Plants

Kalmia

The Kalmia

Belonging to the Ericaceae family, Kalmia is a perennial evergreen shrub native to North America. The size of this plant can vary according to the species it belongs to. A minimum height corresponds more or less to ten centimeters, up to a maximum of four meters. Each species is characterized by different details in order to make each species unique and different from the others. The stem of the plant has a brown colored bark that tends to red; the leaflets that grow on the branches are numerous, simple and alternate and have a dark green color on the upper page and light green on the lower page. These, depending on the species, grow elongated or oblong. Its very showy flowers are quite resistant and quite abundant. After the flower comes the fruit, small semi-woody and rounded capsules which, once they reach maturity, break to let the seeds come out. The growth of Kalmia is quite slow compared to other types of plants and with the advancing age it gives life to bushes with a very wide and branched crown.

Species


As already specified previously, there are various species of this plant and each of them has different characteristics. The species we are dealing with now are five: Kalmia carolina, Kalmiahirsuta, Kalmiaangustifolia, Kalmialatifolia and Kamlia cuneata. Kalmia carolina reaches a maximum of one meter in height and has a fluff on the body; Kalmiahirsuta is a difficult to cultivate plant, reaches a maximum height of sixty centimeters and blooms in summer; Kalmiaangustifolia can reach up to one meter in height and has almost the same characteristics as Kalmia carolina; Kalmialatifolia is the best known and most widespread, it reaches about three meters in height, its leaves are shiny and it is also called “the American laurel”;

Cultivation

Kalmia loves to be exposed to direct sunlight, it can also grow in partial shade areas but will have a very different and slightly slower development. It can withstand both hot and cold temperatures, only younger seedlings need more care in colder weather. This type of plant particularly needs water especially during the flowering period (the plant will need to be watered frequently during flowering, taking care never to leave its soil dry). During the autumn and winter periods, irrigation must be reduced but not abolished. The ideal soil for Kalmia is a loose soil that is well drained and with an acid pH but, in the case of fertile soils, it can live anyway. To help the plant in its development we can give it some fertilizer. The first thing to do is to give it some organic fertilizer by burying it in the area of ​​the ground where the plant grows, in this way we will favor a beautiful and abundant flowering. Then we proceed with administering specific fertilizer in order to strengthen the plant. The planting of Kalmia can be carried out during the spring or during the autumn. It is important to remember that before carrying out the planting it is necessary to prepare the ideal soil for this plant, just create a mixture of leaves, earth, peat and sand. Then we proceed with administering specific fertilizer in order to strengthen the plant. The planting of Kalmia can be carried out during the spring or during the autumn. It is important to remember that before carrying out the planting it is necessary to prepare the ideal soil for this plant, just create a mixture of leaves, earth, peat and sand. Then we proceed with administering specific fertilizer in order to strengthen the plant. The planting of Kalmia can be carried out during the spring or during the autumn. It is important to remember that before carrying out the planting it is necessary to prepare the ideal soil for this plant, just create a mixture of leaves, earth, peat and sand.

Curiosity

The multiplication of this plant occurs through two methods: we have the multiplication by seed and the multiplication by cuttings. For the multiplication by seed, the seeds of the previous year are collected and buried during the spring period. As for the multiplication by cuttings, it is carried out after the spring period. Lethals must be placed in a small jar containing sand and peat in equal quantities, these must be kept in humid and cool places until they have developed their roots. To ensure that the whole procedure takes place in the right way, it is necessary to keep them in a protected place for a couple of years before planting takes place. The kalmiait is a type of plant easily attacked by parasites such as aphids and leaves that attack the flowers weakening and destroying the seedling. Diseases that lead to the destruction of the plant are not always caused by pest attacks but Kalmia is often also attacked by fungi. Some species that usually attack this type of plant are powdery mildew, also called white mal, which manifests its presence with the formation of white cobwebs on the upper part of the leaves. Another species of fungi is root rot, we notice that the roots change color and become yellowish. To avoid the formation of rot on the roots it is good to take care of the plant, giving it the right amount of water and exposing it in places with climates that are welcome to it.

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