Calceolaria - bright shoes
Calceolaria is a richly flowering herbaceous plant that is grown in a room culture as an annual or biennial. She conquers with her peculiar in shape bright two-lipped flowers, with the lower lip large, swollen, spherical, and the upper one extremely small, barely noticeable. By their external resemblance, they were nicknamed “shoes” or “wallets”.
Description of Calceolaria
To the genus CalceolariaCalceolaria) belongs to about 400 species of the noricaceous family. In English taxonomy, the Calceolaria family (Calceolariaceae) Homeland plants - South and Central America. Translated from Latin, the word "calceolaria" means "little shoe."
Representatives of the genus are grasses, shrubs and shrubs with opposite or whorled leaves. Flowers with a four-membered calyx and a bright two-lipped, swollen nimbus (the lower lip is usually larger). Stamens 2 or 3. Fruit - box.
Many species are decorative. To create numerous garden varieties of calceolaria, hybrids of the species C. corymbosa, C. arachnoidea, C. crenatiflora and others were used. Hybrid calceolaria with yellow, orange, red, purple flowers, as well as with spotted or shaded corolla are grown in cool greenhouses, propagated by seeds and cuttings.
Calceolaria is one of the favorite spring flowering plants, although it is rather difficult to grow and plant it indoors (the plant prefers cool rooms). Calceolaria flowers are very peculiar in shape - bubbly and two-lipped (the lower lip is large, swollen, spherical, and the upper lip is extremely small, barely noticeable). The flowers are often covered with a variety of spots, dots. The flowering period lasts from March to June for one month. There are from 18 to 55 flowers on a plant.
Features of growing calceolaria
Temperature: Calceolaria likes a cool room, 12-16 ° C. In too warm rooms, drops buds or flowers.
Lighting: Bright diffused light is preferred, does not tolerate direct sunlight. It is good to place on the windowsill of the east, north or north-west window.
Watering: Abundant, earthen lump should not dry out.
Air humidity: Calceolaria requires very high humidity, for this the pots with plants are placed on a wide tray with pebbles or expanded clay. The pubescent leaves of the calceolaria do not like water falling on them, therefore this plant is sprayed, trying to ensure that moisture falls only on the flowers.
Transfer: Soil - 2 parts of turf, 2 parts of leaf, 1 part of peat and 1/2 part of sand. After flowering, the plant is thrown away.
Breeding: Seeds, sown in May-July, not sprinkling on top of the soil and with a double pick. Calceolaria seeds germinate at a temperature of about 18 ° C. However, growing calceolaria at home is a troublesome task, it’s easier to get an already flowering plant.
Calceolaria prefers diffused light, from direct sunlight the plant is shaded. Suitable for cultivation at the western and eastern windows. At the southern windows, the calceolaria should be shaded from the direct sun using translucent fabric or paper (gauze, tulle, tracing paper). It grows well at the north window. During flowering, the plant needs a little shading. In autumn and winter, you can use additional illumination with fluorescent lamps.
The temperature of the calceolaria content in all seasons is preferably moderate, in the region of 12-16 ° C.
During flowering, the plant is watered regularly with soft settled water, as the top layer of the substrate dries up, preventing stagnation of water in the pan. After flowering, watering should be reduced, occasionally moistening the soil and preventing the substrate from completely drying out. When a new shoot begins to grow, watering is gradually resumed.
Calceolaria needs high humidity. Spraying the plant is not recommended.
To ensure sufficient humidity, the pot with the plant is placed on a pallet filled with water and pebbles or wet peat, expanded clay. It is advisable to grow calceolaria in pots inserted in pots. The space between the two vessels is filled with peat, which must be constantly moistened.
Top dressing begins two weeks after planting in pots and continues until flowering. Every 2 weeks they are fed with mineral fertilizers.
After flowering, the calceolaria can be cut off and put in a cool, shaded place for 1.5-2 months, occasionally moistening the soil (it is impossible to allow the drying up of an earth coma). When the overgrowth begins to grow, the plants are put on a lighted place where they bloom. Flowering begins 2 months earlier than in plants grown from seeds, but they are somewhat elongated and lose the decorativeness characteristic of young calceolaria. Therefore, it is better to grow it from seeds annually.
Since the plant quickly loses its decorativeness with age, it should not be transplanted, but should be replaced with a new one.
Calceolaria is propagated by seed.
For autumn flowering, they are sown in March, for spring - in June.
Small seeds (in 1 g about 30 thousand pieces) are sown on the surface of the substrate, they are not covered with soil. Crops cover with paper, which is periodically moistened. When the seedlings grow two real leaves, they are dived. At the same time, for the preparation of the earthen mixture, 2 parts of humus, deciduous and peat land and 1 part of sand are taken.
Calceolaria seeds on peat well germinate. In order for the plants to bloom in mid-March, the seeds are sown on July 5-15 in litter peat, previously disinfected from rot by heating to 90-100 ° C. To reduce acidity, ground chalk is added to peat (15-20 g per 1 kg of peat). 7 parts of peat take 1 part of sand. The substrate is mixed well. Seeds are sown randomly, not sprinkled with peat. Crops are covered with plastic wrap or glass.
If condensation forms on the inside of the glass or film, the cover must be turned over to prevent moisture from entering the plants. In the future, it is necessary to ensure that peat is always wet.
After the formation of the outlet, the plants are dived a second time, transplanted into 7-cm pots and placed on bright windows. In September, transplanted again in 9-11-centimeter pots. Before the second transplant, the plants are nipped, leaving 2-3 pairs of leaves, from the sinuses of which lateral shoots appear.
Calceolaria bushes are also formed by pinching, that is, removing lateral shoots growing from the axils of the leaves.
In January-February, they are transplanted into large pots with a heavier and more nutritious earth mixture. For grown plants, a humic, slightly acidic (pH about 5.5) substrate is suitable. To compile the substrate, you can take 2 parts of sod, humus and peat soil and 1 part of sand with the addition of full mineral fertilizer at the rate of 2-3 g per 1 kg of the mixture. Calceolaria blooms 8-10 months after sowing seeds.
Possible difficulties in growing calceolaria
Every year, plants are replaced - propagated by seeds or acquire flowering specimens, without leaving them for the next year.
At high temperature and lack of moisture, the leaves wither and the plant ages quickly.
Types of Calceolaria
Mexican Calceolaria - Calceolaria mexicana
All types of calceolaria because of their too bright colors are difficult to combine with other plants. Mexican calceolaria is no exception. Its small, having a diameter of only about 5 mm, light yellow flowers look spectacular only in the curb with decorative leaves or in a composition located on the banks of the stream. In these cases, their corollas look like small Chinese lanterns.
Depending on the conditions, the calceolaria bushes can reach a height of 20-50 cm. Naturally, in a humid shaded place with fertile soil, they will be taller. In nature, this species grows on the wooded slopes of the mountains of Mexico, so it prefers warmth. However, bright sunlight tolerates well only with abundant watering. Plants usually bear fruit abundantly, forming many seeds.
Wrinkled calceolaria - Calceolaria rugosa
The original elegant plant, similar to a cloud of yellow drops, was brought to Europe from Chile.
A perennial herb grown as a summer plant is distinguished by an erect, highly branched stem 25-50 cm high. Small leaves form a rosette. The flowers are small, with a diameter of 1.5-2 cm, pure yellow, in some hybrid forms with brown dots. During normal sowing, flowering lasts from June to frost. For early flowering in April, seedlings are grown in containers.
Goldbukett - large-flowered strong plants 25-30 cm high.
‘Triomphe de Versailles’ - small-flowered fast-growing plants with a height of 35-50 cm.
Sunset (Calceolaria x hybridus) - a bright elegant plant for the house and garden! Each rosette of leathery dark green leaves forms up to 10 short peduncles with yellow, orange, or red bells. Height is 15-20 cm. It withstands frosts up to -5 ° С.