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It is a genus that contains 5-6 species of evergreen shrubs and creepers, originating in Central and South America. They develop long thin stems, very branched, which bear long dark green leaves, sometimes pubescent, oval or lanceolate, up to 12-15cm long. In spring they produce particular inflorescences, consisting of two bright pink bracts, with a serrated edge, which subtend small yellow flowers. D. dioscoreifolia is a vigorous climber, which could be suitable for the southern areas of the peninsula, even if it loses its leaves in the case of very low temperatures; D. roezliana is instead a small shrub, with long lanceolate leaves. These plants have a very slow development, therefore they are suitable for growing in pots, so that they can be placed outdoors during the summer, moving them to the apartment during the cold months.
Display and watering
Exposure is an element of fundamental importance for the optimal cultivation of a plant. It is a matter of choosing the most suitable place to position our dalechampia and guarantee it the most favorable conditions for it to grow. These shrubs, of tropical or subtropical origin, prefer very bright locations, but they do not like the direct rays of the sun; D. dioscoreifolia can be placed in the garden, in the southern regions, the other spcies generally fear the cold, and are grown in the apartment, with minimum temperatures above 10-15 ° C.
As far as irrigation is concerned, the dalechampia should be watered regularly, trying to keep the soil always slightly humid, avoiding excesses and especially water stagnation; during the cold months, with a few hours of insolation every day, water is slightly less, leaving the soil to dry between one watering and another. From March to October, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, every 20-25 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
Land and multiplication
The cultivation soil of our plants must meet the specific needs of the plant. It is in fact the main source of sustenance for dalechampia and for this reason, before choosing a soil or another, it is important to have detailed information on the plant we are going to cultivate.
Dalechampia prefer soft and light soils, well drained and rich in organic matter; a good balanced universal soil is used. Repotting every 2-3 years is good, to prevent the roots from over-filling the container, leaving no room for the substrate. If we want to reproduce the species, we can perform plant multiplication by seed, in spring, or by cuttings, in late summer. The latter is an easy technique and at no cost to reproduce our species starting from a fragment of the mother plant. Use clean and well sharpened work tools to cut the branches to be used for the cutting. Prefer young branches with at least 2-3 leaves on the branch.
Dalechampia: Pests and diseases
As for the parasites and diseases that could attack the plant, pay close attention to aphids, and also to mites. There are specific pesticide products on the market that can overcome the problem.