The Callisia repens is a beautiful succulent that is also known as the pink lady or Bolivian jew.
This plant is odorless, making it perfect for a bedside table, hanging pot or bookshelf. When its growing requirements are met, the pink bubbles variety puts a touch of pizzazz to your homes and workplaces.
This article is a care guide that will provide you with great ideas on the best ways of growing a healthy Callisia plant.
What Is Callisia Repens?
The Callisia repens is a succulent, creeping plant with an ascending flowering shoot. Some of the common names of the plant include the Turtle vine, creeping inch plant, bubbles plant, or Bolivian Wandering Jew. This plant has delicate leaves that grow smaller toward the tip of the shoot and it is perennial.
Callisia Repens Care
There are some guidelines that you need to follow for you to produce a healthy and beautiful Callisia repens plant. This plant requires less attention, thereby giving you enough time to take care of other houseplants that are in your home garden. For best results, let us go through the plant care requirements for this beauty.
– Water Requirements
The Callisia repens plant should be watered every five to seven days, depending on the light and temperature levels that it is being exposed to. Make sure that you keep the soil evenly moist.
Considering that this plant is succulent, it does not need much water and does not like wet feet as well, so ensure that it does not sit in water. This plant requires more watering during its active growing seasons, which are spring and summer, so consider cutting back on watering in winter because the plant will be dormant during this period.
The Callisia vine thrives in moist but well-drained soil. After checking the soil with your finger, if the top two to four inches of the soil is dry, then it is time for watering. Also, if you see your plant wilting, water it so that it recovers. Make sure you apply water only at the soil level and avoid splashing it on the foliage to avoid leaf rot.
Each time you water your plant, apply water to the soil area until you see it running out through the drainage holes at the base of the pot. Overwatering leads to several diseases and infections that destroy your plant so avoid it at all costs. Ensure that the containers have sufficient drainage qualities to allow excess moisture to drain from your plants.
– Light Requirements
Placing your plant in the right spot is vital when it comes to receiving light. The Callisia repens succulent does best in spots with lots of bright light. This plant can also do well in low light conditions. We recommend a bit of dappled sunlight for a few hours in the mornings.
Take note that if this plant has been in a low light position, moving it straight into brighter sunlight can be harmful as it can go through a shock. To avoid this possible shock, you need to move your plant gradually into a brighter spot.
This succulent thrives in bright and indirect sunlight. Exposing it to too much direct sunlight can scorch or burn its leaves. However, too low light conditions are also harmful to the plant if its stay in such conditions is prolonged.
– Soil Requirements
The bubbles plant does well in a standard potting mix. A well-aerated and well-draining mix is beneficial to this type of plant. Make sure you combine organic materials and soil with water-draining qualities. The mix must be able to drain excess moisture and provide enough air circulation for the roots to remain healthy.
A soilless mix or a loam-based potting compost is a good alternative to consider. If it is difficult for you to make a homemade mix yourself, you can buy a ready-to-use mix that has soil requirements that match those of the Callisia repens. Always check the pH of the soil first as this plant does well in slightly acidic soil with pH ranges between five and six.
Being a succulent, the Callisia repens vine does not need water-holding soil. Such soil will expose its roots to root rot, which may lead to its death.
– Fertilizing Requirements
There are different types of fertilizers to consider when you are growing the Callisia succulent. There are granulated, liquid feed, slow-release, organic or synthetic fertilizers.
Select a fertilizer type that has a nutritional balance that is designed for foliage plants and determine the best application method for the situation. To avoid over-fertilizing your plant, follow the package instruction so that you know how much and how often you need to apply the fertilizer.
When growing your Bolivian wandering jew plants in containers, it is advisable to use slow-release fertilizers which are good and carefree. Applying this type of fertilizer once can provide the plants with sufficient and proper nutrition for the whole season. Some indoor plant mixes contain starter fertilizers that provide instant nutrition, thereby curbing transplant shock.
The Callisia repens plants are not heavy feeders, so avoid over-fertilizing them. This type of plant needs to be supplemented with nutrients during its active growing season. During the winter season, cut back on fertilizing since plant growth and development will be limited.
– Temperature Requirements
The Callisia repens prefer a temperature range between 50 F to 59 F. This plant thrives in a warm environment, so avoid exposing it to cold temperatures. However, a lower temperature that is above the freezing zone would be tolerable but ensure that your plant’s stay in such temperature is not prolonged.
During the summer, the temperatures are usually high and your plant’s rate of losing water is accelerated. Given this scenario, you need to move your plant to a partly shaded area with a cooler temperature. Remember that anything extreme would not bode well for your plant so make necessary temperature adjustments to help it flourish.
– Humidity Requirements
The Callisia repens is a great houseplant since it can do well in average humidity levels. It does not require misting unless its surroundings become too dry. When this happens, consider adding extra moisture. Maintaining the ideal humidity helps your plant not lose too much water, thereby helping it thrive and maintain its beauty.
Adequate humidity also helps to keep your plant’s pores open, enabling it to maintain food production through the absorption of enough carbon dioxide. Bear in mind that when the humidity is low, the rate of transpiration increases and your plant releases more water into the atmosphere.
– Pruning Requirements
Since this succulent has a creeping habit, pruning it is vital. In your endeavor to maintain the desired shape and size, remove the protruding leaves and tips of the plant’s stems. To make your plant look thinner, cut off some of the stolons. It is not advisable to keep the foliage of your plant too dense as this disturbs light and air from penetrating inner leaves and stems.
Check for unhealthy shoots and cut them off right away. Doing this assists you in preventing the spread of infections and diseases to the rest of the plant. Pruning also removes pests and infections which may breed and find refuge within the plant’s foliage. Regular trimming keeps your plants neat and also aids in the development of shoots and flowers.
When executing the pruning process, do not throw away healthy stolons but save them for use in propagation procedures. The Callisia repens can be invasive so when disposing of the cut-off portions, do not throw them on vacant areas of your homes or workplaces where you would not want them to grow.
Repotting the Callisia repens has to be done every three years in the spring season. Repot your plant into the next size pot with adequate drainage. You can transplant creeping Callisia plant whenever the need arises, but they are far better pot-bound for a long time since they can suffer problems like root rot and transplant shock.
It is advisable to hydrate the Callisia repens 24 hours before repotting it to prevent transplant shock. Terracotta pots are the most preferred containers because of their permeability, which contributes to reducing overwatering problems.
Take note that if you see the roots of your plant protruding out of the pot, it’s a sign that you have to replace the soil and container. Remove dead and infected roots before repotting your beauty into a sterilized soil mix.
– Flowering Management
The Callisia repens produces tiny, white flowers in clusters. These cute blooms are not easily noticeable from afar but are very visible when near them. This Callisia blooms in the summer as well as autumn seasons. Giving your plant enough light, water, humidity, temperature and nutrients at all times is key to its flowering and blooming.
All the parts of the Callisia repens are odorless so there is nothing to expect in terms of its fragrance. This should not bother or disappoint you; the Callisia plant remains beautiful even without any fragrances.
Adding this lovely type to your Callisia repens will make a complete turn-around of wherever you place them. Also, consider the pink panther type which is super cute and rare. Its pink and green variegated leaves make it a perfect addition to your plant collection.
Propagation refers to the multiplication and breeding of specimens of a plant by natural means from the parent stock. This plant has two ways through which it can be multiplied, which are vegetative and asexual propagation.
– Vegetative Propagation
In this type of propagation, use stem cuttings and offsets from the parent plant for multiplication purposes. Carefully cut a healthy and well-established vine directly below the leaf node from the mother plant using a clean pair of scissors or knife to reduce the chances of bacterial transfer. The vine must be at least three inches in length, with three to six leaves.
Place the bottom half of the cutting in water or a well-draining soil. Once the cutting produces small roots that are one inch long, consider repotting the new plant to a seven-centimeter pot with good drainage holes.
Place the cutting’s rooted half into a well-draining houseplant compost and keep the foliage above the soil line. Avoid direct sunlight and maintain adequate humidity by placing the plant in a transparent plastic bag which you should open the after every two days for half an hour to prevent disease development.
After a month, you can now remove the new plant from the bag since it will be mature enough. It is also possible to propagate Callisia through offsets.
This is a slow process since it will take several years for an offset to grow from the main plant. Once your plant produces an offset, use a sharp knife to remove the offset and pot it using the same process explained for the stem cuttings.
– Seed Propagation
Even though the Callisia repens can be propagated by using seeds, this method of propagation is not as recommended as vegetative propagation.
For the seed propagation process, consider planting your Callisia seeds in a well-nourished and draining soil mix. When you are in a high-temperature area, this type of propagation can be undertaken outdoors. When in cooler areas, consider indoor propagation.
Although this type of Callisia is resilient and easy to care for, there are several situations that you have to look out for. Since the pink lady is a living organism, it has its vulnerabilities.
Early detection and taking corrective measures will keep your plant stunning. Let us take a look at some of the main problems that you may encounter and how you can avoid or treat them.
Be on the lookout for spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, whitefly, root mealy bugs, thrips and scale. When not attended to promptly, these pests can multiply and cause serious damage to your plant’s foliage and roots. Check your plants regularly and eliminate these pests whenever you notice their presence.
Spraying diluted dishwashing soap, especially on the affected foliage, can assist you in doing away with the pests that we mentioned.
Applying water spray at times can be enough but if the pests keep reappearing, it will be time to use insecticides to eliminate them. If you notice that your plant is wilting and leaves are turning yellow, be on the lookout for root mealybugs. Root mealybugs destroy plant tissues so it is important to detect them early.
Early mealybug detection can be done by investigating the soil or pot mix before planting. This bug secretes a white substance to cover itself and the surrounding soil to protect its eggs. The larvae will hatch in 48 hours and add to the destruction of your plant.
To kill the mealybug, mix up a part of pure hydrogen peroxide with four or five parts of water prior to mixing, and then water the plant, making sure to soak all parts of the soil.
The most common diseases in succulents like the Callisia repens are botrytis, powdery mildew and root rot. These diseases are mainly caused by organisms that may have been living within the plant’s soil or foliage.
Such disease-causing organisms can grow and reproduce in certain environmental conditions like excess moisture and over-watering. Therefore, be sure to follow all the recommended care instructions to keep your plants relatively safe from these intruders.
Regularly check your Callisia repens and if you notice wilting and rotting of the roots, withdraw watering until you see the foliage and roots recovering. Also, consider applying a fungicide whenever necessary and isolate the affected plant while treating it to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants.
Scale and mealybugs lay honeydew excrements and this promotes sooty mold on the leaves of the plant. The sooty mold blocks the pores of the plant, which results in slowed photosynthesis by starving the plant of carbon dioxide.
Pruning off the affected leaves, scraping off the mold with a blunt object, and using organic and chemical-based pesticides are all effective strategies for combating sooty mold.
– Growing Problems
The Callisia repens plants are easy to care for plants that require less time and commitment to caring for them. However, there are certain things you should consider to have beautiful, healthy plants.
For instance, overwatering and underwatering must never be allowed to happen. With these discrepancies in caring for your plant, you make it more vulnerable to pests and diseases.
Put it in mind that plants are similar to humans, they also stress out and get weak when they are exposed to harsh conditions. An over-watered Callisia repens plant is noticed by a brown and mushy stem.
Also, the roots of the plant turn brown, the lower leaves turn yellow, and there will be little or no growth at all. When underwatered, the turtle vine shows its sickness by having crispy or curly leaves, yellowing leaves, a grey appearance, and a lack of growth.
Plant dehydration is one of the major issues growers come across. Therefore, always check your soil and replenish it with water when necessary. Also, remember that the Callisia repens can tolerate lower light, but avoid prolonging this situation.
– Brown or Yellow Patches on Leaves
The environment plays a substantial part in maintaining the color of your Callisia repens’ leaves. Discoloration of the leaves can be caused by too much direct sunlight or excessively high temperatures. To help your plant to recover, transition it to a low light area.
Underwatering your Callisia repens may also lead to brown and yellow patches on its leaves. Always ensure sufficient water is applied to the plant when the top two inches of its soil are dry.
Overwatering is a common problem with the Callisia repens. Bear in mind that it is very possible to water these plants to death! If you water them too often, the plant roots will end up sitting in soggy soil and this can lead to root rot.
The Callisia repens pink lady is very suitable for homes and workplaces and there is no need to worry about your kids and pets playing with it since it is not toxic. However, although we have eliminated this vine from being harmful, just like any other flower it is recommended that you still exercise caution around them.
This plant has gorgeous-looking flowers which can be attractive to kids and pets, and if they swallow them in huge quantities, they may become poisonous.
The Callisia repens is a basket plant that looks great when hanging. Consider hanging it in a well-lit, reasonable height which is not easily accessible to kids. This way, you can protect both the kids and the plant.
Also consider the safety of your pets since they can easily play with your plant. This plant has the potential to poison your lovely pets if they ingest it in large amounts. To avoid this, create a safe place for the plant, specifically somewhere your pets cannot easily access.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the answers to the questions that most plant lovers have concerning caring for the Callisia repens plant.
– Why Is My Succulent Turning Purple?
The Callisia repens goes dormant in winter, and during this period, its leaves may turn purple. This is very normal as it is part of the plant’s seasonal cycle so it should not bother you. Just make sure that you water your plant only when the top inch of its soil is dry.
– Why Are the Leaves on My Succulent Shriveled?
The main causes of shriveled leaves are overwatering and underwatering. When overwatered, the succulent leaves turn yellow, black, have a mushy texture, and become shriveled. Also, when underwatered, the leaves shrivel and become brown.
Succulents are native to deserts and they adapt to drought conditions but they are still affected by underwatering if they are neglected. Shriveling is the first indicator of an underwatered succulent.
These plants can recover from shriveling when they are watered more frequently. Their recovery rate is great and customer reviews on this vine are also outstanding.
With these detailed and comprehensive guidelines, you should be able to care for your Callisia repens plant with enhanced ease.
Let’s go through the essential care guidelines once more:
- The Callisia repens is a succulent that requires watering once every five to seven days or whenever the soil dries out.
- It does well in average humidity areas and does not require regular misting unless the environment is too dry.
- To propagate Callisia repens, use stem cuttings, offsets or seeds. The most preferred method is the use of stem cuttings.
- Though it is an easy-to-care-for plant, the Bolivian jew plant is prone to pest and disease attacks. However, if detected early and corrective measures are taken, your plant can be revived.
- The Callisia repens is non-toxic, making it ideal for indoor growing. However, exercise caution around the plant for the safety of your kids, pets and the plant itself.
These small tips and guides are the ultimate recipe for helping your plant thrive in your home and/or workplace. Grow the Callisia repens and enjoy its beauty today!
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