Classification, origin and description
Common name: Singonium.
Etymology: from the Greek "syn", together and "gone", seed-organ of the generation, due to the ovaries that are united.
provenance: Central and South America.
Genre description: includes about twenty species of climbing plants that have flexible stems, which cling to the supports provided to them, by means of sparse adventitia, which are also used to capture the environmental humidity. The leaves, sagittate at the juvenile stage, become treaded and often divided into 5-9 unequal segments (the central one is usually the largest and longest, while the basal ones often have two smaller lateral lobes) at the adult stage and never have stipules . They are carried by sheathing and winged petioles and each leaf is born convoluted by the petiole of the previous one. The inflorescences, which hardly appear in cultivation, are typical of the family: a spadix shorter than the spathe that surrounds it. They are plants widely used in apartments given their adaptability to low light and dry environments.
Syngonium podophyllum (photo www.biofil.pl)
Species and varieties
Syngonium erythrophyllum: this species has small leaves with shiny lamina, copper-green in color and covered with pink dots.
Syngonium podophyllum: this species is perhaps the most cultivated of the genus Syngonium. It has a strong leaf dimorphism: the young leaves have the leaf astatine and bright green color; the adult ones can become palmate-lobed and have up to nine segments. The development of the plant depends on the type of breeding to which it is subjected: if grown as a climber, with braces to which to cling with the aerial roots, it will be more vigorous; if grown as a decombent it will be weaker and almost lacking aerial roots. The stems can reach a length of 1.8 m. It is not easy to find the type species on the market, which has been practically replaced by hybrids and varieties. Among these we mention: “Albo-lineatum”, natural variety native to Mexico, with young leaves with white veins and completely green old leaves; “Albo-virens”, mutation with young leaves with a grayish or greenish white upper page with only the green margin; "Emerald Gem", with slightly more fleshy and corrugated green leaves of the type species; "Green Gold", with marbled leaves in cream, golden yellow and green; "Trileaf Wonder", with large leaves with silver-gray veins; "White Butterfly", with gray-green leaves edged with intense green.
Syngonium vellozianum: this species has fleshy leaves with a green and shiny lamina, which in the adult leaves is septate with three or five elements, three of which are lanceolate (the most central can also reach 25 cm in length); while the two basals are short ovals and with an obtuse apex. Some authors consider S. vellonzianum a separate species compared to S. auritum; others consider them two varieties of the same species; still others think that the species vellonzianum was introduced in Europe in 1800 and is not cultivated in America, where S. auritum is present instead. There is also no agreement on the origin of the two species: some speak of Jamaica and Brazil, respectively for S. vellonzianum and S. auritum; others propose the reverse. However, they are very vigorous climbers, which at the adult stage can easily withstand the dry air of the apartments.
Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions
Temperature: the minimum winter temperature must not be lower than 13-16 ° C.
Light: good, but widespread, away from direct sunlight. Variegated species need more brightness to maintain the colors of the leaves.
Watering and environmental humidity: water frequently in spring-summer; reduce doses in autumn-winter, allowing the substrate to dry between one and the other. A good rate of atmospheric humidity, increased by spraying and leaf washing, as well as by terrines with wet pebbles placed under the pot, will make these plants more beautiful, which, moreover, can also tolerate dry environments.
Substrate: an earth-based mixture of leaves and peat in equal parts, with the addition of sand.
Special fertilizations and tricks: repot annually, in spring. Arrived to use containers of 25-30 cm. (15-20 for suspended baskets) it will be sufficient to replace the superficial layer of soil (2,5-5 cm) with new substrate. They can be grown in hanging baskets or as vines on moss-coated braces. In spring-summer, administer liquid fertilizer every month. They are very versatile plants, so much so that if a branch is flexed and immersed in water it will continue to grow and emit aerial roots and leaves, even if smaller. Often small specimens are used as aquarium plants, gradually set.
Multiplication and pruning
Multiplication: new specimens can be obtained both by apical cutting and by piece of stem, which must be rooted in a peat and sand compound, kept humid and at a temperature of about 21 ° C. To avoid the drying out of the basal leaves, it will be good to spray them frequently with warm water. Usually the rooting takes place in six weeks and is indicated by the vegetative restart. The new seedlings can be transplanted in groups of 2-3, in 8 cm pots. in diameter and treated as adult plants.
Pruning: at the time of repotting, overgrown branches can be pruned to give the plant a more compact and orderly appearance.
Diseases, pests and adversities
- They are plants particularly prone to root rot.