On New Year's Eve, among the variety of traditional Christmas plants in the flower shops, you can find something truly exotic - Grevillea. Outwardly, it looks like a miniature dense fir, already decorated at the ends of the branches with bright toys, which are actually living inflorescences of hooked red or pink flowers.
Grevillea woolly(Grevillea lanigera) - a representative of the Greville family (Grevillea)belonging to the Protein family (Proteaceae)... It occurs naturally in southern Australia. The species is highly variable as it has a wide range of habitats. Most often these are shrubs from 30 cm to 1.5 m in height. Leaves are hairy, narrow, oblong, about 25-30 mm long. The flowers are located in arachnid inflorescences at the ends of the branches, mainly red or pink, with the addition of yellow and white tints. Flowering occurs more often in winter or spring.
This species gave rise to many cultivars, and the ability of Greville to interspecific hybridization further increased the possibility of creating new cultivars.
- Variety Red Salento (Red Salento) in Europe it is often called the Flowering Christmas Tree. In height, it can reach 1-2 m, and in the shape of the leaves it is very reminiscent of a spruce or fir. The tree habit is formed by tying the branches to the support. From November to April, pink-red curled flowers appear in abundance at the ends of the shoots.
- Variety MountTamborita (Mt Tamboritha), also known as Compacta or Prostrate Form, has a bush-like shape no more than 40 cm in height with a crown width of up to 2 m. In nurseries, the plant can be given a conical herringbone shape with the help of supports. The leaves are narrow, oblong, noticeably smaller than that of most forms, dark green with a silvery sheen and fine hairs, arranged in a spiral arrangement, densely covering the branches. The flowers are pinkish-red, gathered in inflorescences resembling spider legs at the ends of the branches.
A very attractive and unusual appearance, combined with resistance to slight frosts (up to -12 ° C), and unpretentiousness made this grevillea very popular with gardeners. These two varieties are very similar in appearance. In countries with moderately cold winters, the sprawling Mont Tamborita is planted in rockeries, and the vertically formed Red Salento is used as a Christmas tree.
In the garden, Grevillea prefers direct sun or light partial shade, well-drained poor sandy or loamy soils, and can tolerate short droughts after well established. Resistant to light frost. The list of varieties of Grevillea for cultivation is very extensive, they can differ in size, color and shape of inflorescences and leaves.
In countries with cold winters, like in Russia, Grevillea can only be kept as a tub or houseplant, protecting it from severe frosts. Only compact and slow growing varieties such as Mont Tamborita and Red Salento are suitable for growing at home.
Many problems in growing Grevilleas can be avoided by keeping them in greenhouses, conservatories or insulated loggias, where it is possible to provide them with a very bright, full of air place and provide a cool wintering.
Illumination. Grevillea prefers very bright light. If kept outdoors during warmer months, protection from direct sun is not required. Can grow in low shade. At home, in order to avoid overheating through the glass, a little protection from the midday sun will be required on hot summer days. At any time of the year, and especially in the heat, the plant needs an influx of fresh air. Only with very good lighting can you expect to bloom.
Temperature. In summer, the optimum temperature of the content is within + 20 + 25 ° C. On hot days it is necessary to increase the humidity of the air.In winter, Grevillea begins a dormant period, which implies cool conditions, with a temperature of + 6 + 15 ° C.
Watering. During active growth, from spring to autumn, the Grevillea is watered regularly, after the top layer of the soil has dried, avoiding stagnation of water in a pot or pan. With a cool winter content, the frequency and abundance of watering is reduced, however, not allowing the root coma to dry out completely. For irrigation, use settled and soft water.
Read more about watering in the article Watering rules for indoor plants.
Air humidity Grevillea prefers high. It is advisable at temperatures above + 18 ° C, and especially in the heat, to spray the crown with lukewarm boiled water several times a day. No spraying is required during the cool season.
Soil and transplants. Grevillea prefers poor sandy or loamy soil, it must be well drained throughout and have a slightly acidic reaction. A ready-made universal peat substrate with the addition of loosening components (perlite, vermiculite, coarse sand) is also suitable.
Young plants are transplanted every year in the spring if the roots have mastered the volume of the pot well. Adult specimens are transplanted every 3-5 years, annually replacing the topsoil with a fresh one. All transplants are carried out only by careful transfer into a container slightly larger than the previous one.
Read more about the transplant - in the article Transplanting indoor plants.
Top dressing are carried out from spring to autumn with a complex universal fertilizer for indoor plants with microelements. Avoid using fertilizers for flowering plants, they contain a lot of phosphorus, which can negatively affect the state of the grevillea.
Reproduction. The cultivars are propagated only vegetatively in order to preserve fully maternal traits. To do this, use semi-lignified cuttings of the growth of the current year, taken during the growing season. They are rooted in greenhouses with high air humidity at a temperature of about + 25 ° C with the use of root formation stimulants. The soil is made up of equal parts of peat and perlite. Rooting can take up to several months, but sometimes it happens quickly enough.
Read more about grafting - in the article Cutting indoor plants at home.
Pests. When kept in closed rooms with poor ventilation, Grevillea can be severely affected by spider mites. Aphids and whiteflies are also possible.
About pest control - in the article Houseplant pests and control measures.
Diseases. With very high air humidity in stagnant air or with regular waterlogging of the soil, the likelihood of fungal diseases increases.