Maidenhair Vine - Meuhlenbeckia


Meuhlenbeckia complexa


Top Tips

  • Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. Do not promote prolonged droughts due to the high risk of dehydration and death.
  • Although average room humidity is acceptable, introduce a humidity tray to aid better growth.
  • Bright indirect light is best, avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, especially in the summer.
  • Too-dark locations will cause variegations to fade on multi-coloured specimens. If it's bright enough to read a newspaper, you're good to go.
  • Supplement monthly using a houseplant fertiliser, all year round.
  • In spring, repot every three years with houseplant compost. Water the plant 24hrs beforehand, to reduce the risk of damaging the root hairs. (Transplant shock).
  • Maidenhair Vines are deciduous, meaning that they'll loose their leaves over the winter months. Don't be alarmed, 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.

•Water - 🔸🔸

Good soil moisture is essential for Maidenhair Vines, due to their poor ability to survive droughts. Once the top quarter dries out, rehydrate the soil using lukewarm water. Furthermore, splashing the leaves each time the plant is irrigated will cause the older leaves to rot. For more severe cases, this will lead to powdery mildew or leaf spot disease - click on this link below to learn more. Under-watering symptoms include crispy/curling leaves, a grey, washed-out appearance, yellowing leaves and a lack of new growth. These issues are commonly down to either too much heat/light forgetfulness. Dehydration is the number one issue among growers, so always keep an eye out for drying soil. Over-watering symptoms, on the other hand, include yellowing lower leaves, little to no growth and a rotting stem or leaves. Never allow them to endure long periods of soggy soil or a dark location as both will significantly increase the chance of over-watering and death.


Read More - Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


•Humidity - 🔸🔸

Introduce a humidity tray, especially in winter, to reduce the chances of browning leaf-tips. If it's situated in a darker location, be careful with over-misting; powdery mildew or leaf spot disease could arise at any time when the air circulation is poor.


•Location & Light - 🔸🔸

Bright indirect light is best. The combination of good soil moisture and a well-lit location will provide the best results for your Maidenhair Vine.

Sunny locations should be avoided at all costs. Prolonged exposure to the sun or dry soil will result in pale leaves, stunted growth and crisping foliage - if it's too hot for a chocolate bar, it'll be too hot for the plant, too.

Alternatively, lower-lit areas should only be used, if wholly necessary. Although Maidenhair Vines can thrive in shady locations, the reduced rates of photosynthesis and too moist soil will lead to a weakened, leggy plant. Variegated specimens situated in these areas will slowly revert back to its green appearance, too.


•Fertilisation - 🔸

Maidenhair Vines must not be over-fed, due to the sensitivity of its roots. Once a month throughout the year, supplement using Houseplant Feed or a general plant fertiliser.




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 amount 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 it 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 be a detriment, too. If yours has fallen short of this, reduce the amount of sunlight considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when too 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.

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-leafs for their webs and near-transparent critters that are the size of a sand grain. Typical signs to look out for are yellow mottled 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 are only needed whilst the radiators are operating.

Yellowing lower leaves is a clear sign of over-watering, usually caused by too little light. Although Maidenhair Vines will do okay in darker locations, the frequency of irrigations must be reduced in order 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 epithet of the most popular species, M. complexa, refers to its tangled appearance when grown in its natural habitat of New Zealand.


Temperature

0°C - 30°C   (32° - 86°F)
H3 - can be grown outdoors throughout the year in a sheltered location away from the sun, but is fine to remain indoors. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, do not allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as this will burn the leaves. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back into the home.


Spread

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


Pruning

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and improve the all-round appearance. Pruning must be done with clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases - remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant.


Propagation

Via seed or vine cuttings. To learn about the essentials with sowing seeds, be sure to click on this link - Seed Propagation Tips.


Vine Cuttings

  1. Choose the healthiest, most established vines that are wooded, but still juvenile enough to slightly bend. This propagation method can be taken from spring to summer, using one or two leaves along with some stem.
  2. Cut directly below one node AND above another, leaving each cutting with two nodes - one for root growth and the other for new foliage. It's also important to use a clean knife to reduce bacteria count. Have a look at the image above if you're stuck.
  3. Use a 5 inch pot that has good drainage holes - plastic or terracotta are both acceptable in this instance. Try not to over-pot the cuttings - blackleg occurs when the bottom wound becomes infected, typically caused by water-logging or a too-damaged wound.
  4. Set the cutting into the compost, keeping the foliage above the soil line. Be sure to submerge the bottom node into the soil, or else its root development will be hindered.
  5. Avoid direct sunlight and offer good humidity by placing the potted plants into a transparent plastic bag for the first couple of weeks. 
  6. Open the bag every two days for half an hour for the prevention of disease. After a month of being placed in soil, remove it from the bag and treat like an ordinary houseplant.


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 highly unlikely 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 using Houseplant Compost and the next sized up pot. It's important to use a slightly water-retentive soil, as Meuhlenbeckia hate dry soil. Water the plant 24hrs before the repot, as damage to the dry root hairs will cause transplant shock. For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant.


Diseases & Pests

Typical diseases associated with Maidenhair Vines are leaf-spot disease, botrytis, powdery mildew & root rot. Keep an eye out for spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, whitefly, root mealybugs, scale & thrips. Click here for more information about how to identify and address any of these issues.


Toxicity

This plant is classified as non-poisonous, however, if large quantities of the plant are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite may occur.


Retail Locations

Found outdoors in the Hanging Basket departments in garden centres, over the spring. Although it's acceptable to bring these specimens inside, be sure to perform a pest check to avoid a infestation.

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