A unique houseplant, which they manage to actively use in urban landscaping, and which is recognized by almost the most nostalgic culture today, it seems to many a relic of the past. And although the monotypic genus reo (reo) has been abolished, and the species of reo multicolored has long been attributed to the species of Tradescantia multicolored genus Tradescantia, it is very difficult not to recognize this culture. Amazing ease of reproduction and unpretentiousness allow you to grow a plant even with minimal experience. And with proper care, the rheo can surprise you with its decorative effect.
Old and rare reo
In almost any old encyclopedia of indoor plants and manuals on home economics, one of the first and best indoor crops is always called rheo. Today, when such a popular name for everyone has remained only an outdated synonym for veiled Tradescantia, the favor of the public is once again returning to the former rheos. And although one has to forget about the species and varietal diversity of plants (both the variegated and the covered rheo are one and the same Tradescantia), there is still something to surprise with the rheo.
Tradescantia multicolored, or covered tradescantia (Tradescantia spathacea; a son. Rhoeo discolor) Is a plant from the Kommelinov family (Commelinaceae). It is a highly decorative deciduous, fast-growing plant that offers unique purple colors. In nature, this plant fills vast spaces in the subtropical zones of the American continents.
The appearance of Tradescantia is associated with typical plants of Mexico, Florida, the Antilles, where rheo can be found along forest edges and river banks, in rocky areas and thickets of the rainforest. In the tropics, rheo is one of the most popular ornamental deciduous crops prone to running wild.
Multicolored Tradescantia is a powerful, but low herbaceous perennial. The maximum plant height is limited to 30-40 cm. The rhizome is not too large, horizontal. The stems are shortened, almost invisible in young plants and spoil all decorativeness as the leaves fall off in old bushes. Straight shoots are thick and squat. The leaves on the shoots sit very densely, hugging the trunk at the base, and forming a rosette-like pattern at the top of the trunk.
The leaves of the rheo are large, linear-lanceolate, less often broadly linear, with a pointed edge. The beautiful curvature of the leaves gives the plant an equally beautiful silhouette. With a length of up to 35 cm, they very rarely exceed a few centimeters in width (the maximum width is 7 cm, the average is 4 cm). Old lower leaves are constantly dying off, rosettes and shoots naturally elongate. Such stretching spoils the attractiveness of the bushes, and it is because of it that Tradescantia cephalic needs very frequent rejuvenation.
Reo is easily recognizable by the color of the leaves. The upper gray-green stripe is combined in the plant with the reverse purple side. There are no such rich and pronounced purple colors among other indoor plants. And it is thanks to them that the veiled Tradescantia, although experiencing many periods of decline in popularity, never disappears altogether.
The colors of Tradescantia are almost never uniform: even on the reverse side or with a pure green color of the upper plate, longitudinal stripes of varying intensity appear on it. The plant is also decorated with satin gloss, a special texture of the surface of the leaves.
The flowering of this Tradescantia is as nondescript as that of the rest of the genus. Small white flowers hide in modest inflorescences under a scaphoid veil of several purple-green bracts. The plant blooms in indoor conditions literally throughout the year, flowering does not affect the attractiveness of purple leaves. The flowers fall off quickly enough.
Tradescantia cephalic has several decorative forms. The most popular of them today remains broadband, which differs from ordinary rheos only in red-purple and yellow stripes on the upper side of the leaves. But it is worth paying attention to other varieties:
- on the “Vittata” shape, whose leaves adorn with longitudinal creamy yellow stripes;
- Hawaiian Dwarf variety with original variegated foliage, combining a dazzling fuchsia-crimson color of the reverse side, partially “climbing” to the edges of the top of the leaf plate, with contrasting white and green;
- variety “Sitara Gold” with golden-yellow leaves, which rarely show green stripes, and flaunting a brownish-orange back, as if faded side.
Tradescantia curtain can be used as an independent plant, grown in ordinary pots or ampels, and also used in complex compositions with other indoor plants. They are perfectly combined with other Tradescantia and Kommelinova, they are used to “edge” large plants or create colorful compositions in flower girls.
Conditions for growing rheo
Lighting for tradescantia curtain
Despite its pronounced color, it is Tradescantia vermilion that claims to be the most undemanding plant for lighting. She does not like direct sunlight in the summer at noon, but in the rest of the year or to the morning and evening sun it adapts well. Any diffused lighting is suitable for this type of tradescantia, it is perfectly adaptable to both bright light conditions and fairly moderate lighting.
In modern variegated varieties and the most brightly colored varieties of rheo, light dependence is more pronounced: in shading, plants partially or completely lose their characteristic color.
In rooms, it is better to place the rheo on the windowsills or at a short distance from them. For Tradescantia, the eastern, western and southern windows are suitable.
Rheo is a thermophilic plant that is extremely sensitive to extreme temperature changes. In room mode, it is able to withstand cold snaps only up to 13 degrees Celsius. Plants growing in open soil are more hardy, but for indoor tradescantia foliaceae these indicators are better controlled more closely.
The plant tolerates any room temperatures well; in summer, when it is hot, it is better to increase the humidity of the air. The optimal maintenance regime in spring and summer is at a temperature of about 20-23 degrees Celsius. In winter, it is not necessary to reduce temperatures for rheo, the main thing is that they remain within 18-20 degrees.
It is not in vain that Tradescantia is planted even in open soil as an annual. The plant loves fresh air; in the summer, rheo can be transplanted into the soil or displayed in the garden. When grown indoors, you need to take care of regular ventilation.
At the same time, drafts, and even more so wind, reo does not like when it is exposed in containers, and not dripped in the soil, it is better to choose warm, protected areas. Reo also does not welcome sharp jumps in temperature indicators by more than 7-10 degrees.
The higher the air humidity, the more the decorativeness of colors and the beauty of greenery are revealed. Reo does not like dry air and stretches out, “grows old” without additional measures much faster than maintaining average values during the heating season or in summer.
Caring for reo at home
Rheo has always been considered one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. And his reputation isn’t just justified. Of course, Tradescantia bedspread reveals its maximum beauty only with good care – ensuring high air humidity and stable substrate moisture. But the plant is able to endure any experiments and mistakes in care.
Despite the status of a classic and even rare plant, absolutely unpretentious and hardy, if you want to appreciate the true beauty of the foliage, you will have to actively look after the rheo. This is a thriving and moisture-loving plant that does not tolerate dampness, but also does not like droughts.
Tradescantia is watered often and abundantly, maintaining constant moisture and allowing only the top layer of the soil to dry out. For the winter period, watering is slightly reduced. The optimal frequency of watering is about 2 times a week in spring and autumn and every other day in summer. In winter, watering is carried out two days after the top layer of the substrate has dried. Reo will not die from drying out of the soil (the bushes can withstand almost any drought), but the decorativeness of the plant suffers from unstable care.
Watering Tradescantia is complicated by the fact that the plant does not tolerate wet leaves. Watering should be carried out very carefully, carefully, along the edge of the pot, making sure that even small drops of water do not fall on the leaves. For rheo, it is better to avoid watering with cold water, especially during the autumn-winter period. Like all indoor crops, Tradescantia curtain needs watering with settled soft water. It is better to drain the water from the pallet immediately.
Since the plant does not like getting wet, they do not spray Tradescantia curvaceous or use the finest spray nozzles. These procedures are carried out carefully and from a great distance above the plant. But it is much easier to increase the air humidity by installing humidifiers or bowls with water or wet expanded clay. If there is no possibility or desire to increase the humidity, then the plant needs to be ventilated more often.
Feeding for rheo
Due to its active growth and constant growth, Tradescantia cauliflower needs frequent feeding during the active growing season. Feeding is carried out for this plant from March to August. The dosage of fertilizers is observed in accordance with the instructions for use. Top dressing is carried out with a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks or 1 time in 10 days. Since September, feeding is gradually reduced and is not carried out in winter at all.
For tradescantia, it is better to use not universal fertilizers, but special preparations for decorative deciduous crops or for tradescantia.
Trimming and cleaning tradescantia cavernous
After the completion of flowering at Tradescantia, the formation of seeds should not be allowed: if the flowering does not affect the greenery, then fruiting very quickly leads the bushes to a neglected look. Therefore, for rheo, wilted inflorescences must be removed. To carry out such cleaning due to the fact that the plant blooms tirelessly, you need to regularly.
To obtain a large number of new cuttings and planting material, thickening can be artificially stimulated by cutting off the tops of old stems so that they release as many lateral shoots as possible at the base. The same method allows you to form beautiful dense arrays from rheos.
Transplant and substrate
In room culture, Tradescantia cauliflower develops very actively and quickly assimilates containers. But since the plant quickly loses its decorative effect, needs renewal and rejuvenation, it is still not always advisable to replant it annually. Usually, once every 1 years, the bushes are simply divided or replaced with new plants grown from cuttings. If Tradescantia sheaths still retains its beauty, but has completely mastered the substrate, then the plant is transplanted.
Reo is best replanted in the spring, after the start of active growth. The plant is not afraid of emergency transplants at other times of the year.
When choosing containers, it should be borne in mind that the plant grows roots and grows mainly in a horizontal plane, so wide and shallow pots are better suited for rheo.
When choosing a soil for growing rheo, first of all, you should pay attention to special substrates for tradescantia. A ready-made substrate for decorative deciduous crops is also suitable for the plant. When self-mixing the substrate, take in equal parts leafy, soddy soil, peat, sand and humus.
Rheo is not afraid of transplantation, it even tolerates contact with the roots perfectly, but it is still better to handle even such a hardy plant with care. The filling of the drainage layer is required.
Diseases and pests of rheo
Rheo is very rarely affected by diseases or pests. With improper care and dampness, when taken out or planted in the garden, the plant can suffer from powdery mildew and gray rot. It is better to fight diseases by removing damaged parts and treating them with fungicides.
Of the pests of rheo, only scale insects annoy. It is difficult to get rid of pests by carefully washing the leaves and regularly removing insects, and besides, such procedures are detrimental to decorativeness. It is better to start with insecticide treatment right away.
Common growing problems:
- shrinking leaves in poor lighting;
- stretching shoots in the shade;
- color change in too bright or insufficient lighting;
- blanching of leaves, loss of color or shallowness with insufficient feeding;
- stopping growth in dampness;
- drying of the tips of the leaves in very dry air;
- browning and wrinkling of leaves when watered with cold water;
- wilting, softening of leaves in the cold.
Reproduction of rheo-tradescantia
This is one of the easiest plants to reproduce. You can even grow rheo from seeds, while young seedlings will surprise you with their growth rate. But a much more popular breeding method is cuttings. The tops of the shoots or lateral shoots take root even in water (as in any other way), the plant quickly gives powerful roots and perfectly adapts to new containers.
Before planting on the shoots, remove the lower leaves. In rheo, for reproduction, it is better to use lateral shoots that are actively growing at the base of the stem, but if you wish, you can also reroot the tops that sit on the bare stem.
Adult Tradescantia cauliflowers can always be divided into:
- by 2-3 parts, at the same time rejuvenating the plant and reducing the size of the growing container;
- separate the individual side shoots, which quickly take root and start growing in separate pots.
Usually, separation, rather than cuttings, is chosen when growing in ampels, because the volume of containers is limited and with constant growth of the rheo it becomes too heavy.
With any method of vegetative propagation, cuttings or cuttings should be kept in moderate temperatures (about 18-21 degrees).
Tradescantia can be obtained from seeds. They are often found in catalogs, but self-collection can be a problem, because seeds are formed only in green-leaved “ordinary” rheo, and not in hybrid varieties. Growing young seedlings is no different from growing ordinary seedlings. Sowing rheo is carried out in mid-spring in a regular substrate or a mixture of peat and sand.
At temperatures above 20 degrees under film or glass, seedlings appear very quickly. As the rheo grows up, they are seated in individual containers.