Many ornamental flower crops grown as houseplants are native to the tropics or subtropics. One of them is sprecelia, which grows in the mountainous regions of Central America. An unusual exotic flower, similar to both a lily and an orchid, is grown in the flower beds of the middle lane as an annual, at home as a perennial.
Sprecelia appeared in culture in the 16th century, when the Spaniards brought the flower to Europe. It received its name in honor of the mayor of Hamburg, Johan Heinrich von Spreckelson, who contributed to the acquisition of bulbs of an unusual plant for that time.
At home, the flower is called the Lily of the Aztecs – since ancient times it has been an indispensable attribute of holidays and ceremonies among the Indians.
sprecelia is the name of a genus of bulbous flowering plants in the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae). Previously, it was believed that the genus consists of one species – the magnificent Sprecelia (Sprecelia formosissima), but then C. gray (S. glauca), S. Howard (S. Howardii) and S. large-flowered (S. grandiflora) were added to it. At home, most often, they grow a magnificent spreckel.
The size of the bulb, covered with reddish scales, varies from 5 to 10 cm. A large head can successively throw out several peduncles during the season, while a small one will give only one. Plant height reaches 20-35 cm.
During the flowering period (spring-early summer), a reddish-greenish peduncle first appears – a long hollow tube up to 30 cm tall, then during flowering or later 3-6 dark green, sometimes with a bluish tinge, leaves grow. The leaf plate is narrow (up to 2 cm), grows up to 40 cm in length, the surface is smooth with clearly visible longitudinal veins.
At the top of the peduncle, one large (up to 15 cm in diameter) flower is formed with asymmetrically arranged petals of scarlet, dark red or dark crimson color. There are six petals – three are directed upwards, like those of an orchid, and three hang down, partially covering the stamens. The flower retains its decorative effect from several days to three weeks.
Sprecelia is magnificent – landing, conditions of detention
The agricultural technique for growing spreckel is similar to planting and caring for hippeastrum, they also have common diseases and pests. A heat-loving culture in nature grows in well-lit areas of the foothills with loose soil, so at home it needs a similar environment.
Planting material is purchased in flower shops, and it is ready for planting – the bulbs have gone through a dormant period. The development of a flower directly depends on their quality, so you need to carefully consider the choice of material. What to look for:
- in larger bulbs, the supply of nutrients is greater, and the flowers grow larger;
- the head should be dense, strong, without signs of illness, the scales should be dry, the bottom and neck should be strong, without damage and signs of decay;
- if the bulb is sold in a pot, then try to examine the condition of the roots through the drainage hole.
A container about 15 cm deep is chosen so that a distance of 4-5 cm remains between the bulb and the wall. It must have a drainage hole – when moisture accumulates, the bulbs rot.
For bulbous crops, the composition and structure of the soil is important – in heavy dense soil that does not allow air to pass through, the bulb develops poorly, begins to rot, so the soil mixture must be loose, moisture and breathable. You can use ready-made soil by adding a little sand to it, you can cook it yourself if you can purchase components. Soil mixture option: 1 part each of peat, sand, humus, leafy soil + 2 parts of soddy soil.
How to plant:
- pour a drainage layer – 1/3-1/4 of the volume of the pot;
- fill the soil, deepen the bulb so that the upper part remains outside, water well;
- put the pot in a warm shaded place (you can cover it with a jar, a bag on top);
- occasionally moisten the soil with a spray bottle;
- Regular watering begins when the peduncle reaches a height of 10 cm.
The active growing season begins in late January – early February, and at this time the plant needs diffused, not very bright light, so the pot can be kept on the western or eastern windows, in the back of the room. When the peduncle begins to form, the pot is transferred to the south window, covering from the sun in the heat. Maximum lighting must be provided during leaf growth. In summer, the flower feels great in the garden, on the open balcony, terrace.
The temperature regime depends on the period of development and directly affects the growth rate of the peduncle, leaves, and the state of the plant:
- the beginning of the growing season – at t=20 °C and above, the peduncle grows rapidly, at t=16-18 °C growth slows down;
- flowering period – at t = 20 ° С and above, the duration of the period decreases, at t = 16-18 ° С – increases;
- leaf growth period – t = 18-22 ° С.
At home, when caring for plants that come from the tropics, you need to take into account their features – the requirements for watering, humidity differ in different periods of development. Sprecelia comes from areas of Central America, where drought is replaced by rains, and it has adapted to store moisture in the underground part, to retire until the next favorable period.
The bulb contains a lot of moisture, so watering should be treated carefully – its excess leads to rotting of the roots, the bulb itself, with a lack, metabolic processes are disturbed. Water for irrigation is defended, heated to room temperature so that there is no sharp contrast between the temperature of water and soil.
Water should not fall on the bulb – drops of moisture between the scales can lead to rotting of tissues in this place. You can pour some of the water into the pot, some into the pan.
Growing season and watering:
- while the peduncle grows, watering is moderate, the dried layer of soil from above serves as a guide;
- during flowering, the volume of watering is increased, but the soil should not be wet;
- during the dormant period, once every 2-3 weeks, slightly moisten the soil from the spray gun (the roots should not dry out).
In different periods of development, the need for nutrients is different. On sale there are special complexes for bulbous plants, which take into account the requirements of the plant in minerals.
- the beginning of the growing season – they introduce nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (7: 3: 6) or use a complex for decorative leafy indoor plants;
- the peduncle has grown to 12-15 cm – pour the soil with a pink solution of potassium permanganate, fertilize with phosphorus in a week;
- flowering period – the same fertilizers as at the beginning of the growing season, but in smaller proportions (4:6:12);
- a month before going on vacation, they are fed for the last time, taking the same components, but in a ratio of 4: 4: 12.
The frequency of top dressing is once every two weeks, after transplantation, the first time is fed in a month. Fertilizers can only be applied to moist soil.
Timely top dressing is necessary to build up the leaf mass, since the base of the leaf is involved in the formation of the scales of the bulb. If there are not enough nutrients, then the bulb will take them from the leaves, and this is not enough for full flowering.
Rest period care
After flowering ends, the leaves grow for some time, but closer to autumn, all processes occurring in the plant slow down, growth stops. When the flower withers, the flower arrow is cut off at a height of 10-15 cm, the stump is twisted after it dries naturally. By November, sometimes earlier, the leaves wither, turn yellow and die off – the dormant period begins.
About a month before going on vacation, the flower is stopped watering and fertilized for the last time – you can only occasionally moisten the top layer of soil from a spray bottle. Dry content is necessary for laying flower buds, if you do not comply with this requirement, then flowering may not occur. In the spring, as soon as the peduncle begins to grow, full watering is resumed.
Bulb storage options:
- remove the bulb from the ground, trying not to damage the roots, put it in a plastic bag filled with sphagnum moss and dry peat, wrap the bag in a newspaper, keep it in a cool (12-14 ° C) room until March, then plant it in a pot;
- the bulb hibernates in a pot, which is cleaned in a dry, cool place (16-18 ° C).
In nature, Sprecelia reproduces with the help of children, so the magnificent Sprecelia is propagated at home in the same way. Babies grow on the mother’s bulb during the time between transplants. In order not to injure the plant once again, the children are separated during spring transplantation with a sharp instrument, the cut is sprinkled with coal powder. A young bulb is planted in the same way as an adult, in light, loose soil, leaving the top on the surface. The pot is placed in a warm (20-25 ° C) bright place (not in direct sun).
The seed method is used if it is possible to collect fresh seeds – they germinate quickly, and after a month the seedlings are ready for picking. In the first year of growth, development is slow, then the young spreckel is no different from the adult, and its care is similar. It will bloom in five years.
Possible diseases and pests
sprecelia magnificent is resistant to infectious diseases and pests, but violations in care, a diseased plant nearby can cause infection, the appearance of parasitic insects.
Diseases, pests – signs of how to fight:
- The appearance of silvery spots, soft, sluggish leaves, a short peduncle or its absence are signs of downy mildew infection. Rinse the leaves with clean water and spray with a fungicide.
- With excess moisture, reddish spots appear on the scales, areas of decay on the roots, leaves and peduncle wither – infection with red rot has occurred. The bulb is removed from the pot, the diseased areas are cut off, dried in the air for a week, pickled with foundationazole and planted. The soil is completely changed, the new one must be disinfected, the pot is washed with soap, disinfected or replaced with another.
- From infected plants, through an open window or a diseased bulb, damage by insect pests can occur: mealybug, scale insect, spider mite, aphids. Insects, their larvae suck the juices from the plant, so the leaves wither, turn yellow, dry, the flower sheds the petals. The presence of a scale insect can be recognized by sticky secretions on the leaves, a mealybug by a grayish-white bloom on the petals, leaves, a tick by a thin sticky cobweb, and aphid colonies are clearly visible in the leaf axils.
- remove the top layer of soil, cut leaves with large damage;
- wash the rest with a sponge with soapy water, then clean (can be washed with a weak solution of alcohol, cologne);
- spray insecticide (Aktara, Aktellik, Metaphos, Fitoverm, etc.) plant, soil;
- rinse and disinfect with alcohol, chlorhexidine the surface where the pot is;
- repeat the treatment 2-3 times with an interval of a week (insecticides do not work on eggs, and the incubation period lasts a week).