The Tolmiea is a small evergreen shrub native to Central and North America; it has an erect or creeping, panel-like habit; it produces a globose shrub, 30-40 cm tall, and just as broad. The stems are thin, very ramified, and carry large leaves with serrated or jagged edges, often trilobed, light green in colour, often spotted and variegated in yellow; they are covered by a thin white down. It can be utilized also as garden plant, with the winter cold, however, it loses the leaves.
During the summer months, it produces long erect stems carrying small brown or yellowish flowers, of little ornamental interest.
Placing a plant in a certain position determines its good or bad development. Exposure is very important, and it is an aspect that must be taken into account. Ptolemies prefer semi-shaded or even completely shaded positions, so they can also be found in poorly-lit apartments, or where windows remain dark for many hours a day. Even if they develop without any problems in the apartment, these plants do not fear the cold and can bear temperatures close to -3°C.
To have a luxuriant plant it is necessary to keep the soil constantly moist, then water regularly, avoiding soaking the substrate or leaving water in the saucer to avoid rottenness; every 3-4 days it is also advisable to vaporize the leaves, so as to increase the humidity of the environment in which the plant is located.
The soil is the main source of sustenance for plants; from the soil our crops acquire the nutrients they need to live and develop at their best. Therefore, the choice of soil is a well-considered operation that must be made taking into account the specific needs of the plant. Tolmiea species need soil that is rich in organic matter and retains moisture at its best; an ideal substrate can be prepared by mixing little manure with balanced universal soil and well shredded bark.
During the spring season, it is possible to fertilize the soil with a liquid fertilizer to be added to the irrigation water. The ideal fertilizer must be formed by microelements such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus.
No pruning is necessary. Simply remove the dried leaves by hand.
The tolmiea plants are known for their ease of propagation, the plants in fact produce small shoots in the foliar armpit, which quickly produce their own roots, even while they are attached to the mother plant, these offshoots can be detached at any time of year and repot individually.
Ptolemy: Pests and diseases
This plant fears radical rot and cochineal. To avoid the problem of rottenness, pay attention to watering; follow the instructions described in the previous paragraph concerning watering.
The cochineal, on the other hand, is a tiny insect, or parasite which, nourishing of the sap contained in the leaves of the tolmiea, weakens the plant, limiting its development. To eliminate the problem, opt for specific pesticide products available from major garden centers.