“What is this?” I said from the doorway. A friend replied that it was a foxtail, and suggested cuttings.
On the way home in my head was spinning: “meadow foxtail”, the family of cereals is not it. Some species of amaranth, in which the inflorescences resemble foxes are also called foxtails, is also not ...
Helped the Internet. It turned out that this plant is from the family of Euphorbia, called acalypha, or foxtail. Originally from tropical and subtropical regions of Australia, Polynesia, Southeast Asia.
The genus acalypha has more than 400 species of herbaceous plants, shrubs and small trees. The Latin name of the genus comes from the ancient Greek name nettle - for the similarity of the shape of the leaves.
The leaves have acalypha egg-shaped, serrate on the edges. Very small flowers are collected in spike-like inflorescences, similar to chanterelle tail.
Cultivated species of acalypha are divided into two groups: flowering and decorative and deciduous. The most popular first group. Bright red, fluffy, drooping inflorescences (in some species in length reach 50 cm!) Decorate a flowering plant - subject to the rules of maintenance - almost all year round.
Representatives of the second group are no less attractive: bronze-green leaves with bright honey spots, the length of which reaches 20 cm, give a special charm to these plants. Small, 5−10 cm, inflorescences of red shades complement the dress of acalypha in the flowering period.
In our regions, acalypha is grown as a houseplant. The basic rules follow:
- Temperature mode — summer is 20-24 degrees, winter is not below 16 degrees;
- The plants need good light, but direct sunlight should be protected from direct sunlight, the lack of lighting in the sky, acalypha and less flourishing;
- Adequate humidity is to periodically spray can near the potty to put a container of wet pebbles or expanded clay;
- In a growing season requires abundant watering, we can not allow drying earthen coma.
Acalypha suitable lovers of fast-growing pot flowers. It should be borne in mind that young plants bloom more magnificently, so each year to preserve the decorativeness, it should be rejuvenated: in February, cut off all shoots at a height of 25-30 cm from the ground level. After this procedure, plants should be sprayed frequently or temporarily placed in a plastic bag.
Also, Acalypha can be updated with top cuttings that root well in wet sand. The cuttings are cut in February-March - about 10 cm long. To give some splendor, rooted cuttings are planted in a pot of 3-4.
Young plants should be transplanted annually, adults - once a 3-4 year is enough. The optimal composition of the soil - in equal quantities of turf land, leaf soil, riding peat, sand.
Acalypha can also be propagated by seed - they are sown in March-April in a mixture of leafy earth and sand.
The most common types of acalypha:
- Acalypha Haitian - has drooping tender shoots, heart-shaped leaves, light green, bright red fluffy inflorescences 3−10 cm long perfectly complement this charming basket plant;
- Acalypha bristled-haired - it is considered the most beautiful species, it is called the foxtail, or foxtail, in nature, it grows up to 3 meters, in room conditions - up to 1-2 meters, inflorescences are long, up to 50 cm, the flowers are bright red;
- Acalypha Godseffiana - decorative leafy, has bronze-green leaves with bright copper-red spots.
Polynesian beliefs say that acalypha is able to protect people from evil forces and contribute to the victory over them.
Modern astrologers also consider Akalifa a kind and useful plant. According to them, acalypha can capture positive emotions emanating from the owners, and if necessary, when despondency and sadness reign in the house, return joy to people. Also, acalypha contributes to the harmonization of vital activity of the body and the psychological atmosphere in the family.
You should know that with all its beauty and attractiveness of acalypha, like most Euphorbia, a poisonous plant, so care should be taken when working with it, and also not to rush to start it in the house until small children have grown up.