Acidantera (lat. Acidanthera ) is a herbaceous perennial, a bright representative of the Iris family. The genus includes up to 40 varieties that grow mainly in tropical countries. The main plant species cultivated in the gardens of the middle lane are tropical acidantera, white, two-color, grass-leaved and short-tubular.
Inflorescences are long, spike-shaped, contain up to 10 – 12 flowers. The size of the buds can be different, ranging from 6 to 10 cm, depending on the type and cultivar.
The flowers consist of an elongated tube and six petals pointed at the end. The color of the inflorescences is most often white and cream. At the base of the petals there are burgundy, purple or purple spots.
Flowering of this culture is observed from August to September. The bottom buds open first, then the top buds. After flowering, fruits remain on the plant – elongated boxes with seeds.
Species and varieties
Tropical acidander ( Acidanthera aequinoctialis ). This species differs in height. The bush grows up to 130 cm. It has straight, fleshy, strong stems. The leaves are xiphoid, ribbed, bright green. The inflorescences are large, spike-shaped, consist of 5 or more buds with pale pink petals wavy along the edge. In their central part there are blurry crimson spots.
Acidanthera white ( Acidanthera candida ). It has a straight simple stem without branches with two to three xiphoid leaf blades. Inflorescences are snow-white, with a sweetish aroma.
Acidanthera bicolor ( Acidanthera bicolor ). The most popular species, which can be found in culture more often than others. Grows up to 1 m in height. In the upper part of the stem, a long spike-shaped inflorescence develops, which includes up to 8 buds with a diameter of 11 cm. The color of the petals is light pink. At their base there are red or burgundy patterns.
Acidantera grassy. Bush 90 – 100 cm high. It is distinguished by narrow belt-like foliage inherent in cereal crops. Flowers with a diameter of 8 – 10 cm, with six petals of a pale pink color wavy along the edges. On their surface there are thin longitudinal burgundy stripes.
Acidantera short tubular. This variety got its name from tubular flowers with beautiful light pink petals, along the edges and in the central part of which there are purple stripes.
The number of acidantera varieties is difficult to count. Breeders have been getting new varieties and hybrids for several decades. The most famous and sought after of them:
“Muriel” with white petals and a green central part.
“Pink-white” with large pale pink buds.
“Cape” with wide white petals, along the edge of which there is a purple border.
These photos illustrate the description of various types of acidantera:
It is necessary to plant an acidantera in open ground when warm days are established, the air and soil warm up well. When choosing a site for growing this crop, one should be guided by its tropical origin.
This flower will successfully develop and bloom only in well-lit places. It is impossible to allow exposure to drafts, which adversely affect his well-being.
In mid-latitudes, for timely flowering of corms, acidanters are first germinated in a pot, and then, with the onset of consistently warm weather, they are transplanted to the site. For forcing, take a small container, fill it with a light drained substrate. 2 – 3 bulbs are placed in one pot, depending on its diameter.
Landings are kept in a bright room or in a greenhouse. In late May – early June, grown plants are planted on the site. This method of obtaining acidantera allows you to get strong healthy bushes, which over time will begin to form buds abundantly.
In a warm climate, planting material is immediately planted in open ground. A couple of days before this work, the site is prepared for planting. The soil is dug up, humus and a little sand are added. The surface of the earth is leveled, hard lumps and weeds are removed.
Before planting the bulbs, they are kept in a weak solution of potassium permanganate, then dried. Deepen by 5 – 8 cm. The distance between the bulbs should be 15 – 25 cm. Plantings must be watered abundantly.
Atsidantera refers to those ornamental plants, the care of which after planting in the open field is reduced only to basic agrotechnical measures. The plant is unpretentious, and responds to due attention with lush flowering and fragrance.
- Location. As already noted, this flower prefers to grow in sun-drenched areas. It is important to avoid lowlands in which, with the advent of spring, the plant will be flooded, and the roots will begin to rot. The best place for acidantera will be sunny areas without trees and shrubs growing nearby, which cover the sun with a crown.
- The soil. This culture fully develops on loose nutrient substrates with a neutral acid reaction. To improve the composition of the soil, it is recommended to add a little peat in addition to fertilizers. When grown at home, a composition of soddy, leafy soil, humus and river sand is suitable. The components are taken in a ratio of 2:2:1:1.
- Watering. The culture of tropical origin is moisture-loving, needs frequent watering. However, do not flood the flower. It is necessary to wait until the top layer of the earth dries to a depth of 3 – 5 cm. In normal times, it is enough to irrigate the bushes after 1 – 2 days, in extreme heat – daily. Regular timely watering has a beneficial effect on the condition of the plant and the intensity of flowering, helps prevent the occurrence of various fungal diseases. Water procedures are recommended to be carried out in the morning, avoiding moisture on the foliage and buds so that the sun’s rays do not burn these parts of the plant. After watering, it is necessary to carry out weeding and loosening the soil.
- Topdressing. When growing acidantera, systematic feeding of flowers is important, which should be at least 2-3 per season. For the first time, the earth is enriched with organic matter, the second time, during intensive growth and foliage formation, a nitrogen-containing mineral composition is used, and the third time, fertilizer with phosphorus and potassium is used before flowering.
- Other activities. In order to minimize watering and weeding, it is recommended to mulch the area around the bush with dry leaves or sawdust. If the gardener does not plan to collect seeds from acidantera, faded buds should be removed immediately. This will save the strength of the plant, which is spent on the ripening of the fruit.
- Wintering. If the flower is grown in regions with cold winters, the bulbs are removed from the soil with the onset of autumn, and planted again in open ground in the spring. It is necessary to dig out the acidanter when the first frosts come. The aerial part of the bush should be cut. Remove the bulbs to dry in a ventilated room for 3 to 4 weeks. After this time, select from them whole, intact, without signs of rot, place in a fungicide solution, then dry again.
To store acidantera in the way that proper agricultural technology suggests, you need to prepare paper bags or cardboard boxes and provide a temperature of 14-16 degrees. Bulbs are planted for distillation in the first half of March. They are placed in open ground at the beginning – end of May, depending on the climatic features of the region.
Disease and pest control
This crop can get sick due to excessive soil moisture. In this case, the plant is removed from the ground and the bulbs are examined. If they are rotten, it will not be possible to reanimate them, but healthy children can be separated from them.
One of the most common diseases of this flower is mosaic. Leaf plates gradually become variegated, dry out. A bush affected by this disease cannot be saved. It must be dug up and burned.
To eliminate powdery mildew and rust, which can also cause significant damage to the plant, fungicides are used.
Among the pests, acidanters distinguish gastropods that eat leaves and stems. When slugs and snails are found, they are harvested by hand, or the bush is treated with Meta, Thunderstorm, Ulitsid and the like.
On hot dry days, in the absence of watering, a spider mite or thrips can start on the plant. Insecticides are used to control these insects. To prevent their appearance, further flower care is regulated.