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Chamaedorea: cultivation and species

Chamaedorea: cultivation and species


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The plants belonging to the genus Chamaedorea, consist of generally thin stems that form a rosette. They are plants pleasing to the eye, they belong to the Arecaceae family, there are about a hundred species, almost all from Central and South America.

Even if they are not originally from Europe, and even less from Italy, we can also find them in our country, especially in southern Italy where they grow in the open ground. When the climatic and environmental conditions are optimal, some specimens of this plant can also produce fertile seeds, as long as there are male plants and female plants that grow nearby and that bloom simultaneously. This happens because we are talking about a dioecious plant, so it can have either only male flowers or only female flowers.

A Chamaedorea can reach up to ten meters in height in its habitat, and as it develops and produces new fronds, it drops the old ones of which remain conspicuous scars. These palms produce small flowers, yellow, white or pink depending on the species, and fruits that have the shape of small berries.

Chamaedorea: cultivation

It is not particularly difficult to grow these plants even if it is necessary to be in an area where the climate is mild and the temperatures are not too freezing. It does not like the cold, in fact, but it resists without problems even at high temperatures, the optimal ones range from 16 to 20 ° C.

While not tolerating direct sunlight, which burns the leaves, the Chamaedorea prefers to stay in the light and, possibly, in a well-ventilated environment, without cold drafts.

To keep his best large leaves, it is best to clean them frequently, with a soft cloth soaked in lukewarm water. If it is more convenient for us, we can also use the shower and immerse the plant in it, the important thing is to avoid using the products on the market to clean or polish the leaves. They often risk seriously damaging the plant because they contain substances that clog the pores. In this way we interrupt the normal physiological processes of the plant, putting it in danger of life.

During the cold season it is not necessary to wet the plant continuously, just make sure that its soil is always humid enough. In summer, the frequency of watering must instead increase, but without ever running the risk of forming gods water stagnation, therefore without ever letting water remain in the saucer. Also in summer, it is very useful to spray the plant with warm water, excellent for both the health of the leaves, and to keep the environment humid, as this palm likes.

The repotting of the Chamaedorea it must be done in early spring, around March, but not necessarily every year. It is necessary to understand if the roots have really occupied all the space available in the pot or not. With a normal growth rate, repotting usually becomes necessary every three years. When doing this it is very important pay attention to how you handle the roots because, if they adhere to the vessel, they must not be "torn" and damaged. As a soil, we choose a mix consisting of three parts of fertile soil, a part of leaf soil and a little coarse sand without forgetting to place pieces of earthenware or gravel on the bottom of the pot in order to ensure good drainage.

In the growing season, from spring onwards, it is also important fertilize, every two weeks, dissolving a fertilizer with macro and micro elements in the irrigation water that is no longer needed during the winter. Apart from the fertilizer, this plant is not frequent to flower, especially if it has been grown indoors. When it happens, it happens in periods that can vary from species to species.

Flowers or not flowers, we cannot prune the Chamaedorea, just remove the leaves that dry, even only the tip if the rest is intact. We avoid touching the stem which is unique and continuously growing, because if we damage the apex we compromise the development of the whole plant, condemning it to almost certain death.

Chamaedorea: species

Among the species that belong to this genus, and there are about a hundred, here are those that are more characteristic or more widespread than the others. Let's start with one of the easiest species to find in our country, the C. Cataractum, a dwarf plant with a green trunk flecked with white that develops in a compact and uniform way. There C. Metallica, originally from Mexico, has instead a sturdy but thin trunk up to 1.5 m long, and is recognizable by the leaves which not only have a metallic green color but also have a very particular shape. They are all united and separate only at the tip, forming a pleasing fan to the eye, so much so that this species is often used as an ornamental plant.

There C. Elagans, also from Mexico, it has thin but robust stems with tufts of lanceolate leaves on top that can be even half a meter long. It grows very quickly reaching almost three meters in height, among its cultivars there is also the Elagans 'Bella', small and compact, also known as the "palm of luck".

Let's get to know the C. Tenella, slender, with drooping leaves, native to Mexico and Costa Rica, and C. Desmoncoides, with a straight stem and light green leaves. Ernesti it is a typical plant of the undergrowth of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize characterized by a single stem up to 1.5 m tall and leaves up to 50 cm long. The last species I want to mention is the C. Klotzschiana, even 4 meters high, native to Mexico and widely cultivated as an ornamental plant.

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Video: Chamaedorea seifrizii (May 2022).