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La Manettia luteorubra
To the genus Manettia belong several tens of species of plants in general climbing, sometimes shrubby, evergreen; in the nursery in general we find only one species, Manettia luteorubra, which in the Anglo-Saxon speaking countries is called trumpet plant.
It is an evergreen climber originating from South America, from tropical climate areas; it is usually cultivated as an annual plant, although it is not so difficult to make it survive winter, in the greenhouse or in an apartment.
It produces large oval, pointed, thin leaves, covered with a thin hair that makes them sometimes sticky to the touch; Throughout the summer, curious small tubular flowers bloom among the leaves, bright red, with the lobes of the petals in contrasting color, bright yellow or orange. The plant can quickly reach two meters in height if properly supported by a trellis, a fence, a support of any kind. The down covering the entire plant allows the twining stems to climb on any support, sticking firmly.
How Manettia luteorubra is grown
As we said before, this climbing plant is native to tropical areas, with a generally mild and fairly humid climate. It is planted in a partially shaded place, with good brightness, but without too many hours a day of direct sunlight, especially during the hottest hours of the day. The plant supports sunlight without problems, but does not like excessively dry weather, so if placed in full sun, on hot summer days we will have to water it 3-4 times a day, to prevent it from remaining completely dry, both as regards the substrate, both as regards the air around the plant.
Therefore it is convenient to cultivate it in partial shade, especially if we live in an area with hot and dry summers; if the plant remains in a dry climate for a long time, in addition to withering, we can often find ourselves with dried leaf tips, and therefore with a decidedly unpleasant sight. Generally, some days of drought do not bring the plant to death, but surely stop the flowering until the climate is adequate.
The supply of watering is fundamental, which must be regular, intensified in hot weather, and decreased when the rains give us a hand. In any case, let us avoid leaving our water-soaked Manzia: regular watering, when the ground is dry, this is the rule. In indecision we dip our fingertips in the soil at the foot of the plant, if it is moist we avoid watering, but if it is dry we water.
This is not a particularly demanding plant as far as the soil or fertilizations are concerned: a good soft and very well drained soil, an annual fertilization with a slow release fertilizer, and we are fine.
A healthy maneuver begins to bloom in spring, and stops only with the first cold of autumn.
A tropical plant in the garden
The passionate gardener is always curious and interested in cultivating all kinds of plants, often also plants coming from the most unexpected places, and with a very different climate from the one in which the garden is located. Until a few years ago most tropical plants were intended for those who could afford a cold greenhouse, a shelter, a winter garden. This happened because most of these plants were cultivated only in greenhouses, often in countries far from Italy, and therefore the plants tended to be very expensive.
Today in the nursery we find many plants of tropical origin, or in any case coming from places very far from Italy, at very affordable prices; in most cases this happens because the plants are directly cultivated in Italy.
Manezia - Manettia luteorubra: Useful tips
In some cases these plants have been acclimatized over time, meaning that less demanding varieties have been produced in terms of temperatures, and therefore they can easily find a place in the garden; in other cases, simpler and less expensive methods of propagation and cultivation have been found, and therefore it has become simple for any plant producer to propagate these specimens: therefore the plant we find in the nursery often comes from a producer who is close to where we live, and not thousands of kilometers.
For this reason, more and more often particular tropical plants are used for the summer flowerbeds, which are then grown as annuals: when the cold arrives, the plant dries up and dies, the following year it will be replaced by a new specimen, bought at reasonable prices .
Often the maneuver is cultivated in this way, like an annual plant, whose death is considered necessary and inevitable at the beginning of autumn. In reality, despite the often very affordable price, Manettia is an evergreen climber, which does not necessarily end in autumn, but which can accompany us for years. The plant fears the cold, and the winter climate should have temperatures that remain above 5 ° C; in some areas of Italy it is therefore simply necessary to place the plant in a sheltered place, for example in a flower-bed attached to the house; or in a semi-shaded flowerbed in summer, but at the foot of a deciduous tree, and therefore sunny in winter, so as to be heated directly by the sun's rays during the colder months.
In other areas of Italy, however, Manettia is generally grown in pots, and is brought indoors in winter; as with other plants, even Manettia does not like to stay for the whole winter in a place with temperatures above 20 ° C, as in a sort of fake spring; then rather than at home we place it in a slightly heated stairwell, where it will be sheltered from the cold, but at the same time it will be able to enter into vegetative rest, waiting for spring.