Breynia (Breynia Nivosa) is a very beautiful, ornamental plant with an unusual variegated leaf color. It arouses genuine interest even among experienced florists. Caring for snow Breynia at home is quite simple. Difficulties can arise only with the formation. But the tips in this article will help you quickly find an approach to a new plant.
Breynia was brought to us from a hot tropical climate. In nature, it grows rapidly, forms dense thickets. An evergreen shrub. Some species partially shed their leaves. Belongs to the euphorbia family (according to some sources, to the phyllantoid family).
Erect stems tend to branch quickly. Young green shoots become lignified as they mature, becoming reddish-brown. In the natural environment, it grows up to 2 meters. In domestic specimens, growth is limited by pruning. The formation of bonsai-style Breynia is common.
Grown for beautiful foliage. Depending on the species, the shape of the leaves is ovoid or round. A slight bend from the main vein is characteristic. The surface is smooth, glossy, pleasant to the touch. The leaves are not large – up to 5 cm. The color is dominated by green. Additionally, spots are scattered over the leaves. The pattern is similar to marble. The lower leaves are often monochromatic, towards the top they become more variegated.
It blooms in late summer with inconspicuous light green small flowers. Inflorescences are paniculate. Against the background of bright foliage, flowers are practically lost, they do not give a decorative effect. The beauty of flowering is not given by the appearance, but by a strong, pleasant aroma, similar to the scent of jasmine.
As a houseplant, mainly breynia nivosa is grown. It owes its name to an interesting color scheme with white spots. In the lower part there is more green foliage, in the middle green leaves with white spots prevail, the top is sometimes completely white.
Through the efforts of breeders, several additional varieties with red, white and pink leaf edging have been bred. But snow Breynia is still the most popular variety.
Favorable conditions for growth, care
A hardy, unpretentious plant. For active growth and maintenance of decorativeness, it is enough to create favorable conditions for the flower and adhere to the basic rules of care.
- Lighting. The light is bright, preferably diffused. On the south side, shading is mandatory at noon hours. The plant quickly gets burns from the sun, begins to shed its leaves. According to some growers, Breynia needs a small amount of direct sunlight. Poor lighting leads to dullness of the leaves, loss of the characteristic bright color.
- Temperature. As a native of the tropics appreciates moderate warmth. In the spring-summer season, it grows well at an average room temperature of 20-25 ° C. In winter, at least 15 ° C.
- Watering. A slightly moist soil condition is optimal. Water regularly, but in moderation. Overflows are avoided. The accumulation of water in the root system will destroy the plant. In winter, they wait until the surface of the substrate dries out. Drying out leads to the complete loss of foliage. Both in winter and in summer they are guided by the state of the soil and flower.
- Humidity. Above the average. Moist air enhances decorative effect. Spray systematically. The pot is placed in a pallet with a stony filler, and a small amount of water is periodically poured into it.
- Topdressing. Liquid fertilizers are applied from early spring to September. The frequency is 2 weeks. Topdressing the next day after watering.
- The soil. The soil is loose, nutritious. Acidity in the range of pH 5-6. Sand is added to store mixes. Independently, the soil is prepared from turf, sand and leafy earth. The bottom of the pot is covered with a drainage layer.
- Transfer. The first 3 years, while the growth is intense, an annual transplant is recommended. Adult specimens can live up to three years without transplants. In the intervals between them, replace the top layer of soil.
The color of the leaves depends on the lighting in the winter. Intense illumination with phyto-lamps or fluorescent lamps stimulates the formation of white pigment in the leaves. Lack of light in winter leads to the predominance of green in the color of the plant.
Houseplants rarely produce full seed material suitable for planting. Seeds are not taken from hybrid varieties – the seedlings lose the characteristics of the mother plant. Seed propagation is not used or is used very rarely. Propagated by cuttings or dividing the bush.
- By cuttings. Apical shoots with part of the bark and wood are used as cuttings. A good stalk has 2-3 internodes. Rooted in a substrate that retains moisture well – sand, peat or their mixture. Cover with a glass jar, transparent foil to maintain stable humidity. Water regularly, keep at 25-27 ° C. The shelter is removed after signs of growth appear. The rooting rate depends on the moisture content of the soil, air, temperature of the content. The rooted cutting is planted in a small pot with nutritious soil.
- By dividing the bush. Adult, well-grown specimens are divided into 2-3 parts. Divide the bush in the spring – simultaneously with the transplant. The flower is carefully dug up, the root is cut with a sharp knife. The sections are sprinkled with charcoal powder. On each division, 2-3 healthy growth buds are left. Planting in pots is carried out immediately. The roots dry out very quickly!
What problems will you have to face?
According to the experience of growing Breynia, flower growers made observations that it is rarely damaged by pests, practically does not get sick. In rare cases, scale insects, thrips, and spider mites are found on the plant. The problem is easily solved by treatment with any insecticide (“Aktara”, “Actellik”). Single or multiple treatment, depending on the number of pests.
The only common problem is massive foliage loss. There are several reasons. In all cases, an error in the care is revealed. More often there is a lack or excess of moisture. After the restoration of the irrigation regime, the plant becomes overgrown with leaves again.
Novice growers often complain about the predominance of green. Sometimes even the top young shoots grow green. There is only one reason – insufficient pigment production as a result of poor lighting.
Breynia nivosa is an interesting, original plant that can decorate any apartment. In beauty, it can compete not only with decorative deciduous, but also flowering plants.