Belonging to the family of Apocynaceae, the silk plant, or more properly Araujia sericifera Brot. it is a plant native to South America. It is a perennial vine with a high growth rate, which reaches 5-7 meters in length. It comes with stems covered with a thin down and which tend to wrap and form spirals, preferring to grow on supports and nets. The leaves, oblong and lanceolate are almost hairless, dark green on the upper part and covered by a gray down on the lower lapel. The white flowers, which produce a thick nectar, are gathered in axillary tops. The plant has the name of sericea due to the hair that surrounds the seeds, brown and small ovate-lanceolate, contained in a rather large follicular fruit yellow-greenish color.
Arauja propagation is done in spring and reproduction is sexual. The seeds should be placed in a mixed and moist soil until germination, which occurs in a very short time. Once the roots come out, the seedlings can be planted in the pots. Growth does not need special care, but since it is a very active plant, some repottings must be provided. When the roots, which grow rapidly, begin to flow out of the drainage holes, they must provide for the change with a larger container, adding new fertile and well drained soil. To get fruiting and flowering the plant needs many hours of sun exposure a day, but shady places are also good for growing. Protect from frost, but tolerate cold, even if the ideal environment is hot and humid.
For the choice of the soil, a good drainage should be preferred, with soft soil and very rich in nutrients. Although it is a plant that does not tolerate arid environments, it is quietly satisfied with rain water, when the cultivation takes place on the ground, but in case of drought it is always good to water it, while in pot the soil must always be moist, and without stagnation. For a good yield, the soil should be added about every 20 days with a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants and greens, diluting it in water for watering. If you want you can opt for a granular fertilization with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, slow release.
Diseases and Cures
Araujia is a plant that in nature grows in jungle environments and natural selection has made it particularly strong. It is very resistant to pests and does not particularly fear aphids and cochineals, but is subject to root rot, if there are stagnations or if the substrate is not sufficiently drained. To help you overcome the rigid winter, when you can not put it away, it is useful to mulch the base with straw to protect the roots, and support the plant with a brace or a net.
The fluff of the seeds was used to fill bomboniere and similar objects.
It is also called the false kapok plant.
The plant traps pollinating insects with its thick, viscous nectar and this has earned it the cruel name.
It was studied by the Brazilian botanist Antonio de Araujo and Azevedo from which it takes its name.