Such a herbaceous perennial plant as Platycodon, also called shirokokolokolchikom, is a member of the bellflower family. The flowers of these plants look like large, wide bells. In nature, they can often be found in Eastern Siberia, China, the Far East, as well as in Korea and Japan. Platycodons prefer to grow on forest edges, rocky slopes and forest glades. The name of such a plant comes from the Greek language, and it consists of the words "platys" - "wide, even" and "kodon" - "bell". This genus is monotypic, because it includes only 1 species - platycodon grandiflorus, or large-flowered bellflower (sometimes confused with broadleaf bellflower). This species has been cultivated since 1872, but this flower gained popularity among gardeners only at the beginning of the 20th century.
Features of Platicodon
Platycodon's rhizome is fleshy, and the height of its straight, thin, densely leafy shoots can vary from 0.2 to 0.8 m. Opposite leaf plates have an elongated narrow or ovoid shape, as well as a finely toothed edge. The leaves located at the bottom are part of the root rosette. Leaf plates and shoots have a light bluish tint. Flowers can be single or 3-5 pieces collected in panicle inflorescences. The wide-open flowers are quite large, in diameter they can reach 8 centimeters, on the surface of the blue petals, a network is clearly visible, consisting of thin veins of dark color. There are forms, the color of the flowers in which can be white or dark purple. Externally, the swollen buds of such a plant are very similar to lanterns. Flowering lasts about 8 weeks and begins in the second half of July. The fruit is an ovoid capsule containing glossy flat egg-shaped seeds. It is recommended to grow such a flower in the garden together with a tall bell, gypsophila or undersized phlox.
GARDEN BELLS. Website sadovymir.ru
Growing platycodone from seeds
Very often, gardeners choose the generative (seed) method for reproduction of Platycodon. Seeds can be sown directly into open soil in spring or before winter, but experts advise growing such a plant through seedlings. Sowing seeds for seedlings is recommended to be done in the last days of February or the first - in March. Before proceeding with sowing, the seeds must be prepared. To do this, they are poured into a bag of gauze and placed in a not very large vessel filled with water, where they must stay for two days. For sowing seeds, it is recommended to use large flowerpots or boxes, which must be filled with an earth mixture consisting of humus, peat soil and sand (1: 1: 1). The substrate must be well loosened, and then Platicodon seeds are laid out on its surface. There are 2 different opinions about embedding the seed in the ground, so, some of the gardeners claim that it is not necessary to bury the seeds, while the rest say that they need to be sprinkled with a thin (0.3 to 0.5 cm thick) layer of sand. When sowing is finished, the substrate should be moistened with water at room temperature using a spray bottle. Cover the container on top with a film, and then transfer it to a warm place (from 20 to 22 degrees). It is necessary to water the crops only after the top layer of the substrate dries up. The first seedlings should appear 7-15 days after sowing.
How to care for seedlings
It is necessary to care for the growing seedlings of Platycodon in exactly the same way as for the seedlings of other garden flowers. When the first seedlings appear, the shelter must be removed, while the container itself is rearranged to a cooler place (from 18 to 20 degrees). Seedlings should be watered only when necessary. After each watering, be sure to very carefully loosen the soil in the container. After the seedlings have 3 or 4 true leaves, they will need to be picked into individual pots with a diameter of about 10 centimeters. Flowers will grow in these containers until they are planted.
Planting Platicodon in open ground
What time to plant
Platycodon seedlings should be planted in open soil in the last days of May or the first in June, when you are sure that the night frosts are over. For such a plant, it is recommended to choose a sunny area in the garden, but it can also grow and develop normally in partial shade. The soil should be not too wet, well-drained, loose and rich in nutrients. A loam with a low sand content and a neutral reaction is best suited for such a flower. In an adult bush, the root system is located vertically, in this regard, the groundwater at the site must necessarily lie deep enough. It should also be noted that Platycodon cannot be transplanted because its roots are very fragile. It can be grown in the same place for more than 10 years. Before planting seedlings, the site must be dug up, while adding fertilizer to the soil, so 1 large spoonful of complex mineral fertilizer and 0.5 tbsp are taken per 1 square meter. wood ash.
The size of the holes should only slightly exceed the volume of the seedling pots. The distance between them should be from 25 to 30 centimeters. Before planting, the plant must be watered abundantly. There are gardeners who recommend immersing the plant completely in water along with the pot before planting. Then the seedlings are carefully removed from the pot, and an earthen lump is lowered into the prepared hole, which is then covered with soil and compacted a little. The planted plants need watering.
Platycodon care in the garden
Seedlings just planted in open soil need systematic watering. It must be carried out every day for the first 14 days. Then the plants are watered no more than 1 time in three days and not so much water is poured onto one bush. When the platycodon is watered, it is necessary to loosen the surface of the soil and pull out all the weeds. To reduce the number of watering, weeding and loosening of the soil, it is recommended to cover it with a layer of mulch.
Also, this plant should be systematically fed once every 4 weeks with a complex fertilizer for flowering plants. These flowers have one feature, namely, they stretch up strongly, this becomes clearly noticeable after the bush turns 3 years old. In order to preserve the decorativeness of flowers, it is recommended that they regularly make pinches, or they can be treated in spring with a special preparation that slows down the growth of the plant (inhibitor), for example, you can use the Athlete. In the event that the platycodons are still strongly elongated, they will need to be tied to a support. You also need to remove the flowers that have begun to fade in time.
Reproduction of platycodon
It is best and most reliable to propagate such a plant in a generative (seed) way. Some gardeners try to propagate Platycodon by cuttings, but only a few can do it. But if there is a desire, then of course, you can try to grow such a flower from cuttings. Cuttings are harvested in spring, for this it is necessary to cut off the stem with a pair of internodes, as well as with the heel. Then the cutting is planted for rooting as usual.
If the bush is grown on sandy soil, then for its reproduction, you can resort to dividing the bush. To do this, carefully dig up the flower, and then make a thorough inspection. If you find shoots with buds, then they can be carefully cut off with a pre-sterilized sharp knife. Places of cuts should be treated with sulfur or ash, and then the cuttings should be planted in a permanent place in open soil. However, when propagating Platycodone vegetatively, you should be prepared for the fact that you will fail. The best and easiest way to grow this plant is from seeds.
Perennial Platicodon. Reproduction
Diseases and pests
This plant has a very high resistance to a variety of diseases. However, if the weather is very wet for a long time, then there is a high probability of infection of Platicodone with gray rot. In order to avoid this, experts advise to thoroughly loosen the surface of the soil, as well as be extremely careful with watering, try to avoid stagnation of moisture in the root system of the plant. If the flowers have already begun to rot, then it is recommended to dig up and destroy the affected bushes, and the remaining ones must be sprayed with a solution of copper sulfate or Fundazol (2%) or Topsin-M (1%). After 1.5 weeks, it is recommended to spray the plants again.
Only rodents, or rather, moles and mice, can harm such a flower. They are able to injure his root system. There are a large number of methods that will help get rid of these pests, but which ones are suitable in your case, it's up to you. The most effective way is to "smoke" the rodents out of their houses. To do this, you need to connect a rubber hose to the exhaust outlet of the chainsaw. The other end of this hose should be placed in the burrow. While the chainsaw is running, smoke will begin to enter the hole, and the rodents will get to the surface. There is another way to get rid of pests. You will need to purchase bait with poisoned cereals and spread it around the site. It should be borne in mind that this method of rodent control does not work on moles.
Platicodon after flowering
When the box inside the flower cracks, it will be possible to understand that the seeds are ripe. Seed collection is carried out only after the pedicels are completely dry (usually in September). Absolutely new varieties can grow from seeds collected with their own hands, while the flowers of such plants will have an unusual color.
Preparation for wintering
This flower is a perennial. In this regard, in autumn, its aboveground part must be completely cut off, and the surface of the site must be covered with a thick layer of mulch (humus, dried foliage, peat, sawdust or spruce branches).
Platycodon varieties with photos and names
As mentioned above, the Platycodon has only one species, but there are a great many different varieties. The most popular varieties:
- Album... A fairly common variety with erect shoots, the height of which can vary from 0.6 to 0.8 m. The diameter of white large flowers is 8 centimeters, while their surface can be streaked with thin veins of blue. Flowering is observed from the last days of June to August.
- Shell Pink... Plant height is about 0.8 m, and large flowers are colored light pink.
- Marisil Blue... The height of the compact plant does not exceed 0.35 m. The blue flowers have a spectacular lavender hue.
- Fairy Snow... Plant height is about 0.8 m. Single flowers are very delicate, they are painted in light lilac or white and have thin veins of blue color.
- Epoiema... The height of the plant does not exceed 0.2 m. The color of the flowers is blue-violet. Recommended for growing in rock gardens and rockeries.
- Snowflakes... On a bush of half a meter in height, semi-double flowers of white color flaunt.
- Mather of Pearl... The height of the bushes is about 0.6 m. The color of the flowers is pale pink.
Sometimes gardeners decorate their garden with such a flower as the Ussuri codonopsis (codonopsis means "like a bell"). This plant is closely related to Platycodon, but its aroma is very sharp and unpleasant, which is why it is not very popular with gardeners.
Garden bell / Shirokokolokolchik / Platycodon from seeds
Platicodon - planting and care
Platycodon is a perennial plant of the bellflower family. Low stems with dense foliage are just over half a meter high. The flowers are large, reaching 8 cm in diameter, usually inflorescences of 3 - 5 flowers. The color of the platycodon bells is very diverse: white, pink, blue, blue and lilac flowers are monochromatic, but there are also varieties with bright streaks or "splashes" that give a special beauty to the plant. There are varieties with unusual terry bells. Amateur flower growers appreciate very much the dwarf varieties of Platycodon, in which all proportions are reduced - they have a height of only 20 - 25 cm. Thanks to the numerous leaves and a variety of flowers, the effect of a "solid carpet" is created, and the plant will certainly decorate the yard of any country house or space suburban area.
The long flowering period of Platycodon (up to 60 days) is another positive quality of the flower.
Platycodon: growing and care
Platicodon is grown from seeds. The seeds are sown in March. Due to their high sensitivity to light, they are sown superficially. The soil for planting platycodon requires loose, loose, it will be good if fine gravel or fine-grained sand is mixed into the loamy soil. Immediately after sowing, close the box with foil and place it in a place illuminated by indirect sunlight. Seedlings tolerate normal room temperature well - 20 - 23 degrees, moderate watering is required.
In late May - early June, flower seedlings are planted in their permanent habitat. To do this, each fragile bush is captured with a lump of earth and placed in the soil of the future flower garden.
Please note: Platycodon does not like to move around, so choose a permanent place to grow it for about 7 years. Watering the flower garden is done carefully and only through a sprinkler.
It is possible to grow platycodon by sowing seeds in the soil of the planned flower bed in the fall, then they must be sprinkled with compost or sifted earth with a layer of 2 - 3 cm so that they do not freeze out. Crops will sprout next year closer to summer. The sown plants develop slowly and bloom only after 1 - 2 years. Very often flowers need a garter, as thin stems break easily under the weight of the flower head.
Platycodon pests and diseases
A plant in good conditions does not suffer from diseases, moreover, it is not susceptible to pests. Only rodents are capable of damaging the root system: mice and moles. Platycodon usually tolerates winter well.
Growing Platicodon at home
If you live in a city apartment, but want to grow such a remarkably beautiful flower, then you can do it. Growing Platicodon at home is not difficult. You can buy a flower in a specialty store, but it is quite possible to plant the plant with seeds in pots with good drainage. In order for Platycodon to bloom for a long time at home, it needs coolness and bright, but diffused light.
While the bells are blooming, they need abundant watering, but in the cold season, the volume and frequency of watering are significantly reduced. Platycodon is transplanted only as needed in winter, when the flower is dormant.
When planting platycodon and caring for it, remember that the flowers are pollinated, so if you plant several plant species nearby, the varietal traits are eliminated. As much as you want variety, only one variety of Platycodon can be grown on one site. But planting a flower remarkably tolerate the neighborhood of liliaceae, irises, marigolds and pansies. This property of platycodon can be used when laying out flower beds, arranging flower beds and rockeries.
Watering and loosening the soil
Platycodon is a perennial flower that is unpretentious in cultivation, but in order for the bush to please with its flowering for a long time, it is necessary to water it in a timely manner. It generally tolerates dry summers well. But occasionally the bells are irrigated. It is especially important to monitor soil moisture during the budding period. In other cases, watering is carried out only after it has been noticed that the topsoil is completely dry.
When planting a bell, the ground should be loose and drainage. For this, a mixture is prepared: humus, compost, peat and foliage. All ingredients are mixed in equal amounts. By mulching, they regulate the acidity of the soil.
Types and varieties of cineraria with photos and names
All types of cineraria used in horticulture are divided into plants with decorative foliage and beautiful flowers. The former are most often grown in gardens, while the latter can serve as houseplants.
Or cineraria is silver, silvery. This species is also known as the maritime rootwort. It belongs to the decorative and deciduous species. Cineraria maritima is a perennial that forms a rosette from spectacular cut plates. They are remarkable for their greenish-silver color and look unusually elegant on flower beds. Due to the characteristic color and compact size of the bushes, this cineraria is often used in the design of flower beds, flower beds and rockeries, as well as to create various flower arrangements. It favorably emphasizes plantings with bright flowers or leaves. Low-growing varieties are most often used as border plantings.
This type of cineraria can also bloom - usually this happens in the second year of cultivation. In this case, the species forms small yellow chamomile flowers of little interest. So that the bushes do not waste energy on the formation of flowers, and their color does not violate the color scheme of the foliage, many growers remove the inflorescences after their formation. Popular varieties include:
- Silver Dust - forms medium-sized (about 25 cm) neat bushes with delicate silvery foliage.
- Cirrus - differs in bushes of a larger (about 45 cm) size with serrated leaf blades of an unusual oval shape. The older the bush is, the lighter foliage it will have.
Cineraria hybrid (Cineraria hybrid)
Or cineraria is red, bloody. This species belongs to the number of decorative flowering. Cineraria hybrid forms short (from 30 cm) bushes with large rounded foliage. Its length is about 15 cm. Inflorescences of bright color appear against the background of green leaves. They resemble daisies or daisies in shape. The species is most often grown in a pot culture due to the long growing season: the bushes bloom only 8 months after sowing. To get flowering plants by summer, you should sow them for seedlings in winter - in December. The bush will delight with its baskets for about a month. Among the most common varieties:
- Grandiflora - bushes up to 70 cm tall with large flowers up to 8 cm in size.
- Double - the height of the bushes varies from 35 to 70 cm, the size of the flowers is about 5 cm.
- Stellata - a tall variety (up to 90 cm) with medium-sized (about 3 cm) flowers that resemble stars.
- Sympathy - flowers of this variety can have a two-color color.
Cineraria graceful (Senecio elegans)
A South African species that forms branched stems up to 60 cm high. They, like the foliage of a bush, are covered with sticky pubescence. Senecio elegans can have simple or terry baskets assembled into shields. Flowers are kept on the bushes until the beginning of autumn frosts. This species is less decorative, but attracts gardeners with its unpretentiousness and blooms earlier than hybrid cineraria. Formative pruning will help to make the flowering more abundant, adding splendor to the bushes. Among the main varieties: