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 whole 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 wet.

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 watering 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 very growing plant, the Jacobinia it is pruned 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 robust 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 too low temperatures.
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.

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