The kalmia - Kalmia
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Kalmia owes its name to Peter Kalm a Finnish disciple of Linnaeus who lived around the eighteenth century.
Kalmia is a perennial evergreen shrub belonging to the Ericaceae family.
This shrubby plant is native to North America.
The height of this shrub can vary depending on the species. In fact, they start from a minimum of ten centimeters up to a maximum of four meters. The stem of this shrub has a reddish brown bark. Numerous alternate and very simple leaves grow in the branches. They appear oblong or elongated depending on the species. The flowers are extremely showy, abundant and resistant.
Kalmia angustifolia: native to North America, it can reach a maximum of one meter in height.
Kalmia carolina: it has a maximum height of one meter and is very similar to the previous one except for a certain fluff on the body.
Kalmia cuneata: it can be both evergreen and deciduous, its flowering occurs during the months of June and July and its flowers are white.
Kalmia hirsuta: Its cultivation is quite complex, it blooms in summer and does not exceed sixty centimeters in height.
Kalmia latifolia: also called the American laurel, it is certainly the best known and most cultivated species. It reaches three meters in height, assuming the appearance of a small tree with glossy, persistent and particularly resistant leaves.
Exposure and climate
There kalmia it loves direct sun so it is good to prefer positions that expose it as much as possible to the sun's rays, especially in the morning and in the evening. This warning is particularly important for warmer climates and seasons, while all-hour sun is fine in colder periods and areas. Of course it can also live in partial shade even if the development is not the same as that of direct sun.
Usually the Kalmia, being a rustic shrub, does not have great problems for tolerating the temperature. Kalmia is extremely adaptable to both heat and cold. Be careful that the mercury column never drops below ten degrees Celsius.
Particular care needs the younger specimens and in general in the harshest climates.
It will therefore be necessary to make mulches to protect the root system from excessive cold and night frosts.
This shrub is in great need of water. Its needs increase during the flowering period, that is in spring, when this plant must be watered with a certain frequency, taking care not to let its soil ever dry out completely. Continue with watering, even if in lesser quantities, even in autumn and winter. Being an evergreen plant, kalmia needs care practically all year round.
The soil and fertilization
Kalmia certainly prefers loose soils, they must be very well drained and preferably with an acid pH. However, this shrub manages, without excessive problems, to live very well even in poorly fertile and stagnant soils.
Fertilization must be carried out with two stages of preparation. The main treatment is based on organic fertilizer which must be buried at its feet. This will facilitate the creation of a more beautiful bloom. Secondly, it will be necessary to strengthen the plant with fertilizer for flowering plants. Finally, it will rarely be necessary to use a specific fertilizer for acidophilic plants.
The planting of this shrub must be carried out during the spring or autumn period. Take care to place this shrub in a partially shady portion of the garden. Before carrying out the planting it will be necessary to create its ideal soil. It will be enough to mix in the soil some soil formed mainly by leaves with the addition of peat and sand
The multiplication occurs mainly by seed and by cutting. During the spring using the seeds collected during the previous year. The multiplication by semi-woody cutting must be done in late spring. The cuttings will need to be rooted in a container filled with a mixture of sand and peat in equal measure. The cuttings should be kept in a cool and humid place until the rooting is complete. To make the whole process go smoothly, it will be necessary to cultivate them in a protected place for about a couple of years before they can finally be planted.
Kalmia: Diseases and parasites
Kalmia is usually prone to attacks by fungi and parasites. The fungal species that affect this shrub are powdery mildew, also called mal bianco, which manifests itself by forming white cobwebs on the upper page of the leaf. Root rot, on the other hand, occurs by making the roots yellowish. The parasites that attack this shrub are aphids and leaves that attack the flowers and leaves, ruining them. Therefore it will be necessary to use a systemic fungicide for the white disease and for the root rot while a broad spectrum anti parasitic to fight against aphids and mites.
Kalmia is a beautiful ornamental evergreen shrub native to North America, where it grows spontaneously under the canopy of large trees in the cool woods.
It is an acidophilic plant and therefore has the same needs as Pieris or rhododendrons, so it wants a peaty soil with a low (acidic) pH, which is never completely dry and is well draining.
Its height varies according to the species, in general it is around one meter, and the width varies from 70 cm to the meter. It has a slow growth, its leaves, alternate and opposite, are dark green on the upper page and green-gray on the lower page, its flowers are small, round flat pink or white, after the flowers it is the turn of the fruits that sprout in August-September which are dark in semi-woody capsules, which open when ripe to release the seeds.
Kalmia develops by composing dense broad and tall branched shrubs whose color is green in young plants and brown in adult specimens.
Kalmia is a perennial evergreen shrub belonging to the Ericaceae family.
This shrubby plant is native to North America.
Its height can vary depending on the species. In fact, they start from a minimum of ten centimeters up to a maximum of four meters. The stem of this shrub has a reddish brown bark. Numerous alternate and very simple leaves grow in the branches. They appear oblong or elongated depending on the species. The flowers are extremely showy, abundant and resistant.
Where to place it
Kalmia loves direct sun so it is good to prefer positions that expose it as much as possible to the sun's rays, especially in the morning and in the evening. This warning is particularly important for warmer climates and seasons, while all-hour sun is fine in colder periods and areas.
This shrub is in great need of water. Its needs increase during the flowering period (spring) when the plant must be watered with a certain frequency, taking care not to let its soil dry out completely. Continue with watering, even if in smaller quantities, even in autumn and winter.
Fertilization and repotting
Kalmia certainly prefers loose soils, very well drained and preferably with an acid pH. Fertilization must be carried out with two stages of preparation. The main treatment is based on organic fertilizer which must be buried at its feet. This will facilitate the creation of a more beautiful bloom. Secondly, it will be necessary to strengthen the plant with fertilizer for flowering plants.
The planting of this shrub must be carried out during the spring or autumn period. Take care to place this shrub in a partially shady portion of the garden. Before carrying out the planting it will be necessary to create its ideal soil. It will be enough to mix in the soil some soil formed mainly by leaves with the addition of peat and sand.
It is a plant that in areas characterized by a too hot climate prefers shady or semi-shady locations to the maximum those reached by the sun in the early morning or late afternoon. Direct exposure to the sun's rays during the hottest hours could burn the leaves, seriously damaging them. In regions with mild and cooler summers, Kalmia can also be planted in direct sun. It does not fear the winter cold.
Like all acidophilic plants (hydrangea, rhododendron, azalea, etc.), Kalmia prefers loose, well-drained soils with an acidic pH (6.5). The best substrate, especially for growing in pots, is obtained by mixing a part of universal soil with 3 parts of peat, a part of pumice stone and a part of manure.
Kalmia is a plant that needs a lot of water in spring and during flowering. In the autumn - winter period it is satisfied with a minimum water intake. Kalmia grown in pots should be watered with soft water (the limestone content lowers the acidity of the substrate), preferably distilled water or rainwater.
At the end of winter, bury a well-ripened organic fertilizer at the base of the plant. In summer, administer, every 20 days, specific liquid fertilizer for flowering plants appropriately diluted in the water used for watering and according to the doses recommended on the package.
Kalmia: characteristics, treatments and curiosities
Enrich your garden with Kalmia it is an original idea, moreover, also functional: it is a perennial and ornamental plant that allows you to recreate truly suggestive scenarios thanks to the size and colors of the flowers. In particular, the Kalmia is an evergreen acidophilic plant that is part of the ericaceae family, coming from some territories of North America. There Kalmia it is much appreciated for leaves that are dark green in color and have a tapered shape, in some ways oval. Among other things, it develops forming shrubs of considerable size and with a series of branches capable of covering important spaces. The ideal is to play the best with these characteristics to get a real scenography inside the garden, also thanks to the flowers that are grouped in clusters of color ranging from pink to white. What is interesting from an aesthetic point of view is that these flowers have a sort of segments inside that make them appear as if they had been embroidered with great skill.
The cultivation of kalmia is quite simple, the important thing is to place it in a specific area in order to satisfy its characteristics. Being native to the northern areas of America, it needs a green space where the temperatures are not excessive, otherwise you risk getting them burned within a few days. They are especially suitable for areas where temperatures during the summer period are not excessive, while it does not represent a problem for freezing winters. From a soil point of view, it is necessary to choose an area in which there is an acid pH of at least 6.5 and well drained. If you want to grow this plant in pot to place it on the terrace, perhaps on the balcony, you can choose a universal soil in combination with peat and pumice stone. The only aspect that must be absolutely met in cultivation is to provide fairly frequent watering, especially during the spring and summer months. You must also be very careful during the flowering period: the advice is to prefer rainwater or distilled water whenever possible. As regards fertilization during the summer period, a liquid fertilizer must be provided at least once every three weeks, which must be diluted with water during watering.
Diseases and treatments
Like many other types of plants, the Kalmia unfortunately it has to deal with various parasites and pathologies: it can be attacked by a disease known as white disease in which whitish powders are seen on the leaves which have the main consequence of compromising growth. It can also deal with root rot that leads to death by asphyxiation and yellowing of the leaves caused by a very acid pH soil. The most appropriate treatments to avoid all this provide during the winter period the protection of the lower part of the plant with straw mulch. If, on the other hand, you realize that the leaves are turning yellow, you need to insert a solution of iron sulphate into the ground, always choosing rainwater for watering.
Among the curiosities related to Kalmia it should be emphasized that it is a poisonous and toxic plant for both humans and animals. In short, we must avoid that in some way it can be ingested.
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Species: Kalmia latifolia
Cultivar: "Pinwheel", "Olimpic wedding", "f. fuscata", "f. myrtifolia"
Said: "American laurel", "Mountain laurel"
Genus of 7 species of evergreen shrubs present in the woods, marshes, and meadows of North America and Cuba. They have leathery leaves that can be alternate, opposite or in whorls, showy flowers in the shape of cup, goblet or saucer carried in corymbs or racemes. All parts of these shrubs can cause serious disturbances if ingested.
There KALMIA LATIFOLIA, native to the eastern USA, it is a bushy, compact shrub with alternate leaves, from oval to elliptical-lanceolate, glossy, dark green, up to 12cm long. From late spring to mid-summer they appear from visibly rippled red or dark pink buds, large corymbs 8-10cm wide or more, of cupped, light to deep pink or occasionally white, 2-2.5cm broad flowers. The plant begins to flower after 5 years of age and it can take several years for it to recover from a drastic pruning.
Dimensions: H3 x 3m. the species, achieved very slowly. Compact varieties reach H1m.
Flowers: From late spring to mid-summer, cupped flower corymbs, with colors ranging from white, pink, purple-red, and purple-brown on a white base, depending on the variety.
Land: moist but well drained, peaty, leafy, rich in humus, acid (PH 4.5-5.5). They can't stand water stagnation. Make an annual mulch in spring with leaf compost and pine needles.
Position: half shade in warmer habitats, it prefers sunny positions as long as the soil is humid.
Exposure: better if sheltered from the cold and dry north winds.
Pruning: usually not necessary, clean the dried inflorescences. Occasionally after several years rejuvenate the plant with some pruning on the most elongated and old branches.
Peculiarities: used in homeopathy against neuralgia.
Min temperature: -20 / -25 ° C. about.
Illnesses: phytophtora can arise in unsuitable soil conditions, sometimes powdery mildew.
Propagating Mountain Laurel
Mountain laurel is fairly easy to propagate by rooting stem cuttings, though it will take several months.
Take 6-inch cuttings from current-year growth and remove the leaves at the bottom of the cutting. Slice across the base of each cutting from the bottom to about 1 inch up. Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone, then plant it in potting soil. Put the potted cutting in a bright location and keep it moist and warm as roots develop and new leaf growth starts — this can take as much as six months.
Once the root system is well developed, your rooted cutting can be transplanted into the landscape.