Fokeya is a plant of the Lastovnykh family, the hallmark of which is the presence of caudex - thickening in the lower, often underground, part of the shoot.
The description of plants of this genus is dated 1838. However, based on some sources, it is known that Fokey was known much earlier. This unusual plant in 1786 was delivered to the Austrian emperor Schönbrunn to decorate the garden.
The plant has immortalized in its name the memory of Gustav Voldemar Fock, a doctor and a world famous physiologist.
Homeland and distribution
Fokeia is considered the biological homeland of the southern and eastern parts of the African continent, as well as the west of the Cape of South Africa. In the natural environment, there are about 10 species. Most of them grow in open sunny places, some hide in the shade of shrubs and trees.
This is the brightest and most exotic part of the plant.
In the natural environment, Fokey stalks reach a length of up to 4 m and resembles a vine or vine. Indoor instances are much more modest.
The lower part of the stem hidden under the ground stiffens over time, forming caudexes.
In young plants, it develops very quickly, reaching impressive sizes (up to 60 cm in diameter). The older the plant, the slower its caudex grows.
With the help of short petioles, a few oval leaves are attached to the shoots, with a slight sharpening at the top, shape and wavy edge.
In late summer, small, up to 1.5 cm in diameter, white-green and fragrant flowers appear on the plant.
Flowering lasts about 2 months, but is not very noticeable from a decorative point of view.
In place of the flower, a fruit in the form of a gray-green pod forms over time.
A feature of the Phokea vegetation is the need to organize a winter period of rest. Some representatives of the genus spend a rest period in a leafless state.
With year-round keeping in heat, the dormant period will not come.
The plant is comfortable at ordinary room temperatures. It is not afraid of summer heat, in winter it needs coolness - 8–10 ° C.
The plant is photophilous, it will be comfortable on the windows of the southern orientation. On hot and sunny days, the caudex must be darkened, otherwise burns and cracks will form on it.
Bright light contributes to the development of caudex, slowing down the overall growth of branches, so it is dimmed even in order to give the opportunity to gain strength shoots.
Fokey develops better in moderately humid air. However, it gratefully responds to regular spraying of leaves or their washing in the shower. During these procedures, soil and caudex protect against water ingress.
Fokeya, despite its exotic appearance, is easy to grow. Even a beginner will cope with her care.
In summer, the plant needs plenty of moisture. In autumn, watering is reduced to once a month. In the winter months they do not water at all.
The need for watering can be determined by the state of caudex: if he lost turgor, then it's time to water the plant.
In the spring-summer season, once a month, Fokey is fed using liquid fertilizers for cacti. If you are interested in the growth of caudex, nitrogen fertilizers are regularly added.
The plant needs annual transplants. This is due to the rapid growth of roots, provoking the destruction of capacity.
Fokeya grows well on loose neutral or slightly alkaline soils with good water permeability.
For indoor cultivation, you can use purchased soil for cacti or succulents with the addition of fine expanded clay or sand, or prepare the mixture yourself, taking 2 hours of leaf humus and garden soil, 3 hours of coarse sand or perlite and 1 hour of charcoal and bone meal or lime.
A drain is placed at the bottom of the pot.
Young Fokey are distinguished by the rapid development of caudex and roots, so it is better to place them in a large capacity.
It is noted that when using shallow pots of medium diameter, stocky plants are formed.
- When transplanting young specimens, the caudex is somewhat deepened, this stimulates its development.
- In adult forms, caudex is as bare as possible. The areas liberated from the soil will first be light, subsequently acquiring a brown tint.
- Sprinkling or exposing the caudex in young plants, as well as regulating the regime of its irrigation, it is possible to form a highly branched or thin-stemmed plant.
- Exposure of caudex in young forms leads to the formation of a plant tilt.
- In order to form a thick and beautiful crown, the Fokey shoots are cut off.
Fokeya propagated by seeds and vegetatively, by cuttings.
Attention! Vegetative propagation does not allow to obtain a plant with caudex.
- Before sowing, the seeds are soaked for several hours.
- Sowing is carried out in a mixture of sand, perlite and peat, sprinkled on top.
- When placing crops in heat and light, seedlings will appear in 8-15 days.
During the first year, seedlings grow very quickly, reaching a diameter of 5-8 cm.
Diseases and Pests
Fokey suffers from whitefly and aphid attacks. Pests are removed with soapy water.
With violations of the irrigation regime, the occurrence of fungal diseases is possible. They are managed with the help of fungicides.
Fokeya is not often found in collections of indoor flowers. It is traditionally believed that plants of an exotic "appearance" are capricious and demanding in growing, which hinders flower growers from acquiring it. In the case of Fokey, this point of view does not coincide with reality.