Pakhira water (Pachira aquatica) with trunks woven into a spectacular braid and a beautiful lush crown consisting of large, bright green palmate leaves on long petioles, it is considered a plant with good energy and loved by followers of Feng Shui.
Among its many popular names, such as the Malabar chestnut or the saba nut, one stands out - the Money Tree. Legend has it that once a beggar farmer prayed for help. Soon a new plant grew in the field, which he brought home and noticed that things were getting better. Whether this old story is true or not, it is generally accepted that pakhira brings prosperity and good luck, and stems are braided into a pigtail to keep them.
A small plant can be placed on the desktop, and a large specimen will serve as a decoration for a large room. In good conditions, pakhira is a durable indoor or office plant. Caring for her is simple, but it requires compliance with certain conditions.
Lighting. Pakhira prefers to grow in bright, diffused light. If the leaves are starting to turn yellow, look for a sunnier spot for it, but not in direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves.
Indoors, change location throughout the year as needed. Remember to turn the pot 45 degrees regularly so that the crown grows evenly.
Pakhira grows well under bright artificial light, which is very good for an office plant.
Temperature. Pakhira can grow in the range from +10 to + 32 ° C, but it is optimal to maintain the temperature + 20 ... + 24 ° C in summer, and in winter, with a lack of light, reduce it to + 16 ° C. The plant can withstand a drop in temperature to + 7 ° C without any serious damage, but in colder conditions, leaf fall will begin, and at temperatures below 0, death will occur.
Watering. The plant loves abundant watering, but may suffer from waterlogging. In its natural environment, pakhira grows in places that receive large amounts of water, but then dry out. When caring for a plant, it is best to mimic these conditions. Water liberally so that the entire lump is well moistened, and then let the soil dry almost to the bottom. You usually need to water about two to three times a month, sometimes weekly watering may be required. Occasionally, you can give the plant a warm shower, combining it with watering.
In winter, when resting, reduce watering. The stems of the plant have an expansion at the bottom, which stores moisture for a possible dry season, so do not worry about it drying out too much. Excessive watering will lead to the appearance of brown spots on the leaves and leaf fall.
Read more in the article Watering rules for indoor plants.
Air humidity. Pakhira prefers high humidity (50% and higher). If the air is dry at home or in the office, spray the plant several times a day; in winter, with the heating devices on, install a humidifier in the room, but not next to the plant, so as not to cause frostbite of the leaves with cold steam.
Soil and transplant. Pakhira has one basic requirement for the quality of the soil - it must be well-drained, capable of quickly passing water. The plant can tolerate both acidic and alkaline substrates, but prefers soil pH in the range of 6.0-7.5. For planting pakhira, ready-made universal slightly acidic peat soil for indoor plants is well suited, adding about ¼ of the volume of perlite to it will provide a quick drain of water. Add this mixture at the next transfer to the bottom of the pot and on the sides of the coma.
After the purchase of pakhira, an urgent transplant is not required, the plant will be able to stay in this pot for at least another year. Pakhira prefers a little cramped pots, and the next transplant is carried out only after good development of the roots of the previous volume, preferably in the spring, every few years.
When transplanting, a new pot should be only 2-4 cm wider in diameter than the previous one (from 12 cm - 14 cm, from 21 cm - 25 cm). All transplants are carried out only by the method of careful transshipment, without replacing the soil, which greatly injures the roots. Pour some fresh soil with perlite on the bottom of a new container, carefully remove the lump from the pot and place in the center. Fill up, lightly tamping, the soil on the sides, spill abundantly, and after the soil settles, add the missing amount.
In order not to provoke waterlogging, do the transshipment on the eve of watering, without waiting for the substrate to dry completely so that it does not crumble during transplantation.
- Soils and soil mixtures for indoor plants
- Transplanting indoor plants
Top dressing carried out only during the period of active growth, from spring to autumn. In the winter months, when the pakhira is resting, all feeding must be canceled. Use ready-made universal complex fertilizers with microelements in a half dosage. You can divide the monthly dose (already reduced by 2 times from the instructions) by the approximate number of waterings per month and add this part with each watering. Pre-spill the soil with about half the volume of water, and then apply top dressing with the rest of the water.
Read more in the article Top dressing of indoor plants.
Pruning and shaping. Plants with stems already woven into a braid and docked from above are most often on sale, They can only form a crown. Pruning in the spring, shortening too elongated shoots, they can be used for reproduction. The shoots that appear on the trunk are usually removed. If you manage to root the cuttings and then plant them together, then you can weave the pigtail yourself. Only very young plants with flexible stems are suitable for weaving. Do not try to braid the entire braid in one go, fix the intermediate stages with a rope, and after a while you can continue braiding.
Read more in the article Methods for the formation of indoor plants.
Reproduction... Pakhira is propagated by rooting cuttings or air layers. These procedures are carried out according to standard techniques. Cuttings about 15 cm long, with 3-5 well-developed leaves, it is better to root in a soil consisting of a mixture of peat / coconut substrate and perlite / coarse sand in a 1: 1 ratio, always in a greenhouse with high air humidity and using root formers. The roots appear in about 4-6 weeks, and if you plant the cuttings in transparent disposable cups (100 ml is enough), the roots will be clearly visible through their walls.
Read more in the article Cutting indoor plants at home.
For sowing, it is advisable to use fresh seeds recently extracted from the fruit.
Plant large pakhira seeds in individual small pots or cups in peat soil mixed with perlite or sand in a ratio of 5: 3. When planting, place the seed at a depth of about 1 cm so that the light spot ("eye") is directed to the side, water and cover with film or glass on top. For germination, the seeds must be provided with a temperature of + 25 ... + 27 ° C and bright diffused light, and watered as the top layer dries.
Bloom the pakhirs are very impressive. Fragrant flowers with a diameter of about 10-15 cm, with white-yellow curled petals, with a large number of bright pink protruding stamens, collected in large paniculate inflorescences. But, unfortunately, the plant almost never blooms at home.
Virulence... Pakhira is not considered a poisonous plant. Its seeds are eaten.
Pests. In dry air, pakhira is attacked by ticks, its leaves are covered with small whitish dots - places where ticks are punctured.Increase the humidity in the room, arrange a regularly warm shower (combining with watering time to avoid waterlogging, or carefully protect the soil with a film from getting wet), if necessary, treat with acaricides. Pakhira can be affected by mealybugs (white formations that look like pieces of cotton wool are visible on the leaves, in their axils, on the stems) and scale insects (similar to droplets of wax on leaves and stems), as well as aphids. If pests are found, treat with systemic insecticides (Aktrara, Confidor).
Read more in the article Houseplant pests and control measures.
Possible problems, diseases of pakhira aquatic
- Yellowing of leaves often caused by dry indoor air. Another reason is lack of nutrients. Correct conditions and care.
- Whitish color of leaves - the plant may be heavily affected by spider mites. Plaque on the underside of the leaves, similar to dusting with flour, a thin cobweb, discolored small dots - a sign of tick damage (see Pests).
- White dry spots on the leaves may cause sunburn if the plant is in direct sunlight.
- Brown and crispy leaves - a sign of poor watering. Water rarely, but abundantly, so that the entire lump is well moistened.
- Dropped green leaves that have lost their turgor are usually a sign of too much water. Reduce watering frequency.
- Brown spots on the leaves may be a sign of anthracnose. Keep pakhira leaves dry, remove damaged leaves, treat with a broad spectrum fungicide.
- Large white fleecy spots on the leaves - fungal disease, powdery mildew. Often occurs in hot summer conditions or when there is a lack of light in winter in a warm room. Treat with fungicides (Skor, Topaz).
- Leaf fall may be caused by too cold conditions.
- Withering, yellowing and loss of leaves often a consequence of root disease, root rot. The reason is excessive watering, when the soil is constantly damp. The disease is difficult to treat, but it is easy to prevent it by observing the irrigation regime, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. If there are signs of root disease, do not rush to transplant, change the soil. There will be more chances for a gradual recovery if you just reduce the watering.