Lily of the valley, or Galesia - elegant rarity
Lily of the valley tree is one of the most beautifully flowering representatives of woody plants. And at the same time - one of the rarest. Magnificent galesia (chalesia) is considered a crop that is completely unsuitable for cultivation in the middle lane. But she has species and varieties that adapt well even to harsh climates. Of course, like any exotic, galesia will require careful care, but all efforts will pay off. Indeed, the luxurious tender flowering of an elegant lily of the valley tree is worth all the trouble.
Exquisite flowering of galesia of rare beauty
When galesia is called surprisingly beautiful, amazingly spectacular and incomparable - all these high-profile epithets are not at all an exaggeration. The botanical name galesia (we often use the name chalesia), the plant received in honor of the biologist Stefan Hale. But much more popular are more poetic epithets -snowdrop tree (snow drop tree), ours lily of the valley and English Silverbell Tree - "tree of silver bells". Such names really convey the character of this amazing exotica much better.
Galesia (Chalesia) - Halesia, or lily of the valley - a beautifully flowering exotic native to North America. This plant belongs to the Styrax and grows in the form of fairly large deciduous trees or shrubs. True, it is impossible to enjoy the beauty of blooming a 20-30-meter tree in countries with harsh winters: galesia never reaches its maximum height, most often being limited to 3-5 m. But even with freezing, it preserves the natural pyramidal, wide and neat crown.
In our gardens, galesia (chalesia) often develops as a large shrub. This is a fast-growing breed, developing slowly only in the first years. The foliage of galesia is very beautiful, with an elliptical narrowed shape with a sharp tip, the length of leaf plates up to 15 cm. The dazzling green color of the leaves when blooming creates an amazingly beautiful background for elegant flowering (greens bloom, as a rule, during flowering). Then the bright lime is replaced by dark green.
The flowers of galesia are large, drooping, bell-shaped. Corolla consists of 4 petals. The plant got its nickname “lily of the valley” because the structure of the flower and pedicels really resemble lilies of the valley. But galesia attracts attention even before the flowers bloom: pinkish buds, not yet free of gray kidney scales, shine on the branches. The appearance of blooming galesia seems snow-white, although the petals themselves can be either snow-white or whitish-pink.
The bloom of galesia is no other than noble. It is unusual, but not in terms of catchy curiosity, but thanks to exquisite sophistication and extraordinary elegance. Galesia blooms in May-June, and while the period itself lasts only 2 weeks, it is impossible to forget the sight of a blossoming lily of the valley tree. And from the fact that a striking sight unfolds against the backdrop of an already empty garden, and in the soft colors of spring full-bloom, the beauty of the lily of the valley seems even more dazzling, and the shape of the inflorescences is strikingly touching, jewelry.
It should be prepared for the fact that galesia blooms quite late, from 6-8 years of age. Yes, and abundant flowering is not an annual phenomenon. The stronger the frosts, the more unstable the winter, the higher the likelihood of damage to flower buds. Therefore, in seasons with medium and stable winters, galesia will bloom amazingly beautifully, and with extremely harsh winters it may not produce a single flower at all or bloom sparingly.
Types of galesia suitable for the middle lane
Choosing the right kind of galesia is the key to success in growing it. Without exception, all galesia (chalesia) with time become more resilient, their winter hardiness increases. But for regions with severe winters, you need to choose those species in which the "initial" frost resistance is quite good. Only two types of galesia are considered suitable for our conditions - Caroline and mountain. They withstand frosts down to -28 ..- 29 degrees.
Galesia (Chalesia) Caroline (halesia carolina) - tall shrubs that bloom irregularly and largely depend on the weather: in harsh winters they can freeze and not bloom, grow normally in stormy and turn into beautiful, powerful, attractive bushes. This galesia forms straight, thickened, bright brown and powerful trunks and pyramidal, wide crowns. The leaves are elliptical, up to 10 cm long and are arranged alternately on the shoots.
Galesia blooms only in late May, and in cold spring - in early June. By the time flowering is complete, the plant is still full of light green, bright young leaves. Snow-white bells with four petals reach 1.5 cm in length, hanging down on the thinnest pedicels among the leaves. There are Caroline galesia with pale pink color of inflorescences. The duration of flowering never exceeds 15 days.
Despite the fact that galesia are considered exotics, they manage to form four-winged fruits even in regions with severe winters. By the end of August, large, very beautiful silvery fruits up to 3.5 cm long ripen on the branches, which seem to glow on the branches.
In addition to the base plant, Caroline Chalesia also has decorative varieties:
- ‘Mollis’ with more lush and larger foliage, not elongated-elliptical, but wide, with a beautiful edge on the underside;
- Rosea variety with pink inflorescences similar to a watercolor vision;
- ‘Meehanii’ form with brighter, more saturated green leaves, whose surface is not smooth but wrinkled, and deeply dissected corollas of inflorescences, replaced by two-winged fruits;
- ‘Dialypetala’ shape with an almost solid bell-shaped flower rim.
Galesia (chalesia) mountain (halesia monticola, today it has been reclassified as halesia tetraptera, but it is sold under the old species name) - a rarer arboreal, growing in nature up to 30 m, but limited to 3-4 m in culture. The plant also blooms in spring, at the end of May, the color of flowers is yellowish - cream, contrasting beautifully with darker leaves. It is sufficiently frost-resistant, but flower shoots suffer from frost more often than in Carolina galesia, and the tree blooms much less stably. The leaves are obovate, with a pointed edge, the flowers are larger, also drooping, collected in bundles.
Features of the use of galesia in decorative gardening
Lily of the valley tree is a plant that is used only in one status - a bright accent, soloist, and pride of the collection. It is crowned with decorative groups, flower beds and compositions, used so that the plant immediately caught my eye and was the "highlight" of the design of the garden. It goes well with rhododendron and hazel, other ornamental shrubs.
Galesia begins to bloom very late. And species suitable for growing in the middle lane reach their winter hardiness only at a considerable age. Because of this, lily of the valley tree is recommended to be bought either over the age of 3-4 years, or at the beginning to grow as a frame tree with wintering indoors.
Conditions needed by the gales
It is best to place lily of the valley trees in the undergrowth in the garden, in places protected from drafts and wind with a more stable climate, in which any frost is easier to tolerate. This plant will not abandon the neighborhood of large trees, which will serve as an exot natural protection and environment in the form of shrubs. But at the same time, it must be borne in mind that galesia (chalesia) needs to be provided with a bright, only slightly shaded place, and it is better to have a completely sunny location, because with insufficient lighting the plant practically does not bloom.
For lily of the valley, you need to select fertile, high-quality, deeply developed soils. This plant is afraid of calcareous soils. The texture of the soil needs to be given increased attention: the lily of the valley tree will grow only in light, loose soil, with light humidity.
Lily of the valley planting
Galesia in regions with severe winters can be planted only in spring, autumn planting for this culture is unacceptable. The best month is April. When planting galesia, lumps of earth around the rhizome must be preserved completely without destroying.
The size of the landing pits is determined by the size of the earthen coma. When planting in heavy or moderate clay soils, a high layer of drainage must be laid at the bottom of the planting pits - a layer of expanded clay or broken brick up to 15 cm high, be sure to fill the drainage with coarse sand from above. The level of deepening of the root neck in galesia is kept the same. Immediately after planting, plants need to be abundantly watered and mulched. Moreover, only peat can be used as mulch.
Care for galesia
In order for the lily of the valley to become the main pride of your garden, you will have to carefully look after it. This plant cannot be simply planted and forgotten: in fact, the decorativeness of a tree and its ability to survive in atypical harsh conditions directly depend on the quality of care.
One of the prerequisites for the normal development and maturation of lily of the valley is watering. For this arboreal need to provide systematic, regular procedures that will maintain light soil moisture. In dry, hot weeks, watering can be done often and plentifully, with a sufficient level of rainfall, they can be carried out less often than once a week. Watering is of particular importance in autumn and before winter: in order for galesia (chalesia) to winter successfully, you need to nourish the roots with moisture.
For galesia, two top dressings are applied per season: immediately after pruning around the bushes, you need to update the mulching with peat. The second and main dressing is applied with full mineral fertilizer before flowering, when buds appear. For lily of the valley, nitrophoska in a dosage of 30-40 g per 1 square meter of soil is perfectly suitable.
A mandatory measure for lily of the valley is sanitary pruning. They do not need to form galesia, because each year they give very good growths of branches independently, and the outline of a lily of the valley tree is very neat. But removing dry, damaged, frozen shoots as early as possible in the spring will allow the shrub to recover faster and bloom more abundantly. Repeat sanitation as necessary at any time of the year.
Despite the fact that the fruits of galesia look attractive and hold until the next spring, it is better to remove them from the plant immediately after setting. Seeds in regions with harsh winters still do not ripen, but just for the sake of decoration, you should not upset the strength of the lily of the valley tree. Removing the fruit from the plant allows you to more efficiently distribute resources, allow the shoots to mature.
Trunks of lily of the valley are better to whiten up to 3 times a year.
When grown in containers, watering is carried out regularly, as the top layer of soil dries up, top dressing is applied from May to September once every 2 weeks with universal fertilizers.
Preparation of a young lily of the valley for wintering should begin in the fall. Regular watering and loosening of the soil will allow you to better prepare for the cold period and nourish the roots with moisture. In anticipation of cold weather on the plant, sanitary cleaning is repeated, removing all dry shoots. Unripe young branches are also better to cut immediately, because they still can not overwinter. The preparation is completed by hilling the base of the bushes. But the immediate shelter is only started when severe frosts begin: galesia is very afraid of aging and early shelter can be fatal for it.
Crohn plants are wrapped for the winter with non-woven material or agrofibre, not too tight and tight, with holes for ventilation. As soon as the first snow falls, it needs to be trampled on a lily of the valley tree, and throughout the winter it is better to continue to throw and trample the white blanket as far as possible.
Adult trees with a height of more than 1.5 m do not wrap up, limiting themselves to hilling and classical preparation.
When grown in a container culture, galesia is removed with the advent of the first cooling, transferring containers to rooms with a temperature of 12 to 15 degrees.
Pest control of galesia and diseases
Lily of the valley tree is fully resistant to pests and diseases. On improperly selected soils, it sometimes suffers from chlorosis.
Reproduction of lily of the valley
One of the reasons that galesia remain rare plants is considered to be difficult to reproduce. Lily of the valley tree is characterized by both low rooting of cuttings and poor seed germination. But trying to get a lily of the valley tree on your own is worth all the effort: adult seedlings are very expensive, and finding them is extremely difficult.
The optimal method for middle-band conditions is propagation by cuttings. Semi-lignified shoots in the summer after etching during the day in IMA (indolylbutyric acid) give roots in 68% of cases. Rooting is carried out according to standard technology in a nutritious light substrate, under a film or hood. Some gardeners after treatment with acid keep the cuttings just in the water. In this case, the planting of rooted cuttings in the ground is carried out in September or early spring. When grafting at least 1 winter, plants are grown in a container.
The seeds of galesia (chalesia) in the middle lane do not ripen completely, so you can use only purchased seeds. Their germination rate is about 62%. Seeds are difficult to clear from fruit tissues, they are poorly opened. In lily of the valley, the seeds are characterized by a very long dormant period, which can last 2-3 years. If you bought seeds that are already ready for planting and have passed the dormant stage (study the manufacturer's recommendations), then the strategy for growing them involves one single stratification.
Germination of such seeds requires a simple three-month stratification at a temperature of 4-5 degrees heat. It is better to carry out cooling after sowing: the seeds are buried in a mixture of peat and sand in shallow containers, and then placed on a stratification under a film or glass and maintain constant light soil moisture. After 3 months of cooling, the crops are moved to bright lighting and to heat. The emergence of seedlings will take 1.5-2 months.
When buying ordinary freshly harvested seeds, they need to be sown either in boxes or directly in open soil. When sown in the soil, the seeds germinate only after the second or third winter, and it is impossible to arrange artificial stratification for them. Boxes with seeds are left in the garden practically completely at rest, only in the warm season keeping the soil slightly moist. After the leader leaves the garden, it remains only to wait until the seeds sprout as a result of 2-3 winters and the natural alternation of periods of heat and frost. After that, young plants are transplanted into containers in the fall and cleaned at least for the first winter.
The galesia obtained independently can either be grown as a houseplant and tub plant until next spring and risk young planting in the soil, or for 2-4 years to grow only as a tub and adult, more hardy plants should be transferred to a new place. You can grow a culture as a purely container, and as a room.
Frame galesia need a bright, sunny place, regular top dressing during the period of active growth using universal fertilizers with a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks. Plants are exposed to fresh air only for the summer, gradually increasing the length of their stay on the street for gradual adaptation. Watering for galesia should be moderate, maintain light moisture without drought or waterlogging.