Gazania - a guest from Africa
This spectacular and bright plant, reminiscent of “chamomile”, is often called “midday gold”, because its inflorescences open only in the afternoon hours, and even then only in sunny weather. Its name is Gazania (Gazania) received in honor of the Italian priest Theodore of Gaza (1393-1478), who lived in the 15th century and became famous as a translator of the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus into Latin. In the middle of the XVII century, the plant was introduced to Europe. In floriculture use hybrid gazania (Gazania x hybrid hort.), which is obtained by crossing several wild species.
Description of Gazania
Gazania belongs to the Asteraceae family, or Asteraceae (Compozita). Homeland - South Africa, Cape region. In nature, there are about 50 species.
These are perennial low-growing herbaceous plants with or without a short stem, growing on loose, gravelly soils in arid areas with high air humidity at night. Dense dark green or grayish-green leaves with silver-white pubescence from the wrong side are saved from excess evaporation during hot weather. In addition, pubescence retains drops of moisture.
The shape of the leaves in plants is variable and can be linear, palmately dissected, elongated-lanceolate, or cirrus. They are collected in a root outlet. The root gazania root, which allows the plant to extract water from the depths in dry times. Flowers are collected in large single inflorescences-baskets, reaching 5-10 cm in diameter. Along the edge of inflorescences in one row are false-lingual flowers.
Depending on the type and variety, they can be of different colors, but the base of each is decorated with a dark spot that creates a finely defined ring pattern and gives a special appeal to inflorescences. In the center of the gazania inflorescence basket are numerous small tubular flowers that are dark brown and dark purple. Seeds are formed only in tubular bisexual flowers. False-lingual flowers are sterile.
An interesting feature of gazania is that their inflorescences remain open only under the influence of sunlight. At night and in cloudy weather, the corolla of the marginal flowers curl in length and cover the central tubular ones. Achenes in plants are hairy, with a crest. In 1 g, there are up to 250 seeds that retain germination no more than two years. Peduncles, depending on the variety, reach a height of 15-30 cm.
The triumph of gazania began when breeders created unusual hybrids and varieties, among which there are already terry forms. These are plants with unusual and bright inflorescences from pink to reddish-bronze stains, with sterile tubular flowers, so their baskets do not fade for a long time. They are more plastic, tolerate cool weather better, and in the morning inflorescences open much earlier than in species. Such varieties do not produce seeds, so they are propagated only by cuttings.
Gazania looks great in mixborders with perennials and annuals, in mixed discounts, in small groups in rockeries and rock gardens, near snags and roots, in vases, pots, planters and baskets, on terraces, balconies and loggias. They are good with lobelia, chamomile, gypsophila, dimorphic, with blue ageratum, arctotis, ursinia and venidium. In a cut, gazania is stored in water for 3 to 5 days. Large inflorescences of gazania attract with their unusual colors and are an ornament of any floral arrangement and bouquets.
Gazania is a photophilous and thermophilic plant. In the shade and in dark places stretches and does not bloom. For successful cultivation requires open sunny places.
Gazania prefers light, deeply cultivated and nutrient rich soil. 15-20 days after planting, young plants are fed with full mineral fertilizer. In poor soils, top dressing should be done every 2 weeks before flowering begins.
All types and varieties of gazania love moderate watering and do not tolerate excess moisture. On heavy clay soils, especially in rainy times, they look oppressed. If gazania is grown in containers, plants should be regularly fed with full complex fertilizer with an interval of 10-14 days before flowering.
Flowering begins in the month of July and continues until the first frost. Some types of gazania tolerate a short-term decrease in temperature to -3 ° C. Gazanias do not winter in the soil in the northern regions and central strip of Russia; therefore, they are grown as annuals. But they winter without any problems in a cool and bright room, in greenhouses and winter gardens at a temperature of + 5..10 ° C.
In winter, do not allow the plants to completely dry out; water moderately. In the spring, before landing, cut the shoots in half. Wintered plants bloom in late March-April. Removing faded inflorescences promotes the formation of new baskets. Gazania is resistant to pests and diseases.
Propagate gazania seeds and cuttings.
When propagating gazania seeds, seedlings appear 10-14 days after sowing, at a temperature of + 20-22 ° C. Sprouted seedlings dive, not waiting for the formation of the first true leaf. When picking, it is necessary to shorten the spine, breaking off its tip. 7-10 days after the picking, seedlings are fed with complex fertilizer. The next top dressing is carried out in two weeks.
Before planting, seedlings need to be hardened, gradually accustomed to variable temperatures: hot sunshine - during the day, and low - at night. In central Russia, gazania seedlings are planted in the flower garden in mid-May. Seedlings are planted with a moist lump of earth or in peat pots, the distance between plants should be 15-20 cm. After 80-100 days, the plants bloom. If you sow gazania for seedlings in early April, then flowering will begin in early July.
In July-August, gazania is propagated by cuttings taken from the side shoots at the base of the stem. For rooting, the cuttings are kept in solutions of an auxin-type growth regulator - 0.1% naphthylacetic acid (NAA) or 0.5% indolylbutyric acid (IMA). At first, they are protected from direct sunlight and drafts. Further, before planting in flower beds, they are grown at a temperature of + 15..18 ° C and good lighting, watered as necessary.