It is quite difficult to surprise an experienced florist with another exotic plant, but even an experienced gardener will not be able to indifferently pass by the blooming levisia.
This perennial evergreen visitor is indeed surprisingly good-looking: thin stems rise above dense rosettes of smooth fleshy leaves, bearing "bunches" of very delicate silky flowers. The color of the inflorescences of Levisia ranges from pale pink to rich crimson; varieties with white, cream, peach and red petals are also known.
Many growers unfairly call Levisia capricious, but it shows its displeasure only in unfavorable conditions. With proper care, the obstinate will change her anger to mercy and will certainly delight you with her unique flowering.
In height, Levisia will not exceed 30 cm, and in most cases it is inferior in size even to short azaleas. The plant develops in the form of a rosette of elongated leaves and with a beautiful bluish edge, which can be whole lingual, lanceolate, and beautiful toothed. Thick and leathery, they blend beautifully with stone chips and the texture of large boulders.
The main feature of Levisia, which turns the plant into a truly unique garden species, is a luxurious flowering. Complex inflorescences with a bright yellow center and rounded or elongated "petals" are more reminiscent of chamomile, then luxurious lilies or magnolias.
Levisia flowers reach 5 cm in diameter, which, given only 5-6 times the size of the bush, makes them seem huge. Of course, there are also varieties of Levisia that are much more modest in size in terms of flowers, but even centimeter-long flowers of tiny species against the background of bushes seem large and shining.
The easiest to grow and the most accessible and widespread species - Levisia cotyledon (Lewisia cotyledon) and various hybrids based on it.
This is an evergreen perennial with very long, up to 15 cm, smooth leaves with an unusual red border along the wavy edge. In different conditions, this levisia forms rosettes of leaves that are excellent in shape and density. But the bright bloom remains unchanged. The unique spectacular plant seems to be hand-painted.
Sowing seeds... Levizia is grown from seeds, which are sown before winter in the second half of October. The seedling method is also widely practiced: in this case, the sowing work begins at the end of March, and the seedlings are planted in a permanent place at the end of spring.
Seeds are sown to a depth of about 0.5 cm, covered and mulched with a thin layer of dry peat. Seedlings of Levisia, sown before winter, will appear in April, and the time of flowering for them will come only in the 2-3rd year.
Growing conditions... The place for the levisia is chosen shady, since it cannot stand direct sunlight. The eastern and western slopes of the rock garden are ideal for her. She prefers drained, acidic, rocky or sandy soils. Under the digging of the site, it is recommended to add fresh manure or spill the soil with a strong infusion of mullein.
Care for an exotic American woman is uncomplicated, but specific.
Watering... Levisia is watered sparingly, in no case allowing destructive stagnation of moisture at the roots. Water is poured strictly at the root, while it is necessary to ensure that water does not fall into the center of the leaf outlet or on the flowers. During the period of prolonged rains, it is advisable to "hide" the bushes under the halves of plastic bottles.
Top dressing... Every 3-4 weeks Levisia is fed by alternating mineral solutions with organic infusions. You should not apply fertilizers more often: an overdose of nutrients negatively affects the well-being of plants.
Reproduction... Mature plants form daughter rosettes that can be used for propagation.To do this, the baby is carefully cut off from the mother bush, the cut is treated with crushed coal and planted in a light, low-nutrient soil. Before rooting, the rosettes are kept cool under diffused light. When the children grow a "brush" of their own roots, you can start planting in open ground.
In ornamental gardening and floriculture, Levisia is used as an exquisite finishing touch for an alpine slide, decorating the eastern and western slopes; in the role of an elegant, festive pot culture, for portable rock gardens.
"Ural gardener", No. 4, 2018