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Gaulteria lying: cultivation and care

Gaulteria lying: cultivation and care

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The genus gaulteria is classified as a heather family, and, according to recent data, it unites about 180 plant species. Although British scientists claim that this number is much larger - 234. The plant got its name in 1748 in honor of the Canadian doctor Jean-Francois Gauthier, though with a slightly misspelled spelling.

The genus includes evergreen shrubs that grow in South, North America, Malaysia, East Asia, Australia, New Zealand. Many interesting and wonderful species are available in China. These include both small ground cover species reaching a height of 10 cm, and shrubs 2.5 meters high. There are also low trees 6 m tall.

Absolutely all plants of the genus have elliptical or ovoid successive leathery leaves. Flowering occurs by means of goblet, hanging white or pink flowers, which are collected in apical inflorescences or located singly. Flowers form spherical fruits, white, bluish or pinkish.

In our country, there is 1 species of this plant - Hulteria Mikel, which grows on the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. It is an upright evergreen shrub with white berries. This species is very rare in nature and in botanical gardens.

The most common and affordable is Gaulteria lying, which comes in the form of a potted plant in winter. She is very beautiful with her scarlet berries and aromatic foliage. This is the only species from the entire family that has edible berries. The birthplace of this plant is North America, which has a long and interesting history of ornamental, medicinal plants, as well as a substitute for tea.

Gaulteria lying: general information

Gaulteria lying down, or in another way American grushanka, grows by creeping gray-brown shoots, rising 10-15 cm above the ground. The bush has slightly sharpened, elliptic leaves 1.5-4 cm long in shape. They also have shiny, a dark green surface, as well as a crusty edge. At low temperatures, the leaves acquire a crimson very attractive shade. Gauleria flowers are white with a pink hue, bell-shaped, drooping, single with 5 petals in the corolla. Such flowers are very readily pollinated by insects, since this plant is a honey plant.

It blooms from July to September, resulting in scarlet small berries 0.5-1.5 cm in diameter. Literally all parts of the plant are fragrant.

Gaultheria procumbens application

People living in America are often referred to as Eastern tea berries. This name did not appear by chance, since long recumbent gaulteria was used to make medicinal and very tasty teas that were used to treat a variety of diseases: head, throat. Also, these leaves were chewed for a good rest after hard work.

At the beginning of the 19th century, chemists discovered amazing properties in the plant that are similar to the properties of white willow, providing a decrease in swelling of muscles, joints and an anti-inflammatory effect. During the American Revolution, plant leaves were used as surrogate tea. To prepare it, the sheet was fermented in warm water, and then dried. There is even a suggestion that the word tea was applied to it before real tea was distributed.

Grushanka oil - melyl salicylate - is a mixture of alcohol and organic acids, the specific smell of which is very strongly felt when rubbing the leaves. The smallest amount of essential oil is found in young leaves of gaulteria, therefore it is very pleasant to chew them. Often it is used to flavor toothpaste. Essentially little is obtained by steam distillation, the leaves are collected from spring to autumn, preliminarily soaked in water for 12-24 hours. The oil contains about 98% methyl salicylate and is used in medicine as an external remedy for rheumatism, neuralgia, sprains, cellulite, and skin inflammation. In the food industry, it is used as a means for flavoring beer, liver, medicine, and sweets. But now they are increasingly using synthetic analogues.

It is believed that it was this plant that gave the idea to create chewing gum.

But information about the berries is very contradictory. Somewhere it is reported that they are dangerous to people, some sources say that this is not so. In nature, squirrels, foxes, bears, mice, chipmunks eat them as food. American sources report that the berries are edible, but the taste is described differently each time. Some consider it mint, others indicate a medical smack.

Maintenance and care of gaulteria at home

If gaulteria was purchased by you as a New Year's decoration, then it is better to put it in a non-hot room and regularly pour cool water on it, preventing drying of the soil. In such conditions, the plant can last about a month. At the same time, the plant is completely unpretentious to light and can even be located in the back of the room.

If you have a desire to preserve the gaulteria for a longer period, then from the first days you need to provide cool conditions (up to +12 degrees Celsius), which should be maintained until spring. This temperature dictates a rare watering, without stagnation of water. In summer, the plant can be put in the garden, and in the winter again returned to such conditions. It is better to grow gaulteria as a container plant, since many problems can arise when planting in the ground.

How to grow goulteria in open ground

Gauleria recumbent is ranked in zone 4 for winter hardiness, it can be grown in the suburbs. The plant withstands frosts, reaching -35 degrees, but is very sensitive to spring frosts.

Gauleria can be planted only in the spring. In this case, the plant should not be fruitful, bought at peak sales in the winter, but be green and discreet, acquired in the nursery.

Nevertheless, for growing gaulteria in the soil, a lot of conditions must be observed. So it is preferable to cool, wet peat soils. The plant does not tolerate dense shade, as well as prolonged drought. But if the soil is sufficiently moist, it is better to choose a more lighted place for planting, located in the lace shade of evergreen or deciduous shrubs in a sheltered place. It is these conditions that guarantee the fruiting of the plant.

Gaulteria is growing slowly (in Moscow - a centimeter per year), but it gets along well with competitors. Flowering in Russia in a plant begins in mid-June and lasts 20 days. After a break, the second flowering occurs at the end of August-September. Gauleria berries ripen in November and can persist on the plant until the onset of summer.

Heather family cultures

Propagation of gaulteria

If everything worked out for you, and the New Year’s plant was preserved until the spring, then planting in open ground can lead to its death, since the plant was originally indoor. A more reasonable option would be to remove seeds from the berries in advance and sow them in a plastic container with slightly acidic soil or compost. After this procedure, the container is placed for 4-10 weeks in a refrigerator for stratification. And then the seeds need to be germinated in a greenhouse at a temperature of +20 degrees. Often the seeds germinate very slowly, about 1-2 months. At the same time, the soil should remain moist, but not waterlogged. Good lighting and ventilation should also be provided. Once a week, it is advised to water the plant with a solution of Fitosporin or a mixture of alirin and Gamirov to prevent the appearance of a black leg. When the seedlings reach a height of 2.5-3 cm, they can be dived, grow a little in the greenhouse and leave them there not for the winter. After planting, the plants will grow very slowly for the first two to three years, and you will also need to take good care of their protection in the winter in the form of maple or oak leaves, spruce branches.

Well-grown and developed plants can then be propagated by layering, root offspring, as well as division. To propagate gaulteria, you can try to use cuttings, but less than half of them survive. Therefore, experienced gardeners are advised to use rooting stimulants.

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