Classification, origin and description
Common name: Buvardia.
provenance: tropical and subtropical regions of Mexico and South America.
Genre description: genus comprising about 50 species of evergreen shrubs, suitable for greenhouse and apartment cultivation, which have smooth bright green leaves carried by woody and very branched stems and tubular flowers, even 5 cm long, fragrant and conspicuously and variously colored ( depending on the species), which appear from June to December (always depending on the species).
Bouvardia ternifolia (photo http://biodiversity.georgetown.edu)
Species and varieties
Bouvardia humboldtii: this species is considered by many to be a variety of B. longiflora. It has white and fragrant flowers. It almost never exceeds 70-80 cm. tall, even if grown in large pots. If properly pruned it can be grown in small pots (13-15 cm.).
Bouvardia jasminiflora: winter flowering species, it has small leaves and fragrant cream-white flowers.
Bouvardia longiflora: according to some it is the only cultivated species (being the others or varieties of this or hybrids). It comes from Mexico and has green, oval and shiny leaves carried by thickly branched woody stems. The flowers, which appear from October to December gathered in sparse umbrellas at the top of the branches, are tubular, white and fragrant. There are varieties with pink ("Mary") or scarlet ("President Cleveland") flowers.
Bouvardia ternifolia: native to Mexico, this rather rare species has opposite leaves, covered with a light down and scarlet flowers three cm long which appear united in terminal cluster inflorescences. A variety with smaller white flowers, but gathered in larger clusters, which blooms for most of the year is "White Joy". If you want pink flowers instead, you will have to choose the "Giant Pink" variety.
Bouvardia x domestica: represents the most cultivated hybrid. It has opposite and oval leaves and reaches a height of about 60 cm. The flowers, which appear from June to November gathered in umbrellas, can be white, pink or red.
Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions
Temperature: the winter temperature must not be lower than 7 ° C. The ideal summer temperature is between 16 and 24 ° C.
Light: good, but protected from direct sunlight.
Watering and environmental humidity: water abundantly both during vegetative development and during flowering, using little calcareous water. In winter, reduce the frequency of dosing, taking care, however, to keep the substrate just moist.
Substrate: mixture of garden soil and peat.
Special fertilizations and tricks: from May to late October fertilize every two weeks. In summer it can be moved outdoors, away from the sun. Usually, potted plants weaken after about two years and it is advisable to renew them using herbaceous cuttings (see below). If you keep old specimens, you will need to repot them every 2-3 years.
Multiplication and pruning
Multiplication: multiply by placing 5-8 cm long cuttings (taken in March) under glass bell jar, in the shade and at a temperature of 20 ° C. After rooting (after about three weeks) the seedlings must be transplanted into pots of 10 cm in diameter and, subsequently, into larger pots. They can also be multiplied by division of the roots.
Pruning: pruning in early February, cutting the main branches 6-7 cm from the base. So you will need to water the plant abundantly to stimulate the production of new shoots.
Diseases, pests and adversities
- Falling leaves and flowers: too frequent watering (probably also the roots will be rotting).
- Aphids: attack leaves and flowers (in some cases even the roots). They suck the sap and make the plant sticky. They are eliminated by washing the plant and treating it with specific insecticides.