There are such flowering plants that are not given to everyone to grow, and not at all because they are very difficult to sow or need some special, extremely complex care. Simply, growing them requires, above all, patience and patience again. On the other hand, if it turns out to bring the cultivation process to a victorious bloom, then a person can “get sick” with these flowers for a very long time. This is how they become fans and collectors of many unique and exotic plants. Among such representatives of the vegetable kingdom can be mentioned Saintpaulia, Gloxinia, Fuchsia and many other charming flowers.
Of course, one of the most striking examples of such plants is calceolaria. Many consider it not just a one-year, but even a one-time flower, which should be thrown away after flowering, because nothing more can be expected of it. But it is not so. Indeed, in order to preserve calceolaria after flowering and, moreover, to achieve repeated flowering from it, it is necessary to apply a lot of strength and patience. And not in any conditions it is possible. And growing calceolaria from seeds at home is also not an easy task that will require patience and care from you. However, having studied all the features and requirements of this non-standard flower, someone may be able, without undue stress, to provide calceolaria exactly the conditions in which it will be comfortable and good.
The genus Calceolaria belongs to the family Nornikovye and several hundreds of different species are known in it. However, at home and on the plots, usually only calceolaria is grown amid-flowered and numerous hybrid forms. Homeland plants are the countries of South and Central America - Argentina, Chile, Ecuador. Most species grow exclusively in Ecuador.
The name of the genus can be translated from Latin as “little shoe”. Indeed, the original shape of the flower causes some associations with this shoe. Calceolaria plants can be of different heights - from 10 to 50 cm. Sessile leaves, located on an erect stem, often form something like a rosette. The leaves may be of various shapes, but they must be covered on both sides with pubescence. The flowers consist of two lips, as it were, and the upper one is so undeveloped that it is almost imperceptible, but the lower one resembles a slightly flattened balloon. Color coloring is very bright and varied. Yellow, orange, cream, and various shades of red are predominant, but lilac, pink, and blue can occur. Calceolaria color can be uniform, but more often in different shades with original patterns, as in the photo (tiger, marble, with specks of different sizes against a background of contrasting color).
Attention! The duration of flowering is highly dependent on the conditions of detention and can last from 6-8 weeks to 5-7 months.
Seeds remain viable for a very short time, from one to two years. Therefore, it is best possible to grow calceolaria by sowing its own freshly harvested seeds. The seeds are not just small, but the smallest - about 1, 000 grams are contained in 1 gram. Therefore, many seed manufacturers sell their special granules for easy sowing.
Perhaps growing calceolaria from seeds is akin to some kind of art, since the result is often very unpredictable. Sprouts can and will die in the process of development, can develop in a variety of time, and if they bloom, the size, shape and color of flowers can differ greatly from what you expect. But in any case, this process is able to enchant. Moreover, from the moment of emergence of calceolaria seedlings to the blossoming of the first buds, it can take from 4 to 8 months and this should be ready. Species form bloom about six months after sowing, but hybrid calceolaria is so volatile that it is very difficult to predict the time of flowering. In addition, it strongly depends on the conditions of detention, and on the actions of an amateur grower. But now about everything in order.
It is hardly possible for anyone to sow calceolaria seeds in open ground. First of all, because of the microscopicity of their size, and also because this plant is somehow not accepted in our country to grow in flower beds. It is usually grown to decorate rooms, balconies, or planted in summer in flowerpots or special outdoor flowerpots, but in a flourishing state.
Calceolaria is grown exclusively through seedlings also because, as mentioned above, it has an exceptionally long growing season. Therefore, you will have to be patient, otherwise you can simply not wait for the flowering of calceolaria grown from seeds.
- For sowing seeds of calceolaria, it is necessary to prepare a very light and air-permeable soil with a neutral or slightly acid reaction. Peat tablets are ideal for sowing seeds.
- In ordinary soil for seedlings, it is desirable to add small vermiculite in a ratio of eight to one. Before sowing, the soil surface should be moistened and preferably covered with fine calcined sand.
- Capacities for sowing can be quite small and shallow, since the seedlings of calceolaria can hardly be seen in a magnifying glass.
- Try to evenly spray the seeds over the surface of the soil / sand, in no case sprinkling with earth and not shading them.
- If you are sowing seeds in granules, then it is best to moisten them abundantly from a syringe after sowing. Otherwise, the shell may be so strong that the sprouts will not be able to break through it and the seeds will not sprout. Seeds calceolaria for germination requires light!
- Above the tank with crops it is necessary to cover with a transparent lid or plastic. In such an improvised hothouse, seeds and seedlings will have to live for quite a long time, so it’s best to make it convenient for you to watch the seedlings and air them regularly.
- After sowing, the container with calceolaria is placed in a bright, optionally warm place. It germinates well at + 18 ° + 20 ° С, and even if the temperature drops to + 12 ° + 14 ° С.
- On average, seeds germinate fairly quickly, sprouts from freshly harvested seeds appear as early as 4-5 days, it makes sense to wait for seedlings up to two weeks. If in two weeks they did not appear, then it is useless to wait no longer - most likely, the seeds were overdue. With the seeds bought in stores, this is often the case.
When is it best to sow calceolaria seeds? There is probably no definite answer to this question. If you want to try to plant calceolaria in the garden to decorate the site, then it is best to plant seeds for seedlings in one of the winter months, not later than March. However, remember that Calceolaria does not like direct sun and heat, so if you can provide it with shade and comparative coolness during the summer period, then this makes sense.
In general, Calceolaria is sown in mid-summer for flowering in spring and March-April for autumn flowering. It is during these periods that there is usually a lack of flowers, so the blooming of calceolaria will be most welcome.
But, you can sow it almost at any time of the year, depending on when you want to have flowering plants. It is best to focus on a period of 6 months, which usually runs from sowing seeds to flowering. But plants can bloom for a few weeks, or even months earlier or later than the scheduled date. These are calceolaria - and it's hard to do anything about it.
Care of crops before flowering
At emergence of shoots it is possible to be glad only - no additional actions are necessary to undertake. Polyethylene or cover with a container with seeds can not be removed in any case, but be sure to ventilate the "greenhouse" once or twice a day, removing condensate from the cover.Tip! If you do not have time to visit calceolaria seedlings often, you can make several holes for ventilation in the cover with a needle.
It is necessary to water with extreme care, it is better to use a pipette or a syringe along the edges of the container so that water does not get on the rosters. The first time can be watered not earlier than one week after sowing and in the future to be very careful with this procedure. Because calceolaria sprouts can die from both waterlogging and drying. And the leaves of even adult plants from the bay or overdrying are no longer restored.
But perhaps the most important thing is the observance of the correct temperature regime. Calceolaria feels best at a temperature of + 14 ° + 17 ° C. If the ambient air temperature does not exceed + 18 ° C and you will not remove the polyethylene cover, you can water it no more than once a week and very moderately.
Additional coverage from February to October, even on the northern windowsill, most likely, is not required. But from November to January, highlighting can improve the condition and development of calceolaria.
Calceolaria love high humidity, but they absolutely can not be sprayed. Since the leaves are pubescent quickly rot. Therefore, the content of young plants under the film as long as possible, right up to the picks, is more than justified - this allows you to worry less about their proper development.Important! If the seedlings do not have enough light, and they nevertheless began to stretch and fall apart, it is recommended to carefully pour the ground to the level of cotyledon leaves.
About a month after germination, after the appearance of two true leaves, sprouts need to be planted. They are still very tiny at this age, so you can use tweezers. But despite its delicate appearance, calceolaria tolerates a pick quite well. To deepen sprouts calceolaria when picking need on the very first leaves. Any transplant helps plants grow much faster. Already 5-8 days after the picking, calceolaria noticeably goes up.Tip! Therefore, if it seems to you that calceolaria has completely ceased to grow, try seating it.
Just keep in mind that the pots for picking should be quite small. For the first time fit 100 ml cups. At the bottom do not forget to put a large layer of drainage - expanded clay, foam plastic. Soil can be used the same as for planting seeds.
If you try to plant calceolaria in large containers at once, then, most likely, it will not be able to master a large amount of soil at once and will quickly die. But after a month and a half, the calceolariae will again need a transplant-transfer into fresh ground, already in a 200 ml bottle.
No feedings for the first two or three months of growth of calceolaria are required.
In general, the first two months of growth are the most difficult for calceolaria. During this period, it seems that it does not grow at all and does not develop. But if you survive this time, after the second transplant, calceolaria will develop well and will delight you with its appearance. In favorable conditions, at the end of the third month, buds may appear on the plants. They are formed on the top of only the most central sprout, and at first there may be few of them, but over time, a calceolaria can form a whole bunch of several dozen flowers.
From the appearance of the first buds to full bloom it may take several weeks. If more than three months have passed since the moment of emergence, and the calceolaria is not in a hurry to bloom, then you can try to transplant it into a slightly larger container with fresh earth. Each transplant has a positive effect on the development of calceolaria and can stimulate the formation of buds. From the moment buds appear, Calceolaria is recommended to be fed once a week with a half dose of fertilizer.
Calceolaria is able to bloom rapidly and for a long time up to 6-8 months in conditions of light shading, high humidity and cool air. Under other conditions, you can hardly enjoy its flowering for more than one month.
Leaving after flowering
Even before the formation of buds, small additional sprouts, stepchildren, can form between the leaves of calceolaria. They are recommended to be removed, because after this procedure, the buds become larger, and the flowers increase in size.
After flowering, leaves of calceolaria often dry out and shrivel, but fresh sprouts and rosettes usually appear in the leaf axils. Immediately after flowering, calceolaria should be cut and placed for several months in a dark and cool place, up to + 5 ° С. Regularly inspect the plants and when new young shoots appear, place the calceolaria pots in a brighter place. Renew the previous care, and the calceolaria will bloom again, although the flowering will not be as abundant and long as the first time.
Calceolaria can be propagated quite easily by cutting. To do this, carefully separate the young shoots or cut off the uppermost part of the central shoot and plant in a mixture of sand and peat. Top cuttings better cover glass jar for better rooting.
Of course, it may seem that the cultivation of calceolaria is not worth the effort. But if you are able to provide her with suitable conditions of partial shade and coolness, then you will certainly succeed, and during its flowering you will not even remember the difficulties that you had to go through at the beginning of the journey.