Schiefteller, Gesnerien, Achimenes - care and propagation

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Schiefteller, also known under their botanical name Achimenes, belong to the Gesnerien family, which occur predominantly in the tropical area. They are named after the Swiss physician and classical philologist Conrad Gesner (1516-1565), a co-founder of modern zoology.
Gesnerien loves warm, bright locations and low temperature fluctuations. This makes them interesting as indoor plants. The most famous of the Gesnerien is probably the African Violet. But also the Schiefteller with its lush leaves and its bloom fullness has established itself as ornamental plant for the interior.
Appearance and characteristics of the shaft plate
In nature, the Schiefteller is located only in Central and South American space. The original species have small flowers and occur in different growth forms, both upright and with drooping shoots. For more than 100 years, hybrid hybrids have been bred by crossing different species. These usually have larger flowers and short shoots. For the attitude as a traffic light plant but also langtriebige Schiefeller are offered.
The leaves of the Schiefellers usually consists of round, juicy green leaves with a light down. They are a bit crooked in style and have helped the plant to their German name. In contrast to some other Gesnerien the Schiefeller is also characterized by underground rhizomes, which play an important role in the wintering. Schiefteller bloom approximately from July to October. Each flower survives only a few days, but there are always new ones added.
Schiefteller and Gesnerien hybrids
Most commercially available are large-flowered hybrids in a variety of bright colors. The most common varieties include:

  • 'Little Beauty' (pink)
  • 'Charm' (red)
  • 'Yellow Beauty ' (yellow)
  • 'Blue Monarch' (blue)
  • Purple King (violet)
Sometimes specimens of the original types of small-flowered buckheads are also offered, which are also very attractive in their own way.
Location for Gesnerien
Like most Gesnerien, the Schiefteller wants to stand bright, but not be exposed to the direct midday sun. Morning or evening sun and partial shade are tolerated. The ideal temperature is between 15 and 25 degrees in the main growing season and not less than 12 degrees in winter. The site should be protected from drafts.
Pour skiff plate
For watering, it is best to use softened water at room temperature. Plenty of water should be poured in the spring before flowering so that the substrate is completely moist. From the flower, the plant then wants to be watered frequently but only moderately. Waterlogging should be avoided at all costs, especially during flowering. It is advisable to check the plant again about 15 minutes after watering and possibly to pour off any accumulated water in the planter. The substrate is allowed to dry between runs, but should not dry out, as the plant reacts to dryness by starting to hibernate.
Overwinter the slate
From September, the watering can gradually be reduced and finally stopped. The plant loses its leaves, the above-ground part dries up and can be removed. For wintering only the underground rhizomes are needed. You can just stay in the pot and wait there for the next year. If you want to be on the safe side, that the rhizomes do not rot, or if you just do not want to have a pot with no visible plant in the field of view, you dig up the rhizomes. You can overwinter in a plastic bag with dry sand. The ideal wintering temperature is a few degrees below the temperature in the active time, but not below 12° C. Light plays no role in hibernation. In February, or at the latest when fresh shoots show, the rhizomes are excavated and planted in fresh flower or cactus soil about 2 cm deep. They are now watered with warm water and awakened from their hibernation.
Fertilize shaft plate
If the plant has been planted in fresh potting soil after hibernation, it will, in principle, do without additional fertilization, as the soil is already pre-fertilized by nature. To achieve a bushier growth and a richer flowering, the first shoot tips can be snapped off in the spring. However, additional fertilizers can significantly boost growth and flowering. If you want to fertilize, you should start about six weeks after the first shoot. Fertilization is now about every two to four weeks. Normal flowering plant fertilizer can be used for this. From the end of July, fertilizer will be gradually reduced.
Multiply shaft plate
There are two ways to multiply shaft plates:
  • In the summer about 7 cm long head cuttings can be cut.
  • They are planted in peat substrate or potting soil and protected from direct sunlight until further notice.
  • At at least 20° C soil temperature new shoots form in about two to four weeks.
  • If enough rhizomes are present after hibernation, they can be easily shared.
Cohabitation with children and pets
The Schiefteller itself is not poisonous. Nevertheless, small children and pets should be kept away from contact with the plant. Above all, freshly purchased plants are often treated with pesticides, which especially small animals and birds can poison very well. In addition, the soil of houseplants is usually contaminated with mold fungi, which is why it is recommended in any case to cover the substrate with small stones.
If there is yellow to brown discoloration on the foliage that causes it to dry out, this may indicate a too sunny location. Also, pouring too cold water can cause these symptoms. Too high humidity and too dense growth can lead to mold growth on leaves and twigs. In this case, remove the affected parts of the plant and remedy the cause. Any help comes too late when yellowish rings show up on the leaves. Here is a disease of the ring-spotted virus. The plant must be disposed of as soon as possible to protect other plants.
  • The Schiefteller is a rather robust plant and is rarely visited by uninvited guests.
  • Typical are also common in other houseplants pest species.
  • They can be fought with appropriate home remedies or products from the trade.
  • Sticky young shoots indicate aphids, yellowing leaves and a white veil on the underside of the leaf is caused by spider mites.
  • Thrips can be recognized by silver infestations on the upper side of the leaf and droppings on the underside.
Worth knowing about the Schiefeller shortly
The Schiefteller is rarely seen in gardens. That's a pity, because he's such a pretty plant. He develops abundant green leaves, which resemble a plate in their shape and all sit somewhat obliquely to the leaf axes, just Schiefteller. He also trains a lot of flowers. Depending on the type of shaft plate more or less large. The flowers are found in the colors red to violet but also bright flowers are represented. The shoots are different lengths, so the Schiefteller is suitable for both the windowsill and as a traffic light flower.
  • From the care of the Schiefeller is undemanding, but it needs heat, even in winter.
  • The temperature in winter during the rest period of the plant should be only a few degrees below normal temperature.
  • The Schiefteller is a perennial plant. Although he loses the flowers and the leaves in winter, but underground something is happening.
  • The shoots should be cut short over the ground in autumn and then send the plant into hibernation.
  • You should not water during this time either.
  • In the spring, plant the roots in the soil, the rhizomes, in new soil and start to water.
  • And you hardly believe it: The Schiefteller is back.
To get a thick, bushy plant, you should quietly put several rhizomes in a pot. During flowering, you have to water abundantly the shaft plate and should also fertilize regularly in the summer. Then you can enjoy this plant with the many flowers for a long time.
The flowers themselves remain only briefly on the plant, but there are always new, so that you can really enjoy the whole summer at the Schiefeller. In the fall, you should pour the Schiefteller less and if the plant loses the leaves, then it is time for hibernation.

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