Laperusia - The Graceful Indoor Iris

Laperusia is hard not to notice in a flower collection. Unusual leaves in symmetrical bushes, beautiful color, powerful flower stalks and elegant flowers, somewhat reminiscent of irises and somewhat of freesias, seem to be outlandish. An African plant with vivid blooms, the laperusia requires a very long resting period and proper stimulation of flowering. It knows no equal among the graceful and well foliated bulbs. In spite of some troubles, it cannot be called the most capricious exot among bulbous bulbs at all.

Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Laperusia flowers somewhat like irises and somewhat like freesias. © Chen Minyu

Content:

  • Laperusia is a humble relative of iris with immodest flowers
  • Types of indoor laperusia
  • Conditions for growing indoor laperusia
  • Home care for laperusia
  • Diseases, Pests and problems in cultivation
  • Propagation of laperusia

Laperusia is a humble relative of iris with immodest flowers

Irises in rooms seem something incredible. If we are talking about the familiar and beloved bearded irises, Siberian, yellow or other garden species, it is true that they are difficult to grow in a room format. But in the huge and very diverse family of Iris, there are plants that also feel well in conditions of pot culture.

Although exclusive, but still the stars of landscaping today are still freesias, gladioluses, montbrecia. Laperusia is not the most famous, but far from being an unsightly representative of the family Iridaceae. It is just beginning its indoor career, and in our gardens is extremely rare. But among exotics laperusia is by right considered one of the most promising.

The origin of laperusia determines its status as an exotic and quite capricious character. Laperusia is found mainly in tropical climates and is widespread throughout the African continent. The plant received its name in honor of the traveler (a famous navigator, see La Perouse Strait between Sakhalin and Japan), who discovered many of Africa's bizarre plants for European collections - the Frenchman de La Perouse. Laperousia are mostly mountain plants found on slopes and in gorges.

Laperousia (Lapeirousia) are tuberous, small spring flowering perennials. The tuberous bulb changes shape from ovate in young plants to increasingly flat thereafter. The fibrous, reticulate scales also do not mature until the second year. This bulb has equally good leaves and inflorescences. Unlike many indoor corms, laperusias produce numerous and showy leaves that adorn the plant beyond the flowering period as well. Laperusias captivate with grace, they are noble, bright and seemingly very delicate plants, in which all details harmonize with each other.

Lapers of laperusias are sword-shaped, rather stiff, folded, with a beautiful middle vein. They grow from the bulb symmetrically, in two rows, in a fan, in many species arranged strictly and almost petiolate. The foliage, despite the fact that the bulb itself seems very compact, surprises both in size and color. The leaves extend to a length of 15 to 30 cm and are colored in a rich forest shade of dark green. In contrast to the usual indoor bulbs, laperusia grows in a lush and neat bush.

Laperusia flowering deserves separate attention. The plant on large, strong flower stalks produces inflorescences-columns of 6, 8 or 12 flowers. They open not one by one, but in "batches" of 3-4 flowers; each flower lasts longer than in most irises - three days or a little longer.

The flower structure is very beautiful. The corolla is almost saucer-shaped, flat, which is only emphasized by the straight tube. The three lower petals on the flower are adorned with dark spots at the very base of the petals, evoking associations with iris flowers. The short stamens are crowned with unusually long anthers, brightly prominent in the flower's pharynx. On average the diameter of laperusia flowers does not exceed 2 cm, but they appear large, striking and showy.

House laperusia can be bred, but more often the plants are grown with the usual cycle of development - with flowering during the whole spring (from March to May), dormancy period - in dry and warm summer, with keeping in cold - in calendar winter. Laperusia belong to tuberous plants, experiencing full dormancy period, shedding their leaves. After blooming, the greenery of the plant gradually withers and the plant enters a dry dormancy phase.

The color range of Laperusia is limited to only a few color variants. Laperusias are usually associated with carmine flowers adorned with dark spots, but white, blue or cream flowers are characteristic of individual species

Even in rooms, laperusias bear fruit. After flowering, rounded bolls of fruit are set, in which unusual shiny seeds of dark cherry color mature by early summer. The seeds of Lapeirousia pyramidalis are rather large, about 3 mm in diameter.

Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Lapeirousia pyramidalis. ©
Elena Ioganson
Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Lapeirousia crimson (Lapeirousia cruenta). © Jindrich Shejbal
Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Lapeirousia resinous (Lapeirousia silenoides). ©
todoplant todoplant

Species of indoor laperusia

Decorative, cultivated laperusia are difficult to call a variety of plants. There are about 60 species of these amazing corms in the genus Laperusia. In garden and room culture 5 species are used.

Lapeirousia pyramidalis (Lapeirousia pyramidalis) is a modest but very decorative and unusual plant whose beauty can be fully appreciated only with time. Amazing leaves with strongly elongated needle-like tip and ribbed surface hug powerful shoots. The flowering stem and the leaves are similarly colored, which only emphasizes the exoticism of laperusia.

The dome-shaped inflorescences are amazing with oval green bract leaves, from the axils of which the elegant flowers grow on thin pedicels. The flowers are delicate, creamy-white and very fragrant, with delicate pointed petals and a convex tube. The thin stamens with a bluish cast emphasize how massive the flower stalk seems in comparison to the flowers themselves.

Lapeirousia crimson (Lapeirousia cruenta) is still the most common of indoor Lapeirousia and is most often found under that name in catalogs, although it has recently been reclassified as a genus Freesia. Fresia loose (Freesia laxa) is a synonym for laperusia crimson, which is considered the official name of the plant. The leaves of the plant in double-row rosettes can either be limited to 15 cm or grow to 30 cm in length. Flower stalks up to 30 cm in height carry single and dense spikelets of inflorescences in which up to 12 two-centimeter, bright pink, double-row corolla flowers are gathered.

Lapeirousia resinous (Lapeirousia silenoides) is a very beautiful species with dark, pink-cherry-colored flowers. The leaves are arranged in a petiolate order, encircling the stem, resembling something like Lapeirousia pyramidalis. The peduncles are crowned with unique single flowers with a long stem-like tube and six ideal almond-shaped corolla petals, arranged in two rows. Dark spots stand out at the base of the lower petals and white spots on the upper ones.

Lapeirousia mountain (Lapeirousia montana) is a species with flowers that resemble either pushkins or hyacinths. With a stem height of up to 45 cm, this laperusia produces up to four very large leaves from a very small bulb, only 1.5 cm in diameter. The linear root leaves are combined with small stem leaves. The clumped flower stalks are crowned with panicles or umbrellas of inflorescences with very dainty flowers. The tube is slender and the corolla is divided into sharp, graceful lobes of delicate lilac coloration with a white spot near the center of the petals.

Lapeirousia oreogena (Lapeirousia oreogena) is a very rare, collectible and super rare species that is now increasingly being promoted as a fashionable exotic novelty for true lovers of valuable crops. This plant surprises by the ultramarine, dark blue color of the corolla petals with dark triangular strokes in the center and an elegant cream-colored "goosefoot". The tongue-like shape of the petals does not give the laperusia oreogenes a look like irises, but the color scheme is reminiscent of them. The leaves are beautiful, narrower, almost lanceolate, double-rowed, up to 20 cm long. Depending on conditions, the ultramarine blue coloration may change to dark purple.

Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Lapeirousia mountain (Lapeirousia montana). © jeffs bulbesetpots

Conditions for Growing Indoor Lapeirousia

This rare indoor plant surprises with not so stringent requirements for conditions. All that is needed for success in growing laperusia is a cold dormant period and sufficient light. It is a freedom-loving crop that is afraid of draughts and cannot grow without fresh air.

Laperusia, like most African tuberous exotics, can be rightly considered both a greenhouse and an indoor plant. In winter gardens it is much easier to create appropriate conditions for a Luperusia, but you can also raise this African plant indoors - all you have to do is to put some effort and be more attentive to its care.

Lighting and placement of the Luperusia124>

Lauperusia need no good light just from the time the leaves start to dry up until transplanting. When the plant is in full dormancy in a dry environment, pots with laperusia can even be placed in a dark place. But after transplanting, in spite of the cold content, laperusia must be placed in a bright place with protection from direct sunlight. Bright light is needed until the leaves are dead.

Laperusia is a plant for growing on a windowsill. It is good in bedrooms, living rooms and large rooms. It is not afraid of large collections and any neighbors.

Temperature regime and ventilation

Laperusia in the phase of active growth perfectly suits room temperatures, The optimal temperature range - from +18 to +23 degrees, but also in a hotter environment it will not suffer. All difficulties with creation of comfortable conditions are connected with the resting period of the plant.

After flowering is finished, laperusia is kept warm, letting the leaves dry up. Do not change conditions even after they have completely yellowed and died off, creating a warm, dry environment for the resting period. In autumn, in October, after transplanting, the pots with bulbs are transferred to radically different conditions - to a cool place at a temperature of +5 to +8 degrees.

In cold overwintering mode laperusia are kept until there are no signs of leaf growth. Developing laperusia are returned to room temperatures, repeating the whole cycle. Plants can also be grown with digging out of the soil, but in that case there is a much greater risk of losing the bulbs from drying out, so it is considered a safer strategy to grow laperusia with a dry dormant period in the substrate.

Laperusia need regular ventilation. Plants do not react very well to sudden changes in conditions during the active growth stage (coolness will not hurt them at all). When kept in the cold after transplanting, you must be sure to take care of regular ventilation of the room.

Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Lapeirousia oreogena (Lapeirousia oreogena). © penguin_yu_ki

Home Care of Lapeirousia

Thanks to the long dormancy period, caring for Lapeirousia is not difficult at all. The plant requires careful watering and frequent fertilizing, and the care of this bulb would be possible even for beginner flower growers, if it were not for the requirement of careful correction of watering and special stimulation of flowering. Most of the year you would not have to make even minimal efforts. The key to growing laperusia is to smoothly change care from active development to dormancy and back again.

Watering and Humidity

At the time of active development and flowering, it is easy to pick the right watering strategy for laperusia. Avoiding dampness, for this bulb maintain a stable substrate humidity, letting the top layer dry out and draining water from the trays immediately after this procedure.

Laperusia watering is completely stopped during dormancy. Plants are transferred to a dry regime gradually, starting to reduce watering and increasing the intervals between them as soon as the leaves begin to dry out. Once the leaves have completely dried, the plants with dry substrate should be moved to a comfortable environment, stopping all watering procedures. Resume watering gradually and slowly after transplanting, only slightly moistening the soil when kept in the cold. Watering is increased only with the beginning of leaf growth, and after taking the plant into the warmth start regular watering, letting the upper layer of the substrate dry out and maintaining a stable light humidity.

Fertilizers and fertilizer composition

Laperusia, like all corms, are fed only during active growth. Fertilizing begins after the leaves appear and normal watering begins. Feeding frequency for this crop should be increased in comparison with the standard one and 1 fertilizer should be applied every 10 days until flowering is completed.

There is no need to choose special fertilizers for bulbs or tubers. Standard full mineral fertilizers with a balanced ratio of the three main macronutrients will also work well for her.

Trimming and shaping laperusia

Any pruning procedure for this plant is reduced to the simplest measures:

  • removing the flower stalk after the blooms;
  • removing the dry leaves.

Transplanting and substrate

Laperusia are transplanted between the dormant phase and preparation for flowering in cool. Plants are transplanted in October or November. For laperusia, it is desirable to use small containers with a width greater than the depth.

The key in selecting substrate for laperusia is its nutrient content. This tuberous bulb is planted in loose, light soil mixes. You can use ready universal substrate or soil for bulbs, or you can use a simple mixture of equal portions of sand, mulch and peat. If the soil seems insufficiently loose in texture, you can add loosening additives - from sand to perlite or inert soil.

Laperusia are never planted one bulb at a time. The plant is placed in groups of 6 to 8 per pot. After digging the bulbs out of the old substrate, inspect them, separate them, remove only dry or damaged roots, taking care not to injure the rest, treat places with signs of rotting and be sure to soak all planting material in a light solution of fungicide for 1 hour to disinfect it. Laperusia bulbs should be dried before planting. Tuber bulbs are placed so that a few centimeters of soil remain between them. The plant does not tolerate strong embedding: plant the bulbs horizontally, growing points upwards, so that the planting depth remains at the level of 3 cm.

Laperusia - the graceful indoor iris
Pests and diseases do not occur on laperusia, which does not suffer from dampness. © yuki*Kawa

Diseases, pests and problems in cultivation

In room culture, laperusia can only suffer from poor care and non-compliance with dormancy conditions. Pests and diseases do not occur on a plant that does not suffer from dampness. If there is too much moisture, laperusia may die from rotting. Combat signs of wilting and bulb lesions by emergency transplanting only.

Laperusia multiplication

The easiest method of propagation for laperusia is to separate the offspring. The daughter corms are separated every year at transplanting. Usually plants form them quite actively, you can separate annual bulbs without fear. The only thing to take care of is the careful handling of the offspring, which have not yet matured scales. Planting and cultivation rules for small laperusia are no different from the agrotechnics recommended for adult plants.

Actively fruiting laperusia are also easy to grow from seed. It is the only tuberous bulb capable of flowering already in the year of sowing. Harvested seeds are kept in the cool and dark until spring, sowing together with the first seedlings. Sowing is carried out in a peat-sand substrate, with a light covering of soil. For laperusia create standard conditions  growing seedlings. Picking is carried out after the appearance of two leaves. Seedlings are placed in the same groups as when growing adult plants.

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