It’ll be clear from several previous posts that I’m a great fan of Codiaeum variegatum. I’ve got seven or eight in the conservatory, all of them different cultivars. New leaves are a fresh shade of green, but they invariably become colourful — red and yellow — with a dark green, or even black, background as they mature.
This little fellow isn’t actually in the conservatory, but inside the house on a windowsill. I kept it in the conservatory last winter, but it was too cold for it and it nearly died.
I grew this plant myself from a cutting I obtained two years ago. The mother plant was a big, bushy thing kept in a proper tropical greenhouse at 32 degrees, so it’s perhaps not surprising that my plant got unhappy at the puny 12 degrees our conservatory can muster during the winter.
I’m rather fond of this plant, having grown it from scratch, so you can imagine my horror when it was attacked by spider mites in November. The little rascals can destroy a plant in hours, and even with swift action it’s all too easy to lose he battle.
However, on this occasion I did manage to halt the attack. The plant still dropped a number of leaves and looked generally droopy, but wasn’t evidently about to die. But the top of the stem, where new leaves appear on a Codiaeum, had withered, and a while ago I decided to cut it off.
That was a month ago, and what you see here is what’s happened since then: There are two new shoots with four new leaves! I’m overjoyed at this happy outcome for the plant which appears reinvigorated and ready for its spring growth spurt.
Talking of spring, here’s another sign it’s already underway.
The Musa basjoo took a break during the winter, but normal service has now resumed and what you see at the top is this year’s first new leaf. Looking at the photo, I can suddenly see how much larger this specimen is than when we bought it two years ago. It’s astonishing how fast it all grows; I wish I had more space!