Arrowroot is a vibrant and unusual tropical flower native to the southern regions and Central America. She is known, first of all, for the amazing color of the leaves with clearly visible spots and veins. In addition to their unusual colors, they also grow interestingly, changing shape and direction depending on the light and other conditions. This is a characteristic feature of the entire family. It was for this plant that they called it a prayer herb or a pilgrim. With all the exoticism of a herbaceous perennial, it is easy to care for it even in the middle lane.
Arrowroot is an ornamental herbaceous perennial, the size and appearance of which depends on the particular variety. On average, the height reaches about 60 cm.The stems are initially erect, but the older the plant, the more it leans towards the ground.
Arrowroot tubers are used in cooking in different countries of the world. Like other tuberous plants, they contain a lot of starch..
The annual growth of the flower is small. The flowering period is summer. Rare and miniature graceful panicle inflorescences appear directly from the stem. Arrowroot flowers are tiny and inconspicuous, white, pastel yellow or salmon pink. In terms of their decorative qualities, they are not able to compete with large and beautiful leaves, but in their place boxes with seeds are formed.
Types of arrowroot
There are many varieties of arrowroot, but several of them are usually bred at home and on the farm. Basically, these are decorative varieties. Breeders are constantly bringing out new and interesting colors. Most of them can be classified into two categories: bicolor and tricolor, according to the number of colors in which the leaf plate is painted..
A compact perennial bush gradually grows to a semi-ampelous form. This category includes a number of varieties and subspecies with different leaf colors..
But the general outlines remain unchanged: oblong, medullary or wide leaves from about 7×10 to 10×15 cm. Relative to the petiole, they grow at an acute angle. The rhizome of the bush is developed, with oval tubers resembling potatoes. White veins appear on the leaf plate, which is why the variety got its name. The reverse side of the leaf is usually reddish..
Red-toed arrowroot or Fascinator
This is a striking representative of the tricolors. The main background of the leaf plate is dark green, sometimes brownish. To the edges, the leaves brighten. A light strip runs in the center, from which pronounced transverse veins diverge. They are colored in red, the saturation of which ranges from very pale to deep purple. Another feature is the broken direction of the stems.
A medium-sized bush reaches about 40 cm. A succulent creeping rhizome is short, with fusiform thickenings for the accumulation of nutrients and moisture. Leaves – wide or oblong, up to 15 cm.The edges of the plate are slightly wavy.
The peculiarity of the comb arrowroot is in its color. A continuous light green crest appears on the green leaf, from which wide dark strokes diverge. They form a continuous border, and the ridge gradually sharpens..
One of the most interesting and unusual species stands out strongly against the general background. The height of erect stems sometimes exceeds 120 cm. The leaves are elongated, resembling an egg in shape. To the ends, they are sharpened. The edge is painted in a dark gray shade. The rhizome is densely covered with tubers.
This is the most common and well-known variety. A central vein appears on a dark leaf plate. On either side of it are symmetrical strokes that darken and brown as they grow. At the same time, they remain separate and do not merge into one strip. There are longitudinal veins, although they are practically invisible.
The background of the leaf plate of this variety is dark green. This sets him apart from the rest. But the veins and stripes are of a light lime shade. This color is reminiscent of the negative of the classic.
It is an exquisite variety that is also called black arrowroot. Outwardly, he is not far from the classic white-thread. The difference is that the base green background is retained along the edge. From the main vein, diverging longitudinal, maximally light or even white, protrude sharply. Contrast is given by dark strokes between them..
Maranta Emeral Beauty
It differs from the previous type in the width of the light strip. It takes up to half a sheet, and the color transition is gradual, without pronounced borders and spots..
Maranta Beauty Kim
This is one of the most variegated varieties with dark green or brownish spots, salad yellow strokes, strokes and white stripes that can take up to half of the leaf..
The secret of successful caring for arrowroot is in observing the temperature and humidity conditions.
The ideal soil for constant growth is a mix of leafy, humus and coniferous soil mixtures mixed with sand and charcoal. But standard fibrous peat will not work. Also avoid the presence of lime. Arrange high drainage at the bottom.
The plant does not tolerate heat and heat above + 28 … + 30C. Avoid direct sunlight, drafts, and sudden temperature changes. Optimal in winter – up to + 20C. In winter, it is undesirable to lower it below + 14C. It is important this time of year that the leaves do not touch the cold window..
Use compound fertilizers during active growth. Specialized solutions for decorative leafy varieties are now being sold. But do not overdo it, because it is equally important not to overfeed the arrowroot..
It is recommended to repeat abundant watering only as the upper layer of the substrate dries up. Reduce the frequency in cold weather to avoid rhizome rot. For irrigation, take filtered water, at least soft, settled water. Arrowroot is sensitive to any foreign impurities.
The ideal air humidity is about 70%. It can be compensated for by systematic spraying of the leaves. This is especially important in summer and during the heating season. A tray with water will help to locally increase the humidity, but in this case, make sure that moisture does not get on the roots..
The arrowroot feels most comfortable in partial shade. In direct sunlight and bright light, it fades. In the apartment, pay attention to the windows that face northwest or east.
Transplant and reproduction
The arrowroot is propagated by three classical methods:
1. When sowing seeds, start growing seedlings as soon as spring arrives. Take a wide flowerpot or box, peat-sandy substrate, and seeds. The first shoots appear in the next 2 weeks. The main thing is to maintain a stable temperature, about + 16 ° … + 19 °. As soon as several full-fledged leaves appear on the seedling, it can be transplanted.
2. To root the cuttings, cut off shoots up to 10 cm from the mother plant with several full-fledged healthy leaves. The whole process takes about 4 weeks. Rooting can be done from May to September. As soon as the root is formed, transplant the arrowroot into the peat substrate..
3. Mature and healthy shrubs can be propagated by division. Dig up and clean the bush, then carefully cut the rhizome. It is important that each seedling has several healthy leaves and tubers. Treat the sections with charcoal to disinfect before transplanting. After that, they can be planted in moist, loose soil..
An adult plant is recommended to be replanted annually, in early spring..
Pest and disease control
Arrowroot problems are common in tropical plants. With a lack of moisture or heat, it weakens and withers, but with an excess of water, root rot appears and fungal diseases develop. This can be prevented by maintaining a stable regimen and periodically treating the flower with antifungal drugs..
Leaves sometimes infect scabies. They suck out the juice, which causes the plate to change color, damage and sticky drops appear on it. Remove parasites mechanically using soapy water. After that, spray the leaves with a special preparation..
When the air is too dry, spider mites appear. You can get rid of them with a hot shower, but this must be done quickly and carefully. But in this way you can destroy parasites without chemistry, and this is especially important in the apartment. There are also special acaricides for pests.
Arrowroot – photo
To see how to take full advantage of the beauty and grace of arrowroot, check out our selection of photos! We have collected the most colorful and interesting ideas for inspiration!