Ruscus (Ruscus), also called Igneedle, is directly related to the asparagus family (Asparagaceae). However, there are sources, in which this plant is allocated to its own family Ruscaceae, or it is included in the family, called the lily family.
Such a domestic perennial plant as the Ruscus has a very effective appearance. It is not capricious and undemanding in care. Can grow in shady places.
Most often florists grow russus as a compact bush, but it can be made as a lovely Christmas tree. During fruiting, almost the whole plant is covered with round berries of rich red color. Since this flower is undemanding, it is often chosen to decorate not only apartments, but also offices. The stiff stems of this flower are colored dark green. After cutting, they do not lose their spectacular appearance for many months, so russus is quite suitable for making various compositions.
Wildly, the pine and oak forests of Western Europe, in the Crimea, the Caucasus, as well as in southern Russia.
This flower can grow to 70 centimeters. The lance-shaped prickly leaves are nothing more than modified flat stems that specialists call cladodia (phyllocladia). The scale-like leaves are very small.
In springtime, they begin to flower, but the rather plain flowers are of no ornamental value.
However, berries emerge from the pollinated flowers and after ripening acquire a rich red or orange-red color. Fruits do not fall off for a long time. Because on the same bush may be both flowers and fruits. As a result, it may seem that the puffball blossoms and bears fruit all the time. Female and male plants are required to produce fruit.
But often fruit can also form on a puffer plant that grows alone.
Home care for puffer plants
Home care for such a plant is quite simple. Remember that intensive growth and development in ruskus occurs exclusively in the springtime. At this time, fully formed young shoots begin to grow. And how big they will be depends on the fertilizer, as well as watering.
This plant should be treated very carefully. If you damage the shoots, the young ones will only grow with the next spring period.
Diffused light is needed, but it is fine in a shaded place too. In winter time it is recommended to put it on the window sill of the window located in the southern part of the room, and in summer time in the eastern or western part of the room. Remember that direct sunlight in the summertime can kill the puffball (it will wither up).
In the spring and summer the plant needs its normal room temperature and it is best to move it outside. In winter, it needs a cooler temperature (a constant temperature of 13-15 degrees). Therefore, Needlewood is suitable for growing in lighted halls, as well as cool foyers. There are also frost-resistant species with which you can decorate the house outside.
It does not require a certain humidity.
Specialists recommend spraying the russus systematically and also washing it to remove the dust.
How to water
When the young shoots are actively growing, the plant needs to be watered systematically. Once its growth stops, it can easily tolerate a lack of watering.
Feed during the active growth once every 3 or 4 weeks. A full blended fertilizer is used.
During the winter the plant is dormant and must not be given any fertiliser at this time.
Potting in the spring as needed. The shape of the future bush depends on the choice of pot. So, if you want a lush bush, you should choose a wide pot. In it, the pine needle from the creeping rhizome will quickly form young shoots.
In a narrow container, russucus will not be bushy.
Does not need nutrient-enriched soil, as it prefers to grow on mountain slopes in the wild. However, the substrate should not be too dense as stagnant water in the soil should be avoided. To make a suitable soil mixture for the puffball, combine leaf and sod soil and sand in a ratio of 3:1:1. Dry old underground shoots should be removed during transplanting.
Propagation can be done by seeds or by dividing the bush. The second method is the easiest. Divide the rhizomes of an old sprawling plant in the spring. Each partition should have roots and shoots. Remember, transplant before the active growth period begins.
Diseases and pests
Not too prone to diseases and pests. Thrips, scabs, and spider mites may settle.
Ruscus species with photos
Iglitzia pontica (Ruscus aculeatus)
Rises to a height of 60 centimeters (in some cases 100 centimeters). Has upright shoots. The lanceolate, leathery phyllocladia are colored bluish-green.
They are also pulled back into a prickly long point, you can clearly see the middle vein. The fruits are quite large and are colored red. It ripens in November or December.
Igliva hypophyllum (Ruscus hypophyllum)
Most frequently occurs in natural conditions in the Caucasus and the Mediterranean. It prefers to grow under the forest canopy.
Because of this, it can grow safely in the shade in room conditions. Reaches 50 centimeters in height. The glossy phyllocladia are oblong-lanceolate and they taper toward the base.
Iglitzia colchicus (Ruscus colchicus)
Has large phyllocladia and its stem does not branch. Flowering occurs gradually throughout the fall and winter period.
And with the onset of spring, the fruit ripens. This species is medicinal.
Hyllium hypoglossum (Ruscus hypoglossum)
The bush reaches only 30-40 centimeters in height. This species is listed in the Red Book. Under wild conditions it can be found in the south of Crimea and in Europe, where it prefers to grow in shady, damp forests on wet rocks and between rocks.
The leathery phyllocladiums, which are also glossy, have a rounded top.
Hyrcanus hyrcanus (Ruscus hyrcanus)
In nature can be found in Northern Iran and the Caucasus. It is a relict plant. It prefers to grow in mountain forests as a continuous carpet. Reaches 25-40 centimeters in height.