The Lapageria rosea is a climbing shrub native to Chile. It has thin stems, which stretch up to about two meters in height, very branched; the evergreen leaves are ovate, dark green, thick and leathery. From late spring to early autumn it produces many large flowers, up to 8-10 cm long, in the shape of an elongated, pendulous trumpet; the flowers of the lapageria rosea may be red, white or bright pink, but there are numerous hybrids, even with mottled flowers. The petals are waxy and thick. They produce small, rounded, edible fruits with a sweet taste. Much cultivated in its country of origin, it has long been known in Europe, but has never had the success it deserves as a houseplant.
It is grown in a shady but very bright place; it fears the direct rays of the sun, and in the warm months it can be grown outdoors, completely in the shade. Lapageria fear temperatures of many degrees below zero, but they can be grown outdoors in regions with mild winters, sheltered by a wall.
They need regular watering, which keeps the soil constantly moist, but not soaked in water; especially during the hottest months, it is abundantly watered, but in winter the watering can be reduced, without ever leaving the damp soil. They can't stand drought. To obtain an abundant flowering, from March to October, provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 15-20 days.
To grow lapageries it is good to use a rich, fresh, humid soil with a slightly acid pH; it can be prepared using soil for acidophilic plants, mixed with shredded bark and humus or leaf mold. As for the containers, we recommend the use of terracotta pots to allow the earth to breathe. During the spring and summer season, administer liquid fertilizer to the plant, diluted in the irrigation water. During autumn and winter the fertilizations must be suspended.
to give the plant a defined shape and a clean appearance, manually remove the dried or damaged leaves. A real pruning is not necessary.
The multiplication of the rosacea is done by cutting, in spring; in this case, it will be necessary to cut a fragment of the plant, a branch containing at least 2-3 leaves of the mother plant and proceed with the planting in a compound of peat and sand in equal parts. It is an economic method that allows to obtain plants identical to the original one. It is also possible to propagate the seed plant, although the flowers of the plants thus obtained will not always be identical to those of the mother plant; the seeds are used fresh in the summer, avoiding waiting too long between harvesting and sowing.
Lapageria rosea: Parasites and Diseases
Sometimes aphids nestle around the corollas of flowers. When the leaves appear rather yellow and have an unhealthy appearance, it means that the plant has not been properly irrigated. Adjust yourself with future watering. The leaves can also appear burned when the plant is placed in a place where the sun's rays hit it directly. In this case, eliminate the leaves dried or burned by the sun and place the plant in a bright area but not directly exposed to the sun's rays.