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Tuberous plant, of which only some varieties are known, originating in Asia and tropical Africa; it is a true deciduous climber, the thin stems produce tendrils with which they cling to each support to allow the plant to stretch in every direction. It is not a commonly diffused plant in cultivation, more easily the cut flowers are found of it, to produce bunches of flowers or bouquets; in reality it is not so difficult to get the beautiful flowers even in our garden or on the terrace.
How to grow it
It is a tuberous plant, the tubers are not very large, about 5-10 cm in length; they are planted in containers that are not too large, the common geraniums can contain up to three tubers. We use a good fresh and rich soil, mixed with a little sand, in order to guarantee the right drainage to the roots and to the tuber itself, which do not like stagnant humidity. As soon as the tuber begins to sprout we provide to moisten the cultivation substrate regularly, avoiding to soak it excessively, or to leave water in the saucer for a long time; every 8-10 days we supply good fertilizer for flowering plants, mixed with the water of the waterings.
During a single season a medium-sized tuber produces a long and luxuriant vegetation, so let's remember to position the plant where it can develop without finding obstacles.
We prefer a very bright position, possibly where it can enjoy at least a few hours a day of direct sunlight; sunlight will help produce more flowers.
As soon as the plant begins to produce the first buds we begin to increase the time interval between the waterings, letting the soil dry slightly between one watering and another. We maintain at the same time a good environmental humidity, often vaporizing flowers and leaves, with demineralized water, especially when the climate is warmer and drier.
The flowering of this beautiful plant takes place throughout the summer, we remove the withered buds, even though they generally fall off the plant on their own; the flowers of Gloriosa superb, removed even cutting part of the stem that brings them, last many days even in pots, if we want to use them to beautify even our home.
Towards the end of summer after flowering, the plant begins to decay, losing its foliage; at this point we completely suspend the watering and allow the tuber to enter a period of vegetative rest. During the cold months the tuber appears completely bare, and should be placed in a cool place, but away from frost, with minimum temperatures above 5 ° C.
Gloriose is generally tended to be cultivated directly in the pot, so as to place the container in a sheltered place during the bad season, and then move the pot outside again as soon as the spring warmth is felt.
In areas with very mild winters the plant can be grown outdoors even throughout the year, but it is essential that during the whole winter, when it is in vegetative rest, the tuber does not receive any type of watering, nor even water of the bad weather; therefore we can keep the plant in the garden, but in a sheltered place, or repair the portion of soil that covers the tubers with plastic material, so that it does not receive water.
Gloriosa - Gloriosa superb: Some tricks
Superb Gloriosa is a tropical plant, and it is not always easy to replicate a tropical climate at home, with warm periods characterized by very high humidity, alternating with cold and dry periods. In Italy generally the warm periods are very dry and the cold periods are quite humid. We are therefore forced to follow our plant, watering a lot in spring, very often vaporizing the foliage in the summer and protecting the tubers from the water in autumn and winter. Unfortunately, the negligence in this case leads to a rapid death of the plant, generally due to the drying or rot of the tuber.
Superb Gloriosa tubers, especially in winter, are also often attacked by snails and snails, so be careful not to leave them at the mercy of such small animals.
At the end of the season, when the plant is completely decayed and the tuber is very dry, we can also propagate our glorious, by practicing large portions of the tuber; then let the servings dry in the air for a few days and let them in, let the upper part come out slightly from the ground. As a precaution we sprinkle the tubers of sulfur or other fungicide, so as to avert the occurrence of harmful molds or fungi.
The glorious belongs to the Colchicaceae family, and like its relatives it contains colchicine, a highly toxic substance: if we decide to cut the tubers let's arm ourselves with gloves and we remember in any case to wash the hands and the tools used for the cut well.