Video: Growing Callistemon Indoors
Calistemon is one of those indoor plants that are very rarely found in retail. In stores, it is sold more often in the form of a tub culture. Very few flower growers keep it at home: they usually start it for the sake of some snobbery, if they want to have plants that other colleagues do not have. Its name is calistemon (from the Myrtaceae family - "beautifully stamen" - owes its dense inflorescences. Its name comes from the Greek words "kalos" - beautiful and "stemon" "stamen." …
In nature, there are about 25 species, which are represented by small evergreen trees or shrubs with outlined, mostly lanceolate, hard leaves of a grayish-green color.
Calistemon flowers are collected in dense cylindrical ears. The main part of the flower is just those numerous protruding stamens that make the ears look much like a bottle "brush", which is also used for cleaning glass chemical dishes. These stamens can be of different colors (more often bright red, less often yellow or cream).
The petals are almost invisible due to their nondescriptness. After the end of flowering, the spike continues to grow as usual, and the next year inflorescences appear on it again. The fruits are woody capsules of spherical or ovoid shape. They stick tightly to the branches and can stay on them in an undisclosed form for a long time - several years (they do not fly around for two years or more).
If a florist plans to get seeds from his plants, then, in order not to miss their opening and prevent self-sowing of seeds, it is recommended to tie them with gauze to prevent scatter and protect the seeds with gauze.
Calistemon is native to Southeast Asia, Australia, Tasmania and New Caledonia, where it usually grows on moist sandy soils, along river banks, often on stony dry slopes. After natural or planned introduction, it can now be found in regions characterized by a subtropical climate: it is cultivated in open ground as flowering trees.
Of the 25 species common in Australia, only one is of floricultural value. Lemon Calistemon (C. citrinus) is considered the most popular species in culture, which begins to bloom at an early age.
In nature, this is a 3 m high bush, sometimes even higher. It is distributed throughout Southeast Australia. It has erect or outstretched branches (in young plants they are silky pubescent) with linear, lanceolate or obverse-lanceolate leaves, sharp at the top (as they say "with a pointed tip"), 5-8 cm long, 6 mm wide. The leaves have hard protruding middle and lateral veins and numerous pinpoint glands, to which the plant owes an unusually delicate lemon scent.
Indoors, the species blooms more often in July. Floral (rather loose) spikelets are 9-10 cm long, 6-8 cm in diameter. Stamens up to 3 cm long, dark scarlet-red in color, are unusually beautiful. There are 50-60 of them, they are located in two circles. Anthers - the same color as the filaments, but darker in color. Splendens has carmine inflorescences.
The name of the beautiful calistemon (C.speciosus) speaks for itself: it is considered one of the most beautiful species of the genus, but its seedlings bloom very late. At home in Western Australia, it is a tall shrub or tree up to 6-13 m tall with ribbed shoots and leaves 7.5-10 cm long, 6 mm wide lanceolate or linear-lanceolate.
The leaves are obtuse or pointed with a prominent midrib, almost invisible lateral veins and a thickened margin. This species has very dense flower spikes, one of the largest in the genus - 7-12 cm long and 5-6 cm wide. Calistemon beautiful is called the most decorative species in the genus due to its intense red filaments (2-3 cm long), ending in bright yellow anthers.
In natural conditions (New South Wales, South Australia), C. salignus grows along river banks. This is a bush up to 4-5 m high or a tree up to 10 m high with linear or linear-lanceolate (willow-like) leaves up to 11 cm long and 4-12 mm wide with slightly protruding veins.
This species has cream or pale yellow (sometimes pale pink) with yellowish-green stamens up to 1.2 cm long in a rather loose ear 5-7 cm in size. Its flowering period is late spring - early summer. The wood of Calistemon willowweed is considered one of the hardest in Australia.
Growing calistemon at home does not cause any particular difficulties for the grower, since this plant is unpretentious, rather stable in room culture. It is light-requiring, reacts well to bright sun, does not need special shading, so it can be placed on a south-facing window.
However, given the fact that in summer the air humidity is often low in the room, it should still be protected from the scorching rays of the sun at midday. Calistemon loves the influx of fresh air (but does not tolerate drafts), so during the summer months it would be nice to keep him in the garden or on an open balcony or loggia. In the summer, watering is plentiful, but does not allow stagnation of water in the root system zone. Watering is abundant from April to the end of September, in winter - so that the soil does not dry out.
During the active growing season, it is important to carry out liquid fertilizing (once every two weeks) with preliminary watering of the soil with a small amount of water. But when the ambient temperature becomes 7 … 8 ° C, then the pots must be brought into the room for the winter. In winter, it is advisable to allocate a cold, well-ventilated room (temperature 4 … 6 ° C, but not higher than 10 … 12 ° C), with moderate watering (every 5-6 weeks).
Fertile humus soil of slightly acidic reaction (soil pH about 5) is used as a soil substrate. Transplanted in April, the latest transplant is carried out in early May. A large layer of gravel must be placed at the bottom of the pot for drainage.
For more active tillering, the branches of the plant are pinched at a young age. Thanks to pinching and pruning, it can be restrained in growth, but over time the plant can grow strongly and it is difficult to keep it on an ordinary windowsill: it is still a tub plant, like another representative of myrtle - oleander. In general, after each flowering, an adult plant is recommended to be slightly trimmed annually.
All types of calistemon are propagated mainly by cuttings, since their seedlings (with the exception of lemon calistemone) grow very slowly before reaching maturity and blooming. In order for the cuttings to root better, it is better to cut them in the spring, 7-10 cm long, along with a piece of bark attached to the base.
After processing the tips with a stimulant solution (then the survival rate is very high) they are placed in sand or peat-sand mixture (at an angle of 45 °), covered with a glass jar and kept at a temperature of 22 … 25 ° C, but this takes several weeks. When using summer cuttings from non-flowering branches, treatment with hormonal drugs to stimulate the root system is required. When the cuttings take root, they are transplanted into pots with fertile soil and placed in a bright place.
If calistemon is grown in pots, then by pruning, the volume of the plant can be adjusted: then it will not be too tall and will bush well. But if it is possible to keep it in a spacious room, then large wooden boxes or tubs are preferable for perennial specimens. For them, the soil substrate is prepared from humus, coarse sand and high moor peat in a ratio of 1: 1: 1.
With a lack of lighting and too much soil moisture in the pot, the plant withers and leaves fall. On the leaves and young stems, mealybugs may appear and, much less often, scale insects. Worms are inactive oval insects (white or pink) 2-3 mm in size, covered with a waxy powder.
They are usually localized on leaf petioles, but with a high abundance, they can also be found on leaf blades. Against these pests, you should initially try a soap solution based on liquid potassium soap (20 g / l). If this technique turns out to be insufficient to destroy them or suppress their numbers, you can repeat (2 times after 7-8 days) such treatment by adding actellic (at the rate of 1-1.5 ml / l) to the above solution.
The scutellum (outwardly similar to an oval scutellum of grayish-white or yellow color measuring 2-3 mm) is found on the leaves. Experienced flower growers remove each individual by hand, and then wipe the leaves with a cotton swab dipped in vodka. If treated with a solution of acaricide (0.2% actellic), then this procedure is repeated no more than three times with an interval of 6-7 days.