Tiny Plants: Bucephalandra ‘Black Pearl’

September 21, 2021

You don’t need to grow big to experience plant parenting or indoor gardening joy. Tiny plants are just as enjoyable (sometimes more!) and don’t need a lot of space or resources to thrive.

Like this tiny - yet VERY simple - little botanical semi-aquatic environment I created with a snippet of Bucephalandra ‘Black Pearl’ set on top of a small piece of bark. It sits in about 1/2” of rainwater inside a covered glass vessel, under a low intensity LED on a book shelf. It’s also started growing it’s own tiny moss forest.

Bucephalandra is a genus in the Araceae family (Aroids); and a genus of semi-aquatic plants that grow via a rhizome. They can be grown totally submersed, emersed, or mounted epiphytically inside tanks or terrariums. Naturally, plants grow on stones or rocks in streams in tropical forests and you'll find this is how they tend to thrive in indoor culture. There are tiny species and cultivars, such as this one, 'Black Pearl', and larger species. Their sizes vary widely, ranging from only 2 cm to 60 cm tall!

Just like other related aroids, Bucephalandra spp. produce spathe type flowers. In fact, they resemble an itty bitty peace lily flower. It's adorable. My plants haven't flowered, but that's most likely due to the lower light intensity. If I wanted them to flower, I'd increase the light intensity with a more powerful lamp, or run the lamp I have for longer. But, I'm quite happy with my little foliage specimen as it is, where it is, as of now.

To maintain this simple planting, all I do now and then is wipe out a bit of algae growth and add a bit of rain water. That’s IT. But this tiny plantscape brings me a lot of joy.

Happy National Indoor Plant Week!

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