Ruellia (lat.Ruellia) - a genus of herbaceous flowering plants of the Acanthus family, which, according to The Plant List, has about two hundred and seventy species growing in the tropics and subtropics of America. Ruellias are also found in Africa and South Asia. Some species are popular houseplants.
The genus got its name in honor of the medieval French botanist Jean Ruelle.
Read more about growing ruella below.
The ruella plant in nature is represented by shrubs, dwarf shrubs and herbaceous perennials with a creeping, faceted and branched stem, on which usually whole, elongated leaves are located oppositely. The ruelle leaf plate can be glossy or velvety, covered with barely noticeable pile. At the ends of the shoots, single white, beige or purple-pink flowers are formed, reaching a length of 5 cm and living for only a few hours. In place of the wilted flower, a capsule appears, which, after ripening, bursts, scattering the ruelia seeds over considerable distances.
The ruella will not require special care from you, especially if you arrange it well. For normal growth and development, this plant needs bright diffused light, so it is better to place it on the eastern and western windowsills. If you have to keep the ruella by the south window, provide it with shade from direct sunlight, at least in the sultry afternoon hours: underneath the ruelle leaves will fade.
If there is not enough light, then the length of internodes will increase, and the ruelia will take on a painful appearance.
In a shaded interior, the showiness of the leaves of the plant is more pronounced, but in good lighting the ruelia blooms more luxuriantly, so try to find a place for it to stimulate the plants to show maximum decorativeness.
In the warm season, ruella normally feels at the usual temperature for a home, and in winter it prefers a cooler content - 16-18 ˚C.
Water the plant as soon as the top layer of the potted substrate dries up. Soil moistening should be systematic, but not too abundant. The entire earthen lump should not be allowed to dry out, since the plant may lose the lower leaves: as soon as the foliage loses its turgor and sags, immediately water the ruella. Water for irrigation must be cool - a couple of degrees warmer than the temperature in the room - and kept at least for a day.
Despite its tropical origin, ruella does not require regular spraying, but dry air is also not good for it, so keep the plant as far away from heating appliances as possible, and if this is not possible, then place the flower pot on a tray with wet pebbles in this way so that water does not enter the ground through the drain holes in the pot.
Caring for ruella at home involves the introduction of dressings into the substrate. It is advisable to mix fertilizers into the soil when transplanting ruelia, and 2-3 months after changing the substrate, you can start feeding: once every 2 weeks, apply a solution of combined fertilizer for ornamental indoor plants.
In the photo: Blooming red ruella
Growing ruelia involves replanting it regularly as it grows from a smaller container to a larger one. At a young age, ruelia requires an annual change of pot and substrate, and an adult plant is transplanted as needed, when its roots fully absorb the volume of the pot.
The plant tolerates this procedure most easily during the period from the beginning of March to the end of May. A mixture of equal parts of humus, sand, leafy and soddy soil is suitable as a ruella substrate, although ordinary commercially available universal soil can be used, however, a little vermiculite should be added to it.
I must say that ruelia grows quickly, but if you want to keep this plant in your home collection, you will have to systematically cut its shoots and root them.
Ruella is propagated vegetatively: the apical cuttings of the plant are rooted in water at a temperature of 20-25 ˚C, and when roots grow on them, several cuttings are planted in one wide shallow pot and grown like a bush of an adult ruelia, not forgetting to pinch the tops of the shoots for better tillering.
In the photo: Growing ruelia
It is even easier to propagate ruelia by layering: put another pot filled with substrate to the ruella pot, bend the low-growing shoot of the plant, place it in the adjacent pot and secure it. When the shoot has taken root in the soil, separate it from the mother plant and grow it as a stand-alone plant.
A seed method of reproduction of ruelia is also possible, however, it is not so easy to acquire its seeds, moreover, ruelia from seeds will require more effort and time from you.
As we already wrote, ruelia blooms only in good lighting, but for a long time and abundantly. The flowers of ruella, opening in the morning, wither by the middle of the day, but the plant immediately forms other flowers. You can make the ruella bloom all year round by installing an additional light source above it in winter.
In conditions of excessive humidity and low air temperatures, ruella can get sick with powdery mildew or gray mold. Both of these diseases are fungal in nature, therefore, it is necessary to treat ruella for them with fungicidal preparations, after removing the affected leaves and cutting out the rotten areas with a sharp sterile tool with the capture of healthy tissue.
In the photo: How the ruelia flower blooms
In general, ruelia is a fairly disease-resistant plant, and the main difficulties are not associated with diseases, but with poor care or inadequate living conditions.
In conditions of too dry indoor air, ruella is affected by spider mites: upon close examination, you can find pinpoint punctures on the leaves, and after a time, when the mites multiply, a thinnest web will appear on the plant. How to deal with arachnid pests? First of all, wash the plant in the shower and humidify the air in the room: mites do not like to live in conditions of normal and high humidity.
But if the pests do not go away, you will have to poison them with acaricide. For this purpose, universal preparations Actellik or Fitoverm are suitable, which combine both insecticidal and acaricidal properties.
Sometimes ruella is damaged by aphids or whiteflies. They also suck the juices out of the plant. They destroy them with insecticides, although the use of the same Aktellik and Fitoverma is quite justified.
An evergreen plant, in nature reaching a height and width of 90 cm.This species has strong semi-lignified vertical stems with lanceolate opposite dark green leaves 15 to 30 cm long and up to 2 cm wide.In the sun, the leaves acquire a bluish metallic hue, due to which the plant often called "ruella blue". The flowers of this species are tubular, expanded, purple-blue, up to 5 cm in diameter.
Photo: Ruellia Britton (Ruellia brittoniana)
Or Ruelle Deveaux - herbaceous perennial from tropical Brazilian forests with a height of 30 to 50 cm with elliptical leaves up to 5 cm long and up to 2.5 cm wide: on the upper side of the plate they are dark green with a white pattern along the veins, and on the lower side they are reddish. In the axils of the leaves, single white flowers with bluish stripes up to 4 cm long are formed.
In the photo: Ruellia devosiana
Also a Brazilian plant, similar to Devos' ruella, but differing from it in pink flowers up to 4.5 cm long and up to 2.5 cm wide. The leaves of this species are large: up to 7 cm in length and up to 5 in width. They are elliptical-ovoid, velvety brown above with a white stripe along the midrib, and purple-red on the underside.
In the photo: Ruellia portellae
Densely branched shrub up to 2 m high with ovate-lanceolate whole-edged pubescent leaves 10-15 cm long, tapering both to the top and to the base. The flowers of the large-flowered ruelle are bell-shaped, up to 12 cm long and up to 8 cm wide. They are located in the upper part of the shoot and are painted in a pink-purple hue, for which this species is sometimes called crimson ruelia.
In the photo: Ruellia macrantha
Several other species of this crop are grown in the culture, including the pressed ruelle and the Caroline ruella.
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Escholzia has a second name "California poppy" (and this name it received because of the place it grows in nature - in the western part of North America). There is another less popular name "Wormwood" (derived from the fact that the leaves resemble wormwood shoots). An annual plant, it is a member of the Poppy family. It reproduces well on its own through self-seeding.
California poppy tolerates drought well and is suitable for growing in the sun. Also tolerates light frosts in the fall.
The flowers can be regular or double, and they are all very decorative, but the delicate leaves are also interesting. The approximate flowering time is from early June to late autumn. The flowering of one flower lasts only 3-4 days, but new buds are revealed on the plant every day. Also, the California poppy has another interesting feature: in the evening and at night, its flowers close.
The plant has shoots creeping along the ground, they reach a length of about 40 centimeters. The diameter of the flower is about 3-9 cm.
In the garden, the California poppy is ideally combined with wild herbs (especially cornflowers), and other garden flowers (lavender, carnation, purslane, Iberis, and many others).
Looks very nice outdoors in a Moorish lawn (example in the photo below), in rabatkas, borders, flower beds, on an alpine slide, in mixborders. Looks great in solitary plantings. You can also easily grow an annual on the balcony, in flowerpots in the garden.
Escholzia is a thermophilic plant, it needs very good, adequate lighting. Therefore, the place on the site should be sunny and warm. The plant prefers a loose, light, neutral sandy soil with good aeration. Does not tolerate heavy, clayey soil and the presence of organic matter in the soil (manure, humus, compost).
Stagnant water and excess moisture are critical for the California poppy, so the place must be dry, without waterlogging.
Typically, homemade calceolaria blooms in May and fades in September. However, the beginning and duration of flowering largely depends on the time of sowing the seed, and also on the conditions of detention. If the plant is completely healthy and in a cool place, then it looks very impressive, and its flowers have a delicate pleasant smell. Different species differ from each other in color and shape of flowers. However, in most species, the flower has a similar structure: the two-lipped corolla is decorated with two or three stamens, which are located in a four-membered calyx.
The lower lip is puffy and large, and the upper lip is small, spherical. Outwardly, the shape of the flower is very similar to an unusual shoe or an open handbag. The height of the peduncle and the number of flowers in the inflorescence depend on the species and variety. One bush can form 30-50 flowers. After pollination, seed pods are formed, within which there are many very small seeds.
If you decide to grow the purchased calceolaria bush indoors for one season, then the plant will need only one transplant. It is recommended to carry out this procedure immediately after buying a flower. The transplant will allow you to choose the most suitable pot volume, as well as replace the substrate with a more nutritious one.
This culture is distinguished by high demands on the temperature regime at home. In order for the bush to bloom luxuriantly and for a long time, it should be kept cool throughout the year. However, this condition is not feasible for every grower. Optimal temperature regime for calceolaria:
The minimum temperature for this plant is 16 degrees during the day and 10 degrees at night. If the room is too warm, it will lead to the buds flying around and the bush will fade very quickly.
When grown in indoor conditions, such a plant requires increased air humidity. In order to maintain optimal humidity levels, you can use a humidifier or spray bottle. Remember that you can only humidify the air around the bush. It is impossible to spray the plant itself with water, because of this, the corollas of the flowers are injured.
It is recommended to shade calceolaria from the scorching direct rays of the sun, otherwise burns may appear on the foliage, and the inflorescences wilt very quickly because of this. However, in order for the bush to develop and grow within the normal range, it must be provided with bright diffused lighting and a long daylight hours. During the growing season, the bush can be rearranged to a new location with more suitable lighting. In order for it to bloom in autumn and winter, it needs artificial lighting.
Make sure that the potting soil is moderately moist, but do not allow water to stagnate in it.It is the soil mixture that is moistened, while making sure that water does not get on the plant. Bottom irrigation can be used, but remember to pour excess liquid from the pan.
In order to provide increased air humidity, it is recommended to put expanded clay, sphagnum or peat pillow moistened in advance in the pallet. The selected material is placed in a deep pallet, and a container with a flower is placed on top.
Calceolaria is poured with well-settled or filtered water, the temperature of which should be close to room temperature.
The size of the pot is chosen depending on the stage of growing the flower:
For planting an adult calceolaria, you can use plastic or ceramic pots. It is important that there are drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
For sowing seed, a well-drained, loose and light substrate is used. For example, you can use a commercial potting mix sold at a specialist store. You can also make it yourself by combining sand and bedding peat in a ratio of 1: 7. Do not forget to mix 1 kilogram of the finished substrate with 15–20 grams of chalk, wood ash or dolomite flour. It is also recommended to add a little crushed activated carbon.
An adult bush is recommended to be planted in a soil mixture consisting of peat, leaf humus and sod soil, which are taken in equal shares. In order for the substrate to pass air better, a little sand is added to it.
Remember that if you prepared the substrate with your own hands, then it must be disinfected. For this, a solution of potassium manganese is used, or the substrate is placed in an oven, where it is calcined at a temperature of 90 to 100 degrees.
Fertilizer is applied to the soil mixture together with watering at a frequency of 1 time per 1.5–2 weeks. For calceolaria, a flowering plant mineral complex is best (follow the instructions on the package). After transplanting the bush, no fertilizer is applied to the substrate for 15 days.
So that calceolaria is always neat and beautiful, it is grown for one year, after which the old bush is thrown away, replacing it with a younger one. As a rule, only a recently purchased bush is transplanted. They also transplant seedlings or rooted cuttings into separate pots.
The transplant is carried out very carefully, while trying to keep the earthen lump intact. It is recommended to replant young plants at the beginning of spring, and older ones - in autumn, when they finish blooming.
When calceolaria fades, the bush is completely cut off, then it is removed for 6-8 weeks in a shaded place where it is always cool. Watering the plant at this time is very scarce and rare. However, do not overdry the substrate, as this may cause the bush to die. When the young growth appears, the container with the flower is placed in its permanent place. The second time the bush blooms earlier than the first, however, such a plant has a faster elongation of the stems, and in a relatively short time it loses its attractive appearance.
Verbena is often used to decorate plots, balconies and terraces. It is possible to grow it by sowing directly into the ground, but the most reliable way is with the help of seedlings. It allows you to get strong plants very early.
To grow verbena seedlings, you need a fertile soil with good air permeability, neutral acidity and a loose structure. You can use a ready-made soil mixture for planting or make it yourself by mixing sand, garden soil and peat in a 1: 2: 4 ratio. A little ash must be added to the substrate in order to neutralize acidity, and to disinfect and remove weed seeds, bake in the oven for 30 minutes. To combat pathogens in the soil, fungicide treatments (Fitosporin, Fundazol) are used. For planting and growing seedlings, perlite, a natural material in the form of small granules, is often added to the soil. It is able to improve the structure of the soil, make it looser and not subject to acidification. The low thermal conductivity of the granules protects the root system of the seedlings from overheating and hypothermia. In each of the containers for planting and growing seedlings, you can add up to 40% of the total perlite. Granules poured into the bottom of the container serve as a drainage layer to drain excess moisture.
Before planting, containers for seedlings must be treated with a solution of potassium permanganate. To place containers, it is necessary to prepare a place where seedlings will appear quickly, and the temperature will be comfortable for the seedlings during the growing period. The best option is near a heat source (heater, stove, radiator).
After the first shoots appear, the boxes are transferred to a more illuminated place with a temperature of + 18-20 18С. If necessary, install additional lighting to artificially extend daylight hours.
Some varieties of verbena have seeds with a very dense shell, which is difficult to open for breaking through sprouts. In this case, the stratification method is used before planting and growing. It can be done in several ways. The simplest is as follows:
Stratification allows you to stratify and soften the shell of verbena seeds, after which the sprouts can easily overcome it.
When sowing verbena seeds for seedlings, there are no special tricks. After passing through stratification, they are ready to plant. They act according to the scheme:
Despite the fact that the seedlings are very small (as seen in the photo), planting seeds and caring for verbena is not much different from caring for seedlings of other crops and their cultivation.
Greenhouses need to be ventilated daily so that condensation does not accumulate under the shelter. The moment when the first shoots appear, which happens after 7-10 days, should not be missed. During this period, the film or glass is removed first for half an hour, then the time is increased to two hours, and after a week it is removed completely.
The required temperature regime for verbena seedlings is from +15 ⁰С to +18 ⁰С. The length of daylight hours should be at least 12-14 hours a day, so the plantings are illuminated with the help of lamps.
When growing, watering is carried out from a spray bottle, as the soil dries up. Waterlogging, as well as a lack of moisture, lead to fungal diseases and the death of seedlings.
A month after planting the seeds, when two pairs of true leaves appear on the seedlings, they begin to pick. For cultivation, nutrient soil is used, similar to that used earlier. They are filled with cups, cells, a general container or box and mineral fertilizer is added at the rate of one tablespoon per 6 liters of substrate. Picking into separate cups is preferable, since planting grown seedlings in open ground will not be as traumatic as from a common box. In a large container, plants are planted at 4-5 cm intervals.
A week after the pick, the vervains are again fed with nitrogen fertilizers to build up the green mass.
First of all, from fungal diseases. Coolness and high humidity are very suitable conditions for powdery mildew, blackleg and various rot. For prevention, the following methods are used:
Of the sucking arthropods on cineraria, one can find aphids, spider mites, and thrips. Treatment with "Aktellik" is effective against them in the dose and with the frequency indicated on the drug label.
Bloody cineraria is good in that it can decorate the most dull winter months, when, among cloudy days, you so want to see bright colors. Carefully monitor the moisture content of the soil, cut out wilted leaves and inflorescences, protect the beauty from drafts - and a dense bouquet of shining flowers will cheer you up every morning.