Tolmia Menzies in your home – growing and caring

A low green plant, to the base of the leaves of which young children gently nestle – copies of the mother, resembling chickens under the wings of a hen. The plant was called by the people “Chicken with chickens” or tolmiya (tolmeya). I propose to take a closer look at this interesting ornamental deciduous plant of the saxifrage family.

Tolmiya Menzies (lat.Tolmiea menziesii). Tolmia Menzes. Farmer floradania

Biological features of tolmiya

By the type of plants, tolmia is a ground cover. A compact bushy plant growing rapidly with a green carpet, covers the ground layer of forest plantations. In natural nature, it is even considered a soil-strengthening agent.

The main distribution of tolmia was in the regions of North America, which is its homeland. Tolmia is a perennial rhizome evergreen plant 15-50 cm high. A compact bush does not exceed 40 cm in diameter. A rosette of large, slightly wrinkled bright green or variegated leaves is located on a short stem. Leaf blades on long petioles with dark green frequent venation, sharp tips and a cordate at the base, covered with soft hairs, are extraordinarily attractive.

Spike-shaped inflorescences up to 50 cm in height with nondescript small flowers of cream and pale purple flowers do not represent decorative value and are usually removed immediately so as not to disturb the decorative effect of the bush. Young rosettes of several leaves on long shoots (like strawberries) hang down, and when they come into contact with the substrate, they take root due to the rapidly growing rudimentary roots. Due to this ability, tolmium is grown indoors as an ampelous plant.

Tolmiya Menzies Flower
Tolmiya Menzies flower. Farmer Digitalbcon1

Tolmia Menzes in indoor floriculture

In the saxifrage family, the genus tolmia is represented by 2 species, which, with complete external similarity, differ only in the structure of the ovary. In indoor floriculture, one species is grown, “Menzies diploid tolmia”, which has several names associated with the original method of vegetative reproduction by green children – “Hen with chickens”, “Youth in old age”, “Thousand mothers” The second botanical name for tolmiya is Chistets Lesnoy.

Tolmiya Menzies can be called a rarity in the plant world. It has one amazing feature. Perhaps this is the only plant that, when grown in a small volume (pot, small container), begins to produce babies on an adult mother plant only when the entire space of the pot in which the rhizome is located is entwined with roots, there is practically no soil. Old leaves die, becoming a substrate for young plants. Under natural conditions, tolmia reproduces with the help of creeping roots, forming small green meadows covered with bright greenery of young 5-15 cm leaves. The old bush is gradually dying off.

Tolmia Menzisa
Толмия Мензиса. Farmer floradania

Features of tolmia care

Lighting and temperature

In natural nature, tolmia spends all its life under the canopy of a forest. Therefore, she does not need bright lighting and hot sun, but she does not tolerate stuffiness and constantly needs an influx of fresh air saturated with moisture. In room culture, it is better to place it on the northern windows. When located in places of intense lighting, the plant requires constant partial shade, which can be created with a mesh with medium cells or shading with medical film. Withstands cold and drafts. The optimum air temperature fluctuates between + 12- + 20 ° С, and in winter, during the rest period, the air temperature can be reduced to + 10 ° С.

Soil requirement

Forest soils are light in composition, with a sufficient amount of nutrients released from decaying forest litter. Therefore, growing tolmiya at home, it is necessary to create soil conditions close to the natural background.

The composition of the soil mixture must necessarily include 2 parts of leafy earth and coarse sand; to increase the moisture content and nutritional value, 1 part of humus, sod and peat land is added to the mixture.

For planting, choose deep pots, be sure to disinfect and fill 1/4 with drainage from shards, expanded clay and coarse sand. Plants are planted by transshipment, since the root system consists of a large number of small roots, tightly encircling the soil lump.

Tolmia Menzisa
Tolmiya Menzisa. Farmer Hedwig Storch

Relation to humidity

In order for “mother’s chickens” to feel in their native element, systematic abundant watering in the summer and keeping them in a slightly damp state in the winter during the rest period is necessary. As well as under the forest canopy, tolmiya requires a humid microclimate in summer. You can create it indoors around the plant by constantly keeping moist expanded clay or moss in the pan. Water evaporating from the surface of a wet sump will constantly humidify the air. As it dries, add water to the pan.

Water the plants with settled chlorine-free water at room temperature. Watering is carried out from a watering can with a thin spout along the edge of the pot, carefully so that water does not fall on the tolmiya leaves. Drops of water with a high calcium content, falling on the pubescent leaf blades, can dry out with ugly whitish spots or cause them to rot. The soil ball should be constantly moist (but not soaked in excess water). 2-3 times a month, dusty plants are washed with a shower, having previously covered the soil in the pot with a film.

Fertilizer tolmia

In the summer, for the good development of the leaf mass, tolmia needs an increased supply of nutrients, which is provided by the introduction of mineral and organic fertilizers. In the active summer period, tolmiya is fed with full mineral fertilizer after 18-20 days. Before watering, you can add nitroammophoska (no more than 5-6 g) or a special mixture for a decorative leafy group of plants. Top dressing is carried out with mineral fertilizers in solid or liquid form. Solid fertilizers are carefully scattered before watering, and liquid fertilizers are dissolved in irrigation water 10 g / 10 l of water. In autumn and winter, tolmiya is not fertilized.

Tolmiya Menzisa, popular names: Mother hen with chickens, Youth in old age, Thousand mothers
Tolmiya Menzisa, popular names: A hen with chickens, Youth in old age, A thousand mothers. Farmer osta

Breeding methods for tolmias

In artificial growing conditions, tolmia propagates vegetatively by children or offspring and parts of the rhizome. Reproduction by seeds is impractical, since the properties of the mother plant are not transferred, especially in variegated varieties and species.

Breeding kids

You can propagate tolmiya by children without separating from the mother plant or by separating the young plant with a part of the leaf. In the first case, the leaf on which the young rosette is formed is pinned or pressed tightly to the soil. In the place of contact with the soil, the rudimentary roots of a young rosette begin to grow vigorously. The rooted plant is separated from the mother plant and planted in a separate container.

In the second method, a leaf is cut with a part of the petiole (2-3 cm) at the base of the leaf blade of which a rosette baby has begun to develop. A container (pot or container) is prepared, into which a mixture of peat and coarse sand is poured. The petiole is obliquely buried in the ground so that the leaf blade fits snugly against its surface. The container is installed in the shade and greenhouse conditions are created, covered with a film. In a humid chamber with constant moist soil, the cutting takes root after 2-3 weeks. After 1,0-1,5 months, young plants can be planted in separate 6-8 cm pots.

Propagation by green cuttings

Cut off the leaf with a part of the petiole. The petiole with the base of the leaf is pressed into moist soil. The rest of the care is the same as for reproduction by children. After rooting, the dried parent leaf is removed, and the young plant is transplanted permanently.

Reproduction by dividing the rhizome

This type of reproduction is used mainly for transplanting an adult plant. The rhizome, after removing the plant from the old container, is examined. Remove all sick, crooked roots. The rhizome is cut into several parts. Open wounds are sprinkled with crushed coal or sulfur powder and the delenki are planted in new containers.

Tolmia Menzisa
Толмия Мензиса. Farmer floradania

Tolmia in the decor of the room

In the decor of apartments and other premises, Menzies’ green-leaved tolmiya and its cultivars are used, as well as several varieties of variegated forms. The beauty in the decor of the interior of the room is most fully manifested when they are grown in pots in the form of ampelous plants. A multi-tiered plant with leaves of different ages, different shades of green or in golden specks, in a composition with flowering flowers, create a unique flavor in a recreation area or a winter garden.

Tolmia forms variegated plant varieties. The variegated leaves, decorated with yellow, sun-like spots, are very elegant. Popular variegated cultivars of tolmiya “Taffs Gold” or Gold of Taffa, “Maculata variegata” are very beautiful ornamental plants. But like all variegates, they are capricious. They differ from green-leaved varieties in increased sensitivity to the level of soil moisture, its compaction, and are less resistant to diseases and pests.

In winter conditions, they need a higher ambient temperature of + 15 … + 17 ° С. In order not to lose decorativeness, all variegated cultivars (like green-leaved varieties) need an annual transplant, and every 5 years they must be completely replaced with new young plants.

Tolmia Menzisa
Tolmiya Menzisa. Farmer Alain Delavie

Diseases and pests of tolmiya

Tolmia is damaged by spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects and aphids. Household chemical pest control is unacceptable. Therefore, the plants need to be systematically examined and when white cobwebs appear on the underside of yellowed leaves (spider mite), a white cannon on petioles (mealybug) or brown plaques (scale), treat the plants with biological products Vertimek, Iskra-bio, Fitoverm and others.

Aphids can be removed with a soapy solution of baby detergent. Before processing, carry out a compatibility test (sprinkle 1-2 leaves and track the reaction). Tolmia is practically not sick. The observed rotting of the leaves is associated with the ingress of water on the leaf blade. Excessively dry air with high temperatures can lead to the death of plants.


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Anna Evans

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