Manettia from the madder family has recently appeared in indoor culture. A beautiful decorative, deciduous and flowering plant rightfully begins to occupy a leading place in the decor of individual rooms, winter gardens, recreation areas. An attractive planter, a support entwined with a beautifully flowering liana in a table pot, a living wall in the office – options for using this unusual flower in a room interior.
Манеттия. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Alejandro Bayer Tamayo
Features of the madder family
The distribution area of the madder family covers all 5 continents and is represented by plants of different groups – medicinal, fruit, flowering, deciduous-ornamental in the form of trees, shrubs, lianas and grasses, up to weeds. The wide area of distribution has developed in the family a high adaptability to living conditions. Madder plants occupy all gradations (levels) from grassy undergrowth to the upper canopy of the forest. They can be found everywhere on our planet: in the tropical zone, humid subtropics, regions with a temperate climate and cold regions of certain countries.
Among madder, there are common entomophytes, distinguished by bright color of flowers, abundant nectar and delicate aroma. Their flowers can be pollinated by butterflies, bumblebees, bees, but there are also plants that hide their nectar at the bottom of the proboscis-like elongated flowers from the fused corolla petals. It is mainly a group of tropical plants that are pollinated by bats, long-probed insects, or hummingbirds. Such an unusual plant in this family is manettia, presented in the indoor version in one form called the swollen mantle or two-color mantle.
Biological features of the mantle
The homeland of the Manettia is the humid subtropics of South America. In the struggle for survival under the canopy of the humid forest of the subtropics, the low shrub eventually grows into a herbaceous liana, striving for light. In this regard, the mantle has developed the property of rapid growth and is capable of growing up to 5-8 meters in a year, twisting around the support. In room culture, its growth is limited by pinching and spring pruning.
The swollen manettia is a perennial evergreen liana, which indoors can reach 1,5 m in height. In indoor floriculture, it is used mainly as an ampelous flowering plant. The leaves are dark green, giving off a dull silver under artificial light. On the liana, they are located oppositely on short petioles, have a rounded-ovate or broad-lanceolate shape up to 4-10 cm in length.
Flowering is abundant and long – from February to October. Flowers are solitary, tubular, 2-3 cm long. The special charm of the flowers is given by the pubescence of soft colored hairs. In flowers, corolla petals, orange-red or bright red, have grown together into a tube slightly swollen at the base. Towards the top of the flower, the free tops of the petals change color to bright yellow, for which the plant received its second name, two-color manettia.
Features of caring for the manettia at home
Herbaceous plants with abundant flowering always require intense lighting. The manettia is swollen, despite the fact that in natural conditions it grows under the canopy of the forest, it reaches its maximum flowering with a certain amount of direct sunlight in the morning and diffused, but bright light during the day.
With a lack of light, forms small flowers, dull color. With an excess of lighting, the leaves lose their elegant color, turn pale and often fall off. For normal growth and development, the mantle is usually placed in well-lit rooms, covering from direct sunlight at lunchtime.
Air temperature requirement
Optimal temperatures for the growth and development of the mantle are 22-26 ºС, higher ones are depressing. In winter, plants must be removed from hot batteries and kept cool with an air temperature within 15-16 ºС, not lower than +12 ºС.
The soil mixture under the mantle should be very loose, light, highly nutritious, weakly acidic (pH = 5-5,5).
The substrate is prepared from 50% heather soil and 50% of other soil additives. If there is no heather nearby, you can use the soil of pine forests. Remove the top 5-8 cm layer, sift and add a mixture consisting of 1 part of sand and 2 parts of sod, peat and leaf soil. All parts are thoroughly mixed and enriched with organic fertilizer (humus) at the rate of 15-20% of the mass of the soil mixture.
Humus is necessary to increase looseness, water and air permeability. In the absence of the possibility of self-preparation of the substrate, you can buy ready-made in the store (composition for geraniums). The looseness of the substrate when caring for the manettia is maintained by constant loosening after watering.
Watering the mantle
The swollen manettia as a representative of humid subtropics, forming a large above-ground mass, needs abundant watering. The soil must be constantly moist (not wet) inside the container. The next watering is carried out when the top 3-5 cm of the soil layer dries out. In winter, watering with a more rare moderate rate is carried out 1 time in 10 days.
Pour in a thin stream along the edge of the container until water appears in the pan. 0,5 hours after watering, the water is drained from the pan. Plants do not tolerate drying out and excessive dampness of an earthen coma. For irrigation, use settled, better filtered, soft, warm water. Watering with cold chlorinated water leads to disease and even death of the plant.
Manettia loves humidity in the air, especially at elevated temperatures. Therefore, the plants must be sprayed regularly 2-3 times a week. In addition, containers with plants are placed on pallets with moistened expanded clay. Constantly humid, it will contribute to the creation of a microclimate with high air humidity. Plants located in pots should be dipped weekly in a container of water for 0,5 hours.
Manettia is fed during the period of active growth and development (March-September) with flower fertilizers in liquid form once every 1 weeks under watering. The recommended fertilizer rate is halved. Overfeeding leads to a decrease in resistance to diseases and pests. Mineral dressings alternate with organic ones. About a teaspoon of granular manure is applied under one bush, which can be bought at a flower shop
Reproduction of the mantle
Manettia does not belong to long-livers and requires constant rejuvenation through the replanting of new plants. Young plants bloom profusely, and old specimens lose their attractiveness, hanging down with bare stems. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly have young specimens that are obtained from rooted cuttings or by seed propagation.
Reproduction by seeds
A micro greenhouse is prepared for sowing seeds. The soil substrate from a mixture of peat and sand (1: 1) is moistened. After sowing, high humidity is maintained in the greenhouse by spraying air through a fine spray bottle, and the temperature is within + 23- + 25 ºС. Shoots appear in 2-3 weeks. Grown up seedlings at the age of 20-22 days dive into separate pots with a soil mixture of sod and leafy soil. Seedling care is normal. Plants are transplanted permanently, when a clod of earth is completely braided by roots.
Reproduction by cuttings
Vegetative material for reproduction of the mantle can be harvested from February to April when pruning vines with stem or apical cuttings.
- Cuttings are cut up to 8-10 cm long. The cut is made immediately under the lower pair of leaves. The lower leaves are cut off and placed before planting for 1-2 hours in a solution of root or other stimulant of the root system.
- Prepare a soil mixture of peat and sand in a 1: 1 ratio.
- Disinfect and prepare the pots. Lay good drainage and cover the prepared substrate. Moisten well (you can use the solution in which the cuttings were located). You can plant 1-2 cuttings in 4 pot.
- The cuttings are covered with a transparent bag and placed in a warm place under diffused but bright enough light. Maintain air and soil moisture at an optimal level. Soil heating is used if necessary. Rooting lasts from 2 weeks to 1,0-1,5 months.
Young plants growing in separate pots or pots are transplanted annually. The transplant is carried out before flowering, using the soil mixture usual for these plants. To get fast flowering, the pot is only taken 1 size larger when transplanting. In such cramped conditions, the manettia blooms faster, trying to provide itself with offspring.
It is better to transplant adult plants when overgrown roots appear from the soil coma in the container. Plant transplanting can be combined with cardinal pruning. It is better not to transplant overgrown plants on supports or a phytowall, but only to replace the top layer of the soil mixture with a fresh composition.
Trimming the mantle and forming the aboveground mass
The mantle can be formed in the form of a bush or liana on a support. As a support, you can use arcs, grids, lattices and other devices. To obtain a bush form, pruning is carried out in the spring before flowering, cutting the shoots in half and pinching the growing lashes during the summer.
Using the manetta in the interior
- The potted culture looks great on the southwestern windows, attracting attention with abundant, almost year-round, elegant flowering.
- When grown in a hanging pots, an elegant ampelous plant is obtained, the hanging whips of which, densely covered with elegant foliage with bright lights of flowers, give a special charm to the room.
- The phytowall can be made in the form of an ampelous shape or by lifting the vines on a lattice support. Such a phytowall can be used to separate a school or computer corner in an apartment.
Protecting the mantle from diseases and pests
Like all plants, manettia is affected by diseases and pests, but to protect against damage in a room culture, the use of chemicals is prohibited.
Of the pests, the mantle is most often affected by aphids, thrips and spider mites. For indoor crops it is recommended to spray with biological products harmless to humans and animals “Fitoverm”, “Entobacterin”.
If there are signs of a disease (wilting of a plant, dropping of buds and others), you can use the biological products Fitosporin, Alirin-B together with the biological product Gamair, Iskra-Bio. To protect indoor plants, you can use other biological products from the list of approved ones, which is annually changed and replenished with new means.
All recommended biological products that protect indoor plants from pests and diseases must be used strictly according to the recommendations indicated on the package or instruction leaflet.