"Lady with Camellias"
The romantic beauty and antiquity of the origin of camellias have become the source of many myths and mysterious stories associated with this flower. According to legend, camellias are a beautiful, but soulless flower - an emblem of coldness and callousness of feelings, an emblem of beautiful, but heartless women who, not loving, entice and destroy.
There is such a legend about the occurrence of camellia on earth.
Erotu (Cupid), fed up with the love of the goddesses Olympus and earthly women, his mother Aphrodite (Venus) advised him to fly to another planet. On Saturn, he heard a chorus of angelic voices and saw beautiful women with a white body, silvery hair and light blue eyes. They sang praises to the Lord that he gave them a body of ice, which soothes passions and quenches all desires. They looked at Eros, admired his beauty, but were not carried away by him. In vain he shot his arrows. Then, in desperation, he rushed to Aphrodite, who, indignant at such uncharacteristic women as soullessness, decided that these insensible creatures were unworthy of being women and had to descend to the earth and turn into flowers. And these lovely, but soulless creatures turned into a camellia.
Camellia (Latin Camellia) is a genus of evergreen trees or shrubs of the Tea family (Theaceae).
The camellia genus got its name in honor of the Moravian naturalist and priest George Joseph Kamelius (1661-1706), who first brought camellia to Europe from the Philippines.
In the genus Camellia (Camellia L.), there are about 80 species of plants of the tea families. Distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of Southeast and East Asia, on the peninsulas of Indochina, Korea, Japan, on the islands of Java, Sulawesi, and the Philippine.
Representatives of the genus are evergreen shrubs or small trees. The leaves are simple, elliptical to broadly and oblong-ovate, leathery, glossy, pointed or blunt, one at a time, sometimes 2-3; petals fused at the base, pink, red, white or mottled, numerous stamens.
Some species are widespread as valuable ornamental evergreens and flowering plants; they are widely used for landscaping, creating an exposition in the park during the summer period.
In the room, camellia grows, blooms, and even bears fruit if proper care is provided to it. The main reasons for the failures of an amateur trying to grow camellia at home are: low humidity, lack of light, high temperatures and unsuitable soil composition. It blooms in winter at a temperature not exceeding 12 ° C. The duration of flowering of the camellia bush is 1-3 months. One flower lasts up to a month. In a room culture, camellia has two growth periods: in February, new leaves appear and young shoots begin to grow, in the summer there is the formation of vegetative buds, which will grow only after flowering, in the spring of next year.
Camellia prefers bright diffused light, suitable for growing at the windows of western and eastern exposure. At the southern exposure windows, the plant is provided with shading from direct sunlight. At the northern exposure windows, the plant may not have enough light for normal growth. So that the crown is not one-sided, the plant can be turned to the light. Just do not do this during budding: by disturbing the plant during this period, you will achieve dropping buds.
In summer, the plant can be exposed to open air, in a place protected from direct sunlight.
In spring and summer, camellia prefers air temperatures in the region of 20-25 ° C. For laying flower buds, a temperature of 18-20 ° C is required, and during flowering in December - February, on the contrary, 8-12 ° C. At a higher temperature, flowering occurs earlier, but the quality of the flowers will be worse, there is a risk of bud dropping. With a short daylight, flower buds can also occur at a temperature of 8–10 ° C.
Camellia needs access to fresh air.
In the summer, camellias are watered evenly, abundantly, after the top layer of the substrate dries, do not pour the camellias. With a cool content in winter, to avoid acidification of the soil, water carefully. As a result of acidification of the soil, the leaves turn brown, and flower buds fall off. From prolonged drying, the plants drop their leaves. The plant does not tolerate the increased content of calcium in the water, so it should be watered with soft, settled water.
Camellia prefers high air humidity, it is advisable to spray it regularly with soft, settled water, put pots with plants on trays with wet expanded clay or peat. During the flowering period, they are sprayed carefully, avoiding moisture on the flowers.
Once every three weeks, camellias are fed with full mineral fertilizer at the rate of 1 g / l. Feeding is carried out all year round.
Camellias are short-day plants, and for a bookmark and normal development of flower buds, a 12-14 hour light day is optimal. For laying flower buds, adult plants also need a temperature of 18–20 ° C; when growing in conditions of low positive temperature and in a shaded place, flower buds are not laid. During the flowering period (December – February), camellias are kept at a temperature of 8–10 ° C (12 ° C); at a higher temperature (18–20 ° C) there are premature flowering, while the quality of the flowers is worse, and buds fall; the latter is also noted when plants in the budding phase are moved to another place (a change in the light regime affects). In areas with short daylight hours, flower buds can occur at a temperature of 8–10 ° C.
In October-November, shoots are pruned to stimulate the growth of axillary buds.
Young camellias are transplanted annually. Plants blooming annually are transplanted every 2 years. The transplant is carried out in the spring, while the tops of the shoots are nipped to make the plant branch better. For camellias, acidic soil is preferred (pH 4.5-5). Of the many subtropical plants, camellias have a unique ability to grow on acidic soils with a pH of 4 or lower. The composition of the substrate can be as follows: turf - 1 hour, peat - 2 hours, heather or leaf - 2 hours, sand - 1 hour. Kadok plants are rarely replanted, but annual soil sprinkling and fertilizing are necessary. At the bottom of the tank provide good drainage.
The most effective way to propagate camellias is seed.
Freshly picked seeds should be sown immediately (they quickly lose their germination capacity, as they contain a large amount of oil) in a mixture of horse peat and sand (1: 1). High temperature during germination (20–22 ° C) can accelerate the growth of seedlings, which lasts from several weeks to one year.
Plants derived from seeds more easily adapt to adverse conditions and grow faster. Some species and forms can bloom already in the 2-3rd year after sowing (usually this happens in the 5-7th year).
Varietal camellias are best propagated by semi-lignified cuttings, which are cut in the second half of summer. In order for plants to bloom faster, they are propagated by grafting onto plants obtained from seeds. Vaccinations are best done three weeks before the start of the spring growing season.
One of the least time-consuming methods of propagating varietal camellias is air layering, which makes it possible to obtain compact and healthy flowering plants in the second year.
Camellia mountain (Camellia sasanqua)
It lives in mountain forests on the islands of Kyushu, Okinawa. Shrubs up to 3-4 (up to 5) m tall, with thin branches and reddish hairy pubescent shoots. Leaves are elliptical or oblong-ovate, 3-7 cm long, 1.5-3 cm wide, bluntly pointed, serrate along the edges, glossy on top and dark green, with a hairy pubescent midrib below. The flowers are solitary or collected in 2-3, up to 6-7 cm in diameter, simple, white, pink or red, fragrant. It blooms profusely in November and January. As evergreens and flowering plants in the culture bred mainly garden varieties. Suitable for cool rooms.
Chinese Camellia (Camellia sinensis), or Tea Bush (Thea sinensis)
Shrubs or trees up to 10-15 m tall. The leaves are ovoid or elliptical, 5-10 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, sharp-edged along the edges, dark green and glossy on top; young white-pubescent, then bare. The flowers are arranged one at a time or collected 2-3, on short pedicels, axillary, usually white. The species is widely known in culture; ubiquitous in subtropical regions, especially in humid habitats. There are a number of forms. The tea drink contains tannin and caffeine, is tonic. Depending on the processing of freshly picked young green leaves and the top of the shoots, black, black tiled, green and green tiled tea is sold (green tea is processed without fermentation). Outside the subtropical regions, tea plants are grown in botanical gardens, in cold greenhouses.
Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica)
It is found in forests in China, Japan, Korea. Shrubs or trees 10-12 (up to 15) meters tall. The leaves are elliptical or ovoid, 5-10 cm long, pointed, edged, leathery, glossy, dark green on the edges. The flowers are solitary or collected in several, 4 cm in diameter (in the culture they cultivate mainly garden varieties with large, 7-12 cm in diameter, flowers), simple, semi-double or double, pink, red, white, variegated, large seeds, almost rounded. It blooms profusely in December and April. Various forms are widespread in the culture, but mainly garden varieties, which vary in degree of terry, flower size, arrangement of petals and color. Outside of the subtropics, a plant also widely known in culture, is grown in cool rooms like a potted, potted plant and in the ground; grows and blooms well in rooms, requires no higher than 12 ° C in winter. Fruits in greenhouses.
Diseases and Pests
Due to some fungal diseases, black-gray spots appear on the leaves and brownish - on the petals, in the case of severe damage - followed by falling flowers. Fungicidal preparations can be used, but it is better to throw the infected plant away. Excessive soil moisture causes root decay.
Oidium, which manifests itself as grayish spots on the leaves, can be eliminated with sulfur or another fungicidal drug. Camellia is sensitive to the cucumber mosaic virus, which causes yellowing of leaf veins. Aphids and mealybugs feed on plant juices and, in addition, secrete a pit, on which mobiles develop. These pests are disposed of by treating with a cotton swab or a brush dipped in alcohol, or with special insecticides (against aphids and anti-colic drugs). A big problem for camellias is Scosar solitary - a species of weevil-weevil, whose larvae destroy the roots, and adult beetles damage the root neck, which leads to death of the plant. This pest is disposed of using a solution of the appropriate preparation, spraying it with the aerial part of plants or moistening the soil with it.