Imagine that the winter pattern on the windows turned grassy green - this is how asparagus would have looked if it had been carefully attached to the window: airy, lace, with needles. And the same to the touch - needle, but soft and fluffy. Once the plant was very popular in homes and workplaces, then it disappeared from sight. And now, thanks to the appearance of new species and varieties, it is gaining popularity again, decorating our homes and offices.
What kind of flower is it, how to grow it and how to care for it, we will consider in this article.
What it is?
According to various sources, from 200 to 300 species of asparagus (Asparagus) exist in the world, of which 27 species grow in the countries of the former USSR. If you carefully read the Latin name, it will become clear that it looks like the word "asparagus". And no wonder, because this is another name for our home flower, which belongs to the asparagus family.
The stems of some domestic species are really similar to the tips of edible delicious asparagus (asparagus whorled, medicinal or short-leaved). The vegetable, reminiscent of the taste of chicken meat, is a delicacy not only for vegetarians, but also for real gourmets of any cuisine.
The asparagus family is represented by herbs, shrubs, shrubs, vines, growing in the territory from Northern China to South Africa, including Europe and Asia. The American continents and Japan are also home to several plant species.
Vegetable culture was cultivated 4000 years ago in ancient Egypt and Rome.
Thick sprouts of 25 cm grow on a highly developed rhizome, which can be harvested only in the fourth year of plant growth, as long as they have milk ripeness. The stems of the asparagus are highly branched, on the branches there is a huge number of small needle-shaped branches (treasures), collected in bunches that sit in the axils of the leaves. But the leaves themselves are not in the usual sense - they are underdeveloped, small, similar to small spikes.
And even species that are very reminiscent of asparagus do not possess leaves, but pseudo-leaves, which in fact are phyllocladies - derivatives of the stem. The most striking example of a pseudo-sheet is the Pontic needle (prickly).
But unlike needles, the fruits and berries of domestic asparagus are inedible, and even poisonous. Berries are the result of flowering plants. But flowers in indoor asparagus appear infrequently, especially if the plants are not properly looked after. This is because flowers with stamens grow on some plants, and with pestles - on others. And if they are inaccessible to each other, then pollination does not occur, the fruits do not form.
If the fruits nevertheless appeared, then they look very beautiful on the green stems: round, shiny and dense berries of red, orange or black. Florists often use asparagus to decorate bouquets. Particularly interesting are compositions with colored plants.
To do this, use food coloring or special colors for flowers, which make the fluffy branches of asparagus silvery, golden, black and white - absolutely any, and unusually beautiful.
All species of the asparagus family are divided into garden and indoor. Due to the large number of species and varieties, you can create not only cozy corners in the garden, but also at home. Asparagus look great as single plants in large and small areas, with their help you can create a living partition in a house or apartment. In addition, the plant is among the top ten indoor flowers, capable of better than others ionize the air, releasing oxygen. Therefore, we get acquainted with indoor views.
This species with flat pseudo-leaves has several varieties that grow at home. In the open ground, this is the same edible asparagus: a semi-shrub curly perennial, the stems of which grow from 1.5 to 3 meters, with tufts of treasures up to 3 centimeters in size. The plant has a nice light green color and a shiny surface.
Florists say that indoor varieties of this species do not bloom, and there are no facts confirming the opposite.
It’s a pity: in nature, the plant blooms with pretty small white flowers that are located along the entire length of the stems, it looks very gentle and unusual.
This is a shrub with a height of 50 cm, which in width can reach 6 meters. It differs in small cladodes - needles, which are very similar to the fox tail. It is this second name that the plant has. Needles grow in different directions, and from this the branches become very fluffy. While they are not very tall, they stretch upward, resembling a forest of Christmas trees growing in one pot. Look great in floral arrangements, for which they are appreciated by florists.
Cirrus (plumezus, bristle-shaped)
Evergreen perennial. The same flower that grew in many organizations of the Soviet period. This is a very growing plant without pruning with elegant curly branches. After flowering of snow-white miniature flowers, blue-black berries appear. By the way, plants that are more than 10 years old can bloom in the house. Thin needles of soft green color are very soft to the touch. Probably, it is about this species that they say that asparagus brings calm and relaxation to the house.
Lateral shoots are located almost in a horizontal plane, because of which the branches are very similar to ferns. Phyllocladies are connected in small bundles of 10 pieces. Each threadlike shoot grows to 5-15 mm.
This is a liana (or a shrub), and anyone who decided to purchase this flower should understand that a lot of space will be required. The plant has woody branches. Pseudo-sheets have small spikes-hooks with which they cling, trying to get to the sunlight. In this quest, they grow to 4 meters. The plant has small flowers, collected in inflorescences, milky cream shade, with a pleasant smell. The name was given due to the appearance of the treasures, which have a rather large length - 8 cm.
A characteristic feature of this species is its good tolerance to pruning.
Sprenger (densely flowered, Ethiopian)
It was Karl Ludwig Sprenger who made asparagus popular in Europe as an ornamental plant. Creeping shoots of a shrub can reach 1.5 m, they have narrow-lanceolate cladodias of emerald color. These leaflets are very small, scaly. After flowering with fragrant white or pale pink small flowers, oval burgundy berries are tied. A feature of the plant is a powerful root system and a bare stem, which eventually turns into an arc.
Cladody creepers do not look like needle ones, like plumezus, for example, but like ordinary leaflets. The abundant number of evergreen branches makes the plant very lush, so the question will surely arise about how to grow it: substitute a trellis or place it on a shelf or cabinet under the ceiling.
There is little information about this species, but on any site you will find a mention that cut shoots can go without water for a long time, which attracts bouquet designers.
This shrub may well replace the Christmas tree, because it has vertically growing shoots one and a half meters high with dense clodes. The plant with its structure, shape and type of growth resembles juniper, has dark green leaves directed upwards. Throws long peduncles with white unassuming flowers. It can decorate not only an apartment, but also a winter garden or a balcony.
A popular species loved by flower growers and research biologists. Its thick multi-tiered green fluffy crown will decorate any interior. The plant loves light, regular top dressing, relative heat not lower than +10 degrees. If the setaceus turns yellow and begins to crumble, it means that the air in the room is too dry for it. You can achieve flowering in 5-6 years, observing all the recommendations for care.
Lianoid shrub with two-meter shoots. During flowering, delicate pink flowers with a characteristic odor are collected in a brush, hence the name. The species is similar to Sprenger's asparagus, but the fruits are round, not oval, and its branches are drooping, not creeping.
In addition to the fact that any type of asparagus supplies the room with oxygen, decorates it, it is believed that it also positively affects the psycho-emotional background of the room:
- makes the atmosphere calm;
- positive effect on energy flows;
- neutralizes the negative brought to the house or office;
- improves concentration;
- increases mental performance.
Beginners often can not decide which plant to start growing. Even experienced flower growers cannot choose, considering all plants worthy. In this case, the mix seeds that the market abounds in will help. Then several types of asparagus will grow in the house.
Before planting asparagus, you need to take care of a suitable soil and pot. As the soil, you can use:
- shop universal earthen mix for indoor flowers;
- substrate for ferns;
- Self-selected mixture from an equal amount of the following components: leaf soil, turf, peat, river sand, humus (compost);
- substrate of humus, leafy soil, coarse sand (1: 1: 0.5);
- a mixture of turf, compost, leaf soil, river sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 2: 1.
Usually, before planting any plant, the earth is decontaminated: it is poured with boiling water or a weak manganese solution, the mixture is calcined on a baking sheet or pan, and steamed. Before sowing, do not forget to cool the soil to room temperature.
You can use any container as a pot, since this is still a temporary capacity before diving seedlings.
Instructions for landing asparagus is as follows.
- Sowing seeds is carried out from February to July. The best time is spring.
- Checking the quality of the seeds, they are calibrated: put a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and lower the seeds. After a while, all the spoiled seeds will emerge, while the quality seeds will fall to the bottom.
- Immediately before sowing, the grain is lowered for a quarter of an hour into a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
- Since the seed coat is very hard, it is pierced with a disinfected needle to speed up the germination process. But this is not necessary.
- Prepared soil must be moist. Grains are laid on it with an even layer. Slightly squeeze them and sprinkle with a thin layer of earth and sand. The top layer is moistened with a spray gun.
- There should always be 2-3 cm of air gap between the top layer and the edge of the container.
- The container is covered with film or glass. The container should be in a warm place, but not in direct sunlight.
- Due to the air gap, ventilation is not done, that is, the film is not removed until emergence. Anyone who does not adhere to this rule and likes to ventilate the soil should not forget about regular spraying of seeds.
- Seedlings should appear within 3-6 weeks. After biting, the film or glass is removed.
- When the "kids" reach 7-10 cm in height, they are dived, transplanted into separate temporary pots, each 8-10 cm in diameter.
- Seedlings are grown on a warm windowsill under the light or under a lamp, not forgetting to constantly turn to the sun for uniform development of the plant.
- In a permanent pot with a diameter of 10-15 cm, the asparagus is transplanted after 3-4 months with an obligatory drainage layer at the bottom of the pot.
Since any type of asparagus has a powerful root system, you need to take care of strong pots. Others may simply burst under the onslaught of rhizomes.
Different plant families need special growing conditions, but this rule does not apply to asparagus - the cultivation of this plant is almost the same for all varieties.
A home flower will not feel well in direct sunlight, but it also needs a lot of diffused light. To determine that the plant does not have enough light, you can on the yellowing branches. It is better to put a flower pot on the windowsill of the eastern or western room or in the back of the room, facing south. If the room is northern, then you can not do without additional lighting.
In the warm season, the flower will feel good on the street or balcony.
It may seem strange, but it is much more difficult for asparagus to provide temperature in winter than in summer. And not because he needs heat, but, on the contrary, the optimal winter temperature is 10-14 degrees. Otherwise, the shoots will become thinner and longer. In a cool environment, the plant will be at rest, slowing down its growth. During the period of active vegetation, a suitable temperature is 18-22 degrees Celsius, better with ventilation. Carrying a flower outside, you need to protect it from drafts. Better put asparagus in the shade.
To grow a healthy plant, you need to regularly spray and bathe it at least once a month. A warm shower will not only save you from dust, but also wash away possible parasites and their oviposition. In summer, the flower and the air next to it are sprayed twice a day. Often, an air humidifier is used to increase humidity, or simply water containers, placed next to a flower.
The frequency and abundance of watering depends on the season, indoor temperature, flower size and type of pseudo leaves. The soil in the pot should always be moistened, but half an hour after watering, there should not be standing water on the surface. In winter, in any case, asparagus is watered less often, since it rests, growth is slowed down. If the room is cool, then the amount of water for irrigation is also reduced.
It is important to find the “golden mean” in watering as quickly as possible, otherwise a lack of moisture will lead to the discharge of greenery, and an excess will lead to rotting of the roots.
Like all houseplants, asparagus fertilizers are applied from spring to mid-autumn twice a month with watering. It is wiser to use store mineral fertilizers for decorative and deciduous plantations for this. To use mullein or bird droppings, as is recommended on some sites, is a good thing for a flower, but not in an apartment. In addition, asparagus does not bloom all the time, which is why it does not need winter feeding.
You should also be aware that plants do not fertilize immediately after transplantation and during illness.
Pruning the crown to give it a beautiful shape for a perennial is quite specific and depends on the species. Crescent asparagus is considered the only indoor species that is loyal to cut shoots. In all others, when the stem is trimmed, the lateral processes and cladodias cease to grow, a new kidney begins to grow from the rhizome. That is, cutting off each old shoot will lead to the appearance of a new one from the rhizome. Therefore, the crown is formed not by trimming, but with the help of ladders, coasters, planters, spirals and other devices.
Asparagus is a plant that is quite resistant to diseases and pests. If the flower receives an excess of moisture, then sooner or later its roots will begin to rot. This will lead to the appearance of a fungal disease such as root rot. The probability of its acquisition is especially high if watering is carried out at low temperature or cold water. This disease is treated by removing rotten roots.
You need to be guided by a simple rule - do not regret and leave the diseased parts of the plant. This will only aggravate the situation. It is better to remove even slightly suspicious roots and shoots. For the procedure, the root system is completely washed, the earth is thrown away, and the pot is either scalded with potassium permanganate or a new one is used.
Of the pests, spider mite and scabbard are more likely to cause problems. If yellow-brown small oval spots appeared on the pseudo-leaves, this is the insect of the insect shield. A spider mite entangles the plant with cobwebs, creating nests. The plant gradually turns yellow and dies.
You can try to collect insects by hand, wipe the leaves with an alcohol napkin, and rinse in the shower. But in the case of asparagus, this is ineffective, since there are no leaves as such. The most reliable way - treatment with insecticides: Fitovermom, Vermitekom, Aktara and others.
Moreover, it is necessary to process not only a diseased plant, but also its neighbors.
The root system of the perennial is developing very quickly, so it is recommended to transplant the plant annually, and when it turns 4, they begin to transplant every three years. The new flower pot should be larger enough to fit the old one. The substrate is selected by any of the methods proposed above. The procedure is best done in early spring.
To transplant a flower, it is abundantly watered and left for 2-3 hours to soak an earthen coma. Then they take it out of the container (often the pot is turned over for this), carefully examine the core of the flower. To rejuvenate the plant, old tubers are torn off, the root system can be halved. At the bottom of a new pot , a drainage layer is necessarily poured, then soil, after which the roots are neatly laid out on the ground and covered with soil.
The plant does not need to be planted too deep, but there must be a place for watering from above, which should be done.
Indoor asparagus can be propagated by seeds (as described in detail above), cuttings and dividing the bush. Not all species are suitable for all three breeding methods. The asparagus of Sprenger and Meyer, as well as cirrus, reproduce perfectly by seeds. Adult plants are suitable for dividing, which can painlessly restore the root system. When choosing a method of propagation by cuttings, there is a big risk that not all seedlings will take root.
Propagation by division is easiest. This is recommended at the time of transplantation. The main thing is to carefully separate the bunches of the plant along with the rhizome, clean it from the old earth and visually verify that the roots are healthy. The bush is planted in prepared wet soil. It is recommended that the flower be kept cool for the first time, regularly watered.
After a month, the “new settlers” are transferred to a permanent place.
Cuttings are considered the most difficult not only because of the poor survival of plants, but also because of the procedure itself.
- It is important to choose the right branch for cutting - these should be strong last year's shoots. But a too short stump should not remain on the flower, otherwise it will not grow.
- Cut a 15-centimeter cuttings with a sharp alcoholized knife, leaving 4-5 cladode on each. Cutting with scissors is not recommended, as they crush the stem.
- Cuttings are planted in a mixture of peat, perlite and sand, poured into a transparent cup. The cup should not be too big - this is a waste of soil, and it will be inconvenient to observe the appearance of the roots.
- Glasses are placed in a warm, well-lit place and covered with a plastic or glass cap.
- Every day, the seedlings are aired and moisturized. It is advisable that drops of condensate do not touch the greenery.
- After a month, the emerged roots should be visible in the cup. If the size of the cup allows, then let the stalk grow in it for a couple more weeks.
After 2 weeks, the stalk is transplanted into a permanent pot.
For asparagus transplant tips, see the next video.