Are you the type of person who thinks you plant with a flower only if it is artificial? Inside the house, then, no way? So it's about time to get to know a very dear species from Brazilian homes and very easy to grow: the May flower.
You probably know her well. The plant is native to our Atlantic forest, more specifically in the region of southeastern Brazil.
The main characteristic of the May flower is its flowering in the month of … May, of course! (now you understand why the name, right?). Considered a type of cactus with succulent and pendant branches, the May flower can present colorings ranging from white to red, passing through beautiful shades of yellow, orange and pink.
The leaves of the May flower have a rustic, toothed appearance and very similar to those of their cousins, however, without thorns. The flowers are extremely delicate, hence the other name by which the plant is known: silk flower.
Another interesting curiosity about the plant is its ability to attract pollinating insects and hummingbirds. Do you want anything better than a flowery, colorful house full of wonderful pets?
How to care for the May flower: tips and general care
Planting and seedlings
The May flower can be easily found for sale at florists and landscaping stores, but if you want to grow the plant from the beginning, you can choose to cut the May flower by cutting, that is, by propagating small stems of a adult and healthy plant.
To do this, cut stems about eight to ten centimeters. Then, prepare the pot with a mixture of vegetable soil and substrate, then just plant the stems and wait for the rooting to take a few days.
During this period it is important to keep the soil slightly moist and the small seedlings protected from the sun, but in a place with good light.
Type of pot and soil
After the seedlings of the May flower are already "taken" you should transplant them to the final location, usually pots and flowerpots, but that's fine also if you prefer a bed.
The important thing is to guarantee a good drainage system and a soil rich in organic matter. So, start by placing coal or expanded clay at the bottom of the pot, then cover that layer with a piece of TNT or gardening blanket.
The next step is to prepare the soil, but nothing too complicated. Mix a part of vegetable soil and a part of substrate, add a portion of coconut fiber (it helps to keep the soil aerated).
Fill the pot with this mixture and then accommodate the May flower seedling. Press around with your fingertips so that the plant is very firm and resting on the ground.
The May flower has a small root system, that is, it does not create many roots and for this reason it does not need large pots. A vase with a diameter of ten centimeters already manages to accommodate the species well.
Another important tip: the May flower is a perennial species, that is, it has a long life cycle. For this reason, it is advisable to change the pot plant every two or three years, so that the pot will follow its growth.
Optimum brightness and temperature
May flower is a great option for indoor cultivation and you know why? Because she loves half-shadow environments. Wonderful!
You can dedicate that space near the window or at the entrance to the house to display your May flower. But be careful: half shade does not mean dark or closed environments. In gardening, the term is used to refer to environments with good natural light, but which are not exposed to the sun.
And speaking of sun, it is worth remembering that the May flower is sensitive to our star king. Leaves can wilt and burn when exposure is too much. The ideal is for the plant to receive only the mild morning or late afternoon sun, none of that scorching midday sun, okay?
Now let's talk about the temperature. The May flower lives very well in environments with temperatures between 12ºC and 20ºC. Very cold or very hot climates damage the plant and prevent its growth and healthy development.
The May flower is a plant with a humid tropical climate, which means that it appreciates slightly moist soils, but never soaked. It is recommended to water the plant twice a week. In times of very hot days, increase the amount of watering and in colder and rainier days, decrease.
When in doubt, always touch the ground first. If the fingertip comes out clean and dry, a sign that it is time to water, but if you keep your finger dirty with soil, wait another day.
Excess water can cause the plant to rot and facilitate the proliferation of pests and fungi.
The best time to fertilize the May flower is in the pre-flowering period, that is, before the beginning of autumn. To do this, use natural and organic fertilizers, such as bone meal, earthworm humus and castor cake. Another option is to use NPK fertilizer 8-8-8.
After flowering, offer more reinforcement in fertilization.
Pruning and other care
The May flower does not require pruning. The removal of dry and dead leaves can be done manually, detaching them from the branch.
Here are some other precautions in the cultivation of the May flower:
- Avoid touching the plant's flowers, they are very sensitive and can wilt and fall at the touch of a button.
- If the temperature decides to rise a little (usually above 20ºC) just at the time of the flowering of the May flower it is possible that you will notice the flowers withering and falling. In this case, move the plant to a cooler and more ventilated place in the house, protected from direct sunlight.
- In the flowering stage, the May flower is able to tolerate a longer period without watering.
- After flowering it is natural for the May flower to start showing pale, withered leaves and even falling frequently. This happens due to the great effort of the plant to flower. Right now, it is as if she is tired, needing to recover. So, offer her the necessary nutrients and wait for recovery.
- However, the leaves can also fall for two other reasons: excessive watering and pests. Very moist soil causes root rot and can even kill the plant. If you notice that this is the problem, change the substrate and make watering more spaced and in less quantity. The most common pests in the May flower are fungi and mold, both of which can also originate from excess water. The solution, in this case, is to change the substrate, remove the rotting parts and move the plant to a brighter location.
May flower in decoration
The May flower offers countless decorative possibilities and can be beautifully inserted in any environment, as long as it receives plenty of light.
The plant can beautify sideboards, buffets, dining tables and kitchen counters, in addition to standing out in living rooms, offices, corridors and entrance halls.
Another way to use the May flower in the decoration is in a pendant way, suspended by some hanger (it can be the incredible ones made of macrame) or even on high shelves.
Outdoors, the May flower lends its beauty to flowerpots that can be placed under a window or on top of a balcony. Another good place to place the May flower is on a vertical panel, allowing the leaves and flowers to do all the landscape work.
And now, do you know which corner of your house will win a May flower? Just follow the tips on how to care for the May flower and enjoy what's to come.