HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
The species belonging to the genus Pandanus they are very numerous and all originate from the tropical areas of Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Pandanus of thefamily of Pandanaceaeit includes about 600 species of evergreen plants native to the tropical areas of Africa, Asia and Oceania. Being a very rich genus of species, the types of plants that we can find are very heterogeneous: specimens that do not exceed one meter in height and plants that are real trees that even reach 20 m in their places of origin.
The stem it is characteristic as it develops into a ring where the scars left by the falling leaves remain.
A peculiarity of the genre is that they are all slow growing but which adapt well enough to be grown even in Mediterranean climates, both indoors and in the garden to form delightful borders.
The leaves they are thin, with the margins in most of the species serrated, leathery, ensiform, arched, of variable color depending on the species, up to a couple of meters long which are arranged to form a tuft at the top of the woody stem along which spiral arrangement.
THE flowers male and female are produced on different plants as they are dioecious plants, i.e. there are plants that bear only female flowers and plants that bear only male flowers. The male flowers are fragrant, 2-3 cm wide and surrounded by whitish bracts while the female flowers are slightly larger.
The fruit (photo on the side) resembles pineapple, globose, 10-20 cm in diameter which becomes orange-red when ripe and in various species they are edible and hardly formed in our climates.
The genus includes about 600 species among which we remember:PANDANUS VEITCHII (PANDANUS TECTORIUS OR P. ODORATISSIMUS)
There Pandanus veitchii (Pandanus tectoriusor Pandanus odoratissimus) is native to Indonesia with leaves starting from a woody central stem, even 8-10 cm wide and up to 60 cm long with serrated edges.
The leaves are covered in all their length by white-cream streaks. It has the particularity of developing aerial roots near the basal leaves.
It is very well known, especially in Central America and in particular in the Hawaiian islands (where it is the only species of the genus present) and the female trees produce very large fruits of about 20 cm in diameter, fragrant, reminiscent of the pineapple than in Hawai They are called hinano.
It is widely used to obtain textile fibers for the production of baskets, mats and veils for boats.
There are numerous varieties and among them we remember: Pandanus veitchii bulbosuswith much fleshy and larger fruits like plants; Pandanus veitchiilaevis with leaves without thorns.
It is very well known in the countries of southern Asia as the leaves are used as food and to obtain textile fibers for the manufacture of various tools.
One of its peculiarities is that it blooms very rarely so it propagates by lateral shoots.
The species Pandanus sanderidevelops very long leaves up to 1 m of a delicate pale green color with longitudinal streaks or white or reddish dots.
PANDANUS UTILIS (PANDANUS ELEGANTISSIMUS)
This species develops very long leaves, even 2 m which are used to obtain textile fibers; they are of an intense green color with the margins provided with small red colored thorns, very characteristic.
It can reach considerable dimensions and its fruits are edible even if not particularly tasty vacoa.
There Pandanus it is a plant that is not particularly difficult to grow in Mediterranean climates if one considers that it is a plant of tropical origin for which its worst enemy is the cold.
It can be raised both indoors and outdoors.
The optimal cultivation temperatures are between 27-30 ° C in summer and in winter they must not fall below 15-16 ° C. In winter, therefore, if it is kept in the garden or on the balcony and if the temperatures drop below these limits, it is good to bring the plant indoors or in any case in a protected place.
It should be placed in a bright place but not in direct sun.
They are plants that love the air so ensure a good exchange but beware of cold air currents that are in no way welcome.
They are slow growing.
The plant should not be watered much. It is necessary to wait for the soil to dry between one watering and the other and being very careful not to leave water in the saucer as water stagnation is in no way tolerated.
It loves to have a humid microclimate around it therefore, in addition to regularly nebulizing the foliage, preferably early in the morning (especially in summer or even in winter if the house temperatures are particularly high) so that in the evening the leaves are dry, arrange the pot on a saucer full of pebbles and then fill it with water, making sure that the bottom of the pot is not in contact with the water as in this way the soil would become saturated with water, causing the roots to rot. This system allows, when it is hot, to evaporate the water in the saucer which consequently moistens the surrounding air. Remember to fill the saucer whenever the water has evaporated.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
They are repotted in spring every 2-3 years using gradually larger pots and a good fertile soil is used, possibly mixed with a little coarse sand to favor the drainage of irrigation water.
Personally, I always recommend using terracotta pots as in consideration of the fact that terracotta is a porous material, it allows the earth to breathe.
As they are slow growing, they do not need large amounts of fertilizer. It is sufficient to fertilize every 2 weeks starting from spring and throughout the summer with a good liquid fertilizer to be diluted in the irrigation water. During the other periods once a month is more than enough.
A well balanced fertilizer is used, that is to say that it contains both the macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) also contain the so-called microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantity still needed) such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.
Whatever type of fertilizer you use, remember to halve the doses compared to what is stated in the package.
It is a plant that does not bloom in our latitudes.
Usually it is not pruned, the leaves are simply removed and they gradually dry up or become damaged to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
Be careful to clean and disinfect (preferably with a flame or with alcohol or bleach) the tools you use to avoid infecting the tissues.
It propagates by basal shoots or by seed.
When choosing how to propagate it, it must be borne in mind that multiplication by seed does not allow plants to be perfectly identical to the mother plant as genetic variability takes over, therefore, if you want to obtain a precise specimen or are not sure of the quality of the seed, multiply by cuttings
MULTIPLICATION FOR BASAL SPROUTS
At the base of the plant some basal shoots are formed which can be taken and planted in single 10 cm jars using a compost as indicated in the paragraph "Type of soil and repotting". During this period, keep the pots at a temperature of 24 ° C and keep the compote constantly moist. The pot should be placed in a shady place.When the first sprouts begin to appear it means that the plant has rooted so treat it as if it were an adult.
MULTIPLICATION BY SEEDS
The seeds must be sown in a mixture formed by a part of fertile soil and a part of coarse sand or perlite. Since the seeds are not particularly large for light burial, push them under the potting soil using a flat piece of wood or you can pour new soil on top. To prevent any fungal infections, also administer a broad spectrum fungicide with the irrigation water.
The tray that contains the seeds, place it in the shade, at a temperature of around 27-30 ° C and keep it constantly moist (moisten with a sprayer that will guarantee more uniform watering) until the moment of germination.
The tray should be covered with a clear plastic sheet that will ensure a good temperature and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly.After about 6-8 weeks, the seeds will germinate. At that point, remove the plastic and as the plants grow, increase the amount of light (never direct sun) and ensure good ventilation. Among all the plants born, remove the less vigorous ones in order to guarantee more space for the more robust plants.When they are large enough to be handled, transplant them being very careful not to damage any part of the plant (use a fork as a "shovel") and plant them in soil as indicated for adult specimens and treat them as such.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
Leaves that wither and fall
This symptom indicates either that the plant has been exposed to drafts or that it has been watered too much and the water has stagnated in the saucer.
Remedies: eliminate the damaged leaves and act accordingly.
Leaves that lose their luster
This symptom indicates low light.
Remedies: move it to a brighter place.
Leaves that tend to fade, with burnt parts
This symptom indicates too much light.
Remedies: move it to a less bright place.
Presence of flaky formations on the plant
The flocky formations that can often be found are an indication of the presence of small insects and precisely of the cochineal and in particular of the floury or cottony cochineal. To recognize them, help yourself with a magnifying glass and compare them with the photo on the side and if you try to scratch them off, they can be removed without any resistance.
Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or you can also wash the plant with water and neutral soap by rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites (be careful not to let the soap go into the earth) then rinse the plant very well to remove the soap. If it is large and planted outdoors, use a specific pesticide.
The order of Pandanales to which this group belongs is the most archaic of the monocotyledons. In fact, it includes specimens that, despite having some characters that bring them closer to Spadiciflorae (the order that precedes them), they differ from it for having simple and linear leaves and for having a smaller perianth (the parts that surround the fertile parts of the flower, calyx and corolla when they are distinct) and flowers that are always unisexual.
The leaves of this genus in Asian cultures are used for food purposes and used like our vegetables.Note