Litocarium is not exactly coconut
Even against the background of cirrus palm tree favorites, the lithocarium seems to be a special plant. Amazingly elegant palm tree with graceful leaves and unusual color is not only unpretentious and endurance, but also quite demanding care. This plant does not respond well to any misses in watering and needs high humidity, but it puts up with ordinary room temperatures. A compact size allows the lithocarium to fit into the interior of even small spaces.
Lithocarium - a special fan palm
Among the compact and very beautiful cirrus indoor palm trees, it is difficult to find a more elegant plant than the delightfully elegant lithocarium. And even more offensively, this palm has a rather controversial reputation. For some reason, the lithocarium in our country is still considered one of the types of coconut palms, although the plants have long been transferred to an independent genus. Perhaps the reason for this confusion was the confusion with the constant change of the botanical name of this plant from coconuts to siagruses and microcellums, and only then to the version accepted today. But the lithocarium is such a special palm that it deserves independent recognition, not comparisons.
Lithocarium (Lytocaryum) Is a small genus of palm trees, of which only a few species are used in room culture. In nature, they are found only in Brazil and are considered plants with a fairly narrow distribution area.
The most popular type of palm trees is Weddel litocariumwhich was once called the Weddel coconut (Lytocaryum weddellianum) It belongs to erect and fast-growing cirrus palms. The height of this beauty in room culture is limited to a maximum of 150 cm, and the lithocarium can reach such dimensions in just 2-3 years. The trunk is thin, with traces of old leaves. Leaves up to 120 cm long are typically pinnate, with dozens of thinnest needle-shaped segments, erect at a young age, gradually tilting and bending in arches, amazingly graceful.
This plant gives the impression of an airy, noble and surprisingly graphic, thanks to the ideal lines of rather sparse segments and overall harmony. The saturated dark green color of the lithocarium surprises with emerald shimmer and glossy shine. Leaf soruses are very thin and lighter than the color of the lobes, which gives the plant even greater expressiveness. The most surprising of this palm is considered a somewhat unexpected silver color on the back of the leaves.
Less common is the equally spectacular look - beautiful lithocarium (Lytocaryum insigne) The maximum height is limited to 2 m, long leaves (up to 80 cm) are beautifully bent by arches, differ in more densely arranged segments and form a much more magnificent crown. Leaf sores and petioles are covered with brown fibers. The bluish color of the glossy sheet lobes is combined with a silver back.
In indoor conditions, none of the types of lithocariums blooms.
Without exception, all lithocariums are soloists and should be displayed in splendid isolation. Unlike other palm trees, they are airy and sophisticated, do not adversely affect the perception of space, and are even able to visually expand small rooms. The graphic translucent crown pattern and the perfection of the lines make the lithocarium one of the most modern accents for minimalistic interiors.
Care for the lithocarium at home
Unlike many other palm trees, lithocariums do not need a cool wintering and for the rest period there is no need for them to create certain “special” conditions, such as: adjusting the care or rearranging plants to maintain stable lighting. It is tolerance to room temperatures that is the main advantage of this palm. But often its flaws outweigh and are crucial when buying.
Litokariums - palm trees are expensive and quite rare, need high humidity, and in a dry environment they quickly lose their attractiveness of leaves. Fortunately, spraying plants is a pleasure, and the rest is easy to maintain.
Lighting for lithocarium
This is quite typical for its photophilous palm, which feels good in diffuse lighting. Direct sunlight is not so gentle in appearance, but the sensitive leaves of this beauty do not tolerate, and shading negatively affects their color and structure. In winter, it is not necessary to adjust the lighting for the lithocarium, the palm is not so sensitive during the dormant period, it practically does not respond to minor fluctuations in lighting. But such tolerance is preserved only when growing on the windowsill, but when placed in the interior, correction still needs to be carried out, bringing the daylight hours to 12 hours.
It is better to exhibit lithocariums on light eastern or western window sills or places in the interior, similar to them in light intensity.
Typical room temperatures are suitable for lithocariums and no unusual conditions should be created for this palm. This plant is afraid of falling air temperature below 18 degrees, the optimal range for its content is considered to be a temperature from 20 to 23 degrees heat. But even with higher rates in the summer, lithocariums are reconciled quite well, especially if, accordingly, the measures for humidification are made more intense.
This palm tree must be protected from drafts, but it responds to ventilation, access to fresh air with a more intense color and more active growth.
Watering and humidity
Lithocariums are quite hygrophilous palms that love the stable characteristics of the soil. Watering is carried out, allowing the substrate to dry only in the upper soil layer. Overdrying the soil can be fatal. In winter, watering is reduced, the interval between watering is increased by 1-2 days compared with the period of active development. For this palm tree you can use only soft water. The estimated frequency of watering is 2-3 times a week in the summer and half as often in the winter.
If watering for this palm can be considered standard, then the demanding lithocarium for air humidity is a lot of trouble. The higher the indicators, the more beautiful and healthier the palm will be. The minimum humidity value for this palm tree is 60%. You can increase the air humidity either by installing humidifiers, using the method of filling the pan with wet pebbles or moss (without contact of water with the bottom of the pot), and frequent spraying. Spraying is considered the best method that best affects the attractiveness of the leaves. For spraying, it is advisable to use warm water.
You need to clean the leaves from dust very carefully: like the date palm, the lithocarium does not like contact with the leaves too much. A soft, damp sponge and delicate procedures, or light showering with soil protection are equally suitable. But you need to act very carefully.
Feeding for lithocarium
This palm tree negatively reacts to excess nutrients and needs moderate feeding. It is better to choose special complex mixtures of fertilizers for palm trees and make the manufacturer recommended dose of the drug with a frequency of 1 time per month (or half the dose 1 time in 2 weeks). In autumn and winter, top dressing does not stop, but the dosage of fertilizers is reduced by 2 times.
Any pruning for this palm is dangerous and undesirable. With problems or a natural wilting of leaves, the veyu is carefully cut, leaving part of the cuttings above the trunk.
Lithocarium transplant and substrate
For lithocariums, it is necessary to choose the right soil mixes from among the lightest and breathable. The acid mixture should be neutral in the acid reaction. If you make up the soil yourself, then mix equal parts of peat, humus, leaf soil and sand with a double dose of turf soil and be sure to add crushed charcoal to the substrate.
Lithocariums do not tolerate the transplant too well and the plant is transferred to a new container only when absolutely necessary, with a frequency of 3-4 years, limited only to replacing the top layer of the substrate every spring. It is better to increase the capacity significantly so that the roots have enough space for development for the longest period.
When transplanting to the bottom of the containers, a high layer of drainage must be laid.
Diseases and pests of lithocarium
Lithocarium is considered a fairly resistant plant. With careless care, only red spider mites are a danger to palm trees. It is strongly discouraged to deal with pests by washing the leaves, it is necessary to immediately begin treatment with insecticides.
Given the proximity to the affected plants, the lithocarium may suffer from scale insects and mealybugs.
Common growing problems:
- the appearance of brown tips on the leaves at low humidity of the substrate or in dry air;
- drooping, wilting of leaves with improper watering;
- darkening of leaves, color change in the cold;
- yellowing of the leaves with insufficient feeding, irrigation with hard water or drying out the soil;
- blanching of leaves in too intense light and heat in combination with dry air;
- the appearance of spots on the leaves during temperature spikes or too hard water.
Propagation of lithocarium
Like most palm trees, lithocarium can be propagated only by seeds. But the high cost of these plants is largely due to the fact that only fresh seeds can be used to obtain palm trees. Before sowing, they must be soaked in a growth stimulator. The soil is chosen light and disinfected, sowing is carried out to a depth of 1 cm. In order for the shoots to appear, it is necessary to provide greenhouse conditions and hot temperatures from 26 degrees Celsius with lower heating, the most bright lighting.
Shelter is removed from the shoots gradually. Diving palm trees should be done only after the formation of the first true leaf. Enough large containers with a diameter of 10-12 cm are immediately chosen for young plants.