Can anyone comment about this plant? How easy is it , to find at box stores?
etc. Dont want to order unless I have to ....the shipping is more than the plant!!
That is not a name that I am familiar with but from googling it sounds like the name refers to a type of Columnea (better known as "Goldfish plant").
If you're thinking of ordering from the Michigan Bulb company you should be aware that they have a pretty bad reputation and I probably wouldn't rely on them. Columneas can definitely be found in stores sometimes if you look for them. Might even be able to get the garden center manager to order one for you if you ask.
You may want to check out the discussion on the gesneriad forum which sounds like it is referring to the same plant.
Here is a link that might be useful: Link to a thread on Gesneriad forum
I agree that it sounds like you are referring to a Columnea. I have only seen a Columnea at one nursery, and even they didn't always carry them. I have noticed the big box stores carrying more Aeschynanthus (lipstick vine), which is the old world equivalent of Columnea, so maybe they will start carrying them more in the near future. For the time being, try some smaller garden centers. I've seen a lot of Nematanthus showing up lately, and they are a related plant as well.
Columnea are very easy to grow. They like similar conditions to african violets in that they like to be damp, but not wet, but they require slightly more light. A bright shade I'd say. Prolonged direct sunlight will burn them. There are many species and hybrids, all with differing leaf shapes/colors, bloom colors/shapes, and some can be seasonal bloomers. The variegated Columnea hirta 'Light Prince' falls into this category, but the foliage makes up for it. Some trail very nicely from a hanging basket, others are more "bushy." Investigate which plants really catch your eye (the hybrids 'Broget Stavanger' and 'Alpha' are very different) and see if someone local has a source for that plant. You could also see if there is a local african violet club (see www.avsa.org) as many violet growers also grow Columnea. There is a Gesneriad Society (www.gesneriadsociety.org) that has many clubs and their members would be very familiar with these plants as well. Both AVSA and GS affiliated clubs hold shows/sales, and if there is one in your area you could probably get a starter plant there for a good price.
i personally often order from michigan bulb but i live close to where they ship from so gets here quick...i have had good luck with them and they guarantee 100% no questions asked. some of the time however they will reimburse my money cause something i wanted they ran out of...only drawback for me.
Michigan Bulb lists the botannical name as columnea "Julia."
I have always ordered my columnea from LyndonLyon.com. They have the best prices and the best starter plants...IMO. Have been ordering from them for donkey's years and never been disappointed. As a matter of fact, I just put in an order for 12 chirita and next month the columnea. There are other vendors who sell them but based on personal experience I wouldn't buy from anyone else.
Here is a link that might be useful: Columnea