Among the succulents represented in room culture, not a single plant in bright variegation of flowering does not compete with mesembryanthemums. Stunningly bright leaves, the storage nature of which can be seen only close up, a dense crown and surprisingly lush flowering turn each mesembryanthemum bush into a full-fledged competitor to seasonal stars such as chrysanthemums or gerberas. Growing this plant is far from easy. But on the other hand, no other succulent will offer you the same blinding explosion of colors.Crystal mesembryantemum, or ice grass, or crystal grass, or glacier, or midday (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum).
Crystal or glass daisies of indoor mesembryanthemums
What nicknames did the unique representative of the beautifully flowering succulents mesembryanthemum not deserve! This rather rare plant is called either midday, then crystal or glass daisy, then crystal grass. But no matter how you call the mesembryantemum, there is no doubt that this is one of the most original indoor cultures that you can imagine. Despite the fact that the plant is grown as a garden ground cover annual, however, the mesembryanthemum fully reveals its beauty and character in indoor culture, where the plant can be grown as a perennial.
Mesembryanthema in a room culture represent a mysterious family of leaf succulents and semi-succulents Aizov (Aizoaceae) Like all original succulents, non-standard shrubs from South Africa came to us.
Mesembryanthema - herbaceous perennials or shrubs up to 12 cm high with dense bushes from numerous shoots and fleshy leaves. The leaves are covered with small papilla papillae filled with water, which sparkle under the sun's rays like crystal.
The mesembryantemum inflorescence baskets are very beautiful: narrow, numerous, strikingly symmetrical reed petals create perfect circles around a small center of tubular small flowers, endearing with a wealth of colors. The diameter of the inflorescences is up to 5 cm. Inflorescences-baskets are located on this plant on long peduncles.
The color scheme includes white, pink, lilac, red, yellow, orange colors. Flowering begins in the summer and continues relentlessly for several months - as long as the plant has enough lighting.
As indoor plants, only two types of mesembryanthemums are used. The genus of these plants is quite extensive, in nature the variety of species is much greater. But the plants presented in greenhouses and rooms are certainly the most spectacular representatives of the genus.Crystal mesembryanthemum (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum).
Crystal mesembryantemum or crystal grass (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum) - the most popular of the species. This is a highly branching shrub with strong, but rather thin shoots, half lignified at the very base at a fairly considerable age. Thick, juicy and fleshy, ovoid leaves of this mesimbrianthema are striking with a rich bright green color and a very beautiful false fringe of densely arranged glands. Baskets of crystal mesimbriantemum inflorescences in diameter are limited to a maximum of 3 cm. Outwardly, it is difficult not to confuse them with terry daisies or asters, especially since their base color is also white with a yellow center. But this species has many decorative varieties that offer to admire the colorful explosions of colors of delightfully bright baskets.
Mezembriantemum Haworthy (Mesembryanthemum haworthii) is a very rare species with elongated leaves with a circular cross section, whitish-bluish bloom on a muffled green background and very large inflorescences-baskets of lilac color, whose diameter can reach almost 6 cm.
Despite the status of a groundcover, this plant is not suitable for landscaping the foot of large shrubs and trees in indoor culture, for cultivation with other dominant crops.
Home Care for Mesembryanthemums
Mesembryanthemums are still considered rare indoor cultures. But despite the status of an exclusive decoration and only growing popularity, the reputation of a difficult to grow beautiful flowering star is not justified. All that mesembryantemums need is a cool wintering and careful care. Unlike the more famous seasonal stars, the plant pleasantly surprises with its character and will suit beginner growers. Fast degeneracy, fragility is compensated by the simplicity of reproduction.
Lighting for mesembrytemums
This African culture is rightly called one of the most photophilous. Without a bright southern window sill and sunny places on it, the mesembriantemum will not be able to bloom normally. Bright lighting is needed for the plant in spring, summer and winter. Artificial illumination for this plant is not suitable.
Mesembryanthemas often bend and stretch toward the light. It is important for the plant to ensure uniform illumination, regularly turn the container so that a beautiful thick texture of the rug is formed. When grown in large containers, containers are mounted on stands with a slope so that the lighting falls uniformly over the entire area of the rugs.Crystal mesembryanthemum (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum).
Like any African endemic, mesembryanthemum is unpretentious. To the temperature regime in the active phase of vegetation, in spring and summer, the plant is not demanding, it will feel good at any temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. The only limitation on the maximum temperature indicators relates to extreme heat: when the air temperature rises to 28 degrees and above, the bottoms of the shoots begin to become bare in the plant. Therefore, it is better to stay within the room temperature range.
One of the main conditions for the flowering of mesimbriantemum in room culture is to ensure a cool wintering at rest. Without lowering the temperature to 15 degrees (the permissible range for wintering is from 10 to 16 degrees), the mesembriantemum will never bloom again. The minimum temperature that this plant can withstand is 8 degrees heat.
Mesembryantemums do not like drafts and sudden changes in temperature.
Watering and humidity
Like any succulent, the mesembryanthemum will need very careful care and constant control of the substrate moisture, eliminating the risk of excessive overmoistening. Mesembryantemums prefer stable, but light soil moisture with good drying of the top of the substrate between irrigations. Even in summer, watering should be frequent but moderate. In winter, they are completely carried out in a minimal amount, trying only to maintain the viability of the plant and not allow the aboveground parts to dry out, but significantly reducing the humidity level compared to summer. In winter, the substrate should remain almost dry.
Mesembryanthemas do not need to increase air humidity. Spraying for them can be very dangerous with one exception. When the air temperature exceeds 28 degrees, it is precisely neat spraying with warm water from very small sprayers and from a great distance that will allow to avoid exposing the lower part of the branches.Crystal mesembryantemum, or ice grass, or crystal grass, or glacier, or midday (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum).
The plant does not like excess nutrients. Fertilizers for mesembryanthemums can generally be excluded from the care program, fertilizing only when there are obvious symptoms of a lack of macro- or micronutrients. If the transplant is not carried out the next year, then it is better to include top dressing from May to the end of August, which is carried out with a standard frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks, in the care program for mesembryanthemum.
For mesembryanthemums, only special fertilizers are used for succulents and cacti.
Transplantation of mesembryanthemums and substrate
The transplantation of room mesembryanthemums is carried out only as necessary. It is advisable to carry out this procedure in early spring, but the succulent tolerates emergency transplants. A signal to the need to change the capacity is the full development of the roots of the earthen coma.
For mesembryanthemums, ready-made substrates suitable for succulents, leaf succulents or cacti are best suited. The preferred soil reaction is neutral or slightly acidic.
Crystal chamomile, like other soil protectors, is grown in shallow and wide containers. Plants are best planted in several pieces in one pot to obtain more decorative compositions.Crystal mesembryanthemum (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum).
Diseases and pests of mesembrytemums
Despite its luxurious flowering, the mesembryantemum retains the resistance to diseases and pests characteristic of almost all indoor succulents. With improper care, the plant can suffer from rot, especially if the moist soil is combined with cool temperatures (all roots are quickly affected by the plant).
Of the pests, only on plants in a very neglected state are spider mites and mealybugs, which are better to be controlled immediately with specialized insecticides.
Reproduction of Mesembryanthemums
For this charming succulent, reproduction is a fairly simple task, however, young plants are easy to lose due to rot and inattentive care. But there is nothing complicated in the process itself.
Mesembryanthema can be grown from seeds. Sowing is carried out in March or April, in shallow containers filled with a sandy substrate or a mixture of sand and a universal substrate. For germination, it is necessary to provide a very thin layer of covering soil and conditions atypical for ordinary seedlings of flowering plants. Mesembryantemum should be cool before germination, at a temperature of 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. Tanks do not have to be covered with film or glass.
After the first shoots appear, the containers are transferred to bright lighting, and the air temperature is further reduced - up to 10-12 degrees of heat. Dive is carried out after the appearance of several true leaves. It is the need to create a cool environment that most often discourages gardeners from growing this plant from seeds.
It is much easier to get plants by simply cutting the shoots. The apical cuttings are cut throughout spring or autumn, rooting in a sandy soil mixture in bright light and under a hood. Prior to rooting, regular soil spraying is necessary to maintain stable light moisture.