For beauty, medicine and nostalgia, have a ‘Thechi’ in garden
Ixora is one of the common flowering plants found in Kerala. It was an inevitable plant in the gardens of Malayali houses in the past. The plant is scientifically named as Ixora Coccinea. Ixora is also known as West Indian Jasmine. It is called ‘Thechi’ or ‘Chethi’ in Malayalam.
Ixora is a shrub that flourishes in nutritious soil and blooms well. The flowers bloom in bunches and are usually found in red and yellow colour. In addition to the beautiful flower, ixora is also known for its medicinal properties.
The shrub grows up to 1.5-2.5 metres. The leaves are a little long and flower bunches emerge at the end of the branches. The berries of ixora are small in size and dark red in colour.
Make a potting mix with soil, cow dung powder and coconut husk in 3:3:3 ratio.
Fill the potting mix in small polythene covers.
Cut at least 4-inch long stems from ixora plant.
Stem cuttings should be planted in the evening.
Dip the stem in drumstick leaf juice for one hour for rapid rooting.
Stem cuttings get rooted within two weeks of planting.
New shoots begin to appear within 20 days.
After three new leaves emerge, replant the sapling to flowerpot or garden.
Sapling requires moderate irrigation and shade until leaves sprout up.
During monsoon, make holes that have one metre length, width and depth each.
Fill the holes with equal amount of cow dung powder and sand.
Add 100 grams of neem cake and 50 grams of dolomite in the holes.
Plant the stem cuttings after irrigating well.
Ensure shade for the first two days after planting.
Prepare a flowerbed leaving a distance of 1.5 feet from the bottom of the plant.
Add 2 kg cow dung powder and 250 grams of groundnut cake once in every two months.
A type of caterpillar is the major pest that attacks new shoots of ixora.
Leaves, flowers and the entire plant of Ixora are used in different ways to treat stomach ache, wounds, diarrhoea and gonorrhoea.
In old times, there was a practice of applying oil boiled with crushed ixora flower to cure unhealable wounds.