The Pachira plant is a tropical genus belonging to the Malvaceae family, native to South Central America, India and Africa. The recognized species number about seventy and are distinguished by their arboreal habit, from small to large in size. The soft plasticity of the stems is used by intertwining several plants, creating a particularly elegant aesthetic and ornamental effect. In the territories of origin it is a plant that can reach eighteen meters in height, becoming an imposing tree with dense foliage. In Italy, the most cultivated genus, resistant and adapted to the Mediterranean climate, is the so-called Pachira aquatica. The stem is woody covered with a smooth bark while the leaves are lanceolate, large and bright green.
The cultivation of the Pachira plant is quite recent, it is recommended as an indoor perennial but it can also grow outdoors if conditions allow it. Indeed, being a tropical plant, it cannot withstand winter temperatures below fifteen degrees. They like the air but are afraid of drafts, they should not be exposed too much to direct sunlight, because the heat tends to literally burn them. The ideal location is bright but sheltered. The soil should always be kept moist, in winter watering should be sporadic and not abundant. The Pachira plant is afraid of water stagnation and excessive watering which easily compromises the root system of the vegetable. The flowers of the Pachira are extremely complex and particular,
Reproduction of the Pachira plant
The propagation of the Pachira plant is done by two methods: sowing or cuttings. The first method can be carried out with specific precautions and does not guarantee the germination of the same plants, since several genetic variability factors are involved. It is advisable to use fertile soil mixed with a portion of sand, it must be stored in a protected and temperate environment. Moisture must not be lacking and is important for germination. The cutting, on the other hand, maintains the structural characteristics of the mother plant. The ideal time to remove branches is during the spring season, for strong and healthy plants. The cut should be made obliquely, immediately after it is possible to bury the cuttings in pots and it is necessary to maintain constant soil moisture.
There are several varieties of Pachira plant, the one that best adapts to the Mediterranean climate, the most resistant to cold is the Pachira aquatica. Known as Malabar or Châtaignier de Guyane, it is simply grown in an apartment. The leaves are webbed, five-lobed, glossy and dark green. It does not require direct sun exposure and it is important to keep the soil well-drained and constantly moist. In the spring, it can be placed outside, taking care not to expose it to the sun, which can easily burn the delicate leaves. When, under particularly favorable conditions, it enters the flowering period, it produces large, very showy flowers, composed of lanceolate petals that open like a banana peel. They can be white or yellow.