Calceolaria (lat.Calceolaria) is an annual, less often a biennial. Until recently, it was considered the family of the Norichnikovs or Kalceolariyevs, but the latest collected data indicate a relationship with the Yasnotkovs.
The birthplace of calceolaria is mountain slopes with forests, humid terrain, shaded areas in Latin America.
Depending on the variety, it can be semi-shrub, herbaceous and shrub with a height of 10-50 cm. Stems are lowered, erect or branched. Moderately developed fibrous root system. Light green leaves 5-10 cm long, soft to the touch and densely covered with numerous villi or rounded with smoothed denticles.
Due to the huge variety of colors and colors from bright yellow to red and purple, it often participates in the decoration of flower beds and alpine slides. Tall species are used as border flowers.
Another name - because of the two-lipped shape of the flowers, calceolaria is called "slipper" (lat. Calceolaria).
Calceolaria are popular varieties. In total, there are about 300 species with different structures and heights of the bush, size, number and color of flowers. For home growing, hybrids and several common varieties are more suitable:
Wrinkled or whole-leaved - the height of the bush is 25-50 cm. Abundant flowering of purple, yellow or orange color with brown specks. The most famous representatives are Goldbouquet, Triumph of Versailles and Sunset.
Mexican - the height of the bush varies from 20 to 50 cm. The purple or brownish stems are strong and thick. It blooms with bright, yellow flowers, 0.5 cm in size.
Hybrid is an indoor primrose that is given to women on March 8th. It is a low-growing bush up to 20 cm, covered with large flowers about 5 cm in diameter on short stems. The flowering period can last 6-8 weeks.
Crenate is a hybrid variety with large flowers 2.5-5 cm in diameter, yellow with burgundy blotches. Forms a compact shrub up to 30 cm with oval drooping leaves. Suitable for growing in the garden and on the windowsill.
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The peculiarity of growing a "shoe" is the need to create a certain microclimate. The plant responds sharply negatively to an unfavorable environment. Elevated temperatures, dry air, and lack or over-watering can lead to premature death.
Lighting. "Slipper" loves diffused light. From direct sunlight, burns appear and tender shoots die. In the garden, you need to choose partial shade and places that are illuminated by the sun in the morning. In rooms, it is better to place them on the north, north-west or east windows. Or shade the glass with curtains. Natural or artificial daylight hours should be 12-14 hours.
Temperature. It is a cold-loving plant that prefers a temperature of 12-17 degrees. During the period of growth and formation of buds, it should not exceed 15 degrees. In warm rooms, where the indicators of the mark 20-22 and above, premature wilting, dropping of buds and damage by various pests occur. To lower the temperature, it is recommended to spread ice next to the pot.
Air humidity. To maintain the humidity at the required level, spraying of the surrounding area from a fine spray bottle is used, avoiding droplets falling on the plant itself.
Watering. The pot with "shoes" must be kept on a pallet with pebbles, which must be moistened all the time. The pot should be placed on pebbles or expanded clay and avoid contact with water. You can also cover the plant with moss. It is necessary to monitor the condition of the soil all the time and prevent complete drying out. Water only with cool, settled or filtered water. Also, water should not accumulate in the pan, from which the roots rot and are affected by fungi.
Top dressing. During growth, budding and flowering, it is necessary to carry out weekly feeding with a complex of mineral fertilizers for flowering species, which include phosphorus and potassium. Mineral overload can cause ovary shedding.
Transplanting is necessary after rooting the cuttings and when planting seedlings. And also when transferring from a technical pot to a decorative one. Calceolaria is suitable for ready-made soil for geraniums or heathers, which consists of a mixture of leaf and peat soil, humus and sand in a ratio of 1: 1: 2: 1. You can limit yourself only to peat with the addition of chalk (7: 1) to protect against acidification. Before planting, the soil should be calcined in the oven for disinfection, and a layer of drainage should be laid on the bottom of the pot. The transplantation of purchased plants occurs by transshipping the entire coma and adding earth as needed. The optimal volume of the pot is 0.8-1.2 liters.
Outdoor cultivation is highly undesirable for hybrid varieties. They die from water hitting the leaves in the first rain. The rest of the species are planted in shaded areas.
Trimming and shaping. To stimulate the growth of shoots and create a lush bush during the growing season, after the appearance of 7-8 leaves, the edges of the branches are pinched. To obtain large flowers, lateral processes are removed - pinching.
Flowering begins 5 months after planting. This must be taken into account when growing calceolaria for a specific date. The flowering period is on average about 5 weeks. Some hybrid varieties bloom throughout the summer. Thanks to this, you can guess the opening of the buds by a certain date. The diameter of the "shoe" is 2-6 cm. They form racemose inflorescences. On one bush, 15-50 flowers are formed, depending on the variety.
The flower itself is a two-lipped corolla with an inflated and upwardly curved lower lip in the form of a flattened ball, as well as a faintly visible upper part. Moreover, the flowers are always painted in bright colors and are often covered with small specks.
Rest period. With the appearance of signs of wilting, the plant is completely cut off and placed for 1.5-2 months in a dark, cool place, and watering is minimized. It is important to ensure that the earthen lump does not dry out. When new shoots appear, the pot returns to normal conditions and watering resumes.
Reproduction is carried out in two ways:
Sowing seeds. Small, dusty seeds independently penetrate between the lumps of soil, so no deepening and sprinkling is required. After sowing, the soil is moistened with a spray bottle and covered with glass or foil. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 18-20 degrees. After emergence, it is lowered to 12-15 degrees. On days 15-20, seedlings are dived and planted in 7-centimeter pots. After another 14 days, the procedure is repeated, and the diameter of the individual pots is increased to 9 cm.
Cuttings. In February-March or August, cuttings are cut from strong lateral shoots and, before planting in the ground, are soaked in root stimulants: "Kornevin" or "Heteroauxine". You can also use Epin as a stimulant. With the help of a glass jar or a plastic bottle, a greenhouse effect is created, which is removed only after the sprouts appear. Rooting occurs within 3-4 weeks at a temperature of 20-25 degrees. To get a large bush, several cuttings are laid in one pot.
Diseases and pests. From improper or excessive watering and stagnant water, the root system of calceolaria is prone to infection with late blight, gray and root rot. To save the plant requires rhizome washing and complete renewal of the soil.
Like most houseplants, the slipper suffers from aphids, whiteflies, nematodes and mealybugs. For pest control, insecticide treatment is used.
Calceolaria in winter. This is a heat-loving plant that does not tolerate temperatures below 5 degrees of frost, therefore, it can be in the ground all year round only in areas with a warm climate. In other areas, with the onset of cold weather, ground shoots are cut off, and the remains of the bush are dug out together with an earthen clod and transferred to a pot. Until spring, the flower is stored in a cool, dark room with minimal watering to prevent the soil from drying out.
Despite the fact that most varieties are biennial, in the second year they stretch out, do not give the initial abundant flowering and lose their decorative effect. Therefore, in the fall, it is better to divide the bush into cuttings and germinate. And in spring, plant young shoots in their original place.