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Care Instructions for a Kohleria

These care instructions are written specifically for our kohleria plants.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their plants based on how they have grown their kohlerias.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids kohleria, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  Let the planting medium lightly dry between waterings.  Kohlerias can survive a short drought, but they don’t recover from drowning.  Use lukewarm or tepid water when watering because cold water can cause unsightly marks to appear on the leaves.  Nobody enjoys a cold shower.  Do not let the plant sit in water, it must be well drained.  Kohleria are rhizomatous, meaning that they have rhizomes that act as a pantry to sustain the plant during the harsh or dry periods.  Even if the plant has been too dry and appears to be dead, the rhizome often produces a new plant when it feels that conditions are better.

Rule No. 2:  Give the plant the proper light.  Morning or soft late afternoon light is best.  That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window. Avoid direct sun during the harsh “skin cancer” hours of the day.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals during the growing season, please.  From March through October fertilize every other watering.  Use a fertilizer with a balanced formula (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) mixed at ¼ to 1/3 the usual strength.  Kohleria rhizomes will burn easily from too much fertilizer, so it is prudent to underfeed rather than overfeed.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in a peat potting mix but any soil-less mix will be fine.  You can repot your kohleria every nine months or so.  Increase the pot size only if you must and then by the smallest increment possible.  Avoid deep pots; they will hold too much moisture.    Moisten the new mix before planting.  Pot the kohleria so that the mix is firmly in the pot but still airy.

Rule No. 5:   Remove spent flowers.  In particular, do not let spent blossoms drop onto the leaves and lay there.  This will invite rot and disease.  Remove old, yellowed, or unhealthy leaves.  A clean plant is better able to remain pest and disease free.  If you use anything to cut leaves or stems, please sterilize the instrument first.

Rule No. 6:  Keep the plant in its comfort zone.  It is happy in the temperature range between 60 and 80 degrees.  It is well suited to normal house temperatures.  Kohleria do not enjoy being in hot or cold drafts, so mind your air flow in the plant’s area.