Boehmeria, false nettle, Chinese hemp, banker’s tree is a perennial, fast-growing shrub of the nettle family (Uricaceae).
The shrub is photophilous, it can be in the shade, but it quickly loses its decorative effect, therefore it is better to choose a place where the plant will be provided with bright, diffused sunlight, and in the summer it is worth protecting it from direct exposure to scorching rays.
Interesting! Stinging nettle, familiar to everyone from childhood, is its closest relative.
In a flower shop, Boehmeria is a rare guest, if it appears, it is usually in the form of waxed cuttings, but their quality leaves much to be desired. The plant can be found on the sites of Internet services for posting advertisements for the sale of goods from individuals.
Boehmeria looks impressive in spacious rooms, therefore it mainly decorates the interiors of offices and large halls. It is rarely found in apartments, but landscape designers love it and are happy to use it in the design of adjoining territories. Outwardly, the bush resembles a hydrangea, but the leaves are larger.
Flowering and fruiting
Boehmeria is a large plant, reaching a height of 1.5-2 meters, in natural conditions – up to 7 meters. Outwardly, it resembles a huge bush. The deceptive impression is created by the powerful, barked stem, although it is hollow inside.
Large leaves with a rough surface look expressive due to the bright green, mesh-like veins, similar to wrinkles. Depending on the variety of plant, the shape of the leaf may differ, but the jagged edge and small villi inherited from the burning ancestor will remain unchanged.
Boehmeria blooms imperceptibly, small white flowers are collected in long panicles, which quickly lose their decorative effect. It is extremely difficult to achieve flowering at home.
Is bonsai suitable for formation?
Bonsai from Boehmeria is unlikely to work, since the plant is quite supportive of pruning, but it does not begin to form a crown, mainly the basal buds wake up.
Boehmeria is not the most capricious houseplant, so that it pleases with a magnificent appearance, you will have to follow some rules of agricultural technology. This mainly refers to maintaining the microclimate and timely rejuvenation.
The dormant period in subtropical plants is not pronounced, so it will be enough to slightly reduce watering from October to February.
Boehmeria reacts negatively to temperatures below 18 °C, can sharply drop foliage, and the plant will have to be reanimated by complete pruning. Therefore, you need to carefully monitor the temperature regime and also protect Boehmeria from drafts, they are destructive for it, especially in winter.
The plant is very light-requiring, with a lack of lighting, the stems become thinner, become lethargic, leaf fall begins. Direct sunlight is no less harmful to shading, leaves get burned. Boehmeria should be placed with these factors in mind.
The air around the plant must be humidified with a spray bottle.
What kind of soil is needed?
Boehmeria is not demanding on the soil, so ordinary soil for indoor plants is suitable. For its self-preparation you will need:
- sod (leaf) land;
All components must be mixed until smooth.
Before preparation, the original soil must be disinfected. There are several ways to do this:
- calcination (for example, in an oven at 60 °C);
- freezing (at -25 ° C).
When choosing a container, preference should be given to natural materials. Clay and ceramics are classics of the genre. Such pots are moisture-proof, water does not stagnate in them, and this excludes root rot. The aesthetic component is also important, the pots will harmoniously fit into any interior. The disadvantages include the high price and fragility of the products.
Plastic containers are popular due to their availability and variety of shapes. But one should not forget about their tightness, therefore, when transplanting, it is necessary to provide a drainage layer. Expanded clay or clay shards can act as drainage.
A transplant is stressful for any plant, so the question should be approached thoroughly. An adult Boehmeria should be transplanted only if the roots are completely entwined with an earthen ball, as a rule, this is once every 2-3 years. It must be borne in mind that too spacious a container will cause rapid growth. By the size of the pot, the height of the Boehmeria can be adjusted.
The transplant requires some preparation:
- the choice of the pot in accordance with the aesthetic preferences of the owner and the size of the Boehmeria;
- preparation of soil, store-bought or prepared independently;
The transfer is carried out by the transshipment method. A plant is placed in a prepared container with a drainage layer, sprinkled with fresh soil and compacted. First, you should check the root system, cut off the blackened roots, if necessary, sprinkle the cut site with crushed activated carbon.
Boehmeria propagates in most cases by cuttings, since the shoots take root very easily. Dividing the bush is also practiced, but a plant is rarely grown from seeds.
You can cut branches for rooting at any time of the year, but preferably in the spring. With a sharp knife, cuttings 10 cm long are separated from the mother plant, the places of the cuts are sprinkled with coal. Then the children are placed in a container with a prepared mixture of peat and sand, covered with a glass jar.
After 3 weeks in such a mini-greenhouse, the shoots should take root, after which they should be planted in separate containers with a diameter of no more than 9 cm, the soil can be used the same as for an adult plant.
Dividing the bush
With a sharp knife, the root system of the mother plant is divided into the required number of parts and seated in separate containers. The division points must also be covered with coal.
A split Boehmeria bush must be planted strictly to the same depth as the mother plant.
Fertilization and feeding
About the fertilization schedule for Boehmeria, the opinions of flower growers were divided. Some believe that the plant does not have a dormant period and should be fed once a month all year round.
Others are sure that during the period from October to February it is undesirable to maintain Boehmeria, but the rest of the time fertilization should be applied once every 10 days, alternating organic supplements with mineral ones.
This plant responds favorably to feeding with complexes with a high nitrogen content, which is quite logical with such an amount of green mass, so traditional complex fertilizers for deciduous indoor plants (Agricola, Pokon) are suitable.
Some growers do not trust ready-made complexes and prefer to prepare fertilizers on their own. Boehmeria responds favorably to feeding with the following infusions:
- mullein infusion (mixed with water 1: 2, infused until fermented and diluted with water in a ratio of 1: 5);
- nettle infusion (100 g of nettle is poured into 1 liter of water, infused for a day, then diluted with water 1:10).
Boehmeria reacts to both a lack of moisture and its excess. The earth ball should be moist, but stagnant water should be avoided. The plant will report the lack of moisture by appearing holes on the leaves, about its excess – by blackened tips. Water should be watered with settled water at room temperature only as the topsoil dries up.
If you are going on vacation
The way out of this situation will be the purchase of a drip irrigation system, which guarantees plant care.
Growing problems and mistakes
Boehmeria does not like confined spaces, therefore it grows reluctantly in apartments, and flowering in these conditions is almost impossible. A winter garden, a greenhouse are places where the plant will show itself in all its glory and, possibly, will delight with flowers.
The appearance of Boehmeria directly depends on the conditions of the plant. To any irritant in the form of excessive watering or lack of lighting, Boehmeria will instantly respond with yellowing of the foliage and a general painful appearance.
If the trouble has already occurred, the plant stretched out and became bare, radical measures will help, in the form of complete pruning. Such a procedure will only benefit Boehmeria, it will rejuvenate and become more magnificent.
Most often, Boehmeria suffers from aphids and a spider mite attack. Signs that the plant is infested with pests:
- the leaves are covered with a sticky bloom;
- the underside of the leaf is decorated with a thin cobweb;
- the leaves lose their shape and fall off.
Types of Boehmeria with photos and names
It is a valuable species for interior gardening, grows quickly, and can be renewed well. It is she who is called Chinese hemp.
Differs in larger leaf plates with a central reddish vein.
Against the background of congeners, it stands out for its short stature (up to 100 cm) and a charming gray fluff on the leaves, thanks to which it got its name.
Also, not the tallest representative of the family (up to 90 cm), it is more a herbaceous species than a shrub.
A two-meter bush with a greenish-brown trunk and large leaves up to 20 cm.
Differs in a unique color of the leaf: on top – dark emerald, below – with a silvery sheen. The pronounced “wrinkled” pattern in young foliage is very attractive. Boehmeria stems are widely used in the production of high-quality fiber. It is so durable and not subject to decay that it has long been used to make ropes and sailcloth.
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