Agapetes serpens is a small evergreen shrub, native to Nepal, has epiphytic development in nature; produces a large tuberous root, from which numerous thin stems, up to 60-80 cm long, arcuate, of reddish color, which bear small lanceolate or ovate leaves, of dark green color, slightly pelossette on the upper page, coriaceous, with conspicuously demarcated central grain. Adult shrubs generally reach 70-90 cm in height. From the beginning of summer until autumn, from the lower part of the stems hang numerous tubular flowers, bright red, with showy streaks of a darker color. The long branches can be treated like those of a climber, fixing them to a trellis, so as to increase the size of the shrub. The flowering of the agapetes is certainly very decorative.
Regarding the type of exposure Agapetes serpens plants are planted in a partially shaded place; they can also withstand direct sunlight, provided you increase watering and avoid excessively hot places: in this case the flowers will take on a very intense color. They don't fear the cold too much, so they can be grown in the garden; in places with very cold and prolonged winters it is advisable to place the shrubs in a place sheltered from the winter wind and to protect the root system with the use of mulching material to be placed at the base of the plant.
Agapetes serpens can easily withstand short periods of drought; in any case it is advisable to water regularly, from May to October, remembering to let the soil dry between one watering and another. In winter we avoid watering; during the vegetative period it is advisable to provide fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15-20 days, dissolved in the water used for watering; or we spread around the collar of the plant a slow release granular fertilizer, every 4-5 months.
If this variety is grown in pots, remember to provide more water, always checking that the soil is dry before proceeding with a new watering.
The plants of agapetes serpens in nature they have epiphytic development, this means that they grow by sinking their roots in the detritus that stops between the branches of other trees or between rocks; however, they can develop without any problems even underground, using a good soil for acidophilic, rich and well drained plants. They are also cultivated in pots, using containers that are not too capacious.
As far as the multiplication of this variety is concerned, it can occur by seed, or by semi-woody cutting, in late summer or in autumn. It is good to allow the new plants to fully develop, before proceeding with the final planting, so as to allow them to acquire the necessary strength.
Agapetes serpens: Pests and diseases
These shrubs particularly fear ferric chlorosis, like many other heather plants; in the case of heavy and very moist soil they can be attacked by root or collar rot.
Before the flowering period it is good to intervene with specific broad-spectrum products, which will protect the plant from the attack of pests and diseases.