Maidenhair Vines - Meuhlenbeckia


Meuhlenbeckia complexa



Contents

  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Common Issues
  4. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity.


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Top Tips & Info

  • Care Difficulty - Moderate
  • Maidenhair Vines are best kept in bright, indirect light to avoid the risk of sun-scorch. Alternatively, low light may introduce the development of soil mould but can be tolerated if kept slightly drier. 
  • Provide moist soil, allowing the soil's top third to dry out in between waters. Reduce irrigations slightly further in the autumn and winter, avoiding the risk of dehydration.  
  • Fertilise using a 'Houseplant' labelled feed every four waters in the spring and summer, reducing this to every six in the colder months.
  • Repot every three years during the spring, using a 'Houseplant' labelled potting mix and the next sized pot with drainage holes. 
  • Maidenhair Vines are deciduous, meaning that they'll lose their leaves over the winter months. Don't be alarmed, as once the new growing season returns in the spring, it'll put-out new lush growth along the leaf-terminals (nodes). If you're interested in restricting the growth, prune the vines back considerably to promote a bushy, compact appearance.




Location & Light - 🔸🔸

Maidenhair Vines prefer to be sat in a bright location with the absence of direct sunlight. As you'll have to keep the soil relatively moist, the risk of soil mould and over-watering is dramatically increased when maintaining too little light. You also mustn't provide a shaded site either, as the risk of root rot is rather likely when over-watered. The recommended areas for this plant would be a north-facing window, within two metres of any other window, or somewhere that boasts over-head lighting. Avoid situating yours within three metres of an operating heat source.


Water - 🔸🔸

Maintain evenly moist soil, allowing the compost's top third to dry out in between waters. It's important not to promote what's known as 'irrigation abuse', whereby the specimen is subjected to periods of droughts, followed by floods of hydrations. Not only will this promote unreliable foliar growth, but the risk of terminally damaged tissue below the soil line could also cause incompetent, functionless roots. Under-watering symptoms include a shrivelled stem, yellowing leaves, stunted inflorescences, little to no growth and dry, crispy patches forming on the leaf edges. These issues are typically caused by too much light/heat or forgetfulness. Remember, the brighter the location, the more watering you'll need to do. Over-watering symptoms include a weakened or rotten stem, no new growth, yellowing lower leaves and eventual plant death. Click here to learn more about root rot and how to address it!


Humidity - 🔸🔸

Create a humidity tray to provide a moist and stable environment for your plant. If the surrounding saturation is too low or the heat too high, its leaf-tips may start to brown over and curl, especially in direct sunlight. Gently hose the foliage down from time to time to hydrate the leaves and keep the dust levels down. If your specimen is hooked, mist the foliage once a week to counteract dry air while the heaters are operating, or locate it in a bathroom with good lighting. 


Fertilisation - 🔸🔸

Fertilise every four waters during the growing period before reducing this to every six in the autumn & winter. Although an 'All-Purpose' fertiliser will still do the job, we'd recommend using a specific 'Houseplant' labelled fertiliser as it'll support the vital thirteen nutrients that this species will need to grow.




Common Issues with Maidenhair Vines

Under-watering is the biggest issue. Typical signs of this include wilting, sunken and yellowed leaves and stunted growth. If the plant is in direct sunlight, relocate it to a slightly darker area. Increase the number of waters, too - Maidenhair Vines tends to grow in moist soil that rarely promotes droughts. As long as you keep an eye out for drying soil, success is inevitable.
Those situated in direct sunlight or within three metres of a radiator are most likely to suffer from these issues.

Never situate Maidenhair Vines within four metres of an operating heat source, for instance, a radiator or fireplace. Due to the heightened temperature, the plant will soak up far more moisture than those situated in cooler locations, increasing the chance of droughts and browning leaf-edges.

Too much sunlight will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves or stunted growth. Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will also be a detriment. If yours has fallen short of this, reduce the amount of sun considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when two locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase waters slightly.

As mentioned before, powdery mildew and southern blight are major threats among heavy foliage plants when excess moisture is allowed to sit on compacted foliage. Remove the affected areas and improve the growing conditions by situating the plant in a brighter location and keeping the leaves dry.

A loss of variegations is caused by too little light. Although Maidenhair Vines can be used in shady locations, it'll come at the cost of the variegations. If you're not entirely bothered about this, simply skip this step. Move the plant into a brighter location to allow the variegations to re-develop on the new growth. Alternatively, extreme variegations that hinder the plant's green appearance is caused by too much sunlight.

Root rot is another common issue. Typical symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth and stem collapse. Those situated in darker locations and/or too-soggy soil are most likely to be hit with this issue. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect its root systems - if they sport a yellow appearance, you're okay, but if they're brown and mushy, action must be taken immediately. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.

Pest damage can also cause issues down the line, with Spider Mites being the usual inhabitants. Check the under-leaves for their webs and near-transparent critters that are the size of a sand grain. Typical signs to look out for are mottled yellow leaves, stunted growth and sticky webs that'll hold bits of dirt. Click on this link for more info.

Too-low humidity will cause the browning of leaf tips with yellow halos, commonly caused by nearby operating radiators. As dry air is a big issue among households during the colder months, introducing a humidity/pebble tray will help deter this issue, along with providing better growth. Although this won't help with the already-affected leaves, its new growth will look as good as new. The use of artificial humidifiers is only needed while the radiators are operating.

If you're thinking of repotting a specimen that's growing up a moss pole, never remove the attached aerial roots as the disturbance could put further stress on the plant. Extend by purchasing another same-sized pole and pushing directly into the hollow hole in the original's top - its moss-like material may have to be cut off from the top to access the hollow centre. Get a long, sturdy stick that has a similar length to the two poles combined and place in the two's centre to support the weight. Always perform the repot BEFORE adding another pole, as it'll prove more challenging due to the weight distribution and overall balance. NEVER remove soil from the roots, or over-touch the root system, as this will cause transplant shock and possible death.

Yellowing lower leaves (closest to soil) is a clear sign of over-watering, usually caused by too little light. Although Maidenhair Vines can do well in darker locations, the frequency of irrigations must be reduced to counteract the chance of root rot. People don't realise that a plant's root system needs access to oxygen too, so when the soil is overly-saturated, the roots will suffocate and therefore will begin to breakdown. Click on this link to learn more about root rot and how to address it.

 



Origins

Meuhlenbeckia is a genus of twenty-four rhizomatous species, ranging from Australasia to the Americas. It was first described by Carl Meissner in 1841, honouring Alsatian bryologist, Heinrich Gustav Mühlenbeck. The Latin specific epithet of the most popular species, M. complexa, refers to its tangled appearance when grown in its natural habitat of New Zealand.


The Distribution of Meuhlenbeckia complexa.


Temperature

-2° - 30°C  (28° - 86°F)
H3 (Hardiness Zone 9) - Tolerate to temperatures below freezing. Although it can survive frosts and thin snow, refrain from bringing it indoors overnight if the room temperature is above 5℃ (40℉), as a sudden change in temperature may cause environmental shock with weakened spring growth and a lack of flowers over the season's course. Instead, either leave it outdoors or in an unheated conservatory, brightly lit garage or a greenhouse until the risk of frost has elapsed.


Spread

Up to 2.5m in diameter when given enough space. The ultimate height will take between 3 - 6 years to achieve.


Pruning & Maintenance

Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean utensils or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health. Although the aerial roots aren't exactly appealing, do not remove them as this can stress the plant.


Propagation

Via Seed or Stem & Eye Cuttings.

Stem & Eye Cuttings (Moderate) - This method of propagation is troublesome without the aid of bottom-heat and a controlled environment. Choose the healthiest, most established stems that are slightly hardened, yet still juvenile enough to bend slightly. Each cutting should only have ONE leaf with two nodes (one for the leaf and the other below for root development that'll be submerged in the soil). Cut directly below a node using a clean knife to reduce bacteria count. Situate the lower node into moist 'Houseplant' compost, with the only the leaf sticking out of the soil. Blackleg can occur when the bottom wound becomes infected, typically caused by water-logging or a too-damaged wound. Maintain bright light and evenly moist soil with the avoidance of direct sunlight or cold draughts. Wrap the pot (& foliage) in a transparent bag or within a miniature greenhouse, and provide bottom heat of temperatures above 18°C (54°F). Remove the bag and place into individual 7cm pots once the second new leaf emerges. Follow the same care routines, as mentioned in the article's top half. This method will take up to five months, so patience and the correct environment are paramount for success!


Flowers

Maidenhair Vines are dioecious, meaning that the plant is either male or female, and therefore needs two plants for successful pollination. The flowers sport a white appearance, with the petals forming a succulent rosette arrangement. Unfortunately, it's doubtful for a Maidenhair Vine to bloom indoors, due to the unfavourable growing conditions. If you're interested in achieving a show of flowers, decrease the winter nighttime temperatures to 10°C (50°F), along with dry soil to entice the plant to bloom over the summer months.


Repotting

Repot every three years in the spring, using a 'Houseplant' labelled potting mix and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Maidenhair Vines are far better potbound for several years due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting-issues (like transplant shock), so only repot if you feel it's wholly necessary - restricted root growth will also increase the chance of blooms, too.

Hydrate the plant 24hrs before tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those situated in a darker location, introduce an extra amount of perlite and grit into the deeper portion of the pot to downplay over-watering risks. Click on this link for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.

Book a 1-to-1 video call with Joe Bagley if you'd like a personal guide to repotting your houseplant. This will include recommending the right branded-compost and pot size, followed by a live video call whilst you transplant the specimen for step-by-step guidance and answer any further questions!


Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, whitefly, blackfly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, with the exception of the latter two in the soil. Common diseases associated with Maidenhair Vines are root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.


Toxicity

Not known to be poisonous when consumed by pets and humans. If large quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.


Retail Locations

Found outdoors in the Hanging Basket departments in garden centres, from late summer onwards. Although it's acceptable to bring these specimens inside, be sure to perform a pest check and an introductory period to avoid environmental shock. 



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