Viscaria or Smolka (lat. Viscaria ) is an ornamental plant of the Clove family. There are both annual and perennial varieties, the most popular of which is Lichis. Based on it, about ten varieties have been bred. Most often, the cultivation of viscaria from seeds is practiced, but sometimes gardeners resort to cuttings. Smolka is easy to care for, has a long flowering.
The flowers are wide open, with five petals of the correct form, white, pale pink, lilac color. The central part of the buds is purple, blue or lilac. Flowering begins in April and lasts for 5 weeks. Resin flowers are odorless.
“Holiday” is a compact variety about 35 cm high. It has light and bright pink buds with a greenish-yellow center. Suitable for decorating borders and garden paths. Does not tolerate low temperatures.
“Blue Angel” – a medium-sized variety with blue-blue flowers. It has low frost resistance, is grown as an annual.
“Rumba” is an annual variety about half a meter high. Buds with a diameter of 2 cm, can be boiling white, blue, lilac.
Lychnis is one of the tallest varieties, the stem length of which reaches 70 – 100 cm. The flowers are large, 6 cm in diameter. The petals are slightly bent back, they can be scarlet or white. The plant is perennial, frost-resistant.
On the basis of the Lychnis variety, several varieties were obtained:
“Alpine” – a dwarf variety, the height of which does not exceed 20 cm. The buds are painted in bright pink. The plant is photophilous, prefers to grow in open areas.
“Hot lava” – grows up to 40 – 50 cm. It has straight, slightly branching burgundy stems, which are covered with a light pile. The leaves are small, heart-shaped, deep green. The flowers are wide open, 3 cm in diameter. When describing this variety of viscaria, it is especially worth noting the rich bright orange color of its flowers.
“Kronchaty” – a medium-sized variety 50 – 65 cm high with dark gray, pubescent stems. Inflorescences solitary, develop in the upper part of the stems. The color of the buds is white, light pink, raspberry, lilac. Differs in high resistance to low temperatures.
“Sparkling” – a shrub with ascending stems, which are densely covered with oval, dark green foliage. Flowers with a diameter of 5 cm, pink color. Unlike other varieties, it is able to bear fruit.
‘Haage’ is a perennial variety with straight, slightly hairy, bronze-colored stems. The leaves are elliptical, the same color as the stem. The flowers are large, collected in umbrella inflorescences.
“Kukushkin” – a bush 60 – 70 cm high, with straight shoots that branch out in the upper part. The leaves are elliptical, shortened, collected in a rosette at the bottom of the shoot. Flowers with a diameter of 3.5 cm consist of thin carved petals of a light pink hue. Flowering begins in the last days of May.
“Chalcedony” – a bush up to 100 cm high. Buds with a diameter of 1.5 – 2 cm, red, are formed on the tops of the stems. Flowering lasts for 6 – 7 weeks. The variety is able to successfully endure harsh winters.
The resin is propagated by the seed method. Seed material can be collected from ripe boxes, or purchased at a store. They should be immediately planted on the site or first sown on seedlings.
Before sowing, prepare the soil and seed. Seeds are stratified for 2 hours in a weak solution of manganese, then dried and hardened in a refrigerator on the bottom shelf for 10 hours.
When planting in open ground, the site is dug up, loosened, drainage is made using river sand. Lime is added to the soil with high acidity. Poor substrates are enriched with organic fertilizers. After that, ridges are made with furrows 1.5 cm deep. Seeds are sparsely covered in them. The surface of the ridge is leveled.
When sowing seeds for seedlings, small containers with drainage holes are used to drain excess fluid. The soil should not be dense. A loose composition is preferred. The soil in pots is watered, and after it settles, more earth is added, leaving 1 cm to the edge.
The surface of the soil is moistened, then small holes are made. Sowing material is placed in them, 3-4 seeds each. The land is leveled and irrigated again. containers with crops are tightly covered with a film to create conditions similar to greenhouses.
Store in a warm place with bright sunlight. Polyethylene is removed daily for 3-4 hours so that the crops are ventilated. The accumulated condensate is removed from the surface of the shelter. These procedures will prevent the seeds from rotting and allow the sprouts to get enough oxygen. As the top layer of the earth dries, watering is carried out.
After the appearance of sprouts, the film is removed, containers with seedlings are transferred to a room with a temperature of 16 – 18 degrees. After 20 days, the seedlings are thinned out, leaving the largest strong plants.
With the onset of warm spring days, the grown seedlings are planted in open ground. Sprouts are removed from pots with a clod of earth in order not to damage the fragile roots. After planting, the soil around the bushes is compacted and watered.
It is also common to propagate viscaria with the help of cuttings, which are cut in the first month of summer from perennial specimens, treated in a root growth stimulator and planted in sand.
Cover with a film or a cut plastic bottle on top. Cuttings should be opened daily for oxygen access to the roots and moistened. Plants with regrown roots can be planted on the site in late August – early September.
All terry varieties of this crop are propagated only in this way, since they do not form fruits with seeds.
- Watering. This culture is not demanding on watering, but nevertheless, when growing it, water procedures should be carried out regularly. This will help preserve the freshness of foliage and buds, and will have a beneficial effect on flowering. It is recommended to water the flower in the afternoon, when the sun reduces its activity. After planting and throughout the entire time of care, watering the viscaria should be done at intervals of 2-3 days, in extreme heat – every other day.
- Weeding and loosening. After water procedures, it is useful to loosen the area near the plant to saturate the roots with oxygen and eliminate weeds.
- Topdressing. Fertilization is necessary for the active growth and brightness of the green mass, as well as for abundant flowering. The first dressing is applied before flowering, using a mixture of sodium sulfate, superphosphate and urea. This composition is diluted in water at the rate of 3 tbsp. spoons for 10 liters. Fertilizer is poured under the root, trying not to get on other parts of the plant. The second time top dressing is applied during the flowering period, using the Agrecola mineral complex. The third top dressing should be made in the fall to restore the strength of the flower. For this, the same composition is suitable.
- Pruning. At the end of flowering, the stems of perennial varieties are cut, leaving a length of no more than 15 cm from the ground.
- Preparing for the winter. After pruning the stems, make a shelter for the winter. For this purpose, take dry foliage, sawdust or non-woven material. In regions with severe winters, the ground is mulched with a layer of peat.
- Disease control and pests. As a result of excessive watering, root rot can develop, the plant is affected by diseases such as rust and leaf spot. In order to avoid any problems associated with the cultivation of this crop, it is necessary to regulate watering, grown seedlings must be thinned out. Having found signs of the disease, the bush should be treated with a fungicide according to the instructions.
In some cases, the tar can be attacked by aphids. Chemicals will help eliminate harmful insects.
Application in the garden
Beautiful unpretentious viscarias are often grown in flower beds; these flowers serve as a bright decoration for flower beds. This culture is recommended for use in group plantings for decorating the lawn and empty corners of the garden.
Moisture-loving varieties are suitable for the design of artificial reservoirs. Undersized varieties serve to create rockeries, alpine slides. Tall plants are suitable for creating hedges, decorating gazebos, decorating outbuildings, walls.
Harmonious neighbors for tar are asters, bluebells, primroses, carnations, gypsophila, nivyaniks. Compositions made up of several varieties with different bud colors look very nice.
These photos show what viscaria looks like in a flower bed next to other flowers:
These flowers are also successfully grown in pot culture. From autumn to the onset of warm spring days, they are kept at home, from May to August they are put outside.