Small to medium sized shrub, the Pachystachys is native to Central and South America; in the wild it easily reaches the 2-3 metres of height, whilst the specimens cultivated in pots remain much smaller, as they do not exceed the 30-60 cm of height, there are also dwarf or particularly compact varieties, which do not exceed the 25-30 cm.
It has big evergreen leaves, of dark green colour, wrinkled, of lanceolate shape; towards the end of winter, at the apexes of the stems, it produces particular panicles of yellow bracts, between which bloom tubular flowers, of white or cream colour. Plant with a very decorative flowering, it is usually utilized as apartment plant, even if it is possible to place it in the garden, cultivating it as annual plant.
When you decide to grow a plant, it is important to find out about the cultivation needs of the plant. One of the first elements to take into account is exposure. Some plants prefer shady positions while others like the sun’s rays and mild temperatures. The pachystachys prefers very bright positions, even sunny ones, as long as it is placed in direct sunlight gradually, to avoid noticeable sunburn of the foliage.
These plants have tropical origins, for this reason they need temperatures over 15°C in order to survive.
Watering and soil
From March to October let’s water quite regularly, always waiting for the soil to be dry before watering again; during the cold months let’s thin the watering, trying to keep the soil mainly dry. During the growing season let’s provide some fertilizer for flowering plants, dissolved in the water of the watering every 20-25 days. Every 2-3 days we spray water on the canopy to increase the humidity.
A fundamental element to consider when deciding to grow a plant, is the type of soil to be preferred. Soil is in fact the main source of livelihood of the plant and for this reason must have specific characteristics based on the plant you want to grow. The Pachystachys prefers soft soils and very rich in humus, with a good drainage; remember to repot these plants every year, in autumn.
Multiplying our plants can be a real satisfaction for gardening enthusiasts! The multiplication of this plant happens by seed, in spring, or by cutting in summer, using the tips of the stems. When the first shoots start to appear, it is necessary to start watering regularly. After a few weeks, change the container and opt for individual pots of about 10 cm. To avoid unbalanced growth of the plant, prune during the spring to give the pachystachys a defined shape.
Pachystachys: Pests and diseases
Mites and aphids can damage the leaves and flowers of the plant. Also, pay attention to watering. Too much water during the winter season may cause waterlogging and plant death. On the contrary, if the watering is too scarce, the leaves may change colour and turn yellow.