SONERILA margaritacea, a low growing, bushy plant with beauti fully marked leaves, is the only specie of this genus commonly grown in doors. Red, creeping stems, whicl grow 10 inches long, carry opposit' pairs of lance-shaped leaves 4 inche long and 2 inches wide. The leaves an dark green spotted with silvery whiti above, and plain deep purple below The 2-inch-long leafstalks are red. Ir summer and fall small clusters 01 three-petaled, ½ -inch-wide, and rosy purple flowers are produced on 2- tc 3-inch-long stalks. The flower stalks rise from near the growing points of stems and branches. These tropical plants grow actively all year long.
There are several varieties of 5. margaritacea with leaves marked with silver to a widely varying degree.
Light Give sonerilas bright filtered light all year long.
Temperature Sonerilas need a minimum temperature of 65 °F along with high humidity at all times. They are ideal for growing in the controlled atmosphere of terrariums and bottle gardens.
Watering Water moderately at all times, allowing the top half-inch of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.
Feeding Apply standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
Potting and repotting Use an equal-parts mixture of peat moss and leaf mold. Because sonerilas have shallow roots, plant them in half-pots, pans, or bowls. Move plants into pots one size larger every spring until the 5- or 6-inch size has been reached. Larger specimens are best replaced with younger plants, since they tend to lose their bottom leaves as they age.
Propagation Propagate at any time from mid-spring to early fall by 2- to 3-inch-long stem cuttings taken from near the base of the plant. Trim each cutting to just below a pair of leaves, remove the bottom leaves, and dip the base of the cutting in hormone rooting powder. Plant two or three cuttings together in a 3-inch pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case, and stand it in a warm place in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (in three to four weeks), acclimatize the rooted cuttings to normal room conditions over a period of 7-10 days by uncovering them gradually. Water cuttings sparingly until roots are well established, when moderate watering and feeding may begin. About three months from the start of the propagation process, transfer young plants together into 4-inch pots of the mixture recommended for adult plants, and treat them as mature sonerilas.
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