Cercestis Mirabilis is an evergreen tropical plant with triangular-shaped leaves. It has beautiful silver marking on its leaves that make it unique and rare.
Cercestis produce yellow flowers but they are not very beautiful.
To keep it thriving you need to expose it to bright light and fertilize it in summer and spring. Also, keep the growing medium moist. Use fast-draining soil with some organic material. Use neem oil to prevent pests and infections.
Today you’ll learn about the special type of houseplant which is rare and costly. Cercestis Mirabilis is not easy to find in garden stores and is not easy to grow.
Read the below guide to grow it successfully.
What is Cercestis Mirabilis plant?
Cercestis Mirabilis is a tropical plant that comes from the Araceae family. Plants of this family are called aroids.
It needs bright indirect light for its great health. It grows triangular-shaped velvety textured green leaves with silver markings on them.
In plant pots, Cercestis Mirabilis grows up to 3 feet tall with a leaf size of 6 to 8 inches. The size of its leaves depends on the light and fertilizer used.
Cercestis grow yellow flowers in the summer season but they are not very beautiful.
You should keep the soil moist to encourage it to produce big size leaves. Tropical plants need a good amount of moisture in potting soil.
Cercestis is naturally found in Western Africa and is also famous as the African Embossed plant.
I have two Cercestis Mirabilis plants one is growing indoors and the second one is growing as a tree wrap in my front garden.
How to Grow and Care for Cercestis Mirabilis?
Cercestis Mirabilis Light Needs
In tropical jungles of Africa, this plant grows on the jungle floor and also on the trunk of large trees. The large tree forms a canopy over the jungle floor.
Hence Cercestis Mirabilis receives a limited amount of light. It hardly receives direct sunlight and grows in indirect sunlight for its entire life.
While growing it at home you need to mimic the same light conditions. Grow it near a sunny window where it can get plenty of indirect light.
Protect it from direct sunlight, do not expose it to even morning sunshine. Filtered light is enough for it to become a healthy and thriving plant.
Some growers use grow light to grow it in dark places. 200 watts of grow light is enough for this plant.
8 to 9 hours of dappled light is required to keep it variegated. In a low-light environment, Cercestis Mirabilis grows long stems and fewer leaves.
This condition is called stretchy growth and can be corrected by exposing your plant to bright filtered light.
Watering Cercestis Mirabilis
A moderate amount of moisture is always required for its proper growth. Use filtered water only because tap water may contain chlorine.
This substance is not required for growing plants. It is harmful when you use chlorine contained water.
It gets collected at the base of the plant pot and sticks to the plant roots. As a result, the roots become shocked and stop functioning.
Your plant becomes weak and nutrient deficient. Also due to the lack of water, its leaves start turning yellow and brown.
To avoid all these watering issues always use filtered water.
Before watering your plant check the soil conditions. If it has a good amount of moisture then no need to water Cercestis Mirabilis.
But if the soil is about to dry or the top 2 inches of the potting soil is already dry. In this condition give a good amount of water to your plant.
This way you can prevent underwatering and overwatering problems.
Potting Soil for Cercestis Mirabilis
Fast-draining potting soil is key to success. In tropical rainforests, the draining power of soil saves plants from decaying and rainwater.
You need to use the same type of soil for growing Cercestis Mirabilis. But it is not possible to specially buy jungle soil.
So, there is a way to prepare well-draining soil at home.
Use general potting soil and add perlite, compost, or coco coir in equal parts. You can use this mixture for caring for Cercestis Mirabilis.
If you want a quick solution then buy any well-draining soil that is designed for topical plants. Do not use succulent soil or any violet plant soil.
Because this plant needs some amount of moisture to grow and succulent soils are unable to hold moisture for a long time.
The ideal temperature is 65 to 85 degrees F. Up to 95 degrees F is not a problem for this plant as long as it is not exposed to direct sunlight.
Cercestis Mirabilis cannot survive in low temperatures and cold winds.
Therefore, to save your plant’s life move it to an indoor warm place in the winter season. Also, move it from the large windows.
I use the heating mat in the winter season to keep my plant warm.
I place the mat under the pot and turn it on for 60 minutes in 24 hours. This way I keep the soil warm and protect its roots from cold weather.
The problem with this plant is you cannot place it near the heat vents. The direct heat flow makes it dry and the leaves start turning brown.
If you don’t have a heat mat you can put any normal cloth mat under the pot and cover the sides of the pot with a warm cloth.
Above 40% is a must to keep Cercestis Mirabilis thriving. It can handle high humidity to 90%. But we cannot handle this high air moisture for a long time.
Therefore, keep the humidity between 40% to 50%.
To improve air moisture, you can mist water on its leaves. Make sure you just mist water to keep the leaves slightly moist not wet.
An easy way to increase humidity is by using a humidifier. You should use a plant humidifier instead of a general home humidifier.
Plant humidifiers are inexpensive and are specially designed for plants.
1 plant humidifier is enough for multiple plants.
Fertilizing Cercestis Mirabilis
It is a slow-growing plant and unfertilized Cercestis Mirabilis grows very slowly. To give some speed to its growth use general houseplant fertilizer.
Only use slow-releasing fertilizer because slow growers cannot handle fast-releasing nutrients. Moreover, slow fertilizers make a continuous chain of nutrient supply.
This constant supply of nutrients is essential for linear growth.
Spring and summer are the only time when your plant grows its leaves and stems. Fertilizing at this time will result in excellent growth and large size leaves.
It does not need pruning but for maintenance, you must trim its dead parts. The bottom leaves usually turn yellow and brown.
Use shears to cut the yellow leaves.
Few yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant are normal. These are the oldest leaves that are about to fall off.
First, they turn yellow and then fall off the plant.
You can trim them once they turn yellow to help your plant to focus more on growing not shredding.
Use a clean cloth and wipe its leaves to keep them clean and to prevent insects.
Repotting is required once in 2 years to refresh the soil and its nutritional values. Use fresh soil for repotting your plant.
Also, inspect the roots at the time of repotting. Cut any damaged part of the roots. Use fresh potting soil and wash the new pot with warm water before use.
I always wash my new pots with dishwashing soap and warm water. This way I make sure my plants always stay protects from unwanted diseases and pathogens.
For repotting take your plant out of its pot and gently plant it in the new pot. Fill the pot with soil and tap around the plant.
Give some water and place it back in its place.
For the first few days, Cercestis Mirabilis looks weak and droopy. This is a transplant shock and is a normal condition.
Within 4 to 7 days, it will regain its health and stand firm in its new pot.
It is toxic to humans and pets you must grow it with care. The sap of the plant contains toxic crystals of calcium oxalate.
They cause irritation when anyone ingests plant leaves or stems.
Stomach pain, skin redness, itching, etc are its common side effects.
Propagating Cercestis Mirabilis
Stem cutting is an easy method of propagation. You can also propagate it with the Air Layering technique but then you have to wait until it produces air roots.
Step-By-Step Process of Propagation:
- Cut the healthy stem with leaf nodes and take a glass of water.
- You just need 1 or 2 leaves at the top of the stem, remove extra leaves.
- Dip the cut edge in the rooting hormone.
- Now place the stem cutting in a glass of water and place the glass in a warm location.
- Do not expose it to direct sunlight.
- Regularly change the water to keep it fresh.
- Within 10 to 15 days, you will see tiny new roots.
- Transfer your plant to the plant pot when the new roots grow 1 inch long.
- Follow the regular care routine and have a beautiful Cercestis Mirabilis plant.
Sap-sucking pets are the common enemies of Cercestis Mirabilis. They are common when you place your plant in a dirty place.
Or when you use contaminated soil.
To identify pests, you should tilt the leaves and check the undersides. Immediately use rubbing alcohol and wipe the leaves.
This will kill all the pests at once and rubbing alcohol is safe to use on plants.
In the worst conditions, you can use insecticidal soap and wash your plant without taking it out of its pot.
Take the pot to the nearest tap and rinse your plant. Then let it drain extra water and keep it separate from other healthy plants.
Yellow turning leaves indicate overuse of water. The extra amount of water in the potting soil makes it wet.
Wet and soggy soil is the perfect place for root rot. This root fungus starts eating the plant roots and as a result roots become unable to perform their regular function.
Your plant smells like rotten eggs and its leaves turn yellow.
To prevent overwatering, follow the soil check technique before watering and also use a plant pot with a drainage hole.
The combination of drainage hole + well-draining soil and Moisture checking technique can save your plant from overwatering.
Brown Leaf Tips
Brown leaf tips indicate that your Cercestis Mirabilis is suffering from low water. It is dehydrating and due to loss of water, its leaves develop brown tips.
In this condition, the first step is checking the soil. If it is dry then immediately give water to your plant.
Bottom watering is the best method to quickly give water to its roots.
Fill a tub of clean water and place your plant in it. Let the soil absorb water from the bottom hole. This way within 5 to 6 minutes you can saturate the soil with the required amount of water.
Take it out of the water tub and allow it to drain extra water.
Dark Spots on Leaves
Dark circular spots on Cercestis Mirabilis leaves indicate bacterial leaf spot disease. It is a disease that is similar to root rot.
Root rot eats roots and bacterial leaf spots eat leaf cells.
Wet leaves are the main cause of leaf bacteria. To save your plant, use copper-based fungicide for treatment.
But before the treatment remove the leaves that are more than 50% damaged.
To prevent bacterial leaf spot disease, keep the plant leaves clean and dry. Use neem oil to spray on your plant to keep it disease free.
Once in 20 days is enough for indoor growing Cercestis Mirabilis.
Cercestis Mirabilis is easy to grow plant if you know about its growing needs. It needs bright light to keep its leaves healthy. Silver markings are the result of bright light.
A little bit of fertilization is a must to help it to grow fast and to grow large leaves.
Neem oil spray is recommended to prevent many fungal and bacterial diseases.
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