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Ixora: the jungle geranium

Photo by virginie-l from Pixabay

 

Did you know that the Ixora is also known as the Jungle Geranium? Originally from Asia and belonging to the Rubiaceae family, this plant is the protagonist of abundant and impactful blooms, colorful and easy to grow. The Ixora is aesthetically characterized by its shrubby habit that includes numerous green-gray leaves and very colorful inflorescences; among the most common variants we mention pink, red, yellow and salmon.

 

The shape of this plant is also interesting; with a height that can reach 3 meters, the evergreen is appreciated for the corymbs that contain 10-50 flowers at a time. It will thus be possible to transform it into the true queen of an original and creative garden! As for its fruits, Ixora produces a berry which - after reaching the peak of its maturity - takes on a black-purplish color. Two seeds capable of germinating are crammed inside.



How to cultivate the Ixora?

The Ixora loves bright and sunny places, as well as temperatures that are around 21 ° C. For this reason, the specimens can be grown in all environments that boast a mild and Mediterranean climate or cared for in an apartment. But be careful: due to their delicacy, they do not like to be transferred from the inside to the outside (and vice versa). Better to select a type of cultivation and let the Ixoria germinate without changing the program! However, it is important to choose a soil that is soft, drained and rich in fertilizer.

 

As far as watering is concerned, it will be good to go along with the seasonal behavior: in summer and spring water abundantly and regularly; in winter and autumn, opt for a slightly humid soil preferring the use of rainwater or demineralized water. If the temperatures get too dry, you can then spray the leaves to ensure a constant humidity rate. Remember to mark the compulsory annual fertilizations on the calendar (from March to September): our advice is to use a liquid fertilizer every 20-21 days.



Diseases, parasites and other adversities

 


Ixora is a delicate plant, especially in the event that the flowering conditions are not perfectly respected. If the supply of water is not sufficient, the leaves will tend to wither and the flowers will not be able to bloom in all their copious beauty. In addition to the above, always keep an eye on the color of the foliage. If the first yellowish streaks appear, it is likely that the specimens have been hit by a particularly voracious parasite: the cochineal. In this case, you can purchase a special pesticide or gently rub a wad soaked in water and a few drops of alcohol.




Curiosity and advice


The Ixora is highly appreciated in its places of origin (India and Sri Lanka). Here it is used to create high dividing hedges, or used in traditional Indian medicine. The infusion of juice and leaves is in fact particularly useful for treating intestinal disorders. Finally, among the simpler varieties to grow in the Mediterranean area, we mention the Ixora macrothirsa with its iconic red flowers and the coccinea variant, whose pink and yellow shades are similar to those of the geranium.
 

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