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Bindweed family. Morning glory Ipomoea translated from Greek. 'ips' - a worm and 'homoios' - similar - in the structure of the underground rhizome of many original species.
Until recently, the name of the morning glory was associated only with balcony and garden floriculture. But now amazing vines appeared on sale, growing not from the ground, but from a funny potato. It is this “potato”, which is sometimes not a potato at all, but a whole “pumpkin” or “bottle”, that is of value for the room culture of morning glory. Unfortunately, in the literature you will hardly find descriptions and recommendations for caring for this caudex vine. And therefore, here we will talk specifically about her - about the caudex form of the potted morning glory.
Caudex forms of morning glory are represented by several species: Ipomoea sweet potato Ipomoea batatas, Ipomoea Ipomoea albivenia, which are distributed mainly in a number of African countries (Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania) and tropical regions of America (Paraguay, Argentina, Mexico) … The rhizome of morning glory is often different - in some they are exclusively underground (usually in African species), in others they are superficial, they can be elongated or spherical, some form multiple tubers, like potatoes, others are braided into a fancy knot. Ipomoea shoots resemble a vine - the same long lashes
In addition, African species of morning glory differ somewhat in departure from the morning glory that comes from the tropics of America. The thing is that African species are more tolerant of direct sun and dry air, and also require more limited watering and poorer calcareous soil. Therefore, the homeland of the species you have acquired is worth paying attention to.
Outwardly, morning glories also differ in the structure of the leaves - in some species the leaves are narrow and long, like in sedge or willow, in others they are pinnately dissected, resembling the leaves of passionflower, in others they are wide-heart-shaped. And only the structure of the flower is always the same - a funnel-shaped fused corolla with a more or less narrow tube. On the basis of the initial species of morning glory, a huge number of varieties have been bred, differing primarily in the size and color of flowers and leaves - variegated forms are especially beautiful.
Temperature: Ipomoea are thermophilic plants. In summer, if the plant is taken out to the balcony, it is necessary to protect it from sudden changes in night temperatures, from strong winds and rain. All morning glories in natural conditions have a pronounced dry and warm period of rest. In apartments, it manifests itself in the fact that with a natural decrease in lighting and a decrease in temperature on the windowsill, it is necessary to significantly reduce watering. The minimum winter temperature should not fall below 12 ° C, optimally 15-16 ° C.
Lighting: Needs a very bright location, requires some direct sun, but shade at midday is a must, otherwise leaves will burn. This also applies to American and African species of morning glory - the whole point is that in indoor conditions, plants adapt to some shade and shorter daylight hours, so in the spring they gradually accustom to the sun. Although in nature, African morning glories grow in full sun.
If, in addition to the lack of flowering, the leaves of the morning glory acquire a lighter shade of light green, then the reason is a lack of lighting. If you do not have south-facing windows, additional lighting may be needed in winter.
Watering: watering is moderate, the soil should have time to dry out in the upper layers. In winter, watering is limited, depending on the temperature, once every 3-4 weeks. Ipomoea native to Central America like a wetter substrate than species of African origin and do not tolerate the complete drying of an earthy coma.
Air humidity: responds well to regular spraying of leaves. If the tips of the leaves begin to dry on the leaves, this is most likely caused by too dry air, especially on hot summer days. Spray the plant in the summer 2 times a day.
In addition, if the air humidity is too low, morning glory is prone to spider mite infestation. To cope with the pest or as a preventive measure, morning glory can be washed under a hot shower (45-50 degrees) for two minutes. Repeat every 10-14 days.
Top dressing: carried out during the growth period from March to August every 2-3 weeks. Fertilizers are used for cacti or fertilizers for decorative flowering plants that do not deoxidize the soil. Fertilizers containing a large dose of nitrogen cause a build-up of leaf mass, and in some cases can lead to the fact that the caudex becomes loose and cracks - like the skin of a cactus overfed with nitrogen.
Transfer: in February - March annually. Ipomoea prefer loose, moisture-permeable and breathable soil, with an acidity close to neutral or slightly alkaline. Do not add sphagnum moss to the soil - it deacidifies the soil, and morning glory does not like acidic soils. Good high drainage to the bottom of the pot is a must for all morning glories.
- Substrate for African species: 1 part coconut fiber, 1 part leaf humus, 1 part vermiculite, 1/2 part fine expanded clay (3-4 mm), pieces of charcoal. You can use a commercial cactus potting mix, which must also be diluted with fine expanded clay and vermiculite.
- Substrate for American species (and India): 1 part coconut fiber, 2 parts leaf humus, 1 part peat, 1 part vermiculite, 1/2 part fine expanded clay (3-4 mm), pieces of charcoal.
Reproduction: Caudex forms of morning glory reproduce only by seeds or by dividing the tuber. Rooting of cuttings is possible - the plant will take root, and will bloom with proper care, but does not form caudex, and care will be required as for an ordinary houseplant. The seeds are sown after preliminary soaking, in a light mixture of peat and river sand. They germinate at temperatures ranging from 18-20 ° C.
Tuber decay from excessive waterlogging of the substrate. Do not forget that watering should be determined not by the season and days of the week, but by the condition of the soil. Periodically loosen the soil in the pot so that you can check it with your finger at a depth of 4-5 cm - it should be almost dry by the time of the next watering.
If you notice softening or dark spots on the morning glory tuber, first remove the plant from the pot and check the roots and soil in depth. If it is not dry enough, then you need to dry the roots, dust with crushed charcoal and plant in fresh soil.
Sudden browning of leaves along the edges, wrinkling of the caudex or its decay can also be caused by improper fertilization - a burn from a too concentrated dose of fertilizer or too frequent fertilizing.