Characteristics of the tladiant plant, recommendations for planting and care in the open field, how to reproduce, possible difficulties in cultivation, interesting notes and applications, types.
Tladiantha (Thladiantha) is an interesting plant that is part of the Pumpkin family (Cucurbitaceae). This genus, combining flowering representatives of the flora, has about 25 species, of which only one is typical - the dubious Tladiantha (Thladiantha dubia). The native range of all species falls on the lands of the southeastern regions of Asia, namely the Far East and China. It happened that similar thickets were found in the southern regions of the Ussuri taiga. Today, Tladiana is being mastered as a decorative culture not only in Western Europe, but also in the American and Canadian territories.
|Vegetation form||Herbaceous, liana-like|
|Breeds||Using seeds or tubers|
|Open ground transplant terms||Early spring or fall|
|Landing rules||Saplings are placed at a distance of 60-80 cm from each other|
|Priming||Light, loose, permeable and aerated, preferably sandy loam or light loamy|
|Soil acidity values, pH||Not less than 6 (neutral or slightly alkaline)|
|Illumination level||Sunny and warm place|
|Humidity level||Moderate before flowering, during flowering in 2–3 days, but depending on conditions|
|Special care rules||It is recommended to fertilize and tie up shoots|
|Height options||About 5 m with vertical upward growth|
|Flowering period||June to September|
|Type of inflorescences or flowers||From male flowers racemose or umbellate inflorescences, female in pairs or singly|
|Color of flowers||Greenish yellow or yellow|
|Fruit type||Juicy multi-seeded fruit|
|The timing of fruit ripening||July to late September|
|Application in landscape design||As a vertical gardening of gazebos, pergolas, walls, etc.|
|USDA zone||4 and more|
The genus bears its name in Latin due to the combination of the Greek words "thladias" and "anthos", which translates as "eunuch" and "flower", respectively. This is due to the fact that when the researchers first looked at the flowers, it seemed that they were not capable of producing fruits. On the territory of Russia, the tladian is often called "red cucumber", which corresponded to the outlines of brightly colored fruits, resembling ordinary and well-known cucumbers.
All species that make up the genus are perennials, taking a herbaceous liana-like shape, with climbing shoots. The roots of the tladiant are thickened, resembling tubers, they are located underground. The diameter of such tubers varies within 2–8 cm. Such organs in liana play a storage function. Similar nodules can be seen on shoots located very low near the surface of the soil. Tladianta has the property of forming new young shoots originating from tuberous vegetative buds, since every year all aerial parts of the plant die off at the end of the vegetative cycle. Red cucumber tubers easily tolerate frosts and never suffer from them.
All parts of the plant growing above the ground are characterized by pubescence. There are many stems in the tladiant, and their entire surface is covered with hard hairs. Also, antennae are formed on the stems, through which the vine can attach to any protrusion.
InterestingOnly if the tladianta grows upward will flowers open on its stems, otherwise the plant will be a green carpet formed from horizontally located shoots and deciduous mass.
The main stem of the red cucumber is multi-branched and completely covered with foliage. The height to which he can reach, clinging to the provided support, is measured by five meters. Whole leaf plates on the stems of tladiants are arranged in the next order, characterized by heart-shaped or broad-heart-shaped outlines and light green color. There is a sharpening at the top, the edge has small teeth. The size of the leaves varies within 5–10 cm. The leaves are attached to the shoots with the help of petioles; pubescence is present on both foliage surfaces. A delicate mosaic coating is formed from uneven-aged leaf plates, which is used in vertical gardening.
During flowering, the tladiana produces dioecious flowers, that is, only female (pistillate) or male (staminate) buds open on the specimen. From staminate flowers, racemose or umbellate inflorescences are collected, although in rare cases the flowers grow singly. The length of the staminate flowers is 2, 5–3 cm. Male tladiant flowers have a receptacle that takes a short bell-shaped or almost wheel-like shape. They have five sepals, linear or lanceolate. The corolla also has the form of a bell, while it is divided to the base into five petals. There are also five stamens in male flowers, they grow free, but their lengths differ from each other.
Pistillate (female) flowers in tladiants can be located on the stems singly or collected in bunches. They have five staminodes, which are underdeveloped stamens, they have a modified shape and are devoid of an anther. These stamens cannot produce pollen and are often considered sterile. In flowers, two pairs of staminodes are arranged in pairs, close together. At the base, the ovary is formed, giving the impression that the flower is sitting on it. The ovary is often oblong, with three placentas and a large number of ovules.
The color of the flowers is tladiant of yellow or greenish-yellow colors of various shades, which allows them to stand out effectively against the background of the emerald deciduous mass. At the same time, the shades of female colors are slightly paler. The duration of flowering in red cucumber stretches over all summer months until September, but at the same time, male flowers open earlier than female ones.
CuriousIn nature, only a small wild bee from the genus Ctenoplektra pollinates the tladian. This insect is characterized by the fact that it feeds on the pollen of only a certain plant, namely red cucumber. The bee usually spends the night in the buds of male flowers. Since bumblebees and bees do not pay their attention to the plant, it has adapted to vegetative reproduction (tubers) to survive in the absence of its natural pollinator.
The fruit of the tladiant is juicy and fully corresponds to the Pumpkin family. Such "cucumbers" ripen from mid-summer to the end of September. The fruit is characterized by an elongated oval shape. When ripe, the fruit does not open. Inside it is filled with a large number of seeds (about a hundred), horizontally located in the fruits. The seeds have a smooth surface, obovate outlines and lateral compaction. Compared to ordinary cucumbers, tladianthus fruits cannot be compared with them in size, color and taste.
At first, the color of the fruit of the red cucumber is green, but by the end of ripening it can take on an orange, reddish-orange or red striped color. When the fruits are fully ripe, they become soft and taste sweet. The rind is dense, dark in color. They can be successfully consumed both fresh and to make preserves or jams.
Recommendations for growing tladians in the open field
- Landing place red cucumber should be looked for carefully, since, without changing the location, the tladiant has the ability to grow there without transplanting for almost a decade. A well-lit and warm area is most suitable, but protection from drafts and gusts of wind is important. Gardeners claim that the southern or southeast side would be a suitable place. A flowerbed with partial shade is also suitable, for example, under the crowns of tall trees or under the roofs of garden buildings (gazebos or sheds). It is not worth planting a tladiant where groundwater is close or there is a possibility of moisture stagnation from precipitation or melting snow.
- Soil for tladiants anyone can do, even the very poor. However, plants will grow best when planted in light, aerated and permeable soil. Its acidity indicators should be below pH6, that is, the substrate should be neutral or alkaline. Recommended for planting red cucumber sandy loam or light loamy soil composition. It is recommended to prepare a planting site in the fall - to dig it up and remove weeds and remnants of other plants. In order not to confuse male and female specimens, the selected area should be divided into two parts.
- Planting talents. Since the plant often becomes a malicious weed due to its unrestrained growth, it is recommended to immediately ensure the restriction. So around the seedling, you should dig in slate or other material (for example, plastic or roofing felt) to a depth of 60–80 cm. The roots of a red cucumber cannot grow to such a depth, so their growth will be inhibited. At the same time, such a fence should protrude 10 cm above the soil surface. The above-ground spread of tubers on the shoots can be easily limited by simple pruning. Planting tladians is best done in the spring. For female and male plants, separate parts of the site are allocated. You can put a fence between them. The distance between the holes for tubers is left about 50–70 cm, deepening them by 6–8 cm.
- Watering when growing tladians, it is important to carry out regularly, but in moderate amounts, before flowering. Before the flowering process begins on 1 m2, it is recommended to use 3-4 liters of water every 5-7 days. But when the buds begin to bloom, the soil is moistened in 2-3 days, applying 6-12 liters of water to the same area. However, the main reference point will be weather conditions. With prolonged drought and heat, the soil next to the vine should always be kept in a moderately moist state. It is not recommended to water the red cucumber from a garden hose with a stream, as damage to the root system is possible when the soil is eroded, as well as damage to leaves and stems.
- Fertilizers when growing tladiants, it is recommended to apply from autumn to a third of a bucket of humus, or in the spring months, with shallow planting of tubers, use nitroammofoska, applying 30-40 grams of the drug per 1 m2. To enhance the formation of buds, you can add a solution made on the basis of superphosphate and ash. To do this, 250 grams of ash is infused for a couple of days in 2-3 liters of water. Then the resulting mixture is filtered and 20-25 grams of superphosphate is mixed into it. Such a solution is brought to 10 liters and poured over the soil under the tladiant. In this case, 5 liters of the product should fall on 1 m2. Some gardeners perform only 3-5 additional fertilizing during the growing season, using complex mineral preparations (for example, Kemiru-Universal or Azofosku). Such a product for a 10-liter bucket of water requires 30–35 grams. Tladiant also responds well to organic fertilizers, which can be fermented mullein (cow dung infused with water), into which wood ash and superphosphate are mixed. For digging the soil in the fall, it is recommended to use rotted manure or compost per 1 m2 - 5–6 kg of the first or 6–8 kg of the second preparation.Superphosphate and potassium sulfate are added there in a ratio of 30:20 grams. With the arrival of autumn, nitrogen fertilizers can be applied to the soil, taken per 1 m2, about 15–20 grams.
- Wintering tladiants. When the harvest of fruits has already been harvested and the cold has come, the entire aerial part of the red cucumber dies off, but some gardeners cut off its remnants. At this time, you can carry out a rarefaction of plantings, removing all tubers from the soil or an unnecessary part of them. The rest are left for wintering in the soil, since these parts of the plant are not afraid of frost. They will not need shelter.
- How to harvest tladiants. As the fruits ripen, they can be harvested. But here everything depends on the wishes of the gardener, since the collection is carried out both green and red, fully ripe and soft fruits. But do not expect a large harvest in the first year of growth, since the vine is growing new underground tubers.
- General advice on care. Throughout the entire growing season, it is necessary to prune the lower branches to prevent the plant from growing too much. It is recommended to loosen the soil as needed. In the autumn, the entire aerial part must be cut off, and the excess nodules must be removed from the soil.
- Reconciliation of tladians in landscape design. Since the fruits of red cucumber have an unusual taste, it is generally accepted to grow this plant in Russia as an ornamental plant. Due to the fact that the shoots have antennae and are able to catch on any support, the tladian is used for landscaping phytowalls, loggias, posts of gazebos or verandas. If there are small architectural forms on the site or a dried tree in the center of the lawn or on a well-groomed lawn, then such a vine is quite suitable for decorating them. With such a plant with a lush deciduous mass, you can hide a manure sump, latrine or compost heap from sight. The smell is removed with any septic tank.
See also the reasons for growing squash.
How to breed tladians?
To grow a red cucumber on their site, use the seed method or planting tubers.
Reproduction of tladians using seedsSince insect pollinators are not found in our area (and this should be the wild bee Ktenoplektra), the gardener will have to carry out this process to obtain seed material on his own. If everything goes well, you can see the growing ovary under the female flower. It is best to grow seedlings for reproduction.
Fully ripened fruits must be crushed and seed material isolated. Then the seeds are thoroughly washed to remove the pulp. After that, the seeds are dried at a temperature of 20-24 degrees. And only then the seed material of tladians is subjected to stratification. For this, the seeds are placed on the lower shelf of the refrigerator, where the heat indicators will be in the range of 0-5 degrees. There, the seeds will spend time until early spring (approximately 3-4 months).
Before sowing, the seed of the tladiants must be soaked in hot water for 6-8 hours. It is best to place the seeds in a thermos to keep the water hot throughout the indicated period. Sowing is carried out in seedling boxes filled with peat-sandy substrate or special soil for seedlings. Seeds are buried in moistened soil by 2-3 cm. During germination, the temperature in the room should be low, but in the positive range. After the seeds germinate and the seedlings get stronger, the seedlings of tladiant with the arrival of heat (approximately in May or in the first week of June) can be planted in a prepared place in the open ground.
However, this method is used very rarely, since at least a dozen tubers are formed in the plant during the growing season.
Reproduction of tladiants using tubersThese pieces of red cucumber are similar in appearance to small potatoes.Planting is usually carried out in the second half of April in a prepared flower bed. The tubers are planted in holes approximately 10 cm deep. The distance between the planting holes should be maintained at about half a meter.
ImportantWhen planting, it is imperative to provide a fence so that in the future the chains of tladiant tubers do not grow beyond the allocated area.
Then in mid-May it will be possible to see the first shoots. It is recommended to plant seedlings of different sexes in different places, as confusion is possible due to their similarity.
Read more about growing pumpkin seedlings
Difficulties in growing tladians in the garden
The biggest problem in the cultivation of such an exotic plant as a red cucumber in our regions is that other insects other than the Ctenoplektra bee cannot pollinate it. Therefore, if you want to get the fruits of tladiants, you will have to carry out this process with your own hands. An interesting fact is that not only the male flowers of Thladiantha itself can be suitable for pollination, but also pollen from other members of the Pumpkin family, for example, ordinary cucumbers or squash. In this case, the formed fruits of red cucumber will naturally be devoid of seed material, but its taste will far surpass those fruits that are obtained in a "natural" way. For better cultivation and subsequent production of seeds, it is recommended to plant female and male specimens next to it.
Interesting notes about the tladian, features of the use of the plant
In their native lands, the red cucumber is revered because of the beneficial ingredients that are used to treat many diseases. If you eat the fruits of the tladiants in raw or cooked form, the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract is normalized, the immune system is stimulated and can act as an anti-inflammatory agent. For the preparation of decoctions, both seeds and tubers are used. Such drugs have a diuretic and choleretic effect. Flowers of tladiants are brewed and treated with such a solution for influenza. If you prepare a tincture from seed, herbs or fruits, then it will eliminate the manifestations of headache and hypertension.
All this is possible because tladiant in its parts contains a high concentration of vitamins such as A, A and B, as well as E and PP, macro- and microelements of magnesium, cobalt and iron are also included here, supplemented by their constituents potassium, phosphorus and calcium and many other substances necessary for the restoration of a weakened human body.
Important to rememberWhen using tladiana for making homemade decoctions or tinctures, one should take into account the individual tolerance of the plant by people who will then use such culinary dishes.
In the East, it is customary to prepare preservation and pickling from not fully ripe tladiant fruits (until their length reaches 15 cm and the color takes on a reddish tint). When the fruits are ripe and sweet, you can cook jams and preserves. In their raw form, these red cucumbers are suitable for salads or side dishes, or for eating directly.
ImportantSince the fruits of tladians contain a large amount of sugar, they should not be consumed by people suffering from diabetes mellitus. Before using any preparations based on this plant, it is recommended to consult with your doctor.
In most countries (for example, in Japan), the tladiana is an invasive representative of the flora (introduced) and has become a big problem, since it aggressively captures when the territory grows and it becomes very problematic to remove the plant.
Types of tladiants
Despite the fact that most of the 25 species, the most common is the dubious Tladiantha (Thladiantha dubia), but here we will give not only its description, but also some other varieties.
Thladiantha dubiaor as it is also called Red cucumber… The natural habitat is in the Far East and northeastern Chinese regions. The species was introduced to the territory of the USA, Canada and Europe. Perennial vine with climbing shoots, characterized by stems with a protruding hairy covering. On highly branched stems, whole-edge, heart-shaped leaf plates grow. The outer side of them has a tomentose pubescence.
When bearing fruit, dubious tladians develop fruits that are 7–8 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. By the end of September, they acquire a reddish tint, become soft, with a sweet taste. The pulp contains 40-100 seeds with a dark color and hard skin.
It is characteristic that each of the dubious tladiana shoots hanging close above the ground and also all the shoots underground have inedible nodules. Tubers are usually a chain, their size can vary in the range of 2–8 cm. With the arrival of a new spring, each of the tubers will become a source of young shoots, and tubers connected in a chain will grow again under the soil surface. Due to this, in a few years the plant will occupy an area of about 10–12 m2, and such a group will constantly grow in volume.
Tladiantha cordifoliaThe vine resembles a grape, curly, herbaceous, pubescent. Stems are strongly branched, strong, angularly furrowed. The petiole is slender, 4–10 (-12) cm; the leaf blade is ovoid-cordate, 8–15x6–11 cm. The foliage surface is rough, pubescent, or with many bristles. The base of the leaf is cordate, the edge is irregularly serrated, the apex is pointed or short. Antennae are simple, pubescent at first, pubescent.
Male flowers of tladiant of cordifolia: from 3 to several in a dense short race; peduncle strong, 4–15 cm, pubescent; bracts are tuberous, tuberous, their length is 1, 5–2 cm. The calyx is 5–6 mm in size, 5-sided. Corolla petals are ovoid or elliptical, with parameters about 17x7 mm, the apex is shortly pointed or sharp. Female flowers are single; calyx and corolla like male flowers.
The fruit of the tladianta cordifolia is oblong, its size is 3-5x2-3 cm, with a rough skin, slightly pubescent, with 10 longitudinal grooves, blunt at both ends. Seeds are broadly ovate, their parameters are 4-5x3-3.5 mm, about 2 mm thick, reticulate. Flowering and fruiting takes time from May to November. In nature, he prefers to grow along roadsides and in forests at an altitude of 800–2600 m - the territory of Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan.
Tladiantha grandisepalaa herbaceous vine resembling a grapevine. Stems and branches are thin, angularly furrowed, densely pubescent at first. The petiole is 4–8 cm; the leaf blade is narrow-ovate-heart-shaped, 10-16x6-11 cm in size. The leaves are covered with bristles, while the veins are also densely pubescent. The foliage is cordate, the edge is serrated, the apex is shortly pointed. During flowering, the tladiana grandisepala produces male flowers: 5–9 pieces on the peduncle; bracts are flaky, their parameters are 12-15x15-17 mm. Pedicels are slender, 5–10 mm, pubescent. The calyx has a bell-shaped tube, approximately 4 mm long. The petals of the corolla are oblong, their size is 2x1 cm, the apex is shortly pointed. The filaments are pubescent.
The female flowers of this species grow singly. Pedicels 2–5 cm, pubescent. The calyx segments are broadly or narrowly ovate, the edge is often 2- or 3-lobed. Corolla petals with parameters 3x1, 4 cm. The stalk is strong, 3-5 cm. The size of the fruit is 2, 5-3x1, 5 cm, its shape is elliptical, the surface is pubescent, with a blunt apex at both ends. Flowering occurs in June-August, the fruits are formed in the period August-October. In nature, it grows on mountain slopes and forests; at an altitude of 2100-2400 m in the Yunnan province.
Related article: Tips for growing bryony outdoors and indoors
Video about growing tladians in open field conditions:
Photos of tladiants: