Table of contents:
Myrtle family. Homeland - tropical and subtropical regions, mainly coastal regions of Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Philippines, etc. In nature, there are about 50 species of evergreen trees or shrubs.
Metrosideros polymorpha Metrosideros polymorpha is a wide, branched bush, the trunk at a young age is smooth light gray, darkens with age. Leaves are oval, up to 7-8 cm long and 5-6 cm wide, hard, dark green, gray-blue underneath. Blooms mainly from spring to late summer. The flowers are usually bright red, may be orange-red, salmon, pink. Homeland - Hawaii.
Metrosideros excelsa Tall metrosideros is a tall tree that grows up to 23m tall in nature. Leaves are elliptical, about 10 cm long and 5 cm wide, hard, dark green, pointed at the end. Stems and underside of leaves are covered with dense white tomentose pubescence. The flowers are usually orange-red, collected in multi-flowered inflorescences. Homeland - New Zealand.
Metrosideros - care and secrets of growing
In nature, metrosideros grow in coastal forests on well-drained soils of medium lightness - loamy or sandy loam. At home, these plants develop well only in bright and well-ventilated rooms. In general, care is simple - timely watering and transplanting, loosening the soil after abundant watering, accurate crown formation - you need to remove branches growing inside the crown to avoid thickening. When soil salinity, change the top layer of the earth.
Usually in summer, in extreme heat, remove the pot from the windowsill to a cooler place or keep the windows constantly open. In winter, a cool content is required at a temperature of 8-12 ° C. As far as conditions permit, keep the metrosideros on a glazed balcony, if it is very cold place the pot in a cardboard box, sprinkle around with dry sawdust and cover with another box. So you can keep the plant without watering in dry soil at a temperature of + 2-4 ° C for a month or two.
Full sunlight. No shading required.
Watering and humidity
Abundant from spring to autumn, after the topsoil has dried. Since autumn, watering is reduced, watered so that the soil does not dry out completely, like all myrtle, metrosideros is prone to decay, discarding flowers and leaves with excessive watering. Overdrying will also cause massive leaf flying. There is a special subtlety here - you need to focus solely on the temperature and speed of soil drying. The leaves wither a little - water, but a little. Do not allow the leaves to wilt too much - such drying out can be irreversible, destructive. Only soft water is used for irrigation!
Ideally, humidity should not drop below 50%. If there is a hygrometer - be guided by its readings, turn on the humidifier.
From March to August, they are fed with complex fertilizer for decorative flowering plants. Top dressing every two weeks at a dose recommended by the manufacturer. Fertika-suite suits well. Metrosideros does not tolerate an excess of fertilizers - bacterial or fungal infections develop, the roots become sensitive to rot. After transplanting, do not feed for 1.5 months.
Mandatory transplanting of young plants annually in spring - it is necessary to replace the caked soil. Mature plants are transplanted after 2 years, but the top layer of the earth is changed annually. Soil: 2 parts of sod, 1 part of leafy soil, 1 part of humus, 1 part of sand, 1 part of vermiculite (perlite or expanded clay). The acidity of the soil is slightly acidic, although metrosideros can easily grow on neutral and even alkaline soils, the ideal pH is within 5.5, this is due to the fact that the absorption of most nutrients normally occurs in this range. The planting container should be spacious and stable. Make drainage to the bottom of the pot and be sure to have large holes to drain water into the pan.
Propagated metrosideros by cuttings and seeds.
For propagation by cuttings, shoots of a new growth are used, while part of the leaves is cut off from strongly leafy cuttings in order to reduce the evaporation of moisture by the cuttings. It is best to root cuttings in vermiculite using phytohormones (heteroauxin + zircon). Vermiculite is kept slightly moistened, and containers with cuttings are placed in a room greenhouse. The success of rooting cuttings and growing the plant as a whole directly depends on the high humidity of the ambient air and the moderate humidity of the soil.
Filled and hypothermic - the tops of the shoots die off
- As soon as the fruit turns brown, it means that the seeds are already ripe and they can be harvested, if you overexpose the fruit, then the box cracks and very small seeds crumble. However, not all fruits give viable seeds, but only about 20%.
- Seeds quickly lose their germination, so if there is a need to store seeds, they are dried and placed in a paper envelope in a refrigerator at 5-10 ° C.
- Seeds are sown into a mixture of sand and peat, without sprinkling with earth, moistened with a spray bottle. Cover with glass or foil on top.
- Twice a day, you need to ventilate the crops and moisten as the soil dries.
- Seeds germinate in 10-15 days. Immediately after emergence, you need to provide them with plenty of light. If the days are cloudy, turn on additional lighting.
The main problem is the lack of maintenance of the required humidity of air and soil. Some sources mention metrosideros as a plant that is resistant to dry air, but this is not the case. In fact, the difference between metrosideros is that its leaves do not tolerate excess moisture in the form of long-drying dew, but at the same time at home the air humidity reaches almost 90%, and not by prolonged rains, but by the proximity of the ocean and fogs.
So it is advisable to constantly humidify the air around the plant not by spraying on the leaf, but by irrigating the air around it, or placing the pot on a tray with water.
The moisture content of the soil must be in an even state all the time; overflow and overdrying is not allowed. If you check the soil by touch with your finger, then it should be slightly damp all the time.
Ideally, the soil should be well-drained with fine expanded clay or vermiculite in addition to the main drainage to the bottom of the pot. If the soil is alkalized in the plant, there may be a deficiency of some elements, for example, potassium, boron, iron, the leaves of the plant turn yellow, and brown spots form around the edges. Top dressing with fertilizers only worsens the condition - you need to change the soil.
Of the pests, it is worth fearing aphids, attracted by intense flowering on plants exposed on the balcony or in the garden, and a tick.