Bedding plants

Maintaining Levkoys - Everything about watering, fertilizing, cutting and wintering

Levkins are lavishly blooming flowers that not only look beautiful, but are also easy to care for. Find out everything about care here.

If you are looking for a hard-working flowering plant that knows how to seduce with its fragrance, Levkojen (Matthiola) is the right address. Originally native to the Mediterranean, the plants are generally less robust than native species. If you follow a few care instructions, cultivating the Levkoys can be quite easy and you will enjoy the blooming summer flowers for a long time. You can find out everything you need to know about caring for the usually two-year cruciferous plants with their striking, colorful flowers.

Water Levkojen correctly

Levkins should be watered moderately but regularly. Tap water with moderate lime content can be used for this as well as rainwater. However, the soil should be slightly dry between watering.

You can check the moisture content of the soil with your finger. If the earth has dried about two centimeters, Levkojen need water.

Properly fertilize the bunkers

You can start fertilizing several weeks before the planned planting. You can use commercially available liquid fertilizers for this. Enriching the soil with compost ensures effective long-term fertilization. The plants' nutritional requirements are greatest during flowering, so you should provide them with liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

Bucket-raised bunkers require more nutrients than outdoor plants. Liquid fertilizers are recommended every two to four weeks.

Do Levkojen have to be cut?

Levkoys generally do not need a pruning. However, you should not miss the removal of all of the faded parts of the plant. This not only improves the attractiveness of the plant, but also promotes long-lasting flowering.

Levkins are biennial and usually die after flowering. You should not remove the plants immediately before the onset of winter, as they still sow independently. Once this is done, you can completely remove dead plants from the soil and dispose of them on the compost.

Winter hibernation

Annual varieties do not need winter protection. They should be removed and discarded after flowering. Two-year-old levkoys first form a leaf rosette in their first year. This serves as the basis in the following year of flowering. Protection from brushwood or leaves is recommended during the winter months. Container plants are more sensitive and should spend the winter frost-free in the house.

If you have preferred Levkojen, the young plants can spend the winter in the winter garden or in the cold frame and are allowed to go outside in late winter.

Detect diseases and pests on levkoys

Levkins are quite robust plants. Nevertheless, the Mediterranean summer flowers are not spared from diseases and pests. An effective preventive measure is the appropriate care. The plants are often attacked by mildew, black-legged and the caterpillars of the cabbage white.

❍ Mildew:

If the plants are infested with mildew, you can hardly miss it. A whitish, reminiscent of flour spreads out on the leaves. This can mainly be seen on the undersides of the leaves. The top of the sheet, however, is characterized by dark discoloration. The fungus can spread undetected and also affect the buds and flowers. Even if the infected parts of the plant die off, the plants will rarely die completely as a result of mildew.

What can you do preventively?
The floor should be permeable and loose, so that there is no waterlogging. Powdery mildew also favors a too narrow planting distance. For group plantings, you should keep planting distances of 20 to 30 centimeters. Then there is good ventilation and the plants dry faster after rainfall. This particularly deprives the downy mildew of the nutrient medium.

You should also not water the plants from above, but directly at the root area. Moderate fertilizers are also better tolerated than back shocks. If nitrogen is over-fertilized, the plant becomes susceptible to disease.

What to do in the event of an infestation?
If the plant is affected by mildew, you should remove all affected parts of the plant. The disposal should not be done on the compost. In group plantings, you should completely remove the plants so that the fungus does not spread to the other levkins.

❍ Black legs:

Black-leggedness actually occurs mainly in cereals. Levkojen are not spared from this either. Black legs are a threat to seedlings. The fungus attacks the roots and the young plants can no longer absorb nutrients. The leaves turn yellow and the roots are black, which also explains the German trivial name of the plant disease.

What can you do preventively?
First of all, soil compaction is very important. You should also water moderately to avoid waterlogging. Because this favors an infestation with black legs.

❍ Cabbage white cabbage:

The young plants are also a coveted target of the cabbage white, because they like to lay their eggs on the plants in late summer. Once the voracious caterpillars have hatched, there is usually nothing left of the plants.

What to do in the event of an infestation?
Only regular inspection of the plants and timely collection of the caterpillars help here. Alternatively, you can use a biological caterpillar spray.