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Oplismenus Is A Variegated Room Herb Ostyanka

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One of the most spectacular indoor cereals, Oplismenus or ostianka, is a true exot. This plant from the distant Green Continent surprises both by the form of growth, the beauty of the variegated leaves, and the character. An atypical member of the cereal family, this plant is not for everyone. Oplismenus needs regular renewal, quickly loses its decorativeness, and is sensitive to moisture. But it is so modern and impudent in appearance that it justly claims the title of an indispensable indoor crop. © Diego Delso


  • Oplismenus is an ampelic wonderweed
  • Home care of Oplismenus
  • Rejuvenation of Oplismenus, pruning and transplanting
  • Diseases and pests of Oplismenus
  • Propagation of Oplismenus

We are only beginning to look at the amazing Oplismenus. This plant is considered rare and exclusive, it is not found in every flower shop. But more and more often it is introduced by designers when decorating modern interiors and landscaping of cafes and restaurants; and the demand for oplismenus is only growing. This is not surprising: the creeping herb is a great rarity even in landscape design, so what to say about room or greenhouse culture.

Oplismenus are herbaceous perennials that came to us from Australia and New Zealand. In nature they are found in subtropical climates, and in rooms they retain a fondness for moderate temperatures throughout the year. In our country Oplismenus is better known by the simple name of oplismenus, indicating the key features of the panicle structure - protruding brightly colored awns of the cereal.

From more than a dozen ornamental species of oplismenus in room culture use mainly one species - Oplismenus short-haired (Oplismenus hirtellus). It is a small herbaceous perennial, surprising with its creeping shoots. The stems are up to 50 cm long. It is very interesting to observe the plant: vertical growth of young branches changes with gradual drooping and drooping of shoots as they stretch. The branches can root themselves in knots, which allows Oplismenus to create a very dense cover on the soil or to form an elegant dense cascade in ampelings. From a distance Oplismenus can be easily confused with Tradescantia zebra, especially when growing in hanging baskets.

The leaves of Oplismenus are typical of cereals, narrow-lanceolate, but their length is limited to only 10 cm. The basic bright green coloration for indoor oplismenus is considered very rare. After all, this cereal is most often represented in the sale by mottled - decorated with white, golden, cream stripes - leaves. These are varieties of Oplismenus, derived from the ornamental form of ostinaceae - variegates.

The herb produces raised tall flower stalks, crowned by an elegant lacy panicle of inflorescence, unilateral, sparse and translucent. The greenish spikelets with red protruding spikes look strikingly original. But flowering takes place to the detriment of the foliage and it is better to cut the panicles before the seeds start to ripen. As a rule the awn blossoms in summer months.

Oplismenus is cultivated in two forms:

  • as a compact groundcover in ordinary containers;
  • in ampelna culture - both in pots on legs and in hanging baskets.

One of the main features of awnings - absence of dormancy period - is conditional. A plant in ideal conditions develops throughout the year, constantly changing and exactly because of this it quickly loses its ornamental value, needing frequent rejuvenation. But if there is no possibility to maintain a stable temperature, the plant is kept cool in winter, the plant passes to the conditional dormancy stage. So the activity of development of Oplismenus directly depends on conditions of their keeping.

Oplismenus is one of the surprisingly unpretentious and highly decorative plants, fascinating with the texture of greenery and its strangeness. This is a modern houseplant that needs careful but not complicated care and typical apartment conditions. The only difficulty in growing this grass is its rapid degeneration, which makes it necessary to regularly rejuvenate and renew the turf.

Lighting for the bunting

The creeping grass pleasantly surprises with its adaptability. The marmoset does very well in any light - both bright and semi-shady. They can even tolerate not too strong shading. However, the latter often leads to a partial or complete loss of bright stripes on the leaves. It is still better to protect the greens of Oplismenus from direct sunlight when placed on window sills. Oplismenus responds well to partial or full artificial light without losing its form of growth or color.

While oplismenus looks the best in penumbra it is not necessary to put the plant on window sills: this herb is perfect for planting the interior, areas near windows. © Jane Horn

Comfortable temperature regime

Oplismenus in room culture retains its love of coolness, but even in winter the temperature for them should not fall below 8 degrees of heat. The minimum allowable temperatures should be clarified when buying, because some flower companies do not recommend growing oplimenus even at 15 degrees of heat. The plant feels best within a temperature range of 18 to 22 degrees in winter and summer. Hot temperatures will require additional measures to increase air humidity.

The mulberry should not be taken out even to the balcony in summer, the plant is better left in its usual room conditions. Since in the fresh air Oplismenus will not be protected from fluctuations of temperature and other conditions, such removal can be a significant stress for it. Oplismenus is afraid of cold draughts, and it is necessary to ventilate rooms very carefully.

Pouring of Oplismenus and air humidity

This room grass requires very careful watering. Overwatering is dangerous enough for the plant, but drought is not afraid: it will stop the development, lead to stress, affect the state of the roots, but not destructive, and the plant will quickly recover. Short drought only "slows" the growth, and prolonged dryness can lead to leaf shedding, which will require subsequent stimulating pruning and increased humidity. It is better not to allow extremes, but omitting watering is much less painful than overwatering, which often results in death by rot. In summer the watering of Oplismenus can be quite abundant, but you need to control the degree of drying of the soil between watering procedures, giving a good drying of the upper layer. In winter watering is carried out with a small amount of water and rarely.

Oplismenus will like the increase of humidity, but it is not a vital measure, provided it is not grown in hot rooms. But in order to maintain the decorativeness of the leaves during the operation of central heating systems or in summer on hot days, it is better to conduct refreshing spraying. If it's possible to provide the oplismentum with stable air humidity of 60-70%, the grass will surprise with brightness of color, speed of growth and even greater endurance.

Feedings for oplismentum

This is one of rare room plants which are afraid even of standard fertilizers and they show bright patterns on motley leaves only at moderate amount of nutrients in the soil. Fertilizing for this cereal in the year after transplanting is better not to be carried out at all: the initial supply of nutrients is usually enough for the plant for normal development, provided the recommended frequency of transplanting is observed. Fertilizers for marsh grasses in the first year should be applied only when there are visible signs of deficiency of certain macro- and microelements.

Fertilizers for marsh grasses from the second year of cultivation and after rejuvenation without transplanting should be applied not just regularly, but without intervals. The standard frequency of feeding is once every 2-3 weeks. Fertilization for Oplismenus is carried out throughout the year, using fertilizers for ornamental and deciduous plants or universal fertilizers. The dose of fertilizers is reduced twice or thrice as much as the manufacturer recommends in order to prevent excessive nutrients.
Oplismenus is a variegated room herb ostyanka
Oplismenus hirtellus (Oplismenus hirtellus)

The only significant disadvantage of Oplismenus is its rapid degeneration. To maintain its high ornamental value, it is better to renew the plants annually, or at least once every 2 years. At the same time it is not necessary to transplant the grass: strong pruning itself causes active growth and renewal of bushes. You can instead of pruning oplismenus simply replace the plant with cuttings grown from cuttings. Repotting is carried out only when they want to divide the plant, to increase the capacity or area occupied by it.

Please also read this. 4 rules for perfect cucumbers

Other pruning, including plucking or controlling the direction of shoot growth, is not necessary for Oplismenus. But what definitely will not please fans of oplismenum is the necessity to regularly remove dry leaves from bushes by hand. It's better to do the same with the panicles of inflorescences: as the inflorescences appear it's better to remove them, because the maturing of seeds can lead to quick loss of decorativeness of the turf.

All transplanting with division, and pruning for rejuvenation should be done in early spring - in March, in April at the latest.

Oplismenus prefers very light and loose substrata. The reaction of the soil can be either neutral or slightly acidic. You can use special mixtures for cereals or universal substrates for Oplismenus. If you compose the mixture yourself, you can combine equal parts of leaf soil, turf soil, peat and sand. Leaf soil can be replaced by humus.

A high layer of drainage must be laid at the bottom of containers for buntings, eliminating the risk of any stagnant water. Pebbles, perlite or claydite are preferred for this cereal.

Bottoms for growing Oplismenus should be shallow, but wide.

The greatest danger for Oplismenus are rot and pests living in the soil. But if the plant is weakened, neglected, has not been rejuvenated on it, it can suffer in the heat and dry air from aphids and spider mites. Combat any problems with a combination of maintenance changes and insecticides or fungicides.

Oplismenus is a variegated room herb ostyanka
Bristle, or Oplismenus shorthaired with simple leaves. © K. L. Kyde

Getting new bushes of cereals is very simple. Bushes can be divided during transplanting into large dividers or individual daughter plants (rooted shoots), or you can root the tops or segments of shoots that have at least two leaves.

Cuttings on cuttings are best made close under the node. Cuttings are buried in the soil to half of their height. Rooting is carried out in any substrate under the hood, but you can use a much simpler way - rooting in water. Both split and rooted cuttings start to grow quickly and reach their maximum decorative effect in a few months. Obtained from cuttings oplismenus not grouped and planted one cuttings in a pot: the herb grows so quickly and actively that it will create a dense bush alone; and it is not necessary to create difficulties with the lack of free soil right away. Standard substrate is used to grow young plants.