Levkoy (mattiola)

Levkoy (mattiola)

There is accurate information from historical records that in the 19th century these beautiful flowers grew in every garden. But over time, the Levkoi left the gardens under the onslaught of their high-fashion brothers. This is a very sad fact. But in some villages you can still see mattiola-levkoy today. And how not to grow it, because it gives an amazing aroma that can rival any perfume.

More today in decorative floriculture such a species as gray-haired levkoy or gray-haired mattiola is common. Summer Levkoy is its subspecies and is more often found in flower beds.

Levkoya blooms with different flowers, there are simple ones, and also double ones. The colors have different shades and have an incredible aroma. Undoubtedly, terry levkoy deserves more attention. And this is not surprising, because unlike simple flowers, these are much more beautiful and they bloom much longer. Simple - only up to 5 days, and terry can bloom for three weeks. The plant shows all its beauty of flowering from the beginning of summer to the end of autumn.

What do you need to know when growing this fragrant and undeservedly forgotten miracle? The requirements for the content of levkoy are minimal: watch the ground so that it does not dry out and get rid of unnecessary grass. The difficulties are slightly different - it is to safely grow seedlings and plant them also successfully.

How to grow levkoy

This flower is a very curious plant. Levkoy-terry is very beautiful and therefore almost all growers want to grow it. But there is a catch here: the flowers of this species are sterile, they do not bring seeds and, accordingly, bloom only once. But there is a way out: seeds for growing double flowers can be obtained from a simple levkoy. In principle, they are bred for this purpose, and their name is testes. Seeds from such testes are double and simple. They do not differ, so everything is sown, and with the appearance of cotyledon leaves, it is already possible to sort them. Most of the varieties of a similar flower at this time already have terry. Young terry plants have light green leaves and the seedlings themselves are larger than usual.

There are some more points on how to get and not spoil healthy seedlings with levka.

There is an important point in the cultivation of such flowers, in principle, this applies to each representative of the cruciferous, during the period when they germinate it should not be hot. It is in this that sometimes the reason for the death of seedlings with levkoy grown at home is hidden. A great option is to sow the seeds in a cool place, for example, in a greenhouse, while cucumbers and tomatoes are not yet dominant there.

When planting levkoi in open ground, it is better to choose a sunny and uncovered place. A plot with moderately moist soil is perfect for this. The plant prefers fertile, non-acidic soils.

You should not grow such a flower in a place where representatives of cruciferous plants, in particular, cabbage, used to grow. Levkoi can become infected with a fungal disease (cruciferous keela), the causative agent of which has been hidden in the ground for many years.

To admire the beauty of Levkoe in June and inhale its wonderful aroma, the seeds must be sown in mid-March. As soon as the first true leaf appears, the seedlings must be fertilized. It should be a full range of fertilizers. And yet, for the entire period of growth, seedlings need prevention from black leg. To do this, you need to water the plants with a weak solution of potassium permanganate.

If the seedlings are well hardened, then they are not afraid of frost even down to -5 degrees.

It is better to plant several plants in the hole at once, rather than plant one at a time. So, you will not need to deal with thinning later, because in this case something like a nest is obtained.

How fortunate that there is such an abundance of flower seedlings for every taste on trading floors and in garden centers, here you can find everything - and already in bloom. And some of us sow flower seedlings on our own at home, and they are already outgrowing, after picks, there is nowhere to put them, which means that it is time to plant them too.

However, not any. What can you plant in the garden right now? Let's not forget that in the middle lane, the term of possible return frosts is until June 10. To avoid disappointment and financial losses, the most cold-resistant annuals can be relocated to the garden.

But with flowering seedlings, to immediately transform the garden. Another way to save money on seedlings is to plant them not in the soil of flower beds (it will take too many plants here to create the proper decorative effect), but in containers.

Before the start of sowing, the seeds of Levkoe are wrapped in several layers of gauze, soaked in clean water for 24 hours and stratified on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for 2-3 days. For seedlings, a sod-sand mixture (3: 1) is prepared, which is spilled with boiling water for disinfection. The further procedure is as follows:

  • Place damp substrate in a short container and compact slightly.
  • Spread the cold-treated seeds lightly over the surface and embed them to a depth of 0.5 cm.
  • Cover the container with plastic foil and store in a dark, warm (+ 20 ... + 22 ° C) place.

Seed germination takes 4–5 days to 2 weeks. With the emergence of sprouts, the crops are freed from shelter and placed under soft light, and at the age of 10–12 days, the plants dive in separate pots, even if they did not manage to form a single true leaf by this time. In the phase of development of the second pair of leaves, it is useful to feed the seedlings with a weak solution of micronutrient fertilizers. Young Levkoi are planted in open ground after two weeks of hardening in the open air.

Grouping of summer Levkoy varieties and their use

Breeders of the world have bred about 600 varieties of gray mattiola.
Depending on the shape of the inflorescences, the Levkoi varieties are divided into 8 groups:
- Bouquet (Victoria)
- Giant bomb-shaped
- Quedlinburg (all-terry)
- Short-branched (Erfurt)
- Large-flowered gigantic tree-like
- Single stem (Excelsior)
- Pyramidal
- Sprawling.

Within most of these groups, there are subgroups that unite varieties of levkoi according to plant height, flowering time, flower size and other characteristic features.
On purchased bags of seeds of mattiola gray-haired, the groups and subgroups according to this complex classification may not be indicated, but a detailed description of the variety is usually given.

Depending on the height of the plant (dwarf, undersized, medium-sized, tall), the structure of the Levkoy bush, the shape and color of the inflorescence and other features, you can plan to use this variety in flower beds and to decorate the balcony.

Early remontant levkoi are valuable because they begin to bloom as soon as possible after sowing. After the flowering of the first shoots, they are able to branch, and then new inflorescences are formed on the lateral shoots. Therefore, the total duration of their flowering in the garden is very long. Sometimes the flowering period of gray-haired matthiola is several months: all summer and autumn, until the onset of significant cold weather.

Tall single-stem (standard) levkoi are good for the background of flower beds. They are also used as cutting plants. Terry levkoy inflorescences, cut at the blooming stage by 2/3, keep freshness in a fragrant bouquet for up to 10 days.

The popular variety series of medium-sized and tall summer Levkoy with different colors of double flowers, which are currently on sale, are intended for cutting:
- «Glory» (early flowering) and «Column» include cut grades of mattiola gray-haired with a height of about 60-75 cm with large flowers
- "Noble" - combines very early flowering varieties (80-100 cm high) with a very high percentage (90%) of double flowers
- "Xmas" - early flowering, includes very tall (100 cm) and low-branched cut varieties.

Of the low-growing varieties of gray-haired matthiola (40 cm high), you can now find interesting varieties with large double flowers (5-6 cm in diameter) of various colors on sale:
- "Swing" - creamy yellow
- "Lapis lazuli" - blue
- "Quick" - red
- "Step" - carmine red
- "Tango" - purple.

Last year I grew these varieties of Levkoi in the garden. True, the very hot summer did not allow them to show themselves in full glory throughout the season, but when the weather was normal, they showed themselves from the very best side.

Low-growing and dwarf levkoi are successfully grown not only in the garden in the foreground of flower beds, but also in a pot culture on the balcony and at home (including in winter).

Adult flower care

  • Watering... You shouldn't forget about it. No matter how trouble-free the flower is, in the summer heat it can’t do without water, especially on the sunny side of the yard! Therefore, water it frequently, but in moderation.
  • Food... Matthiola does not like organics too much, it will respond favorably only to the introduction of ash into the soil. But the flower will not refuse a solution of mineral dressing. In the spring, give levkoy a complete (complex) mineral fertilizer, and when flowers appear, transfer the plant to a potassium-phosphorus diet.
  • "Manual therapy"... The area on which the levka grows should be loosened from time to time (it is important to do this after watering, so you will protect the top of the soil from the formation of a crust that will prevent the roots from breathing). In this case, it is worth pulling out or weeding out the weeds.
  • Diseases... Levkoy sometimes suffers from black leg. At risk - flowers that are watered too often, or growing in "tight", swampy soil. Experienced gardeners recommend treating the site with a preparation called "Hom" before planting levkoes. It protects delicate plants from this disease.
  • Pests... Cruciferous fleas can parasitize on matthiola. If they are already running, make an ash solution and spray the flower bed three times, at five-day intervals. If this "eco-remedy" does not help, you will have to use "Aktar" and similar poisons.

Levkoy faded

Seed collection

You can collect ripe seeds in September-October.

Look at the pods: as they ripen, they turn brown.

Experienced gardeners recommend not picking off the pods one at a time, but pulling out several bushes at once (with a spine), spreading them out in a room closed from precipitation, but ventilated. Once you see that the seed pods are completely dry, break them open and shake the seeds into a paper bag.

It will not work to collect seeds from the most beautiful varieties (terry), they are considered sterile.

Preparing a plant for wintering

In cold areas, perennial levkoy does not exist - any bushes are pulled out for the winter and sent to compost.

If you have moderate winters (up to 20 degrees + snow), the stems of biennials or perennials should be cut to the very ground and spread over it.

You can dig up the plant and transplant it into a pot - it will become a blooming and very nice-smelling flowerpot.

Sowing seeds of gray-headed summer levkoy for seedlings

Seeds of early flowering gray-haired matthiola can be sown in spring directly into open ground. In the middle lane, levkoy is sown in late April or early May. Next, you need to thin out the plants, maintaining the required distance between shoots.

To lengthen the flowering period of levkoy, it is desirable to grow seedlings. Indeed, from sowing to the beginning of flowering of these plants, depending on the variety, it takes about 70-100 days. Therefore, it is advisable to grow levkoe varieties of medium and late flowering in the middle lane through seedlings so that they have time to bloom in the garden before the onset of the autumn cold.

I sow seeds of gray-haired mattiola at home in bowls in the second half of March or at the very beginning of April - when the day is already significantly lengthening, there are many clear and rather warm days.

The substrate for sowing seeds of Levkoy is made only of garden loamy soil and sand, without adding compost and peat to the mixture - these ingredients contribute to the appearance of the fungal disease "black leg" in mattiola seedlings.
Also, for the prevention of fungal diseases, it is advisable to spill the soil with a solution of potassium permanganate or Fitosporin a few days before sowing levkoe, and then dry it. When sowing matthiola, the substrate should be moderately moist.

Sowing seeds of Levkoy in bowls is rare: so that the seedlings do not shade each other, and then it would be convenient to dive them.

Sprinkle the seeds of mattiola sown in the grooves with a thin layer of a mixture of soil and dry clean river sand (in equal proportions), slightly compacting the surface.
I do not water the crops of the Levkoe. I close the bowl with the crops with cling film and put it in a bright, warm place.

If the seeds of Levkoy are of high quality, then their germination occurs quickly - literally in a few days the seedlings "shoot" from the soil.
I water the matthiola seedlings for the first time 4-5 days after germination, which also protects them from fungal diseases.

Levkoe seedlings love fresh air, they need to be ventilated often. And so that they do not stretch, you need to keep the bowls with crops of mattiola in a cool and very bright place (I put them on a glazed loggia with a temperature of 10-12 degrees).

Approximately 2 weeks after sowing the levkoes, when the seedlings' cotyledons have already developed well, and the real leaves have not yet appeared, I make a dive into individual pots (they must have drainage holes).
It is advisable to add a hydrogel to the nutrient substrate, which will help the seedlings develop a good root system and protect them from possible negative factors after planting in a permanent place.

Rooted plants, which have started to grow, I must gradually temper them on the loggia, at first opening the window a little.
If necessary, I water the Levkoe seedlings very carefully, avoiding drying out and waterlogging of the substrate.

How to grow levkoy

As for the requirements for growing conditions, the Levkoi are quite cold-resistant, they like bright places and moderate watering.

These plants are very demanding on the soil composition: they need nutritious, moderately moist, loose, non-acidic soils.

Most of all, Levkoi do not tolerate waterlogging, heavy soil and fresh organic fertilizers, in such conditions the plants get sick, grow poorly and often die.

Apparently, this feature has led to the fact that at present Levkoi rarely settle in our flower beds.

Levkoi is grown through seedlings.

Sowing is carried out in the second half of March in a loose, non-acidic (pH about 7), nutritious soil mixture. A mixture of humus, leaf soil, peat and sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 2: 1, with the addition of lime, is ideal.

A day or two before sowing, the soil in the box must be spilled with a fungicide solution (phytosporin-M, Baikal EM-1) or a pink solution of potassium permanganate.

Before sowing, seeds must also be disinfected by dusting with foundationol or phytosporin-M powder.

To do this, the drug is taken at the tip of a knife, poured into a bag with seeds and shaken. Such preparation will protect the seedlings from the black leg, which often affects the seedlings of the levkoy.

Levkoy seeds are sown in small grooves, lightly sprinkled with soil.

Germinated at room temperature (18-22 degrees).

Seedlings appear on the 4-5th day. Immediately, they need to be provided with good lighting and moderate watering, as over-watering can cause black leg disease.

After the emergence of seedlings, the box with seedlings is transferred to the windowsill, where the temperature is 12-15 degrees.

When 1-2 true leaves appear, the seedlings are transplanted into pots with a diameter of 5-7 cm. Once every 7-10 days, the seedlings are fed with a complex mineral fertilizer (3-5 g / l of water).

Plants are planted in open ground in the second half of May. The place is selected light with loose, non-blocking soil.

It is necessary to transplant seedlings of Levkoy carefully, since Levkoy does not react well to transplantation.

The distance between the bushes is 15-25 cm, depending on the size of the plants and the type of flower garden.

Immediately after planting, the plants are watered, and in sunny weather they are shaded for a couple of days.

In the future, plants need watering when the soil dries up, periodic weeding and loosening, feeding once every 2 weeks with any complex mineral fertilizer (15-20 g per bucket of water).

Depending on the variety, flowering of levkoe begins 70-110 days after germination and lasts more than two months.

On the left in the photo is a levkoy multi-stemmed, on the right is a levkoy short-branched

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Gray-haired (or levkoy) Mattiola is rarely seen in amateur flower beds. But this beauty with lush flowering and delicate aroma is in no way inferior to fashionable exotics.
I sow seeds for seedlings in March, and already in mid-June I admire the flowering. In the box, I spill a substrate of turf soil and clean river sand (3: 1) with a solution of Maxim fungicide (according to the instructions). I spread the seeds with tweezers on the surface of the soil (sparsely), sprinkle them on top with a thin layer of river sand and moisten them with warm water from a spray bottle. I cover it with a film and put it in a bright place with a temperature of + 15 ... + 17 degrees.

Seedlings appear on the 5th day. For tempering, I briefly put the box on the veranda with an open window.
After the appearance of two cotyledon leaves, I wait two weeks for the seedlings to get stronger, and dive the seedlings, pinching the roots, in small pots with drainage holes. I add hydrogel (3: 1) to the substrate, which helps to retain moisture. I transplant it into open ground at the end of April. On this site there should be no cruciferous predecessors (cabbage, radish, radish), otherwise "reward" mattiola with a black leg or keel.

My garden clearly lacked stately, majestic flowers.
Therefore, when I saw a packet of seeds of a tall Levkoy Red Viking, I bought it without any doubts.
There were a lot of seeds in the package, but only a few have sprouted, and only 2 plants were saved before moving to the dacha. So that they do not get lost in the flowerbed, I put them in a large container, which I put next to the gazebo.

My levkoi blossomed only towards the end of summer, but this magnificent beauty lasted for more than a month. True, the "Viking" was not red, but bright crimson! This did not upset me at all - the flowers were very beautiful and with a pleasant delicate aroma.
The next year I bought another variety - Royal mix. I planted 3 levkoyas in containers together with red lobelia and looked forward to how beautiful my composition would turn out. But, unfortunately, the lobelia was already starting to fade, and we did not wait for the flowering of the levkoy. Then I realized that it was impossible to add organic matter to the ground when planting. You can only feed with complex mineral fertilizers and ash. Since the levkoy is from the cruciferous family, it cannot be planted in places where cabbage or other representatives of this family grew, since they have common diseases and pests.

I also learned that Levkoy was once a very popular flower, but now it is undeservedly forgotten. Now I am not going to give it up any more! I will try to have a lot of levkoy of different shades both for garden decoration and for cutting.

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