Orthophytum - a zebra-like exot for beginner gardeners
It is not for nothing that the bromeliads enjoy the reputation of bright and motley room exotics. But even among the representatives of this family, there is no plant more original in patterns and color options than the inimitable orthophytum. The most famous of these rare and valuable plants, when properly fed, looks like a flower cut out of striped fabric, and the nondescript representatives of orthophytum still evoke bizarre associations with various marine life. Despite the reputation of an extremely rare plant, fashionable orthophytum is not at all difficult to grow.
- Zebroid bromeliad - orthophytum
- Types of orthophytums for growing in rooms
- Conditions for growing indoor ortofitums
- Care for orthophytum at home
- Diseases, pests and growing problems
- Reproduction of orthophytum
Zebroid bromeliad orthophytum
Orthophytums are far from the most popular bromeliads. They are still not so common here, although fashion is changing this trend. Orthophytums got the name because of their straight leaves and the nature of growth - from the Greek “direct” (orto) and “plant” (phyton).
The genus of orthophytum (Orthophytum) does not belong to the most extensive, but the plants in it are surprisingly diverse. Among them, there are more neat ones, they look almost like man-made sculptures, but there are also much more aggressive species in structure, growing and decaying, chaotically careless.
In nature, orthophytomas are found only in Latin America. Brazil is rightly considered the birthplace of these plants, where they are represented by the largest number of species. At the same time, orthophytomas spread not throughout the Amazon region, but mainly in the southeast.
The leaves of orthophytums most resemble aloe, although the plant does not look so boring. With a width of up to 2 cm, the leaves can be limited to a length of both 15 cm and stretch more than half a meter. They are always narrowly triangular, thick, rigid, flakes appear brightly on their surface, and strongly elongated sharp tips harmonize with curved spikes on the serrated, expressive edge of the sheet plates.
The color seems light - from light green to gray-green. Most orthophytums are characterized by color transitions. The tendency to reddening of the leaves leads to the fact that with age the plant is covered with stains, erosion of brown, red, orange flowers, always more intense at the tips of the leaves.
Orthophytum rosettes are usually loose, consist of 12-20 leaves, in most species they are strict and symmetrical only at a young age.
Thick, strong, massive peduncles of orthophytum are always densely pubescent and leafy. They are embraced by miniature copies of ordinary leaves in a rosette. Of the sinuses of the upper bracts, which in some species are equal in length or even exceed the size of the inflorescence, small-flowered ears grow, which become denser towards the apex.
Bracts and sepals of orthophytum are equal in length, can be pointed or rounded. Flowers in diameter do not exceed 2 cm. Free sepals emphasize the beauty of lanceolate, most often white, petals.
Types of orthophytums for growing in rooms
In the rooms there are only four types of orthophytums. Some plants today become fashionable and flaunt on the shelves of large flower centers quite often, others can be found in exotic catalogs, and some only at specialized exhibitions and in botanical gardens. But the popularity of orthophytums is growing, mainly due to one inimitable mod, advertised as an original gift.
Gurken Orthophytum (Orthophytum gurkenii), of course, became the hallmark of the whole kind, attracted rapt attention to other orthophytums. This amazing succulent terrestrial bromeliad plant is called a zebra, and striped, and black and white bromeliad.
But to recognize him is very easy. Flat, triangular, with an ideal coarse-edged edge, the leaves of this plant are decorated with contrasting gray-silver-cream stripes that flaunt against a seemingly gray, dark green-brown background. White spikes only emphasize the effect of the zebra on the leaves. The most striking in the motley color of the plant is the almost complete symmetry of the strips, perfectly repeating the bends of each other. The flowering of this orthophytum surprises with its “ordinary”, saturated green color. The ears of inflorescences, due to the large size of the flowering leaves, themselves look like mini-sockets.
Orthophytum boat or scaphoid (Orthophytum navioides) - no less original look with red, bloody leaves creating a drooping rosette. The leaves are very long and thin, almost blade-like. They are only decorated with thin spikes around the edges. On the wine background of the original rosette, more reminiscent of an outlandish octopus, a short peduncle appears with an inflorescence almost lying on the rosette with fleshy bright green bracts and plain white flowers.
Orthophytum leafy (Orthophytum foliosum) - An original look that recalls either the octopus or the shiny starfish. It is quite large, up to half a meter high, bromeliad with a weakly expressed stem. Leaves up to 80 cm long, limited to only 2 cm wide, are collected in a sprawling, inaccurate and loose rosette, a form that is more difficult to evaluate with age.
The leaves are fleshy, with a serrated edge, hard texture, shiny, with a changing color: the bright green young color remains in the center of the rosettes and gradually turns into orange-red-brown, which makes the color of this orthophytum seem watercolor and unique (each plant in depending on growing conditions, it looks different).
This type of orthophytums sometimes pleases with flowering twice a year. Thick densely pubescent peduncles with small triangular leaves surprise with large, up to 13 cm spikelets of inflorescences. A rare bottom goes into a dense spike above. The flowers are attracted by round large bracts with a serrated edge, which emphasize medium-sized flowers with lanceolate, free, white petals.
Orthophytum rocky (Orthophytum saxicola) - a more austere, but also watercolor-colored look. At a height of up to 13 cm, this orthophytum flaunts with flat, loose, but structured rosettes, in which are collected up to 20 narrow-triangular, up to 6 cm long, serrate-prickly along the edge, thick, light green leaves, also changing color to orange-brown depending on the conditions.
Short peduncles with upper leaves almost equal in length to the spikelet of inflorescences look spectacular, but not too bright. Leaf-shaped bracts are emphasized by medium-sized, with free petals, sessile light green-white flowers.
Conditions for growing indoor ortofitums
The outlandish beauty of zebra-shaped orthophytums or the bright watercolors of other species evoke thoughts of rare and difficult to grow plants. But orthophytums do not justify such a reputation. They do not require any special conditions, perfectly adapted to room conditions. The only thing you can regret is the loss of decorativeness with age, when the sockets become sloppy. But the plant does not have a pronounced dormant period and is decorative all year.
Orthophytums can be grown as an ordinary potted houseplant or used in complex compositions - for flower girls, large floor containers, florariums, arboretums, flower showcases, mini-gardens and even greenhouses.
Orthophytums effectively contrast with almost all other indoor bromeliads, they look unusual and complement other plants in tropical collections.
Lighting and placement of orthofitum in the interior
Despite the game of colors, orthophytum is the most photophilous plant. It can be placed only in bright, and even better - sunny places. In the heat, when the temperatures exceed the recommended ones, it is better to protect the leaves of brightly colored orthophytums from direct sunlight. This plant will need good lighting even in winter.
In the interior, orthofitums are placed only on window sills. Oriental windows are not considered the best option for this culture, because only southern and western windows provide ideal illumination.
Temperature and ventilation
Orthophytums can be safely reckoned as typical beautifully blooming bromeliads, requiring cool content at rest. From spring to autumn, orthophytums are comfortable with average room air temperature indicators - from +20 degrees to maximum +25 degrees. In the heat, the plant suffers significantly, becomes more vulnerable and capricious.
Wintering regime for orthophytum should be stably cool. The minimum temperature drop is +10 degrees. If the temperature exceeds +15 degrees, it will be difficult to achieve flowering from the plant.
Orthophytums, especially when it comes to that very “zebra,” like stable conditions. They lose their decorativeness in the heat, with sudden changes in temperature, in drafts. Tanks with a plant should be placed away from air conditioners or heating appliances.
Care for orthophytum at home
This is one of the easiest to grow bromeliads. Orthophytum can be grown even by beginner growers, because the plant is watered with the standard method of filling the funnel, it does not need spraying, and frequent transplants can be abandoned. Orthophytums easily forgive watering passes and are suitable for those who often travel.
Watering and humidity
For orthophytum, the irrigation system is no different from most bromeliads. This plant grows well with stable humidity. Since the root system of the plant is poorly developed, orthophytums are watered inside the outlet, observing the usual natural mechanism for providing moisture. Water the plant quite abundantly during the period of active development and rarely at rest. In classical watering, the earthen coma is allowed to dry halfway between the procedures. Overmoistening for orthophytum is fatal, but the plant is not afraid of drought.
The plant shows extreme resistance to dry air, but with average indicators, the patterns and shades of the leaves appear more fully. Spraying is best replaced by placing next to the plates with water.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
For orthophytum, a standard fertilizer application schedule and a standard form - with water for irrigation or foliar top dressing are suitable. Fertilizers are applied once every 10 days, observing the doses of fertilizers recommended by the manufacturers.
For this plant, you can use fertilizers for bromeliads or universal fertilizers. If possible, it is better to alternate organic and mineral dressings with each other.
Transplant and substrate for orthophytum
Orthophytums are transplanted only when the plant needs to be divided or it simply has nowhere to develop. Even young orthophytums are best transplanted as needed.
One of the key features of growing orthophytums is the limitation of the size of containers. This houseplant will reveal beauty only when the root system will develop in cramped conditions. The rhizome of orthophytums is not impressive in volume, and usually the plant is grown in miniature cups with a diameter of 5 to 8 cm. Such containers allow the plant to remain compact, not to lie apart and delight in a neat appearance.
For orthophytums, earth mixtures are selected from among those typical of representatives of the Bromeliad family. Ready-made substrates for bromeliads or orchids are perfect. If the soil is mixed independently, then the turf soil is combined in equal parts with sand and high-quality sheet soil, adjusting the soil structure using fine gravel, moss, broken brick, perlite or other loosening components.
When transplanting orthophytums, you should be careful. It is not only the plant thorns that can damage the skin, but also the fragile and small root system that must be handled with care. Orthophytums are planted so that the plant is stable, trying to minimize contact with the roots.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
When grown indoors, orthophytums are only threatened by rot, which occurs when soil is very wet. In too hot conditions, the plant can suffer from aphids, which are better to fight with insecticides right away.
For ease of reproduction, orthophytum is a typical representative of the bromeliad family. New plants are obtained either from daughter sockets, separating them during transplantation and planting them in separate medium-sized containers, or grown from seeds. The latter option requires considerable time, but it allows you to get a large number of seedlings.
Orthophytum seeds are best sown in Petri dishes or superficially in a very light, loose substrate. Under the film or glass, with frequent ventilation and stable humidity, the shoots are quite amicable. Remove the shelter from the crops only when the seedlings have reached the height of the glass. The transplant is carried out as it grows, carefully transferring the plant to miniature containers.