Sunday, April 15, 2012

Plant profile: Calandrinia spectabilis

Latin name: Calandrinia spectabilis ("kal-an-DRIN-ee-ah spek-TAB-ill-iss") (aka C. grandiflora)
Common name: Rock Purslane
Originally from: Chile
Blooms: Bright fuchsia flowers wave on thin stems above the foliage all through the year.
Light: Full sun to part shade
Water: Rain is plenty. No summer water!
Height x width: 15" x 4'
Zones: 8-10
Where to find in P. Garden: We've edged the outer border with cuttings, and a couple big clumps thrive along the cactus wall.

I can't believe I haven't profiled this plant yet. I wanted some for so long, finally found out what it was, begged for cuttings from Deborah, and finally they have taken off. Goodness me, have they ever taken off...

With zero water, and planted by stuffing fresh cuttings in the rocky dirt, the plants have gone on to smother several large-ish Agaves in their vicinity on the cactus wall. It's almost frightening... I half expect to wake up at night to see a happy little Calandrinia trying to sprout roots at the foot of my bed... We took a load of cuttings and placed them along the outer edge of the garden, and even in that baked environment they're taking off.

Lovely succulent blue-green leaves mound up, and magenta flowers that look like 2" poppies opening in waves from Spring onwards are held high above the plant on thin, wiry stems. This plant requires no care, but in the dead of winter you can cut it back to 6" if you like, for a tidier springtime display.

And the cuttings you have left over? Give them to neighbors, poke them in rock wall nooks and crannies, and spread the love. Why are they called Rock Purslane? Because they rock. I don't know about the Purslane part.

39 comments:

  1. Hello my wife and I just got this plant and loved the beautiful color, were in the month of September right now and the plant get full sun all day long it is planted in a 30gal size pot and for some reason the blooms have diminished considerably do u have any suggestions as to what we might need to change to get this beauty back to normal? oh yeah we water the plant just once a week about 1/2 gal water then once a month with a water soluble fertilizer diluted again down to 1/2 gal, Thank U

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably doesn't need or want fertilizer which is nurturing the green growth and suppressing the flower production.

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  2. The blooms are slowing on ours right now too - they have a big burst of flowers in spring, then continued flowers through the year, though fewer blooms. I have tried cutting back the flower stems on some of mine and they bounce back quickly.

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  3. thanks for the quick response, when you say cutting back the flower stem would that be as close to the plant without cutting the plant? Thanks again

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  4. Yup! You can cut the plant back to 6" if it gets sprawly too.

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  5. Hi,
    I just rec'd a bunch of cuttings and have no idea how to plant them since there are no roots. Should I soak them in water first to root or just stick the stalks in the ground? Thanks!

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  6. No need to soak them - in fact, let the ends heal over a day or two (dry out) then pop them straight into the ground.

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  7. Are you supposed to cut off the dead flowers and the stalk to the base of the plants near its leaves?

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  8. The flower stalk keep producing actually, so leave them on unless they get scraggly. It's such a tough plant here though that you can cut back to 6" anytime and it'll come right back.

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  9. By "cuttings" - do you mean just leaves can be put in the ground??

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    Replies
    1. Not just leaves - take stems. let the ends dry off and then just pop them in the ground.

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  10. I love this plant, I am wondering if I am over watering it. The leaves are getting soft and turning a little yellow. We live in Valencia CA and the temps get to over 100 degrees. I planted this plant in a clay pot and water it about twice a week when the soil is dry. Please advise. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's either too wet or too dry - in a clay pot in 100 degree weather I'm betting too dry.

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  11. The leaves on my plants are turning yellowish. I thought I might be under wartering, but reading the comments above, it sounds like they don't need much water at all. They are planted in the ground, not a pot. I've had them about a year, and they've tripled in size. Do I need to cut them back, is that why they are turning yellowish?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe too little water - are the leaves wrinkled? Are they also pinkish/purplish? That's usually what happens when stressed by lack of water. Could be too much water - try letting them dry out a bit.

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  12. I live in the Mtns. of AZ and have this plant in a pot. Will it come back after winter? I have other succulents that do.

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    Replies
    1. Well it's listed as zones 8-10 so tough to say: you'll want to prevent it freezing for sure. Good luck!

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  13. I live in MS and we have winter here not very bed but at night sometimes is 30-32 degrees so my question is can I plant this plant in the ground or in a pot so I can bring it inside in the winter?

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    Replies
    1. I have read that it can go down to 18 degrees, but we rarely go below freezing so I cannot say for sure. I would plant it in the ground and put a cutting in a pot to overwinter to be safe.

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  14. Question my is growing like crazy and hanging over my Wheelbarrow . I just learn that I can cut them and replanted it from you . But would you put a wooden wall up so it can grow up and not down ????

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    Replies
    1. They will flop down a little way, but mostly grow up. Hope that helps!

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  15. Hi there. We just picked up one of these. How often do we water it while it's trying to get established? And how long do they take to establish? We live in a zone 8.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa
      here in zone 10b we don't water them at all to establish - in fact I stuff fresh cuttings into the bone dry dirt and they root pretty quickly. I'm sure if you watered them at planting and once or twice afterwards they'd take off even faster!

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  16. Is that seed I see on the stem where the flowers were? and if they are can I grow this plant from them?

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    Replies
    1. Seeds follow the flowers, yes, but I have never grown them from seed: cuttings are so easy! However here's a link that tells how: http://www.gardenershq.com/Calandrinia-rock-purslane.php

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  17. I love this plant...it needs no watering and is hardy...but after a year, some of the "shoots" now have grayish spots...the newer growth is fine. Do I need to treat the ones with gray spots? It is in full sun, and receives very little water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John - not sure what those spots are I'm afraid!

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  18. i would like to know what is eating mine. they are suppose to be deer and rabbit resistant. thanks

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    Replies
    1. Might be slugs or snails, but I have never seen anything bother our plants. You might need to set up a wildlife camera to find out.

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  19. Help! My gardener's staff came yesterday and cut all of the flowers off from the base of the stems, all of them! They were growing so abundantly in a large pot we would need to gently brush it aside to walk to the front door. I am so sad now and not sure what to do... will the flowers come back this time of year with the cut so short?

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    Replies
    1. They'll come back but it'll take a while - just give them some extra food or water to support new growth.

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  20. Why do the leaves turn orange? We have some in the backyard that are doing great! But, the ones in the front yard have orange color on the leaves and have not grown, hardly at all, since planted last year. Any ideas?

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  21. Orange leaves usually means they need more water. (or yellow means too much sometimes!)

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  22. I had transplanted my plant from a large patio pot to ground in an empty space in front of fence. It was looking really good with lots of new sprouting. The last two wks the leaves are yellowing and the centers (new growth) are turning black. I believe my gardener may have turned sprinkler direction? Too much water? What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too much or too little water is my guess: change the status quo and see what happens :)

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  23. Just bought this BEAUTIFUL plant, but now someone said it is poisonous, is this true? I hope not

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The purslane family in general is toxic to dogs (and cats) like so many other plants, but I haven't seen a specific reference to toxicity in this species. If you don't supervise your pets while they're outside, and they like to eat plants (most cats and dogs won't eat it) then avoid this plant.

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  24. Hi we just purchased the beautiful Calandrinia it's in a plastic pot. What type on pot do you suggest?This beauty had one flower that would close at night then open around late morning. However, for the last two days the flower has stayed close :(. We have had it for just over a week and only watered it once, the soil due not feel saturated if anything it feels more dry. How should the soil feel, moist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JazPwr8, it depends on your location, but here in zone 9 they are winding up their flowering for the season. You'll see more flowers in about May around here. They like good drainage - don't let them sit in soggy soil, and if the leaves go yellow it's likely too wet.

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