How to grow and care for Leea Plant Indoors

Houseplant, Leea coccinea

Botanical name: Leea coccinea Burgundy
Family: Leeaceae

Leea also called Red Leea, Hawaiian Holly or West Indian Holly 'Rubra' is a rare but a perfect stand alone houseplant. The foliage is bronzy red when young but turns green when mature. The variety Burgundy maintains the red foliage color in good light. It grows to a height of 6-8 ft. The leaves are Leea flowers are attractive to wasps, bees, butterflies, flies and bettles which act as potential insect pollinators. However it rarely blooms when grown indoors. It produces red flowers which later turn pink. The fruits are black berries. Leea is a genus of plants that are distributed throughout Northern and Eastern Australia, New Guinea, South and Southeast Asia and parts of Africa. There are about 70 species and they are placed in the Vitaceae family. But based on morphological differences, they are often placed in their family Leeaceae. The genus was named by Linnaeua after James Lee, the Scottish nurcseryman based in Hammersmith, London who introduced many new plant discoveries to England at the end of the 18th century.

How to Grow Leea Plant

Light

Leea Plant prefers bright light to light shade away from hot direct sunshine which causes the foliage to become yellowish. Low light causes loss of leaf color. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

Water

Water Leea Plant thoroughly during the growing season and maintain the soil consistently moist thorough out the season. Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 120C during the growing season is ideal for Leea Plant. Keep the plant away from draughts at it can lead to leaf drop. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Leea Plant. It has no need for high humidity. To get rid of dust from the leaves, splash the plant with plenty of water from a steady jet of water. Washing the plant also discourages pest infestation.

Feeding

Feed Leea Plant with a water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing season. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot a young Leea Plant at the beginning of the growing season into a pot 2 sizes larger than the previous one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent waterlogging as it can lead to root-rot. Replace the top 2-3 in. of soil every 2-3 years for mature plants while taking care not to injure the roots.

Pruning

Pruning Leea Plant involves removal of any dead leaves to keep it neat and tidy. Pinch the growing tips to encourage a bushy and compact growth. Cutback the stems at the beginning of the growing season when the plant becomes overgrown to rejuvenate growth.

How to Propagate Leea Plant

Leea Plant can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings. Take 3-4 in. of Leea Plant stem-tip cuttings. Ensure each cutting has at least 2-3 leaf nodes. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and insert the cut end into moist free-draining soil. Cover the set up with clear polythene to increase humidity and warmth. Place in a shaded place and maintain the soil moist until the cuttings are rooted. Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new plant.

Common Problems in Growing Leea Plant

  • Yellow leaves accompanied by leaf drop
  • The causes of yellow leaves accompanied by leaf drop in Leea Plant are overwatering, underwatering, cold draughts and sudden change in growing conditions. Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season and reduce watering in the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist. Protect the plant from cold draughts and avoid moving the plant suddenly without acclimatizing it to the new growing conditions.

  • Yellowing and dark spots on the leaves
  • Hot direct sunlight is the cause of yellowing and dark spots on the leaves in Leea Plant. Leea grows best in bright light of light shade away from direct sunlight. Move the plant to a shadier place.

  • Loss of leaf color
  • Too little light is the cause of leaf color in Leea Plant. Leea grows best in bright light of light shade away from direct sunlight. Move the plant to a brighter spot.

  • Stunted growth
  • Stunted growth in Leea Plant is caused by inadequate feeding or low light. Feed Leea every 3-4 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer. Ensure the plant is growing in a well-lit spot, though it can tolerate light shade.

Toxicity

Leea Plant (Leea coccinea) produces a milky sap which can irritate the skin. Always wear gloves when handling. The plant is toxic to both humans and pets if ingested.

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