Indoor muhlenbeckia – lace grace

Few plants match the epithet “laced” as much as the weightless indoor liana Mühlenbeckia. Evergreen and very graceful, with the finest and entangled shoots, round leaves, Mühlenbeckia create weightless and curly green clouds. And for all their talents as a draper and an ampel star, they offer a variety of growing options. But the main advantage of this plant, in addition to the elegant look and luxurious greenery, is also unpretentiousness. Despite all its elegance, muhlenbeckia does not require the creation of any complex, special growing conditions and is content with very modest systemic care. And the active growth of the plant will not only pleasantly surprise, but also please with a quick “return” for care.

Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com tantsusse
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Green lace muhlenbeckia in a pot

The network of the thinnest, flexible shoots of Mühlenbeckia forms a unique tangled lace, under which it is almost impossible to distinguish individual shoots. But I don’t want to do this at all. The openwork green miracle in pots fascinates with its non-standard and surprisingly curly crown. Muhlenbeckia, for all its beauty, remains a largely underestimated plant and is not found as often as it deserves. The decorative leafy beauty is capable of growing both as an ampelous and bushy plant, is formed on any support and is absolutely unpretentious.

This amazing plant in indoor culture represents the Buckwheat family and came to us from New Zealand and Australia, although some species of Mühlenbecky can also be found in southern Africa. Mühlenbeck (Muehlenbeckia) develops in the form of rather large climbing or creeping vines, whose red-brown shoots are capable of capturing striking territories in nature. In indoor culture, these are fairly compact plants. Of the 20 species of deciduous shrubs from the Mühlenbecky genus, only one species is used for indoor culture – Muhlenbeckia confused, or Mühlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complex).

The height of this beauty can reach both modest 15 cm and almost 1 m: the specific size of the plant always depends on the support and the form of cultivation. Thin, retaining their reddish bark, and very flexible shoots are able to braid any support, create a delightfully lacy, cloud-like crown, effectively decorate various containers, niches, arches, green walls and various structures. Thin branches of Mühlenbeckia are so densely intertwined with each other that it is not possible to trace the lines of individual shoots.

They form a kind of green lace, a tangled mass that is perceived as an amazingly beautiful vision. Long shoots of Mühlenbeckia are decorated with graceful, but small, alternately charming leaves with a glossy color located on the shoots. Leathery round leaves reach only 2 cm in diameter, but most often they are much smaller and do not exceed 0,5 cm in diameter. The color of young leaves is brighter and more intense, the old ones are darker and more muted, due to which greens with a variety of color shades can be observed on the plant.

The red tone of the strings-like shoots perfectly emphasizes the play of color nuances of the foliage. Indoor Muhlenbeckia blooms usually in August. The flowers reach only 0,5 cm in diameter, bloom in the leaf axils in small panicles of 2-5 pcs. Even if they are ineffective, small white flowers do not seem too modest on the plant, they exude a very pleasant smell. This scent in the fresh air is massively attracting butterflies to Mühlenbeckia. After flowering, the plant is decorated with achenes.

Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa)
Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com floradania

Home care for muhlenbeckia

Mühlenbeckia, due to its shade tolerance and unpretentiousness, is considered an easy plant to grow. But do not be mistaken that it can grow without attention at all and will forgive any mistakes. This plant is extremely sensitive to soil moisture and skipping watering, but does not like too abundant procedures.

But otherwise, Mühlenbeckia is able to adapt to almost any conditions. In particular, this plant perfectly adapts to shading, is content with dry air, is able to recover well after pruning, and with appropriate care correction, it can even hibernate in a warm place, and not in a cool one. Mühlenbeckia is perfect for beginner florists.

Lighting for muhlenbeckia

This amazing lace plant is one of the best shade-tolerant crops. Moreover, Mühlenbeckia prefers growing in secluded lighting. Plants do not tolerate a dense shade, they stretch, but in a light shade they reach their greatest decorative effect. In a sunny place, not only the leaves of the plant dry out, but also the stems, and the midday sun is completely destructive for Mühlenbeckia.

An ideal place for this culture would be partial shade or a scattered light location shaded from direct sunlight. The optimal location is considered to be the northern windowsills or placement in the interior at some distance from the southern, eastern and western windows.

Comfortable temperature

During the phase of active development, Mühlenbeckia feels well in stable warm conditions. The ideal air temperature for this plant is considered to be the range from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. At the same time, the heat negatively affects the attractiveness of the leaves, and a decrease in temperature to 18 degrees leads to a stop in development. When choosing a place for Mühlenbeckia for the warm season, it should be borne in mind that the more stable the environment, the better the Mühlenbeckia will develop and the more beautiful the network of shoots it forms.

During the dormant period, which Mühlenbeckia always has in the cold season, it needs as cool conditions as possible. A full-fledged phase of preparation for active development and storing strength for flowering is possible only at moderate air temperatures. The optimal wintering regime for this plant is the temperature range from 10 to 14 degrees. Hotter temperatures negatively affect the attractiveness of the plant, leading to rapid deformation of the bushes and elongation of shoots. Muhlenbeckia will not die, but in winter it will not decorate the interior, it will require intensive pruning to restore the attractiveness of the crown.

Mühlenbeckia must be protected as much as possible not only from temperature changes at any time of the year, but also from drafts. The plant reacts poorly to the neighborhood with heating devices and is not suitable for landscaping those premises in which the conditions change dramatically, in particular, it is not suitable for landscaping the kitchen. In summer, plants can be placed in sheltered areas on a balcony or terrace.

Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa)
Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com plantsam

Watering and air humidity

This plant has an extremely sensitive rhizome to waterlogging, which requires a careful approach to watering. The vulnerability of the roots requires not only to immediately drain the water from the sump after watering, but also to prevent too frequent watering with stagnant water in the soil. Even worse, Mühlenbeckia reacts to drought, which affects the plant in the same way as direct sunlight, leading to the drying of leaves and shoots. The optimal strategy for muhlenbeckia is to carry out these procedures so that the topsoil between them slightly dries out, maintaining a stable average moisture content of the substrate. The optimal watering frequency for a plant is 2-3 times a week during spring and summer.

This plant is still considered not demanding on air humidity and tolerates dry conditions well. But this endurance is characteristic of Mühlenbeckia only if it is in the optimal temperature range. In the warm season or when the air temperature in the room exceeds 23 degrees, the plant must be regularly sprayed. It is best to do it daily and compensate for the effect of too hot conditions on the greenery of the plant, which would otherwise begin to rapidly lose its attractiveness.

In winter, when kept cool, Mühlenbeckia is not sprayed, with the exception of extremely dry air and cases when the plant itself signals the need to take measures to additionally humidify the air (the leaves dry out, lose color).

Top dressing for muhlenbeckia

This culture needs regular feeding only from May to August. There is no need to start feeding the plant in March. But during the period of active development from late spring to late summer, plants need intensive feeding with a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks. In terms of composition, complex fertilizers intended for flowering indoor plants are better suited for muhlenbeckia. Despite the fact that it is the leaves that are the most ornamental part of the plant, Mühlenbeckia needs a rather specific ratio of trace elements, the ideal balance of which is characteristic of the fertilizers of flowering plants.

Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa)
Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com pokojovky

Pruning muhlenbeckia

Muhlenbeckia lends itself well to shaping. It can be cut, pinched, tied, cut as you wish. Plant formation due to the flexibility of the shoots, good growth rate and crown density does not present any difficulties. At the same time, you need to focus not on specific terms, but on aesthetic considerations, the desired goal. But it is still best to prune only during the active development phase from spring to late summer. When wintering in the warmth of early spring on Mühlenbeckia, it is necessary to carry out a cardinal pruning, to shorten all elongated shoots to hemp to restore the crown.

Periodically, any Mühlenbeckia needs rejuvenation. The thing is that this liana is semi-leafy, gradually shedding old leaves, which, in turn, leads to the exposure of the lower part of the shoots. Rejuvenation is reduced to more radical pruning of plants, stimulating thickening.

Mühlenbeckia requires either cultivation in hanging baskets and flowerpots on legs or stands, or the installation of supports with the subsequent fixation of shoots on them. In both cases, you can shorten and direct the shoots as you wish.

Transplant and substrate

When choosing a soil suitable for Mühlenbeckia, you can practically not pay special attention to its acid reaction. Acidity, the pH level for this plant can be almost anything (but some growers argue that it is better to be stricter and choose pH values ​​from 5,8 to 6,2 for muhlenbeckia). It is believed that both soil fertility and its loose texture are equally important for this crop. You can use a ready-made substrate for decorative deciduous plants or a universal soil mixture.

When self-compiling the soil, you can mix equal shares of any base (humus soil, sod land or garden soil) with peat and sand. Suitable for muhlenbeckia and ordinary soil mixture, consisting of equal parts of sod and leafy soil, peat and sand.

Regardless of the age of the plant, its size and the form of cultivation, it is necessary to transplant Mühlenbeckia annually. It is best for this plant to be transplanted in mid-spring. Since the rhizome of this culture is extremely vulnerable and is very afraid of any contacts, and not just injury and damage, the plant must be transferred as carefully as possible into a new container, without destroying the earthen lump around the roots at all. When transplanting, it is imperative to lay a new high drainage layer at the bottom of the container. Containers for muhlenbeckia are increased by only 2-3 cm. When choosing pots, the ratio of diameter and height does not matter.

Mühlenbeckia can be grown as a rootstock for larger tubs and potted plants, shrubs, woody ones. It will help decorate the soil and play the role of a ground cover for dieffenbachia, ferns, ficuses, palms, pomegranates, laurels. But only plants growing in spacious, large containers can withstand such a neighborhood, since the root system of Muhlenbeckia is far from modest and it can take away important living space from the main culture. In this case, the muhlenbeckia is transplanted together with the main plant.

Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa)
Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Dicentra spectabilis

Diseases and pests of muhlenbeckia

The external fragility of Mühlenbeckia should not be misleading. This is a fairly resistant houseplant, diseases and pests on which appear only with serious violations of care and in uncomfortable conditions. If the plant is in too hot conditions without compensating spraying, spider mites can settle on the bushes. When waterlogged, the plant usually suffers from root rot. To fight insects on muhlenbeckia is enough by washing the plant and spraying with insecticides, and numerous procedures are usually not needed.

To combat root rot, you can try to dry the substrate and transfer the plant to light moisture. In extreme cases, it is necessary to resort to an emergency transplant with the removal of damaged roots – transplanting into a fresh substrate with a complete replacement of the old one. But since Mühlenbeckia do not like root injuries and do not react well to even the slightest contact with them, such a procedure usually causes serious problems with the health and appearance of the plant, and it is not always possible for Mühlenbeckia to recover after that.

Common growing problems:

  • partial loss of leaves in autumn as a result of the natural behavior of this semi-deciduous vine;
  • leaf fall in spring or summer with drought or waterlogging of the substrate;
  • drying of leaves and dropping of shoots in direct sunlight;
  • yellowing of leaves in heat and with too dry air;
  • lack of flowering due to improper wintering, insufficient humidity or excessive shading

Reproduction of muhlenbeckia

Like almost all indoor vines, Mühlenbeckia provides a considerable choice between different options and breeding methods. This plant can be obtained both by cuttings and from seeds, or cuttings can be made.

Mühlenbeckia seeds can be purchased or obtained independently by artificially pollinating the flowers of the plant and waiting for about a month until the seeds ripen in the fruits. They do not lose their germination for several years, so there is no need to plant seeds immediately after collection. Due to the length of daylight hours, mid-spring is considered the ideal time for planting.

Seeds are sown at a shallow depth in a sandy-peat substrate, covered with foil and glass and exposed in a warm and bright light. Seedlings appear amicably enough, but it is better not to touch them until 2-3 true leaves appear. Young plants should be planted as carefully as possible in small containers with a diameter of up to 5 cm, trying to contact the roots as little as possible and plant several plants in one pot. Young Mühlenbeckia are grown in the same way as adult plants.

Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa)
Muehlenbeckia confused, or Muehlenbeckia covering (Muehlenbeckia complexa). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com plantsam

For vegetative propagation in Mühlenbeckia, only apical cuttings are used. They can be cut during the entire period of active growth, choosing strong shoots and cutting off the cutting from their top. The optimal cutting length is about 10 cm, but longer branches can be used for convenience. The cut must be done at an angle. Shoots of Mühlenbeckia can take root even in water. Moreover, the appearance of roots will take about 2 weeks. As soon as the first roots appear, several plants can be planted in small pots in a light nutrient medium suitable for Mühlenbecky adults.

Reproduction by layering is in many ways similar to the process of obtaining new plants from ivy or chlorophytums. Due to the very thin shoots, there is no need to make incisions on them. It is enough just to put a new container with soil next to the plant, deepen the shoot in the internodes into the ground and fix it in such a way that it does not move. After about 2 weeks, at the point of contact with the soil, the shoot will give roots and new plants can be separated from the mother. They can be either transplanted or left in the container in which the shoots have taken root.

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Anna Evans

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