It is a genus which encloses 5-6 species of evergreen shrubs and climbers, originating in Central and South America. They develop long thin stems, very ramified, carrying long dark green leaves, sometimes pubescent, oval or lanceolate, up to 12-15cm long. In spring, they produce particular inflorescences, formed by two bright pink bracts, with indented margins, which subtend small yellow flowers. D.
dioscoreifolia is a vigorous climber, which might be suitable for the southern areas of the peninsula, even if it loses its leaves in case of very low temeprature; D. roezliana is, on the contrary, a small shrub, with long lanceolate leaves. These plants develop very slowly, so they are suitable for cultivation in pots, so that they can be placed outdoors during the summer, moving them to an apartment during the cold months.
Exposure and watering
Exposure is an element of fundamental importance for the optimal cultivation of a plant. It is a matter of choosing the most suitable place to position our dalechampia and guarantee her the most favourable conditions for growing. These shrubs, of tropical or subtropical origin, prefer very luminous positions, but do not like the direct rays of the sun; D.
dioscoreifolia can be planted in the garden, in the southern regions, the other spriae usually fear the cold, and are grown in apartments, with minimum temperatures above 10-15°C.
For what the irrigations are concerned, the dalechampia is to be watered regularly, trying to keep the soil always slightly humid, avoiding, however, the excesses and, above all, the water stagnation; during the cold months, with few hours of sun each day, it waters slightly less, allowing the soil to dry up between one watering and the other. From March to October provide fertilizer for flowering plants, every 20-25 days, mixed with the water of the watering.
Soil and multiplication
The soil in which our plants are grown must meet the specific needs of the plant. It is in fact the main source of livelihood of dalechampia and for this reason, before opting for a soil or for the other, it is important to have detailed information on the plant that we will go to grow.
The dalechampia prefer soft and light soils, well drained and rich of organic matter; a good universal balanced soil is utilized.
Every 2-3 years, it is best to repot, in order to avoid that the roots fill up too much the container, leaving no room for the substratum. If we wish to reproduce the species, we can carry out the multiplication of the plant by seed, in spring, or by cutting, by late summer. The latter is an easy and cost-free technique for reproducing our species starting from a fragment of the mother plant. Use clean, well-sharpened work tools to cut the branches to be used for cutting.
Prefer young branches with at least 2-3 leaves on the branch.
Dalechampia: Parasites and diseases
As for the parasites and diseases that could attack the plant, be very careful of aphids, and even mites. There are specific pesticide products on the market that can defeat the problem.