Manuka, or Leptospermum - queen of tubal
Luxurious plant native to Australia leptospermum meteloid (or panicled) is better known throughout the world as manuka. From this hardy and powerful plant, unique honey and essential oil are extracted, which, by antibacterial properties, is equated to a tea tree. But leptospermum is worth paying attention not only due to its healing characteristics. Of all the Australian exotics common in decorative floriculture, it is Manuka that claims to be the main flowering culture. Trees with unusual foliage during flowering are covered with medium-sized, but very beautiful flowers with a dark “eye”. And for all its outlandish and eye-catching appearance, Manuka is completely undemanding to leave. It is enough to provide a cold wintering - and this plant will become the main star of the collection of large crops.
Large but elegant manuka
Leptospermum (Leptospermum) - one of the most beautiful tubing plants in the modern assortment. The genus Fine seed, leptospermum or manuka belongs to the myrtle family. This is a very large genus of shrubs and trees that adapt perfectly to the closed soil culture. And although in the southern countries they can be grown as a garden plant, throughout the world manukas spread primarily as indoor and tub exotics.
The most widespread among the types of manuka in floriculture is leptosperm broom (paniculata) (Leptospermum scoparium) A large, up to 2 m high evergreen tree is formed only many years after purchase. On sale, manukas are represented by more than modest, compact bushes in small pots.
Leptospermum does not grow fast, but "stubbornly." The splendor, density of the crown - the dignity of the old leptospermum, but their dimensions are much more impressive. A distinctive feature of the shrub is a somewhat flattened crown shape: in width this plant is much larger than in height.
According to the beauty of the crown, leptospermum can compete with any myrtle plant. Powerful, most often straight or slightly bent up shoots create an attractive graphic crown. The leaves are small, dark green, with a pointedly-oblong shape. In length, they will not exceed 1 cm, they contain many essential oils, the aroma of which is well felt when rubbing between the fingers.
Flowers in diameter also reach only 1 cm. But they are very beautiful. Single, graceful, with beautiful dark spots at the base of the petals, emphasizing the center of the stamens, they seem both original and surprisingly catchy. And the "eyes" only add grace.
Flowering leptosperm covers 3-4 months. It starts at the very beginning of spring, and lasts until June. Even during flowering, manuka adapts well. During flowering, it can be carried under the open sky, which allows you to enjoy a month or two the beauty of the plants in the interior, and then decorate your garden or front garden with luxurious manuka.
This manuka is characterized by a fairly representative varietal palette. Classic red-flowered manukas are found as often as pink-flowered forms, and the main novelties of recent years are adorned with delicate white blooms. Their flowers are decorated with pink spots and stains and a catchy burgundy-black eye. In addition to the classical forms, there are terry leptosperm, the flowering of which looks even more impressive. Especially good varieties:
- ‘Rode Glory’ with beautiful brownish leaves and bright pink-red flowers;
- ‘Album Flore Pleno’ - a terry variety with snow-white flowers and dark leaves;
- ‘Decumbens’ - a light pink, very delicate variety;
- ‘Ruby Glow’ - bright red, with a ruby tint variety;
- ‘Nanum Gaiety Girt’ is a dwarf variety with pink flowers.
In addition to panicled fine seed, on sale you can find:
- leptospermum thyme (leptospermum thymifolia) - a miniature, compact look with finer foliage, smelling of lemon and snow-white flowering. Now combined with the species Thin seedling (Leptospermum) myrtle (Leptospermum myrsinoides);
- leptospermum creeping (leptospermum gregarium) - also more compact, cultivated in the south as a ground cover species; rarely found in pots, but creates very beautiful pillows from reddish shoots and dark leaves (flowers are also painted white).
Leptospermum is a plant that cannot be classified as simple to grow for just one single reason. Manukas need a cool, if not cold wintering, and without it, success is impossible. But in all other respects this culture will pleasantly surprise.
Exotic appearance does not detract from stamina. After all, leptosperms rightfully belong to the most heat-resistant, well-adaptable indoor plants. Of course, they will need systematic care, but these Australian beauties do not present any special requirements.
Conditions for growing manuka
Fine seedling lighting
Leptosperm - plants are extremely photophilous. For them, only the conditions under which the leptospermum will literally bathe in the sun will be comfortable. Strong, dense small leaves do not suffer even from midday rays. Unlike many cadres, Manuka will take out a solar location even in the garden, and not just in the rooms. But not during the flowering period, when manuka is more sensitive to heat and prefers diffused light.
It is better to choose places with an eastern, western or partially southern orientation, sunny or as light as possible sites. Bright lighting is especially important during the wintering period when the plant is in cool conditions: at this time shading for leptosperm is unacceptable.
Temperature conditions for manuka
It is very simple to choose the temperature regime for this frame exot. In the warm season, especially if the leptospermum is taken out to the garden or terrace, to the balcony or to the front garden, this exotic will put up with any temperature, even hot.
The usual room range or temperatures above 25 degrees are equally good for manuka. And the only thing affected by the heat is the frequency of watering. During the flowering period, extreme heat is best avoided by limiting the upper bar of the temperature to 24-26 degrees.
But the winter regime of maintenance requires a completely different approach. Manuka can be grown only under the condition of a cold winter, and this circumstance is the most difficult moment in growing a plant.
Leptosperm from the end of October to the beginning of November and until the end of February must be kept within the temperature range from 3 to 8 degrees Celsius. The maximum possible deviation from these temperatures is from 8 to 12 degrees. No later than the beginning of March, they need to be moved to room warm rooms.
The main talent of leptosperm is the ability to grow outdoors in the warm season. This plant is not hardy, but cold-resistant. It can be taken out under the open sky without waiting for the summer, already from mid-May. And leptosperm are brought back only after the first frosts come, from which the plant does not suffer. It is in the fresh air that leptospermum blooms most beautifully. Therefore, they are reckoned not only as indoor crops, but also as garden frame exotics.
Watering and humidity
Watering leptosperm should be regular and carried out only with a control of the degree of drying of the substrate in pots. This plant does not like the complete drying of an earthen coma, but also does not need increased humidity. Manuka can die even after a single drought - the plant immediately discards the leaves, and at a young age is no longer restored.
And the drying of the soil should not be allowed even in winter (despite the fact that watering should be done as sparsely as possible), and in the warm season it is necessary to maintain a stable average humidity. Between the procedures, the top layer of the substrate should dry. The higher the temperature, the more often you need to water. The winter regime of watering this plant should be sparse, the soil should be kept in a slightly moist state.
Pay attention will have to water quality. Leptospermum is best watered with rainwater (especially if they spend the summer in the garden). But any other soft water, boiled or filtered, at the same temperature as the external environment for manuka is suitable.
In general, the fine seedling tolerates dry air. But if you can afford to provide great humidity in spring and summer, the flowering plants will only become more beautiful.
Manuka, who prefers soils with increased acidity, needs not only to constantly replenish the level of nutrients in the soil, but also to maintain optimal soil characteristics. For this, plants use only acidic fertilizers, preferably from among preparations for flowering plants (fertilizers for rhododendrons or a mixture for bonsai are perfect).
During the period when the leptospermum is in the cold regime of wintering, feeding is not introduced. During the period of active growth (warm phase), manuka is not fertilized so often, but regularly - every 2-3 weeks with a full dose of fertilizers recommended by the manufacturers.
Manuka is prone to overgrowth. It constantly increases both volume and height, shoots can be pulled out during the summer in the fresh air. In order for the plant to maintain the usual density of the crown and the beauty of the forms, it is better to take care of timely pruning. Spend it immediately after flowering, provided that the manuka managed to bloom before the end of June.
From July to March, pruning is prohibited for many varietal leptospermums, but this information is best clarified upon purchase. When trimming, it is best to focus on shortening the elongated shoots, forming a crown. If necessary, pinching can be done in the spring, before transplanting.
This plant will also need sanitary “cleaning” in the spring. For this, the leptospermum, after being transferred from the cold to the heat in early spring, is subjected to a strict examination. On the plant should not remain damaged, dry, growing inside the crown or deformed and spoiling the decorativeness of the plant branches.
Leptospermum is suitable for the formation of shtambam and the creation of bonsai (it barks amazingly beautifully, and small foliage and dense crown make it possible to obtain graceful trees).
Transplant and substrate for manuka
Leptosperm are transplanted annually after flowering is complete. Particular attention during transplantation should be paid to maintaining the root mass and the previous level of penetration intact: a deeper or higher landing can be detrimental to Manuka. When transplanting a leptosperm, the volume of the pots is necessarily increased by 3-4 cm compared to the previous capacity.
The substrate for this plant must be acidic. But it is equally important to verify one more parameter - water permeability. The loose texture, the absence of the risk of stagnation of moisture guarantee lush flowering and the health of leptosperm. In addition to good drainage, it is worth taking care of the nutritional value, light texture, and the addition of sand. Most often, leptospermum is planted in a soil mixture consisting of soddy soil and peat with half the proportion of sand and humus. For this plant, you can use special mixtures for rhododendrons.
Manuka diseases and pests
Leptosperm cultures are quite persistent. With water stagnation and overflow, they can suffer from root rot, and in the calcareous substrate - from chlorosis. You can fight the first only with an emergency transplant, but it is better to cope with chlorosis with the use of iron chelates or other acidifying drugs.
Leptospermum is propagated mainly by apical petioles. Manuka woody, not densely branched shoots are well rooted if they are cut from the end of flowering to mid-August. For rooting, cuttings with a size of 5-6 cm should be taken.
Rooting is carried out under a hood, with ventilation twice a day, in an acidic substrate. Usually, the process of the emergence of roots takes a little more than 1 month, provided that the soil moisture is stable-average. Within a year after rooting, young plants need to be grown only in room culture.
Even in regions with harsh winters, manuka has time to form seeds and can be used to produce new plants. True, this is not so simple: seeds that are too small and dusty are difficult to collect and process correctly.
Sowing is carried out superficially, under glass, trying to work accurately and quickly so that the seeds do not have time to fly away from the surface of the substrate. But the main difficulty is the collection of seeds, which is rarely carried out before spilling.