It’s amazing what a little attention and fertilizer can do for a plant.
I’ve had this Codonanthe speciosa for about a year and it’s always grown fine but never been terribly flowery which as been fine because I really do like the shiny cascading foliage just fine, but really when you know a plant can produce a decent amount of flowers do you really want to settle for “fine”? No? Me either. I figured the biggest obstacle to flowering was the fact that I kept letting this plant get way too dry. Why did I do that? Because for some reason plant growers thing it’s a great idea to put a hanging plant into a pot with drainage holes and no way to attach a tray to catch the water. Why, I have no idea. I really dreaded the task of hauling this plant over to the shower so it could sit in the bathtub and soak up a decent amount of water. I was at Home Depot and saw they had those horrible 1970’s macrame plant hangers so I finally caved in and bought one so that my poor plant could have a tray under it (For those of you who are unfamiliar with macrame plant hangers, they cradle the plant from the bottom so you can easily put a tray under the pot and have it remain in place without spilling water everywhere). It’s been in a hanger for about a month now allowing for much more consistent watering and guess what?
We’re loaded with buds now. I’m guessing I probably fertilized it once somewhere in there as well but I’m just so thrilled to finally be getting bigger flushes of blooms. Now this plant has moved from the category of “this is cute, I’m surprised it’s not more popular” to “Ok this plant is so easy and has adorable blooms I MUST MAKE IT A THING”. So yes. Go, buy one! Buy one now! Do it! Even if it doesn’t bloom a ton it still always has at least a couple blooms, the dark waxy foliage is highly attractive and they’re something different that will probably stump your planty friends. So how do you care for this plant now that I’ve (maybe?) convinced you to buy the next one you see? Easy!
Light: Mine is in a north window that happens to also be in a corner with a west windows so it gets very bright light but almost never direct sun.
Water: This appears to be the trick to getting blooms. It can handle quite a bit of drying down (mine has repeatedly gotten bone dry for several days at a time) but to get blooms it appears to want soil that is consistently moist (I’m going to hazard a guess and say that they’ll hate soggy soil though!). Mine still dries out from time to time but never for days on end.
Fertilizer: They are a gesneriad (African violet relative) so I’m betting the feeding for maximum blooms will be something similar to those (half strength fertilizer about once a month in my experience). I can’t remember for sure if I’ve ever fed this guy though so clearly they don’t need a ton.
Soil: Gesneriads in general seem to really need well drained soil so I’m going to assume the same for this one. Mine is in a really well drained mix so I do know that will work. The roots are really fine so I’m going to go out 0n a limb and assume a heavy soil will do this guy in pretty fast.