Stromanthe is an ornamental perennial with a bright and unusual coloration of large movable leaf plates. Growing this indoor flower is quite cumbersome, caring for the stromanthe is fraught with certain difficulties, and therefore cannot be recommended for beginners or inattentive flower growers. Below we will talk about how to create comfortable conditions for the growth and development of this unusual exotic.
Stromanthe is one of the representatives of the Marantov family, an interesting and difficult enough for cultivation at home. The closest relatives are calathea, ktenanta and arrowroot itself. Their appearance and structure are very similar, which is why they are often confused with each other. According to some taxonomists, these plants are not even divided into a separate generic classification.
The birthplace of culture is the tropical rainforests of the South American continent. Large leaves have a fancy color and grow on tall erect petioles. In the dark, they stand upright, hiding their front surface from the eyes. For the fact that they are always turned to the source of light, and with the arrival of evening twilight they rise upward, as if hands folded in prayer, the flower was nicknamed “the one praying.” The height of indoor specimens can reach 80 cm. The plant has no main stem.
You can distinguish stromanthus from calathea by shape and color. Calathea does not have a beet color on the seamy side, and the shape is more rounded and wider. But in some cases it is very easy to make a mistake, even experienced florists make mistakes in identification.
The leaf plate has such a clever connection with the petiole that it can turn relative to it in different directions, changing its position in the horizontal and vertical planes. All representatives of the Marantov family have this botanical feature. Either rising, then falling, then opening completely, then curling up into a tube, the plant is in constant motion. In the complete silence of the tropical forest, where whole thickets of this perennial are formed, and its petioles reach a meter in length, all this movement produces a slight rustle that can be heard especially clearly at dawn and in the evening.
Under natural conditions, exotic blooms, releasing a long peduncle, decorated with nondescript paniculate inflorescences of white or yellowish color. At home, the stromant does not give color, if this happens, it is extremely rare. But, if suddenly it is noticed that she begins to release a peduncle, it must be cut off immediately. This is the case when flowering at home acts on an indoor flower as a dangerous disease, since it leads to the fading of the color, the cessation of growth and the fall of the petioles.
Types and varieties
The species diversity of stromant is not great, usually only two of them can be found in home collections – bloody and pleasant. The small selection of varieties is complemented by some varietal diversity.
Long-stemmed leaves are painted in a “herringbone” pattern, made in different shades of green and white-beige. In length, they can reach 20 cm with a width of 4-5 cm. The height of a medium-sized bush is 30 cm. From the inside, the color of the plate is also green with a slight pinkish tint. It blooms extremely rarely.
There is the name Blood-red. Larger, in comparison with the previous one, the species comes from the Brazilian forests. It is characterized by pointed ends of leaf plates, elongated by 15-40 cm in length. Their shape is narrower, no more than 7-13 cm wide. The color of the glossy outer surface is beige-green, variegated, with different shades of a green palette and a V-shaped pattern. The seamy side is cherry red or beetroot, monochromatic.
The best varieties of this type:
- “Multicolor” – the pattern of the upper surface is dark green with a combination of white-beige or very light lime color. The inside is burgundy red.
- “Hortikolor” – stains in yellow-olive-green tones, the lower part is dark red.
- “Tricolor” (“Triostar”) is the most popular variety with a dark green front surface, along which white, pinkish and light green V-shaped stripes of irregular shape are laid. Below the leaf has a beetroot color.
- “Maroon” – the pattern is made mainly in light green tones.
- “Stripe Star” – the main background of the plate is a rich green, along it along the central vein there is a paler stripe with thin branches repeating the pattern of the inner skeleton of the veins.
When purchasing this flower, you should be prepared in advance for the fact that it is capricious, requires a lot of attention, and the result remains unwarranted. Agricultural rules must be strictly observed.
With the onset of warm spring days and before the first autumn cold weather, the temperature in the room where the “praying flower” grows should not go beyond + 22 … + 25C. Hotter content requires adequate watering and air humidity correction. In winter, a cooler content is required with thermometer readings not lower than + 18C, but not higher than + 20 … + 22C. At the same time, sharp drops and drafts are completely unacceptable. Airing is very dangerous for the plant; it should be done with extreme caution. You can not put the pot close to either a heat source or window panes, avoid window sills that have cracks.
The soil in the pot should not be cooled or overheated on one side! It should always be warm evenly.
Under natural conditions, stromant grows in the lower tier of a tropical forest, however, not in its thickets, so it gets a lot of diffused but bright light. At home, she needs to provide the same comfort, protecting her from direct exposure to the sun, but providing enough light. The darker the place where the stromant stands, the less colorful and beautiful the foliage will be, up to its complete monotony.
Watering and humidity
During the period of active growth of green mass, which lasts from about mid-spring to the end of summer, watering should be regular and abundant. You cannot take tap water for this, it must stand, and besides, it needs to be slightly warmed up after that, since its temperature should be 2-3 degrees higher than room temperature. Towards autumn, watering is gradually reduced, leaving only half of the summer rate in winter. Excessive humidity when kept cool easily provokes putrefactive processes in the root system.
Complete drying out of the earthen coma, especially in the summer heat, is not allowed even for a short time, it has a destructive effect. It is recommended to check the condition of the soil, its moisture content daily, in order to prevent critical conditions. The top layer should dry out only 1 cm in the warm season.
It is not recommended to settle water for irrigation for more than 2 days in order to avoid its deterioration. If it is too tough, add a drop of lemon juice.
Moisture for the stromant is a vital necessity, it is shown daily spraying, and in the very heat it should be done twice a day, but not at the very noon, but in the morning and evening. If you spray when the flower is brightly lit, sunburn may appear on it. During the winter heating season, the flower is especially difficult due to the dry air in the room. At this time, one should also not forget about regular spraying, which will help him get through this difficult period. Water requirements for irrigation remain the same as for irrigation.
It is necessary to increase the nutritional value of the soil during the entire period of active growth, which lasts from May to August. As a fertilizer, it is best to use liquid complex formulations recommended by the manufacturer for non-flowering indoor plants. The frequency of introduction is 2 times a month, the concentration is taken half of that indicated on the package. Both the shortage and the overabundance of mineral elements in the soil will negatively affect the beauty of the stromant, while the latter is even more dangerous.
Indoor specimens first need an annual transplant, and with age they can “live” in one pot for 2-3 years. In order to minimize trauma to the root system, transplanting is carried out by transshipment while preserving the earthen clod and filling the voids with new soil. Also, if possible, you should try to replace the entire top layer of the earth.
For cultivation, you need a loose, light, humus soil with excellent aeration characteristics and a slightly acidic acidity index within pH = 6. It is desirable to include humus, sand and peat in its composition, taking sod soil as a basis. In specialized points of sale there is a special soil mixture for growing arrowroot, you can also use a composition for palm trees. It will be useful to add a little lump charcoal and sphagnum or other moss to any soil.
The height of the drainage layer should be about a quarter of the height of the pot.
Reproduction of stromant
There are several ways to reproduce a flower, vegetative methods are simpler and more reliable, but it is possible to recommend taking up seed cultivation only to experienced flower growers.
Dividing the bush
The method is simple, reliable and the fastest. The plant’s rhizome develops and grows old, giving more and more new stems. With a spring transplant, it’s time to disassemble and divide it into several independent seedlings while preserving the underground and aboveground parts. However, not everything should be divided; only young shoots with large leaves without damage are suitable for jigging. There will be a lot of them, you need to choose the best ones, sprinkling the cut points with coal. There is no need to leave too long roots, it is better to cut them, leaving 3-4 cm.
A separate temporary planting container is prepared for each section. After transplanting, the soil is moistened and the pot is covered with a film, which does not need to be removed within 2 weeks. The greenhouse effect is essential for quick adaptation. You should not rush to transplant into a permanent dish, let the young specimens finally take root within a couple of months.
Reproduction by apical cuttings
This method may not be confined to the obligatory transplant. The best time is spring and summer. Healthy, well-developed 2-3-year-old shoots are selected, from which the top is cut off with a length of about 10 cm with 2-3 internodes. There is no complete guarantee of survival, so it is better to take cuttings in stock. Cut off the stalk, slightly stepping back down from the point of attachment of the leaf to the shoot. Both cuts (on the handle and the remaining bush) are treated with charcoal. Rooting is carried out in a glass of water, into which any growth biostimulator is added for the best result.
A plastic bag is put on the glass, after which it is placed in a warm place, but not in the open sun. Water must be changed every 5-7 days. The roots should appear in a month and a half, and then new ovaries. To root the apical cuttings, you can immediately use peat tablets, the procedure is the same.
Reproduction of stromant by seeds
The method is applicable for breeders, it requires special knowledge, experience and time, and therefore it makes no sense to describe it for amateur flower growers.
Possible growing problems
Potential illnesses and problems are, as a rule, the result of inaccuracies in care. At the same time, even the smallest and most forgivable negligence for other cultures in this case may not be in vain.
- The leaves of the stramante are drying. Overly bright lighting can cause drying and yellowing. It can also be caused by insect damage such as spider mites or scabies.
- The leaves curl up into a tube and do not open at noon, or light translucent spots appear on them, more often along the edge of the plate – the reason is insufficient watering.
- The tips of the leaves dry out, the growth slows down – excessive dryness of the air, spraying should be increased, depending on the situation, up to 5-6 times a day. Move the pot away from heat sources, take care of installing additional sources of moisture.
- The petioles weaken, lose their tone, the leaves lose their color brightness, become faded – excessive watering, heavy soil, irrigation frequency inconsistency with the room temperature. There may be stagnant water in the sump after watering. In this case, it is not enough to adjust the conditions of detention, it is necessary to completely replace the soil mixture with the treatment of the root system with fungicides. In neglected situations, the plant can no longer be saved.
- The leaves change color with a predominance of brown tones – the flower is overfed, there are too many minerals in the soil, especially arrowroots do not tolerate an excess of calcium.