Ledebouria is a variegated inhabitant of the tropical forests of Latin America and Africa, successfully grown worldwide as a houseplant. The spectacular appearance of this exotic begs for its capricious nature, however, in fact, it is simple and undemanding. The unusual diversity of the decorative deciduous perennial is surprisingly combined with its endurance and unpretentiousness. Caring for him at home will not burden even a lazy owner if his little care is directed in the right direction.
Description of ledebouria with photo
The biological structure of this flower has some features that provoke some confusion in its classification. The fact is that the underground part of ledebouria is represented by bulbs with fleshy roots, because of which the culture could be classified as bulbous. But according to other biological characteristics, it more claims to be a herbaceous perennial, which tends to grow in breadth due to the constant growth of the curtain. After several changes, the plant was finally assigned to the Asparagus family. It grows both in height and in breadth, making the landing more and more compact. The bulb is small, its average size is no more than 2 cm in diameter, it is very shallow, almost at the surface of the soil. Gives multiple growths of daughter bulbs, which, expanding, sit very tightly to each other, capturing all the available territory.
Leaves and flowers
It blooms every year in spring and summer with whitish, yellowish or beige flowers, collected 2-3 dozen in a racemose or spike-shaped inflorescence. But the leaves give the plant the greatest decorative effect. Slightly bent along the central vein, elongated, leathery, they have a variegated color in silvery-green tones, forming outlandish openwork patterns reminiscent of an animal print. As the leaf plate grows, the pattern becomes less bright and noticeable, almost disappearing at the lower tiers. Basal deciduous rosettes are very dense, clustered together.
The plant is characterized by very slow growth in the vertical direction, each year each specimen gives an increase of no more than 3 leaves. But due to the large number of overgrown bulbs, the curtain grows rather quickly in breadth, creating vast colonies in the presence of free territories.
Confusion with names
There have been many cases in history when one plant was discovered and received a complete botanical description in different places and even in different parts of the world at the same time. It is not surprising that at the same time they gave him completely different names. This happened from ledebouria, which received two official botanical names at once (the second of them is Drimiopsis) and one folk name – Scylla. Although the spelling of Scylla can be found in many biological reference books dating back to the middle of the last century. All three names can be considered synonymous, and their specific differences described on various resources can be attributed to varietal characteristics.
Is ledebouria growing at home harmful?
There is a popular belief that the flower is poisonous. This is a misconception, most likely caused by the presence of a sufficiently aggressive juice that can cause a burning sensation on the skin. Because of this, ledebouria is sometimes called wild or sea onions. However, this juice is not poisonous, moreover, there are no described cases of allergy to this plant. Therefore, despite the fact that it is recommended to work with it with gloves, there are no contraindications to growing this indoor flower in the house. Moreover, ledebouria belongs to useful house plants that perfectly cleanse the air of heavy toxins and release a large amount of oxygen.
To get an even, beautiful crown, it is recommended to turn the ledebouria pot regularly in relation to the light source, optimally by a third of a turn per week.
Types of ledebouria with a photo
There are about two dozen species of this plant, however, only a few of them are grown at home.
Medium-sized decorative perennial, forming a curtain up to 40 cm in height. The leaf plates are wide, pointed, in the lower tier up to 35 cm in length and no more than 5 cm in width. Leaves are petiolless or with very short petioles, due to which they form a very dense planting. The spike-shaped inflorescence has a mild pleasant aroma. It blooms in spring and can continue to bloom all summer and all September. By November, the foliage is partially lost, and the surviving leaves fade and gradually lose their variegated color, becoming almost monochromatic. This should not cause concern – this is how the preparation for the period of winter dormancy takes place.
Ledebouria petiolar or spotted
The main difference from the botryoid variety is the long petioles, which makes the curtain look looser. Flowering occurs later and ends later. Inflorescences are pale yellow or whitish gray. Preparation for the resting phase occurs in the same way with the loss of the variegated color of the foliage and their partial loss.
Iceburia or scilla peruvian
Differs in shiny leaves with a ciliated edge and a fairly large bulb. The shape of the buds is star-shaped, the color of the base type is blue. There are varieties with snow-white flowers, for example, the “Alba” variety.
The plant is better known as Scylla Violet. A low-growing species with a bulb protruding from the soil, which gives many children and lateral branches. It got its name for the intense purple color of the underside of the leaves and buds.
With good care, ledebouria can grow at home for up to 10 years.
Growing up, leaving
Ledebouria is native to the African continent and the tropics of Central America, however, it does not require tropical conditions. Small errors in care are not critical for her. But, if you create a comfortable environment for her, then the result can exceed all expectations.
Access to bright light is one of the main conditions for the decorative variegation of the plant. Sills open to the light will be the best location for him. Only in the midst of a sultry summer will you need a little shading and at least a little fresh air, at this time you can take the flowerpot out to the balcony or into the garden. With a lack of light, the colors will no longer be so brightly variegated and beautiful. If this detail is not taken into account, then ledebouria can grow anywhere in your home.
Important! After transplanting or a sharp change in the conditions of maintenance, the plant needs to acclimate in partial shade for at least a week.
Scyllium does not have any special requirements for the temperature content. The only thing to avoid is being close to hot heaters in winter. As with most indoor plants, a larger difference between summer and winter temperatures is undesirable. The lower critical mark of the thermometer is + 8C.
You need to water the flower no earlier than the top layer of the soil dries well. Waterlogging, harmless to other plants, can be detrimental to its bulb, but good drainage will be a good prevention of this problem. It is better to underfill this perennial than to overly moisturize it.
This indicator is not important, spraying of ledebouria is not required. A prophylactic, refreshing and dust-free shower will be beneficial.
Loose or medium density soil with a PH value of 6 units is optimal. Dense substrate must be diluted with peat or coarse river sand with the addition of perlite. From ready-made compositions, substrates for bulbous or flowering plants are well suited. Regardless of the composition of the soil, it is imperative to pour coarse material on the bottom of the pot – expanded clay, broken shards, small pebbles, etc.
For growing ledebouria, you should give preference to a wide flat pot, given the tendency of its rapid growth in breadth.
The complex of minerals that are optimally suitable for the cultivation of ledebouria matches the needs of cactus plants. Therefore, for feeding a flower, you can safely use ready-made compositions intended for succulents and cacti. The time of their introduction is spring and summer with a frequency of once every 3-4 weeks. In the fall, the plants are preparing for the resting phase, so the introduction of nutrients must be stopped.
How to properly plant and transplant ledebouria
The frequency of replanting is dictated by the growth rate of the specimen. For young individuals, an annual housewarming is usually required, adult plants, the further growth of which is not foreseen, can be transplanted every 3 years. The signal for transplanting should also be the bulging of the root bulb system above the surface of the pot.
When transplanting, the bulb is placed vertically and superficially, a thick layer of soil over days will interfere with development. Too dense curtains must be divided during transplantation. The best time for the procedure is traditionally early spring.
The seed method of reproduction of ledebouria is difficult due to poor maturation of seeds at home and their practical absence on sale. The easiest way to get new specimens is with the help of bulbous babies, which grow in abundance every year. A vegetative propagation method with petiole leaves is also available.
Propagation by daughter bulbs
It is convenient to combine the separation of the bulbs with the transplanting process, which occurs in early spring. The flower is well watered the day before, removed from the ground and with great care break off the formed children. If they are strongly grown together by the root part, a sharp knife is used for separation so as not to deprive one of the roots of the bulbs. The cut points are sprinkled with crushed coal or wood ash. Further planting is carried out in the same way as transplanting adult bulbs.
A young leaf without damage is selected, which breaks off together with the petiole as close as possible to the bulb, at or below the ground level, and is placed in a glass of water, perlite or a sand-peat mixture. If it is necessary to obtain several new copies, it is possible to divide both the leaf itself and its petiole into parts. Each of them is buried in the ground in an inclined position and pressed against it with glass. Care must be taken to ensure that the soil under the glass does not begin to grow moldy. As soon as the first signs of rooting appear, the shelter is removed.
ledebouria is unpretentious and easily tolerates non-critical errors in care. However, due to gross mistakes in care, you may encounter the following problems.
- Petioles or petiolate leaves begin to blacken from below. This indicates the process of rotting of the root part. An urgent full revision of the bulb with the removal of damaged fragments and its transplant is required.
- The petioles stretch out and become so thin that they cannot withstand the weight of the leaf. At the same time, the leaves themselves turn pale and lose their variegation and fleshiness. The instance is experiencing an acute shortage of light.
- Leaves turn yellow and fall. The situation should be of concern only if it occurs in the spring or in the first half of summer. The presumed cause is too dry content. The yellowing of leaves after flowering is complete is a natural preparation for the winter dormant phase.
- The leaves begin to rot from above, lose their elasticity and become watery. The reason is excessive watering.
- Excessive moisture can also result in the appearance of a white coating on the surface of the soil.
- Winter has passed, and ledebouria has not left a state of rest. Most often, no human participation is required in this case. The plant itself regulates the timing and duration of its rest. But, if the resting phase lasts until the middle or end of spring, it is necessary to check the state of the bulb and the entire root system. Transplanting, carefully increasing watering and increasing daylight hours should solve this problem.