Ceropegia - extravagant ampel succulent
Among indoor tuber crops, you rarely see plants with drooping, filiform shoots that can grow in the form of ampels. Zeropegia is just such an “exclusive”. But one of the most original plants it is considered not only for the form of growth. The fleshy leaves of ceropegia casting with precious metals seem like a miracle in themselves. And when the plant blooms, candelabrum flowers turn it into an indoor “alien”. The extravagant appearance of the ceropegia is combined with its unpretentiousness. And is it possible to resist such a combination?
Ceropegia is a very original representative of indoor succulents. Creepers and herbaceous perennials belonging to the genus Ceropegia (Ceropegia), they are surprised by the presence of a tuberous lignified rhizome. It is as if they are striving to impress with each of their traits - from roots to flowering. In nature, ceropegia is distributed mainly in Africa, is a vibrant part of the flora of Madagascar and New Guinea.
Ceropegia - constantly decorative herbaceous perennials. Large, tuberous, lignified rhizomes over time produce several threadlike drooping stems. They are creeping, thickened at the nodes, not branching, or little branching.
Leaves are located in nodes, reach only 2.5 cm in diameter, always sit opposite on rather graceful petioles. Their kidney-shaped or heart-shaped form (in some species and varieties - ovoid) is easy to recognize, as well as a fleshy, thickened texture. At the ceropegia, the leaves are always whole, painted on top in light shades of green, against which silver, bronze, steel or purple spots appear.
The metal-casting upper side of the leaves is emphasized by the pinkish back. Small nodules often form in the axils of the leaves. Leaves look like fancy, strung on threads or cords of jewelry.
Flowering ceropegia is no less original. Jugs resembling in shape, swollen at the base, speckled exotic flowers up to 2.5 cm long are revealed in the axils of the leaves. Pink, greenish or light purple “spotted” color only emphasizes an unusual structure resembling lamps and candles.
Types of indoor ceropegy
Of the 150 species of wild ceropegy, only a few special plants are popular in culture, and only two species are popular as a houseplant.
Ceropegia Wood (Ceropegia woodii) - the most common type of ceropegia with tuberous rhizome, thin stems and bud-shaped leaves.
Ceropegia creeping, or Sanderson (Ceropegia sandersonii) - more capricious, large-flowered, with speckled flowers and a thickened, twisted shoots appearance.
Growing conditions for indoor ceropegia
Ceropegia prefer to grow in bright light. They are comfortable on the southern and partially southern windows, they like soft sunlight. Even summer midday hours can be dangerous for them only under conditions of hot temperatures and lack of access to fresh air.
Lack of lighting affects the shape of the shoots and the size of the leaves. For almost uninterrupted flowering from autumn, the plant needs to be illuminated or moved to the light.
Ceropegia love nighttime drops in temperature (but not sharp jumps from “average” conditions) and they often feel good in the same place as popular indoor orchids. In the rooms they will prefer a cool, temperature from 20 to 23 degrees, rather than heat. But with frequent ventilation, any temperatures are tolerated. Ideal for wintering ceropegia is considered a cool bright room with temperature indicators from 12 to 16 degrees Celsius (minimum 10 degrees).
In summer, the plant can be placed in the fresh air. Regular airing is a must when growing ceropegia.
Ceropegia prefer lower watering, because even drops of water falling on the tuber lead to rot, but neat procedures will allow for classic upper watering.
Ceropegia love stable light humidity, the soil should be allowed to dry in the upper and partially middle layer, and water should not be allowed to accumulate in pallets. Watering the plant needs to be changed depending on the stage of development of the plant.
During active growth, budding and flowering, ceropegia requires moderate to medium watering. But after flowering, watering is better to reduce in abundance, drying the substrate more. Overmoistening, even once, can cause the death of the plant. For ceropegia fit only watering with warm, soft water.
Ceropegia are not hygrophilous; they tolerate dry air well with regular ventilation. In extremely dry air, subject to a very hot winter, they will not refuse to install a pallet with peat or pebbles, creating a stable environment, or from neat spraying with fine sprayers. Spraying is also used as a measure of stimulating the release of buds after a period of rest.
For ceropegias, especially those kept in winter in comfortable cool conditions, top dressing is often carried out only between flowering. The optimal strategy for the plant is considered regular, but moderate top dressing from March to the end of September. Frequency - 2 times a month, but half-reduced dose of fertilizers. In the first year after transplantation, top dressing is optional.
With the loss of leaves, bare shoots or loss of decorativeness, the stems can be safely cut, because the plant will release several young ones to replace. Usually every 5 years the plant is replaced with a new one, grown from cuttings.
These bizarre amps often suffer from felt and aphids. You can fight insects only with biological agents or insecticides. When kept in very dry air or when infected, ceropegia collections may be affected by a spider mite. But this pest can be combated by simply washing the leaves and shoots.
Transplant, containers and substrate
This plant is transplanted as necessary, focusing on growth, in February or March. For ceropegia, small containers that are suitable for the size of the tuber or family are needed (the distance to the walls is from 2 to 4 cm). Ceropegia can be grown together with other succulents in complex compositions.
Ceropegia require the choice of very light, breathable soils without the slightest risk of compaction. A special substrate for succulents with the addition of leaf soil or a universal substrate in which at least a third of the loosening additives and sand are ideally suited is ideal. Optimum pH values are from 4.5 to 6.0.
For ceropegy, a high drainage layer and large drainage holes are required. They are transplanted, maintaining the same level of penetration. An earthen lump is not destroyed, handling plants very carefully.
Reproduction of ceropegia
You can get new ceropegia from air nodules, which are slightly pressed into the soil and germinated under a hood in the heat. But a more popular option is layering, fixed in small pots or rooting of apical and stem cuttings.
Cuttings from this plant do not require tricks: the tops or segments of shoots with 2-3 internodes, ideally with air nodules, are laid “rings” on the soil, fixing the nodes so that they are in contact with the substrate. Slices are directed upward, preventing immersion in the soil.
For rooting, it is sufficient to maintain a light substrate moisture. After rooting, both nodules and cuttings are planted in 2-5 plants in one pot, guided by the standard rules for selecting wide shallow containers.
Also, ceropegia can be propagated by separation, cutting off long shoots to accelerate the rooting of the separated parts.