Description of the columna plant
The natural habitat is the tropical regions of America and the Caribbean, the West Indies and Mexico. In the wild, it grows on trees or on dry trunks, forming beautiful thickets of long hanging shoots, the length of which can reach up to 2 m. The fibrous root system of the plant performs the function of fastening and provides it with nutrients.
The herbaceous plant got its name Columnea in honor of the botanist from Italy F. Column. More than 190 species are registered in the genus, which mainly live only in the natural environment. About 30 varieties are suitable for indoor cultivation.
More info! For some time, young shoots retain a vertical shape, but as they grow, they become falling. Only in some species they can remain upright. The stems are fragile, despite the fleshy structure and impressive size.
The shoots are densely covered with fleshy leaves (dark green to bronze-purple) heart-shaped or ovoid with smooth edges and a pointed tip. In some species, they are red on the underside.
Single flowers with two-lipped petals have a tubular shape, the color of which, depending on the species, is white, yellow, orange, red.
The bright red color is common among the species of this family. In some species, the flowers are collected in bunches in the axils of the leaves of the central part of the shoot. They can be either single or collected in several pieces in an inflorescence.
Flowering can occur at different times of the year depending on the species, temperature, and environment in which the plant grows. Some bloom in late spring, others in summer, and others in winter, but more often in spring. In some species, the flower is followed by a beautiful berry, usually white, within which seeds form after flowering.
Indoor columna flower: care
An attractive hanging houseplant grown for its highly decorative foliage and flower color. Unfavorable conditions of detention will not cause death, but will lead to a lack of flowering. Columnea, home care for good growth and development, requires a suitable location. The plant loves bright indirect light. Keep it in a brightly lit room where the sun does not fall directly on the leaves for more than an hour. Excessive direct sun can burn the leaves.
Pay attention! Flowering develops only in the presence of sufficient light. This plant will shed its leaves if it is exposed to colder temperatures.
A thermophilic plant tolerates heat well. The ideal temperature for growth is from 22 to 25 ° C. It withstands 15-18 ° C well, but this reduces the number and size of flowers. Does not tolerate lower temperatures, does not like drafts.
Columnea home flowers love a nutrient-rich substrate. You can buy ready-made soil for semi-epiphytes or make a substrate yourself. For him you will need:
- turf land (4 parts);
- leaf ground (4 parts);
- peat (2 parts);
- a mixture of sand, sphagnum moss, charcoal (1 part).
It is necessary to water regularly, providing a small amount of moisture in the substrate. In summer, moisten the flower every 10 days, in winter, watering is significantly reduced. The soil must always be moist.
Important! Water containing lime can kill the plant. Therefore, be sure to use filtered water (defend it for at least a day). In addition, its temperature should be at least 20 ° C. Between watering, the soil is allowed to dry out a little.
Rainforest dwellers love high humidity. This is one of the important conditions for good growth and development of an indoor flower. It is recommended to periodically spray the plant with water at room temperature, water the crown of the plant from time to time, 1-2 times a month with warm tap water,
Columnea is a nutrient demanding plant. For proper development and the possibility of flowering in abundance, they need fertilizer for flowering.their plants containing phosphorus and potassium. Usually fertilize twice in spring, 2-3 times in summer. In autumn, special liquid fertilizers are used for indoor flowering plants. During the dormant period, fertilizer application must be suspended.
This is an important stage in the life of a plant, when flower buds are laid, which lasts 45-50 days. The temperature is reduced to 12 degrees. The appearance of flower buds is a signal that you need to move the plant to a warmer place in the room. If the wintering period is not maintained or even reduced, the column can stand without flowers in spring and summer.
The indoor flower is transplanted only after the end of flowering every 2-3 years. At the same time, the shoots are severely pruned. The container in which the column will be transplanted should be wide, but not deep. At the bottom there should be holes for water drainage, a thick layer of drainage material.
Transplantation is carried out by transshipment of an earthen coma, so as not to injure thin roots.
Pruning the column
To keep the attractive appearance of the growing columna, it is pruned annually after flowering. For several years of growth, the vine can stretch out a lot and lose its attractiveness. The plant can be selectively pruned to keep the vines from getting too long, as well as encourage new growth for a fuller look.
Cut dried flowers, leaves and shoots, shorten those that grow randomly. 30-50% of the length of the vine should be removed, if necessary, the stems can be reduced to 10 cm. The tops can be used as cuttings to grow new plants. After 5-7 years, it is recommended to rejuvenate the column.
Plants are propagated in spring by seeds or stem cuttings. Propagation by cuttings can be done all year round, but the best time is late spring. With the help of sharpened and disinfected tools, cuttings about 10 cm long are cut. They are cleaned of leaves, leaving only the apical bundle.
Many varieties root well in water, others, with thicker fleshy shoots, are best rooted in a soil mixture of equal parts peat and sand. The container with seedlings is placed in a shady place in the house at a temperature of about 20-25 ° C, and covered with a glass jar.
Propagation of columns by seeds is much more difficult, and is used mainly for breeding work. This requires a special greenhouse with high humidity and constant temperature.
Sowing is carried out in early spring in a soil mixture consisting of peat and sand in equal parts, maintaining a constant soil moisture. The optimum temperature required for seed germination is around 24-27°C. The first shoots will appear in about 30 days. When young plants get stronger, they can be planted in a permanent pot.
Types and varieties of columna
Numerous species differ in the color of flowers and leaves. Some varieties that are popular with flower growers.
“Krakatau” is one of the most common varieties. Rich green leaves set off beautifully bright red flowers. To support the falling shoots, the plant needs support.
“Carnival” is a small plant that can bloom all year round. The leaves are small with a dark green tint. The variety is valued for bright flowering with yellow flowers with a red border.
“Columnea blood-red” is distinguished by creeping thick shoots. The lanceolate leaves are narrow, their surface is smooth.
“Banksa” is unpretentious in care. Large tubular red flowers give the plant an attractive decorative look. Leathery leaves on top with a glossy surface – below has a reddish tint.
“Shida” is a flexible vine with a slight reddish pubescence. The reverse side of dark green leaves is also covered with red villi. The length of the shoots in culture is 1.5 m, and the length of the leaves is 10 cm. Flowers form along the entire length of the vine and are painted yellow.
Diseases and pests
The plant is resistant to diseases and pests. With good care, pests do notattack the column. The most common pests of Columnea at home are scale insects and mealybugs. Sometimes spider mites can be a problem.
Unfavorable conditions are an excellent habitat for scale insects, aphids, spider mites and whiteflies. To combat insects, special chemicals are used, which are sprayed on the plant. The treatment is repeated after a week to destroy the insects hatched from the eggs.
Over watering can cause root rot. Leaf spot diseases can be a problem and are usually caused by improper watering. Infected parts are cut off.
If the columna does not bloom, the reason may be in the wrong temperature regime in winter. The temperature should not exceed 18°С, and not be less than 15°С, at night not lower than 8-9°С.
Indoor column has significant decorative qualities and does not require excessive care. If you follow all the simple rules of maintenance, the flower feels great anywhere. With the right temperature, humidity, watering, and annual pruning of old growth, the goldfish plant will produce abundant blooms every year. The flower is non-toxic to humans and pets.