Hoffmannia is a genus to which belong about ten species of evergreen shrubs, originating in Central and South America. These species have large, wrinkled, often dark green or pinkish-brown foliage; the leaves are oval in shape, with striking white veins; they develop from the top of the semi-woody branches. In spring, along the stems, under the leaves, bloom small flowers with a pinkish colouration, scarcely decorative, but in any case beautiful to admire.
Depending on the species, these small shrubs have dimensions varying from 40-50 cm, up to more than one metre. They are placed in large containers, or in low bowls, also in hanging baskets, in order to exalt the slightly prostrate appearance of the shrubs and to create scenarios of great visual impact.
Exposure is an important factor for the cultivation of our plants that must be taken into account if we want to achieve excellent results with our plants. The hoffmannia species should be grown in a bright position, but far from direct solar rays; they are used as indoor plants, with winter low temperatures above 15°C; many species can bear much lower temperatures, therefore in areas with mild winters they could also be planted in the garden.
From March to September, water regularly, when the soil is slightly dry; during the cold months, watering should be reduced. During the vegetative period, provide fertilizer for green plants, every 20-25 days, mixed with the water of the watering. They prefer humid environments, therefore it is advisable to vaporize often the leaves with demineralized water.
One of the most important aspects to take into account when cultivating our hoffmannia plants is the type of soil to be preferred. So use a good balanced soil, to which you will need to add a small amount of sand, to increase drainage.
The multiplication takes place by semi-woody cutting, in spring, using the tips of the branches or the new shoots. Cuttings are the ideal method of reproduction for obtaining new seedlings at no cost, simply starting from fragments of the mother plant. In fact, it is necessary to take from the plant branches or fragments of a length equal to or greater than 10-15 cm, realizing a clean cut with clean and sharp working tools.
Once you have obtained the branch to be used to create a new plant, dip it in rhizogenic powder to allow the plant to root. Then place the branch in a container containing sand and peat and make the soil compact around the new twigs installed in the pot.
Hoffmannia: Pests and diseases
As for pests and diseases, the plant is quite resistant, although occasionally they can be attacked by aphids or mites. Rust can visibly ruin the foliage. When the leaves appear almost burnt, the plant has been exposed to direct sunlight for too long. In this case, the plant should be moved to a more sheltered place. When the leaves come off the plant, however, it means that the humidity in the environment is too low. So water the plant as indicated.