Although the plain form of Pisonia, also known as para-para, grows into a tree in the wild, this attractive form with variegated foliage makes a good houseplant.
The 16-in/40-cm-long leaves, marbled with pale green, have cream-colored margins that are faintly pink when young. In the cultivated form, small pink or yellow flowers bloom in clusters.
FACT FILE PISONIA UMBELLIFERA ‘VARIEGATA’ Nyctaginaceae BIRD-CATCHER TREE
ORIGIN: Australia; New Zealand; Mauritius. HEIGHT To 10ft/3m in a container.
POTTING MIX: Soil-based.
REPOTTING: Repot young plants in late winter or spring; top-dress older plants.
PROPAGATION: Take stem cuttings, or air-layer, in summer.
KEEPING PLANTS: The plant may quickly outgrow its space, but it can be pruned to maintain size and shape when it is repotted. Set the plant outdoors in summer in mild climates.
PLANT CARE PISONIA UMBELLIFERA ‘VARIEGATA’ Nyctaginaceae BIRD-CATCHER TREE
- Full sun or partial shade; the plant loses its color if the light is not bright enough.
- Warm room or greenhouse conditions, with a winter minimum of 50°F/10°C.
- Water moderately when in growth, sparingly in winter.
- Feed every 2 weeks from spring to fall.
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My Variegata is sitting in filtered, bright sunlight near the window. I water it whenever it’s dry (usually once a week). It was nice and full when I got it, but it’s begun to drop it’s leaves. They don’t turn brown or have any spots, just fall off and then die. I’ve checked for bugs, mold, soil rot, etc and can’t see anything. It’s not dead – it’s been producing baby leaves. I moved it to it’s current position by the window from a darker area of the house, and that hasn’t made a difference – just lost 3 more leaves this morning. I keep it dust free, don’t move it disturb it, pretty sure I’m not over watering, and can’t figure out why it keeps dropping leaves! Can you help?