Ruellia

Ruellia

Ruellia is a heat-loving plant belonging to the Acanthus family. Named after the botanist Jean Ruelle, who lived in France in the Middle Ages. The second name is dipteracanthus. For the first time, flowers were discovered in Brazil, and are distributed throughout countries from the tropical zone of South and North America. In total, there are about 250 varieties of ruellia.

General description

The flower belongs to the category of evergreen perennials, which are successfully cultivated both in open gardens and at home. Herbaceous shoots tend to branch out strongly and be covered along the entire length with leaves. Depending on the variety, the color of the foliage can vary from dark green to emerald and variegated. The central stems grow straight, not deviating to the side, and the side ones often spread along the ground. To direct them upward, you need to make a garter. The leaves themselves are quite large, about 7-8 cm long and 2-3 wide. The veins are embossed, palpable under the fingers. Attached to the stems opposite each other, the surface is glossy or with a velvet “litter”.

Flowers develop in the axils of the leaves and on the tops of the shoots. They are 5 petals, fused at the base of the bud and visually similar to a petunia. The diameter of the inflorescence is on average 5-6 cm. Ruellia fades very quickly, literally the next day the petals wither, forming a small seed box. Inside, light brown seeds ripen, which, after opening the box, scatter over a long distance. The plant is ready to bloom already in the year of planting, with proper care pleasing to the eye from February to November.

Due to the specificity of flowering, ruellia is a rather rare guest in flower shops. As a rule, you can get to know her better only in private gardens of flower growers.

Location

Ruellia does not like direct sunlight, so it is advisable to place it on windows facing the east or west side. Under diffused lighting, it feels good, actively develops, but in winter it still requires additional illumination with special lamps. Especially if the pot is not on the windowsill, but in the back of the room. The lack of light will be noticeable by the internodes on the stems – the gaps between them will become wider, and the shoots themselves will become thinner.

In the summer, it is recommended to take the plant to fresh air, but protect it from drafts. It also does not tolerate tobacco smoke, water vapor, exhaust gases and combustion products. During hot hours, rearrange the pot in the shade or artificially create a blackout with a curtain or paper.

Temperature

The critical minimum at which the flower can feel comfortable is +18 C, the permissible maximum is 27-28 C. The optimum temperature for growth and flowering is 22-25 C.

Watering

Moderate, systematic, without fanaticism. An indicator for watering is the dried top layer of the earth, and in critical cases – drooping leaves that have fallen down. As soon as the flower receives the necessary portion of water, it will literally begin to come to life before our eyes, raise the leaves and open the petals. Does not tolerate drought, as well as excess moisture. For irrigation, settled water at room temperature is used.

Air humidity

Ruellia needs high humidity. The ideal indicator is 75-80%. In the absence of proper conditions, it is necessary to attract humidifiers to the rescue, as well as regularly spray the foliage with warm water. Water procedures include wiping the leaves with a damp cloth, pouring from the shower.

Another method allows you to create optimal humidity – the use of wet peat, sphagnum moss or ordinary expanded clay. Drainage is poured / put into the tray of the container where the flower is planted. In winter, the plant is set aside from window sills located above batteries or heaters. If this is not possible, then cover the heaters with a sheet, blanket or any dense cloth.

Top dressing and fertilizers

Soil fertilization is carried out after transplantation, preference is given to long-term preparations in the form of granules, sticks and other solid forms. If this moment was missed, then during the period of active growth, a feeding scheme is applied with a frequency of 1-2 times a month. Suitable liquid universal fertilizer for indoor plants. They are dissolved in water according to the instructions on the package.

Pruning

Since the plant grows very quickly and can turn into a large bushy ball in less than a year, it needs regular pruning. A total “haircut” is usually done at the beginning of spring – the bald shoots are completely cut off, the remaining branches are shortened to the desired length necessary to create a voluminous crown.

The peculiarity of the cultivation of ruellia is that it can take both an ampelous form and a bush one. Accordingly, the approach to cropping will be different. In the first case, the length of the stems is controlled, in the second, 2-3 growth buds are pinched to form a spherical crown.

Transfer

Ruellia is transplanted every 2-3 years, depending on the state of the greenery. Due to the rapid growth, the roots fill the entire volume of the pot, starting to bulge out of the drainage holes. In this case, it is necessary to transplant, preferably in early spring.

Ground requirements are minimal. The main thing is that it should be loose and pass air well. PH balance is neutral. You can buy ready-mixed soil at any flower shop. A standard potting soil will do. If you want to cook it yourself, then you need to mix turf, rotted leafy soil, sand and peat in proportions 2: 2: 1: 1. Additionally (but not necessarily) it is recommended to add perlite or vermiculite in the amount of 1/10 of the total soil volume.

The new pot should be 4-7 cm larger than the old one, not deep, preferably clay or ceramic. Most types of ruellia have a shallow root system, so even a semi-flat bowl or other container is at hand.

For transplantation, the transshipment method is used. The plant is carefully removed from the old pot in a single lump, rearranged into a new container, filling the gaps around the edges with earth. A layer of drainage 2-3 cm thick lies at the bottom. If the roots are too tangled and compressed, they are thinned out with secateurs. From above, the soil is lightly tamped, watered with water, but not plentifully, and placed in a dark place.

Reproduction methods

Ruellia can be propagated in several ways.

  • cuttings. The upper parts of the stems are cut into segments 6-12 cm long so that 2-3 growth buds are present on them. Cuttings are done in early spring. The blanks are planted directly in the ground, prepared from humus, leafy turf, peat and sand (2:2:1:1) or left in the water to take root. When the length of the roots reaches 2-3 cm and a small “washcloth” is formed, they are transplanted into the ground. To make the flower subsequently lush, 5-6 cuttings are placed in one pot at an equal distance from each other. Watering is moderate, the temperature of the content is 20-22 C, the lighting is diffused.
  • layering. The stems are pressed to the ground so that one of the internodes touches the soil. In this form, it is fixed with a hairpin, Chinese sticks, wire. When the roots appear, the cuttings are separated from the twig, dug up and transplanted into a separate container.
  • Seeds. They are planted in trays filled with a sand-peat mixture. Seeds are sown at a shallow depth in even rows, sprinkled with sand, watered and covered with a film (glass, plastic). The container is placed in a warm and dark place until germination. After the appearance of sprouts, the tray is moved to a well-lit window sill, but without direct sunlight. Watering as needed. For more active growth, you can use biostimulants. Ready seedlings are transplanted into individual pots.
  • The division of the bush. The plant is dug up, divided into several parts and planted separately from each other.

Diseases and pests

Ruellia is unpretentious in content and not prone to diseases, but it can still be sensitive to some pests and diseases.

  • Fusarium. The stems begin to darken at the roots, become covered with mucus, dark brown spots appear on the leaves. To save the bush, you need to cut all the stems, even untouched by the fungus, to the very base. Powder the cuts with ash or activated charcoal. Remove the root “washcloth” from the soil, rinse in warm water and lower it into the Kuprozan solution for half an hour. Transplant into a new pot with fresh substrate.
  • Powdery mildew. A whitish powder appears on the leaves and stems, gradually acquiring a brown tint. A solution of potassium permanganate (0.25 g per 1 liter of water) or soda ash (5 g per 1 liter of water) will help remove plaque. The second way is to shower the flower with colloidal sulfur or wood ash, passing through a sieve, arranging a dry “shower”.
  • Gray rot. Spots of beige or brown color “grow” on the sheet plates. Over time, grayish-white moss appears on them with dark patches. You can cope with rot by spraying the flower and the top layer of soil with Cinerob, Teldrome preparations. Alternatively, treat healthy leaves with a solution of potassium permanganate, and cut off diseased ones.
  • Whitefly. Small “butterflies” that have densely chosen the crown of the plant and flutter when touching the foliage. To combat insects, you can use special chemistry such as Marshal, Aktellik, or use sparing measures – vacuum the flowers daily, spray with a mixture of mustard and tobacco, install fly traps and a fumigator next to the windowsill.
  • Aphid. An accumulation of green and yellow insects, gathering in numerous colonies from the back of the leaves, on stems and flowers. You can get rid of aphids by wiping the affected parts with warm soapy water, an infusion of sharp-smelling herbs or onion peel. From chemical preparations Aktau, Inta-Vir is suitable.
  • Spider mite. A translucent mesh that entangles buds, stems and leaves. The presence of small black-brown spots on the green, from which whitish stains depart. In this case, rubbing the foliage and branches with alcohol tincture will help, followed by rinsing in warm water. In advanced cases, acaricides are used: Sunmite, Vermitek. The recommended number of treatments is 3-5 times.

Varieties

Not all varieties of ruelia have taken root in the climatic conditions of Russia. The most common in our climate include the following.

  • Ruellia Portella. Herbaceous perennial with a characteristic shape and color of the leaves. The upper side has a deep green tint, the lower one is burgundy. A white stripe runs along the length of the central vein. The plant spreads along the ground, giving a lot of layering, which spontaneously take root. The flowers are large, tubular, bright pink. Flowering lasts from early May to late August.
  • Ruellia large-flowered. The largest view in existence. The stems are retracted in length by 1-2 m, they require a garter on the frame. The flowers look like voluminous gramophones, when opened they reach a diameter of 7-8 cm. Most often, there are lilac, pink, blue-violet shades.
  • Ruellia the Beautiful. A perennial plant that in the first year of life raises the stems up, and then passes from the category of upright to creeping. The lanceolate leaves are covered with bluish-silvery velvet villi. The variety has a long flowering period, and with proper care it can generally bloom all year round.
  • Ruellia Britton. It is a voluminous bushes reaching a height of 70-80 cm. Dark green glossy greenery in the sun casts a metallic tint. From different angles it can look gray, grayish or bluish. The color of the flowers is rich purple, plum or lilac-blue.
  • Ruelli Makoya. One of the most popular ornamental varieties. The height of the bushes is average, about 60 cm. The shoots branch abundantly as they grow, creating a voluminous crown. The leaves are dark green or bottle-colored with highlighted yellowish stripes along the veins. The back side is rough to the touch, covered with villi. The flowers are bright, burgundy or lilac-pink.
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