Many summer residents and gardeners would very much like to have on their site some super unpretentious small flowers, which, if possible, could be sown in the spring directly into the ground, so as not to bother with growing seedlings, and then with its transportation to the future permanent habitat ... And if these flowers also possessed an attractive aroma, then they would not have had a price. But such flowers exist and they look very attractive, although for some unknown reason they are still little known to Russian summer residents and flower lovers. This is limnantes, which even a beginner in floriculture can easily cope with growing from seeds.
Limnantes has a very original color of flowers, which cannot fail to attract attention - a bright yellow lemon core with a small white edging. It is thanks to this color that he received the popular name in the British Isles - fried eggs. Despite such an appetizing culinary name, the flower itself and all its parts are inedible. But from the seeds of one of the varieties of limnantes, a unique in its composition vegetable oil is obtained, which is able to cope with many cosmetic problems and even have a healing effect on the human body.
Attention! Limnantes is native to the west coast of North America and in California many of its species are endemic and even endangered.
In May, the coastal valleys of the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States are covered with white foam.
This is how the flowering of one of the most valuable representatives of the limnanthus family for the cosmetic industry looks like - limnanthus white, or limnanthus alba.
It is because of the abundance of flowering that the Americans nicknamed these flowers "meadow foam". In Russia, however, Limnantes is often called just a penny.
The genus Limnantes belongs to the family of the same name and consists of only 8 species of annual plants. Two Greek words - "limna" - swamp and "anthos" - flower - served to form the name of this genus. Indeed, in natural conditions, limnantes can often be found in mountain lowland valleys and in wetlands, which are flooded in winter and dry up in summer. But, given that the flower is an annual, the entire main growing season for Limnantes falls on a relatively dry season. And in humid conditions, only its seeds overwinter. This fact must be taken into account, since, as it turned out later, in a garden, limnantes does not like to grow in a swamp at all and can only withstand short-term flooding.
In the garden culture, only one species is known and popular - the Douglas limnantes.
Limnantes Douglas is an annual herb, reaching a height of no more than 20-30 cm. The stems can grow straight, but they can lie down and branch strongly in different directions. The bush can grow so much that one plant will take up to 40-45 cm of space in diameter. Therefore, limnantes is ideal as a groundcover flowering annual, capable of forming elegant carpets of flowers. The leaves are very elegant and attractive in themselves - they have a pale green color, openwork-pinnately dissected.
Pedicels strive upward and bear cheerful medium-sized flowers (about 3 cm in diameter), consisting of five petals. Despite the small size of the limnantes flowers, there can be so many of them that they often completely hide all the foliage behind them. The flowers have a very attractive sweetish aroma, so bees and butterflies often circle around them.
The flowering of limnantes in favorable conditions can be very long - from June to the very frost. The flower is very unpretentious and can withstand light frosts up to -2 ° -3 ° C.
Seeds of limnantes ripen by the end of summer and are enclosed in fruits - nuts with 4-5 almost spherical lobes, which can be either smooth or lumpy. The seeds themselves are quite small in size, in one gram they contain up to 150 pieces. In shape, they are a bit like apple seeds. Germination is good, lasts for three years.
Despite the fact that it is the two-tone color of flowers that is most often found in gardens, there are several varieties of Douglas Limnantes with solid white, yellow and pinkish flowers.
Rarely, but the flowers also have a streaky-speckled color.
Growing from seeds
The seed method of reproduction is the main one in Limnantes, as, indeed, in most annuals. It is best to sow seeds directly to a permanent place in flower beds or in outdoor flowerpots. Seedlings can survive slight frosts provided they are covered with non-woven materials.
Important! The average daily soil temperature for good germination of limnants seeds should be within + 10 ° + 15 ° C.
Usually, similar conditions develop in mid-latitudes in the mid-second half of May.
Sowing with seeds in the ground
In outdoor conditions, sowing of limnantes seeds is carried out to a depth of about 2 cm, in nests of 2-3 seeds, since seed germination is not one hundred percent. To get a continuous carpet of flowers, plants must grow at a distance of 10-20 cm from each other.But under conditions favorable for growth, one limnantes plant can, in principle, fill a small street pot, measuring 40x40 cm.
It is important to keep the soil moist at all times after planting. Seedlings usually do not keep themselves waiting long - they appear in 6-15 days, depending on temperature conditions. Limnantes blooms, as a rule, 1.5-2 months after germination.
Limnantes usually easily renews itself by self-sowing, so by planting it on the site only once, you can breed this flower as a permanent inhabitant of your garden. In addition, its seeds can be sown before winter, unless there are frequent and prolonged winter thaws in your area.
If you want to enjoy the flowering of limnantes earlier, then you need to sow it for seedlings in March or April. If you sow limnantes seeds in March, you will be able to plant seedlings with buds in the ground in May.
Growing with seedlings
Most often, seedlings are grown in a greenhouse or greenhouse - in these conditions of abundance of light and low temperatures, it turns out to be stronger and healthier, but you can try to grow limnantes from seeds and at home. The plant does not relate very well to transplanting - it can hurt for several weeks and come to its senses after a pick - therefore it is better to sow seeds immediately in separate pots. In order to plant them directly on the flower beds in May by transshipment, minimally disturbing the limnantes root system.
Advice! Home-made cups made of dense polyethylene or a base for a laminate without a bottom, which are fastened with a regular stapler or tape and placed in a deep tray, have proven themselves very well for such cases.
When using them, it is enough just to separate the walls of the cup and place an earthen lump, braided by roots, ready for planting in a depression in the soil.
So, for sowing limnantes for seedlings at home, you need to prepare:
- A certain number of homemade cups without a bottom according to the number of limnantes seeds prepared for planting. Just like in a flowerbed, 2-3 seeds can be sown in one glass at once.
- A deep tray large enough to contain all the cups you have prepared.
- Light permeable earth.
- The limnates seeds themselves.
- An aqueous solution of any growth stimulant (Epin, Zircon, Humates, Energen, HB-101 and others) is desirable, but not necessary. You can use plain water at room temperature.
Gently fill the cups with earth and tamp lightly on top. At home, it is enough to deepen the seeds of limnantes into the soil to a depth of 0.7-1.0 mm. If you are not ready to constantly control the humidity in the cups during the germination process and regularly add water, then it is better to secure a large plastic bag on top of the pallet. Place all of this anywhere in the room, since the seeds do not need light before germination, and normal room temperature will be more than enough.
At home, seedlings can appear faster - after 5-7 days. Try not to miss this moment and immediately place the tray with cups on the lightest windowsill so that the sprouts do not have time to stretch out. In the future, caring for the seedlings of limnantes consists only in regularly maintaining the soil in a moist state. It is advisable to place the seedlings in the coolest and at the same time the lightest place in the house.
Advice! If you live in the countryside, then the limnantes seedlings can be taken out to an unheated veranda or balcony, if the temperature on it at this time does not drop below -2 ° C.
Gradually accustom the seedlings to outdoor conditions, taking them to the balcony or outside throughout the day, if possible. And already in May, you can plant limnantes plants in a permanent place.
If you want limnantes to bloom early, but there is no desire and opportunity to tinker with seedlings, you can try sowing seeds in open ground in April, stretching several layers of lutrasil or spunbond on top. Even after the emergence of seedlings, it is not necessary to remove the covering material, you can water directly through it until the weather is stable outside.
Limnantes is a completely undemanding plant. It will grow well in almost any conditions that are usually provided to annuals. Of course, the most abundant and vibrant flowering can be expected from it only in sunny places. It is better not to plant limnantes in partial shade, since although it will survive there, the flowering will disappoint you, and the stems will stretch out and look untidy.
The big plus of this flower is that it adapts well to any type of soil: from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, from sandy to heavy loam.
The only thing he needs is regular and sufficient watering. Despite its name, limnantes dislikes stagnant water at the roots, but tolerates arid conditions even worse - it can stop blooming and developing. In the middle lane with heavy rains, it is unlikely to face overdrying of the roots, but in the southern regions, special attention should be paid to this. It is better, if possible, to immediately mulch the limnantes root zone with any organic material: straw, sawdust, cut grass.
Attention! In the middle of summer, during the hottest season, limnantes grown from seedlings can begin to age.
In order for the flowering of limnantes to continue until autumn, the wilted flowers must be removed, and the shoots themselves must be regularly pinched. In the same period, it will be useful to feed Limnantes with complex fertilizer.
Or you can act in a different way. Sow the limnantes seeds again in June. In this case, the very height of flowering will be at the end of summer - the beginning of autumn, and you can admire the juicy optimistic colors of this flower until the very first frosts.
Limnantes will perfectly decorate alpine slides and rocky gardens with artificial reservoirs. In the flower beds, he can go well with his fellow countrymen: nemophila and escholzia. It is also suitable as an ampelous plant, for planting in flowerpots and for decorating balconies and loggias.
Get to know this lovely flower and, most likely, it will charm you and settle in your garden for a long time.