Guernia: home care, photo views, transplant
Kind of like guernia (Huernia) belongs to the family Gore (Asclepiadaceae). According to various sources, it combines 40-60 plant species that are represented by succulents. In nature, they are found in the rocky arid regions of East and South Africa, as well as on the Arabian Peninsula.
A characteristic feature of all species is not very high, branched at the base of the stem, which forms a fairly large bushes. So, their diameter can exceed the height of the plant by 2 or 3 times. Thick juicy shoots have 4-10 faces, and on them are fleshy sharp teeth of a conical shape. Such teeth have a wide base, and in length can reach 1 centimeter. The surface of the bare shoots is shiny, smooth, and in different species it can be painted in various colors from brown to deep green.
The plant blooms during the summer and early autumn, and the duration of flowering varies from 2 to 3 months. The flowers are either collected in inflorescences or single, located in the lower part of the shoot in the axils of the teeth (two-year or annual growth) closer to its base. Short pedicels in length, as a rule, reach 5–20 millimeters. The fused large sepals have a rich color. They form a wide tube with a large limb having five lobes, while some species have additional pointed protrusions at the places where the lobes diverge. Petals are not pronounced, and they are deep in the tube, where there are also reproductive organs. In different species, the corolla has a different color and shape. So, for example, in some species it may resemble a deep cup or bell, while in others it may resemble a shaggy jellyfish or starfish. In most species, the unpleasant smell of carrion comes from the flowers.
Guernia Care at Home
Such a plant is quite undemanding in care and even inexperienced gardeners can safely grow it.
This plant is photophilous and therefore it requires a place with good lighting. Well, if the bush in the evening and morning direct rays of the sun will fall. For placement, it is better to prefer windows of western and eastern orientation. When placed on the south window, you will need a shade from midday sunlight in the summer. If you put guernia on a window of northern orientation, then due to poor lighting the bush will become elongated, and flowering may not occur at all.
With the onset of autumn and winter, the flower needs additional illumination with special phytolamps.
It is worth remembering that guernia has a habit of a fixed angle of illumination. And this means that if you turn a flowering plant around its axis or move it to a place with a different light intensity (lighter or darker), then it quickly drops buds and already blossoming flowers.
In summer, such a flower grows normally and develops at a temperature of 22 to 27 degrees. From the middle of the spring period until the last September days, it is recommended to transfer it to the street (to the balcony, to the garden), choosing a place protected from rain in a partial shade.
In winter, such a plant needs coolness. It is best if its temperature is kept at a level of 5 to 10 degrees.
How to water
In the spring-summer period, watering should be moderate. Guernia needs not very long dry periods. For this, it is necessary to systematically dry the substrate by about ½ part. In no case should stagnation of water in the soil and its waterlogging be allowed. The fact is that this can cause the development of rot on the root system and stems, while the flower itself in this case dies in about two days.
In winter, you need to water very poorly.
Often after the end of the dormancy period for a given succulent, flower growers may encounter such a problem as not absorbing moisture from dry soil. In this case, experienced flower growers recommend resorting to one small trick. In a deep and sufficiently wide container, you need to pour water and immerse a pot in it. After 20-30 minutes (when air bubbles cease to come out), it should be removed from the water. Carefully drain all excess fluid. Then the flower is put in place and watered in the usual summer mode.
This succulent quite calmly tolerates not very high humidity, therefore, it is not necessary to moisten it additionally.
A suitable substrate should pass water and air well, be loose, slightly alkaline and have an acidity of pH 7.5–8.5. For planting, you can use a purchased succulent earth mixture, but it is recommended to pour a small amount of small gravel into it (diameter from 3 to 4 millimeters). This mixture can be done with your own hands. To do this, combine sheet and clay-soddy ground, small gravel and coarse river sand.
For planting, it is recommended to use a low, but wide pot, since the roots of the plant are underdeveloped, but it grows relatively rapidly. Do not forget to make a good drainage layer using pebbles or expanded clay for this.
The plant is fed from the beginning of intensive growth to the end of the summer period 1 time in 4 weeks. To do this, use specialized fertilizers for succulents and cacti. During dormancy, there is no need to feed the plant.
It can be quite simply propagated by stem cuttings. To do this, they should be carefully separated from the mother plant and left in the open air for 2 days to dry. Then it is planted in the finished soil mixture. As a rule, the stalk blooms in the same year.
In March, you can sow seeds in a mixture of peat and sand. Before germination, the container with seeds should be placed in a bright mini-greenhouse.
Recommended annual transplant in spring. In this case, a container of slightly larger diameter is taken than the previous one. Experienced flower growers recommends that you remove the old, overgrown shoot and update the guernia from the cuttings.
Pests and diseases
Often a mealybug settles on such a flower, preferring a loose substrate. It is recommended to deal with such a pest with special insecticides (for example, Aktara or Intavir).
The most common disease is stem and root rot. When it appears, guernia usually dies. In this regard, the plant must be watered very carefully and do not forget to arrange dry periods.
The main types
At home, flower growers grow a fairly large number of different types of guernia. At the same time, thanks to breeders, a large number of hybrids and varieties were born.
Guernia of Kenya (Huernia keniensis)
This plant is semi-ampelous. He has relatively long (up to 30 centimeters) creeping stems with five ribs. On the ribs there are sharp teeth bent down. Inflorescences consist of 2–5 velvety flowers, painted in purple-red. The almost completely sealed sepals are a wide funnel of a three-centimeter diameter. On it are long teeth (tips of sepals), having the shape of a triangle, while it happens that they bend back. Inside and outside the sepals are covered with a huge number of outgrowths-papillae.
This species has several varieties, which differ, as a rule, in the shape and size of the corolla. The flower of the Grandiflora variety has a diameter of 5 centimeters, while the Globosa variety has a spherical corolla tube.
Guernia striped (Huernia zebrina)
This view is very compact. So, the stem height is only 10 centimeters, and the width is 2 centimeters. Upright shoots have distinctly visible ribs, of which there are 4 pieces.Being in a shaded place, the stem turns pale green, and if transferred to the sun - in burgundy green. Single flowers have a fairly large size (diameter up to 7 centimeters). The shape of the corolla is rather unusual. So, the glossy pharynx of the tube, painted in maroon, goes into a strongly convex regular ring (almost a torus) of the same color shade. From under this ring a five-pointed broad-beam asterisk peeks out, consisting of intergrown sepals of a yellow color, on the surface of which there are many transverse burgundy stripes.
Guernia large-fruited (Huernia macrocarpa)
This species is medium-sized. Its erect stems, painted in a greenish-blue color, in bright sunlight turn purple, and reach a height of 20 centimeters. The shoots have 7 ribs that have slightly curved teeth. There are both single flowers and collected in small-flowered inflorescences of 2-5 pieces. A small corolla with a two-centimeter diameter has a wide bell-shaped shape. The shape of the limb is a regular pentagon, while tiny cloves are located in the place of sepal growth. It has an uneven, maroon color, while it has a distinct mottling.
There are different varieties that differ in the color of the flower itself, as well as the shape of the cloves.
Guernia rough or thorny (Huernia aspera)
This species is also medium-sized, but it has thin stems (15 millimeters wide). Pale green shoots have 5 ribs. The rapidly tapering teeth are almost needle-shaped from the base. Flowers are either single or are part of inflorescences (2–5 pieces). The shape of the corolla tube is wide-bell-shaped, and the limb is a regular five-pointed star. Inside, it is painted a burgundy-reddish color, and on the surface there are many long growths, papillae of a similar color shade.
The difference between the varieties in the color of the flowers is from dark purple to rich red.
Guernia primrose (Huernia primulina)
This small species has the potential for strong growth. The bush can reach a height of only 8 centimeters, while the thickness of its shoots is 1.5 centimeters. An adult bush in diameter can reach 30 centimeters. Creeping four- or five-sided stems are painted in greenish-gray color. Small teeth narrow sharply towards the tip. The length of the pedicels is 2.5 centimeters. Flowers are often part of inflorescences (3-8 each). Inside the tube is painted in burgundy, and this surface is very mottled. The creamy-yellow limb consists of wide-triangular sepals half fused with tips. Bending in diameter is from 2 to 3 centimeters.
Guernia hanging (Huernia pendula)
This is an ampel view. Its drooping stems reach a length of 150 centimeters. Cylindrical shoots have a diameter of 9 centimeters. The ribs on them are almost indistinguishable, while the teeth look like not very large tubercles. The flowers are relatively small, only 2 centimeters in diameter. They are part of low-flowered inflorescences (from 2 to 5 pieces). The reddish-burgundy limb is similar in shape to a broad-beam star (almost a pentagon), while its rays are slightly bent back. The pharynx of the tube is painted in a darker shade, almost black-burgundy.
Guernia spiny (Huernia hystrix)
This species is of most interest. The bush is rather small, so, in height it reaches 5-12 centimeters, but in width - 30 centimeters and even more. Drooping pale green pentagonal shoots have thick teeth upward. At the peduncle length reach 6 centimeters. Corolla is similar in shape to a bird's nest. So, the sepals are very much bent backward, while their tips are connected at the peduncle, resulting in a kind of donut or torus that is attached to a wide (diameter of about 1.5 centimeters) tube.In addition, on the surface of the corolla there are a lot of fleshy, thick growths, papillae, reaching a length of 3.5 to 5.5 millimeters, which makes the flower look prickly-shaggy. The color of the flowers along with the papillae is striped, whitish-burgundy.
Guernia pilar (Huernia pillansii)
It is also a very interesting view. Thanks to the stems, this succulent is similar to a cactus painted in a deep green color and having soft thick needles that turn red from sunlight. The diameter of the shoots is 1.2–2 centimeters, and their length is 20 centimeters. On the stems, as a rule, there are from 9 to 16 ribs (sometimes more), due to which the cloves are located very densely (almost closely pressed against each other). The teeth at the base are conical in this case, they strongly narrow almost at the very surface and leave thin half-centimeter tails, due to which the bush looks fluffy.
The flowers are similar to a starfish, but only with the mouth turned upside down, while a large number of rather long growths of papillae on the sepals reinforces this similarity. Flowers can be painted in various colors, for example, yellow, brownish-red, while others have reddish growths on the yellow surface, or vice versa. The value of the corolla can vary from 2.5 to 5 centimeters.
Dark green shoots of this plant in height reach about 10 centimeters. Pale yellow flowers are decorated with a dense speck of burgundy color. The sepals fused to ½ part and formed a wide tube. The flat limb at the corolla has a two-centimeter diameter and the shape of a regular five-pointed star.