A small compact plant, levisia is quite widely cultivated in the open ground. And gardeners fell in love with it for its spectacular abundant flowering. Despite the fact that levisia bushes are low-growing, when grown in the garden they stand out brightly against the background of other garden crops. They can become the main decoration of any garden plot, especially during the flowering period.
Properties of levises
Low growing perennial levisesia is a succulent and belongs to the Montiaceae family.
Under natural conditions, this pretty flower, which is not more than 0.3 meters tall, can be found only in North America. It is found most often on clay soils and stony slopes above sea level.
With a strong root system, small nodules are formed. The shrub clings firmly to the soil with its roots, trying to grow into it as deeply as possible.
This evergreen plant is characterized by its heat-loving and demanding growing conditions. Particular attention should be paid to the moisture level of the soil. If the soil is too dry, it can lead to mass flight of leaves. But a stagnant fluid in the ground can cause death of this succulent.
In autumn and spring time the levizia bushes are decorated with spectacular green leaf plates.
In April or May numerous richly colored flowers appear on them. Such a perennial fades in the last days of September.
Levisia has a circular root rosette with a diameter varying from 0.3 to 0.4 m.
The leaf laminae are lanceolate or oval-drawn. They are fleshy, leathery to the touch and springy. The leaf surface is smooth and dark green in color.
An erect peduncle, varying in length from 15 to 20 centimeters, rises above the leaf rosette during flowering. Several large flowers open at the top of the flower stalk.
Compared to the bush, the flowers of the levizia are incredibly large. In cross, each of them can reach up to 50 mm. Narrow (up to 0.5 cm wide) with a torn edge, the petals are pointed at the apex, and they reach about 20 mm in length. Flowers can be colored in different shades: pink, lilac, red or yellow tones combine spectacularly with white.
The core of the flowers is yellow and has a central pistil and several stamens on long stalks. When the flowers fade, a rounded fruit is formed, reaching about 0.4 cm across.
Levisia requires special growing conditions and proper care. Only then will it grow vigorously and bloom lushly.
Pouring should be moderate and systematic. This flower tolerates a brief drought quite easily, but stagnant liquid in the roots can kill it. In nature, levizia grows very long roots, with which it gets moisture even during prolonged drought.
Pour water directly under the root, avoiding its contact with flowers and foliage. During prolonged rainfall, the shrubs should be covered from above with a transparent cover.
The plant does not need more than two fertilizers during the season. Organic and mineral fertilizers are used alternately.
Suitable soil for this perennial should be chosen:
- the presence of a drainage layer that should be about half a meter thick;
- ground should be acidic;
- the soil should contain peat, humus, sand, crushed stone and cow manure.
Make sure that moisture does not stagnate in the soil, and note that low areas are not suitable for the plant. After planting the levizia in the ground cover its root neck with pebbles or gravel to prevent it from getting too wet.
No pruning under any circumstances while the shrub is flowering. Once the flowering is over, carefully cut back the flower stalks, but only after they have completely dried up. And they should be cut, not plucked.
The varieties and species of levizia that are adapted to growing in the middle belt, must be well covered for wintering. For this purpose, bushes are covered with a layer of straw or fallen leaves.
At the very beginning of spring, to avoid overwatering, each bush is tightly covered with a glass jar or container.
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Diseases and Pests
Levisia growing in the open ground can suffer from aphids and slugs. To save it from slugs, collect them by hand or make special traps. To get rid of aphids, the leaves are washed with a soap solution or garlic infusion. In case folk methods of pest control showed low efficiency, then spray the flowers with insecticide preparation.
The most dangerous for levizia is gray rot. A diseased plant has grayish red spots on the foliage. If the shrub has been affected recently, cut off all diseased foliage and then spray it with a fungicide. If the flower is very badly affected, dig it up and burn it.
Potting and Repotting
In the garden, levisia is cultivated as a perennial, and it can be grown in one plot for over a decade without replanting.
If cultivated at home it can be placed in a heated room in winter and in the warmer months placed in the garden or on a balcony. A suitable location in the open air should be in direct sunlight only a few hours a day, ideally on the foot of large rocks or boulders or on slopes. At home, it is advisable to place the shrub on a window sill with a western or eastern orientation. From afternoon to evening the plant needs diffused light.
If you choose the most suitable location for growing this spectacular perennial, it will not need replanting for over ten years.
However, experts do not advise, transplanting levizia even if necessary.
Growing from seed
For sowing levizia use only freshly harvested seed, as it loses germination very quickly. Dig up the garden plot ahead of time and sow the seeds deep in the fall. Then cover the surface of the bed with a thick layer of mulch (compost or peat).
The first seedlings should appear in the last days of March or first April.
There are two ways to continue growing seedlings:
- The seedlings should be sprouted.
- Young plants are left untouched for one year. The next spring they are immediately transferred to a permanent place.
Growing levizia can also be done through seedlings. One month before sowing, the seed material is placed on the refrigerator shelf.
Sowing into boxes is done in the spring.
You can do things differently. Small containers are filled with loose moist soil mixture, then the levissia seeds are sown. The seeds are covered with a thin layer of soil. The top of the container is covered with glass.
It is placed in a cold place for a month. And after the first sprouts appear on it, the container is moved to a warm place. Wait for the seedlings to form 2 or 3 true leaf plates.
Transplanting seedlings to the garden is carried out only when the threat of return spring frosts is over. A bush grown from seed for the first time will please the gardener with flowers only in the second or third year of growth.
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A grown plant forms side rosettes, which lack their own root system as they grow. If necessary, in the spring time, separate the rosette with a sharp knife and plant it in non-fertile soil in a not very large container. When the cuttings are 2 h before planting, treat them with a fungicide and a product that stimulates root growth. Put the planted cuttings in a cool place where they should take some time to take root. Once the root system has grown and strengthened, the bushes can be planted permanently.
Levisia species with photo
Only two dozen species of levises can be found in nature. But thanks to breeding efforts, many hybrid garden forms have come into existence. In gardens in the mid-latitudes the most commonly grown are hybrid levizias, which are characterized by their very spectacular flowering, as well as their care requirements and capriciousness. Depending on the form or species, the flowers can have a very unusual color.
Levisia constellation (Lewisia cotyledon)
This hybrid was created using the blunt-leaved levisia.
The petals of the flowers of this plant have a pinkish-orange color and a white border. This variety is very popular with gardeners and is among the most highly ornamental varieties.
Levisia cotyledon, or obtuse
This species is widely cultivated and is noted for its accessibility. It is actively used by breeders to create ornamental hybrid varieties. This species is a low-growing evergreen herbaceous plant, about 0.
3 m high. Its green leaflets vary in length from 3 to 15 centimeters with a pale red border along the toothed, wavy edge. The leaves are part of a root rosette that is symmetrical.
Flowering begins in May-June, at which time tall pedicels are formed on the shrubs, with a large number of buds forming in the upper parts. During one season, 8 to 15 flower stalks can form on a shrub.
The buds open gradually, with no more than four flowers per flower stalk. As a rule, the flowers of this species are colored pink. However, there are also specimens with dark pink or yellow spots. The flower consists of not more than 15 petals but is about 25 mm across.
Levisia pygmaea (Lewisia pygmaea)
This species is most commonly cultivated in garden areas and alpine rock gardens.
Compared to other species it is quite unpretentious and does not require much care. That is why it enjoys such great popularity among gardeners. This deciduous herbaceous plant blooms in April or May. On the tops of the flower stalks are formed umbrellas which consist of seven flowers, each of which is about 30 mm across. The petals are unevenly colored: their color gradually changes from pink to white from the tips to the base.
The narrow, long (up to 10 centimeters) leaflets are green in color and look very much like the arrows of an ornamental onion. Excellent self-sowing propagation, which allows them to rapidly win back territories from other garden crops. When the flowering shrub sheds all of its leaves, and at this time it has a dormant period. In the autumn after heavy rains, young leaves begin to grow.
Levisia nevadensis (Lewisia nevadensis)
This flower grows best in moist, sandy soil that dries out in the summertime.
In nature, this species is widespread in North America. The root rosette consists of elongated green leaves that are slightly curved. The shrubs bloom in May and bloom in late summer. The medium-sized flowers open only in sunny weather. They are colored white and their stamens are yellowish green.
This species is very similar in appearance to the dwarf levisia and also needs the same care.
This deciduous herbaceous plant is native to Arizona, but can also be found in Mexico and southern California. The leaflets are about 10 centimeters long and have a pointy greenish-gray tip. On a low flower stalk several flowers open at once, reaching about 20 mm across. They are colored unevenly, from the pale pink tips of the petals to white or beige in the middle.
Blossoms between March and June. The beginning of active growth of the bush is in the fall, and the plant comes to life after the long rains. The resting period of this species starts as soon as it blossoms and has fully matured seeds. At this time the growth of the bush stops completely. This species differs from many others in that its flowers open during the daytime regardless of the weather.
Levisia renewed (Lewisia rediviva)
This very rare species is a low-growing plant, usually not more than 50 mm high. The peduncles are only slightly elevated above the shrub, with single pink or white flowers opening at the top, reaching about 50-70 mm across. The flowers open only on a sunny, cloudless day.
Levisia tweedyi (Lewisia tweedyi)
The bush reaches about 15 centimeters in height. Otherwise, this species is also called "flowering cabbage".
This is due to the fact that the leaf plates of the flower are dense, fleshy and very broad, and they are colored in a deep green shade. The flowers reach about 50 mm across and are formed on the tops of relatively long (about 20 centimeters) flower stalks. The smooth petals may be colored pink, orange-yellow or red.
Levisia is a perennial in the garden