It is a genus that brings together about fifty perennial herbaceous plants originating in Central and South America. They produce fleshy rhizomes from which numerous ovate, dark green leaves sprout, covered with a thick down, which often present small light dots. Towards the end of summer, on long flexible stems, numerous pink, red, orange or yellow tubular flowers bloom, covered with down and with contrasting dots. The adult plants of Kohleria digitaliflora reach a height of 20-25 cm, but more compact varieties exist. The rhizomes tend to grow by filling all the available space, so it is advisable to repot the plant every year, at the beginning of spring.
Kohleria digitaliflora plants prefer bright locations, but not too exposed to direct sunlight, especially when temperatures are quite high; in spring and summer they can be placed outside, in partial shade, in a sheltered place. In winter it is good to withdraw the plants in the apartment, as they fear the cold.
During the vegetative period, from March to October, water regularly, without exceeding it. It is advisable to wait for the soil to dry a little between one watering and another. In the winter months the Kohleria digitaliflora plants go into vegetative rest, it is therefore advisable to drastically reduce the watering, without however allowing the plant to spend long periods of drought. In spring and summer, provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 10-15 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
Kohleria digitaliflora prefer deep, loose, rich and well-drained soils; use flower soil mixed with a small amount of sand and peat to increase the draining power of the substrate and avoid water stagnation that is harmful. Some varieties of kohleria produce bunches of hanging flowers, therefore it is advisable to grow them in bowls or in hanging baskets.
In general, these plants are re-potted annually when the rhizomes are divided.
The multiplication can take place by division of the rhizomes and by cutting; 10-15 cm long branch portions should be taken at the beginning of autumn, they should be rooted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts. Generally these plants are propagated by division of the tufts, taking well-developed portions of rhizomes, with vigorous roots, which are immediately buried in a single container. This operation must be carried out in the period from late winter to early spring and the rhizomes must be placed in a compound of peat and sand and placed in a sheltered place with a temperature around 20 ° C.
Kohleria digitaliflora: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to aphids and red spider mites that can cause serious damage to the plant; to counteract the red spider mites it is possible to simply increase the percentage of humidity in the air, proceeding also with water vaporization on the leaves. To eliminate aphids, there are special systemic insecticide products that can quickly eliminate the problem.