Agapetes (Agapetes) is a rather rare exotic and very effective decorative-flowering plant, capable of decorating not only our gardens, but also apartments and offices with its lanterns.
The plant belongs to the Heather family. The genus Agapetes has about 200 plant species that are widespread in the territory from the Himalayas to northern Australia.
Translated from Greek, the name of the plant means "beloved" or "desired." Once upon a time, this unusual plant was presented as a gift to the English gardener D. Don. I liked the gift.
Most species of Agapetes are evergreen shrubs characterized by:
- the impressive size of lignified shoots: from 60 cm to 6 m (lianas).
- The presence of a characteristic tuberous thickening at the base of the shoot, intended for the accumulation and storage of water.
- Dense and leathery petiole leaves of an elongated-oval shape.
- The original form of flowers: single or collected in racemose inflorescences of bright red hues, resembling a garland of lanterns or barrels.
Of all the species diversity, only two took root at home.
Agapetes is serpentine or creeping
Its branches extend to a length of 3 m, and the stems are dotted with numerous dense leathery leaves with a shiny surface. Petioles of leaves are so short that the leaves look like sessile.
Drooping buds are formed at the ends of the shoots with fused petals forming an elongated corolla with a short limb. The flowers are painted in bright saturated red tones, for which in England this plant is called "fiery heather."
Flowering lasts 2 months: November and December.
It is a shrub with drooping and flattened branches extending up to one and a half meters. Its shoots are literally strewn with small (length 3 cm, width 1 cm) emerald-colored glossy elongated leaves.
Flowers are single or paired, cylindrical in shape. Their corolla is painted in bright scarlet tones and on the outside is outlined by an angular pattern. The plant blooms from March to the end of May.
Maintenance, care and reproduction
Agapetes is photophilous. It is better to place it on the western and eastern windows. On the south side, shading is required.
In the spring-summer period, moderate temperatures are preferred for the plant: 18-20 ° C. In winter, a little cooler: from 8 to 15 ° C. After a warm wintering (above 15 ° C), the plant will not bloom.
Features of watering
Agapetes does not need frequent hydration. During active vegetation, it is rarely watered, but is regularly watered and sprayed using decanted water. In winter, they do not spend much and stop spraying.
During active vegetation, the plant needs to be fed. The application of mineral fertilizers twice a month will be sufficient.
Agapanthus should be transplanted regularly. The frequency of this manipulation is determined by the age of the plant:
- young specimens are transplanted annually in the spring;
- adults - once every two years.
Agapentes are planted in a mixture of coniferous-leaf soil and peat, taken in equal quantities. 2 parts of sphagnum and a small amount of humus are added to it.
The plant is quite difficult to propagate. Those who succeed consider this a great success.
Vegetative propagation : carried out using semi lignified cuttings, which are rooted in a well-moistened mixture of sphagnum and peat (2/1). Rooting is carried out at 16-18 ° C. After about a month, the roots will appear in the cuttings. The young plant will bloom for 2-3 years.
Seed propagation perhaps, but they rarely resort to it because of the rare ripening of the fruit.
Diseases and Pests
The plant is very hardy and practically does not get sick, but few cases of damage by a spider mite and weevil are known.