Bryophyllum tubiflora or Chandelier Plant is a slender erect succulent native to Madagascar. The plant will reach 3 feet (1 m) tall in containers. Leaves reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and are nearly cylindrical, with a narrow channel above, and are spotted with violet-brown. Young plantlets are formed along the tips of leaves in special notches. They easy to culture and make a great teaching plant for marginal embryos--in fact, they propagate pretty aggressively (it is not a coincidence that a close relative is called "maternity plant").
Blooming Time: In winter, the salmon to scarlet flowers form in cymes or corymbose clusters. Individual flowers are 1 inch (2.5 cm) long.
Culture: Bryophyllum tubiflora need full sun to bright interior lighting with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam. The plants are allowed to dry in between waterings and are fertilized with a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season. During the winter months, temperatures drop to 50° F and they are watered sparingly. Since they produce plantlets at the tips of leaves, they can become very weedy fast. As plants get tall, they lose their vigor and usually get top heavy. This is a good time to discard older plants and start with some younger plantlets (check the soil -- you should have plenty to go around).
Propagation: Bryophyllum tubiflora is easily propagated from cuttings, from plantlets formed at the tips of leaves and from seed.
Bryophyllum tubiflora was featured as Plant of the Week May 23-29, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.