Useful information

Gray-haired Mattiola, forgotten by Levka

Carried away by exotic flowers, one should not forget the long-known and once very popular plants. Levkoy is not often found in flower beds, but it was grown in the gardens of Ancient Greece and for its fragrant flowers was called a white violet (in Greek leuco - White, iov - violet). The beauty and splendor of flowering, harmony of colors, delicate and pleasant aroma put levka on a par with the best flower plants

Levkoy belongs to the cabbage family and, in fact, is a relative of all our favorite cabbages. The wild ancestors of the Levkoy are from southern Europe. During the centuries-old culture and extensive selection work, about 600 excellent varieties of Levkoy have been bred, but, unfortunately, in our stores the range of varieties is not great

Levkoi are subdivided into 3 groups according to the flowering time: summer, autumn, winter. In cold climates, only summer levkoi can be grown. They are the fastest ripening, bloom early - 50–70 days after sowing the seeds.

Gray-haired Matthiola (Matthiola incana)

Mattiola gray (Mattiolaincana) - the plant is upright, 20 to 80 cm high, the stem is unbranched or branched, with slight pubescence. The leaves are pointed, broadly lanceolate, simple, dull-whitish-green, with dense pubescence (this property determined the specific name of the plant - "gray"). The flowers are regular, large, simple or double, with a strong aroma, collected in 10-60 pieces in loose or dense racemose inflorescences. The color of the corolla is very diverse: pure white, pale pink, red, lilac, dark purple. Simple flowers have only 4 petals, double ones - from 40 to 70 petals. Double flowers live 15–20 days, a simple flower - 4–5 days.

In culture, terry varieties are of the greatest value, they are distinguished by vigorous growth, have friendly shoots. But the biological feature of the Levkoy is that the double forms of seeds do not give. Seeds are formed only in simple Levkoi, and propagated by Levkoi seeds obtained from non-double forms, while getting from 60 to 85% of plants with double flowers. Therefore, to obtain seeds, it is necessary to leave several plants with simple flowers.

Growing gray-haired matthiola

When growing levkoes for seeds, in order to ensure high doubleness, the seed plants should artificially create arid growing conditions during the period of seed ripening. In addition, all plants with elongated, well-developed pods should be discarded because they give offspring with non-double flowers. For testes, shortened, with a blunt tip and curved pods should be selected.

Levkoy seeds should be sown in late March - early April, depending on the variety and growing season. Since the levkoy in seedling age suffers greatly from the "black leg", it is not necessary to add humus to the ground mixture. At a temperature of +15 ... + 17 ° C, the seeds germinate quickly, on the 5-6th day.

Levkoy does not tolerate transplanting very well, therefore it is necessary to dive the seedlings in the phase of developed cotyledons into peat pots and plant them in the ground with them. Plants tolerate frosts down to -5 ° C.

Levkoy loves sunny, well-ventilated places, loose soils, fertilized with old humus. During the growing season, plant care is simple: watering, feeding (2 times before flowering). Fertilizing with mineral fertilizers sharply increases the size and color of flowers, lengthens the flowering period by 6-10 days.

Levkoy Intuition, mix F1Levkoy Intriga, mix F1

Gray mattiola varieties

All varieties of levkoy are subdivided into groups that differ in height, branching, and bush shape.

  • Single-stem - Excelsior... The varieties of this group have a straight, unbranched stem 60–70 cm high. The inflorescence is dense, powerful, 17–37 cm long. The flowers are double, large, 5–7 cm in diameter. Bloom in June, from germination to flowering - 60–65 days.
  • Short-branched - Erfurt (large-flowered). Plant height - 30-40 cm, the central inflorescence is higher than the lateral ones, double flowers, 3-4 cm in diameter, the plant is compact.Bloom 60-70 days after sowing, flowering duration - 35-50 days. Varieties of this group are suitable for cutting, flower decoration and potting.
  • Bouquet - Victoria... Plant height 25–35 cm, compact, spherical bush, because the central inflorescence is on the same level with the lateral ones. They bloom at the same time, which gives the bushes the appearance of a bouquet, flowers with a diameter of 3–3.5 cm, densely double. Bloom 50–70 days after germination. Duration of flowering is 40-60 days.
  • Pyramidal... A characteristic feature of this group is a large central inflorescence, which is almost 2 times larger in size than the lateral ones, which gives the bush a pyramidal shape. In terms of height, it is divided into 3 subgroups: gigantic, semi-tall, dwarf. Flower diameter - 3.5-4 cm, flowers are densely double, bloom 60-70 days after germination, bloom 45-60 days.
  • Giant bomb-shaped... Plant height 45-60 cm, flowers are densely double, 4-4.5 cm in diameter. The bush is wide-pyramidal, spreading, the main inflorescence exceeds the lateral ones, loose. The varieties of this group are late, bloom 90 days after sowing and bloom for a long time, before frost.
  • Renovation - Dresden... The bush is sprawling, strongly branched, the lower stems of the first order are long, the main inflorescence is loose, slightly longer than the lateral ones, the plant height is 50–65 cm, the flowers are large, 4–5 cm in diameter. Flowering occurs 50–65 days after sowing, continuous, long-lasting. They give an excellent cut and are used in flower decoration.
  • Quedlinburg (terry)... Plant height 25-50 cm, flowers are densely double, bright, pure color, 4-5 cm in diameter, different flowering periods from 45 to 100 days, flowering lasts 45-70 days. By flowering time and height, they are subdivided into:
  1. early, low, bush, 25–30 cm high, spreading, spherical;
  2. early, tall, bushy, 45–60 cm high, wide pyramidal;
  3. late, tall, bushy, 50–80 cm high, wide pyramidal;
  4. columnar (single-stemmed), 50–70 cm high, pyramidal.
Mattiola gray

The special value of the Quedlinburg Levkoes is that in seedlings in a cotyledon state, it is possible to determine in advance by the color of the cotyledons whether the plant will be double or simple. In plants with double flowers, the cotyledons are yellowish-green, in plants with simple flowers, the cotyledons are grayish-green. At a lower temperature (+ 10 + 17 ° С) this characteristic lasts longer, at a higher temperature it disappears after 7–10 days. Thus, using this feature, it is possible, when thinning the seedlings, to remove non-double plants and plant them separately on seeds. But it should be noted that seed ripening lasts up to 3 months.

Dear flower growers, plant a levka on your site, and you will not regret it. Levkoy gives an excellent cut that will remain in water for a long time. Will paint your site with bright cheerful flowers that bloom for a long time and emit a delicate, pleasant aroma!

"Ural gardener", No. 19, 2013