This genus includes 6-7 species of small prostrate perennial plants originating in Malaysia and South Asia. The Hemigraphis repanda reaches a height of 15-20 cm, and tends to develop very broadly; it has thin semi-woody stems, very branched, with thin lance-shaped leaves, sometimes serrated and lobed, of a purple-green colour, silvery on the underside and with shades tending to purple and pink; from spring to autumn it produces small flowers of a creamy white colour.
For a compact and dense development, it is advisable to shorten the stems in autumn; these small plants could be cultivated also as annual in the garden, in a semi-shady place, but only in places where the temperatures are mild as they are plants which need heat and temperatures which do not go below the 10 °C.
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These small perennials, due to their origin, are very cold and need minimum temperatures above 12-15°C; for their cultivation it is therefore necessary to keep them in a fairly bright place, far from direct sources of heat, such as fireplaces or radiators. The Hemigraphis repanda plants need to be placed in bright places, but not in direct sunlight, especially on the hottest and sultry days, as the leaves could show signs of sunburn.
The coloured E. species can be cultivated also in aquaria.
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From March to October water the Hemigraphis repanda regularly, keeping the soil slightly moist, but checking that there is no stagnation of water that is rather harmful to this type of plant; every 20-25 days provide fertilizer for green plants, mixed with water of watering.
During the winter months, water sporadically, when the ground is dry, always providing moderate amounts of water.
For a good growth of the specimens belonging to this variety, it is necessary to cultivate in a rich and soft soil, well drained; we are utilizing a balanced universal soil, mixed with a part of sand and a part of bark finely chopped, so as to have a substratum with a correct degree of drainage, capable to prevent the water stagnations, dangerous factor for the health of this plant which might present rottenness in case of excess of humidity.
The reproduction of these plants takes place by apical cutting, in autumn or in spring; at times, the stems which get very close to the ground tend to root autonomously, even when they are attached to the mother plant, in spring they may detach and repot in single containers.
The cuttings must be placed in special containers with a substrate formed by peat and sand in equal parts, to be placed in a sheltered and protected place with constant temperature, until rooting.
Hemigraphis repanda: Pests and diseases
These plants are very susceptible to attack by mites and aphids, which can cause total loss of leaves. To effectively counteract the problem, it is advisable to intervene quickly when you notice the first signs of pests, or using special insecticide products, or with the use of macerates based on garlic or nettle, which should be sprayed on the affected plants.