African Mask Flowering on Overdrive

Ninkasi(6ish Germany)August 12, 2014

Hi everyone--

My African mask plant has flowered three times this summer growing season. I have had it for a year, and what I have read, flowering is supposed to be a rare occurrence. What is going on here? Does flowering mean the plant is happy, or rather, that it is on its last legs trying to make a chance at reproduction? I have included a gif to show you the flower if you haven't seen one.

It has put out several new leaves this summer, but I wouldnt say the plant is particularly lush. It looks healthy-- but I understand these are supposed to be difficult plants to keep. It lives on a gravel tray for humidity and is in bright indoor light. I had to move it farther from the window to avoid being burned. I have read that they like both a confined growing space but also well draining soil-- these things seem a bit counter-intuitive to me, so any insight on this would be great. How do you keep your African masks healthy?

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paul_(z5 MI)

With regards to the flowering ... don't sweat it. Mine is on its 2nd or 3rd blooming for the year... I've lost count. Did the same for me last year as well.

As far as the plant "not looking particularly lush", that is quite normal. If you read through posts on that plant, you will find that many folks are only able to maintain 3 or maybe 4 leaves on a single plant at a time. To get a "lush" look, you basically will need to have multiple plants in the same pot.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 5:13PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

they also can go dormant so if you loose all the leaves but the rhizome is still firm don't toss it out, it will grow back.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Ninkasi(6ish Germany)

Thanks for the reassurance Paul and Dellis!
I am wondering about the pot size.. Currently there are three rhizomes in the pot and it is a tight fit. Do they like being cramped or should I give it some more room? Changed potting mix earlier this year but kept it in the same pot.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:03PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

if they're in a fast draining soil that will stay moist but not soggy and will allow air around the roots, then they can go into a bigger pot and will be fine.

Soil quality and pot size are related.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:58PM
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mine are somewhere around 5-6yr old and blooming every year. and i have 3 large tubers in a squat mum-pot (8"wide x6"high). you have yours in what size pot?
so long as you keep it fairly moist humid, in good warmth (above 75F) and feed it well - it'll grow well. IF it's growing well and the root-ball is dense with thick white roots - you can up-pot it in 2" wider pot like right now, provided you'll still get warm temps above 72F for another 6-8 weeks. but if not - it's best to keep it in a smaller pot for the winter.
i tent mine for the winter to give it better humidity and prevent temp fluctuation - this way i don't have to water much either . mine takes very little water in winter, but.. it is never totally dry either, since it's on water-wick to prevent it drying up ( it will go dormant then).
if it's in a larger pot, but the roots have not filled it by cooler season (3-4 mo of winter) - there is a higher chance that tubers will rot in soil that is not dry enough. but if you dry it up - off it goes into dormancy...
what's your soil mix?
it can take sev hours of dappled, moving sun - it likes it actually and will grow larger leaves too: dappled light like thru the venetian blinds (it simulates dappled light under the trees in high shade).
i have 1yr old seedlings in west window currently in 3 hours of afternoon direct sun and they're growing very well, no burn at all.
i am in NYC area - so much hotter sun then in germany, i'd think. it likes very bright filtered light. but the farther north you are, the more sun it can take in winter or mid-season, since the sun is rather weak.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:12PM
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