Sonerila sp. Red

Sonerila are a diverse group of plants in the Melastomaceae family distinguished by having flowers with three petals (as opposed to five for most other plants in this group).  There seems to be alot of variation within a species, and so the ID of aff.heterostemon is a guess.  It could also be cantonensis, or something else entirely.  Sonerilas are an Asian genus that make excellent terrarium plants.  This species is very robust and easily kept provided it does not dry out.  I have been growing and propagating in sphagnum but I have seen others growing in soil with success.  It seems to be nearly always in bloom but is not self-fertile.

This Sonerila started coming in via some plant sellers out of Asia recently.  I’ve only had it a few months, so can’t say much about it, other than the necessity of monitoring it closely for the first few weeks.  The plant below came in with few roots (maybe none? can’t recall), and wilted multiple times the first week.  It’s in a completely sealed bin with moist sphagnum and 100% humidity.  Despite this, the stem would go completely limp,  with leaves hanging down over the sphagnum.  I think it wilted over a span of hours.  With generous watering at the base, each time it perked up by the end of the day.  Temperatures were low-mid 70’s, and my guess is that for the initial acclimation period, it would be of benefit to the plant (especially if they are unrooted) to keep temperatures on the cooler side.

Of the cuttings I took, the ones placed in clay or sphagnum substrate so far have done best.

Four months later, this plant is proving to be rather prolific.  The cuttings taken off the larger plant are almost all rooting, and the mother plant is growing vigorously.  No more drooping.  Some closeups of the newly rooted cuttings.  The white dots appear to be ever so slightly raised, with a nearly microscopic dot (think pinprick)  in the middle.

And here, about 6-7 months of growth,

 

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