Einblatt (Spathiphyllum)

Here in Germany the single leaf is kept as a houseplant, mostly as a hybrid. The plants have an inconspicuous trunk that protrudes very little from the earth, from which elongated dark green leaves grow in clusters. The plant usually forms flowers in spring and summer, but the mono-leaf can also bloom at other times of the year. The flowers grow out of long stems that are longer than the dark leaves of the plant. And it is actually the flowers from which the single leaf owes its name: They consist of a single large, white bract called the spathe. Inside there is a white, cream-colored or green flower bulb. The flowers are slightly scented, but are only white for about a week. After tha, the individual petals turn a light green shade.

Exact description of the crop

The Spathiphyllum wallisii variety is cultivated as a hybrid in the home culture, other species are almost non-existent. The leaves of this subspecies are about seven inches wide and eight inches long, they grow on about six inches long stems. The single leaf normally blooms in spring, but with good care it can bloom again in late summer. The stem of the flowers is 25 cm long, the petal itself is about ten centimeters long and five centimeters wide. The plants in the trade show different flowers.

Einblatt Exact description of the crop

Location, light and temperature

The single leaf needs light, it likes a bright location. However, direct sunlight is unfavorable and damages the leaves. That is quite logical, because the natural home of the single leaf is tropical America, an area that offers a lot of sunshine, but also enormous vegetation, so that relatively small plants like the single leaf do not get direct sunlight. Partial shade to shade is perfectly fine as long as there is not a very dark corner in the room. And this natural habitat also explains the preferred temperatures of the plant: Normal apartment temperatures are optimal, and less than 13 ° C is harmful to the leaf.

Dry indoor air is not good, the tropical plant needs a high level of humidity. If the single leaf grows near a regularly operated indoor fountain, that is optimal. A bowl of water with aquatic plants near the single leaf serves the same purpose. It is very decorative when the single leaf sits in a pot with soil, but it is also stored on a bowl that is filled with small stones and water. The stones will always have a moist surface and allow the water to evaporate into the room air – more than a bowl of water does. The pot of the single leaf must not stand in the water! When the room temperature drops below 18 ° C, the growth of the plant slows noticeably. So once again briefly summarized:

  • bright location without direct sunlight, penumbra
  • high humidity, preferably over stones moistened with water
  • grows very slowly at less than 18 ° C
  • never expose to temperatures below 13 ° C

Preferred soil, water needs, and fertilizers

Einblatt Preferred soil, water needs, and fertilizers

The single leaf likes rich earth, it is no different from its homeland. A peat-based soil is rich in nutrients and is good for the single leaf. If you want to protect moors and prefer to work peat-free, you can make a mixture of equal parts of compost soil, leaf soil and sand and get the perfect soil for the single leaf. Compared to other indoor plants, the single leaf needs a lot of water. It must be watered regularly and evenly, the upper layer of soil should dry out slightly between the individual waterings. But the earth must never become completely dry.

even if the single leaf lets the green leaves hang properly after two to three weeks of less water. This tip has a real core, because the few weeks of relative drought and the subsequent abrupt wetness with fertilization imitate the tropical winter with less rain, which is followed by a moist, nutrient-rich spring. And the single leaf, of course, blooms in spring. This treatment actually corresponds to the natural living conditions of the plant, if you consider the annual rhythm.

The single leaf needs regular fertilization: During growth, a liquid complete fertilizer should be used in normal concentration every two weeks. All care instructions briefly summarized again:

  • rich soil based on peat, alternatively a separate mixture of one third each of compost soil, leaf soil and sand
  • Water evenly and regularly so that the soil never gets dry
  • Fertilize every two weeks with commercially available liquid complete fertilizer
  • Hibernate with a lower temperature and less watering

Propagate and pot size

The single leaf can be propagated at home, the plant can be easily divided. The dense cluster of leaves can be divided every year in spring. The plant should be very carefully removed from the planter. The rhizomes are carefully separated into several parts, each of which must have at least three leaves. These sections are now placed individually in the recommended peat-based soil or the self-made mixture. During the first three months of the propagated plants, they should not be fertilized.

The single leaf can be grown from seeds with relative ease. The seed is not simply planted, but should germinate at 25 ° C in a propagation box with high humidity before it is first planted in small balls of peat-containing soil and later transferred to a normal flower pot. When growing from seeds, it is important that the temperature and humidity are right. However, seeds for the single leaf are difficult to get in stores.
The plants need a larger pot once a year, in spring, so they have to be repotted once a year. But only until they have reached their maximum size. The largest pot you need is about fifteen to twenty centimeters in diameter, the single leaf does not get any larger. If a drainage system made of potsherds or stones is created in the pot when repotting, that is ideal. In a nutshell and very clearly:

  • Put in a larger pot once a year in spring
  • for propagation in spring divide the tufts of leaves so that each of the new plants has at least three leaves
  • propagated plants grow in the recommended soil
  • propagated plants should not be fertilized during the first three months

Care instructions and pests

Einblatt Care instructions and pests

The single sheet is otherwise not very susceptible, it is easy to maintain and hardly requires any special measures. The plant does not have to be cut, nor does it need changing locations, temperatures or fertilization. However, when the humidity is low, it quickly becomes a victim of the red spider. This can be avoided by firstly keeping the humidity high and secondly by frequently spraying the leaves with water (this mimics the rain and the associated high humidity of the tropical home of the single leaf). The flowers do not need to be sprayed. It is also advisable to regularly check the underside of the leaves for spider mite infestation. There are actually no other pests.

Another problem that is more common is brown leaf tips. These indicate that the humidity is too low. Brown dots on the leaves, on the other hand, indicate too much fertilizer – simply repot immediately and reduce the amount of fertilizer, the new leaves will grow back healthily. The single leaf is sensitive to salts. Specifically, this means that the plant should only be fertilized after it has been watered. Because the irrigation water dissolves the mineral salts of the fertilizer, so that the single leaf absorbs them immediately and in high concentration. If it is first poured and then fertilized, the fertilizer dissolves only slowly, is evenly distributed in the soil and is also only slowly absorbed.

However, the soil should be checked regularly for fungal infestation. Because the root ball of the plant must always be wet, there is a risk of mold. This can be avoided with good ventilation and warmth. The root ball of the plant is well ventilated if there is a drainage system made of potsherds or small stones in the pot, through which excess water can drain off.

Single leaf does not bloom and gets brown flowers!?

If the single leaf feels good, but does not stand perfectly, it will sprout many new leaves but no longer bloom. As with any other plant, good growth is an indication of well-being. If the single leaf has not bloomed for more than a year, you should think about a new location for the plant – it could be too dark despite partial shade, because the Central European sun simply does not have the power of a tropical sun. In addition, there is the German architecture, which usually only provides very small and few windows in the rooms. A weak morning sun can sometimes tempt the single leaf to bloom in direct sunlight if it does not like the partial shade. Briefly summarized care instructions:

  • Keep humidity high
  • do not over-fertilize
  • watch out for fungal growth in the pot
  • Create drainage from potsherds or stones in the pot
  • in case of over-fertilization, repot immediately and use less fertilizer in the future
  • Spray leaves (not flowers) frequently with water
  • Check the underside of the leaves for spider mites
  • if the single leaf does not bloom, move it to a lighter location (possibly where direct sunlight can fall briefly in the morning)

The single sheet looks beautiful and sets elegant accents in the apartment. In contrast to some other houseplants, it does need some care, but no special knowledge or skills. So it is a pleasant roommate even for people with little time and without the proverbial green thumb. Like all green plants, the single leaf improves the indoor climate. It is non-toxic, easy to care for, and easy to propagate. An elegant eye-catcher! Plants that were grown and sold in the nursery are often more beautiful and healthier than the plants sold in the supermarkets and hardware stores.

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