This article will discuss how you can grow and care for Torenia plants in containers.
The Torenia plant, which is also known as “Wishbone flower” is a heat-loving plant that can be grown in a variety of colors: pink, yellow, purple, and white.
Based on the study of The University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, “Torenia is a perennial plant which can be grown as an annual plant. It blooms from early spring to autumn and it’s cool colors will brighten your shades and corners.”
The best way to grow Torenia in containers is to put well draining soil in 4 inches to 4 gallons of container, and water often to keep the soil moist. Perilla and other drought-tolerant plants can provide shade for growing Torenia in container.
Summarized Facts About Torenia
- Scientific name: Torenia fournieri
- Pronunciation: toe-REEN-nee-uh for-NEER-eye
- Family: Scrophulariaceae
- Plant type: Annual
- Common name(s): Wishbone Flower, Torenia
- Origin: Not native to North America
- USDA hardiness zones: All zones
- Planting month for zone 7: Jun
- Planting month for zone 8: May; Jun
- Planting month for zone 9: Apr; May; Jun; Sep; Oct
- Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Mar; Apr; May; Sep; Oct
- Uses: Container or above-ground planter, edging, and border.
How Tall Does Torenia Grow?
Torenia grows 12 – 15 inches tall and can be spaced 8.5 inches apart. Growing torenia plants is relatively easy. It can be grown in pot size containers ranging from 4 inches to gallon size containers and in this article, you will learn how this can be done.
- Height: 12 – 15 inches
- Spread: 1 – 1.5 feet
- Plant habit: spreading
- Plant density: dense
According to the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, The Biology of Torenia, “Torenia plants can be found in large quantities in Africa and Asia.”
The flowers of Torenia plants share a resemblance with the face of a dragon and as a result they are classified as members of the snapdragon family.
The Torenia plants are also nicknamed “the wishbone flower” based on the shape of their stamens.
Torenia plants come in different colors but the most popular color of all is the blue Torenia plant.
Other colors of Torenia include pink, yellow, purple, and white. A special advantage of Torenia is the fact that it can be grown in most conditions but they will fare best in hot and humid conditions.
- Grow rate: Moderate
- Texture: Fine
- Foliage arrangement: Mostly opposite
- Leaf margin: Serrate
- Leaf type: Simple
Torenia in Containers
Container gardening as the name implies is the process of growing and caring for plants in containers or pots.
There are numerous scenarios that may require you to grow your plants in containers.
For instance, a lover of flowers who lives in a rented apartment will most likely have to grow his/her plants in containers or pots as these apartments usually do not come with allotted land space.
Containers can also be used if you simply do not have enough garden space. An added advantage of growing your plants in containers is the ease of mobility.
Despite the many advantages of planting Torenia in containers, some gardeners prefer to grow them on the ground because of the increased watering requirement of Torenia in containers.
The effect of hot and dry winds is more severe on Torenia plants grown in containers.
When you compare this disadvantage, to the many advantages of growing in containers – it will be clear that the advantages far outweigh the singular disadvantage.
When it comes to growing Torenia in containers, conventional soil is not your best option.
The reason for this is the fact that when conventional soil is saturated with water, the pore spaces become filled.
This results in the intoxication of torenia roots due to the removal of air by water. To grow Torenia in plants, it is best you use a soil substitute (potting mix).
The mix can come in two forms: soil mix and soil – less mix. The soil mix contains a certain amount of soil while the soil – less mix contains no soil.
Both forms of soil substitute work well with Torenia planted in a container. Other components of the mix include: peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.
Soil substitute can be purchased from garden stores. You can also take your container to the store and have them filled with the potting mix, it all depends on which option is more convenient for you.
If you are not in the position to purchase a potting mix, you can make your own potting mix.
The most popular soil substitute formula mixes one – third sandy loam soil, one – third sphagnum peat moss, and one — third perlite or builder’s sand.
There are many mix formulas in existence for you to choose from.
Whatever choice you make, it is important you bear this in mind: the potting mix must be free of insects, weeds, and disease organisms.
The size of container that can be used to grow Torenia ranges from 4 inches to 3 gallons. You can use both old and new containers for this form of plant growth.
Once you have selected a container, bore holes at the bottom of the container to allow excess water drain out.
Any of the following container types can be used:
- Plastic containers
- Clay containers
- Wooden containers
i). Plastic containers: These containers come in multiple sizes but they differ in their ability to withstand pressure over time. The choice of a plastic container depends on the amount of time you plan to keep the plant in the container.
ii). Clay containers: This container type is the oldest tool used for container gardening. It is the best option for most gardeners due to its associated earth tone color.
The disadvantage of this container type is the fact that it is breakable and less suited for movement.
Wooden containers: Although wooden containers are not as popular as their counterparts, they are still suitable for growing and caring for Torenia.
The following wood types are the most suitable for container gardening: exterior grade plywood, redwood, and cedar.
Wooden containers give room for a variety of designs as they can be built in different sizes, shapes, and styles.
Avoid using wood treated with copper, creosote or phenolic compounds as these substances injure Torenia.
Container Size (What size container to grow Torenia?)
The question here is what is the best container size for Torenia plants? The best container size is one which forms a balance between the top plant and the root.
The question of container size depends on the size of torenia you aim to grow but the standard size ranges between 4 inches and 3 gallons.
Fertilizer: How to Fertilize Torenia
The holes bored in the container will cause water to drain through the potting mix rapidly.
The result of this is that fertilizer will be washed out of the container as you water your plant.
Hence, you will have to constantly apply fertilizer to your potting mix.
The size of your mix will determine the frequency at which you will have to re-fertilize. The larger the mix, the lesser the frequency.
To ease the process different dilute fertilizer solutions have been formulated and they include: Hyponex, Rapid Gro, and Miracle Grow. These fertilizers are applied at each watering.
The key element is to apply one-fourth (1/4th) of the recommended rate. This should however be ignored if the instructions state otherwise.
If this method of fertilizer application does not fit into your schedule, you can use time – release fertilizers.
Today, these fertilizers have become widely available.
These fertilizers are different from conventional fertilizers due to the fact that they are packaged in pellets.
These pellets release minor amounts of fertilizer for a stipulated amount of time.
Ensure you use time — release fertilizers according to directions.
Although this is fairly obvious, we are going to discuss it in detail.
It’s important that you water your Torenia often enough to keep the potting mix moist. Never allow the mix to be dry but at the same time do not allow the soil to get soggy.
To keep the moisture in the roots of your toreina, place an inch of mulch underneath your plant.
Apply compost to the potting mix on a regular basis to keep your torenia blooming.
It won’t hurt if you take the time to pinch off dead blooms to allow room for new growth.
Another important point to note is the fact that potting mixes can be easily washed out of the container during watering. To keep this from happening, you should never water with a hose directly.
Use a nozzle breaker or a sprinkling can to break up the stream of water when you water your plant.
In a situation where you have to take a vacation or business trip, it is important you make arrangements for your Torenia plant to be watered regularly by someone.
The individual can also check for associated problems that may develop while you are away.
Culture and Care
Growing your Torenia in a container will expose it to a higher level of stress and limit root formation.
This will make the plant more vulnerable to insects and disease.
Hence, Torenia in containers requires more care and attention than those grown in conventional gardens.
Torenia Pests and Problems
Torenia can best be described as a plump beautiful little plant. It is gaining a lot of attention and acceptance due its low pest attraction.
1). Whitefly infestation: Based on the report of the Australian Government Department of Health, Torenia was observed to suffer minor whitefly infestation.
2). Mold and rot: However, the major problem that you will experience with Torenia is mold and rot. This issue can be easily averted with proper watering techniques and air circulation.
To properly grow Torenia plants in containers, use a rich potting mix and apply water often to the mix to keep the soil moist.
In addition, you can either apply fertilizer continuously as you water or use time release fertilizers.
Torenia is a very beautiful plant, and with these simple steps you can grow and care for your Torenia plant in containers.