Cyanotis – fluffy indoor ground cover – Beautiful indoor plants

Ground covers are not the most popular and representative category of indoor plants. Forming dense pillows and rugs, they propose to introduce elegant, neat and lacy accents into the interior. But cyanotis is an exception to the general rule, the plant is rightfully ranked among the exotics. And it’s not just about its large leaves and brittle shoots. Unusual edge, uncontrolled growth of twigs, some inaccuracy and a special density of leaves distinguish it from the background of any other plant. And the metallic texture and almost furry surface of the flowers turn cyanotis into a genuine original.

Somali cyanotis (Cyanotis somaliensis). Farmer Kissy Frott


What does a cyanotis indoor ground cover look like?

There are many African exotics among indoor plants, but it is not easy to find cultures that would not be common in South Africa and stand out with an unusual appearance. Cyanotis is one of the exotic species that came to us not from the Cape Province (South Africa), but from Somalia. This plant is often advertised as an exotic with a fairly narrow range of distribution, although this is true only in relation to one and only species. Cyanotis are common in tropical regions of Africa and found in Asia, being quite inconspicuous ground cover plants.

Cyanotis represent the Commelinaceae family in indoor culture. The name of the plant was given for the shape and characteristics of the flowers (from the Greek – “blue” and “ear”).

Cyanotis are herbaceous creeping perennials, although short-lived annual species are also found in nature. They are constantly expanding in breadth, capturing new territories in nature and forming a thick and lush covering. Due to the limited volume of soil in containers, indoor cyanotis are not as aggressive, but they still form dense thickets and capture all the available space.

The creeping, creeping shoots of this plant are quite thick, juicy, break off easily, they cannot boast of their stability, partially rising and adding looseness to the bushes. Fleshy, pubescent, linear leaves with a slightly pointed tip sit on the shoots quite densely, alternately.

The color range of cyanotis is amazing. Even the base color of this plant is light green. And the edge with a grayish tint gives the plant a metallic, most often, silvery effect. The edge is soft, small hairs on the stems elongate at the edges of the leaves and become more noticeable there.

Indoor cyanotis rarely bloom, but such a spectacle is worth waiting for. Blue or lilac, bright, blooming surrounded by unusual stipules, flowers surprise with their almost furry effect. Flowers bloom in the axils of the leaves or at the tops of the shoots.

Cyanotis flowerCyanotis flower. Farmer DiegoFotoLDI

Types of cyanotis

In room culture, only three types of cyanotis are used. A single plant has gained popularity, but two other species are found only in selected collections and botanical gardens.

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Somali cyanotis (Cyanotis somaliensis) is a genuine visiting card of the Cyanotis genus. A herbaceous perennial with pubescent leaves and shoots, in which, through the hairs of the edge (they look especially impressive along the edge), a glossy surface texture is still visible, creating stunningly beautiful spots and pillows on the soil.

Lanceolate leaves with their white edges contrast with any other houseplant. Small flowers are bright blue, solitary, they bloom in the axils of the upper leaves, surprising with an almost furry edge, against which the yellow anthers of the stamens shine.

Cyanotis beddomei (also known as cyanotis kewensis, Cyanotis kewensis) is a short and very pretty species that develops in the form of compact but lush carpets. It is a herbaceous perennial with uplifting, creeping shoots that create a dense and dense sod. The leaves hug the stem, they are heart-lanceolate, up to 4 cm long and up to 2 cm wide. Flowers are located at the tops of the shoots, in a kind of curls. This cyanotis differs from the Somali in reddish, dark pubescent shoots and fleshy leaves with a purple back. Purple flowers are small and somewhat inconspicuous.

Cyanotis vaga (Cyanotis vaga, formerly known as a synonym for cyanotis knotty, Cyanotis nodiflora) is a compact perennial with straight, branched stems, slightly different in growth form from the two species described above. Pointed dark green lanceolate leaves hug the shoots. Flowers in sessile inflorescences bloom only in the axils of the upper leaves, they are lilac-blue, with an unusual fluffy edge.

Cyanotis somali (Cyanotis somaliensis)Cyanotis somali (Cyanotis somaliensis). Farmer Banu
Цианотис бедоми (Cyanotis beddomei)Цианотис бедоми (Cyanotis beddomei). Farmer Eric Barbier
Cyanotis vagaCyanotis vaga Farmer Sajan Subedi

Conditions for growing indoor cyanotis

According to the requirements for lighting and temperatures, cyanotis can be ranked among the typical not too capricious exotics. This African feels better in diffused, soft lighting, requires a cool winter. The latter is associated with the main difficulties in growing cyanotis, because it is not easy to maintain the correct temperatures for them in ordinary living rooms. The rest of the cyanotis is not too picky.

Cyanotis can be grown as an ampelous plant, because its creeping shoots gradually become quite long and can droop beautifully and chaotically. But, most often, the plant is used as an ordinary potted plant or in various mixed compositions. Cyanotis is especially good in florariums, terrariums, winter garden compositions with other crops of the succulent type.

Lighting and placement in the interior

Cyanotis are used to fairly intense lighting. This plant does not tolerate strong shading and prefers to grow in diffused light. Cyanotis does not tolerate direct sunlight even in winter, but for autumn and winter the plant must be rearranged to brighter windows or provide appropriate compensation for insufficient illumination with additional lighting.

In the interior, cyanotis can be placed not only on window sills, although it is the eastern or western windows for them that are still considered the best place. The fact is that cyanotis responds well to artificial lighting and can be grown even on completely artificial supplementary lighting. When choosing a place for cyanotis, they are guided by places similar in illumination level to light windowsills.

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Temperature control and ventilation

Cyanotis is a moderately thermophilic plant. If in nature this inhabitant of the tropics endures any heat, then in the rooms it is better for him to provide stable air temperatures of about + 20 ° C. The plant is “rescued” from excessive heat by airing and decreasing the light intensity. At consistently high room temperatures, cyanotis ages and degenerates faster.

The most difficult thing in growing indoor cyanotis is a cool winter. The plant can also overwinter in ordinary living rooms, but this way it will lose its decorative effect faster and will need more frequent rejuvenation. The optimum temperature in winter is from +14 to + 16 ° С. Cyanotis will not tolerate air temperature drops below + 12 ° С.

Fluffy Cyanotis LeavesFluffy leaves of cyanotis. Farmer Nessy apprentie en rangement

Home care for cyanotis

The main disadvantage of cyanotis is its tendency to age. The bushes of the plant quickly lose their decorative effect, and without rejuvenation every two or three years it will be impossible to admire this tamed exotic. Otherwise, plant care is quite standard. Cyanotis does not like waterlogging, requires systematic, accurate watering and careful feeding. But then there is no need to take measures to humidify the air.

Watering and air humidity

Cyanotis cannot be counted among the moisture-loving indoor exotics. This plant feels comfortable in light, stably moist soil. Watering for the plant is carried out in moderation even in summer, allowing the substrate to partially dry out and trying to keep it in a slightly moist state all the time.

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Winter watering for cyanotis is reduced to minimal, only maintaining the viability of the roots and preventing the plant from drying out. The soil should remain almost dry at this time.

Watering for cyanotis must be carried out carefully so that drops of water do not fall on either the leaves or the shoots. Any wetting causes the onset of decay.

Cyanotis not only does not need measures to increase air humidity, but is also afraid of a too humid environment. Spraying for this plant is strictly prohibited, as is placing it next to humidifiers. Dust can be cleaned with a brush.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

Cyanotis is afraid of excess nutrients. Top dressing for him is carried out with a standard frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks, but only from March to August and halved in comparison with the recommended doses of fertilizers.

For cyanotis, you need to choose fertilizers for decorative deciduous plants.

Pruning and shaping cyanotis

Cyanotis, if desired, can be restrained in growth, partially cutting off long shoots. But usually pruning leads to faster growth and faster degeneration.

Over time, the plant loses its shape, the lower parts of the shoots are exposed, and dry areas form in the center of the pillows. The cyanotis that has lost its decorative effect needs to be rejuvenated. To do this, it is enough to divide the plant during transplantation or replace the old bush with a new one grown from stem cuttings.

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Be very careful when handling cyanotis, as the plant is too fragile.

Transplant, choice of capacity and substrate

This ground cover, despite the status of a perennial, needs frequent rejuvenation and transplantation for the plant is usually carried out when the need arises. The standard is 1 transplant in 2 years.

For cyanotis, only light, breathable, non-compacted succulent substrates are suitable. If the soil mixture is prepared independently, then it is better to mix peat, humus, leafy soil and sand in equal parts. For cyanotis, one should not use too fertile substrates. Loosening agents in the substrate are welcome. Cyanotis, despite the fear of getting wet, grows well in hydroponics. You can grow the plant in ion-exchange soil, and in a minimum amount of substrate, and in decorative soils in florariums.

Cyanotis is not afraid of contact with roots. The plant is planted keeping the same depth. Brittle shoots must be handled very carefully. At the bottom of the containers, a high, up to 1/3 of the height, drainage layer must be laid.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Cyanotis are often affected by pests that live in dry air. Spider mites, scale insects and aphids adore the pubescent leaves of the plant. You can fight insect pests only by using insecticides.

Common growing problems:

  • loss of the edge with abundant feeding or using too fertile soil;
  • shrinking leaves and stretching shoots in the shade;
  • brown spots on leaves in direct sunlight.
    Cyanotis stalkCyanotis stalk. Farmer Juan Ramón Alonso
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Reproduction of cyanotis

Despite its status as a valuable and rare species, cyanotis is very easy to grow on your own. The easiest way to propagate a plant at home is by cuttings: apical or stem, short cuttings root very quickly in almost any environment – in water, sand, and a substrate under a hood. The cuttings should be kept shaded and warm.

After rooting, the plants are planted in small, wide bowls using a standard substrate for these plants. Cutting is also the simplest method of cyanotis rejuvenation. Broken off shoots are often rooted in the same container in which the mother plant grows (for example, in the place of bald spots in the center of old bushes).

You can also get cyanotis from seeds. They are sown in light soil, under glass or film, and before germination, the crops are kept warm, at an air temperature above 20 degrees and in complete darkness. The substrate should remain slightly damp. After the emergence of seedlings, the containers are transferred to the light, the shelter is removed after the seedlings grow up. Young cyanotis are afraid of waterlogging and direct sun.

If you grow cyanotis indoors, share your experience in the comments to the article. Our readers will be very grateful to you!

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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