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Calceolaria is a genus that includes some species of perennial, evergreen plants, originating in North and Central America; they fear the cold, so they are generally grown as annuals, or in apartments. They produce small roundish bushes, 30-40 cm high, with dark green, oval, slightly opaque foliage. The flowers, produced throughout the year, have a particular bag shape. They are yellow, orange or red; they always present punctuations or variegations in contrasting color. Calceolaria, especially the yellow flower verity, are often used in planters with geraniums.
Among the most widespread varieties we can include c. tenella, which has yellow flowers and light green leaves; the c. acutifolia which is well suited in rocky gardens and the mexicana species, with pale yellow spiked flowers.
During the spring and summer months it is necessary to water the calceolaria with regularity, but without exceeding, always waiting for the soil to be well dry between one watering and another to avoid the formation of radical stagnations dangerous for the health of this variety of plant. In the cooler months water only sporadically. In winter the watering should be thinned out but it is good to check that the specimens grown in a protected place can always have slightly moist soil.From April to September, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, dissolved in the water used for watering, every 15-20 days.Ground
For an optimal development of the calceolaria it is best to place these plants in a soft and loose soil, rich in organic matter, very well drained. The most suitable compound is formed by sand, peat and earth, so as to have a substrate that allows proper drainage and avoids the formation of dangerous water stagnations.
The multiplication of this variety of plants is usually done by seed but it is also possible to proceed by cutting. The sowing must be carried out mainly in spring, to guarantee the correct temperature to the new shoots, which will need a bright environment to spread at best.
Calceolaria: Pests and diseases
An excess of environmental humidity, or poor ventilation, can favor the development of botrytis or root rot; these can arise frequently also due to a soil that is too compact and does not allow the correct drainage degree. They are sometimes attacked by aphids and white flies. To counteract its appearance it is good to intervene before flowering with plant protection products or with natural methods, such as a decoction of nettle or a preparation based on water and garlic, to be sprayed on the affected specimens.