HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
The genre Lampranthus includes some species that give us, among the succulent plants, the most spectacular explosions of flowers of a thousand colors.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The Lampranthus, of the family of Aizoaceae, is a genus native to the arid regions of South Africa and includes evergreen plants, which form very dense turf or real bushes, characterized by very showy and colorful flowers.
It is a relatively recently born genus, derived from the subdivision of the genus Mesembrianthemum so much so that some species are still known by their old name.
The Lampranthus they are succulent plants, very common in all areas with an arid climate, evergreen, very rustic, with a creeping or bushy habit.
The leaves are fleshy, with a triangular, cylindrical or semi-cylindrical section depending on the species.
The flowers, which form at the top of the flower stems are hermaphroditic, with a calyx formed by five sepals and a corolla rich in petals, large, very colorful (yellow, scarlet, magenta, red, pink or orange depending on the species and varieties) only open when in full sun.
The fruit is a capsule.
There are about a hundred species of Lampranthus among which we remember:
There Lampranthus aurantiacus it has a shrubby habit and reaches a maximum height of 50 cm forming small bushes that are not particularly dense.
The leaves have a semi-cylindrical section and the flowers are orange, about 5 cm wide and blooms towards the end of summer and until autumn.
The Lampranthus coccineus they are plants that can reach 40 cm in height with triangular section leaves and carmine colored flowers.
LAMPRANTHUS or MESEMBRYANTHEMUM ROSEUS
There Lampranthus roseus it is a plant characterized by cylindrical leaves with pink flowers.
There Lampranthus spectabilis is a plant that has purple flowers with tapered leaves.
There Lampranthus conspicuus it is a very developed climber that reaches a height of 30 cm with glossy leaves, with a semi-cylindrical section, of a beautiful bright verse color. The flowers are deep red, produced in large numbers from the end of summer.
There Lampranthus amoenus it is characterized by cylindrical section leaves which have the particularity of turning red when exposed in full sun. The flowers are purple-red, large and appear from the end of summer. It is a plant that does not reach large dimensions, not exceeding 25 cm in height.
There Lampranthus it is a very easy plant to grow that does not require special care. The ideal cultivation temperatures are around 15-18 ° C but it thrives well even at higher temperatures. Conversely, they are plants sensitive to cold therefore it is important that the minimum temperatures do not fall below 5-6 ° C.
He loves the light and the sun, therefore expose it without problems in full sun (be careful, not behind the glass as this would create the lens effect and the rays would be too concentrated) and keep the environment that hosts them well ventilated as humid environments do not are welcome.
The Lampranthus they must be watered very sparingly starting from spring and throughout the summer and before watering the soil on the surface must have dried. During autumn and winter, in consideration of the fact that the plant enters vegetative rest, watering must be practically suspended. Just a few drops every now and then, no more.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
Repotting the plant of Lampranthus it is carried out at the beginning of spring using pots of dimensions gradually a little larger than the previous one until reaching the size of about 18-20 cm. After that, only the surface layer of the soil is removed for about 2.5-5 cm, replacing it with fresh soil.
A soil is used for cactaceae or you can prepare a soil formed by one part of clay, three parts of sand and one of peat.
As well as watering, fertilization must also be sparing: every 3 weeks, mixing the irrigation water with a good liquid fertilizer diluted in the watering water, decreasing the doses compared to what is reported in the fertilizer package.
Use a fertilizer that in addition to having nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium also has those that are commonly called microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantities (but still needs them) such as magnesium (Mg), iron ( Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), ilboro (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.
It blooms in midsummer and into autumn and each flower stays in bloom for about a week. Once the plant has faded, the flowers must be removed promptly.
The plant of Lampranthus in fact it is not pruned. Only when repotting is it advisable to prune the excessively grown branches to contain the plant and give it a more graceful shape.
Plant propagation of Lampranthus occurs by seed or by cutting.
MULTIPLICATION FOR TALEA
A side branch is cut from the Lampranthus about 8-10 cm long at the beginning of spring (between March and May) and it is left to dry for about 3-3 days after which the cut part is dusted with a rhizogenic powder that favors the emission of the roots and is planted in a box or in a vase where you will have previously placed some earth for cactacae mixed with a little coarse sand.
Place the pot in an area away from direct sunlight, with a temperature around 18 ° C and water the soil so that it remains barely moist. When the first shoots begin to appear, it means that the cutting of Lampranthus formed the root system. At that point the individual plants can be taken very gently and planted each in a single pot as if it were a plant of Lampranthus adult and should be treated as such.
MULTIPLICATION BY SEED
If you want to create a lawn then it is advisable to propagate them by seed by planting them in spring, when the weather has stabilized and there is no longer the risk of sudden changes in temperature.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
It is not a disease prone plant. The only attention to avoid pathologies is regular watering which must be very sparing.The only parasite that can give problems to this plant is the cochineal.
Mealy or cottony cochineal on all green parts of the plant
Lecocciniglia appear as small flaky spots and if scratched with a fingernail they come off without problems.
Remedies: they can be eliminated simply by gently rubbing with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. If the plant is large then it is necessary to intervene with specific insecticides available at specialized centers in agriculture or gardening.
The plant Lampranthus it is widely used as a cover for poor and inaccessible soils in warm-temperate climate regions.
The name Lampranthus comes from the Greek lampros "Shining" e anthos«Flower» that is to say «shining flower».