Calceolaria: [Cultivation, Irrigation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

Calceolaria is a genus of the Calceolariaceae family which groups about 275 accepted species from different countries of America, from the region from Mexico to Argentina and Chile.

Of all the species, the most popular and the most cultivated are usually C. crenatiflora, C. uniflora, C. integrifolia, C. mexicana, among many others.

The calceolaria is a mostly plant ornamental . It is frequently used for the bright colors of its flowers and its unusual shape, similar to that of a pair of Swedes or a purse.

The name of Calceloria comes from the Latin meaning shoe, referring to the characteristic shape of its flowers. Hence, calceolaria is also known by the names of little shoes of Venus or little shoes of the Virgin.

Important points when sowing calceolaria:
  • Scientific name: Calceolaria.
  • Common name: Capachito, little shoes of Venus, little shoes of the Virgin, purse,
  • Height: 30 to 60 centimeters.
  • Light requirement: direct light and semi-shade.
  • Temperature: Temperate climates (15ºC to 18ºC).
  • Irrigation: Moderate.
  • Fertilizer : Organic fertilizer.

What are the characteristics of calceolaria?

The calceolarias are herbaceous plants that are often classified as shrubs or sub – shrubs because of their variety of sizes. They are usually between 30 and 60 centimeters tall. Its leaves, of different shades of green, have a great variety of shapes and sizes.

Some are opposite, others are arranged in the shape of a cross, some are overlapping, and very few become alternate. Calceolaria flowers are the main attraction of this plant .

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They are made up of a corolla that has two parts divided into a lip, generally yellow or orange, although they may have red or purple spots. The lower lip of the flowers is sac-shaped and larger than the upper lip.

The fruit of Calceolaria is a small capsule with 4 compartments in which the seeds are housed . On the other hand, the seeds are small, a little linear and somewhat curved. Inside this area there is an area of ​​filaments that secrete oil.

When to sow calceolaria?

The calceolaria usually planted from the first weeks of spring after the last frost. However, it is also possible to sow it during the summer , taking advantage of the environmental temperature of the time.

Where to plant calceolaria?

The calceolaria is a plant that, under ideal conditions, is grown mainly to the outside , in gardens or flower beds. However, this plant is usually grown in indoor pots.

In both cases, calceolaria must be located in bright and cool places, where it can receive indirect and diffuse sunlight, without being exposed to the effects of radiation during midday.

On the other hand, if it is located in very shady environments, the flowering of the plant will be reduced and the flower petals could wilt. So, in short, it should be located in a place with intermediate and diffused light.

With regard to climatic conditions, calceolaria is typical of regions with mild and temperate climates, with daytime temperatures around 15ºC and 10ºC at night.

It is important to add that calceolarias do not tolerate high temperatures, cold or frost; for that reason it is preferred to grow indoors . However, even indoors you must be protected from drafts.

How to prepare the land?

The calceolarias need porous substrates, light and fertile. Regarding the pH , this plant does not have specific requirements, but they vegetate better in those with a range of 5.8 to 6.2.

If it is to be grown in the garden, it is recommended to make a hole of about 40 centimeters in diameter and fill it with a universal substrate mixture , with a third of perlite.

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In the case of sowing in pots, it is recommended to prepare a substrate composed of compost , sand or perlite; although you can also use a mixture similar to that used when sowing in the ground.

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How do we water calceolaria?

The virgin’s shoes are plants that need regular watering to keep the soil slightly moist, always avoiding excess and puddles.

It is necessary to increase the frequency of watering during hot seasons, during its growth period, and reduce it during the fall and winter.

How often do we water calceolaria?

The frequency of irrigation will depend on weather conditions and whether it is outdoors or indoors. However, it is generally watered 3 times a week during the summer. During the other months, the frequency should be adapted to every 4 or 5 days.

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How to sow a calceolaria step by step?

Calceolaria can be grown from seed and from vegetative cuttings , although the former method is generally preferred. Instructions for sowing using seeds are shared below.

  1. Spread the seeds on the surface of a container, or pot, with wet peat, and cover them with a very thin layer of substrate.
  2. Place the pot in a bright place, but away from direct sunlight, at a temperature around 20ºC.
  3. Keep the substrate moist while waiting between 1 and 2 weeks for the seed to germinate.
  4. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots once a couple of true leaves have sprouted and place them in a lighted place where the temperature oscillates around 15ºC to induce flowering.

What care does calceolaria need?

The calceolarias are species that are not easy to grow. However, if the main cultivation requirements are covered, they will be able to grow without any problem.

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On the other hand, although it is not necessary, it is possible to enrich the soil, either with homemade organic matter such as compost or peat so that the beauty of the flowers extends for a few more weeks in the garden. These tasks should be carried out two or three times a month.

What pests and diseases affect calceolaria?

The calceolarias are generally affected by aphids , whitefly, as well as tomato moth, among other insects.

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In the case of diseases, these appear mainly due to excess water in the substrate. Among them are Pythium , Botrytis , as well as Cercospora leaf spot .

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