Dizygotheca is a houseplant with a slightly strange name and a very complex and capricious character. But in its decorative-patterned leaves you can fall in love at first sight. This evergreen indoor flower will decorate and give a special aesthetic to the interior and at any time of the year, but it will cost some work and patience – caring for dizygotheca at home is difficult and not every amateur can do it. But for lovers of decorative exotics and difficult victories in indoor gardening, this plant will be a worthy find, but novice amateurs in order to avoid disappointments are better to bypass this plant for now.
Description of the plant with photos
dizygotheca is an ornamental deciduous flowering crop from the genus Araliaceae. In nature, it grows on the islands of Oceania and in humid places of the Australian continent, where the climate is not simple and quite peculiar. It has sawtoothed narrow leaves with deep serrations along the edge. They are located on long petioles sitting on a straight and sparsely branched trunk, and resemble the appearance of trampled fingers, Their color varies significantly depending on the variety and can be from a copper-red shade to almost black, coal-anthracite. In this case, the shoots can be much lighter and speckled. There are also variegated varieties with spotted leaves.
Umbrella-shaped flowers are small in size and do not represent special decorative value.
Confusion with dizygotheca names
This Latin name among florists is considered outdated, much more often you can hear another – scheffler elegant. But even here there is some confusion, since the dizygotheca elegantissima or simply elegant (Latin – plerandra elegantissima) is just one of the varieties of culture that we most often see in the photo. In addition, the plant has folk names – finger, spider or false aralia, although we are talking about a completely different plant.
There are only two varieties of this crop grown at home.
Most often, it is called simply elegant. This is the most suitable for growing and caring for at-home variety. The central shoots are straight, practically without branching, the leaves are rich dark green in color. They have an oblong shape and a large serration at the edges. On each shoot, there can be from 4 to 11 such leaves, umbrella-shaped, spread in different directions. The inflorescence is unattractive, nondescript, formed from above.
Outwardly, it has a great resemblance to the previous species, but the zigzag edge is less pronounced, has not pointed, but smooth wavy curves.
Cultivation and care
In agricultural technology, as already mentioned, the plant is quite capricious and requires a lot of attention and constant care.
Location and lighting requirements
The plant loves light all year round, both in summer and in winter it can and should be kept in the open sun except for a very hot period. At the zenith of summer, it is better to scatter the scorching rays of the sun. In winter, you need to put this indoor flower on the most illuminated place in the house, ideally the southern windowsill. If there is no such place, you should think about additional artificial lighting. If it is possible to take the dizygotheca in the summer to the backyard in the open air, it is advisable to do this. In this case, it can tolerate the open sun, but it will feel good in a place shaded by midday rays.
The plant does not like extreme heat. The optimal temperature range in the warm season is + 20 … + 22 C. In winter, it is desirable to lower the temperature by 5 ° C (optimally + 16 … + 18 C), while the permissible lower threshold is + 15 ° C.
It should be taken into account! Proximity to heating radiators and other air-drying hot devices for dizygotheca is unacceptable!
The love of this plant for moist air is one of the main problems of its cultivation in the apartment. It is absolutely necessary to constantly spray it, and in winter this measure may not be enough because of heating devices. Because of this, many florists have adapted to grow dizygotheca in the florarium, it feels good in a greenhouse with automatic regulation of air parameters. You can achieve an increased percentage of moisture by installing pallets with sphagnum or wet claydite, an aquarium and other traditional methods with which every florist is familiar.
With watering, everything should be smooth and without frills in any direction. Moisture in the soil should always be in abundance, but without its stagnation. Drying of the soil completely, especially in summer, should not be allowed. Also, watering with cold and not settled chlorinated water from the tap is unacceptable, it should stand for at least 0.5 days. With the onset of the autumn period, you should adhere to the rule: the cooler the air becomes, the less water the plant needs. In winter, watering remains at the level of supporting, if only the ground does not dry out.
Dizygotheca is very responsive to mineral fertilizers, it is recommended to apply them every 1-2 weeks, using ready-made complexes specially designed for ornamental deciduous plants.
A slight tightness for the root system of the dizygotheca is useful, it contributes to its better development.
Transplantation of newly purchased dizygotheca
If the plant is bought ready in a planting container, this should be done in the summer. And always in sunny warm and clear weather, focusing also on the conditions of the nursery or store where it was grown. This flower does not tolerate sudden changes in temperature, winds and drafts. Most often on sale you can find peat pots, in which three bushes of dizygotheca are planted. They are filled with peat crumbs, so at home they should be immediately replanted after a short period of adaptation.
The earth substrate is best purchased ready-made. Agrofirms do not produce specialized soil for this asthenia, so preference should be given to a composition for dracaena that is close in requirements. It is fairly well aerated, and yet it is recommended to add additional baking powder in the form of charcoal or vermiculite. Too dense soil quickly leads to the formation of root rot.
In the future, it is recommended to transplant after 2-3 years in the spring. At the same time, it is necessary to completely replace the land. For young plants, you need to select a pot with a slight increase in size, adults can again be planted in the same container, replacing the soil mixture. The roots during transplantation should be handled extremely carefully so as not to injure them. To destroy the old soil from them should not be with your hands, but with a warm stream of water. For old plants, the soil can not be completely updated, limiting yourself to replacing the top layer.
For reliability, it is recommended to put a weight on the bottom of the pot so that the upper part does not outweigh. It will also serve as a good drainage material.
In order for the plant to have greater decorativeness, it is better to plant 2 or 3 specimens in one container.
Reproduction of dizygotheca
A successfully growing plant can be tried to propagate vegetatively, and a seed method is also available.
Vegetative propagation by cuttings
Cuttings of this plant are rooted hard and reluctantly, so you can not do without a biostimulant of growth and root formation. They should be planted in a mixture of sand and top peat in equal parts. After good soil moisture, the container is covered with polyethylene or a glass jar and, if possible, an artificial fog is created in the mini-greenhouse. Put it in a bright place. After the appearance of seedlings, you can remove the shelter, not forgetting to ensure maximum humidity. It is important to reduce the air temperature after the greenhouse gradually, accustoming young seedlings to cool conditions.
Importantly! All parts of the plant contain toxic substances, so you can work with it only in protective gloves! For the same reason, you need to put a pot with dizygotheca in places inaccessible to children and pets.
The time of sowing seeds of the crop is the end of winter. Previously, it is recommended to soak the seed material in the biostimulant of growth and root formation, this will accelerate germination and make the seedlings stronger. Plant seeds in moist ground to a depth equal to twice the size of the grains themselves. The container should be kept in a warm place, if the room is too cool, you can provide a little heating from below. The optimal temperature regime is + 20 … + 24C. To create a microclimate, the container before the appearance of seedlings can be covered with glass, plastic or polyethylene, but this is not necessary. In this case, frequent ventilation is necessary.
It is possible to plant young seedlings in individual containers after the appearance of the third pair of leaves, after which the temperature should be lowered to + 18 … + 20 C. Planting in a permanent dish is carried out in this case by transshipment.
Diseases and pests
Unfortunately, dizygotheca cannot be classified as a plant with strong immunity against infections and rots, it is often attacked by insect pests. Most often it is attacked by shields, thrips and, if the content is too dry, spider mites. They should be combated by traditional methods with the use of insecticides. If pests are seen on other plants in the room, it is better not to wait until they spread to an exotic guest, but to take preventive measures.
With insufficient soil aeration and stagnation of water, the roots of the dizygotheca are subject to rapid decay. Consider other possible problems:
- The leaves of the lower tier fall off – insufficient lighting.
- Bald spots appear on the leaf plates first whitish, then turning into brown – sunburn, the plant should be shaded from the midday rays.
- The leaves begin to crumble, the specimen grows poorly – low-nutrient soil, it is necessary to take care of fertilizing.
- Leaves fall all over the trunk – dry air, the proximity of heaters, unsuitable room temperature or constant drafts.