Zhiryanka is a modest indoor predator

Among carnivorous indoor plants, Zhiryanka is rightfully called one of the most popular. This perennial insectivorous shy, in fact, is able to surprise with the tenderness of the flowers resembling violets, and the unusual color of bright light green leaves. But still, this plant is often grown not as an ornamental culture, but as an exotic highlight that can bring unexpected accents to home collections. The fat woman cannot boast of special catchiness, but makes only a deceptively simple impression and captivates with her cuteness, modesty and ruthlessness. Nice rosettes of neat rounded leaves and the ability to bloom profusely with good care give the plant a special charm. In addition, this indoor predator is not at all difficult to care for.

Жирянка (Pinguicula). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com earl

The cute appearance of an aggressive insectivore

The genus Zhiryanka contains perennial insectivorous plants, which are surprisingly easy to recognize by similar leaves and flowering. Despite the different colors of the flowers, zhiryanka always makes a touching, gentle impression. This perennial belongs to the Lentibulariaceae family, and proudly bears the status of the only plant that has true roots. Zhyryanka got its name thanks to very fleshy leaves, a sticky coating on which really seems to be fat. Among flower growers, zhiryanka is also known as oily grass and blue zhiryanka.

Chiryanka (Pinguicula) are perennial plants that, despite having the status of an insectivorous culture, boast the presence of real roots, which allow the plant to survive in extreme cases. Very fleshy, juicy, with an oily sheen, the leaves of this plant seem both very bright and simple at the same time. They are collected in a neat, very beautiful root rosette, under which the “false stomach” is located. Elongated-ovoid, with a rounded edge, they are covered with small droplets of sticky secretion that the glands of the plant secrete.

It is the glands, half of which secrete a sweetish slimy secret, and the other – digestive enzymes, and are responsible for over-etching insects. The mechanism of digestion in Zhiryanka resembles another insectivorous plant – sundew. But in a zhiryanka, the leaf turns slowly, and more often remains unfolded at all. Thanks to the digestive glands located on the surface of the leaves, over-etching begins without twisting. When an insect sits on the beauty’s bright greenery, seduced by a sweetish bloom, it adheres hopelessly, and in the case of small midges, the enzymes produced by the glands completely over-etch it.

But the movement of large insects caught in the trap, like the twitching of a cobweb, triggers the mechanism of slow rolling of the leaf and the gradual splitting of protein compounds. It is no coincidence that flower growers claim that zhiryanka is a kind of living Velcro tape. It is on the stickiness of this plant that its entire predatory mechanism is built. In the development of a plant, there are two periods of development – wet and dry. Zhiryanka release summer “trapping” leaves and winter small pubescent leaves, which are actually points of growth or buds; thus, one plant forms two rosettes per year – a real one and a succulent winter one.

But it’s not just the predatory talents of this culture that need to be admired. After all, the zhiryanka has very beautiful and single flowers, towering on a long peduncle. Pretty, simple, they most of all resemble violets in shape, although upon closer examination a slightly different structure becomes apparent, with two asymmetrically located upper and lower corolla lobes and a light center of the pharynx. In diameter, the flowers of zhiryanka reach 2-3 cm. The advantages of the plant can be safely ranked as a variable palette of colors, including both blue and purple, and more rare white and pink colors. After flowering, fruit boxes are tied.

Grandiflora fatweed (Pinguicula grandiflora)
Large-flowered fatweed (Pinguicula grandiflora). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Don Peace

Types of fat women

65 species of plants are united in the genus of Zhiryanka. All of them predominantly grow in swampy and humid rocky areas. Since the fatty plant is a kind of indicator plant, it is extremely sensitive to climate change and pollution of the habitat, suffers from human influence on marshlands, this plant is a protected crop and is included in the Red Book in most countries. The main habitats of zhiryanka in nature are included in the number of protected areas.

In room culture, 5 types of fatty women, originating from Central America, are mainly used. These plants, unlike their counterparts, adapt much better to potting conditions and room temperatures.

Zhiryanka morana (Pinguicula moranensis) during the growing season produces two sockets – a fairly large and spectacular summer one and a small winter one. In the summer rosette, the leaves are deep yellow-green or burgundy, reach 13 cm in length and stand out in an ideally round shape with a smooth surface, densely dotted with glands. But in the winter outlet, the leaves reach a length of only 3 cm, covered with a hairy edge, on which there are no glands. The number of leaves of such a rosette sometimes reaches hundreds. The bloom is very impressive.

Plants produce up to 7 single flowers up to 5 cm in diameter, white or lilac. There are two varieties of this zhiryanka with different leaf shapes – the brighter large-leaved Moravian zhiryanka var. moranensis and the humble Moravian zhiryanka var. neovolcanica.

Moran Butter (Pinguicula moranensis)
Pinguicula moranensis (Pinguicula moranensis). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Carlos Tatsuta

Chiryanka round-separate (Pinguicula cyclosecta) – one of the most beautiful species, whose oval leaves with a diameter of only 3 cm are collected in an almost flat, rounded rosette, arranged in a spiral and making the plant especially ornamental. During the growing season, each fatty plant produces up to 30 silvery-gray leaves with a beautiful violet-purple edge, which seems to be blurred towards the middle of the leaf blade.

Rising on long peduncles, large enough flowers, 3 cm in diameter, flaunt with larger lower corolla petals and surprisingly harmonize in color with greens due to their bright purple tone. At the same time, the trapping leaves of the plant, unlike other zhiryanka, are formed underground.

Pinguicula cyclosecta (Pinguicula cyclosecta)
Chiryanka (Pinguicula cyclosecta). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Carlos Tatsuta

Zhiryanka plaster (Pinguicula gypsicola) in nature perfectly adapted in the company of succulents and adapted to practically dry conditions. A delicate, small, neat round rosette seems more modest and wild than other indoor zhiryanka. This species needs a slightly different approach to the choice of substrate. For gypsum zhiryanka, it is necessary to select only substrates consisting of equal parts of sand and vermiculite, since this plant is used to growing in slightly different conditions, on gypsum rock.

Pinguicula gypsicola (inguирянка гипсовая)
Pinguicula gypsicola (Pinguicula gypsicola). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com At0mium

Alpine Zhiryanka (Pinguicula alpina) stands out for its unusual leaves. The rosette of this beauty contains numerous oblong, obovate sessile leaves with upward curving edges, a yellowish color and a glandular-sticky surface. With a width of 1,5 cm in length, the leaves reach 13 cm. The flowers of this zhiryanka, unlike other species, do not droop, but grow straight. They rise on bare peduncles about 12 cm high, flaunt with a bare calyx and pointed, elongated corolla lobes.

It is white or light yellow at the flower, while bright yellow spots on the lower lip at the very base emphasize the warm shade of the color. The spur is three times shorter than the rest of the rim. Alpine jellyfish blooms in late June-July.

Alpine bead (Pinguicula alpina)
Alpine bead (Pinguicula alpina). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Sylvain BEZY

Friary Common (Pinguicula vulgaris) – a beauty with oval, sessile leaves narrowed to the base, a light green color in which is characteristic only for the upper side. Even with a width of 1-2 cm and a length of 2-4 cm, they form very neat, ornamental rosettes. The glossy sheen of the leaves is difficult to mistake for an iron-sticky surface. On peduncles from 15 to 17 cm in height, reaching only 3 cm in diameter, but very beautiful flowers, covered with short glandular hairs, rise. The drooping shape makes them related to violets, and the crimson-purple corolla and subulate spur emphasize the beauty of the flower. This plant blooms in mid-summer.

Common Chiryanka (Pinguicula vulgaris)
Common fatweed (Pinguicula vulgaris). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Martin Green

Caring for zhiryanka at home

It is no coincidence that Zhiryanka is called the best carnivorous plant for beginners, or rather, for getting to know these unusual cultures. Even if its appearance is not as expressive as that of other carnivorous plants, but it is also less unpretentious to care and tolerates well even conditions that are not very comfortable for other plants.

Zhiryanka are able to put up with a lack of light, do not need to increase air humidity and even adapt to watering with ordinary water, unlike their competitors. And the flowers of the zhiryanka last the longest, and in some hybrids they remain on the plants literally for a whole six months. Unpretentious and hardy, this baby demonstrates amazing adaptability, and even if she shows her predatory instincts modestly enough, she can easily outshine competitors with her friendliness to flower growers.

Lighting for Zhyryanka

The ability to grow even in poor lighting is one of the main advantages of zhiryanka. In fact, 3 hours of sunshine a day is enough for this plant. Just a few hours of gentle scattered rays of the morning or evening sun will provide her with normal development and beautiful flowering. Zhyryanka does not like direct sunlight, especially daytime. The sun can most damage the plant during the summer when kept in hot temperatures.

It is best to keep this culture in diffused lighting on the east and west windowsills, or in the interior near the south windows. This crop responds well to artificial lighting and can be kept in illuminated terrariums and florariums. For zhiryanka, there is no need to adjust the lighting due to seasonal fluctuations. This culture cannot stand deep shade, but in partial shade it feels quite comfortable.

Greasy women do not like the displacement of the plant in relation to the light source. You can make a mark on the pot so that you can be guided by the location and not accidentally unfold the plant.

Composition from zhiryanka
Composition of fat. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com arnaud dalmais

Comfortable temperature

Of all insectivorous crops, Zhiryanka adapts best to room temperature ranges. For this plant, it is considered optimal to be kept at a temperature of 25 to 35 degrees Celsius in summer and about 15-18 degrees in winter. Cool wintering is not necessary, it is enough to lower the temperature even slightly after the plant has released winter leaves. However, conditions can change and fluctuate. What the zhiryanka will not tolerate is the temperature drop below 15 degrees.

The only condition that should not be forgotten is that there should be at least a slight fluctuation between the daytime and nighttime temperatures. In this regard, zhiryanka are very similar to orchids. Basically, the difference between night and day temperature is necessary for more abundant and long lasting flowering. Although foliage such fluctuations are beneficial.

One of the very important conditions for the successful flowering of the fatty plant is to ensure constant ventilation. This predatory culture simply loves access to fresh air, and not only because this is the only way insects can get to them. For normal development, it is necessary to provide daily ventilation. Fortunately, this swamp predator is not afraid of drafts, with the exception of too strong changes in temperature as a result of cold winds.

Watering and air humidity

Zhiryanka, like other indoor predators, prefers watering with distilled water. But unlike other insectivorous crops, it can accept water of a different composition. In particular, this modest beauty with predatory inclinations can be watered with rainwater. In an extreme case, a fat woman can even adapt to settled tap water, although, of course, it is better not to go to such extremes.

The main feature of watering zhiryanka is the need to carry it out only through the pallet. For this plant, only bottom watering is suitable, while classical procedures can be destructive for the plant. Watering is carried out, maintaining an average constant moisture content of the substrate. In winter, it is reduced in accordance with the temperatures of the content and the rate of soil drying. The approximate frequency of procedures is 1-2 days in the summer and once a week in the winter.

Like most carnivorous plants, the fatty plant reacts very badly to low air humidity. Due to the sticky plaque on the leaves, this plant is strictly forbidden to spray, shower or any other procedure during which water gets on the leaf plates and stems. It is advisable to increase the humidity to an average level for the most abundant flowering using the methods of installing humidifiers, achieving indicators of at least 40% (but it is better to provide indicators of 60-70%). It is because of the love for the humid atmosphere that the zhiryanka feels so good in the terrarium.

Common Chiryanka (Pinguicula vulgaris)
Common fatweed (Pinguicula vulgaris). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Michele Zanetti

Top dressing for zhiryanka

Like other insectivorous plants, fatty plant does not need fertilization at all. The only way to feed the plants is insects, placing pieces of cut or spoiled fruit next to the crop to attract small fruit flies. But such measures are not at all necessary, especially since they can affect the climate of the room. Zhiryanka itself will perfectly cope with the task of attracting various insects to itself, in particular, it will help you get rid of mosquitoes.

Transplant and substrate

This adorable predator requires the selection of classic acidic substrates for insectivorous crops. Usually, a simple substrate is used, consisting of peat and perlite in equal parts or containing twice as much peat as the loosening component. Instead of perlite, you can use coarse sand, and vermiculite or other additives, but still it is in a special substrate for predators that Zhiryanka feels most comfortable.

The plant is transplanted with a frequency of 1 time per year or for adult specimens – 1 time per 2 years. Zhiryanka develops slowly, practically does not master the soil, needs space for flowering. It is best to change containers in mid-March: before the arrival of summer, the plants should have time to adapt.

The transplant of a zhiryanka is one of the simplest procedures in indoor floriculture. It is enough just to remove the plant along with the soil clod and carefully, manually remove the substrate from the roots. In a container completely filled with the soil mixture, make a small depression sufficient for the root system of your plant. Gristle is carefully placed in the recess, the substrate is leveled and must be watered with distilled water.

Immediately after transplanting, it is necessary to place the fatty woman in a brightly lit place and maximize the humidity of the air (you can also place the predator under the hood).

Diseases and pests of zhiryanka

One of the undoubted advantages of Zhiryanka is absolute immunity to indoor pests and diseases. Any insect that encroaches on the territory of Zhiryanka will become a victim of this insidious, albeit very cute plant. So you can forget about prevention and control.

Zhyryanka collection
Collection of fat women. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Quentin

Reproduction of Zhiryanka

Despite the status of a predator, it is quite easy to propagate the fatty plant – by division, leafy cuttings, seeds.

The seeds of the plant are sown in a substrate typical for zhiryanka, maintaining only light soil moisture, but with very high air humidity. Germination usually takes several weeks, after which the miniature plants must be immediately transferred to separate pots.

You can get new plants from hibernating buds or leaves. During preparation for winter, the fatty plant forms a new outlet, which can be divided into several parts and planted as independent plants. But this must be done before the spring activation of growth begins. Leafy cuttings from winter leaves are also rooted at very high humidity in pure peat or a mixture of peat and sand.


Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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