The crown flower (Calotropis gigantea) is a large tropical shrub whose stems are covered with a white powdery bloom like that on grapes. It sports distinctive star-like flowers that are said to be sacred to the Hindu people. Also known as the giant milkweed, the crown flower was a great favorite of Hawaii's last queen, Lilioukalani. Although native to India, Iran, China and Tibet, it is a popular landscape plant in tropical locations such as Hawaii. This plant is very hardy and does well under normal cultivation or even under conditions of neglect.
Things You'll Need
- Crown flower branches, 12 inches in length
- Rooting hormone powder
- Black sand
- Propagation flat
How to propagate crown flower plants
Cut woody branches from an existing plant to about 12 inches in length.
Allow your cuttings to stop bleeding and then dust the bottoms of the stems with a rooting hormone.
Insert your cuttings about one inch apart into a propagation flat that contains black sand or a mixture of vermiculite and black sand.
Water the flat thoroughly and then cover the entire flat with a thin sheet of plastic, which will prevent moisture from evaporating.
After your cuttings start putting out new growth, remove the plastic, but be sure to keep the soil moist.
After your cuttings have developed a good root system, it is safe to transplant them into larger pots or into your garden.
When your young plants are about three feet tall, prune them lightly to encourage branching, which encourages thick plant growth.
Tips & Warnings
- The crown flower does best in sunny locations but also can tolerate some shade.
- Crown flowers are effective when grown as a hedge, which will serve as an attractive barrier and provide beautiful flowers as well.
- Keep young plants moist but not waterlogged after your transplant them.
- About two months after you transplant your rooted cuttings, spread a thin ring of fertilizer around the plants just before you water them. Continue fertilizing in this manner every other month until your plants are about five feet tall.
- Insects that might affect your crown flower include mites, aphids, mealy bugs and scale insect. Use an insecticidal soap spray at the first sign of infestation.
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