Calceolaria (Herbeohybrida Group)
Common Name: pocketbook plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Calceolariaceae
Zone: 10 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow, orange, red: either solid, spotted or bicolor
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy

Culture

The pocketbook plant is cultivated in greenhouses in northern climates and outdoors in its native range. It is a somewhat demanding plant. It should never be put in too warm an environment or in a draft, for this will invite aphids. It prefers temperatures between 60 to 65°F. It requires a slightly humid atmosphere, but the soil must not be too damp and it must be kept out of the direct sun. A well-drained soil is essential. Pinch back to maintain shape and encourage blooming. Most often purchased from greenhouses and florists and used as an annual due to its high cultural demands.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Calceolaria is a genus of over 300 species of herbaceous annuals, perennials, and shrubs native mainly to high altitude regions of the Patagonian Andes north to Mexico.

The Herbeohybrida Group of calceolarias, commonly called pocketbook plants, are known for their showy flowers. They are primarily grown in commercial greenhouses for the floral industry. These hybrids are typically crosses between several species including C. crenatiflora, C. corymbosa, and C. cana. The 0.5-2" wide flowers have an enlarged lower petal and come in a range of colors: yellow, orange or red and are either solid, spotted or bicolor. The blooms are held in dense corymbs often covering the basal foliage. Plants are primarily sold in late winter or early spring and will bloom continuously for several weeks. The names Calceolaria × herbeohybrida an C. herbeohybrida have also been applied to this group of plants.

Genus name comes from the Latin word calceolus meaning a slipper a reference to the appearance of the flower.

Problems

Plants are susceptible to root and crown rots from the soil being too wet or fluctuations in watering. Gray mold, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites can also be a problem. Limp leaves usually indicate the plants are too dry.

Garden Uses

Used primarily as pot plants and given as gifts in the late winter and early spring. They are a nice addition to a bright windowsill in winter and are a cheery gift with their bright colors and unusual flowers.