The leaves are elliptical, lance-shaped, dark green in colour, with wavy edges and evident veins.
It is a perennial plant that, however, in European climates, can be grown as an indoor plant, or in the garden as an annual plant, as it is not able to withstand the harsh winter temperatures.
The Nilotic Crossandra is native to East Africa and has elliptical, dark green, shiny leaves up to ten centimetres long. The brick red flowers, grouped in terminal spikes, bloom from spring to autumn.
It is a plant that usually reaches 60 centimeters of maximum height, lends itself very well to be grown indoors.
The Crossandra nilotica is a variety of plant which, in order to develop at its best, needs to be placed in full light, but it is good to avoid exposure in full sun which damages the leaves and blocks the flowering. It is not a plant of simple cultivation as it requires a particular environment with rather constant humidity and temperatures, around 21 °C, in order to have a good flowering in the period from March to October.
It is also good to check that the plant is not placed in areas with cold air currents, which could damage it, even irretrievably, in a short time.
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Watering, for the best health of the plant, should be done once a week to keep the soil moist as the plant can not stand to stay dry, but it is good to be careful not to exaggerate with In the cold season is watered with lukewarm water to prevent sudden changes in temperature will damage the plant.
During the growth you add to the water of irrigation, a liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
From March to June, semi-woody cuttings six to eight centimetres long are taken and rooted in a mixture of peat and sand at a temperature of twenty degrees. When the cuttings are rooted, they get invaded.
The multiplication by seed takes place in March at a temperature of fifteen degrees, keeping the containers in a sheltered place. When the plants are large enough, they are transplanted into pots.
These plants, after having bloomed, are to be pruned, cutting the branches with the flowers of two thirds.
The choice of the ideal soil for the Nilotic Crossandra is essential to ensure its growth; the best compound is formed by soil rich in organic substances and draining material such as peat and sand, so that it does not allow the stagnation of water. It is good that it has a slightly acidic pH.
Nilotic grill: Pests and Diseases
Rust occurs with orange pustules on the underside of the leaves. To avoid rottenness and mould, the dried leaves and flowers must be removed and the humidity and water retention checked. This plant can also be affected by aphids, which can be removed with specific products or by washing the leaves with soap and water, to be rinsed carefully.