If you are a little dreamer, then in the form of yellow or orange flowers, you can see hypocrite stretched out for a kiss, or you can see an offended chick with an inflated beak. This little-branched epiphyte was first discovered and described by the German botanist Martius, who gave it a name, literally meaning “swollen from below”, attributing it to the Gesneriev family. Today, the flower is gaining popularity as a houseplant, despite the fact that this delicate exotic is quite capricious, and caring for it at home requires some knowledge and skills.
General description with photo
A more accurate systematization of hypocrite was made by Professor Schrader, who included this South American culture in the genus Nematanthus, abolishing the genus of the same name. Its species diversity includes both epiphytes and semi-epiphytic lianas, and even shrubs with semi-shrubs.
The leaf plate of the hypocrite is rounded, short, obovate, with a slight sharpening. The surface of the leaf is often smooth, glossy, but there are species with pubescence. The back of the leaf has a purple tint. Flowering occurs in early summer, the buds are formed at the base of the leaf, in the axils. The formed flower has an asymmetrical shape with a significant downward deflection. Upright species grow up to 50-60 cm, and those that give creeping vines usually do not rise higher than 10-15 cm.
The hypocrite is attributed a special property to stimulate the growth of other plants. If some home specimen has “died” or cannot recover from an illness, it is worth putting it next to the “kiss of summer” as it will grow again. The same applies to people on whom the plant affects in a positive way, taking away negative emotions and giving peace and tranquility. However, all this only works with healthy and vital specimens.
Types of hypocrite with a photo
With all the natural diversity in indoor floriculture, the following two varieties are most widely used.
The species belongs to the ampelous, in nature it is an epiphyte capable of extracting food from the air and precipitation. The shoots branch very weakly, the leaves with the next arrangement are rounded, fleshy, up to 2 cm long, resembling the leaves of the “money tree”, for which they got their name. There is a slight pubescence on the surface of the leaf plate. The buds are bright red, the elongated corolla is colored yellow. After the end of flowering, the leaves of this houseplant crumble, and it plunges into a seasonal dormant state.
A kind of semi-ampel form. Like all representatives of the genus, it is characterized by weak branching, practically without giving side shoots. In contrast to the light shade of the leaves of the coin type, it has dark saturated foliage with a smooth, shiny surface without pubescence. But the main difference lies in the absence of a dormant period with foliage shedding, the plant belongs to the evergreen. Axillary flowers are collected in 1-3 buds, peduncles are short. The waxy petals of their corollas are connected like a spherical lantern with a small hole at the top, which has an outward bend.
In addition to these two common species, there are lesser known, but also worthy of attention.
It has dark green glossy diamond-shaped foliage on short petioles. Shoots are upright, slightly branched. Differs in long flowering, which stretches for the entire summer season. The flowers are decorated with terracotta stripes.
This species has varieties of two colors – with yellow and red buds. It is grown as an ampelous culture thanks to creeping shoots with small glossy leaves. Flowers also have a very small, literally miniature size.
Currently, it deserves special attention and love of flower growers, it is singled out as a separate species. Shoots are semi-ampel, lodging only at a considerable length. Differs in large leaves with a pointed top. Elongated peduncles raise scarlet flowers above the main green mass, which looks very decorative.
Valued for the variegated color of the foliage in two tones of green. At the same time, lighter stripes (sometimes almost white) run either along the central vein or along the edge.
Due to its tropical origin, hypocrite has its own whims and imposes rather stringent requirements on growing conditions.
With all its love for bright light, the flower prefers diffused lighting without bright direct scorching rays in the summer. For evergreen species, light is also needed in winter, but it is quite enough if daylight hours are artificially extended. The coin variety can also winter in a less lit place, and at the same time it will feel even more rested.
Summer and winter periods should have significant differences in temperature content, while the drops should not be sharp and instantaneous. Late autumn is a period of adaptation to winter dormancy, which, in relation to the temperature regime, is necessary for any variety of this crop.
During the period of intensive growth, the hypocrite requires high environmental humidity. This can be achieved by standard measures – frequent and regular moistening from a spray bottle or installing a pallet with wet sphagnum, expanded clay, etc.
In hot weather, increased watering is required, in spring and autumn the soil is moistened as the top layer dries up, in winter the need is sharply reduced, but the earthen clod should not be allowed to completely dry out. The winter watering regimen also depends on the type of hypocrite; evergreen species will require a little more moisture.
Neither in summer, nor in winter, hypocyrt should not be watered with cold water! It is completely contraindicated for this southern plant.
From ready-made compositions, it is preferable to choose soil for violets. When preparing the substrate yourself, it is recommended to take equal parts of humus, sand, high-moor peat and leafy soil.
Top dressing coincides in time with the period of intensive growth. A liquid concentrated mineral complex is recommended for flowering plants. In autumn and winter, top dressing is not carried out for a good rest of the flower.
The culture is slow-growing, and therefore does not need an annual transplant. Usually, such a need arises every 2-3 years. The capacity is chosen small, with a small allowance for root growth. An important requirement is the presence of several or one large drainage holes. When filling the pot, it is necessary to provide a wide drainage layer of coarse-grained material; there must be voids in the pot. The plant belongs to epiphytes, so its roots also need air.
hypocrite refers to plants that do not grow independently, and therefore the growth of lateral processes for a compact appearance has to be stimulated artificially. To do this, in the fall, before dormancy, it is necessary to prune the shoots, shortening them by about a third. This will also be an incentive for the formation of buds, since their laying occurs only on young shoots.
It is easiest to get a new plant from cuttings obtained from a mature specimen. Cuttings should have up to 4-5 internodes, they need to be cut out during the period of active growth. The lower leaves on them are removed and the stalk is placed in water, perlite or in a loose soil substrate. The rooting of the shoot occurs in comfortable conditions according to the usual rules for caring for the culture.
The seed method of reproduction is also available, the scheme of which is traditional.
For greater decorativeness, it is recommended to plant several young plants in a permanent container at once, especially for poorly branching varieties with pubescent foliage.
Pests and diseases
Aphids, mealybugs and whiteflies are most commonly affected by hypocrite. It is also possible to be attacked by scale insects and spider mites. If you carefully examine the plant, signs of the appearance of insects become obvious – the presence of a thin cobweb, dry or brown spots, mucus, loss of general tone. Some pests are visible to the naked eye. At the first stages of infection, ethyl alcohol, soapy water or moderately hot showers are effective (the hand should calmly endure the temperature). If there are many insects, and signs of their activity are obvious, it is necessary to use appropriate chemicals.
Diseases are caused by a violation of the rules of care, most often this is a mismatch between air temperature and watering. The colder the room, the more rarely watering should be. High humidity and cold air can cause gray mold or powdery mildew. Unhealthy shoots need to be cut and treated with a fungicidal solution. If the rot has touched the roots, a transplant is required with a complete revision of the root system.
Possible problems and their elimination
- Brown spots on the leaves – watering with cold water or insect damage.
- hypocrite does not bloom – there can be many reasons. No pruning was done, which is why young shoots did not grow, too poor soil, lack of light, lack of a dormant period.
- The buds and leaves are falling – the copy is flooded against the background of the cold air of the visit. Not to be confused with leaf fall before dormancy in hairy varieties!
- The leaves turn yellow and bend – too active exposure to sunlight, you need to make the light diffuse, for example, stick tracing paper on the window.