Growing balsam from seeds
Charming impassable (namely, balsam is known by this name) is one of the classic pilots. His “garden career” knew both periods of universal admiration and undeserved oblivion. But today universal attention is once again riveted to this modest plant. Prolonged flowering, during which pink and raspberry, purple and red, simple and double flowers with a small bright eye, like stars, shine on the thin shoots of the plant, and attractive simple foliage adorning the luxurious low bushes are its main distinguishing features. As well as ease of reproduction. This article is about the features of growing and propagating balsam.
- Popular types of balsamins
- Seed collection and selection for sowing
- Soil and containers for sowing balsam
- Seeding dates and cultivation strategies
- The technique of sowing seeds of balsam
- Seed germination conditions
- Growing seedlings of balsam
- Dive seedlings and care for young balsam
- Seedling hardening
- Planting balsam in a permanent place
- Pest and Disease Control
- Other methods of propagation of balsam
Popular types of balsamins
Impatiens, or Balsamine (Impatiens) - a genus of flowering plants of the Balsamic family (Balsaminaceae), which includes about 500 species distributed in the Northern Hemisphere and the tropics.
In regions with harsh winters, balsam is grown exclusively as an annual crop. Universal favorite - touchy Waller, or Waller (Impatiens walleriana) - today overshadowed the other types of balsamins. But other plants, larger and lush, New Guinean balsam hybrids (Impatiens new guinea), a large, upright balsamic touchy (also known as garden balsam — impatiens balsamina), two-meter iron-bearing balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) or elegant, forming meter thick bushes balsam balfur (Impatiens balfourii) deserve great attention. Indeed, large sizes and less lush flowering does not at all make other species more difficult to care for.
Whatever form of balsamines is discussed, these are easy-to-breed plants that are easy to grow. And the simplest, most popular and affordable method of propagating charming undercuts is, of course, sowing seeds.
Seed collection and selection for sowing
The plant is actively distributed by self-sowing. Seed boxes of balsam literally explode, open from any touch, the plant generously gives self-seeding. In the absence of control, balsam can easily turn into a weed, but it is very difficult to collect seeds because of this feature. This should be done at the beginning of the whitening of the boxes, and it is better to prevent the spillage from tying the fruits in advance with gauze or a piece of transparent fabric.
Balsam seeds retain their germination for a very long time, up to 8 years. Therefore, when buying seeds, it is not necessary to search for the freshest ones. Moreover, if the summer is rainy and the seeds cannot be harvested, you can use the stocks of your own seeds of past years without an additional germination test.
Soil and containers for sowing balsam
Balsamins are best sown in boxes, large containers or cups with good drainage holes, or directly on the beds in the greenhouse.
The substrate for balsamines should be light, peat-based, but closer to the neutral acidity characteristics. Great for plants are mixtures of garden soil with peat, coarse sand in equal parts or ready-made substrates for seedlings, in which you can add an additional 1/5 part of sand.
Some gardeners recommend large types of balsam to be sown in a soilless mixture of peat and sand or peat and perlite (2 to 1). The optimal pH for balsam is from 5.5 to 6.3. Balsam does not like fresh organic matter, young seedlings to compost are especially poorly responsive. The soil texture should be loose, light, permeable.
A prerequisite is the disinfection of the substrate before sowing. The disinfection procedure can be carried out with ordinary boiling water, and a weak solution of potassium permanganate, and fungicides. For balsamins, the soil is sieved.
Seeding dates and cultivation strategies
Balsam prefers a fairly late landing. This plant is characterized by a shortened growing season, so crops can be carried out in April-May. To obtain longer flowering plantings, balsam is sown in several waves. For example, in May to get the rapidly blooming under-touch of Waller or New Guinean hybrids, the first crops can be carried out in January.
Impatiens can be grown as a classic seedling method, and sown to obtain planting material in greenhouses and greenhouses. With the first option, crops can begin to be carried out in March, but in hothouse conditions, undercuts are sown no earlier than mid-April.
The technique of sowing seeds of balsam
- Pour the sifted, loose soil into containers, carefully level and carefully moisten from the spray bottle, avoiding compaction.
- Gently scatter the seeds on the surface of the substrate, trying to arrange them as little as possible. The optimal strategy is to spread the seeds one at a time at least 2-3, and preferably 4 cm between them.
- Since Waller's balsam sprouts only when light is available, only lightly powder the seeds on top with fine sand or sifted soil, but do not cover completely. The remaining balsams can be covered with 4-5 mm of sifted soil.
- From above, gently moisten the seeds from the spray bottle.
- Cover the seeds with clear glass or film.
Germination in balsamins usually takes from 4 to 15 days, seedlings appear unevenly.
Seed germination conditions
For germination, balsam seeds need light and heat. The optimum temperature is about 23-25 ° C. Below 20 degrees the air temperature should not fall. Containers with seeds are exposed on the lightest, but protected from direct sunlight locations.
Another factor necessary for balsam is increased humidity. When the substrate dries, insufficient moisture in the air, the seeds may not germinate, but the cover without ventilation threatens the spread of fungal diseases. Therefore, the glass or film is lifted literally for several minutes, but daily.
Growing seedlings of balsam
As soon as the first green sprouts appear, humidity and soil, and air need to be lowered, increasing the frequency and duration of ventilation. It is absolutely impossible to remove glass or film completely. Plants need to be trained, first leaving small ventilation holes or opening the cover more and more, until after a couple of days they can not be removed at all.
After the glass or film has been removed, it is advisable to lower the air temperature in the room to 15-18 degrees or move the plant to an equal, but cooler place. Use spraying to maintain light soil moisture.
Dive seedlings and care for young balsam
You need to dive the young shoots of balsam very early, as soon as the sprouts rise to a height of 1 cm or a little higher, but not earlier than the first pair of full, not false leaves, appears. Balsamins are best planted in individual containers that will allow seedlings to be transferred to the soil without destroying the earthen coma. Special peat pots or cassettes are great. Impatiens need to be transplanted carefully, being careful not to destroy the earthen lump around the tiny rhizome.
After diving, it is advisable to lower the air temperature by a few degrees. For balsamines, moderate, sparse watering should be provided, without overmoistening the soil.
From the beginning of May, young balsamins begin to harden. They need to be taken out for a day outside, under the open sky, and returned to their usual conditions at night. Hardening for balsamins should last at least 2 weeks.
Planting balsam in a permanent place
Seedlings can be transferred to a permanent place only at the end of May, when late frosts will not be scary. Impatiens cannot tolerate lowering temperatures even to 5 degrees Celsius, which imposes significant restrictions on the possibility of early decoration of the garden with flowering balsams.
The optimal distance when planting is about 25 cm between the bushes (the larger the balsam, the greater the distance should be). Balsamins are photophilous, feeling better in diffuse lighting and partial shade (especially when shaded during lunch hours), as well as in protected, warm, comfortable places of the plant. Balsamins achieve greater decorative effect on fertile soil, but can bloom on virtually any soil.
After planting, the plant will need drought-compensating watering and top dressing. This culture gratefully responds to spraying.
Pest and Disease Control
For balsamines, garden pests are far more dangerous, but low temperatures. They can not tolerate lowering night temperatures to 5 degrees Celsius, and any frosts are fatal to them. Of the pests, balsam plantings are sensitive to aphids, spider mites, whiteflies in the vicinity of diseased plants.
Other methods of propagation of balsam
Cuttings of plants are an excellent alternative for increasing the number of bushes. Strong young balsams in May or June are put in the shade so that the shoots stretch out. Twigs are cut, rooted in water, sand or substrate under a film and planted in separate containers, slightly grown and used as seedlings.
You can cut balsamins literally throughout the year, keeping the bushes as uterine for the winter or chopping cuttings in the fall and keeping rooted branches indoors until spring.