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Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Posted by purpleinopp 8b AL (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 19, 12 at 10:28

Some of you may remember when I was trying to figure out the name of this plant from this discussion. Although my honey says all plants are named Steve, he has admitted this one probably should be called Medusa.

This plant is just so odd-looking and grows so strangely and fast in unusual ways, I just love it! The purple "eyes" at the end of the tips are visible in this pic:

The 2 Dracaena marginata tops I stuck in the pot seem happy, too.

Whole plant:

When the flower stalk started growing a few months ago, they was shooting up about 1/2" per day. Unfortunately the flowers aren't open in this pic, but you can see there are a ton of buds. The flowers open for a day every few days since around Christmas and they SMELL SO GOOD! OMG!

The person who gave it to me says she's had it for many years and has never had any blooms. This punk feels lucky and blessed.

Thanks again to y'all for helping me ID it. I just love it. Until I was given some cuttings of this plant earlier last year, I'd never seen this plant. Are these uncommon or have I just managed to not notice them before? Something this easy to propagate and keep seems like it would be as ubiquitous as spider plants or pothos. This plant is about 3x as big as it was 6 months ago. A little part of me is glad it's back outside, since I had started to feel a twinge of fear that this plant might be planning some kind of takeover of this house or inhabitants. It certainly seems capable.

I still don't really understand this plant, though. Is it a vine? Are the flowering stalks the only part that I can expect to be upright? The other parts all hang down from the pot. Are these usually hanging or in regular pots? How long will the dangling parts get?

(Don't chide me, the bottom has holes. I had to put it back on for stability. This plant is "meaty" and heavy, top-heavy when dry!)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Hey Purple..Callisia/Basket Vine, is an invasive house plant. lol

This wkened, I tossed, at the minimum, a dozen stems. After potting up several others. I now have two containers of Callisia, plus some smaller sections growing in a terrarium.

Dangling parts grow super large..well, at least 5'. Callisia might look best hanging or on a tall stand. My older Callisia is on a 4' stand, bottom stems/leaves reach and running along the floor. lol.

Oh, I also planted a group in the front yard as an experiment. If they live, fine.

I bet in hardy areas, this Callisia would take over a yard and then some.

Purple, which plant is flowering? Toni


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

It's the Callisia blooming, very nice by the way Purple, glad you're enjoying them.

You're welcome, I believe I was one of the ones insisting this was the correct ID.

I saw some starting to bloom last year at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but the buds weren't open yet, so I didn't get to a sample the fragrance.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Thanks for the replies.

Toni, this year I want to share what I can with friends, but may try some in the ground next year. Would love to see what it does even if it can't take winter. Can you please share a pic of your plant? It sounds kinda scary but I would love to see it! "Invasive house plant" = LOL and no doubt! While inside, I had some of the branches of this plant laying across the pots of other plants so the branches would be high enough to get light. A lot of them started putting roots into the other pots - invading!

And OMG I just realized I said "they was." Yep, there's a little redneck in me, and apparently he types.

I AM enjoying this plant. It's a shame, PG, that you didn't get to smell these blooms. Not a wafter, but SO pleasant! 3 cheers for Steve!


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Morning Karen,

Purple. So the flower is from your Callisia!! For some reason I assumed Call blooms were small, 'purple,' like those of Wandering Jew and 'Purple' Heart?? Had no idea they grew off a stalk..And fragrant, too?
Wish mine would bloom.
How much sun does yours get? Which window does it face?

I'll have to snap a pic then post. Getting the older Cal out of its spot is a pain. lol. I clipped quite a bit this wkend, but it's still long. Also, now that days are longer, center leaves are darkening, or 'purpling,' lol.

I can imagine a stem/s lying on other plant pots..those roots! lol.
Wish there was a variegated C. fragrans. Toni

PS: Yes ma'am, ya'll said they was. just kidding. To tell you the truth, I didn't even notice. lol


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

To tell you the truth, I didn't even notice... Aha! We've discovered a little redneck in you, too.

Yes, I would call the bloom part a stalk. It's the only upright part, at least on this particular plant.

It spent the winter in a south window but there's a roof over the porch outside the window, so only direct light in early AM and late afternoon. Put it back outside on the porch, at the east end, a few days ago, so direct sun until sometime just before noon, a little later in the day.

I feel (almost) guilty about being so new to this plant and having it bloom. I think the person who gave it to me happened to give me the part that would have bloomed for her anyway, but I think she now thinks I have some kind of secret I'm not sharing. Ooops! Her plant, the mama, lives on a screened porch that faces south, so it gets direct sun from about 1:30 until sunset, and probably some in the early morning.

Forgot to ask earlier, where in your yard are you trying this plant? Like how much sun?


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Maybe we all have a little redneck in us. lol. Hey, my mother was born in MI, DH in TN...what can I say?

Since yours flowered, it must have been getting adequate light and of course, proper care.

What's funny...yrs ago, most articles read C. fragrans should be placed in semi-shade, no direct sun.
I honestly believe the invasive house plant will grow anywhere. lol

Remember I said there was a piece in a terrarium? The terrarium is actually a 10-gallon aquarium.
I stuck a small shoot in the terrarium some time back. It took over..I removed most last wkend...this group is planted in the yard.
Anyway, the tank gets very little light. The tank is under artificial lighting, but a good distance away from the bulbs. Behind the shelf is a window that faces north. BTW, light is on about 5 hours per day.

Outside it's planted on the north side of the house..so it gets north and west sun. I didn't want leaves to burn so soon, the north side has the least light. Bright enough to keep Coleus. Days have been hot, '80's and very, very sunny, especially for March. So, planting in a brighter location might have sunburned leaves.

Hey, don't feel guilty. I hope the woman who gave you the cutting isn't really angry with you.
Some people have green thumbs, others don't, despite south, west, east or north-facing windows.

She should be happy for you.
Purple, no matter which part of the plant she gave you, I'm SURE other parts are capable of blooming, too. So, don't feel guilty. Okay??? :)


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Hi purple,

I have that plant. I got mine from my Mom she had been growing it since I was a little one. lol She tossed pieces in the garbage because it grew so fast. I have had mine bloom every summer outside. I have never had it bloom inside in the winter.

I do not know why it is not one of the plants you see in the stores. I did see one at Lowes last year but it is not one that you see often.

You are doing a great job of making it happy to have blooms inside.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

I think this plant is less common partly because it gets big, sprawling, unruly. A had 1 for a while, but it was taking over the bathroom window, sometimes those stolons come at odd angles, it's strange.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple...Guess what I just won????

A couple weeks ago I said, 'I wish there was such a thing as a variegated Callisia/Basket Plant.'

Two days ago, a seller I sometimes buy from had Variegated Callisia fragrans on bid. A variegated plant I didn't know existed.

I kept quiet, lol, and placed a bid. Well, I won!
4.25...not bad, huh???

I am soooo happy, lol, Toni


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Went outside earlier and the smell of these flowers was wafting. They didn't do that in the house. Wonder what makes them open some days? The weather has been about the same here every day for the past few weeks - mostly sunny, 75-88.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple, beautiful! After the flower fades, does the stem die? If not, will the stem rebloom? What about dead-heading?

I don't know anything about Callisias, lol.

It's strange flowers open some days and not others..Maybe a cloud passes, shading the area, so they close and/or stay closed?

The only reason some flowering plants won't open, 'that I know' happens on cloudy days.

Do flowers smell sweet like Dracaena, Citrus, Jasmine, more like Gardenia or strong as Easter Lily?


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Thanks for the compliment, but all of the credit goes to the plant just doing its' thing. I'm way too new to it to take ANY credit. (Picture Wayne & Garth telling Alice Cooper, "We're not worthy!!")

After the flower fades, does the stem die? If not, will the stem rebloom? What about dead-heading? Good questions! I have no idea. All I can tell you at this point is that the stems started shooting up, almost visibly fast, in Dec and have branched a bit. The flowers seem to be the same ones, opening & closing periodically. The little bud clusters are way too tightly packed to consider any type of deadheading, and they all look the same to me. Usually I can tell on about any plant which buds have already bloomed, but these all look the same to me, which would make sense if it really is the same flowers opening & closing.

It doesn't seem like cloud cover has been a factor to me, but hey, I'm not a plant. It's either sunny or cloudy to me.

I'm not good at describing flower odors, but it is SWEET, like the time my sans bloomed (probably not a helpful comparison since those flowers are an elusive & rare mystery also). Went outside just now to see if they were open for sniffing, but no such luck.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple it was cinnamon smell to my nose.

I just cut the blooming stems off before I bring them in for the winter.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

This is an interesting plant. Is it kind of like a wandering jew?


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple, of course you deserve the credit. If it wasn't for your care, Mrs. Basket Plant might be keeled over. You watered and supplied nutrients. Placed in proper area.

The way blooms grow out of the vase reminds me of Bromiliads.
What type of fertilizer does it get?

Purple, you're funny. Sun and clouds, lol. No, we're not plants..They sense light sources..Ever notice a plant leaning towards a window or light bulb?

Your Sans bloomed? How did you manage? A couple of my Sans are over 15-yrs..nary a bloom. What did you do?
I didn't know San flowers were fragrant either.

Hey Marquest..how are you? Toni

Umm, Cinnamon.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Hmmm, cinnamon is not what I thought when I smelled it. But of course we don't all interpret odors the same way. I can't stand the smell of southern magnolia flowers, the big white ones smell like lemon pledge to me. But I know people who think they smell good & piney.

Marquest, may I ask why you cut the flowers off? How long did your blooms last?

Toni, I haven't given it any fertilizer until last week when I put a few bits of granulated on the soil. Flowers have been there for 4 mos tho. It remains a mystery why my sans bloomed. I talked about it here, 11/3 & 11/4.

Hi scsva! I would say it absolutely grows like WJ if you're talking about Tradescantia zebrina - very fast & in all directions. Except the weird tall flower...


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RE: Scents

Purple, I forgot about that thread..Sorry.

Wow, you don't like the scent of Southern Mags? If not, don't get Citrus, Jasmine or Gardenia..lol.

4-months is a long time for a plant to bloom. Like I said, reminds me of Bromiliads.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

purple I am sorry I have been working on getting a house put together for sale. Stagging, cleaning etc. Getting my money together finishing off my retirement fund. Closing out my Mom's estate so much going on I am spinning. So I have not been around much.

I cut the flower off because it dried up and looked ugly.

I know a lot of people say they cannot smell the spath on a Caladium. It smells like cinnamon to me also. Maybe everything that has a light none sweet fragrance smells like cinnamon to me.

This is a Caladium that bloomed every summer that I kept by the front door because I liked the fragrance at the front door.
Photobucket


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Wow you sound really busy. Hope all goes well! And that's an excellent reason to cut off the flowers! I've not noticed any smell from the flowers of white Caladiums like those (and am bummed I didn't see any this year for sale). I usually also get Carolyn Whorton Caladiums which have a wonderful smell to me. Have you ever had that kind?

Toni, don't know what's wrong with me! I just smell lemon pledge when I sniff those big pretty white flowers, try to admire them from afar. I LOVE gardenia, jasmine & citrus. Go figure! Of course you can't remember every thread, no apology necessary.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

I've grown the variegated (pin-striped)Callisia fragrans for a few years now in the landscape... fills in quickly. If you plant one or two in a hanging basket it drops new plants like a spider Plant, cool looking.
Randy


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Morning,

Marquest, you sure are busy. Was wondering where you've been..I sent an email but no reply.

Funny, that all plants smell like Cinnamon..lol

Purple, too funny...you smell Lemon Pledge, Marquest smells Cinnamon.. Some people say certain Hoya flowers are cinnamon scented, but not Pledge, lol.

Randy, you said you've had variegated Callisia a few years..does it remain variegated or do leaves revert to green?

Snapped a pic of my new Callisia...Gosh, I remember when my green Callisia was the size of this variegated.
One thing, I pray variegation stays.

Callisia

Two leaves need removing..hope the plant doesn't rot. It arrived bare-rootted, but soil was soaked. Still, not bad for 4.25. Toni


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

It hasn't reverted yet...


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

ok, now I'm interested in this one. Would these plants be sold at Lowe's, Home Depot or just specialty stores?

Susan


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Marquest, forgot to mention, your Caladium is really pretty...and that little flower.....

Randy, that's great news.

Susan, I got my Callisia on Ebay. Toni


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Pepper's Greenhouse has Callisia Elegans. Would that be similar?

S


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Same family, but I think they're different plants. Looks, care, etc.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Randy e, never saw the variegated before, would you be willing to share a couple of pieces..if so would you shoot me an email..thx


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Shoal Creek Succulents seems to have a variegated one.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

I would love to trade for the original green one and or the variegated. If anyone is interested just email me and I can give you a list of plants I have available.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

A few weeks ago, this plant got blown off the porch (a common theme with me, huh?) and when I got home a couple days later, I found that one of the flowering stems had been broken. I stuck it in water, hoping the flowers would still open periodically until it finished dying.

Although I haven't seen the flowers open back up, this silly stalk is making roots!

It's not as brown as it looks in the pic, and I need to pull those dead leaf ends off, it's firm and green underneath. Going to find it a pot this weekend and I will give it to the person who gave it to me. Maybe she will get some flowers afterall?

Yeah, I know, I haven't cleaned the "pot ghetto" since taking the pots back outside. Cheers for plastic tablecloths!


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple, how long have your plants been outside this year?

I think Callisia would root in air, lol.

Do your runners ever sit atop soil of a neighboring plant and root? They root the same as a Spider Plant offshoot does.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

I put them out about a month ago, maybe 6 weeks. And yes, I had to keep an eye on the shoots this winter, they seem to know if they are near dirt.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

This plant is driving me nuts (in a good way?) because I like to move plants a lot, turn them, change which end of the porch, inside, outside. Always something. Whenever I touch this plant, pieces fall off and of course they need a home which often ends up being a pot already inhabited by something else. I'm thinking "As that grows I'll take chunks for new plants." Already pieces that started like this are to that size, just a few months. Then there are the pieces I break off the "mothership" because they are going "the wrong way."

OK, this IS an invasive house plant! I think I need to get this all by itself in just a few hanging pots and just let it dangle. Some people just don't listen, they just gotta see for themselves.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

This morning that broken-off flower stalk has opened flowers, lots of roots, new shoots. If this were an edible plant, nobody would have to starve.

Mothership: May have settled on a name, not Medusa. Napoleon! Not a very tall plant but it wants to spread out and take over the world!


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple, the flowers are gorgeous. By any chance, are they fragrant?
How did you get it to bloom? I'm green. lol.

Also, 'you might have said,' was the cutting rooted in water or soil?

Oh Lord, yes! Runners hunt for soil.

BTW, the cutting I placed outside has added several inches. I must take another pic.
It's survived a couple freezing, 32F nights, direct sun, grey days, no fertilizer, and super-hot, 99F days.

Your roots look nice and healthy. Toni


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Wow I didn't know it had gotten that hot up there already. Imagine that for 4 months!! Yes, pls take another pic! I've read too much about its' invasiveness to attempt a ground plant here.

The little flowers on this plant are some of the smallest I've ever seen and produce enough fragrance to waft across the porch. Amazing! It's the same piece pictured Apr. 27. Honestly not sure if I'm being lazy about getting it a pot of soil or just curious about watching its' progress. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to when the flowers actually open, though. The mama this broke off of has another flower stalk and I haven't seen open flowers on that one for about a month. This is turning into the most active and one of the most interesting plants I've ever had.

This spring I was blessed with the flowers on this plant and on a Sansevieria. I don't know why for certain, but I think it's got a lot to do with the conditions over winter. We don't use the central air, just hot oil heaters placed in the rooms where we hang out. So the room where most of the plants spend winter is pretty cold, 55-65, and plenty of humidity in the whole house, south window, as little water as possible for all. I tried to remember to run the ceiling fan for at least an hour most days. Probably more closely resembling the natural conditions of a warmer climate - a little cooler but nowhere near freezing. Just my informally quasi-educated supposition.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple, 2011/12 has been the mildest winter ever. During March, we had about two wks at 80-90F, and very high humidity. Then temps dropped, but the lowest was 40F. Then we had a little over a wk in the 90's. This week was mid to high 70's, days, 60's night. It's all over the place.

I've never had a Sans that bloomed. Seems few ppl get theirs to flower.
Maybe the cold had something to do with yours flowering or a combination.

How is your house so humid when temps are cool? lol. Do you run a humidifer?
I've never been in a home where oil is used for heating. Is it a dry or humid heat?

Don't worry Purple, you can run different experiments with your Callisia. Remember, invasive house plant. lol.

Is Callisia hardy? You mentioned it growing as a ground cover. That's one thing I don't have to worry about here; it wouldn't survive normal winters..Normal opposed to this last winter.

I'm shocked a good number of annuals returned. But, I wish our winters were always as mild.
People in 'Palm Forum' who live in Chicago and as far north as Canada grow palms and certain succulents in their garden. The palm in Chicago is huge. The guy lives by the lake front which is a lot colder and windier than my area..sw burbs. The wind chill makes 35F feel like single digit.

I'll try getting a pic today. I'm working inside, taking a break, checking emails and GW..lol.

Anyway, Congreats on flowering Sans and Callisia


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Thanks!

The heaters are electric & look like old school radiators. There's oil inside that is heated. It takes very little energy to keep the oil hot and it radiates nice, warm heat without removing humidity in the air. We love it! For the same money, sometimes a little less, we are so much more comfortable & get to keep the humidity, which stays about 70%.

Probably not practical up there as a sole source of heat but one little $40 heater in the room where you are could allow you to drop your furnace down 10 degrees or so, if that's practical with your house design.

Although there's nothing on the outside hot enough to catch fire if it were to get tipped over, it has a shut-off in case that happens. I'm a huge fan of them, at least here where nights below 30 are pretty rare and short-lived.

According to several things I've read on the www, C. fragrans is indeed hardy slightly south of here, and not welcome at all outside of a pot. I suspect maybe nobody even planted it in the ground, maybe left the pot on its' own. Maybe in the middle of a dark, moonless night, holding some family's poor little poodle hostage for 6 minutes while it became firmly rooted...?


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

You people are plant pushers- LOL!
I received one last week from Shoal Creek Succulents and it's growing already!!! It's an all green one tho!


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Let the sun shine on it some and it will develop purple spots, at least mine did. Not kidding about it climbing into the pots of other plants though. Keep an eye on it.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Purple, I wish this house had steam radiators. We have vents that dry the air once heat is turned on.
We have an old Freddy Krueger furnace..lol. It takes one-third of the basement, leaving enough room for 'X' amount of pots, dh's make home-made beer, so his equipment, a couple work benches, sons stereo system, washer and dryer.

However, this old furnace has a very rusted pocket where water is poured to up humidity. Don't know if it works, so I use additional humidifers, two indoor-fountains, and daily spraying.

The only heating source that is worse is space-heat. My God, before moving here, the place was heated w/space heaters..talk about dry air------skin and hair! And poor plants!!!!

People used oil here long ago, 'some ppl still do, but most homes started converting to gas in the 70's.'

Purple, what type of 40.00 heater do you mean? Electric?

Poodle story ='s funny.

Susan, ROFL. I like that--- plant pusher..Thankfully, most of us push legal plants..lol.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Yes, electric. It's full of oil which is heated by electric, and radiates real HEAT, not like a heat pump.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

Oh, never heard of electric heater full of oil.

Electric heaters here are plugged in an outlet, 'no oil' and heats a small room.
Real a$$-kicker electric bill.


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RE: Callisia fragrans, love this weird-o!

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