As if its flowers fell from the sky in flakes, the bacopa (Chaenostoma cordatum) presents itself on the summer balcony.
Its gracefully hanging tendrils covered with star-shaped blossoms create a picturesque appearance in hanging baskets and window boxes. To unfold in all its glory, proper care is essential for this South African flowering beauty.
Formerly known by the scientific name Sutera cordata, the bacopa is today classified as Chaenostoma cordatum. It is also known as ornamental bacopa.
Planting the Bacopa Properly
In order for the bacopa to start its flowering festival on time in May, plant the flower in the designated balcony container starting in mid-April.
Before you fill in the potting soil, clay shards over the water drainage ensure that no waterlogging can occur.
Place the young bacopa in the soil only as deep as before in the growing pot and water with soft water.
Until mid-May, the exotic grace lingers on the sunny balcony during the day, spending the nights indoors. This tempering will benefit the vitality and abundance of flowers.
The grateful bacopa does not need an extensive care program. You can easily satisfy its care needs with these steps:
- Keep the substrate constantly slightly moist with soft water.
- Ideally, run the water through a funnel to the roots.
- Fertilize with liquid fertilizer every 14 days from May to September.
- Cleaning out is not necessary.
Don’t fret when the summer flower show comes to an end in the fall. The bacopa is not hardy, but still has the vitality for perennial cultivation.
Cut back the flower vigorously and move it to the bright, frost-free winter quarters. At temperatures of 41-46 °F (5-8 °C), water the plant occasionally without applying fertilizer.
Which Location is Suitable for the Bacopa?
The bacopa feels comfortable in a sunny or semi-shady, warm location. However, the exotic flower does not like the bright midday sun.
Therefore, look for a sheltered spot on the west or east side of the house. A summer rain shower, by the way, does not affect the weather-resistant bacopa, as is the case with other sensitive balcony plants.
The Right Planting Distance for Bacopas
You can’t see at first glance what opulent volume the bacopa will develop with time. With a planting distance of 8 inches (20 cm), you allow a bacopa enough space to unfold in all its flowering glory in a window box or large tub.
What Soil Does the Bacopa Need?
The uncomplicated character of a bacopa is expressed not least in terms of the substrate. Use a commercially available compost-based potting soil with as little peat as possible.
To prevent the summer flower from being distressed by waterlogging, add a few handfuls of lava granules or perlite flakes.
When is Flowering Time for Bacopa?
With a blooming season from May to October, the bacopa trumps the vast majority of summer perennials. If it is given a balance of water and nutrients during this time, no further action is needed.
A bacopa gets rid of wilted flowers on its own, so you can save yourself the trouble of cleaning them out.
Pruning Bacopas Properly
The less a bacopa is bothered, the more imposing its abundance of flowers will develop. Therefore, cut back the long shoots only when it is unavoidable.
Only just before putting the plant into its winter quarters, cut it back vigorously.
Watering the Bacopa
Proper regulation of the water balance largely determines the successful course of cultivation. Here’s how to water the bacopa properly:
- Keep the substrate constantly slightly moist without causing waterlogging.
- If the soil dries out, the flower will die.
- Water only when the surface has dried to a depth of 1 inch (3 cm).
- Preferably water with lime-free water.
The sunnier the location, the greater the need for watering. During hot summer days, it may be necessary to water the plant in the early morning and again in the evening hours.
To ensure that the water reaches the roots through the densely packed flower shoots, use a funnel without further ado.
Fertilizing the Bacopa Properly
When it comes to nutrient requirements, the bacopa is undemanding.
If you administer a liquid fertilizer every 14 days from May to September, you have already covered this point in the care program exhaustively.
Aphids have no qualms about attacking a bacopa. Therefore, regularly check the undersides of the leaves to see if the pests have taken up residence here.
At the first indication of an infestation, proceed against the beasts with the classic soft soap solution.
To do this, mix 1 liter of lime-free water with 15 milliliters of soft soap and a few dashes of methylated spirits. Spray the plagued bacopa every 2-3 days until the infestation comes to an end.
Overwintering the Bacopa
In its South Africa home, the bacopa thrives perennially. The only obstacle to achieving this feat in most regions is the frosty winter temperatures.
In order for the bacopa to beautify your balcony again next summer, overwinter the flower like this:
- At autumn temperatures below 50 °F (10 °C), cut back the plant vigorously.
- Move the plant into a bright wintering area with temperatures between 41 ans 46 °F (5 and 8 °C.
- Water the plant less and do not fertilize.
In spring, repot your floral winter guest into the fresh substrate. As soon as there are no more ground frosts to worry about and the mercury column exceeds the 50 °F (10 °C) mark, relocate the Sutera cordata to the balcony.
Cut 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) long, non-flowering head cuttings in July or August. Remove the lower leaflets and place the shoots two-thirds into a pot with the lean substrate.
Moisten the soil regularly with soft water at room temperature. A transparent hood creates a warm and humid microclimate around the cuttings, which forces rooting.
If new leaflets sprout, the process goes according to plan and the cover can be removed. Through the winter, place your cuttings in a bright window spot at a cool 41-46 °F (5-8 °C).
Is Bacopa Poisonous?
There is nothing known about the toxicity of bacopas. Therefore, you can safely establish the pretty summer flower in a family household.
Intentional or unintentional consumption of flowers and leaves does not entail harmful consequences for humans or animals.
- Big Baja: A rich-flowered bacvopa with tendrils up to 48 inches (120 cm) long, dotted with white star-shaped flowers.
- Scopia Double: The premium variety sets an impressive scene with lushly double, light blue flowers.
- Pink Beauty: A rarity among bacopas with light pink blooms adorned with a dark pink throat.
- Big Pearl Falls: With a waterfall of pink star-shaped flowers, this Sutera cordata adorns the hanging basket.
- Scopia Violet: The purple flowers contrast beautifully with the white and pink bacopa varieties.