The evergreen Gesneria plant (Gesneria) is a perennial and is directly related to the Gisneria family. This plant comes from the tropical regions of America, as well as from the Antilles.
This genus was named after the Swiss Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), who was a natural scientist.
Gesneria is represented by shrubs or herbaceous plants that can reach a height of 60 centimeters. On the surface of erect shoots there is pubescence, and tuberous rhizomes are velvety. Juicy leaves have an oval shape. Tubular flowers can be single axillary or they are part of the apical low-flowered inflorescences having the shape of an umbrella. Yellow or red petals have a limb.
Gesneria care at home
You need bright, but always diffused lighting. It is necessary to shade from direct rays of the sun. It is recommended to place on the windows of the western or eastern orientation. On the south window, shading from direct rays of the sun will be required. They can grow normally under completely artificial lighting.
In spring and summer, Gesneria needs a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees. In winter, she needs a temperature above 18 degrees, but only if she is not sent to rest.
Normally grows and develops only with high humidity. However, it is worth considering that it is impossible to moisten a plant from a sprayer. In order to increase humidity, experienced flower growers advise to take a relatively wide tray and put sphagnum in it or pour expanded clay and pour in not a very large amount of water. It must be ensured that the bottom of the container does not come into contact with the liquid.
How to water
During intensive growth, plentiful watering is required. It is produced after drying of the upper layer of the substrate. For a plant, both drying out an earthen coma and overmoistening (which can provoke the formation of rot) are equally harmful. It is watered exclusively with soft lukewarm water. After the plant fades, watering must be reduced. It is recommended to water through the pan to avoid liquid getting on the foliage surface.
Top dressing is carried out in the spring and summer 1 time in 2 weeks. To do this, use complex liquid fertilizer for flowering plants.
It has a distinctly expressed dormant period lasting 8–10 weeks (usually from the end of the month of October to January). When the plant fades, watering needs to be reduced, and after the leaves have completely dried, the tubers need to be removed from the soil and stored in sand. Keep tubers in a cool, dry place (12 to 14 degrees).
Tubers should be removed from sand in January – early February. They are placed for a third of an hour in a weak solution of potassium permanganate or fungicide. Then the tubers are planted in fresh soil, for the preparation of which it is necessary to combine peat, leaf and humus soil, as well as sand, taken in equal proportions. Do not forget to make a good drainage layer at the bottom of the tank.
Tubers need to be planted in such a way that their buds are on the surface. In this case, the stems appear faster.
You can propagate by cuttings or seeds.
Sowing of seeds is carried out in spring or autumn time, while they do not need to be buried in the soil. It is recommended to maintain the temperature within 22 degrees. Seedlings need to be dived into small containers at a distance of 2x2 centimeters. After the plant grows up, they are dived again with the distance between them should be 4x4 centimeters. Do not let the temperature drop below 20 degrees and shade from direct sunlight. We need a systematic watering.
The grown seedlings are planted in separate pots (diameter 6-7 centimeters). After the root system ceases to fit in the container, young gesneria should be transferred into a container with a diameter of 9 to 11 centimeters. The first flowering is observed after 2-3 years.
Cuttings are recommended in May – August. Leaflets or their parts act as cuttings (a sheet plate needs to be cut across into 2 or 3 pieces). They are planted in sand, and you need to deepen the base or the lower part of the leaf fragment. Need a temperature of at least 25 degrees. Tiny tubers form after 40–45 days. Plants need to be systematically watered, as well as protected from direct sunlight. In the last September days, watering should be reduced and the air temperature lowered to 20 degrees. Dig up the young tubers in October and store them in a cool, dry (12 to 14 degrees) place until spring. Such gesneria will bloom in the 2nd year of life.
Pests and diseases
Most often, the plant suffers from a violation of the rules of care, for example: improper watering, excessively low humidity, poor lighting in winter.
Also not uncommon is the appearance of sunburn on the surface of foliage. And yellowish spots can appear from cold water used for irrigation, or due to liquid getting on the surface of the sheet plate.
Aphids , spider mites , thrips , whiteflies or scale insects can live on a plant.
Swollen Gesneria (Gesneria ventricosa)
This slightly branched shrub is a perennial. Petioles are oblong in shape, tapered at the base, and pointed at the tips. Fleshy, leathery, bare leaf plates have a jagged edge, their length varies from 10 to 15 centimeters, and their width is from 3 to 5 centimeters. The apical inflorescence carries 4 or 5 flowers and is located on a long peduncle. The cup has narrow long teeth in the amount of 5 pieces. The corolla has a funnel-shaped tubular shape and reaches a length of 3 centimeters. It has a reddish-orange color while the inner surface of the corolla, the pharynx and bloating at the base of the tube are colored yellow.
Hyesneria hybrid (Gesneria hybrida)
This perennial is a tuberous herb. Its velvet green leaf plates are large. Slightly swollen, red tubular flowers reach a length of 5-7 centimeters.
Gesneria cardinal or scarlet (Gesneria cardinalis)
Such a herbaceous plant is a perennial. The height of its erect shoots can reach 30 centimeters. The fleshy green blunt-toothed leaf plates are wide oval in shape, and there is a dense pubescence on their surface. In length, they can reach 10 centimeters. Flowers are both single and collected in axillary or apical low-flowered inflorescences. Such tubular flowers are two-lipped, while the part located below is somewhat smaller than the top. In length, they can reach from 5 to 7 centimeters. Basically, the flowers are painted in a rich red color, and in the throat there are dark dots (there are other colors).
Gesneria cuneiform (Gesneria cuneifolia)
This compact shrub is a perennial. In height, it reaches 30 centimeters, and its shortened shoots are semi-lignified. Almost sessile or short-leaved leaflets have an inverse lanceolate-wedge-shaped shape, with the base of them being rounded wedge-shaped. In length, they can reach from 10 to 12 centimeters and have a width of about 3 centimeters. The front surface of the foliage is painted green, and the wrong side is pale green, and there are small whitish hairs on it. Saturated red flowers on the underside have an orange tint. Peduncle long and thin.
Gesneria Lebanon (Gesneria libanensis)
This compact evergreen shrub weakly branches and is a perennial. On the tops of the stems there are lanceolate leaves, which are collected in sockets, and serrate at the edges. On the front surface they have pubescence, while on the wrong side - pubescence is only along the veins. Their length is 8–10 centimeters. The length of saturated red flowers is from 3 to 5 centimeters.