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Tradescantia: characteristics, cultivation and diseases

Tradescantia: characteristics, cultivation and diseases


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Many leaves, many colors, tropical origins and drooping habit: these are the main characteristics of the plants belonging to the genus called Tradescantia. His name is linked to the surname of two well-known English naturalists who evidently studied him in depth, they are imaginatively called John the old and John the young.

Tradescantia: characteristics

Belonging to the family of Commelinaceae, this genus includes numerous perennial herbaceous species with a typical creeping posture. Most of them come from tropical areas of Central and South America but are also known in Italy, with a different name, however, popular and easier to keep in mind: "grass misery".

THE drums of these plants are covered with very light and soft hairs, the flowers are gathered in inflorescences that appear at the end of the stems and are not particularly evident. They consist of three triangular petals, they can be pink or white, they last very little and we cannot say that they are particularly beautiful to look at.

Tradescantia: cultivation

It is a plant that can be kept indoors with complete serenity even if you don't have a green thumb because it doesn't require a lot of attention. Furthermore, there is a wide choice of shapes and colors.

The Tradescantia they have no problems with heat, they resist well even at high temperatures while in winter it is necessary to be more careful because it is good that it does not go below 10 ° C, otherwise the leaves could be damaged.

These plants are very fond of the sun and also the air, so they should be positioned so that they can take a lot of light but not direct and that they can enjoy good ventilation. On the other hand, cold currents are absolutely forbidden.
In winter it is not necessary to water them too much Tradescantia, the important thing is that they do not have dry soil at their "feet" while in spring and summer, watering must be frequent and abundant, so that the soil always remains moist. Sprays of nebulizer on the leaves.

Every year the Tradescantia at the beginning of spring it must be repotted, moving from a smaller pot to a larger one, filling it with a mixture of soil of leaves, garden soil and sand. bottom preferring clay pots, more porous than plastic ones.

Always in spring, and also in summer, but never in winter and autumn, it is also necessary to fertilize these plants with a fertilizer rich in macro and micro elements to be diluted every 2 weeks in watering water. Equipped with clean tools, we must also take care of the pruning of these bushy plants, so that they keep their shape. We intervene on the apexes regularly and we also eliminate the branches that grow out of all proportion, giving the plant a messy appearance.

Tradescantia: species

There are at least sixty species in the genus Tradescantia, let's see some of the most important. There Pale comes from Mexico and is one of the best known species especially in Italy where it lives especially where it is warmer. It has purple leaves and deep pink flowers. There Multiflora instead it has bright green leaves and produces white flowers.

There Sillamontana, with its semi-erect posture, it even reaches 40 centimeters in height with its fleshy and slightly hairy branches and lanceolate leaves up to 7 centimeters long, also hairy. The flowers of this species are small and pink in color.

Another interesting species is the Fluminensis, drooping and disordered, originally from Brazil and Argentina. Particular are its stems that change direction often giving it a messy look. The two leaves are green tending to blue while the flowers are small and white, and quick to fade.

There Tradescantia zebrina it has a creeping habit and is often used in hanging baskets. It is called zebrina because its leaves have silver stripes with a background that can be either green or red, while the flowers are pink or white but always small and not very evident. We just have there Spathacea, species native to Mexico with dark metallic green lanceolate leaves and white flowers.

Tradescantia: diseases

If we find some spots on the underside of the leaves, our plant is undergoing an attack of mealy cochineal. Let's try to remove the stains with a fingernail, they will come off easily, then it's her. At this point we must eliminate them one by one with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

It may also happen that small whitish insects appear on the plant, they are most likely aphids, also called lice. To hunt them you need specific pesticides that enter the lymphatic circulation of the plant and are therefore absorbed during the nutrition of the insects. If we have positioned the plant badly and it takes too little light, however, we will see its leaves discolor and little light.


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