General overview of aeschinanthus, varieties, conditions of keeping, feeding, as well as methods of reproduction and methods of dealing with the main pests of the plant. Eschinanthus belongs to the genus Gesneriaceae. Botanically, the plant is known by the Latin term Aeschynanthus. According to some conflicting data, the genus has 80-170 separate species that grow in the Asian region on the lands of China, India and Indochina. The plant got its name from the combination of 2 Greek words aischyneia (distortion) and anthos (flower), which describe the unique shape of flowers. Among the people, Aeschinanthus was dubbed "the flower-lipstick" for the very rich bright shade of its bracts.
Description of eschinanthus
This plant looks very impressive and belongs to the class of perennial evergreen representatives of the flora, belonging to the decorative-deciduous group and having an elongated gracefully curving stem.
In the natural environment, escinanthus is often found attached to tropical trees of the Southeast Asian region, which made it possible to classify it as epiphytes - plants that grow or attach to trees, but do not parasitize them. Certain species of adult escinanthus grow up to 90 cm, but there are also smaller varieties with a height in the range of 30-50 cm.
Aeschinanthus exhibits oppositely arranged fleshy and leathery leaves with short petioles. The flowers have an irregular tubular shape and appear in the axils of the leaves or crown the ends of the shoots. The shade of flowers is bright scarlet or rich orange with a corolla of brown or yellowish-green hue. If the buds grow at the ends of the shoots, then they are usually collected in inflorescences of 6-12 pcs.
Aeschinanthus in a home environment
It belongs to a rather capricious plant and may well afford not to bloom, if, for example, in winter, a sufficiently low temperature was not provided for its maintenance. But looking after him is easy and even pleasant, especially when the escinanthus rewards all the work with an abundance of bright red flowers, which usually appear at the end of spring or early summer.
For indoor cultivation, the species Aeschynanthus speciosus or Aeschynanthus pulcher is usually chosen. In Russian, it is known as a beautiful or beautiful escinanthus. The plant is planted in hanging baskets or pots, from which its curved stems with bright flowers hang beautifully.
Usually, in a domestic environment, the plant lives for 1-3 years. They do not contain it for a longer time, since over time, the escinanthus loses its beautiful aesthetic appearance and requires rooting of cuttings for its renewal.
- Consider first Aeschynanthus marmoratus… Translated into Russian, it sounds like a marble escinanthus. The plant got its name because of the texture of long waxy leaves, which grow up to 10–12 cm and show a dense yellowish mesh against a dark green background. The flowers have a green tint with spots of a chocolate tone, but this species is prized primarily for its beautiful leaves.
- A very interesting variety is Aeschynanthus lobbianus… This Aeschinanthus Lobba was first discovered and classified on the island of Java, where it grows on trees, hanging beautifully from them on long stems with thick leaves of a rich dark green hue. The flowers of this species of Aeschinanthus are of a delicate cream shade, pubescent and decorated with a red corolla.
- Next comes Aeschynanthus speciosus… We know it as a beautiful escinanthus (not to be confused with beautiful / magnificent).This is an evergreen herbaceous shrub, whose shoots grow up to 60 cm in length, and are decorated with fleshy oblong leaves 10-12 cm long and up to 5 cm wide. Flowers in a group of 10-12 pieces are collected at the tips of long shoots, delighting with a beautiful orange shade.
- The most widespread as an ornamental plant for home cultivation is the wonderful escinanthus, which is less often called magnificent. In Latin, this variety is called Aeschynanthus pulcher… The plant is similar to the previous species, but differs in a scarlet shade of smaller flowers, as well as red stems and leaf edges.
Home care for eschinanthus
- Temperature. Eschinanthus does not like a sharp change in temperature and is afraid of a draft, which can easily ruin the plant. Therefore, the optimal temperature for this thermophilic tropical plant is 23-25 degrees in summer and 15-18 in winter. It is extremely important to ensure the specified climatic regime in the cold season, since it directly depends on whether the escinanthus will bloom. If the temperature is properly maintained, the first buds can form as early as late February or early March. If you overdo it and withstand a too low air temperature, then the escinanthus can shed its leaves under the influence of this factor.
- Lighting. The plant, in addition to heat, also loves light very much, therefore, to keep it, you need to choose the most illuminated places or provide it with an additional source of light. At the same time, escinanthus is afraid of the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, so the flower should be protected from direct sunlight. Lack of adequate lighting can reduce the likelihood of flowering, so it is extremely important to control this moment when caring for aeschinanthus. At home, the plant is usually exposed to the east or west side. It is better not to grow it on the north side, since the eschinanthus may not have enough light here, and the south side is suitable only with a sufficient level of shading to exclude the possibility of negative effects of sunlight.
- Watering. Aeschinanthus loves abundant watering, which should be carried out regularly, focusing on the condition of the upper part of the soil substrate and not allowing it to completely dry out. In winter, the regularity of watering is reduced, allowing the substrate to dry out and remain in this state for 1–2 days. The lower part of the earthen coma must be moistened, it cannot be overdried, as this greatly slows down the development of the plant and jeopardizes the possibility of the appearance of flowers. Water used for irrigation should be warm, soft and settled. You can use regular tap water, provided it is not too hard and does not contain a lot of calcium salts in its composition.
- Air humidity. When the first flowers appear on the escinanthus, high humidity must be provided. At home, you can simply spray the leaves and flowers of the plant with water, while providing a high level of ventilation. In winter, it is not necessary to spray the plant, since it is not demanding on the level of humidity.
- Top dressing. To feed the eschinanthus, potash fertilizer is used, which is applied immediately before the next second watering during the flowering period of the plant.
- Transplanting. Aeschinanthus is usually transplanted in early spring. The plant is pre-pruned and planted in fresh prepared substrate. For transplanting, the pot is taken more than the previous one, but not much. It is enough for the new container to be 1–2 cm wider. The substrate should be light, nutritious and loose. For example, you can prepare such a simple composition: leaf and peat soil in 2 parts, sand and sphagnum (moss) in 1 part. Whichever substrate is used, it is important to ensure adequate drainage.
- Pruning. In order for the eschinanthus to have an attractive decorative appearance, it must be regularly pruned throughout the flowering period. In the autumn-winter period, you can also periodically prune it, which will save more strength for development. Unfortunately, the decorative beautiful appearance of the plant cannot be maintained for a long time. As a rule, the 5-year-old age acts as the final maximum, since during this time any species of escinanthus loses its beauty, beginning to show the bare lower part and significant elongation of the shoots.
Aeschinantus breeding methods
The method of propagation by seeds is the same for all Gesneriaceae and Aeschinanthus is no exception. To begin with, the seeds, small, like dust, extract their ripened capsules on a paper sheet. Then they are sown in an even layer on a leveled and watered substrate, after which they are covered with glass on top.
As soon as the first shoots appear, the glass is displaced, giving the young more fresh air. After the seedlings get stronger and grow a little, the seedlings can be planted in 3-5 pieces in pots with a substrate. For reproduction in this way, in the spring-summer period, still unlignified cuttings should be collected from the escinanthus. Usually the longest of the shoots is chosen and divided. Each stalk consists of approximately 4–5 nodes. To increase the likelihood of rooting, the branches can be dipped in a phytohormonal powder solution before planting. Then the cuttings of aeschinanthus are planted in a substrate consisting of 1 part of sand and 1 part of peat. Perlite expanded clay is sometimes used instead of sand.
During planting, the cuttings are lowered into the ground by no more than 2 cm.It is enough that only 1 lower knot is under the surface of the soil. They are then covered with glass jars or plastic wrap to ensure high humidity. If possible, it is best to reproduce aeschinanthus in a small greenhouse, where a constant high air temperature of up to 28 degrees can be ensured.
- Falling leaves. Quite often, the plant has leaf fall, which is explained by the wrong temperature regime. If this effect is observed in the warm season, then the reason is insufficient soil moisture. In this case, it is required to pay attention to the regularity of watering and control over the state of the earthen coma. In cases where Aeschinanthus sheds its leaves in winter, you need to make sure that the indoor temperature is not too low. The optimal mode for the winter period is 16-18 degrees.
- Falling flowers and the appearance of brown spots on them usually provokes plentiful spraying, when large drops of water stagnate inside the sepal.
- Brownish spots on the leaves are a consequence of the low temperature of the water for irrigation. The optimal level of its warming up should be at least 20 degrees.
- Yellowing and drying of the tips sheet plates indicate a high room temperature or low humidity.
- Formation of gray mold indicates excessively intensive watering, which must be stopped immediately and the plant must be transplanted.
Dangerous pests of aeschinanthus
Among the most dangerous pests of Aeschinanthus are aphids, spider mites, mealybugs and thrips. As a rule, if you provide proper plant care, it will be the best preventive measure against pests.
Aphids immediately settle in large colonies, quickly filling shoots, leaves, stem and flowers. Feeding on plant juices, the pest contributes to the curvature of the shoots, a change in the color of the leaves, and the flower buds may not open at all.
The fight against aphids occurs by wiping the leaves and stems of the plant with the following compounds. If the aphid was noticed at the time of appearance, then it is usually enough to wipe the plant with an alcohol composition.In cases where the pest has spread quickly, insecticides will have to be used, for example, actellic, which is diluted in a proportion of 20 drops per liter of water.
Of the folk methods of struggle, spraying with a mixture based on hot pepper is suitable. To prepare such a solution, take about 600 g of fresh pepper or 150-200 g dry. It is poured with a small amount of water and boiled for 60 minutes, after which it is infused for another 24 hours. Having filtered the composition, you can immediately use it, and save the leftovers in a glass container, placing it in a cool, dark place.
The resulting pepper solution in an amount of 10-15 g is mixed with 5-10 g of soap and 1 liter of water. Then Aeschinanthus is periodically sprayed until the aphids disappear completely, and a week later, in order to prevent, the procedure can be repeated.
If the air humidity is insufficient, then this will create favorable conditions for the settlement of the spider mite. The first signs of this pest will be the appearance of small dark dots on the leaves of the eschinanthus. If you do not take protective measures at this moment, then soon the leaves will lose their beautiful green tint, turn yellow and begin to fall off. An insecticide solution decis or actellik effectively fights against all types of mites. In addition, regular spraying of the plant will create unfavorable conditions for the life of ticks.
Mealybugs are seen mainly on older plants. Constant dry and well-warmed air becomes favorable conditions for the reproduction of this pest. Therefore, maintaining adequate moisture levels becomes a good preventive pest control method. At first, rubbing the plant with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol helps to eliminate the worm, but if the colony has already greatly expanded, then it is better to use "heavier" preparations. For example, the emulsion of karbofos, which is diluted in proportions of 20-30 drops per liter of water, helps to quickly eliminate the pest from the eschinantus.
An onion and garlic formulation can also be effectively used to combat any type of sucking insect that infects escinanthus. To prepare such a remedy, you need to take half a teaspoon of chopped garlic and mix it with 1 teaspoon of grated onion, after which you should soak the mixture in a glass of water for a day. The resulting infusion is used to wash the plants, repeating the procedure every 8-10 days until the pests disappear completely.
For more information on growing eschinanthus, see this video: