The Hypoestes phyllostachya It’s a small plant you want to have indoors. It has pink or green leaves, depending on the variety or cultivar, and since it usually does not exceed twenty or thirty centimeters in height, it can be placed, for example, on a piece of furniture in the hallway, even if it is narrow .
However, when we intend to buy it to last us many years, we encounter a problem: it is very delicate. It can’t stand the cold, its leaves are damaged by drafts generated by air conditioning and other appliances, and it fears waterlogging. In addition, when the ambient humidity is low, it struggles. So, how to make it survive?
How is the Hypoestes phyllostachya?
Let’s first talk about its origin and characteristics. Our protagonist is the most common species of the genus Hypoestes, of which fifteen different varieties have been described. It is popularly called blood leaf or flamingo and is native to the tropical regions of Madagascar. In its natural habitat, it reaches a height of 1 meter, but in culture it is very difficult for it to exceed 30 centimeters.
Its leaves are oval and measure about 5 x 2 centimeters.. They are usually dark green in color, but may have red, pink, or white spots. It produces small pink, white or lilac flowers, and when pollinated, the fruits ripen, which are capsules inside which many seeds will be found.
What care should we give him?
Now that we know a bit more about her, it’s a good time to learn more about her care. In this way, if we dare to acquire one, we will know what to do to keep it as beautiful as the first day:
Where to put it? If we take into account that it is not resistant to low temperatures, it is better to keep it indoors if we live in an area where frosts are registered. But also, it is important that it is placed in a room with plenty of light and away from air conditioning, fans, etc.
Of course, it should not be placed next to the window, as it will burn. It is best to store it out of the way, and to rotate the pot a little each day so that all its parts receive the same amount of light.
Can you have it outside?
If it is the case that the temperatures are high throughout the year, with minimums of 10ºC, it is possible to cultivate the Hypoestes phyllostachya as an outdoor plant. Even though it’s cold in winter, can be done outdoors in spring and summer no problem. But it must be protected from the sun, because if it is placed in a sunny place, it will suffer significant damage.
Irrigation and ambient humidity
The flamingo plant does not tolerate drought or excess water. For this reason, it should be watered when the soil is almost dry with rainwater, bottled or without lime. During the summer this will be done frequently, since it takes less time to dry out, it will therefore probably need to be watered about 3 times a week; the rest of the year, as the temperatures are lower and the solar radiation is less intense, less irrigation is necessary. Likewise, you must pour water until it comes out through the drainage holes of the pot; or until soil is well soaked.
As for ambient humidity, if we live on an island or near the coast, we won’t have to do anything. Corn if on the other hand you are far from the sea or a river, it can be very low, so you will have to water the plant with rainwater or with a container suitable for human consumption every day, or put containers with water around.
soil or substrate
It is a plant that grows in soils rich in organic matter and well drained, so if we are going to grow it in a pot we will put a light and fertile soilas the universal substrate of the Flower, Fertibeira, Boom Nutrients or Westland brands.
And if we want to plant it in the ground, we will do so as long as it drains water quickly and is fertile. Otherwise, we will make a hole of about 50 x 50 centimeters, then we will cover its sides (except the base) with a shade mesh and fill it with universal substrate.
It is strongly recommended to pay the Hypoestes phyllostachya from spring to autumn so that he grows well, with health and strength. For this, you can use universal liquid fertilizers, or a more specific one for green plants. Whichever we choose, we will follow the instructions that we will find on the product packaging.
If we prefer ecological fertilizers, we can fertilize it with guano, for example, or even with others such as eggshells, compost or mulch.
It is true that it is a small plant, but if its roots stick out of the drainage holes, or if it has been in the same pot for more than three years, it will do well with a change. The transplant will be done in the springso that it can resume its growth quickly.
It is not resistant to cold, perhaps down to -1ºC if it is a punctual and short-lived frost. If the temperature drops below 10ºC, it is best to grow it indoors, at least during the winter.
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