Cryptanthus: photo, description and care at home
Cryptanthus flower description
Cryptanthus (Cryptanthus) is a plant of their bromeliad family.
Natural climatic conditions: tropics of America.
Kinds: the Cryptanthus genus has from 15 to 25 species, of which cryptanthus stemless, K. bromeliad, K. dvuzhdizhenny, K. bipartite, K. transverse-striped and K. Foster can be grown in rooms.
Described in 1836. Its name comes from Greek words - cryp-to (hide) and anthos (flower). These are low terrestrial stemless, rosette, herbaceous plants, common almost exclusively in eastern Brazil.
Cryptantus (Criptantus) or an earthen star or starfish is the name of a small plant of the bromeliad family, only 12 - 13 cm long, whose homeland is Brazil. This is an interesting plant with pointed and star-growing leaves. Leaves are usually broad-lanceolate, 10 to 40 cm long, depending on the species. In some species, the leaves are green; in others, red with pink or green stripes. Some species have flakes on the leaves that help the plant absorb moisture and nutrients.
As you can see in the photo, the flowers of the cryptanthus are small and hidden in decorative and wavy leaves:
Cryptanthus rosettes are beautifully and exquisitely colored, and for their star-shaped shape they are sometimes called "earthen stars."
Cryptanthus loves bright lighting, the temperature in the room is 16 - 27C and slightly moist soil. In the summer, it is fertilized by spraying the plant every month, feeding twice a month in winter. Cryptanthus propagates by processes taken from the parent plant. Decorative types of cryptanthus with different colors of leaves will look great in terrariums.
Cryptanthus are valued for the multicolor color of the leaves and their small size; almost all species are introduced into the culture. It is convenient to place them on windows or in terrariums. In indoor gardening, cryptanthus are used in the device of various compositions, they are especially effective in winter gardens. They are used for landscaping various warm rooms, especially in compositions. A frequent inhabitant of florariums.
We list the most actively bred types of cryptanthus:
Cryptanthus is stemless.
Cryptanthus bromeliad and stemless
There are many forms with plain and striped leaves of different shades of green, red, brown and yellow. The brightest, but also the most moody, is the bromeliad-shaped tricolor cryptanthus.
Cryptanthus bromeliad - Cryptanthus bromelioides, Otto ex Dietr.
In culture since 1836. Distributed in eastern Brazil, in rainforests. Ground plant 15–70 cm tall, with leafy stem. Small leaves are collected in a loose flat rosette. It blooms in March, September, December.
Leaves 10-12 cm long, 3-4 cm wide, linear; pointed to apex, strongly narrowed to a base; wavy; finely serrated along the edges; hard, tight; glabrous or almost glabrous above, covered with pale scales below, transverse stripes; color from bronze green to copper red.
The inflorescence is multi-flowered, in each spikelet 4-6 flowers. Bracts are lanceolate, pointed, keeled, much shorter than flowers. Flowers up to 4.1 cm long. Sepals from the base more than 1/2 fused, up to 1.8 cm long, with a pointed point. Petals free, up to 3.5 cm long, linear, dull, upright during flowering; white.
In the culture known variety - var. tricolor (tricolor) - with numerous longitudinal red, white and green stripes on the leaves; introduced to the culture in 1953 by M. Foster.
The fruit is a berry.
Cryptanthus stemless - Cryptanthus acaulis, Beer.
Homeland - Southeast Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). A plant with a short stem or rarely without it, during flowering up to 20 cm tall. Has a short leafy stem or stemless: 10-15 leaves are collected in a loose, flat, prostrate, resembling a star, rosette 10-12 cm in diameter.
Leaves 10–20 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, narrow-lanceolate, pointed, wavy, with small and sharp teeth, covered with scales below, green, leathery on top.
Decorative flowers. The inflorescence is small-flowered, the bracts are broadly oval, pointed, leafless, flowers up to 4 cm long, the sepals are more than half fused; white petals, fused at the base, deviate during flowering and expose the stamens.
In addition to the typical form described above, several varieties of cryptanthus are known that differ in color and pubescent leaves:
var. argentius (silver) - with green leafless leaves;
var. ruber (red) - with dark chocolate-red leaves covered with scales.
Cryptanthus two-way, striated and foster
Cryptanthus two-way - Cryptanthus bivittatus.
Cryptanthus is two-lane - very spectacular, popular, although difficult in the culture of bromeliad, with decorative striped leaves. The decorative period lasts all year. Good for bottle gardens. Size 5-7.5 cm.
The leaves are 7.5-10 cm long, collected in dense small rosettes up to 15 cm in diameter, linear-lanceolate, pointed, finely serrated and wavy along the edge, light green with two light longitudinal stripes.
Undecorated flowers, white, rarely appear during the year.
Cryptanthus striated - Cryptanthus zonatus, Beer.
In culture since 1864. Homeland - Brazil (Pernambuco State). Grows in the woods. Rosette, as in other species, sprawling. Size up to 20 cm. Blooms in March - April.
Leaves (8-15), lanceolate, leathery, wavy and prickly along the edge, 15–20 cm long and 2–2.5 cm wide, green on top, with numerous transverse whitish and yellowish stripes of small scales.
Flowers 3 cm long, sepals more than 3/4 fused, keeled, slightly covered with scales; the petals are white, more than half fused, slightly longer than the stamens. The inflorescence is small-flowered, capitate, complex, of three-flowered ears. Bracts are leaf-shaped. Bracts oval-lanceolate, thin, equal in length to sepals.
In culture, several varieties are known:
var. viridis (green) - with bare and therefore green leaves on top;
var. fuscus (yellow) - with reddish-brown leaves with gray-green stripes.
Cryptanthus Foster - Cryptanthus fosterianus, L. B. Sm.
Homeland - Eastern Brazil. It grows at an altitude of 350 m above sea level. Size 20–35 cm.
The leaves are very long - 30-40 cm, 4 cm wide, with a rounded swollen vagina, distinctly narrowed at the base, dense, fleshy, wavy along the edge, serrate, dark brown on top with transverse bright silver zigzag stripes, densely covered with scales below.
Flowers - complex capitate inflorescence: external ears of three-, four-flowered, internal - two-flowered. Bracts are leaf-shaped, with a pointed apex and a heart-shaped base. Bracts are oval, thin, equal to sepals. Sepals in the lower part fused, white petals.
Heat-loving plant, the temperature is 18–22 ° C, in winter at least 15 ° C, it is recommended to grow in greenhouses. To go on to bloom, a higher temperature is needed - above 25 ° C. Penumbra is sufficient, requires high humidity. Watering is regular throughout the year. Top dressing is required once a month in the summer with liquid organic fertilizers.
Cryptanthus flower care at home
The difficulty of growing: average.
Optimal place: eastern and western exposure, flora.
Temperature requirements: moderate, in the spring and summer period - 22–24 ° C, in autumn and winter - 18–20 ° C.
Lighting Requirements: Bright diffused light without direct sunlight. It can grow in the shade, but the decorative color of the leaves is lost. In the autumn-winter period, good lighting without shading is necessary. In winter, cryptanthus are comfortable under additional lighting with fluorescent lamps placed above the plants at a distance of 50-60 cm. You need to light up for at least 8 hours a day.
Watering, spraying: In the spring-summer period, when the cryptanthus calls out at home, the plant is abundantly watered with soft or well-defended water, after the upper layer of the substrate dries. In winter - moderately, a day or two after the top layer dries. Unlike most bromeliads, cryptanthus do not hold water in a leaf outlet, so they are watered directly into the ground. After half an hour after watering, excess water from the pan must be drained. Like all bromeliads, cryptanthus prefers high humidity. The plant needs frequent spraying.
Top dressing: in the spring-summer period, when taking care of cryptanthus, it is necessary to fertilize every 2 weeks with special fertilizers for bromeliads (in half dose) after watering.
Transfer: rarely, as needed. Cryptanthus should be placed in a new container only by transshipment, without destroying the coma of the earth.
Substrate: the optimal mixture of fiber peat, leaf soil, humus, sand and chopped moss in equal shares. Of the finished soils, only the specialized mixture “For orchids and bromeliads” is acceptable, the rest are undesirable.
Propagated by seeds or shoots formed in the axils of the leaves, which should be separated when they reach 1/2 the size of the mother plant. Siblings aged several months are transplanted into a light substrate and kept warm at a temperature of 20–22 ° C until rooting.
Possible problems: prolonged waterlogging of the soil leads to the death of the plant. Using wax to give shine to the leaves is undesirable.
Pests: mealybug, bromeliad shield.
Cryptanthus does not have a powerful root system, so small flat containers are used to grow it. The plant is transplanted as necessary, usually once every two to three years.
Cryptanthus is hygrophilous and does not tolerate dry air. In order for the plant to develop well, it is necessary to regularly water it with soft water, and do it from above, so that the water gets inside the outlet. It is advisable to spray often.
The plant needs regular application of mineral and organic fertilizers. It is necessary to fertilize the entire period of active growth once a month.
Well-drained soil, such as a mixture of peat, vermiculite, perlite, coarse sand and humus.
Soil Composition and Transplantation
The soil for the plant should be loose and breathable. Perfect option - purchased mixture for bromeliads. Drainage should occupy one third of the height of the pot.
A self-prepared mixture of the following components is well suited as a substrate:
- 1 part of peat;
- 0.5 parts of leaf humus earth;
- 3 parts of pine sawdust;
- 1 part of sphagnum moss.
Cryptanthus has a weak root systemtherefore, it is transplanted only when necessary.
In addition, after flowering the mother socket is dyingleaving “children” next to them for reproduction. If desired, cryptanthus can be transplanted into a wooden container, which is now very fashionable in the interior.
To do this, take a suitable piece of root or bark and make a depression in it. Next, you need to get the plant out of the pot, wrap its roots with sphagnum moss and place in the recess, not forgetting to periodically spray the cryptanthus and moisten its roots.
Soil and transplant
The soil for cryptanthus is prepared by loose, well-permeable, low acidity. The composition is laid: pine bark, moss, peat, humus. You can buy ready-made soil specifically for bromeliads or epiphytes.
The drainage layer in the pot occupies a third of the height.
The transplant procedure is carried out as needed at any time of the year, if the cryptanthus is crowded in a pot.
Lighting and temperature
There are practically no complaints about the level of illumination of cryptanthus. The only caveat: the midday sun in the summer can cause burns, it is better to shade the flower a little. Patterns and drawings in sufficient light are always bright. They are indicators of well-being for this parameter.
Strongly shady places in the house are not for cryptanthus.
In summer, for the heat-loving cryptanthus, the most comfortable temperatures are around 23 ° C, then, with a smooth transition, they are brought to winter temperatures of 18 ° C for the rest period from October to February.
Sudden changes in temperature even at 4 degrees and drafts are disastrous for cryptanthus.
Site selection and temperature
Perfect place To accommodate the cryptanthus, an eastern and western window with bright and diffused light. On the south window, the plant will need light shading.
In the cold season, it is advisable to put the cryptanthus on the lightest window sill, no longer shading it from the winter sun. Earth Star can grow well in partial shade, but it will negatively affect the color. The more light, the contrast and brighter the pattern on the leaves of the cryptanthus.
Optimum temperature for plants in summer - from 18 to 24 °C, and in winter - from 18 to 20 ° C, which is easily feasible in room conditions. It should be remembered that the plant does not like drafts and sudden changes in temperature.
Cryptanthus love heat and can be kept year-round at room temperature. In winter, the air temperature should not fall below 15 ° C.
They prefer a brightly lit place, near a sunny window. With a lack of lighting, the plant stretches and becomes weak, however, in the presence of direct sunlight in the spring and summer days, the color of the leaves burns out and the plant may even get sunburn. In the fall, when the sun is often hidden by clouds, artificial illumination is possible.
Water very moderately, each time drying the soil almost completely. In winter, the soil should dry out at 2/3 of the depth. In spring, the frequency of watering is gradually increased as soon as the first signs of growth appear. For irrigation, it is advisable to use softened water.
Watering and humidity
Cryptanthus needs high humidity, which is why it is often used in terrarium compositions and in wet greenhouses.
In indoor conditions, it is often sprayed up to three times a day, wiped leaves, arrange a shower, next to it are containers with water and wet stones.
The soil in the pot should always be wet.
It is strictly forbidden to water into the outlet itself - this is a feature of cryptanthus from most bromeliads. Abundant watering is indicated in summer, and in winter it is better to moderate it. Take water only mild and room temperature.
Drought and flooding are detrimental to cryptanthus.
Feeding and trimming
Starting in April and all summer, twice a month the cryptanthus needs special fertilizer for the bromeliads. If you take other top dressings, they should have minimum nitrogen indicators, and they recommend doubling them in water.
Sanitary pruning of cryptanthus is carried out as necessary, removing dead parts of the plant.
Cryptanthus Two-Striped Ruby.
From April to September they feed fertilizers, it is advisable to use those that are designed specifically for bromeliads. Fertilizers are diluted to half the recommended dose and applied monthly. Too strong a solution can damage the delicate root system of the plant. For top dressing, you can also use a solution for hydroponics, they are well related to organic top dressing.
When cryptanthus blooms
Flowering time is summer.
Pests and possible problems
Plant may be damaged spider mite and whitefly. Pests are removed with a damp cloth dipped in soapy water, and the plant is treated with an insecticide.
Possible problems of cryptanthus:
- The leaves are dry - low humidity, insufficient watering or hard water.
- Pale leaf color - bad light.
- Rot at the base of the plant - waterlogging of the soil or low air temperature.
- Sluggish leaves - lack of moisture in the soil.
- Light brown spots on the leaves - sunburn.
As you can see, growing cryptanthus is quite simple. One has only to provide it with suitable conditions and give the plant a little attention and care. And if you get several types of cryptanthus, you can create a whole garden bright radiant "stars".
Diseases and Pests
The tips of the leaves turn brown
Reasons: 1) the room has dry air, 2) there is no water in the leaf outlet, 3) the plant was poured with hard water.
Leaves turn pale
Reasons: 1) insufficient lighting.
First steps after purchase
Buying Cryptanthus is always a pleasant experience. The acquisition of such a beautiful and original plant is associated with a certain responsibility. But the first three weeks must be devoted not only to creating the necessary conditions for its growth, but also to the adoption of preventive measures aimed at the destruction of possible insect pests.
After quarantine, Cryptanthus can be placed in its chosen location.
Secrets of Success
Cryptanthus are demanding, but thank the owners for taking care of their vibrant appearance. All members of the genus prefer good lighting, but need shading from direct sunlight.
In addition, the plant needs a comfortable high temperature. In summer it is recommended to maintain it in the range of + 18-22 ° С. In winter, it should not fall below + 15 ° C. To achieve the flowering of Cryptanthus, it is recommended to increase the temperature to + 25 ° C.