Cultivation: It loves very bright positions, but it must be protected from wind and rain. Never expose it to temperatures below 5-8°C and water very sparingly.
Curiosity: The name Rauhia is dedicated to the German botanist Werner Hermann Heinrich Rauh.
The genus Rauhia includes some bulbous plants native to Peru. The most common species is Rauhia multiflora (also called R. peruviana), which hardly emits more than a couple of leaves at once.
Its habitat are usually rocky slopes or open woods, in climates with a marked alternance between a dry season and a rainy one.
They are plants with a usually large bulb (about 15 cm), from which sprout thick leaves with an elongated and elegant shape, growing in opposite pairs. They are deep green in color, glossy, sometimes furrowed by a deep central vein, giving it a touch of elegance.They can reach up to 30 cm in length and are the main reason why Rauhias are so sought after by succulent enthusiasts.
The big bulb is usually smooth and brownish or greyish, sometimes furrowed by crack-like, darker marks which make it even or elegant.
Under the bulb, if you extract the plant from the soil you can notice thick, succulent roots, densely clustered, which help the plant anchor itself to the rocks and to maximize the water storage.
These plants do not produce, however, much foliage: in particular, in the Rauhia peruviana it is easy to find only one pair of leaves or maximum two, while in other species (such as Rauhia decora) they can reach 3-4 pairs. They are usually rather long, reaching 20-30 centimeters in length. For their elongated shape, they may look like green tongues. In winter, the leaves wither and fall off and the survival of the plant is ensured by the subterranean bulb, a store for water and nutrients.
From the center of the bulb, in the middle of the leaves, comes out a long sturdy stem bearing the flowers, arranged in an umbrella-shaped inflorescence. The stem can reach 150 centimeters in length!
Flowers are small, numerous and greenish in color. They are self-fertile and will appear after the winter dormant period. They don’t have distinct petals: the funnel-shaped, elongated succulent green corolla is a unique structure in which there are six recognizable lobes. Also, flowers are curved downwards and have prominent anthers. The anthers are the male part of the flowers, in which the pollen is produced.
VARIETY AND TYPES
There are five different species of Rauhia found, which we list below. Most classifications, however, consider four (not recognizing R. sagasteguiana).
- R. decora
- R. multiflora (also called R. peruviana)
- R. occidentalis
- R. sagasteguiana
- R. staminosa
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TIPS FOR GROWING
Here are our cultivation tips:
- Rauhias require very bright locations, but must be protected from wind and rain. Direct sun is tolerated well by adult plants, while younger ones must get used to it gradually.
- It is recommended never to expose Rauhias to temperatures below 5-8 ºC.
- They need very little water. It will be sufficient to water them once a week, paying attention that the soil in which it lodges stays well dry in order not to let the bulb rot.
- As a substrate, you can use a mix of minerals and peat very draining or, alternatively, a standard soil for cacti.
- During the vegetative period, fertilize once a month or every two months with a good product for green plants, rich in micronutrients. Doses should be reduced to half the amount indicated on the package.
- Repotting is necessary every two years. While repotting, don’t bury completely the bulb, but leave it at least a couple of centimeters open from the top.
Rauhia can be multiplied both by seed and by division of the bulbs. Plants are self-fertile and therefore it is relatively easy to obtain seeds; however, due to the difficulty in germination, cutting off the bulbils and burying them gives a better chance of success.