Jacobinia

The Jacobinia genus is a large one that includes about 400 species of plants throughout the tropical world. The main species of Jacobinia grown indoors are the J. carnea and the much less common J. pauciflora. Both plants are grown primarily for their foliage, especially the J. carnea, which is sometimes called the King’s Crown because of its large and lovely red flower head. When in bloom the King’s Crown seems a most desirable house plant. Unfortunately the flowering period in late summer is short.

It can reach 4 ft or more, but old plants are unsttractive. Cut plants back after flowering – during winter keep the pot in a well-lit, fairly warm spot. In summer bort air and compost must be kept constantly moist.

Types of Jacobinias

Jacobinia carnea flowers in late summer, each pink pompon bearing numerous 2 in. long tubular flowers. J. carnea has the drawback of a relatively short flowering season and a tendency toward legginess as it ages. J. carnea is a low-light plant that thrives in a shady spot and cannot tolerate direct sunlight.

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J. carnea (‘King’s Crown’)

The J. carnea is a plant strictly for warm greenhouses or rooms. They like to be misted several times a week if humidity is lacking and thrive in high relative humidity and low light. After they bloom in the late summer, many people cut their plants back to the soil for the winter resting period in an effort to prevent the legginess this plant is known for. These plants also dislike temperatures below about 55°F and will begin to slow growing or even drop leaves.

Jacobinia-carnea alba


Jacobinia pauciflora bears yellow-tipped scarlet flowers in winter. (J. pauciflora wants less heat). J. pauciflora prefers full sun and can be moved outside during the summer. J. pauciflora is more at home in the cool conservatory, in the same kind of environment where ferns grow. They like cooler temps but still plenty of humidity and much brighter light.

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J. pauciflora

Secrets of success

Temperature: Average warmth – minimum 55°F in winter.

Light: Bright indirect light in summer – some direct sun in winter.

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Water: Keep compost moist at all times – reduce watering in winter.

Repotting: Repot in spring every 2-3 years.

Propagation: Take stem cuttings in spring. Use a rooting hormone and provide bottom heat. New roots should form in a few weeks, followed shortly by new growth. Prune the plants while they’re young to encourage bushy, full growth, especially with J. carnea.

jacobinia-pauciflora

justicia-carnea-outdoor

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