Leia (lat. Layia) – a genus of perennial plants of the Compositae family, which are natives of South and Southeast Asia. A highly decorative culture, it is in demand by gardeners because of its bright colors and the ability to tolerate harsh growing conditions. The plant blooms throughout the summer, adding color to the flower garden.
Inflorescences – single baskets are born on the tops of the stems and in the leaf axils. The flowers are reed, most often golden or amber in color, and tubular – rich yellow. The diameter of the flower is 5 – 6 cm. There are 3 cloves on the petals, which is a characteristic feature of this culture. The fruit is a spherical achene covered with a pile.
In regions with a warm climate, plants are used as perennials that can develop in one place for 3 to 5 years or more. In mid-latitudes, they are grown as annuals.
Species and varieties
In ornamental gardening, only one type of lei is used – graceful, as well as its varieties with bright flowers.
Leia graceful (Layia platyglossa).
A bush consisting of ascending branched shoots up to 1 m long. The upper leaves are narrow, lanceolate, the lower ones consist of several lobes. The color of the foliage is gray-green. Inflorescence – a basket develops at the top of the plant. The reed flowers of the lei are elegant golden yellow, with a white border along the edge of the petals, the tubular flowers are rich yellow.
“Lemon Slices” – bush 0.5 m high, densely covered with light yellow inflorescences. The variety stands for a long time in the cut, due to which it is used for making bouquets;
“Yellow Picoti” – an elegant plant with openwork foliage and golden-colored flowers-baskets;
“Butterfly” – differs in small inflorescences of an amber shade. Flowering begins with the onset of summer and lasts until frost.
Below is a photo of the graceful lei, where you can see what the flower looks like and how it looks in the flower garden:
Leia is grown with seeds, but since the seed of this plant is very small, it is mixed with sand before planting. Sowing is carried out immediately in open ground in early March after the snow melts.
Before sowing, it is necessary to select the area where the leu will grow. It should be in an open sunny place, or in partial shade. In a completely shaded area, you should not expect abundant flowering, in addition, the plants will stretch out and will not be as decorative as in bright light.
Shallow furrows are made in the soil, where the seeds are evenly scattered. The soil is leveled, within 2 weeks they are waiting for the sprouts to hatch. Since the seed material of this crop has a high germination rate, there are no problems with seed germination.
After the sprouts have the first pair of leaves, they should be thinned out, leaving an interval between plants of 10 cm. If the bushes are too close, they will be too crowded.
Some gardeners practice growing lei through seedlings. To do this, a loose soil mixture is poured into the containers, seeds are scattered over the surface of which, then the crops are irrigated with a spray gun. Keep under the film until germination, not forgetting to remove the shelter to ventilate the crops and carry out moderate watering. When two leaf plates appear in the sprouts, they dive into pots of 3 plants each. The grown seedlings are planted in open ground in mid-May, after moistening the soil and removing the seedling from the pot along with a clod of earth.
The soil does not really matter for this flower, but a loose sandy loamy substrate or loamy soil with neutral acidity and moderate humidity is best suited for its cultivation.
Caring for the unassuming graceful leya after planting is very simple and easy, as the flower tolerates prolonged heat and drought well. However, to maintain the freshness of the baskets, the bushes should be irrigated at least once a week, with the exception of rainy days.
During the growing season, it is enough to feed this crop 2 times using any mineral complex. Fertilizer will increase the intensity of bud formation and have a beneficial effect on the decorativeness of the plant.
Leia is often used to decorate a garden plot, as it is one of the most unpretentious plants. Leia plantings are appropriate in almost all corners of the garden, because bright large yellow baskets make any area colorful and transform it.
This culture is used to create picturesque compositions in flower beds. It harmoniously looks with other medium-sized flowering plants with expressive buds of yellow, orange, white, coral tones.
Leia is used to decorate rocky hills, ridges, and borders. Many varieties are used to make bouquets, because these flowers look very elegant and remain fresh for a long time in the cut.