Bird Families

Necklace shrub topacolo


Broad-leaved Kalmia. Modern winter-hardy varieties. Now in the suburbs!
Kalmia is named after a professor at the University of Abo (now Turku), a Swede, Per Kalm. He was one of the first to try to cultivate some wild woody plants from North America in the middle of the 18th century. Broad-leaved kalmia was introduced into cultivation in 1734, that is, two years earlier than narrow-leaved kalmia. Currently, it can be found in the gardens of Germany, England, Italy, Austria, southern Poland, Czech Republic. In Russia, unfortunately, it is still rare. Although, many modern varieties of broadleaf calmia are quite winter-hardy and have proven themselves well in the Moscow region. They overwinter in open ground no worse than rhododendrons and tolerate frosts down to -35 ° C. Adult bushes practically do not freeze, but young plants are still better to cover with a dry leaf or peat.

Broad-leaved Kalmia is a broadly spreading shrub 1.5-3 m high, and in its homeland it is a tree up to 10-12 (!) M high and with almost the same crown diameter. The height of the plant in central Russia reaches 0.5 m-0.8 m, the annual growth is small 1- 2 cm.
Evergreen leaves are similar to laurel leaves, elliptical-lanceolate, 50-10 cm long, dark green above, slightly yellowish below. Saucer-shaped pale pink flowers are unusually colorful, which contrast well with ten dark anthers. Before blooming, the stamens are in dimples at the base of the flower. Calmia flowers are distinguished by an interesting adaptation to cross-pollination. The structure of their flower is such that the thin filaments are elongated arcuate, and the anthers abut against pocket-shaped projections on the petals. At the moment of opening the bud or with a weak touch to it, the filaments quickly straighten, and mature anthers eject pollen through the apical opening of the nests. The flowers are collected in corymbose inflorescences located at the ends of the shoots and covering the entire crown during flowering. The spectacle is magnificent! The brightly colored flowers and buds are like fine porcelain.
The flower diameter is 2-2.5 cm. The flowering time is in mid-May and June. After flowering, a rounded ligneous capsule is formed, densely packed with small seeds, which ripen in September-October.

At the beginning of our century, the famous scientist, gardener E.L. Wolf in the book "Trees and Shrubs for Gardens and Parks" called the broadleaf kalmiya "the most beautiful of the kalmias".
Contrary to the prevailing opinions, broadleaf squid grows well and hibernates in the open field in the Moscow region and to the south.

Calmias are a wonderful, evergreen supplement for rhododendrons. Calmia broadleaf bushes grow slowly, after 10 years they reach 80-100 cm in height and almost the same diameter. Flower buds form one year before flowering. They are mistakenly considered difficult to grow. But this is not at all the case.
These plants have the characteristics of feeding and watering. And, otherwise, the general requirements of broadleaf calmia are characteristic of representatives of the heather family.
Broad-leaved Kalmia and its propagated hybrids grow slowly, which is typical for this species. For good formation of the bush, they need pruning.

Features for care and feeding.
All hybrids originating from broadleaf calmia require a lower concentration of fertilizers than rhododendrons (the concentration of salts of the soil solution should not exceed 0.4 mC) and constant moderate soil moisture. Two or three times a season from April to mid-June, the plants are fed. In the spring - with urea (30 g per 8 l of water), during the period of active growth - slurry diluted 1:15, at the rate of 3-5 l per plant. In the fall, you can scatter Kemiru-wagon around the bushes. During the period of active flowering, due to the abundance of flowers, plants require more fertilizers.

In the interval between waterings, the soil should dry out a little. Kalmias can tolerate temporary drought; however, in dry summers, they are watered every two weeks with 10 liters of water per plant. Abundant watering is also important in late autumn, when preparing kalmias for winter.
The most suitable are loose acidic soils, with an increased proportion of sand without lime, acidic soil (pH

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Description of the plant

Kalmia is an evergreen shrub of the Heather family. The height of the different species can vary from 50 cm to 2.5 m.

Leaves are dense, leathery, lanceolate with a pointed end, from 2 to 15 cm in length, arranged spirally along the stem or opposite, resembling laurel leaves in shape. The lower part of the kalmiya leaf is grayish-gray with a light bloom, the upper one is smooth, green. Every two years, the plant changes foliage: the old one becomes brown and disappears.

Inflorescences are numerous, dense, funnel-shaped, bell-shaped or cupped flowers up to 1-3 cm in diameter, pink, red or white, with long stamens.

When describing kalmia, special attention is paid to the interesting structure of the bud: a long stamen is in a state of "readiness" near the petals, as soon as an insect sits on a flower, the stamen pops out, sprinkles it with pollen. This is how cross-pollination occurs. The buds bloom in late spring - early summer. In autumn, the fruit ripens in the form of a small box with multiple seeds.

Types and varieties

The genus includes 10 species of calmia shrubs, which are found in their natural environment in North America. On the territory of Russia, such species as broadleaf and narrow-leaved squid are widespread and known. In gardening, various varieties are used, adapted to the Russian climate.

Multifoliate Kalmia

Another name is bog laurel. The height of the plant is 80-180 cm, in gardening the bush grows no more than 60 cm, the same amount occupies the territory around it. The flowers are purple-pink, bell-shaped, solitary, the base of the flower is narrowed due to sticking together of the petals at the petioles. Flowers bloom in April. In September, the fruit ripens - a purple box with yellow seeds. The growth rate of bog laurel is extremely low. The bark of the trunk of young plants is purple, with time it turns gray. The trunk is straight, ascending. Leaves are opposite, with a solid edge, waxy bloom. The upper side is blue-green, the lower side is lighter shades.

Kalmia narrow-leaved sheep laurel

Homeland - the eastern regions of North America. Narrow-leaved Kalmia is a wild species up to 1.5 m tall. Varietal forms are more miniature, no more than 40 cm in height. Green lanceolate leaves, up to 6 cm long. Stems are erect, numerous groups of flowers bloom at the ends, collected in umbellate inflorescences. The diameter of the pink flowers is about 1 cm. The narrow-leaved Kalmia blooms in June, the flowering time is about 30 days. Varietal forms of the species have a two-color flower color.

Calmia recumbent

Low, creeping, spreading on the ground, evergreen plant in the form of a miniature bush. Leaves up to 10 mm long and 3 mm wide, dense, leathery, with a characteristic central vein and a short petiole no more than 2 mm long. Opposite, elongated oval, edges slightly curled downward, glossy dark green above, lighter shades below.

Lying squid blooms in July-August, umbellate inflorescences contain from 2 to 5 flowers. Bell-shaped flowers are five-petal, pink or white, no more than 5 mm in length, with slightly bent pointed petals. In August-September, a spherical fruit with round small seeds ripens.

Kalmia broadleaf mountain laurel

Evergreen, spreading bush with a lignified trunk. High, on average about 1.5-3 m.Other specimens grow up to 9 m.Under garden conditions, no more than 1 m grows.The leaves of a broadleaf ornamental shrub 8-12 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, lanceolate, hard, dark green on the top side, light on the bottom. Broad-leaved Kalmia grows very slowly, no more than 2 cm per year. In young shoots, the stem is thin, elastic, with a purple surface. Over time, the stem grows stronger, lignifies, becomes dark brown.

Broad-leaved Kalmia blooms at the end of May, flowers are collected in groups in racemose inflorescences, located at the ends of the branches. Abundant flowering for 30 days, white or pink bell-shaped flowers.

Small-leaved Kalmia

Evergreen shrub up to 50-80 cm in height, sometimes up to 2 m. Leaves are hard, leathery, lanceolate, opposite, the edges of the leaf plate are bent downward. The upper part is dark green, the lower one is lighter. Due to the similarity of flowers, often small-leaved calmia is confused with multifoliate calmia. They are distinguished by pink-red bell-shaped flowers with five petals, collected in racemose inflorescences, between which the stamens are located.

Boxwood Kalmia

Plants of this species are found in height from 10 cm to 1 m. The stem is elastic, strongly branched, leafy. The arrangement of the leaves is alternate or opposite. The shape of the leaf plate is elongated, from oval to lanceolate, in length does not exceed 2 cm. At the end of the stem, a group of white or pale pink flowers bloom, collected in racemose inflorescences.

Winter hardy varieties

This wild-growing thermophilic plant is not suitable for growing in open ground in Russian latitudes. For a harsher climate and cold winter, winter-hardy varieties of kalmia were bred in the breeding:

  • Variety "Bandeau": growing, the bush acquires a spherical shape, reaches 1-1.3 m in diameter. The flowers are bicolor: red-burgundy with pink edging of the petals, the core with pink blotches.
  • Variety "Carousel": a low compact bush with numerous white flowers and purple blotches.
  • Variety "Elf": the height of the bush is no more than 80 cm, the flowers are snow-white with a rich red heart.
  • Variety "Black Label": bush 80-120 cm, white-chestnut flowers up to 4 cm in diameter.
  • Variety "Ewa": a densely branching bush, expanding, takes the form of a ball with a diameter of 100-130 cm, pink flowers.
  • Variety "Bullseye": bicolor purple flowers with a white border and an asterisk-shaped heart.

How to choose seedlings when planting

In order for the purchased seedlings to take root well in a new place, to grow and in color, it is necessary to pay special attention and be careful when choosing them. Don't trust street vendors. You can buy a sick, substandard plant from your hands. Specialized gardening shops offer a wide selection of different types of seedlings. The more the seller can tell about his "green" product, the greater the guarantee that a quality product will be sold.

If the seedlings are sold without an earthen coma, the roots should be carefully examined for damage. However, more often seedlings are offered in flower pots, it is not possible to assess the condition of the underground part. It is enough to know the age of the plant, to evaluate the appearance.

Kalmia latifolia Tiddlywinks

It is preferable to buy calmia seedlings in containers, since in this case the plant is protected from damage and drying of the roots. Also, it is highly discouraged to disturb seedlings with frequent transplants. If damage is found on the branches and stems, spots, dark blotches, the presence of mold on the seedling, then it is better to refuse such a specimen. A healthy plant has an even, smooth stem and up to three woody branches 15-20 cm long. There should be no suspicious formations near the root. For planting in open ground, seedlings aged 2-3 years are suitable.

Plant care

It will take a lot of effort to grow kalmia, the plant is demanding on the composition of the soil, watering and lighting. If all conditions are met, a beautiful, densely flowering shrub awaits the gardener.

Seat selection

For a bush, a semi-shady area of ​​the garden, closed from direct sunlight and cold drafts, will be an excellent place. If representatives of the Heather family are already growing on the site, then the neighborhood with them will only benefit the plant. If there are no places with light fertile soil, then in advance the future site is fertilized with peat, compost, deciduous soil, sand are introduced.

Kalmia latifolia Galaxy


Due to its slow growth, the shrub acquires its standard size only by 8-10 years. As the branches grow, they form a neat crown, which does not need formative pruning, although the bush tolerates it calmly. Nevertheless, attention should be paid to the appearance of the bush, in a timely manner to remove dead old branches, faded buds.

The soil

Prefers dry, loose, sandy, acidic, well fertilized and drained soils. The distance between adjacent bushes should be at least 80 cm.

Top dressing

If a young seedling is planted in a properly selected, fertilized place, the next feeding is necessary in 2-3 years. Adult plants are fertilized once in April-June, a complex mineral fertilizer is chosen specifically for rhododendrons. Organic fertilizers are also suitable: in the spring, a urea solution is applied, during flowering, a solution of chicken manure or mullein.

As soon as the plant needs additional nutrient medium, the lower part of the leaf plate begins to fade. Changes in the color of the lower part of the leaf should be noticed in time and top dressing, since this moment can be skipped, due to the fact that the back of the leaf has a light shade.

Kalmia latifolia 'Kaleidoscope'

Watering and loosening the soil

A moisture-loving plant needs periodic watering, but it does not tolerate stagnation and excess moisture poorly. Watering time is determined as the top layer of soil near the trunk dries up. Additional spraying of the crown will have a beneficial effect on the condition of the plant. Water the bush in the morning or evening 2-3 times a week. Young plants need up to 3 liters at a time, adults 8-10 liters. After each watering, it is necessary to loosen the soil around the trunk and remove weeds.


Many adapted varieties in the temperate zone of Russia are easy to grow outdoors. However, the plant needs additional protection before freezing, especially for young shrubs. In the fall, after flowering, the plant is abundantly watered and the soil near the trunk is sprinkled with peat or humus with a layer of up to 15 cm. The plant requires complete shelter for the winter. If the shrub is small, it is covered with a wooden box without a bottom, covered with a covering material. For taller bushes, insulated wooden frames are used. The time of shelter must be selected precisely, you cannot wrap up the bush in advance, it can wither, and belated actions will not save, the plant can freeze. In spring, the plant is opened gradually to get used to the change in temperature.

Kalmia latifolia Sterntaler

Transplant and reproduction

Experienced gardeners recommend planting calcium in open ground in the spring, having previously prepared a place for planting.

Step-by-step landing instructions

For the cultivation of kalmia in the fall, before the frost, the soil is prepared for the spring planting of seedlings. For this, the soil is dug up, a complex of mineral fertilizers is introduced into the ground. If the purchased seedling with an open root system, then to prevent drying out of the roots, it is put in water for 1-2 days. For better adaptation in the soil, a solution is added to the water that stimulates root formation.

When the weather is warm enough in the spring, when the soil has already warmed up, a planting site for the seedling is prepared: a pit 40-50 cm deep and 60 cm in diameter. A drainage layer is poured at the bottom of the pit from any suitable material, except for limestone. Further, almost half of it is filled with fertile soil. For 7-10 days, the pit is closed with a lid or foil to create the necessary microflora. After that, a seedling is inserted into the hole. If a young plant is in a flower pot, it is carefully removed by transferring, keeping an earthen lump. The pit is watered until the soil no longer absorbs water. The roots of the plant are covered with earth, tamped, all the earth near the trunk is densely sprinkled with spruce needles or peat.

One of the main conditions for the care and planting of kalmia is that the root collar should be flush with the soil level, otherwise the plant is threatened with drying out or decay of the roots from stagnant water.

Kalmia latifolia Pinwheel


Calmia reacts very painfully to transplants. Experienced gardeners recommend a well thought out place for planting a bush as a permanent one. But if, nevertheless, there is a need to change the "place of residence" of kalmia, then the new place is prepared in the same way as for a young seedling.

Reproduction methods

Calmia is propagated by seed and vegetative method (cuttings, layering).

The seed method is time consuming. Ripe dried seeds are placed in a container on fertile soil at the end of December. The container is left in a room with good lighting, possibly on the balcony. The soil in the container must not dry out. With the onset of spring, the container with soil is covered with polyethylene, moved to a greenhouse or a warm room with a high humidity. After 25-30 days, seedlings will appear, the growth rate of which is very low, no more than 3-5 cm per year. With seed reproduction, the first flowers bloom after 5-6 years; for transplanting in open ground, they will be ready by the age of seven.

When propagating in a vegetative way, cuttings are prepared in summer, they are kept in a solution of a root formation stimulator for a day. Placed in a greenhouse in a separate container, lightly tamp the ground, cover with a transparent cap. The condition for root formation is to provide high humidity and light for more than 12 hours a day. After 3-4 months, the cuttings take root. Depending on the conditions, the rooting time can take up to 1 year. It should be remembered that only half of the cuttings take root in the ground.


In their natural environment, all representatives of the species of Calmia are found in North America, they are observed even in the northern regions of Alaska. They grow in forests, on forest edges, along the banks of rivers and reservoirs, in wetlands.

Plant root formation stimulants

In specialized gardening shops you can buy ready-made solutions of plant root stimulants: Kornevin or Ecosil. However, natural stimulants prepared independently at home are no less effective, which, unlike purchased ones, do not contain chemicals and harmful substances.

One of the most effective stimulants is an infusion of willow branches, which is used both for watering seedlings and soaking seeds, as well as for keeping cuttings.

The potato tuber is an excellent root growth stimulator: cuttings are inserted into half of the tuber and left for several days. This will prevent the cutting from drying out and get enough nutrients. Aloe juice, like yeast, serves as an excellent root stimulator. Water with honey is no less effective.

Kalmia latifolia Peppermint

Calmia in medicine

Due to the presence of toxic substances in the plant, including andromedotoxin, it is not used in medicine in Russia. However, it is used to treat diseases of the digestive tract, skin diseases, syphilis, by the indigenous people of North America.

In homeopathy, calcium is used for diseases of the cardiovascular system, rheumatism, sciatic and intercostal neuralgia.

Kalmia in landscape design

Ornamental trees and shrubs of kalmia, despite its toxicity, are often used for landscaping gardens. In the Moscow region, the broadleaf species can be observed in various greenhouses and winter gardens. Compact, low species are used to form curbs, decorate stone gardens and alpine slides. Due to its numerous flowers, the evergreen species of kalmia is often planted next to other garden plantings, in combination with which amazing garden compositions are obtained. Broad-leaved and narrow-leaved Kalmia look good when planted alone. In this case, the whole beauty of the plant is revealed.