Jacobinia - Justicia - Acanthaceae - How to care for and cultivate Jacobinia plants



also known as


There Justicia or Jacobinia it is a very popular and cultivated plant for its splendid blooms, particularly suitable for being grown in an apartment.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris









Jacobinia (synonym Justicia)


: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Jacobinia or Justicia cincludes tropical plants belonging to the family of Acanthaceae native to the tropical and subtropical areas of the world and to the temperate areas of North America. In its places of origin the plant reaches even 7 m in height while in regions with a temperate climate it hardly exceeds 2 m.

These are evergreen, shrubby and sufruticose perennials, characterized by large, opposite, whole leaves more or less covered with hairs depending on the species, with tubular flowers with a bilabiate terminal part that gather in an inflorescence spike or panicle at the axil of the leaves. , slightly scented. The colors vary from white, to pink, to apricot, to yellow to lavender depending on the species and cultivar.

In temperate climates they must be grown as indoor plants and only a few species can be grown outdoors (J. pauciflora, look down).


The genre Jacobinia cincludes about 400 species among which we remember:


There Jacobinia carnea is an evergreen shrubby plant native to Brazil characterized by quadrangular section stems, leaves of a beautiful dark green color, opposite, lanceolate, pointed, with slightly wavy edges that blooms during the summer period producing pink flowers gathered in terminal spikes.

The flowers are tubular, quite large and bilabiate in the terminal part.


There Jacobinia aurea it is a species native to various countries of southern America that can reach up to two meters in height and produces intense yellow flowers gathered in spikes.


There Jacobinia suberectaalso called Dicliptera sericea compared to the other species it remains a small plant not exceeding 50 cm in height with the stem densely covered with hairs which give it a greyish color. The flowers are orange-red.

It is a species which, compared to the others, is more sensitive to the minimum temperatures which must not fall below 15 ° C and does not tolerate direct sunlight.


There Jacobinia pauciflora native to Brazil, it does not reach large dimensions not exceeding 60 cm in height with small and narrow leaves and orange-yellow flowers gathered in clusters and hanging. Among the different species it is the most resistant to low temperatures, in fact in areas with a mild climate it can also be grown outdoors throughout the year.


There Jacobinia chrysostephana is another specimen of this genus, native to Mexico, with very bright green oval leaves, with reddish veins on the underside. It is a winter flowering plant with yellow flowers gathered in terminal spikes.


There Jacobinia coccinea it is native to Brazil and is a plant that can reach one and a half meters in height and produces pink-red flowers in the spring period.


The Jacobinia they are not difficult plants to breed and give a lot of satisfaction as they are fast growing, becoming in a short time large bushes rich in leaves and flowers.

Optimal cultivation temperatures are around 18-24 ° C and the minimum winter should not drop below 13 ° C.

They must be positioned in good light but not in direct sun, at least not in the hottest periods of the year.


For the Jacobinia the soil, during the period of intense growth of the plant (spring - summer) must always remain wet without the water remaining in the sub-pot as it does not tolerate water stagnation. During the autumn - winter watering must be reduced in order to keep the soil slightly moist.

He loves environments therefore it is advisable to place the vase in a saucer with inert material (gravel, pebbles, etc.) in which to always leave water (so that the bottom of the vase is not in contact with water) which evaporating will ensure an environment humid.

In consideration of the fact that the stems are quite slender, it is preferable not to wet the leaves as they would become too heavy and could cause the branches to break.


The repotting of the Jacobinia it is carried out in spring, every two to three years, using a compote made up of earth of leaves, peat and sand in equal parts. It is very important that the soil allows a good drainage of the irrigation water as they do not tolerate water stagnation so be careful to place pieces of earthenware on the bottom.

In the years in which it is not repotted it is good to remove the surface layer of the soil for 2.5-5 cm and renew it with fresh soil.


In the spring - summer period the Jacobinia fertilize every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water, slightly decreasing the doses compared to what is reported in the package.

Use a fertilizer that in addition to having nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) also has microelements, i.e. those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantities (but still needs them) such as magnesium ( Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for plant growth.

In the other periods the fertilizations must be suspended.


The flowering periods of the Jacobinia they are variable according to the species. Mainly, they occur mainly during the summer period. An important practice is that after the plant has faded, at the beginning of autumn, cut the stems 10 cm from the base (see paragraph "Pruning").


Being a plant that grows a lot, the Jacobinia Prune vigorously enough every year, in early spring or autumn (after flowering) to have a neater looking plant and in this way it will be renewed and will last several years. Furthermore, having very dense foliage, pruning allows the plant to be opened and light and air to reach even the innermost parts.

A good practice is the topping of the vegetative apexes during the summer period which will have the advantage of obtaining a more bushy and compact plant.


The multiplication of the Jacobinia occurs by cuttings.


The 10-15 cm long cuttings are obtained from sturdy and healthy plants in spring.Cut them with an oblique cut immediately below the knot, eliminating the leaves placed further down and using a well cleaned, disinfected and sharp blade to avoid fraying the fabrics and transmit parasitic diseases.

The cut part must be sprinkled with a rhizogenic powder to favor the emission of the roots and then placed in a pot with peat and sand in equal parts and watered so that the soil is uniformly moist (better if this is done with a sprayer).

The pot is covered with a transparent plastic sheet or a hooded bag making sure that no part of the plant is in contact with the plastic (help yourself with sticks).

Place the pot in a location in the house that is not too bright and at a temperature around 21-24 ° C. Remove the plastic every day to control the humidity of the soil (it must always remain moist) and remove any condensation that has formed in the plastic.

After about two to three weeks the cuttings of Jacobinia they should have rooted (the first shoots are beginning to appear). At which point the plastic is removed definitively, the pot is placed in a brighter area, at the same temperature and waits at least a couple of months before transplanting them into the definitive pot and treating them as adult plants.


The leaves of the plant wither and discolor

This symptom is usually attributable to temperatures that are too low.
Remedies: place the plant in a warmer position.

The leaves of the plant turn yellow and become covered with small dark dots

If this symptom occurs and if observing them you notice thin cobwebs, especially on the underside of the leaves, there is certainly an infestation due to the red spider mite, a very harmful mite.

Remedies: first of all it is necessary to increase the ambient humidity around the plant as this mite is favored by a dry environment. If the infestation is particularly severe then it is advisable to use acaricides available in specialized centers.

Justicia carnea is a tropical plant from the Acanthaceae family. Its rapid growth and ease of cultivation make it a good ornamental plant, particularly decorative for its colorful feathers during the summer months. While it can be kept on the ground all year round in warm climates, elsewhere it is ideal for growing in pots, outdoors in summer, indoors in winter or all year round as a houseplant.

At a maximum height of 1.50 m, Justicia carneam displays a bush of soft, branching twigs with large, dark green, glossy leaves. The flowers appear in clusters of 10 to 20 in apical feathers. The flower is bilabiated, with a very long lower lip. The flowers are usually pulp pink, but can be darker or white, depending on the variety.

Species and varieties

Selaginella kraussiana: this climbing species has thin stems from which, at the branches, adventitious roots originate. The overall appearance is that of a dense cushion of light green leaves. It is characterized by very rapid growth. The “Aurea” variety has green and gold foliage.

Selaginella lepidophylla: also known as the "resurrection plant" or "rose of Jericho", it is sold in dry bunches, which turn green when immersed in water. Common names derive from this phenomenon.

Selaginella martensii: native to Mexico, this herbaceous, evergreen species has stems that are not very long, very branched, with an erect posture for almost the entire length and curved at the extremity, practically covered with fleshy and scaly leaves, just over a centimeter long, very close and bright green color. The whole gives the impression of a fern frond.

Rose of Jericho Selaginella lepidophylla

Environmental needs, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: the minimum winter temperature must not be lower than 15-120 ° C, so that they bloom for a long period. In any case it is not advisable to expose the plants to temperatures below 13 ° C.
Light: very good and widespread, but away from direct sunlight.
Watering and environmental humidity: watering must be frequent in summer (every two days), reduced in winter (once a week). The humidity should be good, but never stagnant.
Substrate: garden soil, with the addition of soil of mature leaves, peat and sand.
Fertilization and special precautions: in summer it is advisable to administer liquid fertilizer on a weekly basis. To keep the colors of the flowers lively, algae extracts and dried blood can be administered as an alternative to fertilizer. Every year the seedlings should be repotted, even if it would be better to renew the specimens, using cuttings.

Multiplication and pruning

Multiplication: new specimens can be obtained using semi-mature stem cuttings, 10 cm long. about and taken from the end of the non-flowering lateral shoots, in spring-early summer, taking care to make the cut immediately under a node, to remove the lower leaves, as well as to block the escape of the latex by spraying cold water on the surface cutting. The cuttings thus obtained must be rooted in a mixture of peat and sand, kept just moist, in a breeding box, in the shade and at a temperature of 18-22 ° C. The new shoots should appear within 8-10 weeks. At this point the new seedlings can be transplanted into single 8 cm pots.
Pruning: in autumn, at the end of flowering, the longer stems will have to be shortened. In addition, every year, in February, all weak secondary branches will be eliminated. The overdeveloped specimens must be subjected to shortening of the main branches up to half of their length and of the secondary ones to 8 cm. of length. To stop the latex from escaping, simply spray cold water on the cutting surface.

What attracts bees?

When selecting flowers that attract bees, it helps to know what they are looking for. Bees are attracted to the colorful and fragrant flowers. The bright colors and the aroma of the fragrant flowers tell the bees that there is food nearby.

Plant a garden with flowers that will bloom throughout the season or plant varieties that will bloom at different times of the season for a continuous supply of food for these buzzing friends. A single flower is not enough, it is necessary to plant strips of different types of flowers to attract different species of bees.

Although bees don't just need food. They also need shelter and water. Don't forget to provide a place for bees in your garden. To make your garden more attractive, consider adding a hotel for bees or insects. Many bee-sized flowers will also attract other pollinators.

Environmental needs, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: the ideal temperature in summer should not exceed 18 ° C. The minimum winter temperature must not be below 10-15 ° C. Winter temperatures that are too high are also not recommended, as they could hinder flowering. These rules are fundamental for 5-6 year old plants, which are able to flower, while they can be less mandatory for young plants, which have not yet begun to bloom.
Light: intense and diffused, away from direct sunlight.
Watering and environmental humidity: water frequently and abundantly throughout the year, with the exception of the rest period, which corresponds to June-July.
Substrate: compost of mature manure, with the addition of sand to lighten it and increase its drainage. In fact, these plants cannot tolerate stagnation of water.
Fertilization and special precautions: mature plants must not be repotted, in order not to compromise flowering. It will be sufficient to replace the superficial layer (2.5-5 cm.) Of soil with new soil. Feed liquid fertilizer from October to May.

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