The Lapageria rosea is a climbing shrub native to Chile. It has thin stems, which stretch up to about two meters high, very branched, the evergreen leaves are ovate, dark green, thick and leathery. From late spring until the beginning of autumn, it produces many large flowers, up to 8-10 cm long, in the shape of an elongated trumpet, hanging; the flowers of the pink lapagery can be red, white or bright pink, but there are many hybrids, even with mottled flowers. The petals are waxy and thick.
They produce small rounded fruits, edible, with a sweet taste. Much cultivated in its country of origin, it has long been known also in Europe, but it has never had the success it deserves as a houseplant.
It is grown in a shady place, but very bright; it doesn’t like direct rays of the sun, and during the warm months it can be grown outdoors, completely in the shade. The lapageria fears temperatures many degrees below zero, but it is possible to grow them outdoors in regions with mild winters, placing them sheltered by a wall.
They need regular watering, which keeps the soil constantly moist, but not soaked in water, especially during the warmer months is watered abundantly, in winter instead watering can be reduced, without ever leaving the soil moist. They do not tolerate drought. To obtain an abundant flowering, from March to October, provide every 15-20 days of the fertilizer for flowering plants.
To cultivate the lapagerie it is good to use a rich, fresh, damp soil with a slightly acidic pH; it can be prepared using a soil for acidophilic plants, mixed with chopped bark and humus or leaf soil. As for the containers, we recommend the use of terracotta pots to allow the earth to breathe. During the spring and summer season, administer liquid fertilizer to the plant, diluted in irrigation water. During autumn and winter the fertilization must be suspended.
to give the plant a defined shape and a clean appearance, remove dried or damaged leaves by hand. No real pruning is necessary.
The multiplication of the lapageria rosea takes place by cutting, in spring; in this case, we will have to cut a fragment of the plant, a branch containing at least 2-3 leaves of the mother plant and proceed with the planting in a compound of peat and sand in equal parts. It is an economical method which allows to obtain plants identical to the one of origin.
It is also possible to propagate the plant from seed, even if not always the flowers of the plants thus obtained will be identical to those of the mother plant; the seeds are used fresh in summer, avoiding to wait too much between the harvest and the sowing.
Lapageria rosea: Pests and diseases
Sometimes aphids lurk around the flower corollas. When the leaves appear rather yellow and have an unhealthy appearance, it means that the plant has not been properly irrigated. Adjust with future watering. The leaves may also appear burnt when the plant is placed in a place where the sun’s rays hit it directly. In this case, remove dried or burnt leaves from the sun and place the plant in a bright area that is not directly exposed to the sun’s rays.
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