Beautiful lavatera is considered a plant for the lazy – it is so undemanding to the conditions and care. At the same time, the decorative qualities of lavatera are above all praise.
Thanks to the work of breeders, this plant is now represented in culture by many varieties. In addition to its attractiveness, lavatera also has medicinal properties: it relieves headaches, coughs and other symptoms of colds.
Our article will introduce you to the species and varieties of this plant. From it you can also learn:
- how to grow lavatera and seeds;
- How to take care of the plant during the season;
- How to collect the seeds of the lavatera;
- How to prepare perennial varieties of the plant for wintering.
Lavatera planting and care
- Planting: sowing seeds into the ground – at the end of April or in early May: sowing seeds into seedlings – in early March, planting seedlings into the ground – from the middle to the end of May.
- Lighting: bright sunlight.
- Soil: loose, light, well-drained, not too fertile.
- Watering: moderate, but in drought – regular and abundant.
- Gartering: High-growing varieties should be tied to supports, which are installed at planting.
- Fertilizing: only if growing in very poor soils once every 4-8 weeks with a complex mineral fertilizer.
- Propagation: seed.
- Pests: aphids.
- Diseases: rust fungus.
Lavatera flowers (lat. Lavatera), or khatma, or wild rose, belong to a genus of trees, shrubs and herbs of the Malva family. The genus is not numerous, has only about 25 species, which grow for the most part in Australia, East Asia and the Mediterranean. It was named Lavatera after Lavater brothers, naturalists and doctors from Switzerland known in XVII century. It has been known since the XVI century but made its appearance in gardens about twenty years ago because at that time hardly a household yard would have these tall beauties with bright and tender flowers. Today, lavatera in the garden is as popular as it was two decades ago.
Thanks to the continuous work of breeders, today among the representatives of the genus lavatera there are many annual and perennial herbaceous plants, reaching a height of 50 to 150 cm, with a well-developed root system, a powerful crown and strong branches. Leaves of most species are lobed, hairy and arranged in sequential order. Flowers are large, up to 10 cm in diameter, yellow, white, crimson, purple or pink, appearing singly or in pairs from the bracts and forming spike-like or brush-like terminal inflorescences; they open in early summer and flower until midautumn.
It has been said that the lavatera flower is a plant for the lazy or for those who never have time, and to some extent this statement is true – lavatera is unpretentious in care, undemanding to the soil, drought-resistant and not afraid of a strong wind. Lavatera flowers look fresh in a cut for over a week.
Lavatera from seed
How to sow seeds
Planting lavatera flowers in the open ground in regions with warm climates is done in late April or early May. Before planting lavatera, a bucket of compost or humus and 2 spoons of nitrophoska are introduced into the soil under digging per square meter. Then the soil is levelled, make furrows in it 1 cm deep, soak them with warm water and sow dry lavatera seeds, and then top them with a mixture of garden soil and humus in equal proportions, embed and immediately cover the sowing with a transparent film.
Lavatera from seeds germinates, as a rule, in a week, and when the sprouts reach 5 cm in height, the cover is removed, the seedlings are thinned and the site is loosened with light hilling. If you did not have the opportunity to make the garden soil fertilizer before sowing the seeds, the first fertilizer in the form of complex mineral fertilizer is applied after the removal of the covering material.
To achieve the earliest flowering, there is a seedling method of growing lavatera. When to sow lavatera? If you plan to plant seedlings outdoors in May, plant lavatera for seedlings in early March. Before sowing lavatera, you need to place drainage at the bottom of the seedling boxes, and on top – soil for seedlings purchased in a flower store. Then the soil should be watered with warm water and, burying the dry seeds in it literally one centimeter, cover the seeds with glass or film and put in a bright place. Remove condensation from the glass and moisten the soil as needed.
In two weeks, seedlings will appear, which may need additional light for successful growth – with insufficient light, the seedlings are too elongated and thin out. Once the seeds germinate, the glass can be removed. Care for the lavatera before transplanting it into the open ground will consist of periodic soil moistening and turning the container with seedlings around its axis to achieve an even development of seedlings.
Cultivation of lavatera flowers by seed method does not provide for picking seedlings – the grown and mature seedlings are immediately planted in the open ground.
When to plant
Lavatera is planted in the ground when there is no threat of frost – from the end of April in areas with a warm climate and in late May in areas with cooler conditions. A sunny place with light, loose, well-drained soil is preferable for lavateras. If you are going to plant a tall lavatera variety, you will need to install stem supports right away.
How to plant
For planting lavatera, use the scheme 20×25 – this distance between seedlings and rows will be enough to ensure that, fully developing, the plants look compact.
Lavatera care consists of watering the plant as needed. Lavatera is a drought-tolerant plant, but it still needs a drink – in dry times once a week at the rate of 2-3 buckets per large bush, and if the summer is not too hot, you can do it less often.
Tie large, sprawling bushes to supports so they don’t look untidy. Only loosen the soil around tall plants until they are a meter tall because it will damage the plants’ shallow root system. Remove wilted blossoms in good time, which become slimy and burn on the leaves when it rains.
As for fertilizers for lavatera, the first time it is fertilized, as soon as it becomes stronger after planting, with a solution of a tablespoon of nitrophoska and a tablespoon of urea in 10 liters of water, but this is only if you have not fertilized the soil before planting. If you dig the soil with fertilizer, you can skip the first fertilization. The second time you will need to fertilize at the very beginning of the process of formation of buds. Composition: one tablespoon each of sodium sulfate and potassium sulfate per 10 liters of water – this is the norm for one large bush.
Here, perhaps, is all the troubles with lavatera.
Pests and diseases
As you have already seen, planting and caring for the lavatera can be done even by a beginner. You will not be exhausted and the fight against pests and diseases, because the lavatera is affected by both very rarely. Sometimes aphids invade a garden and the lavatera takes its toll. You can get rid of this scourge by treating the plants with systemic preparations of Aktara, rust or combined action preparations of rust or rust.
Sometimes lavatera suffers from rust infestation, which is manifested by brown, brown or yellow spots on the underside of the leaves. All diseased parts should be removed and the plants treated with Bordeaux liquid, Cuproxate or Topaz. Severely affected specimens with rust are better removed from the site and burned.
Lavatera after flowering
How and when to collect seeds
After the lavatera flowers fade and fall off, in their place there are green capsules with seeds, which should be allowed to mature. An indication of the maturity of the seeds is a dried out capsule that has changed color from green to brown. Open one of them: if the seeds are gray-brown and fall out of the box easily, you can begin to collect them. This usually happens in early fall. The capsules are carefully cut off, pour the seeds out of them on paper, which are dried in a ventilated dry place on the newspaper, and then stored in a paper bag or cloth bag.
Annual Lavatera in Winter
Annual lavatera must be disposed of and the area from underneath must be re-cultivated. Keep in mind that lavatera propagates by self-seeding, and the next spring a bed can form on this place without your participation.
Overwintering perennial lavatera
Perennial lavatera overwinters in the ground. You need to bend its stems as low to the ground as possible, fix them in this position and cover them with dry leaves, lapnik or covering material.
Types and varieties
Three types of lavatera are grown in culture: the annual lavatera, which is represented by the species lavatera tricolor, the perennial lavatera, represented by the Thuringen lavatera and the biennial lavatera, whose only representative is the tree-shaped lavatera.
An annual of up to 120 cm in height. Lower leaves are heart-shaped or rounded with denticles along the edges, upper leaves are three- or five-lobed. Flowers are solitary, funnel-shaped, up to 10 cm in diameter, growing from the leaf axils. The closer to the top, the denser the flowers and the shorter the pedicels. The five-lobed corolla is carmine, white or pink. Cultivated since 1620. Blooms very profusely from July. Varieties:
- Silver Cap – lavatera pink with burgundy veins and a silvery cast, up to 70 cm tall;
- Mon Blanc – white flowers with dark veins, 60 cm high;
- Ruby Queen – a variety with powerful, branched stems up to one meter in height and with flowers of rich carmine color;
- LavateraPretty – a mighty bush with large sparkling inflorescences of white, carmine or pink;
- Lavatera Goddess of the Sun – a mixture of seeds of high-growing lavatera. Shrub height 110 cm, beautiful dark green leaves, flower diameter – 6 cm. Lavatera Goddess of the sun is represented by a wide palette of colors;
- Novella – a pink low-growing lavatera up to 20 cm in height, which can be grown in containers, but in the garden it grows to a more substantial size;
- White Scherub – a low-growing variety up to 35 cm tall with large white flowers. Suitable for growing in containers and pots.
Lavatera thuringiaca, or Dog Rose (Lavatera thuringiaca)
A vigorous branching perennial up to two meters tall with heart-shaped and rounded, hard-tipped, gray-green leaves. The lower leaves are lobed, the upper ones are smooth-edged. Single pink flowers up to 10 cm in diameter appear on long pedicels from the leaf axils. Varieties:
- Lilac Lady – lilac lavatera;
- I Catcher – lavatera with thick pink flowers;
- Burgundy Vine – pink flowers with dark purple veins;
- Barnsley Baby – a variety with delicate white-pink flowers;
- Bregon Springs is a tall, luxuriant variety up to 130 cm tall with a strong, vigorous branching and dense, three lobed, grey-green foliage. It blooms abundantly and for a long time with purplish-pink flowers with crimson streaks. Drought-resistant, overwinters under light covering.
A two year old lavatera with a straight slender stem up to two meters high, leaves are oval, up to 20 cm long. The reddish-purple flowers with darker veins resemble hibiscus flowers and the globular fruits which form in their place after the flowering resemble heads of cheese. Blossoms from early June to mid-September. There are mottled forms. Varieties:
- Rosea is a lavatera with spectacular pink flowers;
- Candy Floss – a light pink lavatera.
Lavatera maritime, or Lavatera bicolor
Another type of lavatera grows in warm regions – Lavatera maritime. It received its second name for the bicolor color of its flowers, which are two shades of lilac. Lavatera seaside reaches a height of 1.5 meters.
Also Lavatera cretica, a herbaceous plant up to 1.8 m tall with upright, branched, felted and topped stems with the same tufted, rounded, five-lobed or seven-lobed leaves up to 20 cm long, with a heart-shaped base and obtuse apex and fine denticles along the edge, can be grown in our climate. Its flowers are up to 3.5 cm in diameter, purple or violet in a cluster of 2-8 in the axils.
In the warmest areas of our country you can grow and lavatera mauritanica, a small plant up to 80 cm tall. Its stems are felted-tipped, erect, branched, leaves are rounded, lobed, with a pointed apex. Flowers are purple, up to 3 cm in diameter.
Not only is lavatera interesting for its decorative qualities but also for its medicinal properties: preparations containing it are used to treat coughs, colds, headaches, intestinal disorders, joint and muscle pain, gastritis and gynecological diseases. Fresh leaves of Lavatera thuringenska is effective in treating non-healing wounds, herpes, boils and other pus formations.
- Read about it on Wikipedia
- Features and other plants of the Malva family
- All Species List at The Plant List
- More information at World Flora Online