How to grow the flower “Iron Lady”?
Houseplants are the decoration of any apartment or office. And when you see evergreen beauty on the windowsills, then the mood improves and the comfort is added even in the most nondescript and gray room. But many do not want to buy indoor flowers only because they need constant care: watering, fertilizing, transplantation.
But for those people who do not like to tinker with flowers and water them only when they remember, there is a beautiful specimen of plant flora that is extremely unpretentious in nursing. It will be a question of an exotic look with the unusual name "aspidistra".
This flower is also called an "iron lady" or "cast iron plant" because of its ability to survive in such unfit conditions in which other plants die. Therefore, this representative of the flora is considered one of the most ancient plants on earth. Even without proper care, an aspidistra can live for about 100 years! Also, sometimes you can find another name - “friendly family” (due to the large number of closely growing basal leaves).
Guest from the mountain wet forests
Aspidistra (Aspidistra) is a stemless herb of the Asparagaceae family. The homeland of this flower is mountainous forest areas of South and East Asia, Japan. In total, there are 94 species in nature, but the most popular is Aspidistra elatior, which is successfully grown at home.
An interesting fact is related to the origin of the name of the flower. At home, the “iron lady” grows in a solid carpet, under which no land is visible. A person advancing through the forest thickets, by stirring the leaves of aspidistra, could guess about the approach of a snake (or other small animal). This is where the name of this amazing flower appeared: “aspidis” is a poisonous snake, “tra” is a decree that literally means “indicates a snake”.
The beauty of the leaves and the unusual flowering
The main decoration of the flower are large, dark green, with a glossy sheen of leaves, located on long petioles. The length is 60 cm, and their width is about 15 cm. The Variegata aspidistra has a sheet plate with yellow or white stripes. This species is more sensitive to the microclimate and not so easy to care for.
Many indoor plant lovers will say that the “iron lady” never blooms, but they are mistaken.Aspidistra has an unusual flowering, most often occurring in the winter. Light pink flowers with a dark lilac center are like an open box in the shape of a star (in diameter reach about 2.5 cm). They grow right on the rhizomes of plants on the surface of the earth, so they can be difficult to notice.
With artificial pollination appear berries, resembling a pigeon egg in shape. In its natural environment, it is pollinated by snails and slugs.
We create conditions for good growth.
"Iron Lady" grows slowly, for the whole year there are 4-5 new leaves, but the plant is durable and in the room can live more than 10 years. No matter how unpretentious the flower is, it is still desirable for him to create the necessary conditions for normal development. How to grow a beautiful and healthy plant?
- Choosing a place. The aspidistra develops well in low-light areas (the exception is the variegated look, which is more light-demanding), so the flower pot can be placed in the darkest corner of the room, but it grows best on window sills with diffused light.
In summer, the plant will be comfortable in the fresh air.You can put it on the balcony, terrace or put in the garden, but it is worth remembering that direct sunlight is destructive for this flower. The “friendly family” in the shade of the trees will feel perfect.
- Temperature mode. Aspidistra grows well in moderate conditions, in winter the optimal temperature is 15 degrees, but even at 5 degrees it will develop normally. In summer, the ideal temperature is 20 degrees. The plant does not tolerate heat, which can turn yellow and dry leaves. In this case, it is necessary to increase the humidity. Often to water and spray the flower, periodically use a shower to wash the leaves or wipe them with a cloth.
- Watering. In the cold season, the plant is watered moderately and rarely: 2 days after the top layer of the soil dries out. From spring to autumn, the "Iron Lady" is watered often and abundantly, but the soil must be able to dry out. Water for irrigation must be defended for several days.
- Fertilizer. To the leaves of the "friendly family" have always been succulent and glossy, it must be periodically fed with various fertilizers.Feeding is carried out in a period of rapid growth - from March to September, 2 times a month. Fertilizers are used for ornamental-deciduous plants (for example, "Uniflor-growth" or "Uniflor-green leaf").
- Transfer. It is best to engage in planting in April or May. But it is advisable to do this no more than 1 time in 3 years, as aspidistra does not tolerate such a procedure. Transplant can only young flowers with a large clod of earth, and very carefully, so as not to damage the roots. For an adult plant, only the top layer of soil is changed annually.
- Reproduction. Occurs by dividing rhizomes. To do this, take the plant out of the pot and cut the leaves with the roots with a knife. In order for the flower to take root better, it is necessary that there should be 5-6 leaflets on each received plant. All places are cut cuts necessarily charcoal. When transplanting, you must be very careful with the roots and do not damage them.
- Pests. Aspidistra is extremely seldom sick, but sometimes it can be attacked by a red spider mite (eliminate it with the help of the Aktellik tool). Also “love” this plant aspidistra and fern scutes, which can be collected by hand, and each sheet to wipe with soapy water and apply the drug Malathion.
With proper care, the “iron lady” will delight you not only with its beautiful, shiny and juicy leaves, but also with amazing flowers that will appear one day and remain in your memory for a long time, like an extraordinary miracle.