Also known as the butterfly plant, the swallowtail is a gorgeous plant that has distinctive triangular-shaped foliage that resembles a butterfly’s wing. The scientific name for this lovely plant is Christia Obcordata, which will grab everyone’s attention.
Its triangular-shaped foliage has a striking appearance: a series of deep green and burgundy stripes running through the leaf’s veins, identical along both sides of the stem.
The Christia Obcordata plant is the ideal size, about 3 feet wide and tall, to add an ornamental touch to any corner of a room.
However, this unique plant is particular about its conditions to grow and prosper. So, if you want to get yourself one of these beauties, here are all the Swallowtail care tips you will need.
Butterfly Plant Care Tips and Instructions
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This is a herbaceous perennial whose leaf shape resembles a butterfly’s wings that float in the slightest air movement, looking like a butterfly. The swallowtail plant grows long, thin stems with leaves that have rich mahogany stripes.
Christia Obcordata Origins
This remarkable plant is indigenous to Asia’s tropical regions, where it thrives in thickets, wastelands, and grasslands. It’s a weed that has been successfully grown as a cover crop in Malaysia and Japan to help improve the soil.
Such excellent benefits are no longer as popular as their demand as an ornamental plant.
It is a legume because it is a member of the Fabaceae family, which includes beans and peas.
This is a truly rare and exotic plant. Most home gardeners enjoy growing these from seeds. However, before you start growing your own Christia Obcordata plant, you should know all its care requirements.
Butterfly Plant Light Requirements
For healthy growth, this plant requires moderate to shaded light. Its fragile leaves are sensitive to sunburn and cannot withstand direct sunshine.
For ideal growth, it’s best to place the Christia Obcordata towards the western or eastern windows. Here are some options for where you can place your butterfly plant:
Window Facing East
Only a few hours in the morning, the light of a medium intensity enters this window. The remainder of the day only receives indirect light, so your butterfly plant can be put next to it without risk.
Window Facing South
A south-facing window receives strong direct sunlight throughout the day. If you have no other option at home, ensure your butterfly plant is at least 3-4 feet away from this window. You could also cover the window with a curtain as an alternative.
Window Facing North
The window facing the North hardly receives any sunlight, so you can’t place your swallowtail plant on this window.
Window Facing West
A west-facing window receives sunlight during the evening. Your butterfly plant will thrive next to this window. You can cover the window with curtains during the summer when the direct rays seem too hot.
Swallowtail Plant Water Requirements
This plant requires constantly moist soil since it loves water. Every third to the fourth day, use plenty of filtered, fresh water to hydrate. It won’t require as much water during the fall and winter.
Make it a routine to check the moisture level of your soil before you water your swallowtail plant.
You can use a moisture meter to precisely measure the soil’s moisture level before watering it. Alternatively, you can insert a stick or a pencil into the soil to check how much moisture is still in the soil. You should immediately water the plant if the first three inches are found to be dry.
The Right Way to Water Your Christia Obcordata Plant
● Always hydrate the soil and roots. The butterfly plant leaves will become infected with fungus if they are watered.
● You should use distilled or filtered water.
● Don’t use water that is either too hot or too cold. Water that is lukewarm or at room temperature works best.
● Make use of a lot of water. Let the soil absorb it completely.
● Keep the pot from resting on the drained water that has gathered in the pan below. Root rot could occur as a result of this.
Butterfly Plant Potting Mix Requirements
Well-drained soil, moisture-retention, and nutrient-rich soil are essential for a healthy plant.
Create your own potting mix by combining the components listed below.
● Sphagnum or peat moss absorbs water and gradually releases it over time.
● The potting mix will have pores due to perlite. It enhances the flow of both air and water.
● Small chunks of bark or coconut shells can also help the soil become airier and open up. Sand could also be employed for this.
● Your soil will receive much-needed organic nutrients from compost.
Swallowtail Plant Humidity Requirements
Keep humidity levels between 40 and 50 %, particularly during the arid summer. If not, you will see that your plant’s leaves start to droop.
Here are several strategies for raising a room’s humidity level:
● Put a moisture tray with pebbles and water under the pot. Water shouldn’t come into contact with the pot.
● Purchase a humidifier. It will have to run continuously throughout the day.
● Once or twice a week, softly spray the plant. The best time to mist is in the early morning.
● Place comparable plant species together. This raises humidity and has a greenhouse effect.
Swallowtail Plant Temperature Requirements
For this plant, an average temp of 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. This means that while this plant will withstand temperature drops, it has to be sheltered from extremely dry and hot conditions.
Butterfly Plant Fertilizer Requirements
A balanced fertilizer will promote the plant’s healthy growth. Fertilizers come in various forms, including chemical fertilizers, granular slow-release, organic, and liquid fertilizer.
Types of Fertilizers
Fertilizers that are liquid come in cans or bottles. Composted animal dung is one natural ingredient used to make organic fertilizers. Chemical substances, as opposed to organic components, are used in synthetic fertilizers.
Fertilizer granules spread around the swallowtail plant will encourage blooming.
When adding fertilizer, please be careful. The butterfly plants could suffer damage and wilt due to excessive fertilizer. When applying fertilizer, ensure that you comply with the directions to get the right amount.
Planting Swallowtail Seeds
It’s difficult to find genuine swallowtail seeds. Ensure you purchase them from a reputable supplier.
In a seedling tray, sprinkle a mixture high in nutrients. You can sprinkle compost.
Butterfly plant seeds should be carefully pressed into the mixture after soaking in clean water for an entire night.
Maintain a minimum 1-inch space between each seed and its companions.
The area of your home with the most light, heat, and humidity should be where you put the seedling tray.
The seeds will start to sprout within a couple of weeks. The baby seedlings won’t be prepared for transplantation into pots for a few months, though.
This plant is truly stunning and would be a wonderful addition to any home, garden, or greenhouse.
With this care guide, you can easily grow your entire plant and enjoy the pleasure of witnessing these flapping butterfly wings for yourself.