Unique among caudex plants, Stephania erecta has a bloated potato-like stem, a lengthy vine, and distinctive round leaves that form a mosaic of foliage. This is a popular collecting plant in the United States, famous for its striking contrast between delicate leaves and a substantial woody caudex.
Stephania Erecta – A Plant for All
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If you want a Philodendron but don’t have the space for a large one, have a black thumb, or just want a low-maintenance plant pal, you don’t need to look any further. What you need is a Stephania erecta. It is a plant for all, easy to moderate to care for, and lovely to look at. After all, it is high time you implemented this style in your backyard or living space.
This plant belongs to the Menispermaceae family and is classified as Stephania. It belongs to Tetrandra species. This species is also known as han fang ji (Chinese) and is one of the fifty most significant aromatic plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Throughout total, about 45 species belong to Stephania, all of which can be found in Australasia.
Although it’s ideal to give this plant its own space in a pot, it may share a shelf with many other plants. It gets along well with other houseplants as long as the light isn’t blocked and the humidity isn’t messed with.
Unfortunately, this plant can be toxic to most animals. Therefore, you must keep it outside or very far away from curious fingers and animals if you have young children or pets. The entire plant is poisonous and should be avoided. If your little ones or furry little friends end up consuming them, the results might be catastrophic. They might have swelling and episodes of puking and vomiting, and will need medical assistance promptly.
Stephania Erecta Plant Care
The following are some essential tips for Stephania Erecta plant care:
· Light Requirement
Stephania erecta thrives in indirect or dappled light but does best with the former. If the plant is exposed to too much sunshine, the leaves will dry out and fall off.
Therefore, you must be cautious and give your plant lots of indirect sunlight. If it doesn’t get enough light, it may flop over.
Position your Stephania erecta where it will get four to six hours of indirect sunshine every day. The best place to keep your plant may be beside a window, where curtains can block direct sunlight.
Move the plant indoors or away from draughty areas during the colder months. You can increase the humidity around your plants by putting them in a kitchen or bathroom throughout the winter.
You can also use LED grow lights or a heating pad to help your plant survive in chilly environments.
· Sufficient Irrigation
Because Stephania erecta stores most of its moisture in its bulb, it is easily damaged by too much water. Therefore, you should be cautious while watering your plant.
For optimal growth, water your Stephania erecta every 10 days throughout the growing season, and every 15 to 20 days during the winter.
If a bulb has developed leaves, underwatering might cause them to become crispy and brown. Bulbs that haven’t started producing leaves often have more difficulty than others in getting their foliage to expand and mature.
However, overwatering can cause root rot in nearly all plants. When considering Stephania erecta, the bulb may rot if the plant is wet for too long.
The first signs of overwatering are wilting and yellowing of the leaves. Your plan could perish if the bulb rots.
Use a finger test. If the soil is dry when you insert your finger, the plant needs water. If it’s still damp, halt the watering process.
Stephania is susceptible to fungal problems if it is watered from the leaf or misted too often. This plant prefers lukewarm or room-temperature water.
· Temperature Requirements
Stephania erecta thrives in hot conditions. It requires 80 degrees Fahrenheit to flourish. It may suffer from the cold if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your plant hasn’t yet developed leaves, you must put it at a warm temperature for accelerating growth.
You can overcome the cold of winter with a little help from the heater. You can also use a plant heating mat or some bubble wrap to do the trick. Use bubble wrap to save time and money.
· Humidity Requirements
The plants will thrive if the humidity is right. Stephania erecta, like other plants, thrives in conditions ranging from moist to damp.
When humidity levels are too low, its leaves can dry out, become crispy, and finally turn brown. Keep your plant away from any sources of draughts, like fans and heaters.
You can foster a humid environment by grouping plants together, as the transpiration of the plants will add moisture to the air.
Put the potted plant and some pebbles on a tray. Now fill the tray with water, but don’t let the pot rest in it. Make sure the soil in the pot does not get wet.
You can spritz your Stephania with a spray bottle or wipe its leaves with a damp cloth. However, avoid keeping the leaves wet for too long, since this might cause fungus to grow. You can also use a humidifier.
· Fertilization Requirements
Stephania erecta produces too many offspring. Fertilize it once every two months during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer. Since your plant goes dormant over the winter, you can stop fertilizing it altogether.
Over-fertilization causes leaf browning and salt buildup in the soil. This leaves Stephania erecta wide open to attack from pests and diseases.
· Patterns of Development
Stephania erecta grows slowly. Growing it to a height of three feet inside can take several years. When it does, though, its umbrella-shaped leaves are impossible to ignore.
However, it can reach a height of four to five feet in the wild. The bulb or caudex typically measures between 5 and 8 inches in diameter.
When planted in a larger container, the roots have more room to develop and flourish. On the other hand, if you like a more compact specimen, a smaller pot would do. Carefully cultivated Stephania erecta can reach a height of 3 feet on twining vines.
· Sleeping Time
If you’ve never cared for a Stephania erecta before, you might be astonished to see it enter a dormant phase and lose practically all of its green foliage throughout the winter.
The plant may not drop all of its leaves if you provide it with a nice, warm home with lots of light and moisture. But even if it does, it’s perfectly normal and natural.
During dormancy, don’t water or fertilize your plant because it would cause stress to the plant. It has to rest to replenish its energy stores.
This phase will be over after the cold months of winter. So, start by giving your plant a thorough soak. Then fertilize it to get it ready for active growth again. If you take care of it properly, it will start growing leaves at some point.
You can either use a plastic pot with an ornamental pot, or you can use a decorative pot with drainage holes made of ceramic or terra cotta.
The leaves and woody bulb will look more at home in a terracotta pot, and the clay will also absorb excess moisture. Putting your plant in a pot without drainage holes is a surefire way to kill it.
In terms of size, you want there to be a few inches of room between the rim of the pot and the bottom of the bulb. Avoid crowding the roots by not over-potting. Otherwise, you might not have enough area to pour soil in between the cracks.
You should repot your Stephania erecta plant every three to four years so that it can spread out and flourish in its new environment. Repot the plant when:
- Drainage holes are breached by root systems.
- Poor development after being kept in the same pot for more than three years.
- When the base of the bulb or caudex has expanded to the rim of the container.
- If the accumulation of salt and minerals is having an obvious effect on the plant.
- Plants should be repotted at the first sign of spring. They should be watered a day before you repot it.
A good pot with drainage holes is essential. If you want to keep your Stephania erecta at a manageable size, you can simply repot it in the same pot after giving it a good cleaning.
· Take a pot that is two to three inches larger if your plant has outgrown its current one.
· Choose a potting soil that drains and breathes properly. Stephania erecta thrives in cactus and succulent soil.
· In the beginning, you must take the plant out of the container. Turn the container upside down while holding the bulb near the plant’s base.
· Remove some of the dirt from around the bulb and its roots. Stephania erecta is susceptible to transplant shock if the soil is removed.
· Inspect the roots to see if they are ruined. Use a clean pair of scissors to snip out any extra roots at the tip.
· Fill the empty pot with fresh potting soil and plant your Stephania erecta in it. Don’t bury the entire bulb neck.
· Water the plant until murky water drains out of the drainage holes. Get rid of anything obstructing the drains.
· Put it somewhere that gets a lot of indirect light, and your plant should have no trouble adjusting to its new surroundings.
The plant rarely needs to be pruned because it casts so much winter shade on its foliage and the leaves regrow each spring, it rarely needs to be pruned.
However, if some leaves turn yellow or become infected, you can remove the affected areas. Lack of sunlight might cause it to become leggy.
Relocate the plant to a spot where it will receive adequate indirect light and trim back some of the longer branches to encourage bushier growth.
Stephania Erecta Propagation
Stephania erecta is a kind of flowering plant that is commonly known for its ability to produce new stems from its base, known as a bulb or caudex. It is the seeds that help the plant spread.
· Start by removing as many seeds as you’ll need and soak them in a clean pot of warm water for a few hours.
· Store the pot somewhere warm and dark.
· Have the potting soil ready. Make sure the bottom of the container has some kind of drain.
· Plant the seed in the soil at a depth of 0.2 to 0.4 inches. It’s not a good idea to plant a lot of different seeds in the same container.
· Spray the container with water once a month and wait for the seed to germinate.
· As soon as you see the first signs of life, remove the pot from the greenhouse plastic bag and set it somewhere with indirect sunshine.
· Finally, once the leaves have formed, it is time to repot the plant in a larger or the same pot.
Pests including mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies will occasionally eat away at your Stephania erecta.
Even if you take extra precautions to protect your Stephania from pests, you may still encounter these unwanted visitors.
The presence of spider mites is indicated by the presence of white or yellow spots on the leaves or silky webs woven on Stephania’s leaves.
On the other hand, mealybugs are also white bugs that feed on sap and leave behind white patches that cause the leaves to become misshapen and yellow. The soft bodies of these little bugs range in color from pale green to yellow to reddish brown to black.
Use the following remedies to eliminate the pest problem:
· Spray a mixture of alcohol and water on the affected area, or dip a cotton swab in alcohol and dab the mites.
· Spray the affected leaves with plain soap water or use insecticidal soaps to remove the pests.
· You can also use neem oil to get rid of these pests. Neem oil is the most often used treatment for this problem.
Stephania erecta is susceptible to root and base rot. Spots on leaves can be caused by various bacterial diseases. You can cause Stephania to become susceptible to bacterial development and illnesses by watering it too frequently. Remember to keep a log of how often you water.
Moreover, you must look out for small pests that can harm your plants. These pests include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips.
Remove any fading yellow leaves. You should move your Stephania erecta away from any sick plants immediately.
· Soak the bulb for 24 hours before putting it in the ground for healthy growth.
· Get the soil and the container ready. Use an appropriate container with holes on the bottom that allow excess water to drain rapidly. This way you can prevent your plant from drowning.
· Collect the ingredients for potting soil. The bulb stores vital nutrients and water for the plant.
· You can use pebbles as a bottom layer or incorporate them into the soil itself. The use of pebbles will improve water drainage.
· Fill up to two-thirds of the container.
· Plant the bulb and fill in the soil around it.
· Bury about 20% of the bulb in soil for healthy growth to occur. Once roots have formed, the bulb will expand at an incredible rate. Therefore, it’s best not to bury the entire thing in the soil.
· Put the bulb on the top and then cover it with compost.
· Give it water.
After you’ve planted your Stephania Erecta plant in a pot, you must make it sprout – something that is a growing concern amongst many plant parents. Why, you ask? Because if you go to a plant market nearby and ask for a Stephania Erecta plant or if you order it online, it will be given or delivered to you in its “potato” shape, with no leaves, stalks, or roots to speak of beyond the bulb itself. Therefore, it could be quite a dilemma to sprout your favorite plant.
The caudex’s ability to produce those long, gorgeous green stems is due to the presence of moisture. A germination dome, which you may make yourself, could be placed over the potted caudex to simulate the conditions under which seeds germinate.
All you have to do is make sure the dirt in your pot is damp, but not dripping because the plant will be drowned. Then place a plastic bag on top of it to keep the moisture from evaporating.
You must keep the caudex in a warm environment. Note the temperature; it should be 77–80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the place you have kept your plant in has easy access to bright, indirect sunlight. If the top of the caudex dries out, you can sprinkle it with water using a spray bottle. However, you must be careful not to overwater it.
Remember that even after providing it with ideal conditions, it can take anything from a week to a month for seeds to sprout.
If you are an experienced gardener who wants to hasten the process, you can encourage growth by mixing in some Alpha Naphthalene Acetic Acid (ANAA) – a growth hormone – and vitamin B1 with the water you are using to irrigate the soil. This solution will speed the process along and begin sprouting the plant within no time.
The procedure for harvesting and keeping Stephania Bulb Crops safe is as follows:
· Collect the bulbs of Stephania erecta near the end of summer, when the plant’s leaves have turned brown.
· To harvest, simply bend the stem slightly and pull it out of the pot. Because they usually aren’t willing to budge an inch from their native soil, this could be a bit of an uphill battle.
· The bulbs should then be stored in a cool, dry, and airy location until the following fall, when they can be planted again.
· Basements and garages fit the bill for being dry and well-ventilated because they often don’t get much natural light.
· If you want to leave your bulbs somewhere for an extended amount of time, mesh bags are a convenient way to keep them.
· Each bulb should be replanted individually, without any alterations.
· The cloves are neither harvested or planted separately, nor are they placed in a unique medium.
· If you plant them in the right conditions, they should start sending out new leaves by the end of summer and produce their own bulbs the following year.
Things to Remember
· Use a nutrient-rich soil mixture when it’s time to repot.
· Be sure your Stephania gets enough of indirect light.
· Avoid misting the foliage for long periods of time. If there is too much moisture, you can use a dry cloth to remove it.
· In the spaces between your houseplants, grow some garlic or coriander for added flavor and aroma. It has a potent odor, so pests tend to replant it.
· Ask your plant dealer for a caudex, as it is the proper term, yet most people just call it a bulb.
· It could take up to three months for your bulb to ‘wake up’ from its winter slumber. Be patient.
· Keep your plant on the dry side while it actively grows leaves. Only water it again when the soil has dried out significantly. You should stop watering the bulb almost entirely once it enters its hibernation phase. The potting soil should be kept dry until the first signs of spring growth appear.
· The bulb gives it extraordinary drought resistance in comparison to other houseplants; wait for a few days if you’re not sure whether or not to re-water it. Don’t overwater the plant because of how tolerant it is to root or basal rot.
· Provide a well-lit area with protection from the sun. Due to the high cost of this plant species, it is allowed to keep yours under a grow lamp for more stable circumstances.
· Fertilize at four to six weekly waterings with a product labelled for houseplants or cacti, based on the season.
· This plant will naturally shed its leaves over the winter and early spring due to its dormant nature.
You can’t go wrong with bringing a Stephania erecta into your home. Its incredibly gorgeous umbrella foliage will make any room look more elegant. It is a lovely houseplant that develops from a tuber-like base.
It provides shade during the winter when its leaves are not actively growing. Its caudex can easily be used to grow new leaves. Make sure it receives indirect sunlight, is placed in a warm, humid environment, and has an adequate temperature.