The Crossandra plant is a representative of the Acanthus family. The flower grows in the Indian jungle, on the island of Sri Lanka, as well as on the African continent. There are about fifty species in the genus. The name of the flower, translated from Greek, reflects one of its features - fringed stamens.
When the plant was first brought to European countries at the beginning of the 19th century, it was grown only in greenhouses, but gradually the crossandra was able to adapt for growing at home. Wave-leaved became the first cultivated in this way. This species is considered to be the most common to this day, and often becomes the basis for obtaining new hybrids.
Crossandres are medium-sized dwarf shrubs. These are evergreen perennials with straight branchy shoots. At home, the height of the crossandra reaches half a meter, but in nature they can reach a meter height. Young stems are covered with green bark, but as it grows, it acquires a brownish tint. Bushes have shiny dark green or variegated foliage, located opposite. Each plate is distinguished by a pointed tip and a wavy edge. The length of the leaf is 3-12 cm, and the shape can be cordate or ovoid. The leaves contain a few short villi.
During flowering, inflorescences are formed on the bushes, resembling 4-sided spikelets up to 15 cm long. The buds begin to bloom from the bottom of the spikelet. The flowers are pinkish-orange, red, white or yellow in color, and each is approximately 2.5 cm in size. Due to the bright color of the flowers and their location on the spikelet, the crossandra is sometimes called the "firework flower". Flowering can last almost all year - from spring to late autumn, in winter the bushes most often rest.
When buying a crossandra, you need to carefully examine it. The branches of the bush should be strong, and the foliage should be firm and healthy, without spots. When buying flowering plants, they try to choose specimens that have more unopened buds.
Collection. From sowing to flowering .// Valentina Zemskova
The table shows brief rules for caring for a crossandra at home.
|Lighting level||Plants prefer abundant but diffused lighting.|
|Content temperature||During the development period - about 23-25 degrees, in winter - the coolness is about 18 degrees.|
|Watering mode||In the warm season, it is necessary to moisten the soil as it dries. In winter, the amount of watering is reduced.|
|Air humidity||A high level of humidity is preferable, the flower is systematically sprayed or put on a tray with damp pebbles.|
|The soil||The soil for growing crossandra should be loose, sufficiently nutritious and slightly acidic.|
|Top dressing||Top dressing is carried out from the spring beginning of growth until the flowering of the bush. Mineral formulations are suitable for flowering species, they are used every 2-4 weeks.|
|Transfer||More actively developing young specimens are transplanted every spring, adults - 2-3 times less often.|
|Obesity||Pruning is carried out at the end of flowering or in the first half of spring, at the beginning of the growth period.|
|Bloom||Flowering lasts from spring to mid-autumn.|
|Dormant period||The dormant period lasts from the moment of flowering until spring.|
|Reproduction||Cuttings, less often seeds.|
|Pests||With dry air - spider mites.|
|Diseases||Root rot and other diseases are usually caused by disturbed growing conditions.|
Indoor crossandra requires abundant, but diffused lighting. This flower will grow best on an east or west window. If you keep the plant on the south side, it will have to be shaded in the afternoon. Bright, direct light can burn foliage and flowers. In winter and autumn, when the sun becomes less active, it is not necessary to shade the flower.
The north side for growing crossandra will be considered too dark and will not allow the bush to develop properly. So a lack of light can lead to flowering problems.
During the development of the crossandra, a room temperature of 23-25 degrees is suitable. In extreme heat (28 degrees and above), the flower slightly slows down the rate of development. Avoid sudden temperature changes, otherwise the bush may shed its foliage. Daily temperature fluctuations are not considered mandatory, but the crossandra can spend summer on the balcony or in the garden. The main thing is to protect the flower from drafts.
In winter, the room with the crossandra should not be cooler than 18 degrees. This plant winters successfully in warmth, but moderate coolness from October to February will help give the flower time to rest.
During the active development of the crossandra, abundant watering is required, but it is carried out only after the top layer of soil in the pot dries out.
The plant is able to bloom literally all year long, without retirement, but the absence of rest breaks leads to a weakening of the bush and the loss of its decorative effect. To give the crossandra time for a break, with a decrease in daylight hours, from autumn, the number of waterings is gradually reduced. This will slow down the growth of the shoots. But you should not completely dry out the soil lump in this case.
For irrigation, use only soft, settled for at least a day or filtered water. It is desirable that its temperature be slightly above room temperature.
Native to tropical rainforests, crossandra needs a humidity level of around 60%. The hotter it is in the room, the more often you will have to humidify the air in it. You can do this by spraying, but for crossandra, a fine spray is used, and the jet is directed not at the plant itself, but at the area next to it. No drops should remain on the foliage and flowers of the bush. It is important not to overdo it with spraying. Excessively high humidity often leads to the development of rot.
Other methods can be used to humidify the air - placing the flower on a pallet with damp pebbles, moss or peat, or using humidifiers.
The soil for growing crossandra should be loose, sufficiently nutritious and slightly acidic. To prepare the substrate, you can mix humus with peat, sand, turf and leafy soil. Good drainage is laid at the bottom of the pot to prevent the risk of moisture stagnation at the roots. Charcoal can be added to the substrate to help protect the plant from root rot. The container must also be provided with drainage holes.
Potted crossandra should be fed regularly, lack of nutrition often leads to a decrease in decorativeness. Top dressing is carried out in spring and summer at intervals of a couple of weeks or less. Complex formulations for flowering species are suitable for crossandra. They are brought in after watering.
In winter, the bushes are not fed, but if the crossandra still continues to bloom, the feeding does not stop.
Crossandra bushes must be transplanted periodically. Young, more actively developing specimens are transplanted annually. Adults, already formed, less often - about once every 2-3 years.
The plant is carefully transferred into a new container, filling the empty spaces with fresh earth. After transplanting, the crossandra must be watered, and then a little soil must be poured into the pot so that there is definitely no void near the roots. But you should not tamp the soil too much - enough air must penetrate to the roots.
Crossandra pruning and grafting. From one seed, as a result, 4 crossandra. // Valentina Zemskova
The growth rate of the plant is quite high - up to 25 cm per year. To prevent the crossandra from being exposed, it must be pinched and periodically trimmed. The pruning procedure is carried out either after flowering, or at the very beginning of spring growth. All shoots of the bush are shortened by a third of the length. When the bush begins to develop rapidly, the tops of its shoots can be pinched to form a more neat and lush crown. Regular pruning will make the flowering more abundant and lasting. But even with appropriate care measures, crossandra over 4 years old begin to bloom weaker and weaker and need rejuvenation.
If after flowering on the spikelets of the crossandra seeds are tied, they are left on the bush until they are fully ripe. When wet, its boxes will open by themselves, shooting seeds around them. If there is no need for seeds, the wilted inflorescences are cut to stimulate the formation of new buds.
Crossandra growing in a pot can be propagated vegetatively - by cuttings or seeds.
Despite the regular flowering, it rarely forms fruits with seeds, and its seeds are not always found on sale. If the seed still managed to get, it will not be difficult to use it.
Fresh seeds do not need additional preparation, but purchased seeds can be soaked in water for several hours if desired. Then they are placed in small containers filled with peat-sandy soil, deepening only slightly. From above, the container with crops is covered with glass or foil, and then put in a warm place (about 23-24 degrees). Caring for seedlings during this period will consist in regular ventilation and removal of condensation, as well as periodic moistening of the substrate.
The seeds germinate within 2-3 weeks. With the appearance of sprouts, the shelter can be removed. When the crossandras form 4 true leaves, they are dived into separate small containers. When young plants begin to develop actively, they are pinched to form a beautiful lush crown.
Seed crossandra. [Hope and Peace]
If the crossandra is already growing at home, the easiest way to get new specimens is by cuttings. For this, segments with a length of about 10 cm are used. They are harvested in early spring or summer. The two lower leaves are removed from the segments, and then put into a vessel with water to form roots. When the cuttings form roots about 2.5 cm long, they are transplanted into peat-sandy soil. You can plant the segments in a wet substrate immediately, bypassing germination in water and treating the lower cut with a root formation stimulator. To accelerate engraftment, lower heating is used. The root formation takes about 3-4 weeks. Rooted seedlings are looked after in the same way as adult crossandra. You can plant several young plants in one large pot.
Because of their love for high humidity, crossandra often suffer from mold on the leaves. In this case, a gray fluff appears on them. Such areas of the leaf should be cut off, slightly capturing healthy tissue, and then the bush should be treated with fungicides. To restore the health of the plant, it is necessary to follow the rules of watering and spraying.
If you carelessly look after the crossandra, other troubles may arise:
Dry air unusual for plants can lead to the appearance of spider mites. These pests are almost invisible to the eye, so they have time to multiply until they are found. The presence of ticks is indicated by a thin cobweb on the leaves of the bush.
A small focus of ticks can be eliminated by washing the crossandra bush with warm water. Before water procedures, the ground is covered with a film. If there are too many pests, it is necessary to use the appropriate acaricide.
Either orange or wave-leaved. This crossandra is also called orange. Crossandra infundibuliformis forms shrubs from 30 to 90 cm in height, but in potting conditions, their size is usually no more than 60 cm. The length of the leaf is about 12 cm. The leaves have a wavy edge, dark green color and a pointed tip at the top. During flowering, a tetrahedral inflorescence-spikelet up to 10 cm long is formed on the bush.Tubular flowers with green bracts are located on it. The flowers are pinkish-orange in color and have a yellow center. Each flower contains 5 petals. Among the popular varieties of this type:
East African view. Crossandra pungens forms bushes up to 60 cm high. The foliage is lanceolate and is located on petioles. The color of the leaves is variegated: silvery-white veins are located on a green background. The size of the sheet plates varies depending on the location. The lower leaves reach 12 cm in length with a width of about 2.5 cm.The upper leaves are about 2-3 times shorter, and their width is no more than 1.5 cm.The inflorescences of the species are yellow, located on low (from 5 to 10 cm ) inflorescences. The green bracts have serrations that give the species its name.
Or Nile. Kenyan species also found in Mozambique. Crossandra nilotica reaches 60 cm in height. She has strong glossy leaves of a deep green color. They are elliptical. Inflorescences are located at the tops of the shoots and are small in size. They are made up of red or salmon tubular flowers, whose corolla is divided into 5 lobes.
A rare species of crossandra for home floriculture. Crossandra subacaulis is native to East African countries. Its bushes are miniature - only up to 15 cm tall. Inflorescences up to 10 cm long are formed by rich orange flowers.
Another rare species. Crossandra guineensis forms bushes up to 20 cm tall. The leaves are arranged on small petioles and slightly pubescent. Each leaf is colored green, and there are noticeable veins on the inside of it. Flowers up to 2 cm in size form spikelet inflorescences from 5 to 15 cm long. Their color can be lilac or white.
Sometimes this genus includes the so-called blue (or turquoise) crossandra, as well as the type "Green Ice" with aquamarine or greenish flowers. In fact, such flowers have a relative of the crossandra - ecbolium. Ecboliums live in the same corners of the world. They form bushes up to 70 cm tall and even at home are able to bloom all year round. But the flowers of such plants live only a day, while the flowers of the crossandra stay on the plant for several days.
• shrubs and herbaceous perennials from the tropics of Africa, Asia, from the island of Madagascar and from the Arabian Peninsula
• in the culture of Crossandra funnel-shaped (Crossandra infundibuliformis)
Of all 54 species of the genus Crossandra (Crossandra) family Acanthus (Acanthaceae) in room and greenhouse culture, there is only one species - funnel-shaped crossandra, or wavy-leaved (Crossandra infundibuliformis).It has been cultivated in Europe since the 19th century.
The genus got its beautiful name from two Greek words - "fringe" and "man", and indicates the fringed stamens of the plant.
This plant comes from South India and Sri Lanka, where it grows in rainforests, choosing humid lowlands.
Funnel-shaped crossandra (Crossandra infundibuliformis) - it is an evergreen erect shrub up to 0.5-1 m high. The leaves are arranged oppositely, from narrow ovate to lanceolate, 7-12 cm long, pointed at the apex, dark green, shiny, glossy, slightly wavy along the edge. During the flowering period, forms dense axillary inflorescences in the form of a prickly tetrahedral spike up to 10 cm long, in which the flowers open upwards, each flower lives for several days. The flowers are very bright and rather large, 2.5-4 cm in diameter, without aroma. They have an unusual shape - 3-5 asymmetric petals are fan-shaped. The color of the flowers ranges from orange to salmon orange or apricot, from coral to red, yellow and even turquoise. Flowering lasts from spring to autumn.
Crossandra prickly (Crossandra pungens) - species rare in culture from East Africa. Unlike the previous species, this is not a shrub, but a perennial herb of low height. Lower leaves are lanceolate 10-12 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, tapering downward, pterygoid in the lower part, in spectacular silvery veins the upper ones are shorter and already 2 times lower, on short petioles, up to 1 cm long. It blooms profusely with yellowish-orange flowers in short inflorescences up to 6-8 cm long.
The Acanthus family. There are about 50 species of shrubs and herbaceous perennials, common in the tropics of Africa, on the island of Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula. Homeland - India, the island of Sri Lanka, where it grows in light forests. In culture since the beginning of the XIX century.
Funnel-shaped crossandra is a herbaceous perennial plant or shrub, up to 60 cm high. Stems are erect, branched, blue, or green. The leaves are oval, pubescent with sparse hairs, dark green. Orange-red flowers are collected in axillary dense spike-shaped inflorescences up to 15 cm long, each flower has a large pubescent bracts.
Bloom / Crossandra blooms at the age of several months and blooms from spring to autumn. Blossoming will last longer if withered flowers are removed in time.
Temperature 18-22 ° С
Lighting. Location: light to semi-shaded, but sheltered from the sun in summer. You cannot take it out of the room.
Watering. Regular in spring and summer, limited in winter, do not dry out. The soil should never dry out completely.
Air humidity. Requires regular spraying.
Transfer. Annually in spring, a mixture of deciduous soil, sod land, humus, peat, sand (1: 1: 1: 1: 1).
Trimming, pinching. Young plants should be pinched.
Reproduction. In spring they are treated with root cuttings with apical cuttings, placed in a mixture of peat and sand (1: 1), covered with a film and kept in sufficiently warm and humid conditions at a temperature of 25-30 ° C.
Diseases. Aphids, red spider mites and leaf fall at a sharp temperature drop.
In astrology, it is considered the plant of Libra.
Leaves should be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth. After the end of flowering, the branches are shortened by 1/3 of their length.
Crossandra is propagated by stem cuttings in summer. Peat mixed with sand in equal parts is used as a substrate. Immediately after rooting, young plants are transplanted into one container with suitable soil. Crossandra can also be propagated by seeds: they are sown under glass, in March, and kept at a temperature of 16-18 ° C. The grown seedlings are planted in containers in the same way as rooted cuttings.
Crossandra is sensitive to excess water and high salt content in the soil. Therefore, fertilizers should be applied very sparingly and only in the summer - during the dormant period, the plant's ability to absorb fertilizers weakens.
Crossandra often suffers from iron deficiency, which results in yellowing and dropping of its lower leaves.
If the plant does not suffer from chlorosis, then these symptoms may be associated with an increased concentration of salts in the soil, which prevents the absorption of iron contained in it. To avoid excessive salt concentration, keep the substrate moderately moist by watering the plant with rainwater.
I heard many times from my friends-florists about the benefits of B vitamins for indoor plants: as if they improve immunity, protect the root system from fungal diseases, reduce soil acidity, enhance budding. I decided to check on my green pets if this is so.
I was the first to experience vitamin B1. It quickly decomposes in daylight, so I watered it with a fresh solution (1 ampoule / 1 liter of water) in the evening.
After a while, I noticed that the plants became more beautiful, lush, vigorous. The effect inspired, and the following vitamins for feeding were: B2, B3, B6 and B12 - she sprayed the crowns with solutions (in the same concentration), and spilled the substrate with diluted vitamin B5 (150 ml per plant).
According to my observations, the pets from such nutrition began to develop better, did not get sick, many bloomed, the leaves became gorgeous. And vitamin B9 turned out to be good for fruit crops - I sprayed it with a solution of muraya.
ON A NOTE
I also make cocktails (in an ampoule for 2 liters of water). For root top dressing I mix B6 and B3, for watering and spraying - B6 and B12.
I use vitamins during the period of active growth (especially in early spring to support flowers after a difficult winter period) with a break of 7 days.
For better assimilation of the nutrient solution by plants, I add 40% glucose to any of them - 10 ml per 2 liters of water.
The desire to do something good for your green pets (give vitamins, wash or spray once more) always benefits the plants. Closer focus on the needs for other growth drivers is yielding positive results.
The main thing here is not to harm, because an overdose of vitamins negatively affects the development of plants. For this reason, I would advise using special pre-made nutritional formula.
And if you still want to experiment, do not carry out mass treatments at once, but test the drug on several not very valuable plants and in lower dosages.