Anisodontea is a genus that includes some species of perennial plants, or small shrubs, originating in southern Africa; over the years they can reach 90-120 cm in height. They produce erect, poorly branched stems, which give rise to a dense and fairly compact tuft; the leaves are trilobed, wrinkled and with a serrated edge, dark green, slightly aromatic. From late spring to the early autumn colds, it produces small flat flowers, similar to peach blossoms, in shades of pink and white, delicately scented. The flowers bloom along the stems, at the leaf axil. There are varieties with particularly colored flowers, and also with gray leaves. To keep the plant compact and encourage the development of new branches, with a consequent abundance of flowers, it is good to shorten the branches by about a third, at the beginning of spring, avoiding cutting down to old wood.
Display and watering
Anisodontee are species that are cultivated in the sun, although they can develop without problems in places that enjoy a slight shade. They bear short frosts of slight entity, but in places with very cold winters it is advisable to cover the whole aerial part, to avoid the damage of the frost and thus allow the plant to remain even when temperatures are difficult. If desired, it is also possible to grow anisodontee in pots, and store the containers in a tempered greenhouse or at home during the cold season. As for watering, these should be done from March to September quite regularly, always leaving the soil to perfection between one watering and another; we remember that these plants are of African origin, and therefore they bear the drought without problems. During the cold months we can avoid watering.
Land and multiplication
They grow in any soil as long as they are not too heavy and very well drained; when putting these plants in the ground let's remember to add some sand to the soil, to avoid the formation of water stagnations. During the vegetative season, add a fertilizer for flowering plants to the water, every 10-15 days.
If we want to reproduce the plant, in late summer we remove the apices of the branches that have not produced flowers, and let them root in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, avoiding to let it dry until the roots are produced. In spring it is possible to sow small seeds, already in February-March, keeping the seedbeds in a place protected from the cold and direct sun.
Pests and diseases
Anisodontea, especially if kept in greenhouses or at home and during the summer fears the development of mites. In fact, they are tiny animals no larger than a few millimeters, similar to spiders but much smaller, capable of infesting entire species of plants. The body is rounded and orange yellow. Females are larger than males. The species affected lose their original vigor after the mites point to the surface of the leaves feeding on their sap.