March 2012

This plant is found in Africa and can take a lot of drought. It is an ideal plant for the living room; it can be grown in the full sun, so a windowsill is no problem and it can take the dry heat of the central heating. It is very easy to grow from seed, but the seed needs to be fresh. It can germinate within one or two days. The more sun it gets, the quicker it will flower, possibly within six months.
Wild Adeniums are usually various shade of red, but occasionally white ones do appear. In Thailand, a lot of breeding has taken place and because of the inherent colour variation in the wild plants, a whole range of colours are now available in cultivation, ranging from white to very dark red and all shades in between. Efforts are now made to produce a true yellow one.

Adenium obesum pink

Adenium obesum alba

Have a look at the post on Pachypodium bispinosum for more information on the germination of the seed.

Most people when they think of Impatiens think of Busy Lizzies, but there are over a 1000 different species spread around the globe, except for South America and Australia. They can be divided into two groups; the helmet type and the flat type. Impatiens mirabilis belongs to the helmet type. It originates from Thailand where it grows in warm tropical conditions. It can grow into a small tree reaching a size of up to 3 meters. It has a distinct caudex whereas most Impatiens do not have a caudex at all. There are only about a dozen species known that have a caudex. Despite the fact that it grows in tropical conditions, it can take quite a bit of dryness and survive happily on a minimum of water. In the winter it will lose all its leaves and will start growing again in early spring. The flowers are produced in the summer, yellow being the more common colour. Pink ones also exist, but are much rarer. If you cross the yellow with the pink, the yellow is more dominant and you will eventually lose the pink ones.

Propagation is mainly by seed, but cuttings – although difficult – are also possible. If you want to catch the seed, make sure to put something around the seed pod or they will spring all over the place. The seed can be kept up to 3 months before sowing, but can lose viability quickly after that. Flowering from seed can take 3 to 4 years.

There is another species of caudiciform Impatiens in cultivation, I. kerriae, which is very similar and often confused with I. mirabilis. The main difference is that the kerriae has a single flower at the end of the flowering stem whereas the mirabilis has a number of flowers on one stem. The mirabilis is becoming more readily available from speciast nurseries, which will help to ensure its survival.


Impatiens mirabilis (photo taken at Holm nursery)

Impatiens mirabilis (yellow form)