The Whitefeldia plant (Whitfieldia) is an elegant representative of the Acanthus family. The East African tropics are considered the birthplace of the flower. There are 14 plant species in the genus. The flower was first discovered by the English botanist Hooker William Jackson.
In its natural environment, whitefeldia is a bush about 1-2 meters in size. Each year, its height increases by about 12 cm. When grown at home, the plant can be made more compact by periodical pruning. Usually the height of the bush in this case is about 60 cm. Some types of whitefeldia are vines.
Flowering is very long. It begins in mid-autumn and ends only in March. During this period, the bushes are covered with snow-white inflorescences in the form of spikelets. Thanks to them, whitefeldia is also called "white candles". There are also species with flowers of a different color. The size of each flower is about 5 cm.
The table shows brief rules for caring for whitefeldia at home.
|Lighting level||An abundance of ambient light is required.|
|Content temperature||The temperature should not exceed 30 degrees in the summer. Coolness is preferable in winter: about 15-18 degrees.|
|Watering mode||In summer, the flower is watered more abundantly, in winter the volume of watering is reduced.|
|Air humidity||They try to increase the humidity level by spraying.|
|The soil||Light and sufficiently fertile soil is suitable for cultivation.|
|Top dressing||Top dressing is carried out twice a month. Use compositions for indoor flowers.|
|Transfer||The bush is transplanted into a new container every spring.|
|Pruning||The bush needs regular maintenance of the shape of the crown.|
|Bloom||Indoor whitefeldia blooms from October to early spring.|
|Dormant period||The rest period is not pronounced. Throughout the winter, the bush continues to bloom and grow.|
|Pests||Aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.|
|Diseases||Various illnesses can manifest themselves due to improper home care.|
The perennial whitefeldia flower does not require much maintenance, so it is quite easy to grow it at home. In order for the whitefeldia bush to develop normally and bloom regularly, you need to follow the basic rules for caring for this plant.
The bush needs bright enough, but not direct light. Whitefeldia is most often grown on either east or west windows. In summer, the flower will suit the moderately open north side. In warm weather, you can take the plant out into the garden, choosing for it a moderately shady place where the bush will not overheat.
In winter, whitefeldia can also be kept on the south windows. The main thing is to provide the flower with distance from air-drying devices. In addition, whitefeldia is believed to have a negative attitude towards smoke, so it is best to keep the flower away from the kitchen.
Whitefeldia tolerates hot weather well enough and is able to feel normal at temperatures not exceeding 30 degrees.
In winter, the bush needs to be kept cool - about 15-18 degrees. If left warm, the branches of the plant will begin to stretch out. But if the bush is on the window, its foliage should not come into contact with the cold glass. The plant will not like drafts.
In the warm season, the plant is watered quite often: after about 1-3 days. In winter, when the bush spends time in the cool, the amount of watering is slightly reduced. At the same time, the soil in the pot should remain slightly moist at all times. Drought damages the plant in the same way as excess moisture.
A tropical plant, whitefeldia loves high humidity. To maintain it, the air around the flower is humidified every day using soft and sufficiently warm water. Another way to raise moisture is to place the plant on a pallet filled with damp pebbles. You can periodically wipe the foliage with a damp cloth.
The root system of whitefeldia is quite large and develops very quickly. A voluminous pot is suitable for growing a bush. Its material can be both plastic and ceramic, but drainage holes must be provided at the bottom.
Whitefeldia requires loose soil that is rich in nutrients. Usually, a mixture of peat, turf, sand and humus is used for planting it. All-purpose store mixes are also suitable.
In order for the bush to bloom longer and more abundantly, it is fertilized twice a month. For top dressing, you can use universal mineral compositions for indoor flowers, but organic mixtures will also be appropriate.
It is necessary to transplant whitefeldia every year. Spring is ideal for this. The bush is carefully pulled out of the pot and some of its roots are cut off using a sharp tool. The sections are disinfected with charcoal. This procedure not only makes the root ball more compact, but also stimulates the development of the green part of the plant due to the growth of young roots.
So that the bush does not grow and maintains a neat appearance, it is regularly trimmed. Each spring, the shoots of the plant are shortened by 1/3. In order for Whitefeldia to recover faster, during this period, you can feed it with nitrogen fertilizer.
Correct pruning will promote more abundant flowering: inflorescences are formed only at the ends of the shoots of the shrub.
Indoor whitefeldia blooms from October to early spring. The plant forms elegant spikelet inflorescences, usually consisting of white or red flowers. They have pubescent bracts and long stamens. With proper care, flowers can appear not only in winter.
Fading brushes should be removed so that the bush does not waste energy on them and blooms longer. In addition, Whitefeldia does not set seeds when grown in a pot.
Despite the need for a cooler wintering, the dormant period of Whitefeldia is not pronounced. Throughout the winter, the bush continues to bloom and grow. But in order to prevent its branches from stretching due to lack of lighting, you can transfer the flower pot to the south window or use additional lighting.
It will not be possible to get seeds from homemade whitefeldia: under such conditions, the plant does not form them. As a rule, the seed can only be purchased from collectors. But such seeds will not be cheap, therefore, in indoor floriculture, the flower is usually propagated using cuttings.
The flowering of seed-grown specimens usually occurs later.
Propagating whitefeldia by cuttings is quite simple. To do this, use segments from young shoots that did not have time to stiffen up. The cutting can be about 5-8 cm in size. It should have at least a couple of knots.
A peat-sand mixture is used as a soil for planting. At a temperature of at least 24 degrees and high greenhouse humidity, the cuttings should successfully take root. When new leaves begin to appear on the cuttings, they can be planted in their own pots. In the process of development of seedlings, you can pinch their tops for better branching.
Among the main potential problems when growing whitefeldia:
Whitefeldia can be harmed by aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.
In room culture, only 2 of the 14 whitefeldia species are usually grown.
In nature, the species grows in Sierra Leone. It has shiny oval foliage with a taper at the end. The flowers are painted in a bright red-terracotta color.
The native land of the species is Cameroon, Congo and Angola. It has shiny opposite foliage and is distinguished by snow-white inflorescences.