Due to its unusual appearance, nolina (bokarnea) has other names – “Elephant leg”, “Horse tail”. The trunk of nolina resembles a bottle, from which it also has a third name – “Bottle tree”. The thickening at the bottom of the trunk serves to accumulate moisture. Nolina leaves are narrow, long, with a pointed end. Rod Nolin (Nolina), or Beaucarnei (Beaucarnea) has about 30 species of plants of the Agave family (Agavaceae), common in North America, mainly in Mexico.
Нолина (Nolina) или Бокарнея (Beaucarnea). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Robert
Most often these are low trees with a very swollen base of the trunk. It is this swelling that is an effective water storage and allows nolins to survive in areas where it rains literally once or twice a year. Long, very narrow leaves also help to survive in such conditions, which have the ability to gather in dense bunches in extreme heat and, thereby, significantly reduce the evaporating surface.
Some taxonomists also include the genus Bocarney (Beaucarnea) of the same family. Some of the common ornamental species are known under several names at once, for example, the species Beaucarnea recurvata is also widely known as Nolina recurvata (it is usually the first name that is considered valid).
Description of nolina
Nolina, or also called Bocarnea, may be of interest as a tall single plant that is undemanding to care. The bloated, bulbous base retains water, so a temporary lack of moisture at the roots will not cause any harm to the plant. Because of this base, the plant received the popular English name “elephant’s leg”, and because of the crown of long belt-like leaves – “horse’s tail”. Nolina is perhaps the most common bottle tree in the Russian market.
“Bottle trees”, that is, plants with a thick storing moisture stalk, swollen at the base, are very popular among indoor plant lovers. The reasons for this popularity are ease of care, the resistance of bottle trees to dry air and a wide range of temperatures and, of course, their unusual appearance. Nolina (bokarnea) looks especially impressive in rooms with a modern design (in high-tech and fusion styles), it is used as an ornamental deciduous plant.
Under natural conditions, nolina (bokarnea) branches after flowering, however, enterprising Dutch people achieve the same result in a shorter time with a haircut. A thick (up to 1 m in diameter) trunk is crowned with several picturesque groups of falling greenery.
Of course, a large, well-formed nolina costs a lot of money. Therefore, young plants are more often sold, placing several of them in one pot. Such planting material is cheaper, but the formation of a typical “bottle tree” can take more than one season. It is extremely difficult to bring nolina to bloom in rooms.
The roots of nolina grow in breadth, but not in depth (at home, this unusual plant is found on rocky soils with a shallow fertile layer). For this reason, Nolins require wide crockery and good drainage. A layer of fine gravel can be spread over the soil surface to prevent crust formation and accentuate the decorative qualities of the nolina.
Caring for nolina at home
Nolina, or Bokarneya, is a rather unpretentious plant, and it is not difficult to grow it even for beginner gardeners. She feels best in a bright place, but direct sunlight should be avoided. In the autumn-winter period, it is necessary to supplement the plant with fluorescent lamps.
In the spring-summer period, nolina (bokarnea) tolerates room temperatures well. At all periods, it is necessary to ensure that there are no drafts, she tolerates them very badly.
In summer, the plant can be taken out into the open air, but it should be positioned so that it is protected from wind and rain.
In the autumn-winter period, in order for the plant to enter a dormant period, the temperature is gradually lowered to 10 ° C. Provided that you have experience in growing cacti and succulents, you can keep nolin in the period from November to January at a temperature of 3-5 ° C, at this temperature optimal conditions for a dormant period are created.
In their homeland, nolins grow at altitudes of about 3000 meters above sea level, where at night the air cools down to negative values, so they can tolerate a fairly low air temperature. Most often, in room conditions, not everyone has the opportunity to provide nolina (bokarne) with the appropriate temperature for the dormant period, and it is kept without it. At room temperatures, the plant does not enter a dormant period, and continues to grow, during this period it is necessary to provide good lighting to nolin.
In the spring-summer period, nolina (bokarney) should be watered abundantly, it is advisable to use bottom watering (lower the pot with the plant into a container with water, and take it out when the top layer of the substrate shines, allow excess water to drain and put it in a permanent place). The next watering must be done when the earthen lump is completely dry. If you keep nolina in the fall and winter at room temperatures, without a rest period, it should be watered in the same way as in summer.
At a higher temperature, the contents in winter increase the humidity of the air, periodically lightly spray the leaves. Watering should be limited (at a temperature of 10..15 ° C), or completely stopped (at temperatures below 10 ° C) if you keep nolin at low temperatures and it is in a dormant period. It should never be forgotten that excess water for nolin, as for all other desert plants, can be fatal (waterlogging in winter is especially dangerous, to avoid this, many growers use drip irrigation).
In room conditions, nolina does not require spraying, but the leaves must be periodically wiped with a soft, damp sponge. In nature, the Nolins extract water by collecting the abundant dew characteristic of their habitats. Their long grooved leaves serve as collectors of moisture, along which dew drops flow to the center of the crown and then along the trunk reach the roots. With this, the Nolins compensate for the constant shortage of rainwater characteristic of their homeland. You can imitate dew by spraying the crown with warm boiled water. But don’t do it on a hot afternoon. The best time is morning or evening hours.
Nolins (bokarnei) grow quite quickly in the first years and by 6-7 years in good hands they turn into large floor plants. Therefore, the use of additional feeding does not make much sense. If you still want to feed your plant, then use liquid mineral mixtures. Top dressing is done once every three weeks. Make the concentration of the finished fertilizer 1,5-2 times lower than indicated on the package.
It is clear that all top dressing can be done only during the period of active plant growth and only after abundant watering with clean water. Excess nitrogen leads to a decrease in leaf stiffness. You can feed it with a very diluted infusion of organic fertilizer (the mullein is bred in a ratio of 1:20).
For planting nolin, they always use rather cramped dishes, wide, but shallow. There must be a hole in its bottom for water drainage. A rather high drainage layer of small stones or expanded clay is arranged above it. All this will help to avoid the formation of stagnant water, which inevitably leads to decay of the roots.
The roots of nolina grow in breadth, but not in depth (at home, this unusual plant is found on rocky soils with a shallow fertile layer). For this reason, Nolins require wide crockery and good drainage. A layer of fine gravel can be poured onto the soil surface to prevent crust formation and accentuate the decorative qualities of the nolina (bokarnea).
A nolin transplant is done only after complete entanglement with the roots of a lump of earth. Young plants are transplanted every year, adults – once every 3-4 years. They are planted at the same depth as before. After the transplant, the first 3-4 days should not be watered. To accelerate growth, once a year in the spring, it is recommended to transfer the young nolina into a larger pot (2-4 cm larger in diameter).
The soil mixture is needed loose, for example, peat, leafy soil, sand in a ratio of 1: 1: 2, or: sod land, leafy soil, humus, peat and sand (1: 1: 1: 1: 1). You can make a mixture of garden soil and coarse sand with the addition of fine gravel.
Nolina (bokarnea) is a suitable plant for the hydroponic growing method.
Reproduction of Nolin
Breeding nolin is difficult enough. The main method is sowing seeds, which is what producers in Holland do. If you have purchased several nolins in the same pot, you can plant them in separate pots. Sometimes lateral buds wake up at the base of the shoot, from which the processes awaken. You can try to propagate with lateral processes.
Seed propagation of nolina
The seeds are soaked in warm water for 24-48 hours, they can be soaked in epine or zircon. They are planted in a moist substrate consisting of peat and sand (in a ratio of 1: 1). The seeds are laid out on the surface, and sprinkled with a thin layer of soil, but so that the embedding layer is equal to the size of the seed. For germination of nolina seeds, light is needed, a container with seeds is placed under fluorescent lamps.
The optimum temperature for germination is + 21 … 25 degrees, not lower than 20. Usually, seeds germinate in 3-4 weeks. It is necessary to monitor the moisture content of the substrate, it should not be too wet, optimally moderately wet. The container with seeds can be covered with glass or a bag; if condensation appears, it is necessary to ventilate the bowl by removing the shelter.
When the seedlings get stronger, they are dived into individual pots corresponding to the size of a nolina seedling. The soil mixture is needed loose, for example, peat, leafy soil, sand in a ratio of 1: 1: 2, or: sod land, leafy soil, humus, peat and sand (1: 1: 1: 1: 1). You can make a mixture of garden soil and coarse sand with the addition of fine gravel. You can also use ready-made substrates for nolina (bokarnei).
Further care is the same as for an adult plant.
Reproduction by lateral processes
When nolina multiplies, the lateral process is carefully broken off by the lateral processes. They are rooted in a moist substrate consisting of peat, sand and perlite (vermiculite). The pot is filled with a wet mixture, crushed and recesses are made with a peg. A shoot is planted in the grooves and the soil near it is pressed.
The planted process is covered with a transparent cap and placed in a warm place. It is necessary to maintain the temperature within 21..26 ° С, constantly spray and ventilate regularly. When new leaves appear in a rooted plant, the cap is removed, and the young plant is gradually accustomed to new conditions of care.
Types of nolina
Although there are about 30 species in the genus Nolin, stores mainly Nolina unbent (Nolina recurvata), also known as Bokarnea bent (Beaucarnea recurvata). The trunk is erect, expanding downward, forming a bulbous thickening. Under natural conditions, the trunk reaches a height of 8-10 m – photo, the base is up to 1 m in diameter.
In a greenhouse-room culture, the height of the plant often does not exceed 1,5 m. In the upper part of the plant there is an abundant sheaf of dense linear leaves reaching almost two meters in length. The long and strong leaves of nolina are used in their homeland in Mexico for weaving baskets and the famous sombrero hats. The lower part of the stem is exposed and covered with a smooth grayish cork fabric that protects against water evaporation.
Nolina long-leaved (Nolina longifolia) and Nolina small-fruited (Nolina microcarpa) are found in greenhouses and parks on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus and Crimea. There, you can admire the long nolin inflorescences of numerous small flowers.
Nolina (bokarnea) is a rather unpretentious plant, and it is not difficult to grow it even for beginner lovers of indoor floriculture. She feels best in a bright place, but direct sunlight should be avoided.
Diseases and pests of nolina
Indoor nolins are not too susceptible to diseases and pests do not often settle on them. For nolina (bokarnea) bent, proper care is the basis for obtaining a healthy plant, and the basis for care for nolina is watering. With excessive watering, the bokarnea, having its own moisture reserves in the caudex and the leaves adapted to semi-desert conditions, are not able to assimilate excess moisture. Its leaves begin to become covered with brown spots, the shoots become soft, the roots rot.
Excessive watering at low temperatures and lack of lighting is especially dangerous. You can try to save such a plant. Cut off all decayed parts, treat them with activated charcoal and transplant the nolin into new, dry soil. After transplanting, do not water for at least a week, then water in moderation.
If nolina leaves dry, the reason may be too dry air or too high temperature of the content. In this case, you can spray the plant, but the moisture should only get on the leaves, and not on the trunk. Otherwise, brown spots form on the trunk, it can rot. Leaves dry out both from too little watering and from a lack of nutrient reserves in the soil. Old lower leaves will dry up, which is normal and should not be a cause for concern. In all cases, dried leaves and even dried leaf tips are best cut off.
Pests that attack nolina (bokarnea) are spider mites that love dry warm air, scale insects, scale insects, thrips. The most effective way to get rid of them is to keep the plant clean, wipe the leaves with a damp sponge, and if the air is too dry, spray the plant. Worms and scale insects are removed from the leaves with a cloth with a soap-tobacco solution. Thrips and ticks die when the plant is treated with Dalmatian chamomile infusion or insecticides. It is easier to deal with pests in the early stages of damage, so regularly inspect the plants and start fighting when the first pests appear.