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Kalmia: characteristics, care and curiosity

Photo by Petra Zwaan from Pixabay

 

Enriching your garden with Kalmia is an original idea, which is also functional: it is a perennial and ornamental plant that allows you to recreate truly suggestive scenarios thanks to the size and colors of the flowers. In particular, Kalmia is an evergreen acidophilic plant that is part of the ericaceae family, coming from some territories of North America. Kalmia is highly appreciated for leaves that are dark green in color and have a tapered, in some ways oval shape. Among other things, it develops forming shrubs of considerable size and with a series of branches capable of covering important spaces. The ideal is to play best with these characteristics to get a real scenography inside the garden, also thanks to the flowers that are grouped in clusters of color ranging from pink to white. What is interesting from an aesthetic point of view is that these flowers have a sort of segments inside that make them appear as if they had been embroidered with great skill.


Cultivation methods

The cultivation of kalmia is quite simple, the important thing is to place it in a specific area in order to satisfy its characteristics. Being native to the northern areas of America, it needs a green space where the temperatures are not excessive, otherwise you risk getting them burned within a few days. They are especially suitable for areas where the temperatures during the summer are not excessive, while it does not represent a problem for freezing winters. From a soil point of view, it is necessary to choose an area in which there is an acid pH of at least 6.5 and well drained. If you want to grow this plant in a pot to place it on the terrace, perhaps on the balcony, you can choose a universal soil in combination with peat and pumice stone. The only aspect that must be absolutely met in cultivation is to provide fairly frequent watering, especially during the spring and summer months. You must also be very careful during the flowering period: the advice is to prefer rainwater or distilled water whenever possible. As regards fertilization during the summer period, a liquid fertilizer must be provided at least once every three weeks which must be diluted with water during watering.


Diseases and treatments

Like many other types of plants, Kalmia too unfortunately has to deal with various parasites and pathologies: it can be attacked by a disease known as white malady in which whitish powders are seen on the leaves which have the main consequence of compromising the growth. It can also deal with root rot that leads to death by asphyxiation and yellowing of the leaves caused by a very acid pH soil. The most appropriate treatments to avoid all this provide during the winter period the protection of the lower part of the plant with straw mulch. If, on the other hand, you realize that the leaves are turning yellow, you need to insert a solution of iron sulphate into the soil, always choosing rainwater for watering.


Curiosity

Among the curiosities related to Kalmia, it should be emphasized that it is a poisonous and toxic plant for both humans and animals. In short, we must avoid that in some way it can be ingested.

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