The Calceolaria they can be grown both in an apartment and in the garden, they are used very often to decorate flower beds or borders, they are mainly herbaceous plants and usually begin to be marketed during the Easter period. Their curious name derives from the Latin "calceolus" which means "slipper" because their flower resembles a slipper.
This genus belongs to the Plantaginaceae family, most of the plants that are part of it come from the forests of the Andes in South America. There are perennials, but also annual or biennial plants, all herbaceous and easy to grow both indoors and outdoors. They like it because they form spots of color that are well suited for liven up the gardens, balconies, terraces or even a corner of the house.
The leaves can have a very different appearance, passing from one species to another, in some cases we find them hairy, in others they are serrated, but the most particular element of these plants are the flowers. They can be of many colors - yellow, pink or red in various shades and even dotted - they are formed by two petals joined at the base, swollen, which seem to form a kind of bag, or a slipper, as their name suggests.
Calceolaria do well in cool environments, the optimal temperatures can vary from 10 ° C to 18 ° C, too hot can be harmful but even the winter cold must never be exaggerated.
When we grow them outdoors or on a balcony, we try to place them where they are semi shade and humid, because flowering will be better. In this sense, what is recommended is to use a saucer with pebbles filled with a little water.
During the winter it is not necessary to water this plant a lot, the important thing is that the ground remains moist. In spring and summer, the Calceolaria must instead be watered more but always in moderation, only when the surface of the soil is dry.
Every year, around February, it's time for repotting. When doing this it is necessary to use a compost made up of a part of sand, one of peat and one of soil, and check that the soil is well drained. THE water stagnation they are very dangerous for these plants.
The moment of fertilization instead it arrives later, we have to wait for spring and proceed every fortnight, approximately, with fertilizers that have a higher potassium content (P) to favor flowering. It is also very important that microelements are present, in addition to macroelements.
There Calceolaria it can bloom both in spring and in summer, to ensure that the flowering lasts a long time, it is important to eliminate the flowers that wither without leaving them too long on the plant. It is not necessary to prune in the true sense of the term, just remove the leaves, as well as the flowers, when they dry up, to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
In this genus of plants we find at least 400 different species, most of the more common ones are used for ornamental purposes. Let's see some of them. Ù
There C. arachnoidea it is not a very widespread species, it comes from Chile and is recognized for its magnificent purple flowers that appear in summer and autumn. It has fleshy leaves, lives mainly in rock gardens, has a creeping habit and does not withstand too low temperatures while tolerating exposure to direct sunlight.
There C. Darwinii comes from South America, it is a small perennial plant, reaches a maximum height of 10 centimeters and produces orange flowers decorated with a white band between June and July. Lemon yellow flowers are those of the C. mexicana, annual and rustic plant, with hairy light green leaves. Let's move on to C. tenella, also with yellow flowers but this time of a very intense yellow that bloom from May until the end of September.
It is a perennial plant with a creeping habit. There C. Biflora is the third species with yellow flowers that appear in midsummer, is native to Chile and shows large, light green leaves. Very small, but with flowers of every color, or almost, there is C. multiflora dwarf, with thin leaves with toothed margins and clusters of red, yellow and orange flowers.
Calceolaria can be grown both in an apartment and in the garden, they are used very often to decorate flower beds or borders, they are mainly herbaceous plants and usually begin to be marketed during the Easter period. Their curious name derives from the Latin "calceolus" which means "slipper" because their flower resembles a slipper.
There are some enemies of these plants that need to be clearly identified. Let's start from Phytophtora, a fungus that spoils the leaves and causes basal and root rot. It can be eliminated with a specific fungicide, while to prevent its arrival it is necessary not to overdo it with watering.
Also the Aleurodidi, commonly called white flies, can attack these plants. They are very small insects with a yellowish-green color that must be hunted with white oil-based treatments. Other enemies of Calceolaria are undoubtedly the plant aphids, white - yellowish - greenish mobile insects that damage the leaves and must be hunted with specific pesticides.
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