Iresine is a flower with a difficult character and high demands, capricious and unpredictable. It is hardly necessary to recommend its cultivation to novice amateurs, except as an experiment, for a possible negative result, of which you need to be mentally prepared in advance. But for experienced lovers of indoor plants, caring for Iresine can be a good piggy bank of skills. And, if everything works out, the opportunity to replenish the home collection with an interesting novelty, which will certainly not remain in it in the role of extras.
General description with photo
The Iresine plant is a representative of the Amaranthaceae family known for its decorative qualities. In nature or as a result of quality care with greenhouse cultivation, irene can grow to a bush or even to a tree. At home, it is a lush half-crust, capable of growing more than half a meter in height. The homeland of this herbaceous perennial are the countries of the Caribbean and South America, as well as Australia and Oceania and some other warm tropical regions.
The leaf plates of iresine have a rounded or oblong shape and an interesting and unusual color palette – from brown and red to dark bard with even darker or light veins. The veining of this flower is always well pronounced, there is at least a slight contrast with the main color both in a darker and lighter direction. When grown in hanging pots, some types of culture can take an ampelic form.
It is almost impossible to achieve flowering at home, and it is not worth this effort, since the flowers of Iresine are nondescript, small, whitish in color and do not represent any decorative value.
Types of iresine with photos
There are a huge number of species of culture in the wild, biologists have described up to 800 species, but only two of them are suitable for breeding at home.
Brought to Europe from Ecuador. In length, the shoots can reach half a meter, but as they grow, they lie down, which is why the variety can be used as an ampelic plant. The leaves are colored in a bright blood-red color, almost purple-black at the base, with dark bard veins. The leaf plates at the ends are pointed. The variety is suitable for growing outdoors, for example, in hanging pots. It gives a very rapid growth, beautifully and magnificently bushes. When grown in the open ground, it can be used as a groundcover, quickly forms a dark crimson highly decorative coating. Such a carpet looks very impressive in large-scale landscapes, but requires tireless care.
The homeland of the species is Brazil. Compared with the previous variety, it has a more compact size, the shoots stretch no more than 20-40 cm. The shape of the leaves is also rounded, but at the ends the leaf plates are bipartite. On a maroon background, the veining is lighter. There are original varieties with a greenish color of the leaves and yellowish or burgundy veins, as well as with an unusual effect of a metallic blade. This species is used exclusively as an indoor pot culture.
Care at home
As already mentioned, iresine is a capricious flower, so all points of care for it should be taken carefully.
The plant requires a lot of light, so when choosing a location, there will be few options – it needs the brightest place. In the extreme assumption, it can be an eastern window, but in no case a northeast or northwest, and even more so a northern one. But at the height of summer, the flower can be hot in direct sunlight, so you need to take care that the light with all its brightness is scattered. With daylight hours shorter than 14 hours, it is necessary to provide additional lighting with the help of special phytolamps. What happens if Iresine feels a lack of light? A bright saturated color will disappear, the distance between the leaves will increase, the shoots will begin to bald and stretch, as a result of which the decorativeness of the flower will suffer greatly.
This point of care for iresine is one of the simplest – the plant all year round can be in a wide range of temperatures of + 16 … + 26 C. But, if you go beyond it, the flower may suffer. Too cold content can provoke putrefactive processes, and too hot – the discharge or wilting of foliage.
Soil substrate requirements
The best solution would be to purchase a ready-made soil mixture for flowering herbaceous indoor perennials, the main quality of which should be a slightly acidic or at least neutral reaction. In the lower part of the pot, it is necessary to arrange a drainage layer. When independently compiling a soil substrate, it is necessary to add a quarter of humus to the leaf and turf soil and, if desired, an eighth of sand and top peat.
When transplanting, the soil is replaced with a new one, identical to the old one.
Irene needs to be transplanted every 2-3 years, you need to focus on the tightness of the roots in the pot.
Humidity and watering
Ideally, the water should be rain or melt, but in any case – necessarily soft. If water is taken from the tap, it should stand in the room for at least a day, preferably in the same way as the flower itself, so that the temperature difference is not felt. The main principle that must be adhered to when watering is moderation. For iresine, both drying of the soil, especially prolonged, and excess moisture are detrimental. In spring and summer, you can water more abundantly, but watch for the timely removal of excess water from the pallet. In autumn, the need for watering is somewhat reduced and short-term drying (shallow) of the topsoil layer is permissible. In winter, watering should be limited to weekly (once a week), but much depends on the temperature content. Watering and temperature should be interdependent, the lower the degree, the drier the land. But even at borderline lower temperatures, complete drying of the soil lump remains unacceptable.
High humidity of the air iresine does not require, it is enough to ensure that in the hot summer or in the conditions of winter heating, the air in the room is not excessively dry. To do this, you can practice regular spraying from a spray gun or providing an additional source of moisture.
This is an important point of care for iresine, the plant loves and needs fertilizing, but you need to make them competently. The entire period of active vegetative growth, fertilizers are applied weekly, alternating organic matter and mineral complexes. Starting from autumn and until the spring awakening, the frequency of their application is reduced to monthly. In the list of recommended organic dressings, you can add bone and / or fish meal, crushed eggshells, finely chopped banana peel, whey, chopped nettles, onion husks.
If in winter iresin can be relatively painless without fertilizing, then in spring and summer the introduction of fertilizers into the soil is necessary.
In order for the bush to look decorative and lush, it needs annual molding. This is done by pinching. Crooked, too elongated and not too neat looking shoots are subject to removal. You can choose them on the basis of exactly the place where a large splendor of the bush is visually required, because at the site of the removed shoot, the plant will release several young ones at once. You can do pinching not at once, but as the branches grow, but in early spring it is advisable to pay special attention to this point of care in order to achieve the desired bushiness.
Propagation of iresine
To obtain new plants of this exotic, cuttings are usually used because of the complexity and duration of the seed method and its low reliability. Therefore, it is faster, more reliable and easier to propagate iresine with the help of cuttings. Begin the procedure in the first half of spring. The procedure is as follows:
- Cut cuttings of the apical part of the shoots, about 7 cm long.
- Prepare a sand-peat mixture in equal proportions, deepen the cuttings into it.
- Moisten the soil and put the container in a place with a temperature of about + 20C.
- Cover with film or plastic containers to create greenhouse conditions.
- Ventilate and moderately moisten the greenhouse daily.
- After 10 days, carefully transplant the cuttings with the formed roots to a permanent place in a container with a substrate that meets the requirements of adult plants.
Further care is similar to that described above.
Possible problems in growing iresine
- Leaves fall off at the bottom of the shoots. If the plant is an adult, the process can be considered normal, however, often this phenomenon occurs due to a lack of light or a long absence of molding.
- The leaves fall off along the entire length of the shoots. The reason should be sought in the violation of the terms and volume of watering. It can be both insufficient and excessive. In the first case, the harbinger of the fall of the foliage may be its yellowing, in the second – lethargy, loss of tone.
- Too elongated shoots, a large distance between the leaf buds. The reason lies in the lack of lighting.
- The leaves began to curl up in a tube. There is an infection with harmful insects. It is necessary to conduct a thorough inspection and take measures to control pests.
Pests and diseases
To diseases, including infectious, iresine is resistant, with the exception of root rot due to the discrepancy in temperature content and watering. As for pests, their appearance is not uncommon for this culture. It is important to notice the initial signs of an attack in order to start the fight in time and not lose the entire bush. The most frequent uninvited guest is aphids. Its signs are twisting of the leaves of iresine, the appearance of sticky mucus on them. Upon closer inspection, you can find the most insects, more often on the underside of the leaf.
The main prerequisites for the appearance of insects: stagnant room air, lack of light, irrigation errors, fertilization in excess of the recommended norms or their complete absence.