Ardisia is a beautiful evergreen perennial plant that has gained popularity among amateur flower growers due to its unusual crown formation, long flowering and ability to bear fruit in winter. Its fruits are inedible (but not poisonous) and usually appear by the end of December. Bright red berries on branches with juicy green leaves significantly enliven the interior in winter. No wonder it is called a coral or Christmas tree. It is during the period of the appearance of fruits that the flower looks especially impressive.
In total, about 800 species of ardisia are found in nature. It is so unpretentious and does not require special care that under natural conditions it is able to displace other plants from its habitat. In nature, there are real giants (up to 8 m in height) and very small (up to 20 – 40 cm) specimens. The average growth of most varieties is from 1.5 to 2 meters. Can grow as a shrub, shrub or small tree.
A curious fact: when grown indoors, almost all members of this family grow better than in natural conditions.
Therefore, it is even necessary to use inhibitors that inhibit growth in height so that the flower does not outgrow its natural dimensions.
Ardisia has several distinctive features:
- the bulk of the shoots with leaves is located at the top of the trunk, they form a kind of lush green “crown”;
- inflorescences are located below the crown;
- the flowers themselves are small, collected in axillary thyroid drooping inflorescences;
- after the end of the flowering period, the place of flowers is occupied by drupes of light coral color, which ripen and acquire a characteristic red color by the New Year holidays.
Such a non-standard arrangement of inflorescences makes the plant especially attractive.
During the flowering period (and it lasts for several months), slightly falling flowers encircle the crown from below. They bloom in May-June and bloom almost until September. Although their color is not bright, nevertheless, the contrast with the rich green leaves is well pronounced. And the room at this time is filled with a fragrant aroma. But the flower looks more impressive during the fruiting period. Small berries appear in place of flowers, and as they ripen, their color becomes more intense. Ripe fruits are able to stay on the branches until the next flowering.
At home, most often only a few varieties and their hybrids of ardisia are grown:
- Krenata or crenate: a branchy and compact growing shrub up to 1.5 meters high. The leaves are dark green, with wavy edges, the flowers are white (hybrids may have a pinkish tint or pink), the berries are deep red (there are varieties with pink or white fruits). It is this variety that is most often grown by amateur flower growers.
- Curly: grows up to 60 – 80 cm, the flowers are creamy white with a pink tint, the berries are bright, red, keep on the branches doge during the next flowering.
- Oval: large shrub with bright green foliage, pink inflorescences, like the fruits at the beginning. Then they change color to glossy black.
- Squat: the bush reaches a height of 2.5 m, the foliage is dark green, the inflorescences are pale pink. The berries are initially red-brown, then deep black.
- Wallich: a distinctive feature of the variety is purple-violet flowers, which are replaced by black small berries.
- Japanese: grows only up to 20 – 40 cm, the flower is compact, with white inflorescences and red fruits. Interesting hybrids of this species: Dancing girl with young leaves of a reddish color, which in an adult plant are bordered with white. Hinode leaves are yellow in the middle and green at the edges. The base variety is used in Chinese folk medicine. On the basis of the root, leaves, fruits, preparations are made for the treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, upper respiratory tract, in some sources there is a mention of effectiveness in the treatment of oncology.
Conditions of detention
Caring for all representatives of this family will not cause much trouble, provided that the place where the plant is kept is chosen correctly. In order for this houseplant to please with its appearance and grow well, you will need:
- Temperature regime: in winter 15-18 0 , in summer – 20-22 0 . Important: ardisia has a “limiting” minimum and maximum temperature, it will die if it gets colder to 12-13 0 or becomes hotter than 25 0.
- Lighting: the plant is photophilous, but does not tolerate constant direct sunlight. It can be placed on the windowsill only in rooms where direct rays are only in the early morning.
- Humidity: should be within 60%, otherwise, the shrub will not bear fruit. Tip: If the humidity is not enough, then place trays with water or moistened stones next to the pot.
If all these conditions are provided, the maintenance of the shrub will not create difficulties in the future.
Reproduction occurs by fruits and cuttings. With any option, it will take two to three years to grow a full-fledged flower.
Note: for representatives of this family, the best method of reproduction is by seeds. With vegetative propagation, the main problem will be poor rooting; long and constant care of the seed will be required. Most often, ardisia is grown from seeds; professionals who breed a flower in greenhouses with special conditions usually resort to cuttings.
After fruit ripening, you can get an excellent seed. The berries are plucked, cleaned of pulp, after which the fruit-drupe is ready for reproduction. Usually, the seed is harvested by the end of winter – the beginning of spring.
Important: After removing the bone, it should not be left for storage. Since her shell is quite hard, it is necessary to carry out scarification. It should be filed carefully, after which it is recommended to place the seeds in a solution of growth stimulants for several hours.
Germination will take about 40 days. The scarified bone is placed in the ground by 1 cm. The soil can be taken as standard for this plant, it must be evenly moistened. After landing, the container is closed with a film or glass and left in a room with a temperature of 20-25 0 . After that, it is enough to keep the soil moderately moist. As soon as the sprouts appear and get stronger, a pick should be carried out. Strengthened seedlings are subsequently planted in individual pots and cared for according to the standard scheme.
Apical shoots are used as cuttings. They are taken in the spring, after which it is recommended to keep them for a short time in special preparations, for example, in Heteroauxin. But such processing can be skipped, and immediately plant seedlings in the ground. Shoots are taken from adult specimens, they must be cut so that each has at least 3 internodes.
Please note: if it is not possible to provide the proper conditions for engraftment, it is better not to use propagation by cuttings.
A constant temperature of 27 0 is required, high humidity, no drafts, containers with heated soil are often used.
Even with such indicators, it will take a long time for seedlings to take root: rooting can only be expected by the end of summer. After that, the seedlings are carefully placed in individual containers by transshipment. Pinching seedlings is usually not required, they already bush well.
At home, caring for ardisia is easy.
For this you need:
- create suitable conditions in the room;
- choose the soil: in this case, the composition of the soil can be almost any, slightly acidic, neutral or slightly alkaline will do;
- provide drainage;
- keep the soil slightly moist (permanently);
- with a lack of moisture, wipe the foliage with a damp sponge;
- fertilize constantly: with mineral dressings 2 times a month, when changing the summer temperature regime to winter fertilizers are not used, they are not needed during the dormant period;
- for the appearance of ovaries, artificial pollination is required: all members of the family are bisexual, so pollen must be transferred with a soft brush from flower to flower;
- replant periodically;
- with too intensive growth, use drugs that suppress it.
Tip: A soil mixture consisting of sand, peat, leafy and soddy soil in a ratio of 1:1:1:2 is considered ideal.
Young shrubs (under the age of 3 years) are transplanted annually. In the future, the transplant is used as needed. Please note: even if the roots have filled the entire volume of the pot, do not rush to replant the flower. It is believed that in such conditions the plant grows more magnificent and better. It is enough to change the top layer (1 cm) annually and postpone the transplant until the root begins to “burst” the pot.
It should be transplanted very carefully, by transshipment. Although the transplant is generally well tolerated, the roots must be kept intact. To prevent their diseases, it is better to ignite the soil mixture or treat it with boiling water.
Pruning should be done annually. It is used to form a crown (any shape can be) and remove old, diseased and yellowed shoots. Important: the foliage has one feature – there are small “bloatings” at the edges. In these “pockets” are symbiotic bacteria that help absorb nitrogen. You should not cut them off, the presence of tubercles is a sign of a healthy, not a diseased plant. Without these bacteria, it will die.
To achieve more lush flowering, you can use special preparations – retardants. They will also be growth inhibitors, and will not allow the stems to stretch upwards excessively.
Diseases and pests
In case of violation of the rules of keeping, infection, or after the appearance of insect pests, ardisia reacts accordingly. You can even visually understand what caused the changes.
Reaction to improper containment conditions
In the absence of proper care, the following problems may occur:
- leaf loss and wilting is usually caused by lack of moisture or uneven watering;
- excessive stretching and fading is a reaction to a lack of lighting;
- drooping and yellowed leaves – a sign of a lack of fertilizer;
- they lose their elasticity and twist with temperature changes and drafts;
- spots appear from sunburn;
- and when their tips dry up (they turn brown), the humidity of the air should be increased, this is a characteristic reaction to its dryness;
- if the buds are not tied, then pruning and adjusting the humidity should be done.
Insects can significantly damage the flower. Problems usually arise when:
- spider mite;
- scale insects;
When they appear, you should first treat with soapy water, treat the affected areas with a cotton pad (to remove insects) or arrange a shower. To carry out such a procedure, water with a temperature of 45 0 is required , the soil should be covered with a film. You can also use chemical treatment: suitable “Karbofos”, “Fufanon” or their analogues.
Most often, fungal diseases can affect, fungicides are usually used for treatment. Most often, chlorosis develops, it can be dealt with if iron-containing fertilizers are used.
Despite the rather impressive list of possible problems, all of them are quite easily eliminated: insects are destroyed, diseases are easily cured. And with proper care and favorable conditions of detention, ardisia fans do not even encounter most of them.