Godetia: growing, planting, care

Godetia flowerGarden flower godetia (lat. Godetia) is a herbaceous annual plant in the family Onagraceae that includes about twenty species, originating from the American continents. It is native to Southern California. The godetia plant received its name in honor of the famous Swiss botanist C. H. Godet who was the first to study and classify godetia. Since the 60s of the 19th century, the plant has taken its place in the gardens of Europe. The benefits of this garden plant are its low care requirements and beautiful silky flowers, similar to the flowers of azalea. The godetia flowers have a similarity with clarkia, also belonging to the family Onagraceae.

Description of godetia flower

The godetia stems are upright, branched, reaching from 8 inches to 2 ft in height and forming neat bushes that can be spreading or pyramidal depending on the species and variety. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate, entire. The flowers are bell- or cup-shaped, quite large, from 1.2 to 4 inches in diameter, single, consisting of four petals, or double that are collected in a truss. The flower color is white, red, carmine, peach, pink, purple, there are varieties of mixed colors. The flower stems are short. The fruit is a four-sided cylindrical capsule with very small seeds ripening inside, the seeds do not lose their germination capacity for three or four years. Besides godetia, many its hybrids are also cultivated: azalea-flowered, dwarf, double and bushy varieties of godetia. It blooms from July to the very frosts and easily tolerates the temperature drop.

Godetia

Growing of godetia from seeds

Sowing of godetia seeds.

Godetia is grown exclusively from seeds, and this method of propagation is not difficult for flower growers. So how to grow godetia from seeds? Godetia seeds can be sown directly in the open ground, and you can ensure yourself against any risks and sow seeds to grow seedlings first. If you want to sow seeds in the garden, it is better to do this in the middle or end of April; in the areas with warmer climate the seeds can be sown even in autumn, but in any case before planting it is necessary to immerse the seeds in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for half an hour to protect future sprouts from diseases. Godetia thrives best in a weakly acidic or neutral loamy soil in the full sun. Dig up and moisten the soil before sowing, add mineral fertilizers and wood ash, as well as humus at the rate of 11 pounds per 11 ft². Then sow the seeds 0.2 inch deep, the distance between the flowers should be 10 inches. If you want sprouts to appear in a week, cover the planting site with a foil. If there are too many sprouts, they need to be thinned out. Why non-seedling way is better than seedling one? The fact is that when planting seedlings in the ground and even when pricking them out, some plants are damaged and die.

Pink godetia

Godetia seedlings.

To grow seedlings it is necessary to sow seeds in the end of March or the beginning of April in start-seed pots with a drainage and loose nutritious soil. The fine seeds mixed with sand are scattered over the surface and covered with a thin layer of soil, then the foil is stretched over the pot to create a greenhouse effect. Every day, take away the foil for a while to ventilate the sprouts and, if necessary, to moisten the soil. When in ten days the shoots emerge, the foil can be removed completely. When the seedlings have two true leaves, they are pricked out: they are carefully dug out, the soil is shaken off, too long roots are shortened and the seedlings are transplanted into separate pots, three pieces per pot.

Planting of godetia

Spring planting of godetia.

At the end of May or early June, the seedlings that reached 2-2.8 inches in height are planted in the open ground with the soil clod not to damage the roots of the seedlings. It is better to do this in cloudy weather, early in the morning before sunrise, or in the evening after sunset. The distance between the seedlings should be 8-10 inches: the taller the variety is, the more spaciously the plants should be planted.

Godetia flower

Autumn planting of godetia.

In autumn godetia is planted only in warm climate areas, and still it is quite risky. Flower growers prefer to sow seeds directly into the ground to avoid losses during transplantation and pricking-out of seedlings. It is believed that the plants grown from the seeds sown in late autumn are better adapted to the environment and more resistant to diseases and pests.

Care of godetia

The soil around the growing shoots of godetia should be loosened and weeded for their faster growth and this will provide the roots with room for growth and eliminate unwanted neighbors. Watering should be average, but regular. The godetia varieties that are above 2 ft in height should be staked for the stems with flowers not to get broken, you can use wooden pegs or metal rods for this purpose. To receive a profuse flowering godetia should be fed with a combined mineral fertilizer with a low nitrogen content once a month on the average. To do this, for example, you can apply a solution of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium fertilizer at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 2.6 gallons of water.

Godetia flowers

Godetia after flowering

How to collect the seeds of godetia.

Seeds of godetia get matured in about 30 days after flowering. As soon as the boxes begin to darken, they are cut off, dried, then they are opened up and the seeds are shaken out. The seeds can be sown in autumn, if you live in a warm climate zone, or the seeds are stored until the next spring. We remind you that the godetia seeds retain germination capacity for about four years.

Godetias

Species and varieties of godetia

Godetia grandiflora.

It is a compact bushy annual plant with a slight pubescence. It has been cultivated since 1867. The stems reach 8-15.7 inches in height, upright or pendant, fragile, by the end of the vegetative period they get lignified. The leaves are lanceolate, tapering to the base. The flowers are large, up to 4 inches in diameter, cup-shaped or bell-shaped, collected in the leafy trusses at the ends of the shoots. Silky petals can be pink, red, crimson, white, lilac, scarlet, dark red. This species blooms from July to October. Based on this species hybrid varieties, both tall and dwarf bordering plants, were created. The most common varieties are:

  • Weisser Schwann is a low growing sprawling shrub, 11.8-13.7 inches high, the shoots are green at the top and brown at the base. The leaves are broad and lanceolate, cup-shaped flower are satin-white, 2-2.4 inches in diameter, petals are entire;
  • Orange Ruhm is a mid-sized semi-spreading branchy variety, 1.3-1.6 ft tall, with reddish-green shoots. The leaves are narrow-lanceolate, flowers are up to 2 inches in diameter, broad, bell-shaped, with entire petals, red-orange in color.
Godetia

Godetia amoena (Farewell to spring).

The plant is 2 ft high, the stems are upright, smooth, fragile, by the end of vegetation period they turn semi-lignified. The leaves are narrow-lanceolate, pointed. Bell-shaped or cup-shaped flowers are up to 2 inches in diameter with satin, shovel-shaped petals that come in color of red-pink, raspberry-lilac or various shades of red. It blooms from July to September. It has been cultivated since 1814. The varieties are:

  • Kirshkeniging is a variety with pinkish-red flowers;
  • Crystal Snowflake is a tall variety of 2.5 ft in height with white flowers.
White godetia

Double godetia.

In the wild there is no such species, but there are hybrid forms of large-flowered godetia that often have semi-double, double, fully-double flowers. Double azalea-flowered godetia is represented, for example, by such fine varieties with double flowers as:

  • Sybil Sherwood is a compact shrub, 1-1.3 ft high, the leaves are lanceolate, the shoots are green with a pink tinge, semi-double flowers are 2 inches in diameter, have a pinkish-salmon shade gradually whitening from the center to the edge of the petals;
  • Rembrandt is a low hemispherical bush, 1-1.1 ft high, the shoots are pink-green, the leaves are narrow-lanceolate, double flowers are 2-2.1 inches in diameter, pink with a red spot on each wavy petal that is cut along the edges;
  • Brilliant has bright red flowers with a white spot;
  • Bride is azali-flowered double godetia with white flowers that have a slight pink hue.
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