September 18, 2006

Found foliage plants

We found this Caladium bicolor growing wild beside a road out in the country. It was spreading almost like a weed in several areas. Luckily I had my little shark shovel in the car, so we brought some home with us. It has gone dormant during the dry season (summer here) the last two years. Each time I thought it had died, but as soon as the weather gets a little more rainy, it comes back again from its rest. This photo shows the new leaves sprouting. It has spread somewhat but still stays in a neat clump in the corners near the front porch.

We also found this Dracaena surculosa in the same area. [Update 09/21/06: This plant was misidentified. It is a Dieffenbachia.] We dug up a couple of the taller plants. When we returned home I cut the plants into 6" pieces (15 cm.) and stuck them into the ground in front of two low windows. The cuttings rooted easily in this tropical climate. I was expecting them to quickly grow too tall for that area, but so far they have stayed a nice 24" (60 cm.), just the size I need.

While we were still living in an apartment, I bought a concrete pot containing a Dieffenbachia maculata, common name Dumb Cane. It was about 2' tall (60 cm.) and had only 4 or 5 leaves at the time. It was terribly root bound and suffered from neglect for another two years until I had someplace to plant it. By that time, it was about 4' tall (1.20 m.) and still only had 4 or 5 leaves.

The plant was so unattractive that the only thing I could do was cut up the stem into 6" pieces (15 cm.) and plant the pieces. I planted some laying sideways underground and others standing up buried about half-way. The ones standing up seemed to develop faster.

This picture was taken in June and now the plants are getting too tall for the area. I think they make a nice backdrop for the other plants in the
jardinera (window box) so I'll probably dig them up and cut off and plant the tops. I've done this once before and the decapitated heads quickly recovered from the surgery.
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