers a state of shock causing the plant to die. Always water the plant with warm water as it can be easily shocked by the cause of its death. Crossandra hates cold water and not receive frequent watering.
While replanting, ensure the soil is properly fertilized and the sunlight is obtainable aplenty. Add cow dung powder in the soil at the bottom of the Crossandra plant every 15 days. Do not let the water make a puddle at the bottom of the Crossandra plant.
Water the Crossandra plant on alternate days during summer and pile up soil at the bottom during monsoon. Feed it using a liquid fertilizer for houseplants every 2 weeks from April to August and mist lightly when having challenges with humidity. Maintain the soil in the pot moist but never muddy-wet.
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Crossandra plant care
Here are some issues that will prevent you from achieving good results when growing and caring for the Crossandra plant.
Dry, curled leaves
This means that the air is too dry or the sunlight is too strong. Move the Crossandra plant to a spot with better protection and mist frequently.
These brown spots indicate that Crossandra received cold watering. If this happens frequently, the Crossandra plant will surely die.
Poor appearance of leaves and stems
Crossandra plant is a bushy plant and shows glossy leaves with the best care. If the plant shows otherwise, it can be due to overwatering.
If the growth is stagnant and the plant leaves drop, the plant is too cold. And provide the right temperature and humidity for your Crossandra plants.
Only tiny leaves during spring
You over-watered the Crossandra plant. Repot your Crossandra plant and provide fresh soil.
Pest problems with Crossandra plant
Crossandra plants affected by a spider mite. If water is supplied excessively, its leaves, inflorescences, and stems cause problems of rotting, often in the cold when excess water and moisture become stable. Due to excessive water, the plant leaves can also be soft.
With a strong supercooling, the plant left the leaves. If the environment is hotter and dry, the plant leaves turn twist. With a strong draft, the Crossandra plant can wilt, and the leaves begin to fall. The production of Crossandra flowers is affected by insufficient lighting.
Normally, the Crossandra plant is resistant to diseases and insect attacks. It is ideal to use organic pesticides and fertilizers for pest control and disease prevention. Neem-based pesticides are good for Crossandra plants. Apart from being an ornamental plant in the garden, Crossandra can give the farmers an attractive turnover as well.
Pruning Crossandra plants
Prune Crossandra plants in the spring right before they begin active growth. This encourages the Crossandra plant to develop new, healthy stems. You can use the trimmed stems for propagation if you’d like.
Pinch back Crossandra flowers once they start to fade to keep the plant blooming. If you want to prevent Crossandra seeds (especially indoors), cut the spikes back before seeds fully form. This keeps them from popping into your house.
Crossandra flower Harvesting
Flowers bloom within 3 months of planting. The Crossandra flower bunches emerge from the end of leaves. Pluck the Crossandra flowers in the early morning on days. Only a low harvest will be obtainable in monsoon. Flowers have 4 petals and the seeds are yellow or black in color.
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