Cirtantus, or Vallota - scarlet beauty
Among indoor plants with red flowers, the beauty of Wallot has always been perceived as something special. Despite the fact that most species of these plants have long been reclassified into the genus of cirtanthus, among most flower growers they are still called wallots. Not too capricious, hardy, unpretentious, this tropical representative of the Amaryllis family is not so easy to grow culture. It is not always easy to achieve flowering from cirtanthus, and the flowering period does not last very long. But even those couple of weeks for which its dazzling bright scarlet gramophone records are revealed fully compensate for any expectation.
Red flawlessness of a simple but not modest cirtanthus
The affiliation of all cirtanthus to flowering cultures is undeniable and obvious. And although most of the year these plants look rather inconspicuous, and sometimes spoil the leaves and collections of other plants with their leaves, with the beginning of flowering they are transformed as if by magic. These are special onion indoor plants that are easy to recognize at a glance by the flowering palette, both by shape and size of flowers. And let there be a lot of confusion with the name of cirtanthus, which was mainly generated by the constant "migration" of individual species in the Amaryllis family and the change of status, either as an independent genus, then as part of a larger group of plants, cirtanthus, as they are not called, are beautiful and recognizable.
The most popular plants as indoor plants were crops that were further known to most gardeners under the old name of Vallota. The most attractive species of these plants have been reclassified to the genus cirtanthus (Cyrtanthus), combining them in one form with the most prominent representative of genuine cirtanthus, but this does not prevent the outdated name from remaining the most popular. But do not call cirtanthus, all plants practically do not differ from each other in decorative details. In our country, they are often called simply red house lilies, although the lilies of the cirtanthus have nothing to do. Yes, and in the homeland, cirtanthus are known as the "forest fire lily" because of their ability to bloom violently after spontaneous forest fires.
Cirtanthus are representatives of a not so large, but yet incomparable and indispensable group of indoor bulbous Amaryllis family. This is a plant with a pronounced period of rest, but not dropping its leaves, but just stopping in development. The bulb of cirtanthus is quite easy to distinguish from hippeastrum and other bulb plants: ovoid, oval-elongated, with brown color of scales, it surprises with reddish spots on the root neck, which seem to hint at an unexpected decoration of leaves and color of flowers. This plant annually forms daughter bulbs, but they negatively affect the ability of the main bulb to bloom: unlike many of its relatives, cirtanthus blooms better alone, rather than when grown by a "family". Leaves are typical of all large-flowered bulbs. Belt-shaped and rather narrow, they flaunt their glossy surface and dark green color, which somewhat enlivens the reddish tide at the very base of the leaves. In contrast to hippeastrum, with which cirtanthus are often compared, in the latter the leaves are arranged not by a fan, but by a bunch. This culture reacts very painfully to the loss of leaves, and even during the period of its rest, you need to try to maintain as much greenery as possible.
The flowering of wallot-cirtanthus traditionally occurs in the summer, but strong bulbs can bloom twice a year - in spring and autumn. Flowering Wallots is easy to recognize. One bulb produces 2 or more powerful peduncles up to 30 cm high. They are crowned with large, bell-shaped, up to 5-6 cm in diameter, symmetrical, with narrow corolla petals, bright red, alo-crimson or orange-pink gramophone flowers. On each peduncle, 2-3 and up to 8 flowers can bloom. Among the cirtanthus, there are plants with a different flowering, lasting from autumn to spring.
The color palette of all cirtanthus is quite limited. It includes only red-pink colors; very rarely found cirtanthus with white flowers.
Species Representation of Cirtanthus
Beautiful flowering plants from the genus Cirtanthus came to us from the South American rainforests and the subtropical climate of South Africa. The species representation of cirtanthus in room culture is not as rich as in the natural environment.
The most popular, and in fact, the only widespread type of cirtanthus is cirtanthus high (Cyrtanthus elatus, also known as the sublime cirtanthus). It is this name that today was given to two universal favorites, formerly known as the beautiful wallota (Vallota speciosa) and the purple wallota (Vallota purpurea). Egg-shaped bulbs with reddish integumentary scales, linear, up to half a meter of leaves, which are perceived as graceful and delicate and umbrellas of inflorescences with 2-8 bell-shaped flowers, with a red palette of colors - a visiting card of this kind. But cirtanthus has a high and several varieties with a different color:
- “Alba” - a white-colored variety with elegant bells;
- Variety Magnifica, with traditional scarlet color, but unusually bright snow-white pharynx;
- pink blossom grade "Pink Diamond".
Other “genuine” cirtanthus are very rare.
Cirtanthus yellow white (Cyrtanthus ochroleucus) is a collection and very valuable plant with spectacular erect leaves up to 35 cm in length, with a dark, rich green color and high peduncles, crowning with umbrellas of 8-10 flowers. Tubular, slightly more than 5 cm long, light yellow bells seem surprisingly delicate, flaunt with an elongated tube and gracefully wilt in an inflorescence-bunch. This plant blooms not at the same time as the ciranthus wallots, but from September to March, it is very long and spectacular.
Later, in November, blooming able to bloom until the summer cirtanthus makovani (Cyrtanthus macowanii) - a very beautiful view with slightly narrower and shorter (up to 30 cm) leaves and drooping elongated bells of flowers of salmon-orange or pink-orange color.
Wallot care at home
Despite its status as a rare and exclusive interior decoration, cirtanthus are not at all demanding and capricious cultures. These bulbs can be grown on almost any window sill, they adapt well to room conditions and do not need a special approach. Even the rest period they have is conditional: it comes down to the contrast of lighting and the intensity of irrigation. This plant is suitable for both experienced and novice growers, it will allow in practice to study strategies for growing bulbs and get to know these crops better.
Lighting for circanthus
The illumination intensity of the wallota directly determines the power of flowering and the number of flowers. This is a photophilous plant that loves diffused but bright light. Cirtanthus can even put up with partial shade, but in such places of spectacular flowering you can not wait from it. At the same time, during the dormant period, it is better to reduce lighting by rearranging the plant in partial shade.
Cirtanthus, regardless of type, will feel great on window sills. They are rarely exhibited in the interior, because plants do not belong to species that can be content with artificial illumination. Cirtanthus can be placed both on the eastern or western, and on the northern window sills. On southern cirtanthus, they feel better when installing scattering screens, but they are afraid of direct rays only in the afternoon hours. For the rest period, they can be displayed anywhere in the room, but, given the not-so-attractive appearance, bulbous decoration cannot be used as interior decoration. The best cultivation strategy is to place it on the northern window during the dormant period and on the eastern or southern one - at the stage of active development (or any other contrasting locations that allow you to change the light intensity depending on the stage of development).
Comfortable temperature mode for wallot
For growing wallots, the sharp contrast between air temperatures during the period of active development and rest is not critical: the plant can winter well both in cool and in restrained room conditions. The main thing is not temperature, but a change in the intensity of care. During the period of active development and flowering, cirtanthus feels great in ordinary room conditions. But when the plant stops in development, the optimal temperature range is measured at about 15 degrees (with an optimum value for flowering of 16-18 degrees, a minimum temperature of 12 degrees, and for some rare species - 5-8 degrees). Indicators of about 21-22 degrees are considered normal for the plant during the flowering period and allow you to stretch it for the longest period, but in ordinary and warmer room temperatures, the cirtanthus feel great.
Cirtanthus grow well in the summer outdoors. They can even be dug up for the summer in the garden, but it’s better to keep the ciranthus wallots on balconies or terraces. In fresh air, the plant can be up to the first frosts. These plants do not tolerate cold drafts and sharp fluctuations between night and day temperatures.
Wallot watering and humidity
Like all bulbs, cirthanthus need the support of two sharply contrasting periods - abundant watering during the active vegetation stage and restrained hydration during the dormant period (in winter it is highest in cirtanthus and in the end of spring-summer in Makanov and yellow-white). Full drying, as well as waterlogging of an earthen coma, for this plant should not be allowed. In the active period of development, the Wallots maintain stable substrate moisture by conducting frequent and not very heavy irrigation, but allowing the substrate to partially dry out between the procedures in the upper layer. During the dormant period, the plant is watered very moderately, but the watering is not stopped completely. Wallots-cirtanthus not only retain roots, but also leaves, and complete drought can lead to the death of the bulb. Watering is carried out with a minimum amount of water, but often enough so that the substrate always remains slightly moist. The transition to the dormant stage is best made smoother, gradually reducing watering a few weeks before the expected start of the dormant stage. After flowering ends, you can begin to reduce watering and transfer the plant to a new regime. But the reverse transition - to active irrigation - is carried out without adaptation, resuming the usual intensity of the procedures immediately, as soon as signs of the growth of new leaves appear.
Wallot does not need to increase air humidity. If during flowering the room temperature exceeds 25 degrees, then the plant can be gently sprayed or trays with wet pebbles can be installed, but this measure is not necessary (flowers cannot be soaked). The only procedure besides watering that cirtanthus will need is regular rubbing of leaves from dust. You can run it with a damp sponge or napkin.
Feeding for cirtanthus
Cirtanthus is fed with a standard frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks throughout the entire period of active vegetation, from spring to late autumn or from the beginning of the growth of new leaves to a complete stop of growth. The plant tolerates fertilizing well only with organic fertilizers (for example, mullein solution), but it is better to select complex fertilizers for flowering plants for cirtanthus. Dosages recommended by the manufacturer are left unchanged.
Pruning flower stalls
After flowering is completed, wallots cannot be simply cut off the flower stalk: you need to wait until they independently fade and dry, and only then cut them off at the base. The leaves of the wallota turn yellow only partially. They are also removed after complete withering without affecting the remaining green leaves.
Wallot transplant and substrate
For this bulb, you need to choose the right containers: only the wallots that grow in fairly tight pots can bloom normally. The planted plant is such that no more than 4-6 cm remain from the bulb to the walls of the container. The closer the container, the faster and more abundant the bloom will bloom. Too spacious pots stimulate the growth of roots and leaves to the detriment of flowering. Typically, the wallot is grown in pots with a diameter of about 10 cm. The height of the container should be less than its diameter.
It is very easy to select a substrate for this plant: cirtanthus feel great in any loose, light, water- and breathable earth mix. The soil reaction should not go beyond the indicators of 6.5-7.0 pH. When compiling the soil mixtures on their own, they often mix deciduous, sod and humus soil in a ratio of 4: 1: 2, but the addition of sphagnum and sand improves the substrate and certainly will not be superfluous. Nevertheless, it is better to prefer lighter and more versatile soil mixtures from equal parts of sand, sheet and turf soil.
Traditionally, cirtanthus are transplanted annually, separating the children as independent plants and leaving one bulb in a pot. But such a frequency of transplants is necessary only for strong, abundantly flowering bulbs. If the cirtanthus do not bloom or have not yet reached the maximum size, we are talking about a planted baby, then they will need a transplant only after 2-3 years. In any case, it is better to focus on the number of children, the ability of the plant to bloom and let the bulb grow in a close, rather than spacious, pot. In the years when the cirtanthus are not transplanted, they change the topsoil in the tanks without affecting the roots.
A transplant is best done at the dormant stage or just before the start of active growth and watering.
When planting and replanting a plant, the only strict requirement concerns the depth of placement: the bulb should be half or at least 1/3 above the soil. Complete falling asleep with a substrate for cirthanthus is fatal. A shallow fit makes it easy to separate the children without destroying the main earthen coma. In this procedure, the plant needs to preserve all the roots, try not to cause unnecessary harm and carefully pass the bulb. After transplanting, plants need very careful watering, i.e. rare procedures before the resumption of growth. At the bottom of the container, it is better to lay a high layer of drainage.
Wallota diseases and pests
For cirtanthus, the greatest danger is gray rot, which appears in cold conditions and with stagnant dampness. It occurs in cirtanthus and fusarium. They fight with fungicidal drugs. In the case of proximity to infected plants, wallota can also suffer from a spider mite or scab.
Common problems in growing wallots:
- yellowing of leaves with insufficient watering;
- lack of flowering in a too spacious pot, without a dry dormant period or with too many children.
Reproduction of cirtanthus
Like all bulbs, ciranthus forms a large number of daughter plants, with which it propagates most easily. Separation of daughter bulbs is best done annually, because they deplete the mother plant and prevent it from blooming, but bulbs should not be planted under 4-5 months. When transplanting, the bulbs are separated and carefully planted in individual pots, they are grown for several years, fed with conventional or nitrogen-containing fertilizers for growing leaves and, accordingly, growing bulbs.During the first dormant period, daughter bulbs do not translate into almost dry and less light conditions, actively water the whole year and feed them without interruption so that the bulbs quickly reach a sufficient size for flowering. Thanks to the growth of leaves and the active growth of the bulb, such children can bloom in the second year.
Since even blooming bulbs of children will have to wait several years, other methods of reproduction, even more delaying flowering, are used much less often. But if desired, the cirtanthus can be propagated by seeds and by separation (cutting the bulbs). Seeds need to be sown immediately after collection, germinate at a moderate temperature of 16-18 degrees, under a film or glass. The onion is cut into 4 parts with a disinfectant treatment and rooted in a peat-sand soil mixture at a temperature of 20 degrees.