Crinodendron - Chilean Lantern Plant, Lantern Tree, White Lily Tree
DESCRIPTION: This small group of tender trees consists of only two kinds, both of which are found wild in Chile. Commonly known as Lantern Trees, these evergreen trees or shrubs are suitable for growing outdoors in mild climates only; otherwise, they may be grown in greenhouses. Lantern Trees are covered with glossy, dark-green leaves, 2-3 inches long. C. hookerianum (Chilean Lantern Plant) is a large, dense shrub that can sometimes survive unusually low temperatures. In late spring or early summer, pretty scarlet-red flowers, which resemble tiny lanterns, are borne. C. patagua (White Lilytree) forms a large shrub or small tree. In late summer, white, fringed, bell-shaped blossoms that are lightly scented are borne. These are followed by creamy seedpods tinted with red.
POTTING: Lantern Trees require a lime-free soil in a sheltered location with partial shade. The best soil for them is moist, cool, sandy peat. When grown in a cool greenhouse, they will flower when only a few feet high. They need a minimum winter temperature of 40º F. Every March, these plants should be repotted into slightly larger pots. It is important to firm the compost well and shade them from strong sunlight. After they've been repotted, the foliage should be sprayed often and the atmosphere should be humid. The greenhouse should have adequate ventilation at all times except in very frosty weather. Keep the compost moist throughout the year, though much more should be provided in the summer.
PROPAGATION: Half-ripened shoots can be inserted in a greenhouse in a propagating bench filled with a mixture of peat moss and sand in late summer. Cover them with a bell jar or place them in a closed case with slight bottom heat until they form roots, after which they are potted individually in 3-inch pots.
VARIETIES: C. Hookerianum; C. Patagua.
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