HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
also known as
There Saxifraga is a delightful plant that we often find in our homes, raised above all in hanging baskets.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Saxifraga belongs to family ofSaxifragracaceae and it is a very large genus, with numerous species.
Given the large number of species, we find rustic and non-annual plants, annual and perennial, with persistent or deciduous leaves, alpine or not.
They are mostly small plants with the leaves arranged in a rosette in the lower part of the plant and i flowers hermaphrodites that can be gathered in inflorescences or grow alone during the whole summer, of very variable color depending on the species.
There are about 325 species of saxifrage but only one, la Saxifraga stolonifera it is suitable for growing indoors.
SAXIFRAGA STOLONIFERA or SAXIFRAGA SARMENTOSA
There Saxifraga stolonifera it is a small perennial plant native to Asia that never reaches large dimensions, remaining in fact small, no higher than 20 cm.
Due to its falling portly it is widely used to be raised in suspended baskets.
Of this species there are many varieties among which we remember the Saxifragastolonifera tricolorwith leaves flecked with white, pink and green.
The optimal temperatures for growing the Saxifraga they are between 16-18 ° C in summer and must not drop below 7 ° C in winter.
It is a plant that loves light but should not be exposed in full sun, especially in the hottest hours. It can be kept in direct sunlight in the early morning or in the evening, for a few hours, but then it should be sheltered away from direct sun. Good lighting allows you to keep the variegated colors of the leaves.
If grown in pots, during the summer, they should be brought outdoors once the temperatures have stabilized.
It is important that there is always a good air exchange, paying attention to cold air currents that are not welcome.
From spring and throughout the summer there Saxifraga it should be watered abundantly so that the soil remains constantly humid (not wet) and without leaving stagnant water in the saucer.
During the winter, water with more moderation, always keeping the soil slightly humid.
If the temperatures rise, it is necessary to maintain a good level of humidity around the plant with frequent nebulisations and place the plant on a saucer full of pebbles and then fill it with water, making sure that the bottom of the pot is not immersed in water as in this way the ground would become saturated causing the roots to rot. This system allows, when it is hot, to evaporate the water in the saucer which consequently moistens the surrounding air. Remember to fill the saucer whenever the water has evaporated.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
There Saxifraga it is repotted every year, at the beginning of spring, using pots that are gradually slightly larger than the previous one.
They are not particularly demanding plants in terms of soil. A good fertile topsoil mixed with some sand is fine. It is important that it allows rapid draining of excess water.
Personally, I always recommend using clay pots even though many opt for plastic pots for this plant (less expensive and more drainage holes). I believe that the terracotta ones allow the earth to transpire and if the drainage hole has been arranged in such a way as to guarantee a good drainage of the water, well, I would say that it is perfect.
If the plant is planted outdoors and you are dealing with clayey soil, be sure to dig deep and mix the soil with sand (about 30%) to improve drainage.
From spring and throughout the summer fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in the irrigation water by slightly decreasing the dosages compared to what is written on the package.
Use a fertilizer equally balanced in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) but make sure that it always contains the other chemical elements such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced growth of the plant.
There Saxifraga it blooms in the spring - summer period.
Usually the Saxifraga it cannot be pruned. The leaves that gradually dry up or become damaged must simply be eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
Make sure that the tool you use for cutting is clean and disinfected (preferably with a flame) to avoid infecting the tissues.
There Saxifraga it easily multiplies by stolons.
MULTIPLICATION FOR STOLONS
In the period of March - April the seedlings that grow on the stolons of the plant are taken. The seedlings are planted in individual pots of 5-6 cm in diameter using a soil consisting of sand and peat in equal parts.
The pots should be kept in light shade, warm and watering as much as necessary to keep the soil just barely moist.The new plants will root in a few weeks.When they are large enough and well rooted then they can be transferred to the final pot using the soil indicated for adult plants and treated as such.
It is also possible to leave the seedlings attached to the mother plant and simply plant them in small pots until they have rooted and the new shoots begin to grow. At that point they can be detached from the mother plant and treated as single plants.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
They are not particularly disease-prone plants. In any case, the pathologies that can be encountered are the following:
The leaves turn yellow and wither
This symptomatology is due to scarce irrigation.
Remedies: make sure that the soil remains constantly moist.
Spots on the underside of the leaves
Spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular of mealy cochineal. To be sure, it is recommended that you make use of a magnifying glass and observe yourself. Compare it with the photo on the side. They are features, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.
Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or if the plant is large and potted, you can wash it with water and neutral soap, rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant is varisced very well to eliminate all the soap. For larger plants planted outdoors, you can use specific pesticides available from a good nurseryman.
Presence of small whitish animals on the plant
If you notice small white-yellowish-greenish mobile insects, you are almost certainly in the presence of aphids or as they are commonly called lice.
Remedies: treat the plant with specific pesticides readily available from a good nurseryman.
Some saxifrage are protected species such as the Saxifraga tombeanensis (photo on the right) endemic species of the pre-alpine areas of Lombardy, Trentino and Veneto which owes its name to the fact that it was found for the first time at Monte Tombea in Val Vestino in Lombardy.
The name Saxifraga comes from the Latin saxum "Stone" e frango «I break», therefore «stone breaker» due to the ability that the roots of some species have to penetrate rocks and crush them.