Azistasia - indoor shrub with magical bloom
Azistasia is unfairly deprived of the attention of flower growers. This is a unique shrub whose flowering beauty can overshadow even the most exotic indoor stars. But not delicate and delicate flowers of this plant are the main "trump card". Azistasia, with all its fabulous beauty, is so unpretentious and hardy that it will suit even beginner gardeners. Magic flowering, amazingly beautiful greenery and a special palette can decorate the interior of any style. True, finding this plant is not so simple.
A rarity from the Acanthus family
One of the most unpretentious flowering indoor plants - azistasia is amazingly little popular. It is found on sale and in landscaping so rarely that it is justly considered an exotics. Meanwhile, the ease of growing from cuttings, a very long flowering period, beautiful greens and the absence of complicated care make azistasia one of the most promising large stars for modern interiors. Azistasias have a more tender version of the name - asystasia. Due to the low popularity of the plant, the popular nicknames of the beauty are unknown.
Azistasia (Asystasia) - shrubs and groundcover, forming dense and very beautiful bushes from straight and thin shoots, on which fairly large leaves are densely located. The maximum height of azistasias in indoor culture is limited to 1 m. Azistasias in rooms gradually change their appearance from a dense bush to a plant more and more resembling a tree, because the shoots not only gradually grow woody, but also rise above the soil. Oval-lanceolate, with a pointed tip and a serrated edge, the leaves of azistasia sit on short cuttings.
The flowers are bell-shaped, asymmetrical, with rounded or lanceolate petals of a wide open corolla. Spectacular and large, they grow up to 5 cm in diameter and are collected in unilateral inflorescence brushes. The color palette, including white, cream, pink and lilac colors, seems watercolor and delicate. The flowering period of azistasia begins in the spring and, with good care, continues throughout the summer and even in autumn.
Azistasias are often confused with another representative of the acanthus family - makayami. In particular, the name of the most popular plant in the genus Azistasia - beautiful azistasia - is considered a synonym for the most popular macaya, and the descriptions of plants are almost identical. Disputes about the classification of plants are still ongoing, but with the exception of one species, all other azistasias are considered to be completely independent plants. The genus azistasia is much larger, includes several dozen species, while macaia are represented by only three plants. And while no official decision has been made, it is advisable to consider plants as different species.
Azistasia boasts pronounced stages of active vegetation and dormancy. Unlike many other indoor plants, they require a rare change in conditions. A shrub blooms only when the plant is in optimal conditions at a dormant stage - with a decrease in temperature, light, humidity and the termination of top dressing.
In room culture, only two azistasias are common:
Azistasia is beautiful (Asystasia bella), which is often referred to in catalogs as the beautiful makaya, but not officially transferred to the makaya genus, which often causes great confusion and controversy. This is an amazingly beautiful shrub, forming dense bushes from thin and straight shoots. The leaves are large, very beautiful, sitting on short petioles, oval-lanceolate, with a pointed apex and small teeth along the edge. Amazingly tender, up to 5 cm in length and even larger in diameter, reminiscent of lilies from afar, the flowers of the plant are collected in elegant one-sided brushes. Inflorescences bloom in the axils of the leaves, which creates a special effect of lushness.
The size of the inflorescences is not limited to 20 cm, but azistasia does not conquer at all by massiveness, but by grace: it is difficult to grasp the whole inflorescence near the eye, since the details of each flower attract all the attention. The color palette of this azistasia is usually limited to white and watercolor light shades of lilac colors, the basic tone is emphasized by darker pink or purple streaks and specks. In room culture, the variegated form of azistasia is considered particularly valuable.
Ghanaian asistasia (Asystasia gangetica) It differs from the more common beautiful asistasia with its white or bluish flowers, more resembling lilies, and surprises with dark purple, lilac or purple veins. This azistasia is better known as a garden ground cover southern plant. But because of the very large volumes of growth, a plant in a room culture in this quality is very rare. Only the small-flowered form of Ghanaian asistasia can boast of a more compact size, but in pots it is undecorative.
Home care for azistasia
Even inexperienced gardeners can grow this plant. Accurate watering and careful inspections, low temperatures during wintering and top dressing during the active period of development and flowering - that's all that is necessary for azistasias to become the main stars of the collection.
Lighting for Azistasia
In spring, summer and autumn, azistasia will prefer the brightest lighting. An ideal option for a plant is a place on the southern or partially southern window sills with scattering screens. Azistasia does not like direct sunlight, they adversely affect both flowers and leaves, but a lack of light can cause serious disturbances in the development of the plant.
However, during the resting period, azistasia in the case of dropping leaves can be kept in any shadow. But if the plant retains greenery and is in a normal state, a strong decrease in lighting compared to the stage of active development is undesirable, but there is no need to rearrange azistasia to new places: the seasonal reduction in the amount of light and the duration of daylight hours meets the requirements of the plant. In the spring, it is better to accustom the plant to growing illumination gradually.
Strictly check and control the air temperature for azistasia is necessary only in the winter, when the plant is at a dormant stage. The rest of the year, azistasia will feel good in any room - both in the cool and in the warm. The minimum allowable air temperature in summer is 18 degrees. For a dormant period, the plant must be kept cool, but not too low a temperature. Comfortable indicators for azistasia in winter are from 13 to 15 degrees with a minimum value of 12 degrees and a maximum of 18 degrees.
Watering and humidity
In order for azistasia not to suffer from pests and diseases, to bloom well, to conquer the beauty of greenery, care must be taken about light, constant humidity of the substrate during the active phase of vegetation and very careful watering during the dormant period. Overmoistening for this plant can be fatal, watering even in the summer is carried out carefully, checking that the substrate dries in the upper part. In the dormant phase, a decrease in soil moisture is one of the conditions guaranteeing abundant flowering of azistasia.
Azistasia does not need measures to increase air humidity. They perfectly tolerate even the dry air of residential premises, but it is better to regularly inspect the plant and, at the slightest sign of poor tolerance to extremely dry air - drying the tips of the leaves - to introduce into the leaves spraying care program.
Feeding for azistasia
Rapid growth and abundant flowering of azistasia require support in the form of regular top dressing. During the entire stage of active vegetation for the plant every 2-3 weeks, fertilizer must be added to the water for irrigation. You can feed and weekly, sharing a single dose of fertilizer 2-3 times.
Azistasia prefers complex, complete mineral fertilizers. For her, it is better to choose universal fertilizers, and not preparations for flowering plants.
This shrub is self-renewing, does not need to form or pruning stimulating flowering. In azistasia, only the longest, elongated shoots are cut off, and even then only if they want the plant to maintain compactness and density of bushes. Instead of pruning, you can pinch the tops of young shoots. It is worthwhile to remove diseased, damaged or dry branches in a timely manner.
Azistasia transplant and substrate
The transplantation of azistasia is carried out only when the roots of the plant fully develop the substrate. Young plants may need an annual transplant, but even in the early years, azistasia is most often transshipped as needed. It is advisable to transplant azistasia in March or April. Emergency transplants negatively affect flowering.
For azistasia, a light, loose and fertile substrate is used. If you mix the soil yourself, then combine the sheet soil with sand and turf in a ratio of 4: 1: 2.
For this exot, you need to carefully select the containers. Azistasias prefer spacious and large containers. They have a voluminous root system, so it is better not to grow this culture in tight and medium-sized containers. To increase the size of containers, at least 5 cm should be added to the previous diameter. The height and diameter of the containers should be equal.
When transplanting azistasia to the bottom of the containers, a high layer of drainage is necessarily laid and they try not to destroy the earthen lump. The level of plant penetration during transplantation must be left unchanged.
Diseases and pests of azistasia
Azistasia is considered a fairly resistant plant. But when grown in very dry air, you should pay attention to frequent inspections of greenery, since spider mites gladly settle on dense bushes.
With constant waterlogging of the soil, the plant can be severely affected by rot.
Propagation of Azistasia
The main method of propagation of this shrub is cuttings. You can cut branches for rooting during spring and summer. For grafting, you can use a universal substrate or mix it with sand. The cuttings after treatment with a growth accelerator are buried in a well-watered earth mixture and, until rooting, they are kept under a cap in an air temperature above 21 degrees Celsius. For rooting, it is necessary to maintain a stable light soil moisture.
Plant cuttings can also be rooted in water, but its level and condition must be controlled, this method is considered more risky. Immediately after the appearance of the first roots, the plants are planted in individual containers and provide standard care. The formation of young azistasia begins when the shoots grow to a half-meter height, subsequently regularly pinching young shoots or shortening the longest branches.
The seed propagation method for indoor plants is almost never used, but it is it that is the main method for growing azistasia in open ground in warm countries. If you are lucky to find seeds of azistasia on sale, then sowing is best done in February, along with the first summers. Sowing is carried out as rarely and superficially as possible, on a pre-moistened universal substrate. Crops under glass or film contain at an air temperature of 23 degrees Celsius, regularly moistening the substrate. Seed germination takes at least 3 weeks. Diving into separate containers is carried out when the plants release the third true leaf.