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The balsam family. The homeland of balsam is tropical and subtropical Asia and Africa. In nature, according to various sources, from 800 to 1000 species of these herbaceous, bushy plants are known. Among them are annuals and perennials. Translated from Latin impatiens means "intolerant", so Balzamin was named Impatiens. This is due to the fact that the ripe fruits of this plant open at the slightest touch, and seeds fly out of them.
Balsam has other names as well: Lizzie is busy or Vanka is wet. The first name appeared in connection with the ability of this plant to bloom almost all year round. Vanka wet balsam was dubbed for its moisture-loving nature, with a lack of moisture in the soil, the plant's stems and leaves immediately droop.
Waller's balsam (Impatiens walleriana) - it is this species and its hybrids that are called Lizzie-buster. Perennial bushes from 20 to 60 cm tall, with erect juicy stems. The leaves are alternately arranged, broadly oval, pointed at the end, light green in color and finely toothed along the edge. Leaves up to 10 cm long, flowers about 4 cm in diameter, solitary or in few-flowered inflorescences with long pedicels. Flowers can be red, pink, white, reddish-orange, or red-white. This species is the starting point for many hybrids and varieties, which can have different leaf color, color and flower structure (simple or double, one or two colors). It is sometimes called Waller's Balsam
Balsam (Impatiens) New Guinea Impatiens - a perennial herb, or Balsam of the 'New Guinea' group (New Guinea). A hybrid based on the Balsam Hawker species Impatiens hawkeri. The name comes from the historical habitats - its homeland is Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The bushes are sprawling, abundantly branching, with larger leaves than those of Balsamin Waller, leaves, ovoid, finely toothed along the edge. The color of the leaves is varied - there are dark green, there are green with a bronze tint, variegated and even red. The flowers are mostly simple or semi-double, of different colors
Balsam is quite thermophilic; in spring it can be taken out to the balcony when the temperature no longer drops below 15 ° C. In winter, Balzamin prefers a cooler temperature, optimally about 15-18 ° C, not higher than 20 ° C, not lower than 13 ° C, and for variegated varieties not lower than 15 ° C.
Balsam is photophilous, preferably a certain amount of direct sunlight in the morning or evening, shading from the hot sun in summer on the south and west window. In other words, bright diffused light. In the garden, balsam can be placed under the openwork shade of the trees, but where the sun's rays penetrate.
Abundant from spring to autumn - the soil should be slightly damp all the time, but not too moist. In winter, when the temperature drops, watering is moderate - the soil should have time to dry out in the upper third of the pot before the next watering.
From March to September, balsam is fed with fertilizer for indoor decorative flowering plants every two weeks. Top dressing can begin as early as two weeks after transplanting. Fertika-lux, uniflor-bud, agriculture for flowering, Merry Flower Girl for geraniums and balcony flowers, or Merry Flower Girl for violets and begonias (flowering) are well suited.
The leaves are periodically sprayed. Balsam does not like dry air, especially with central heating. When spraying, it is not advisable to get water on the flowers, therefore it is better to keep abundantly flowering plants on a pallet with wet sphagnum moss or expanded clay.
Soil - 1 part of sod land, 1 part of leaf (peat), 1 part of humus, 1 part of sand. Drainage is required to the bottom. It is better to transplant balsam annually in spring (in March), while it is not necessary to take a larger pot, since Vanka does not like wet dishes that are too spacious, it is enough to completely replace the soil. In addition, you can often rejuvenate the plant, i.e. cut fresh, long, stronger cuttings, and, after rooting, plant instead of the old plant, over the summer they will have time to grow strongly.
Reproduction of balsam
Stem cuttings in spring, summer or autumn, they root well in water for a week or two. And also seeds, which are sown in January with the obligatory supplementary lighting with fluorescent lamps. Seeds are sown in wide bowls, in a mixture of peat and vermiculite (or sand). You can make greenhouses (to maintain high humidity) from a plastic box from under a cake or pastries. Temperature for germination is about 25 ° C.
The problems of growing balsam
- The stems are stretched, the leaves are small and pale - with a lack of nutrients in the soil, or when the pot has become cramped, as well as with a lack of lighting. In addition, most types of balsam are characterized by rapid "overgrowth", which makes the plant elongate, the stems at the base are bare, and decorative attractiveness is lost. This is facilitated by high temperatures (above 22 ° C). Therefore, it is advisable to renew the balsam in the spring by cutting off and rooting several young cuttings in one pot.
- The stems rot (brown and soften), the leaves curl, fall off - if it's too cold and damp. This can happen if the plant is exposed in the summer in the garden, with the onset of cold rainy nights.
- Leaves curl, dry and fly around - if the air is too hot dry. This should be feared in winter if the plant is near the radiator. And also in summer, on hot sunny days, then the plant should be placed on the floor in the coolest place of the apartment, and periodically sprayed.
- Variegated forms lose their color - with a lack of lighting, for example, on the northern windowsill.
- Flowering is weak or absent - the cause may be a lack of light, a lack of nutrients in the soil, or an excess of fertilizer (improper feeding, for example, with nitrogenous fertilizers).
- Unexpected flowering and cessation of flowering - can be caused by a sharp cold snap, severe dryness of the soil, transplanting into a too large pot or untimely transplanting (flowering time or budding).
Spider mites often infect balsam, especially in hot dry weather - in internodes, cobwebs appear on the stems, the leaves become lethargic, pale and fall off.
Control measures. The entire surface area must be rinsed in soapy water. To do this, a cool soap solution is diluted in a bucket of warm water (you can use green soap, tar, and even foam for washing dishes). Then lower the plant upside down and leave for five minutes. Wash off the foam with warm clean water from the shower. Repeat the procedure in a week. If soap baths do not help, balsam should be sprayed with a solution of acaricide (drugs: apollo, nissoran, vermitek, actellik and others).
Also balsam, especially growing in the summer in the garden, can be harmed by aphids, whiteflies and thrips. Be sure to inspect the underside of the leaves (pests usually hide there), pay attention if the leaves curl, turn yellow, or acquire a gray-silver tint. The easiest way to deal with the above pests is with the help of systemic insecticides - actara or confidor, with a solution of which the soil is watered. All sick, damaged leaves must be cut off.