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Family of acanthus. The genus has about 170 species. Homeland - the tropics of South and North America.
At home, the most common Aphelandra protruding Aphelandra squarrosa is a fast-growing shrub with erect stems. Leaves are whole, oblong, narrowed at the end, large, 25-30 cm in length. The leaf surface is smooth, with pronounced venation, dark green in color and silvery green veins. Inflorescences are apical spikes, flowers are orange or yellow, double-lipped, with a long narrow tube, 15-25 cm long, bracts are brightly colored. The fruit is a capsule.
This houseplant is prized for its large, beautiful leaves and lush bloom in the fall, when most of the other houseplants have already faded. Blooming large yellow or golden flowers can last almost two months. However, this is a very difficult crop for indoor cultivation, as it requires special care and attention. Afelandra is a large-leaved and fast-growing plant.
Temperature: Afelandra is thermophilic, so she is kept at a normal room temperature of about 22-23 ° C, which does not drop below 15 ° C in winter. At the same time, it loves fresh air, grows poorly in crowded groups - it is easily exposed to fungal infections. Therefore, it is more suitable for greenhouses where there is a lot of space and light.
Lighting: Afelandra needs bright lighting, especially in winter. From spring to late autumn shade from direct sunlight. The main problem in apartments is the lack of light. Even one additional lamp is not enough for good illumination of a large bush.
Watering: From spring to autumn, watering is plentiful, somewhat less in winter. Water again when the earth dries out in the upper half of the pot. Complete overdrying of the earth is not allowed. Water is used only soft (rain, thawed or boiled) and warm.
Fertilizer: Since Afelandra is rapidly depleting nutrients, it is fed regularly every two weeks. Fertilizer special for flowering indoor plants. Top dressing is carried out throughout the year, subject to good lighting in winter - once a month.
Humidity: Afelandra loves very humid air, so she is sprayed several times a day or placed on a tray of water. But sometimes this does not help and the only way out is to put the plant on a wide pan with water or place a humidifier nearby.
Transfer: The soil should be very loose, air and moisture permeable. Soil - 4 parts of leaf, 1 part of turf, 1 part of peat land and 1 part of sand, 1 part of vermiculite. Transplanted every spring in March - April. If necessary, if the plant has grown a lot, you can transplant it in the middle of summer into a larger pot.
Reproduction: Seeds, which are sown in February or March, in a mixture of peat soil and sand. The sowing dish is covered with foil and placed in a warm place where the soil temperature will be about 24-25 ° C. The earth is periodically moistened from a spray bottle, the film is removed for ventilation. Seedlings appear within 2-4 weeks. When the seedlings grow up, they are planted in pots with a diameter of about 10 cm. The seedlings grow quite quickly and later they can be transferred again (while preserving the root ball) into large pots. Young plants can bloom in the same year.
Afelandra also propagates as a whole leaf at a temperature of 23-24 ° C and apical cuttings. The leaf is cut with a heel (a piece of stem), and cuttings from non-flowering shoots. Both the leaf and the cutting are rooted traditionally in the soil, not in water. They are planted in loose leafy ground in half with vermiculite. It is better to sterilize the earth in the oven. Moisten the prepared soil, treat the cutting with root or heteroauxin, stick it into the ground and cover with a cap made from a 5-6 liter plastic bottle (cut off the bottom, remove the lid).