Gardening Tips

Mikado plant: care

Mikado plant: care

The mikado plant, with its unique appearance and size, is one of those plants that leaves no one indifferent since they are capable of providing, by themselves, a different and striking touch to the decoration of any space.

If you want to learn how to grow this striking little plant, keep reading this EcologíaVerde article where we will talk about the mikado plant and its care.

Characteristics of the mikado plant

The Syngonanthus chrysanthus, which is the scientific name of the commonly called mikado plant or kokedama mikado, is a plant native to the tropical areas of Brazil. It belongs to the genus Syngonanthus, which has more than 200 species, all of which are characterized by being aquatic environment.

It gets its name from the Mikado, an oriental children’s game consisting of a series of long, thin wooden sticks, strongly reminiscent of the particular size of this plant, with its long stems totally straight and devoid of leaves or branches.

It has a rosette of fine green leaves, from which its characteristic inflorescenceswhich are the long stems topped by a small white or gold flower bud before opening.

The flower stems reach a height of between 25 and 30 cm, while the rosette is about 8 cm in diameter, being a small plant that we can place practically anywhere.

If you want to know more about aquatic plants, we leave you this other article with more than 50 aquatic plants: names and characteristics.

Location and climate of the mikado plant

As with many species, its status as a tropical plant tells us a lot about its needs in terms of light and temperature. Therefore:

  • In its natural habitat: and as it is a small plant, it is found in areas with a lot of light but is covered under the rest of the taller vegetation, so it needs very well lit areas but always at covered in direct sun.
  • indoors: the ideal will be to place it in a room with lots of light but away from the windows. If there is no choice but to place it next to a window or light source, it will be necessary to use a clear curtain that filters the light, giving it the brightness it needs without damaging it.

The kokedama mikado can also be grown outdoors, but only in areas with a temperate climate that is very similar to the tropical, so it is most commonly grown indoors, in a pot.

Its ideal temperature is between 19 ºC and 22 ºC, tolerating cold up to 14 ºC and heat up to 30 ºC. We can thus see that this is its main weakness and one of the most important points regarding the care of the mikado: the room temperature.

Find out more about Excess or lack of light in plants in this other EcologíaVerde post that we recommend.

Mikado plant: care - Location and climate of the mikado plant

Watering the mikado plant

How could it be otherwise, this is the other great pillar of caring for this tropical plant: watering and humidity. Tropical climates are characterized, in addition to their stable temperatures, by their high humidity and the mikado plant needs these conditions.

Must water it often to maintain a constant level of humidity in the substrate, as it is an aquatic species of swampy areas. This does not mean that we should flood the substrate, because although the kokedama mikado is more resistant to these conditions, in the long run they could damage it. Always keep it moist, either with a system of drip irrigation or manually watering around 5 times a weekespecially in the warm months.

The plant also requires high ambient humidity, which can be emulated either by spraying water on its rosette once or twice a day, or by placing the pot on a small bed of stones and pebbles partially submerged in water. In this way, the humidity will rise by evaporation, sneaking through the drainage holes and enveloping the plant.

Here you can discover How to make a homemade drip irrigation system that may be of help to you.

Substrate for the mikado plant

As for the substrate, the plant is not excessively demanding, being the only important point that it is convenient that the soil is slightly acidic, with a pH between 4 and 5 points. If the water in your area is very rich in calcium, it is likely that it will end up altering the pH of the substrate, so if you see symptoms that the substrate has become too alkaline, such as yellow leaves or stems, transplant it and go to water it with distilled water or at least let stand tap water for 24 hours before watering with it. In this way, the salts will settle to the bottom and if you water without rushing all the water you will avoid adding these elements to the soil of the plant.

What to do if your mikado plant dries out

If the plant appears dry or shows signs of yellowing it is most likely due to:

  • The lack of irrigation and humidity: in this case, simply gradually increase the watering and spraying.
  • The substrate has lost its acidity: you must transplant it to a new pot with a specific substrate for acid-loving plants and stop watering with tap water.

Take a look at this other article about the Types of substrate that exist and that may be able to help you understand more about the subject.

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