Torenia fournieri is a delicate-looking summer annual that produces small, attractive flowers.
The plant is native to Asia and part of the Linderniaceae family. There are close to two hundred species in this family, but the torenia is one of the more popular choices.
It is typically grown in garden flower beds to add color and dimension. They are a good choice for borders.
The name is pronounced [tor-EN-ee-uh] [for-NEER-eye], but you may hear it called the wishbone flower or blue wings. While most people don’t have any problems growing this plant, caring for it does require a few precautions.
Torenia Fournieri Care
Size & Growth
It is native to Asia and recommended for USDA hardiness zones 10 through 11. It’s typically grown as an annual and may only reach about 10-inches tall.
It’s a small bushy plant that is easily kept in a small pot or container by a window sill or on a patio. The leaves are also small and have fringes on the edges.
Flowering and Fragrance
The delicate flowers begin to appear in June and should last through the summer. The flowers are often a bluish-violet color and have dark patches of blue around the base. They may also have a yellow tinge around the edges.
The bright flowers almost look like small orchids and don’t produce any fragrance.
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Light & Temperature
Place your potted plant in an area with bright sun, but not direct sunlight. Direct sun can scorch the leaves. Morning sun and afternoon shade is recommended.
You may assume that the wishbone flower is delicate, but in fact, it’s hardy. The plant is easy to care for and can tolerate partial shade if you can’t find a suitable spot with more sunlight.
The wishbone flower won’t last through the winter if you keep outdoors in freezing temperatures. It is meant for warm regions, which is why it’s often grown as a houseplant.
Watering and Feeding
Keep the soil moist throughout the year. Don’t allow the soil to dry out or remain too wet.
During the spring and summer, add fertilizer to help the plant grow. However, fertilizer may not be needed. If you want what is best for your plant, consider using calcium-free water, as the calcium may harm the plant.
Well Drained Soil Type & Transplanting
You can use regular potting soil, but it needs to have good drainage. Use a pot with drainage holes to ensure that the soil isn’t constantly soaked.
The plant needs a careful balance that isn’t too wet (root rot) or too dry.
Transplanting isn’t necessary and may damage the plant. You should simply keep it in its own pot or container and gather new seeds from the flowers.
You don’t need to groom this plant. However, you can trim off the withered flowers to help make room for new ones. This plant blooms throughout the summer and into the fall.
If you keep the old, dead flowers trimmed away, you may enjoy a fuller bloom throughout the season.
How to Propagate Torenia Fournieri
Wishbone flowers are difficult to propagate from cuttings or divisions. The best solution is to obtain seeds from the flowers.
When the flowers start wilting, prune them from the plant. Place them in a paper bag. Allow to thoroughly dry.
After the flowers are dry, you should be able to shake the seeds loose.
Sow the seeds indoors in a plastic starter tray and cover with plastic. Plant the seeds in the early spring and place them in a warm spot. The temperature should remain between 68° – 72° degrees Fahrenheit.
Keep the tray away from the cold. Set it in an area without any breeze, even if it doesn’t get as much sunlight. Within about seven to ten days, you should have seedlings. You can then move the tray to a window where it can get more sunlight.
When the seedlings start to grow, remove the plastic cover. After the plants start to crowd together, move them to their own four-inch pots.
What Pests or Diseases Does Torenia Encounter?
A wide variety of pests enjoy the leaves and flowers of the torenia fournieri. You may need to look for aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and other pests. Most of these critters can be washed away with soapy water or a fungicide.
The plant can also become damaged by strong winds, which is why it’s best suited as an indoor houseplant.
Careful watering is also essential to avoid health issues. If the soil gets too dry, the leaves may start to curl and die. If the soil stays too wet, the roots and leaves may develop mildew or fungus. You can trim off the infected areas to try to save the plant.
Suggested Torenia Fournieri Uses
Where should you place your colorful little plant? Due to its size, it can easily get crowded out by other plants. Give the wishbone flower its own spot in a bright window.