Levkoy - a classic plant
The genus has more than 50 species that grow in Central Europe, the Mediterranean and surrounding areas of Asia and Africa. Levkoy, or Mattiola (Matthiola) - a genus of annual and perennial herbaceous plants of the Cabbage family, or Cruciferous (Brassicaceae), common in southern Europe, the Mediterranean and neighboring regions.
Decorative flowering garden plant with fragrant flowers. Several species are cultivated in the open ground, there are decorative varieties suitable for landscaping balconies.
One, two and perennial herbaceous plants, sometimes shrubs. Stems erect, 20-80 cm tall, branched, glabrous or felt-pubescent. Leaves are oblong, lanceolate, whole or notched. The flowers are pink, white, purple or dirty yellow, collected in racemose or spike-shaped inflorescences. The fruit is a pod. Seeds are flat, narrow-winged, in 1 g up to 700 pieces.
Levka in former times could be seen in almost every garden, now it is less common, it somehow went out of fashion. And indeed, in this plant there is something old-fashioned, sophisticated, belonging to the classic, regular, park style. And, if you feel nostalgia for the noble and beautiful antiquity and the spicy, amazing, some sultry aroma, then levoka is your plant.
Features of growing levkoy
Location: Levka grows well in various soil and climatic conditions with sufficient soil and air humidity. It reaches the greatest decorativeness in open sunny places. It does not tolerate stagnation of water and prolonged drought.
The soil: prefers fertile, non-acidic, sod-loamy or sod-loamy soil. In the year of planting, organic fertilizers can not be applied.
Care: Levkoys are grown with constant top dressing and watering in arid weather. Since left-handed pods are not formed in terry plants, the flowers blooming from below are robbed only to preserve the fresh appearance of the plant. If you leave them, then the flowering will not stop. Levkoys cannot be planted in the place where other plants of the cruciferous family were grown. They can be affected by cruciferous keel - a fungal disease that affects cabbage and other plants of this family. It must be borne in mind that the killer pathogen retains the ability to infect plants for many years. In addition to keel, Levka can be affected by all other pests and diseases, including cruciferous fleas, butterflies, cabbage butterflies, whites and so on.
Using: The main advantage of matthiola is its enchanting aroma, which intensifies towards evening. For this, Mattiola the bicorn is called night violet. From ancient times, matthiola was planted near benches, arbors, terraces. It is grown in mixed flower gardens, sometimes used in a Moorish lawn. Good for bouquets. Levka gray-haired can be planted in flower beds and on discounts, combining varieties according to the height of plants and the color of the flowers, as well as the timing of flowering. Levka can be planted in containers, street vases and balcony boxes. Tall varieties are good for cutting inflorescences. They stand in the water for up to 10 days, filling the room with aroma.
For June flowering, seeds are sown in mid-March in boxes with a mixture of turf land and sand in a ratio of 3: 1. When shoots appear, the temperature in the greenhouse is reduced to 8-12 ° C, and the boxes are placed closer to the light. After 10-12 days, in the cotyledon stage, the seedlings dive into nutrient cubes or pots and after a while take them out to the greenhouses. Under the picks use a mixture of turf, sheet land and sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 1. Hardened seedlings of levkoy easily tolerate a decrease in temperature to -5 ° C, it can be planted in the ground at a constant place earlier, maintaining a distance of 20-25 cm when planting. days.
Seeds are collected from plants that have simple four-petalled flowers and do not represent any decorative value. And in the seed offspring of these plants there is a splitting into plants with simple and double flowers, most often in a ratio of 1: 1. However, plants with simple flowers (they are called testes) are also heterogeneous on the basis of terry. Practice has established that underdeveloped plants with short and obtuse pods pressed to the stem give a larger percentage of terry plants than testes with other traits. And now there are varieties containing 60, 80 and even 90% of terry plants.
In addition, now most of the garden groups have a signal feature by which plants with future double flowers can be separated from seedlings in the phase of cotyledonous leaves. Left-handed crops of these groups are kept at a temperature of 12-15 ° C, emerged seedlings are placed for several days in an even cooler place with a temperature of 6-8 ° C. Cotyledonous leaves of plants with double flowers will be larger and paler green in contrast to bright green - with simple ones. This makes it possible to select 100% of terry plants for planting.
Types of Levkoy
Mattiola bicorn - Matthiola bicornis
Comes from Greece and Asia Minor.
The annual plant is upright or sprawling, densely branched, 40-50 cm tall. The leaves are linear, coarse. The flowers are small, nondescript, greenish-purple, in loose racemose inflorescences, have a very strong and pleasant aroma, especially in the evening and at night. Happy flowers are closed. It blooms from June to August. The fruit is a long pod with two short horns on top. Seeds are small, grayish-brown, retain viability for 2-3 years. In culture since the 16th century.
Mattiola gray-haired, or Levkoy - Matthióla incana
Homeland - Mediterranean and Canary Islands.
An annual herbaceous plant. The stems are simple or branched, often lignified, from 20 to 80 cm tall. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate or narrow, obovate, tapering into the petiole, arranged in the next order, obtuse, glabrous or pubescent, light or dark green. The flowers are regular, simple or double, of various colors, very fragrant, collected 10-60 in loose or dense, racemose inflorescences of various lengths and shapes.
In a simple flower there are 4 sepals and 4 petals; its flowering lasts 4-5 days; in terry - up to 70 petals, flowering lasts up to 20 days. It blooms profusely from June to November, in the south - and in the winter months. The fruit is a narrow, multi-seeded pod, 4-8 cm long. Fruits well, seeds retain viability for 4-6 years. In a culture since 1570.
By the duration of the development cycle, three forms are distinguished:
autumn left (var. autumnalis), sown in March-April, blooms in late summer - early autumn; seeds ripen the next year;
Levko winter (var. hibema), sown in June-July, blooms next spring; both forms do not winter in the open ground of the middle strip; they are mainly used for distillation.
The most common and important left-wing summer (var. annua). At present, about 600 varieties are known, differing in the shape and height of the bush, the timing of flowering and the variety of colors of the flowers.
Only plants with double flowers have decorative value. Terry flowers never produce seeds. Seeds are formed on plants with simple flowers. Usually in crops, a part of plants with simple flowers develops, and a part with double ones. The best varieties have up to 70-90% of plants with double flowers. To obtain a larger percentage of plants with double flowers in the offspring, it is necessary to select the testes, taking into account some morphological characteristics. Plant bushes giving double flowers in the offspring have a more oppressed appearance and short pods with a rounded apex, with stigma blades pressed to each other. Plants that give only simple flowers have more pods, the stigmas of their stalks are bent and form a “horn” at the end of the pod.
According to the height, the varieties of levko summer are divided into three groups: low - 15-30 cm high; medium - 30-50 cm; high - 50-70 cm.
Levkoy is a very interesting, one might say, unique plant. Despite the fact that the terryness of its flowers is complete or absolute, that is, all the stamens and pestle have turned into petals, and plants with double flowers do not produce seeds at all, propagated with left-handed seeds.