Climbers

Bicacaro (Canarina canariensis)

The Canarina canariensis is a climbing plant of exceptional beauty because it produces large flowers of a red bell that draws much attention. Its rapid growth makes it a very interesting species to cover walls or lattices, of course, provided they are protected from direct sun.

If you want to know all the secrets that this wonderful species hides, in this special article we are going to tell you all about it .

Origin and characteristics

Our protagonist is an endemic climbing plant of the Canary Islands, where it lives mainly in the laurel forests. Its scientific name is Canarina canariensis, although it is popularly known as bicacarera, bicacarero, bicacaro, or campanilla. It grows from a thick and deep tuber.

Its stems are climbing -if they have a place to hold- or hanging, fleshy, hollow, and can measure up to 3 meters. These contain latex inside. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, covered by a white fluff, of an intense green color on the upper side and lighter on the underside.

The flowers are bell-shaped, orange or red, and bisexual. The fruit is a fleshy black berry, oval, 3-4cm in diameter, and edible, with a sweet taste.

What are their cares?

Image – Wikimedia/ Jose mesa

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care for your bicacaro:

Location

  • Exterior: place in semi-shade. It can be in full sun if the insolation is not very intense, but you prefer to be protected.
  • Indoor: can be kept as a houseplant in a bright room.

Earth

  • Garden: grows in fertile soils, with good drainage.
  • Pot: plant with the following mixture of substrates: 50% black peat + 30% perlite (or similar) + 20% worm humus.

Irrigation

The bicacaro is a climber that does not resist drought at all. It must be taken into account that in laurel forests the environmental and soil humidity is high. But beware, this does not mean that you have to treat it as a aquatic, because the ponding does not suit it either. So how often do you have to water it? 

It will depend on the climate and the area where you are. Thus, while for example outdoors in Malaga (Spain) it will be necessary to water very often in midsummer, indoors in Palencia (Spain) the frequency will be less at the same time of year. Therefore, and to avoid problems, I advise you to check the humidity of the soil, at least at the beginning.

For this you can use a digital humidity meter, or a simple thin wooden stick (if when you extract it you see that it comes out with a lot of adherent soil, do not water). When in doubt, it is always more appropriate to wait a couple of days before watering.

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Guano powder.

The Canarina canariensis produces edible fruit, so that ideally will pay it in spring and summer with organic fertilizers, either guano, manure from herbivorous animals, eggshells and/ or banana, or others that you commented on this link..

Multiplication

It multiplies by seeds and cuttings in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:

Seeds

The step by step to follow is as follows:

  1. First, a seedbed (pot, tray with holes, glasses of yogurt with a hole in the base,…) is filled with universal culture substrate.
  2. Then, it is watered conscientiously and the seeds are sown, ensuring that they are not piled up.
  3. Afterwards, they are covered with a very thin layer of substrate and watered again, this time with a sprayer.
  4. Finally, the seedbed is placed outside, in semi-shade but in an area with plenty of light.

They will germinate in 4-5 weeks.

Cuttings

Stems that come out of the base are cut, impregnated with homemade rooters, and finally planted in pots with vermiculite (you can get it here ).

Pruning

It is not necessary. It will be enough just to remove the dry, diseased or weak stems, as well as the withered flowers.

Rusticity

It is sensitive to cold. It is grown outdoors in subtropical climates without frost.

What uses does it have?

Ornamental

The Canarina canariensis is a vine of great beauty. It is grown in gardens to cover lattices, walls, walls, dry tree trunks… It is also a wonderful indoor plant, which adapts well to living in these conditions.

Edible

The fruits have been consumed since the first settlers of the Canary archipelago arrived on the islands.

Curiosities

Image – Flickr/ Anna Faherty

To finish, you should know that this plant was recognized by Carlos Linneo, who is considered the father of modern botany, in 1738. Furthermore, at the end of the 17th century the gardens of Hampton Court (London) already had some specimens of bicacaro thanks to the fact that the British wine merchants who were in the Canary Islands sent them there.

What did you think of Canarina canariensis ? It’s pretty, isn’t it? We hope you enjoy it very much, whether you choose to have it in the garden or at home .

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