The beauty of the flat-branch homalocladium
Among the unusual large indoor plants, it is difficult to find a culture that would surprise with its shoots or leaves more than homalocladium. This is an amazing and highly decorative shrub with a non-standard silhouette, claiming to be one of the most original for a modern interior. Flat ribbon-like shoots form a bizarre crown, which can be appreciated only at close range. Rather unpretentious and hardy, homalocladium is easily put up with temperature extremes, but needs careful care. It will become a wonderful plant for those who are looking for truly innovative solutions.
Flat shoots and algae appearance
Homalocladiums belong to the buckwheat family. The genus of these plants is monotypic. But despite the fact that flat-branch homalocladium (Homalocladium platycladum) Is a one-of-a-kind plant (and debates about its affiliation are still ongoing), this does not detract from the possibility of its use in the interior. It is difficult to name another large plant with such a unique appearance. Homalocladium simply has no competitors. And if you are looking for a plant with an original appearance that would tell each guest of your house about its exclusivity already from afar, then homalocladium is just for you.
Because of its height, it reaches almost 2 m in adulthood and is quite ragged, homalocladium is more suitable for the role of a plant for a single batch. If this culture is displayed in the company of other plants, then only those like him. Unusual greens and silhouettes of homalocladium, which seem almost alien, negatively affect the attractiveness of more familiar grassy and shrubby indoor crops. But in the solo part, homalocladiums cannot be found equal. To reveal the beauty of this plant, you need to choose the right pots. The more attractive the container for homalocladium will be, the more modern and more bold it will look, the better. This plant is sometimes even sold not in ordinary pots, but in open florariums, various flasks, using unusual methods of decorating the soil or hiding the container. In any case, when buying this plant, it should be borne in mind that the capacity for it needs to be selected purely for the interior style and try to make it no less a decoration in the room than the soloist himself.
In nature, homalocladiums are found in New Guinea and New Caledonia, belong to tropical island exotics. The most unusual part of homalocladiums are not leaves at all, but shoots. Ribbon-shaped or linguistic, flat, very flexible, they seem almost artificial decoration, consist of large linear segments, but their structure is almost invisible. Twigs are perceived as bizarrely curving in different directions, twisted, outlandish shoots of succulents, although this plant does not belong to them. Actually, the leaves of homalocladium are perfectly combined with its shoots. Narrow and spear-shaped, small, they seem to continue the lines of shoots and give the whole plant curly and elegant. Despite its large size, homalocladium causes associations with herbs and algae, it seems outlandish and unusual. In nature, the plant adapts to tropical conditions, quickly dropping leaves and "redirecting" their functions to the shoots. At room conditions, the leaves also do not last too long, but their beauty can be fully appreciated.
Homalocladiums bloom in the first half of summer, but you can enjoy flowering only in special conditions, when kept in coolness for almost the entire year. But if you manage to wait for flowering, then you can not find a more spectacular sight. Located in the joints of the shoots on the side of the twigs and collected in fancy bunches or whorls, tiny yellow or pinkish flowers, they seem almost like jewelry and slightly remind of the best plane-leaf cacti.
Care for homalocladium at home
These amazing flat-branch shrubs, despite their extremely unusual appearance and status, are not at all whimsical or over-demanding. With careful care, it is easy to grow homalocladiums, they will not cause difficulties even for beginner growers. Plants adapt well to various conditions and need only providing systemic care and adequate lighting.
Lighting for Homocladium
These shrubs belong to photophilous cultures and are poorly reconciled even with the slightest shading. Fortunately, they are not too sensitive to direct sunlight and feel good both in sunny and just in bright places (only in summer too intense lighting is undesirable). Homalocladiums do not like artificial illumination.
The optimal location for the plant are considered southern with screens, western or eastern window sills.
One of the main advantages of this culture is its insensitivity to temperature extremes. Homalocladium does not respond to changes in their parameters with a loss of decorativeness or other signs of an uncomfortable environment. If the temperature remains within the range acceptable for it, then the plant will retain the same beauty both in cool and in a warm environment. The minimum allowable temperature for homalocladium is 5 degrees Celsius, but at this temperature the plant will throw off shoots. This culture grows and develops equally well both in cool indicators of about 12-18 degrees, and in normal room conditions with temperatures from 19 to 23 degrees Celsius. Moreover, if the temperature fluctuates (even sharply) within the specified ranges, the homalocladium will not suffer. But there is one significant “but” in such recommendations: the temperature range comfortable for homalocladium is best specified upon purchase: homalocladiums accustomed from flower centers from the first days most often lose their ability to adapt to the cold and can even shoot off at a slightly lower temperature . Therefore, the cold resistance of a particular plant and the minimum allowable temperature are best specified upon purchase.
This plant simply adores fresh air, welcomes frequent airing. It can be exposed to the open space, decorating with an unusual accent a balcony, terrace or rest areas in the garden.
Watering and humidity for homalocladium
This plane-branch shrub needs quite abundant watering. They are carried out as soon as the top layer of the substrate dries, providing stable soil moisture. Regardless of the temperature of the content, watering is carried out after checking the degree of drying of the soil in pots. In this way, overflow in coolness and excessive drying of the soil in the heat can be avoided. Excessive irrigation for homalocladium is more dangerous than drying out the soil. In the cold season, plants need correction of irrigation, moderate and light soil moisture - procedures, the intervals between which increase by 1-2 days. The frequency of watering is easy to control due to the fact that the plant itself signals problems: if watering is insufficient, then the homalocladium discards the leaves faster.
Homalocladium is hardly the most demanding crop for air humidity. But throughout the stage of active development, they will not give up medium and high humidity, which positively affects the growth rate and color of greenery. They do not like very dry environments. For this crop, there is no need to install humidifiers, it is enough to carry out regular spraying.
Both for irrigation and for spraying the plant, you need to use only soft water at room temperature.
Fertilizers for homalocladium
During active development, homalocladium needs very frequent top dressing. Fertilizer for this plant is applied not with a standard frequency, but once a week, while the doses are halved or triple (if more convenient, a standard dose can be applied once every 3-4 weeks). From the end of summer to spring, feeding is not carried out.
Pruning, support and rejuvenation of homalocladium
This plant is developing rapidly, and to maintain compactness and beauty of the silhouette, it is necessary to prune it annually, forming to your taste a more elongated or sloping, low or high crown. Pruning is best done in the spring, at the very beginning of growth. If you are satisfied with the natural shape and size of the homalocladium, you can refuse to trim.
For a plant, it is most often necessary to ensure the installation of supporting supports, since the stems bending to the sides (especially without pruning) can break off under their own weight.
The plant is very durable, but in the absence of formation loses its attractiveness. If the decorativeness of homalocladium is reduced, it is possible to replace the bush with new specimens of cuttings, and rejuvenate the plant with a cardinal haircut and formation.
Homalocladium transplant and substrate
For this plant, it is necessary to select a sufficiently nutritious, rich in organic matter and loose soil. Homalocladiums are often grown in a mixture of peat and sand without the addition of leaf and turf soil, but you can also choose a universal substrate. If you make the earthwork yourself, then mix garden soil, peat and sand in equal parts.
Usually, homalocladiums actively grow and develop, require an annual transplant, but if the roots are not covered with an earthen lump, then you can transplant 1 time in 2 years. The reverse assumption also applies: if a plant develops rapidly and there are signs of a lack of soil, homalocladiums can be transplanted even twice a year.
Before transplanting, pruning is carried out, forming a crown. The procedure itself is standard, with a medium or high drainage tab.
Diseases and pests of homalocladium
Spider mites and mealybugs are often found on homalocladiums. It is better to deal with lesions by washing the leaves or using insecticides.
Common growing problems:
- stretching shoots with a lack of lighting;
- yellowing or blanching of the color in too intense light;
- yellowing and drying of the tops of the stems in dry air;
- wilting, yellowing with waterlogging of the substrate
Reproduction of homalocladiums
This amazing plant is propagated very simply - using cuttings. Fortunately, the type of shoots and their structure make it easy to obtain planting material. The rooting of cuttings from the lateral shoots of homalocladium is no more difficult than the rooting of sansevieria or the best indoor succulents. In a mixture of sand and peat or water, cuttings quickly release their roots.
Adult homalocladiums can be divided into 2-3 smaller bushes during transplantation.