A succulent such as Brigamia (Brighamia) is directly related to the Campanulaceae family. This plant is also called "Hawaiian palm" because of its resemblance to a palm, but also because it is called "cabbage on a stalk", "volcano palm".
Brigamia has been on planet Earth for over a million years, but flower growers have only recently paid attention to it. The ancestors of this plant preferred to grow on the volcanic steep cliffs of Hawaii, and they gradually changed their appearance. There was a gradual increase in the size of flowers (up to 15 centimeters) and they became more powerful.
At the same time, there were insects on Earth that had rather long proboscis. It was such insects that pollinated the tubular flower of this succulent. When the first people began to live on the Hawaiian Islands, the nature there has changed considerably. In particular, the same insects that pollinated the brigamia disappeared, and because of this the latter was under the threat of extinction. The fact that without pollination, fruits and seeds ceased to appear on this plant.
And in the absence of seeds there were no young plants. Until a couple of decades ago, this plant was on the verge of extinction. But they survived, thanks to the scientists at the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG). They were the first to start activities aimed at saving the endangered species. They decided to pollinate the brigamia manually which a couple of brave scientists, former mountaineers, dared to do.
They have to pollinate over 1,000 meters above sea level. Thanks to these scientists, people can still admire the brigamia and get seeds from it. It was also they who initiated the program aimed at saving this kind of representatives of the plant world.
In the nineties of the last century the seeds of this plant ended up in the research greenhouse of the Dutch company "Plant Planet". It's where they grow not quite the usual houseplants.
It is there that the brigamia is now grown and sectioned, which today anyone can decorate their apartment with.
The unusual bottle-shaped stem of this succulent is very fleshy, and quite a lot of moisture can be accumulated in it. Because of this, the plant is able to survive quite a long dry period. In the upper part of the stem are shiny leaf plates collected in rosettes. These pale green leaflets may be no more than 30 centimeters long.
They have a layer of wax on their surface and are similar in appearance to cabbage leaves. The leaves underneath may turn yellow and fall off as they grow. Where they are attached to the stem, they secrete a whitish, milky sap which is harmless. Under natural conditions this succulent can reach the height of 3 meters, but being in the room, its height practically never exceeds 100 centimeters. The trunk of a young specimen is green and smooth, as it grows its color becomes gray, and scars (traces of dead leaf plates) are formed on the surface.
Pale yellow flowers, consisting of 5 petals, are arranged in groups of 3-8 pieces. The corolla is 1 to 3 centimeters in diameter, the tube length varies from 7 to 14 centimeters.
Flowers appear directly on the surface of a bare rather dense greenish-brown or ashy-silver stem, which has a thickening at the bottom and the surface can be both smooth and covered with scars. The vanilla-scented flowers bloom between September and October.
Home care for brigamia
In winter, choose a south-facing window to place this plant, as it needs lots of light.
To direct sunlight as spring arrives, Brigamia is accustomed gradually, and all because of the thin bark on the surface of the stem can form a sunburn. In summer the plant has a dormant period. At this time it should be shaded from direct sunlight, and if this is not done, the plant may drop all the leaves. Most florists advise to place the brigamia in the garden or on a balcony for the summer period, but remember that in the fresh air this succulent tolerates the direct rays of the sun better. In the first days of autumn the flower is brought back into the room, where it soon blooms.
And it will be possible to admire its unusual flowers until November.
This plant is very fond of heat. During the warm season, it is recommended to grow it at a temperature of at least 25-27 degrees. In winter, make sure that the temperature in the room does not fall below 15 degrees. It reacts extremely negatively to overcooling of the roots.
High humidity is necessary, which should be about 65-75 percent. To increase humidity, it is recommended that the plant be moistened every day from the smallest sprayer.
How to water
The Brigamia trunk can accumulate a decent amount of liquid, and so it can survive fairly long dry periods. It has been observed that such a plant can do without watering for up to 1.5 months.
Watering should be moderate and only after the ground lump dries out completely. So, in summer watering is done approximately once a week, and in winter - once every 4 weeks. If the plant is watered too abundantly, it can rot its root system. Use warm water (2 to 4 degrees above the outside temperature).
Feed in spring and summer once every 4 weeks.
Cactus fertiliser must be dissolved in the water intended for watering.
A suitable soil must be permeable and well drained as otherwise rotting of the root system can occur. To prepare the soil mixture, combine sand with purchased cactus soil, which should be taken in equal proportions. The substrate should be slightly acidic (5.0 to 6.
0) or neutral (0.6 to 0.7).
Potting in the spring is recommended. Repot young specimens once a year and adults once every 2 or 3 years.
Suitable pots should be wide and low. So, well suitable are pots-bonsai, on the bottom of which there are holes for drainage. And all because this succulent plant has surface roots, which are located at a depth of 10 to 20 centimeters. Do not forget to make a good drainage layer of claydite at the bottom of the container, the thickness of which should be equal to 3-5 centimeters.
Propagation is possible by seeds, but for this you need to pollinate the flowers by hand.
You can propagate by cuttings. In this case, the cuttings themselves are taken from the top of the stem, and they grow there when it is damaged. The cuttings are left outdoors for 2 days to dry. After that, it is placed in a greenhouse on the sand, which should be dry and clean. Do not forget to air the mini greenhouse every day, and moisten the cuttings with lukewarm water from a small sprayer.
Pests and diseases
Often the leaves are infested with spider mites. Whitefly or aphids can also settle.
Cultivation secrets of Brigamia
To grow this succulent successfully you should read several tips from experienced florists.
- When buds form on the plant and also during flowering it must not be turned relative to the light source. Otherwise all buds may fall off.
For a normal development in autumn and winter it is recommended to additionally light the brigamia, with a light day of about 12 hours. Thus, to get the necessary duration of light day, it is necessary to turn on special lamps 2 hours before sunrise, as well as in the evening.
- The plant can drop all leaves due to stress. Thus, the stress can cause a change in light intensity, transition from winter to summer, presence of a lot of moisture, increased probability of pests, moving the flower from store to apartment. At the same time, the plant sheds its leaves as self-defense.
However, once it has acclimatized, new leaves will grow quite quickly.
- If the top part of the stem is damaged, the buds on it may wake up, making the "crown" more lush.
- Warm showers once every 4 weeks are beneficial to the plant, but the water must not be hot.Brigamia can also be given a "sauna" if possible. For this purpose, a succulent must be placed in a shower cabin filled with steam for 5-6 hours (do not turn off the light).
There are 2 species of this plant: Brigamia rockii and Brigamia insignis (Brighamia insignis). They are very similar in appearance. They differ in their stems, with Brighamia rockii being more swollen at the base and gradually tapering toward the top. The flowers of Brigamia insignis may have whitish-yellow or white color, while those of Brigamia roca are mainly yellow. However, it is not possible to determine the exact species by this sign because one specimen may have both white and yellow flowers.
As a rule, the corolla has 5 petals, but there are also blossoms with 6 or 7 petals in both species. Fruits are two-chambered dry polypods, which may reach 1.5 to 2 centimeters in length and 1 to 1.5 centimeters in width. The mature fruit cracks into two seed furrows, after which the seeds it contains will drop out.
The small oval seeds are only 0.1 centimeter long. The two species of these plants also differ in their seeds. Thus, the seeds of Brigamia roca are smooth, while those of Brigamia insignis have small tubercles on their surface, so that they are rough to the touch.