Kolumney - scarlet flowers and a difficult character
Ampelic room stars conquer us with their effect of living waterfalls. But few plants display this effect as vividly as a column. True, her shoots hanging downward cause associations with the fiery, and not with a completely ordinary cascade. Numerous tubular flowers of dazzling scarlet tone cannot but attract attention, especially against the background of dark unusual leaves and shoots similar to straight lashes. This is not a simple plant, demanding care and growing conditions, but it is perfectly suitable for modern interiors.
- Brilliant fiery miracle - Columnae
- Types of Indoor Column
- Growing conditions for Kolumna
- Caring for a Column at Home
- Diseases, pests and growing problems
- Columnae breeding
Brilliant fiery miracle - Columnae
At the first glance at the neat, bright, lush bushes of the columnae, associations arise with the best indoor shrubs. But a plant representing Gesneriev family (Gesneriaceae), belongs to the category of herbaceous perennials and shrubs. In recent years, it has become one of the most fashionable species for growing in hanging baskets. Kolumney is certainly one of the most elegant red-flowered indoor crops.
Columnae received their name in honor of the Italian who devoted his life to the study of plants - F. Colonna, one of the progenitors of modern botany. These are tropical plants belonging to the number of epiphytes. They are known worldwide as “goldfish», «flying goldfish" or "dancing dolphins"(English name - Goldfish plant).
Kolumneya (Columnea) Is not a very typical ampel plant. The nature of foliage, and the leaves themselves, are more reminiscent of the best shrubs, but the growth form allows it to be ranked as ampelous evergreen herbaceous crops. Flexible, thin straight shoots hanging down reach a length of 40 to 80 cm.
A column develops in the form of such lush bushes that it is impossible not to be surprised at the number of shoots and the density of their location. Cascades of columnae look neat, elegant, and the plant itself seems quite massive.
Columnae have very unusual leaves, hard, small, they are somewhat reminiscent of boxwood, and not classic indoor plants. With a length of 1 to 3 cm, columna leaves, leathery or velvety pubescent, depending on the species, do not seem inconspicuous. Small leaves are so densely and so strictly pairwise sitting on the shoots on their miniature petioles that the branches themselves are not visible under them.
The central vein clearly appears on the leaves of the columna, emphasizing their ideal ovoid, with a pointed tip shape and meatiness. This plant offers a choice of not only classic, but also variegated varieties - with white-green or yellow-green color variations.
Columnae flowers are often compared with butterflies, although their small sizes do not always allow you to immediately find the reason for such associations, and the general shape, indeed, is similar to a fish jumping out of the water. The plant is usually completely covered with flowers - the foliage under them does not hide, but the feeling of a flowering waterfall and the amazing uniformity of flowering is undeniable.
Tubular, curving in an arc, elongated, with an asymmetric rim flowers of columna blossom in the axils of the leaves along the entire length of the twigs, which ensures this very effect of the waterfall.
The color scheme of flowers is fiery. A scarlet, reddish-orange and very bright shade is considered typical for a kolumnea, but varieties with shades of a completely different tone - cinnabar and scarlet - appear more and more often on sale. They seem darker and more noble, but also darker than traditional column. In some of the varietal plants, the flowers are highlighted with a yellow spot at the base of the tube or are colored in shades of orange and yellow.
Types of Indoor Column
Indoor columnae today are most often presented for sale by nameless hybrids. They differ in color and shape of flowers, often endowed with more unpretentiousness, can boast of colorful bordering or a more saturated tone of the leaves. But species plants offer a considerable selection of growth forms and colors.
The most decorative types of column are:
Kolumney Vedrarskaya (Columnea x vedrariensis) - an ample-colored appearance with thick drooping, creeping shoots and large, up to 3 cm leaves with a reddish tint on the underside. Large tubular flowers with a serrated cup and a two-lobed nimbus strike with shades of dark red, underlined by a yellow pharynx.
Kolumney Allen (Columnea allenii) - a beautiful ampelous look with very thin, creeping shoots and oppositely sedentary small oval leaves with a glossy dark color. Large single flowers with a two-lipped nimbus extend up to 7 cm in length, are painted in red-orange shades. After flowering, white round berries are tied, but in a room culture the plant almost does not bear fruit.
Kolumneya small-leaved (Columnea microphylla) - a densely pubescent appearance with rounded, smaller leaves and star-shaped fluffy flowers, on the lower lip of which there is a bright spot emphasizing a scarlet shade.
Acute columnia (Columnea argentea) - an elegant ampelous plant that produces dozens of thin, straight, drooping shoots with small pairwise sessile leaves with a very elongated tip, characterized by a reddish tint of color. Large tubular flowers are unusual in shape, adorned with an asymmetric shape due to their triangular elongated, slightly reminiscent of the gladioli buds, lobes and bright red color.
Becoming more and more popular small-sized column (Columnea microcalyx), also known as nice columnae (Columnea gloriosa) - a beautiful and spectacular view with thin shoots sitting in strict oval pairs, with an elongated leaf tip, large, wide-open corolla drooping pink-red flowers and an original brownish-red pubescent on very dark greenery.
Growing conditions for Kolumna
Columnae - plants are not for everyone. They are advertised as unpretentious cultures, but not everyone can grow them. In addition to sufficiently specific lighting, a cool wintering is very important for columnas. Without it, an amazing plant will not only not bloom again, but will not maintain a stable decorative effect.
Columnae are plants primarily for those who are familiar with tropical exotics. It is best grown in greenhouses and flower showcases, florariums or with moisturizers. For beginner gardeners, this plant is not the best choice.
In the development of columnis, a dormant period is expressed, when the plant needs to reduce humidity and lower temperatures. 6-8 weeks are enough in coolness for the columnia to begin to form new buds.
Lighting and placement
Kolumneya pleasantly surprises with its adaptability to lighting. The plant feels good not only in bright light, but also in partial shade. Direct sunshine is more contraindicated, it must be protected on the southern window sills and in summer on the eastern and western ones.
Tolerance to light shading allows you to place the plant not only on the windows, but also near them. Particularly rich is the choice of accommodation options for columnae in rooms with south-oriented windows or large display windows. The plant during flowering is more sensitive to scanty lighting than outside. With signs of a lack of light, it is better to move the columnar closer to the window.
Kolumneya feels great in rooms with high humidity - in bathrooms or in the kitchen, the plant is suitable for growing in greenhouses with other tropical crops or for compiling collections in flower showcases.
Temperature and ventilation
Columnia requires the creation of very hot conditions in the summer. The bushes achieve the greatest decorativeness if the air temperature remains at the level of indicators of 30 degrees, but in normal room conditions it grows well.
Blooming kolumnei directly depends on the air temperature during wintering. The maximum allowable temperatures for the rest period are from +15 to +18 degrees, if you manage to create a slightly cooler environment, the plant will bloom much more magnificent.
With a prolonged absence of buds, flower formation is stimulated by lowering the temperature to + 14 ... + 15 degrees. New varieties appear on the market that advertise as capable of blooming without a cool winter, so it is better to specify the conditions necessary for the plant during the dormant period when buying. But even for such varieties without a decrease of at least 5 degrees, the columna will bloom very poorly.
Partially warm wintering for the Kolumna can be compensated for by an increase in air humidity. It is possible to take a column back into heat only when the flower buds begin to grow and exceed 5 mm in length.
Kolumneya is extremely sensitive to drafts, temperature extremes and humidity indicators. Plants protect during ventilation, protect from any extreme conditions, trying to make them as stable as possible. The plant should be protected from the proximity of heating and air conditioning appliances.
Caring for a Column at Home
It is no coincidence that Kolumna is considered one of the most difficult ampel cultures to care for. It requires constant monitoring of moisture, is moisture-loving, does not forgive mistakes in care, even responding to one-time irrigation with unsuitable water by the appearance of spots on the leaves, or even dropping of leaves. This plant is for experienced gardeners and for those who have the opportunity to create plants with high air humidity.
Watering and humidity
It is important for a Kolumna to create the most stable environment. Indicators of soil moisture are the main factor in its development and flowering. For this crop, irrigation is regulated so that the substrate remains slightly moist all the time, drying out only in the upper layer, without dampness or complete drying of the soil. During the dormant period, complete drying of the substrate is also unacceptable, but soil moisture is reduced, reducing irrigation and their frequency.
For columnea, you can use only warm water. The plant is afraid of watering with cold water, so it is better to check its temperature before watering or keep water in the same room in which the plant is located.
Columnae are plants with a tropical character. They adore high levels of humidity and will not please anything in a dry environment. At the same time, it is impossible to spray these plants when choosing pubescent species, choosing any other available method from creating special devices to trays with wet moss to create a moist environment. Columnae feel great in flower showcases, florariums, large collections.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
Since the plant requires stable conditions, it is better to feed the columnae throughout the year, only reducing them for the rest period, but not completely stopping. From November to February, more than 1 feeding a month with a half-reduced dose is enough. But in the period of active growth and flowering, top dressing is carried out with a standard frequency - 1 time in 2 weeks or 10 days.
For columnae, it is preferable to use special fertilizers for flowering indoor plants or more highly specialized preparations for the Gesneriaceae.
Column cutting and shaping
Slightly shortening the shoots of the kolumnea after flowering prevents the loss of decorativeness and performs the function of regular rejuvenation. The degree of trimming can be chosen at your discretion, but usually in the drooping, cascading branches, the true charm of this plant lies.
Mandatory for kolumnei is only pruning damaged, dry twigs. Without annual shortening and control, the plant is also grown, but in this case, the long shoots of columna grow and lengthen, and the bushes gradually age. Columnae who lose their decorativeness and are exposed at the base of the shoots are rejuvenated by replacing them with young specimens grown from cuttings.
Transplant, containers and substrate
This is one of those plants that are transplanted only when the previous container is fully mastered. Active growth and the multiplicity of shoots most often require transplants with a frequency of at least 1 time in 2 years. When large sizes and volumes are reached, columnaea are not transplanted, but simply replaced with young plants from overgrown cuttings. After all, old bushes cannot be transferred to new containers without injuring them, without damaging the tangled mass of hundreds of shoots.
A columna transplant is best done after flowering, and not at the beginning of the active growth phase, but if necessary, a columna transplant can also be carried out throughout the spring-summer period.
For stable columns only stable wide and shallow pots are suitable. When choosing hanging baskets and ampoules, you need to pay attention to air access and the lack of risk of water accumulation. A very high drainage layer is laid at the bottom of the pots for this plant - up to 1/3 of the height of the container itself.
Loose weakly acidic soils with a high content of high-quality organic matter and a rough structure are selected for the Kolumna. Water permeability and loose structure are very important. You can grow the plant in any universal soil, a special substrate for the Gesnerievs or high-quality earth mix from turf and leaf soil with additives from peat, sand and moss to correct the texture of the soil.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Columnae are considered resistant plants, but aphids very often settle on them, adoring these ampelous shrubs no less than potted roses. At any overflow or wetting of greenery, the plant is affected by gray rot. It is better to fight diseases and pests right away with insecticidal and fungicidal drugs.
Common problems in growing columnae:
- redness of the leaves in direct sunlight;
- dropping leaves at low humidity, in strong shading, with a jump in temperature and improper watering.
Despite the considerable price and elite status, columna is one of the easiest indoor plants to reproduce. It is easy to get from cuttings. Twigs are cut after flowering, using cuttings of standard length from 7 to 10 cm from the entire length of the shoots. For rooting, remove the lower pairs of leaves.
Cuttings are buried in small containers in a sand-peat soil mixture under a cap. On average, columnae cuttings take root in 2-3 weeks. They need to be accustomed to room conditions gradually, only by opening the cap and gradually changing the air humidity. Transfer to new containers is carried out in small groups to speed up the process of creating lush bushes.
Column can be grown from seeds, but plants are very difficult to maintain without controlled conditions. Sowing is carried out superficially, in a peat-sand substrate, under glass or film. For seedlings, a temperature of about 25 degrees and a very light substrate humidity are needed.