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Wall cymbalaria - toadflax from the Mediterranean

Wall cymbalaria (Cymbalaria muralis)

Wall cymbalaria (Cymbalaria muralis) - a plant native to Southern Europe (Mediterranean, Southern Alps) and Western Asia. Low ground cover, widespread in Europe and North America, where it naturalized, spreading from gardens. It is not very popular with us due to insufficient winter hardiness.

Name Cymbalaria comes from Greek kymbalon or latin cymbalum, meaning "plate", and indicates the shape of the leaves of some members of the genus. Wall, or wall, it is called for its ability to grow on rocks, between stones, and mastering vertical surfaces.

Wall cymbalaria, or wall cymbalaria, was previously called cymbal toadflax (Linaria cymbalaria), belongs to the family norichnikovye, and by foreign botanists - to the family plantain. It is a perennial evergreen that behaves like a semi-evergreen in temperate climates, with some leaves preserved in winter, although they turn brown. But the above-ground part can die off completely. In our temperate climate, far from the subtropics, it behaves like a juvenile, sometimes grown as an annual from seeds.

The plant is fast-growing, no more than 5-10 cm in height, spreading and growing up to 50 (in warm climates - up to 90 cm) in width. The stems are reddish, take root at the nodes. Leaves are small, alternate, simple, up to 2.5-5 cm in diameter, dense, in outline from rounded to reniform, often 3-7-lobed, resembling ivy, dull green, with a purple tinge underneath. The flowers are small, two-lipped, blue-violet, with a yellow neck inside (the white-flowered form of Alba is more rare), about 1 cm long, appear in June. Long flowering, all summer until September, but not too decorative because of the small size of the flowers.

Wall cymbalaria (Cymbalaria muralis)

Flowers have an interesting feature - before pollination they are turned towards the sun, and after pollination they turn away from the sun and bend down. As the seeds ripen, the pedicels lengthen and raise the capsules. Flowers are pollinated by insects.

Ties fruits, actively reproduces by self-sowing and can clog the area. Seeds are 2-3 mm in size.

Cultivation of wall cymbalaria

Cymbalaria is generally an unpretentious plant. It grows well in the sun (which illuminates the plant mainly in the first half of the day) and in partial shade, in a place protected from cold winds.

The soil Cymbalaria requires drained, light texture, close to neutral acidity (pH 6.1-7.8). To improve acidic soils, dolomite flour, sand or fine gravel are added. Planting in lowlands, where the plant will inevitably get wet, is unacceptable.

Watering should be moderate so that water does not stagnate in the zone of the root system. Although the plant tolerates drought, it is better not to allow prolonged drying, providing a small constant humidity.

Top dressing the plant is practically not required, but for a more luxuriant development, complex mineral fertilizers can be applied in a half dose 3 times per season - in the spring, at the beginning and in the middle of summer. Excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to the rapid development of green mass to the detriment of flowering.

Pests and diseases... Cymbalaria is rarely affected by pests and diseases. In rainy summers, the leaves can spoil snails and slugs, and in dry summers they can infect ticks.

Wintering... Despite the fact that the winter hardiness of the plant is estimated at -34 ° C, in our difficult winters with thaws and frosts, the plant can die. Therefore, it is useful to cover it with a layer of sand with the addition of wood ash (for a bucket of sand - a glass of ash). This will provide a warming and draining effect. But you can not do this, relying on self-seeding.

For cuttings in spring, it is possible to preserve the mother plants of this evergreen plant in a subtropical greenhouse or simply in a cool (up to + 12 ... + 15оС), bright room.

Reproduction... Wall cymbalaria easily propagates by self-sowing or by sowing seeds in open ground in late April - early May. The seeds are simply scattered over the soil surface, without covering them. they only germinate in the light. Germination begins at a temperature of + 20 ° C. Seeds sprout quickly. It is not worth sowing thickly, because it is necessary to maintain a distance between plants of at least 0.5 m, keeping in mind their active growth. In the summer they will close.

The main breeding method is by cuttings. They are taken in the spring from mother plants stored in winter and rooted in pots or directly in the open ground under a non-woven covering material when the soil warms up to + 10 ° C. Plants grown from cuttings develop faster and flower earlier. You can cut through until the beginning of summer. Cuttings often take root already on the 3rd day.

Considering that in a temperate climate this plant is a minor, it is advisable to always have a supply of seeds for renewal, to keep it in a biennial, or even more accurately, in an annual culture.

The use of cymbalaria in garden design

Cymbalaria is a classic plant for rock gardens and other rocky gardens, it can beautifully braid stones and retaining walls. On flat (but not low!) Areas, creates a solid carpet. It fills well the spaces between the paving slabs, looks organic in a gravel garden.

Wall cymbalaria (Cymbalaria muralis)

Pieces of stems with roots in the nodes can be planted in hanging pots, they quickly form a spectacular ampel, fill the spaces between plants in container compositions well.

Although this plant, despite the long flowering, cannot be called too expressive, it looks great in natural-style gardens, in cottage gardens and Provence-style gardens.