Plant of the Week
Tococa guianensis* - Fancy-leaved Tococa
Melastomataceae

Tococa guianensis

Tococa guianensis or Fancy-leaved Tococa is a showy shrub from Guyana. It has interesting light green leaves covered with short bristly trichomes. The ovate to elliptical leaves have depressed veins that give them a corrugated appearance. In containers, their size is easily controlled and will reach about 2 feet (60 cm). They are hardy in USDA zone 10.

Blooming Time: In late summer, the small pale pink flowers bloom in terminal clusters. They are not particularly showy.

Culture: Tococa guianensis needs partial shade with a moist well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts of loam and peat moss, with sand or perlite added to ensure good drainage. During the growing season, the plants are kept moist and fertilized on a weekly basis using a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, water is somewhat restricted but the plants are never allowed to dry thoroughly. Since their size is easily controlled by container size, they do not need to be re-potted very often.

Propagation: Tococa guianensis is easily propagated from cuttings or by seed.

Tococa guianensis was featured as Plant of the Week September 26-October 2, 2003.

*One of our readers, Fabian Michelangeli of New York Botanical Garden sent the following comment: "Just looking through your page I found a picture for week 230 labelled as Tococa guianensis...this plant is clearly not Tococa guianensis and it is most likely in the genus Clidemia." Dr. Michelangeli has posted a nice web gallery of images and in fact, vegetatively these are quite closely related. The plant shown here was grown from seed provided and labeled by the Munich Botanical Garden. We will send flowers for a definitive ID when available!

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically 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.