Alsobia: description, home care
Among the exotic plants decorating apartments and offices, alsobia, a flowering herbaceous perennial belonging to the ground cover species, occupies an honorable place. This compact and beautiful flower with velvet leaves and snow-white petals looks great in potted compositions, hanging flower pots, and even on flower beds with alpine slides in the southern regions.
Description and characteristic
Alsobia (Alsobia) belongs to the Gesneriaceae family (Gesneriaceae), the second name is the carnation flowering. The natural habitat for it is the forests of the South American continent from Mexico to Brazil.
Distinctive features of alsobia:
- the plant has oval leaves of small size, from light to dark green in color, with velvety pubescence;
- sometimes a mottled pattern or vein pattern is found on the leaves;
- stems of a plant hanging down, up to 20 cm long; on each shoot there are many “children”, which creates the appearance of a multi-tiered composition, so the culture looks great in a hanging flowerpot;
- bell-shaped, white flowers (up to 5 cm long) with an open corolla (up to 5 cm) have graceful edges decorated with fringe; there is a coloring with reddish specks;
- culture blooms from mid-spring to late summer;
- the plant has numerous "antennae" with rosettes of leaflets, like strawberries or strawberries (at a distance of 10-15 cm from each other), so it is able to root itself and grow in breadth; in natural conditions, the "antennae" grow to 2 m.
Did you know? Alsobia in Greek means "flower-grove", because, growing, it is able to cover, like a carpet, vast areas of tropical rainforests.
Alsobia genus includes several hybrids suitable for cultural content:
- Dianthiflora (clove-flowering) - groundcover variety has short stems with small fluffy leaves and serrated edges. Strong, short stems of a brownish color, the flowers are completely painted white or with speckled placer in the middle and with a fringe at the edges.
- Punctate (punctate) - the described variety has an upright tree shoot, oval-shaped leaves of a bright emerald hue, with denticles along the edge and a delicate whitish fluff. This type of alsobia blooms with snow-white flowers, sometimes light green or cream, with multiple purple dots in the flower tubes.
- Cyqnet - the hybrid has large sockets (up to 10 cm) with enlarged, delicate green leaves with a serrated edge and a delicate fluff. There are also snow-white flowers of medium size (up to 4 cm) with a terry edge of the petals. In the throat, the bells are strewn with many dots of reddish or pinkish color.
- San Migel - foliage and flowers larger than the cygnet hybrid. The foliage is a delicate greenish-blue color, has carved edges and is somewhat pubescent. The species blooms with whitish flowers with terry edges and reddish dots at the base of the tubules.
- Chiapas is a bushy hybrid. It is characterized by large leaves in the form of an oval, pale green, as well as large flowers of a soft cream or yellowish green color. The edges of the petals are terry, and pinkish specks are sprayed on the vent of the bells.
- Variegate - characterized by stripes at the edges of leaf plates of a lemon or whitish hue. Sometimes the stripes are viewed in the center of the sheet. The speckled color looks bright in good light, and dims if there is not enough light in the room.
Pros and Cons of a Houseplant
The cultivation of groundcover alsobia is associated with some positive and negative points.
- The advantages of maintaining culture at home:
- decorative look;
- easy care;
- high resistance to parasites and diseases;
- well perceives pruning and shaping;
- Feels great, growing in shaded places;
- satisfactorily tolerates moderate dry air in the room and a slight lack of moisture.
- Cons of room alsobia:
- improper care contributes to the appearance of parasites;
- due to excessive moisture in the soil, the exotic appearance is lost in the pot;
- spraying of leaves is unacceptable, because because of this they undergo decay;
- direct rays of the sun burn tender leaves;
- exactingness to diffused lighting;
- fatal is a room temperature below + 17 ° C;
- the culture is sensitive to sudden changes in temperature;
- does not tolerate drafts;
- must not be watered with cold water (below + 18 ° C).
Growing at home
The correct approach to the maintenance of alsobia in an apartment will ensure the beauty and health of the plant, as well as please the eye with the decorative design of the room.
Important! Contact with the water of the bottom of the flower pot with alsobia is not allowed, for this you must definitely use pallets. After watering the plant, excess fluid from the pan must be drained. Otherwise, due to waterlogging, the roots of the flower rot, it loses its well-groomed appearance and may die.
What should be the conditions
To maintain the decorativeness of the flower, it is necessary to provide acceptable conditions.
- Temperature Alsobia is quite thermophilic and requires year-round maintenance in moderate heat. The stay of culture near an open window, heating devices, and on a cold window sill is unacceptable. The most suitable ambient temperature for flower maintenance are indicators not lower than +20 ... + 25 ° C. Decrease in indicators to +16 ... + 18 ° C leads to a slowdown in plant growth, and it becomes vulnerable to diseases.
- Lighting Given the fact that in nature the bushes grow on the shaded areas of the forest, room alsobia needs to organize diffused lighting for at least 10 hours a day (this will give the plant a plentiful and long-lasting bloom), avoiding direct sunlight. The best placement will serve as the windowsills of the eastern and western windows. Window sills on the north side are suitable, but in this case, the culture may stop throwing out color. In cold weather, the flower provides additional illumination with the help of phytolamps.
- Humidity of air and soil . Although the plant tolerates moderate dry air in an apartment, the optimal solution for maintaining the desired level of moisture (especially in the summer heat) would be to install flowerpots on moist claydite. Additionally, you can install an open container with water near the pot. It is not recommended to spray alsobia on purpose, because due to moisture on its leaves, they are covered with dark spots.
Fertilizing and watering
Fertilizing the culture is carried out in spring and summer, once every 14 days. To do this, use mineral fertilizers for flowering crops ("Uniflor-bud", "Fertiku-Lux" or "Uniflor-growth"). Top dressing is done only after watering. Water the culture moderately, as the top layer of soil dries in a flowerpot, without overdrying and not filling it. Water is poured directly under the root, avoiding moisture on the leaves. Use purified or settled water with a temperature not lower than +23 ... + 25 ° C. In winter time (November - February) watering is reduced.
Important! Fertilizing alsobia with organic products is unacceptable, since they contain a high nitrogen content, which will stimulate excessive growth of foliage and shoots to the detriment of flowering.
Pruning a crop allows you to form a compact bush. The procedure is used for overgrown stems with leaves, as well as extra stepsons. Timely pruning will contribute to abundant flowering and enlargement of the leaf mass. Also, excess branches can be removed by pinching. At the same time, it is important to observe the measure: when the lateral stems are excessively removed, the plant stops flowering.
The described culture is transplanted according to the following rules:
- as the plants grow, 2-3 years after planting;
- the most suitable period for this year is spring;
- Alsobia should be transplanted using a transshipment method, leaving an earthen lump intact;
- for stationary placement, a container is used 2-3 cm larger than the previous one, into which 3-5 young shoots are placed immediately (for a decorative effect);
- in a new flowerpot, the plant is sure to provide good drainage with a layer of expanded clay or pebbles laid on the bottom of the pot;
- the soil in the new pot should be loose and light (a storey earthen mixture for violets is suitable);
- for ampel cultivation, a small cache-pot is selected;
- Also at this time, formative circumcision or pinching of overgrown shoots is carried out.
The spring-summer period is a favorable time for the propagation of alsobia.
There are several methods of propagating culture:
- sunflower seeds;
- child sockets.
Propagation by cuttings occurs as follows:
- Carefully cut apical or leaf cuttings.
- Plant in containers with loose soil and cover with glass or film.
- Put in a warm and bright place for germination, for a period of 30 days.
- After the roots grow to 1 cm in length, the seedlings dive into separate pots.
Breeding alsobia using seeds among gardeners is not so common. The reason is that this method requires a lot of effort, since this planting material sprouts for a long time. If you still need to resort to this method of reproduction, then the seeds can be purchased in a specialized store, and then sow them on the surface of loose and moist soil and sprinkle lightly on top with the same substrate.
Did you know? In a diseased indoor flower, the temperature may rise, and in a plant that is rarely watered, the pressure in the cells can rise to 100 atmospheres.
Reproduction of a flower by daughter sockets provides:
- Pinching and rooting of the apical cuttings in a container with a substrate consisting of sphagnum moss, sand and perlite. To speed up the process of root formation, the container is covered with glass or film, creating a greenhouse environment for the outlet.
- Rooting outlets in the soil without separation from the mother bush. For better contact with the soil, the sockets are pinned, and also covered with glass.
- The process of rooting outlets can last from 1 week to 1 month (depending on environmental conditions).
- At the end of this period, the roots of the plants reach a size of 1.5-2 cm, after which the greenhouse is removed, and the seedlings are transplanted into separate containers in a permanent place.
Plant diseases and pests
Alsobia is practically not susceptible to parasite infection. But sometimes the plant can be attacked by harmful insects if the norms of the content of the culture are violated.
Parasites attacked by culture:
- spider mite;
- scale shield.
Find out how and how to feed indoor plants at home.
It also happens that due to inaccuracies in the care, the flower can undergo diseases.
Here are some of them:
- Dark spots appear on the leaves. The cause may be excessive watering or water dropping on the leaf surface; also watering with temperatures below + 18 ° C.
- The edges of the leaves fade or dry. This indicates a lack of moisture or a sunburn.
- Drops of buds and wilting of flowers due to insufficient watering are observed .
- Rotting of the roots. It happens with constant stagnation of water in the pot.
In general, breeding alsobia and caring for it is not so troublesome. If you adhere to all the tips listed in the article, and be attentive to its condition, this wonderful flower can decorate your apartment for a long time.