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Yellow Slipper Flower

Calceolaria

Calceolaria tomentosa

Please be careful removing your plant from it's packaging.

Getting started -- Your plant was grown in filtered light, not direct sun, so it should be acclimated to direct sun very slowly, over a period of several weeks.  Remember that this plant does not need a lot of sun to be happy.

Soil -- Most all-purpose potting soils should work provided that they're well-draining.  You may use garden soil eventually, however i would use potting soil for the first couple of months. 

Transplant carefully - Before removing your plant from its pot, give it a watering if the soil feels dry, so it doesn't break apart, which can damage the roots.  If you have trouble removing the plant, push the eraser end of a pencil into the holes at the bottom to loosen it.  Transplant to a 1-2 gallon pot.  Don't compact the soil after transplanting.

Watering -- Your Calceolaria has high water needs and should be kept consistently moist (but not soggy).   I recommend using a moisture meter probe, which you can buy at garden shops for about $5.  You simply stick the probe down to the root level and read the dial.  Water when the needle is about 1/2 across the dial.  For the first month, ensure that the original soil ball remains moist.  Don't allow it to dry out.

A note about water quality - If your tap water is questionable, use bottled water or rain water, at least until your plant is established and has grown a few feet.

Planting out -- Once your plant has rooted through its container, it can be planted out in the ground in frost-free areas.  If you're going to keep it in a container, repot to a 3-5 gallon pot whenever the roots reach the bottom of the container, or after 3 months.  It can probably be kept indefinitely in a 5 gallon pot.

Climate - I have little information on its climate needs, but it probably prefers moderate/cool temps.  I don't think it can survive frost.  I would bring it indoors if temps drop below 40 degrees.  If it is like some other Andes plants, it might resent hot temperatures.  In warmer areas, give it plenty of shade, and don't place it where heat can collect, like near a wall.  You may grow your plant indoors, provided that the air isn't too dry.  You may need to use a room humidifier if the humidity drops below 50%.  Whether indoors or out, give it well-filtered sun, or bright shade + morning sun.

Supporting the plant -- This species likes to climb upright, so tie it carefully to stakes or a trellis, or let it climb through a bush.  The leaves are somewhat brittle, so protection from strong winds may be necessary.

Fertilizing -- Calceolaria has average fertilizing needs.  During periods of active growth, give monthly feedings with ordinary vegetable fertilizer that contains micronutrients.  Follow the label's recommended dosage carefully.  If your potting soil contains nutrients, like many of them do, you shouldn't have to feed your plant the first month.  It's normal for some of the older leaves to turn yellow and drop throughout the year, but if it's excessive, it could be from not enough fertilizer, particularly nitrogen.  It could also be from inconsistent watering.   

Pruning -- Pruning shouldn't be necessary, but if you do trim back a branch, new growth will sprout from the nodes below it, making it bushier.

Bugs to watch for -- Aphids (green ones are hard to see!), spider mites (tiny "dots" under the leaves), , white mealy bugs, and scale (brown discs on the stem - hard to see).

If you have any questions or problems, please email me.

Enjoy your plant!

Jeff

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