for my Vireya
have a Vireya rhodo Tropical Glow in a container plant in a semi
shaded area and is about 1 m high. I would like to know when is
the best time to prune back the plant and how, so it can continue
to bloom. Also, I sometimes notice some of the green leaves partially
go brown. How can I remedy this? When repotting indoor plants, is
there a general rule when you can trim the roots and by how much?
I have a very healthy ponytail and peace lily that require replanting.
rhododendrons are generally very rewarding plants to grow, producing
large numbers of brightly coloured flowers. However, they do have
a tendency to become quite long and leggy. Vireyas really benefit
from a good hard prune, just as long as you know what you are doing.
If you start when the
plant is young, and pinch out the growing tips of branches, you
will encourage the growth of more branches further down the plant.
This will result in a bushier plant and more flowers in the long
run, although it will probably delay the first flowers.
If however, your plant
is a little older, and has already become straggly, then remedial
action is required. Pruning can be done at any time of the year
in warmer parts of the country, but avoid pruning in cold conditions.
Some growers recommend late spring and early summer after flowering
has finished. Prune to just above a healthy whorl of leaves at the
desired height. If extensive pruning is required, you may want to
do it over a longer period of time rather than all at once, to allow
the plant to recover. After flowering, remove spent flowers and
Healthy and happy plants
tend to be bushier so make sure your vireya is in well-drained
soil with lots of bark or other fibrous material. Vireyas prefer
semi-shaded conditions, but the more light they have, the bushier
they will be.
As for the leaves going
brown, this could be due to erratic watering (either too much or
not enough), poor drainage (vireyas do not like to sit in clay and
much prefer very free-draining mixes with lots of bark), or possibly
a fungal disease such as powdery mildew or an attack by thrips.
I suggest you start by looking at the medium your plant is in and
your watering regime. Then check the leaves for signs of a fungus,
or of insect damage (which might include silvering or bronzing).
If either of these are the case, then spray with an appropriate
With regard to repotting
indoor plants, I would not trim the roots at all, just repot your
plants in pots the next size up. Ponytail palms (Beaucarnia recurvata)
and peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) both repot well, although
the ponytail palm requires very free-draining potting mix.
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH