Lachenalia

Lachenalia

For bulbous crops, winter flowering is not something outlandish – there are more than a dozen such plants even among indoor extras. But blooming lachenalia will never go unnoticed in the company of any stars of the home plant collection. This is a non-standard exotic with a bright and unusual tropical appearance, and its cultivation is not for everyone. Caring for lachenalia is not easy; growing this flower requires constant care and attention. But the result will undoubtedly pay them back a hundredfold, when against the backdrop of a harsh winter landscape outside the window, a garland of unusual flowers-lanterns of tropical bright parrot colors flashes.

Description of lachenalia with a photo

The birthplace of this beautiful flower is South Africa, its Cape Province. This is a fairly numerous genus, including almost a hundred species, of which only one is suitable for growing at home, but the most spectacular variety is aloe-like lachenalia. Most often, it is represented by hybrid varieties with improved quality characteristics.

The uniqueness of this exotic lies not only in its extremely spectacular flowering, but also in botanical features. For the entire growing season, the bulb of this plant produces only two belt-like leaves. But even this almost complete absence of greenery does not spoil the overall impression. In addition, the dormant period of lachenalia falls in the summer, and in the most active phase of flowering, it requires not heat, but coolness. From the moment of awakening to the opening of the buds, it takes about 2 months. The bulb has a spherical complexion, covered with closed scales of a juicy golden color, and its size rarely exceeds 3 cm in diameter.

Blooming lachenalia

During the flowering period, each of the bulbs is able to form up to 4 tall peduncles. Almost along their entire length they are covered with narrow-tubular drooping flowers, painted in a palette of bright and uneven tropical shades – yellow, orange, pink, green-olive, red and others, but always bright and with a fiery accent. The color of the recurved edge is usually darker. Yellow-flowered varieties among indoor plants are more common.

In one racemose inflorescence, up to 40 buds can be collected, the uppermost of which usually do not have time to fully open. Flowering of lachenalia is quite long, up to 2 months, begins in January and can last until spring. Skilled and experienced flower growers are able to shift this time at will within a month or two, adjusting the terms for temperature conditions.

A young copy of lachenalia can bloom even in the first year of its life.

Main varieties and types

As already mentioned, the only type of lachenalia suitable for home breeding is the aloe-like variety. Two more species can be grown outdoors in warm southern climates.

Lachenalia aloe tricolor

Very spectacular in appearance and the most cultivated type of this tropical crop in Russia. The bulb annually produces two fleshy, belt-like leaves, reaching about 20 cm in length and slightly tapering towards the end. They are painted in a dark bluish-green color with numerous brown spots. Drooping inflorescences of bright colors sequentially open from bottom to top on tall purple-purple peduncles, have short pedicels. As the buds open, their color may change from red to bright yellow or yellow-green. This species is very rare in the wild.

The best varieties and hybrid forms of this variety:

  • ‘Goldzonne’ – blooms in bright golden color.
  • “Naida” is the lightest variety, almost white in color with a yellow spot in the center.
  • “Harlequin” – Large dark pink corollas with a yellow-orange edging.
  • ‘Ro’ is a very showy popular cultivar with deep crimson flowers.
  • “Ortenburg” – variegated inflorescences have a brick-red color with a transition to yellow and salmon.

lachenalia bulbosa (bulbous)

Flowers, depending on the varietal hybrid, can be orange-orange, crimson, fiery red with olive or purple tips of slightly tapering corollas. The height of the flower stalks is up to 25 cm. It likes sandy shores and moist, loose soils.

Lachenalia contaminated

In the people, this medium-sized variety is called wild hyacinth. And he got his name “contaminated” for maroon or brown blotches on light buds. The natural habitat is very limited – it is the Western Cape in South Africa.

Growing lachenalia

For beginners, caring for this exotic is unlikely to be a feasible task, since it is necessary not only to follow certain rules of care, but also to carefully monitor the condition of the flower and understand what is happening to it in order to adjust the maintenance regime in time. In addition, this culture needs special conditions for development.

Temperature regime

It is the selection of temperature conditions that is the most difficult moment in caring for this flower. lachenalia will be able to give flowers exclusively in coolness, and the required temperature is atypical for living quarters. It should lie in the range + 8 … + 14C, which is completely not comfortable for a person. But that’s not all, this temperature range must be provided at night, this condition is mandatory. In the daytime, the thermometer can rise by a couple of divisions, but not higher than +16 degrees. With the onset of spring and summer, the temperature of the content should also be moderate; lachenalia does not tolerate too much heat even in summer, during the dormant period. It must be shaded from the sun to avoid overheating and kept in the freshest and most ventilated place in the apartment. The plant is not afraid of cool ventilation, with the exception of cold drafts.

Illumination

The plant loves light very much, however, light is warm, and lachenalia does not like heat. Flower breeders need to competently solve this problem, providing the flower with bright lighting without overheating. In summer, direct sunlight can hit the flower only in the early morning and evening. In winter, on a cold windowsill, direct sunlight may no longer be critical. Everything is evaluated subjectively in each specific situation.

Watering

After purchase, the flower must be watered abundantly. Soon he should give the first shoots. From this moment until the time when the plant enters the phase of active flowering, watering is carried out when the soil dries exactly half the pot. When flowering subsides, and the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off, it should be stopped almost completely.

Air humidity

lachenalia requires fairly high humidity. To do this, you can use a portable humidifier or a tray with wet material (moss, expanded clay, pebbles, etc.). Along with high humidity, you need to ensure good air circulation in the place where the flower stands. Stagnant air can be fatal to him.

Direct spraying is possible only under certain conditions. If the air in the room is too cold, you can not spray the plant. If it suffers from high temperatures, this is permissible and even desirable.

Humidity should not reach critical levels in any direction!

Top dressing

lachenalia is fed exclusively during active growth, starting from the moment new leaves develop. Only balanced formulations intended for ornamental flowering crops are suitable as fertilizers.

Resting phase

For the dormant period, the bulb is not dug up, it must be in the ground, old or new, after transplantation. The pot must be placed in a dark place. Room temperature will be comfortable for him.

lachenalia at rest

Exit from the resting phase

Before the bulb resumes its growth, it does not need to be watered. You can resume care only after the first signs of the formation of new leaves appear. Plants begin to moisten gradually, being limited at first to scarce rare field plants.

Important! First, increase the frequency of irrigation, and only after that the volume of water used.

Pruning

Immediately after the flowers fade, the flower stalks must be cut off. Leaves can be removed only after they are completely dry. It’s better to wait until they fall off on their own. Even in a yellowed form, they still retain certain vital juices, which they give to the bulb, providing it with nutrients for the entire future dormancy.

Substrate Requirements

Surprisingly, this capricious flower is not too picky about the soil. You can purchase a highly specialized soil mixture designed for bulbous plants. A universal soil for flowering indoor crops will also fit perfectly. But nothing terrible will happen if ordinary garden soil is used for planting with the addition of peat and sand to it for lightness and friability.

Lachenalia is one of the few houseplants that benefit from soil mulching. You can use any organic or inorganic mulch for this.

Capacity selection

For planting, shallow wide containers are selected, the height of which is significantly inferior to their diameter. The dimensions of the pot should not be large, their diameter is approximately equal to 12-14 cm for adult plants. It is necessary to provide a sufficiently high drainage layer in the bottom part.

lachenalia: choice of capacity

Transfer

The plant requires an annual transplant, either at the very end of the dormant phase, or at the very beginning of it. When transplanting, it is necessary to immediately separate all the daughter bulbs, which the plant grows very actively. During the rest period itself, transplants are not carried out!

They plant several bulbs at once in groups of 6-8 pieces, but it is better if they are separate bulbs, and not one parent with a bunch of children. The neck of the bulb should be approximately level with the ground. In this case, the dimensions of the container should be such that its lower part remains approximately 2 cm from the level of the drainage layer.

Arrangement of the upper drainage

In order to protect the underground part from rot and possible excessive moisture, an overhead drainage method can be applied. To do this, the bulb is half buried in the substrate, and the upper part of the pot is covered not with soil mixture, but with expanded clay or any other suitable material. A single abundant watering is carried out, after which watering is stopped until the first signs of new leaf growth appear.

Reproduction of lachenalia

Despite the difficulties with growing a flower, it is very easy to propagate it due to the active growth of daughter bulbs. The seed method of reproduction is practically not used, and it is quite problematic to buy the seeds of this exotic.

Young bulbs are planted in groups of 3-4 in small pots corresponding to their size. Watering after planting the young should be minimal. Increase it, starting from the third week, and this should be done gradually.

It is not recommended to mix old and young bulbs in the same container!

Reproduction of lachenalia

Reproduction by leaf cuttings

In rare cases where bulbous seed is not available, it is possible to get a new plant with a leaf. To do this, it is cut off or broken out at the very base as close as possible to the bulb, i.e. below ground level. The leaf is cut into fragments, which are rooted in the sand. The optimal depth is 1.5-2 cm. It is necessary to regularly water the leaf cuttings and shade them from the sun.

Seed method

If you managed to get seed planting material, you need to sow it as soon as possible. Seeds are planted one by one with deepening in a wet peat-sand substrate at a distance of 2 cm from each other. The container is covered with a film and placed in a room with a minimum temperature of + 18C. After the emergence of sprouts, it is necessary to ensure permanent soil moisture and bright lighting. It will take about 1 month to form the first sheet. If the seeds are planted in the spring, then by winter, young plants can bloom.

Possible Growing Problems

In addition to the mismatch of temperature conditions, lachenalia suffers most from two reasons – waterlogging of the soil and its excessive density. If the top drainage method is not used, it is necessary to regularly loosen the soil. The consequence of waterlogging and overcompaction of the substrate can be fungal diseases and putrefactive processes. Urgent correction of care and conditions of detention is necessary. Other problems:

  • The leaves have grown thin and too – there is a lack of light.
  • The leaves turned pale and / or drooped – sudden changes in temperature, prolonged cold draft.
  • Poor flowering or lack of it is too hot content.
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