How to grow nikandra from seeds?
Despite its flowering to frost, Nikandra is undeservedly deprived of the attention of gardeners. This flyer with unique talents is often called the background, too modest, and sometimes just boring. But it is worth taking a closer look at the lush bushes and delicate blue flowers - and the plant will reveal to you its elusive charm in full. Amazingly easy to grow, Nicandra surprises with the germination of seeds, and the simplicity of sowing, and unpretentiousness.
- Self-collection of seeds and their selection for sowing
- Soil and containers for sowing
- Sowing Nicandra Seeds
- Seed germination conditions
- Growing plants
- Dive seedlings and care for young nikandra
- Seedling hardening
- Landing Nicandra in the open ground
- Alternative Nicandra breeding methods
In landscape design, only one of the two natural types of nicandra is used - Physalis Nicander (Nicandra physalodes) This is a highly decorative universal annual, in which flowering, fruiting and even leaves are equally good. It is difficult to rank Nikander as a lush and fashionable plant, but it is completely inimitable and irreplaceable in its own way.
Most of the nicandras are large, powerful summers, forming symmetrical lush umbrella-shaped or hemispherical bushes, capable of reaching a meter height. But the plant has compact forms and varieties with a maximum height of only 30 cm. Branched strong stems and large leaves with a beautiful serrated edge stand out for their color intensity, creating a very beautiful and magnificent crown.
Nicandra flowers do not cover the entire bush with a thick veil, but very beautiful large cup-shaped bells of a light lilac-blue color with a light pharynx sparkle against a background of a thick and bright crown. In addition, Nikandra blooms relentlessly until the arrival of the first autumn frosts, starting its parade in mid-summer. In place of spectacular flowers, physalis-like spherical fruits are tied in bright green-purple lanterns-wrappers, beautifully hanging from the shoots and inspiring many to create original winter bouquets
Despite the presence of new interesting forms and varieties with dark leaves or flowers, the rules for growing plants and caring for them do not change even for the most outlandish “black” varieties.
Nicandra is grown from seeds. In regions with severe winters, the seedling method of growing is considered optimal for the plant.
You can learn more about growing and caring for nikandra from our material “Modest and undemanding annual nikandra”
Self-collection of seeds and their selection for sowing
Despite the fact that the nicandra blooms right up to the frosts and the vegetation period of the plant is very long, the plant still allows you to collect a large number of high-quality seeds every year. The shape of its fruits allows you not to worry about their active scattering. To collect your seeds, you just need to let the lanterns ripen before removing them from the bush.
Nikandra seeds are well preserved, they do not lose their germination not just for several years, but for decades. For high-quality, mature seeds, a very high germination is characteristic: even after 5-6 years, it exceeds 90%.
Nikandra is not as popular with us as other flyers, but its seeds are often found on sale. When buying, it is enough to follow the general recommendations for choosing quality seeds - to evaluate the completeness of information about them, choosing trusted manufacturers. The low price should not scare away the purchase: the nicandra rises well, gives a plentiful "harvest" of seeds and belongs to the category of the most affordable summers.
Soil and containers for sowing
Nicandra can be grown in any standard seedling containers - cups, plastic containers, cassettes. Choosing containers is better in accordance with your budget. The main thing is that the containers are not too deep.
The soil for growing Nicandra seedlings is suitable both versatile and independently mixed. Special substrates for seedlings have optimal characteristics, but ordinary soil for summers and indoor plants is also suitable.
Sowing Nicandra Seeds
Nicandra is sown when the length of daylight allows plants to grow normally from an early age. It is an easy-to-grow plant, therefore, it is not worth rushing with early sowing, for which, moreover, you will need additional illumination. The optimal dates for the physalis nicandra are the first and second decades of April.
In the process of sowing Nicandra for seedlings, there is nothing complicated:
- The containers fill the soil halfway, slightly compact the soil and fill up the rest of the substrate without compaction.
- The soil is well moistened with a spray bottle.
- Seeds are scattered across the surface in rows or randomly, trying not to carry out too thick sowing.
- Seeds are covered with soil from above, creating a layer above them up to 1 cm high.
- Containers are covered with film or glass.
Seed germination conditions
Nikandra is an unpretentious plant. It perfectly rises in normal room conditions, but not in coolness. Bright lighting and air temperatures from 20 degrees guarantee friendly shoots.
The seeds of this summer seedling emerge amazingly quickly, delighting with the first sprouts about a week after sowing, and with friendly and strong outcomes - after a week and a half.
After the shoots appear, film or glass is removed from the containers with nikandra. Plants continue to be kept in bright light, scattering direct sunlight, if possible, at room temperatures. As with any other seedlings, it is worthwhile for the nikandra to maintain a light, stable moisture by spraying, avoiding the drying out or dampness of the soil.
Dive seedlings and care for young nikandra
Nicandra sprouts must be allowed to grow until at least a pair of real leaves appear. After this, the plants are neatly peeked into small personalized cups, pots, or containers divided into cells, using a universal substrate for seedlings.
Before planting nikandra in the garden, it is advisable to harden the seedlings for as long as possible. The more plants spend time in the fresh air and the better they get used to cool temperatures and the vagaries of the weather, the better. They begin to take the nikandra out into the fresh air as soon as the weather permits, at least for several hours in the afternoon on fine days. The time spent in the open air is gradually increasing, but it is better to protect seedlings from severe cooling.
Landing Nicandra in the open ground
Plants can be transferred to the garden only when the threat of nocturnal frost has passed. Nikandra is not cold-resistant, so you should not rush into this. In the middle lane nicandra is planted no earlier than the end of May, and most often - only in June.
For nikandra in the garden, only sunny areas with the most bright lighting are selected. Plants are not demanding on soils, but light, high-quality, fertile and well-drained soils are preferred. Before planting in the garden, it is better to introduce organic matter into the soil, if necessary, adjusting its characteristics.
When planting seedlings, it must be taken into account that the plant loves free space. A distance of about 0.5 m should be left to neighboring crops.
In the first month after planting, it is better for young plants to provide maintenance irrigation. Then the nikandra can be watered only in especially severe drought, trusting in its drought tolerance and weather-oriented. If seedlings have been planted in poor, depleted soil, then it is better to start feeding fertilizers with mineral or organic fertilizers once a month. Feeding is not necessary in nutrient soil. Nicandra does not need pruning or other care, nor does it suffer from pests or diseases. After the arrival of frost, the plant is simply removed from flower beds and ensembles.
Alternative Nicandra breeding methods
This summer, like many of his "colleagues", gives a very plentiful self-sowing, and young plants can be used as seedlings.
Nicandra can be sown directly in the soil. But since the plant already blooms only in July, with this option, flowering begins very late, and the bushes do not reach their full size and necessary decorativeness. Nicandra can be sown in the ground in May or April with shelter, several seeds per hole at a distance of 40 to 50 cm. The seedlings are then thinned out, leaving the strongest plant.