Balsam is one of the most famous and popular indoor plants in the world. It attracts flower growers with its beauty, unpretentiousness, and also a rather long flowering period.
It is not for nothing that it is called the eternal flower. Find out everything about it from the article: the names from a to z, what it looks like in the photo, what variety of species of this plant exists in nature, what useful properties does it have?
It will also be interesting to read about the rules of caring for a plant, about methods of reproduction, about the technology of planting and transplanting a flower.
What diseases is balsam exposed to and how to deal with them? What insects can harm a flower and how to get rid of them? Enjoy reading.
What is this plant: botanical description and history of origin
Balsam - decorative - flowering and decorative - deciduous plant the balsam family, the heather order.
Homeland - the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. This flower was first introduced to Europe back in 1596, and in Russia it appeared only in the 19th century.
The stems are fleshy, juicy, often very tender and translucent. The height depends on the species, ranging from 15 to 60 cm.
Leaves are green (different shades), shiny, water-repellent, whole or serrated, without stipules, 8 - 12 cm. Hybrids may have bronze, variegated.
The flowers are mainly five-lobed, irregular, single or loose inflorescences. The fruit is a polyspermous oblong capsule.
Annual or perennial?
Depending on the type plants can be annuals (garden balsam, camellia) and perennials (Waller's balsam and its hybrids), there are shrubs. Perennials require more complex care, need a transplant. In parks, we see mainly annual plants that are small in size, small-flowered, which do not require a lot of light. Perennials are often grown in apartments.
The Latin name for balsam is Impatiens, which means “impatient”. This is due to the fact that even with the slightest touch of a ripe fruit, it cracks, and the seeds fly away long distances.
In Austria, the flower is called the "Lovely Wreath" for its beauty. In England - "zealous Lisa" for a long period of flowering. We have a similar name - "Lizzie Troubled".
What is it called by the people?
There are quite a few popular names for this plant. And although the scientific name of the flower is "impatient", it is called differently: Vanka is wet, light, touchy and ever-flowering.
- "Vanka wet" - for the love of moisture and for the drops of liquid protruding at the tips of the leaves.
- "Ogonyok" - for bright, small, like lights, flowers.
- Touchy for scattering seeds when touched.
What is the name of a similar flower? Of all plant species the most common is Waller's terry balsam... Its flowers are very much like roses, only, of course, without thorns.
What do the buds of "Vanka wet" look like?
The flowers are found in the axils of the balsam leaves. They have a very different color: pink, red, white, purple. They can be monochromatic or spotted, striped. The color of the hybrids is even more varied.
The double flowers of the plant look very beautiful, similar to a real bouquet. These are low branching species. Also in shape, balsams are divided into clove, pink and camellia.
Benefit and harm
We grow balsam to decorate apartments, dachas, streets. But the forest flower is also used in folk medicine, mainly in the Caucasus, Asia, Siberia, despite the sufficient content of poison in it.
In no case you can not use the flower as a medicine for pregnant women and children in any dosage. It is very dangerous.
Any tincture of this plant is contraindicated for people with gastrointestinal problems.
Despite the "toxicity" of forest balsam, in minimal doses it is beneficial and has healing properties.
- The stems and leaves contain tannins. Decoctions, infusions of this plant are recommended for diseases of the bladder, kidney stones. For rheumatism, decoctions are used both internally and externally in the form of baths.
- Leaves, pre-crushed, are applied to wounds, ulcers, as they have an anti-inflammatory effect. Well, such lotions help with hemorrhoids. For open wounds, sap squeezed from the plant can be used.
- Flowers are effective as an anti-inflammatory agent, as it has been proven that during flowering, the plant releases large amounts of vitamin C.
Forest balsam is a poisonous plant. Overdose and misuse will do more harm than good. Infusions and decoctions are recommended to take no more than two tablespoons per day.
Is it possible or not to keep at home?
Balsam is great for keeping it in apartments, including in the nursery, on the balconies, as well as in kindergartens and schools. I wonder what the flower was for. Previously, it was believed that in a house where there is a touchy person, there will be love and prosperity, good luck in business. This beautiful flower was a symbol of masculine strength.
A variety of species and photos with them
The balsam genus includes more than 400 species, which are very different from each other. Basically, they are all concentrated in the countries of Asia and Africa. In temperate climates, up to 10 species are found.
Waller's balsam, Sultansky and Holst's balsam, which have different varieties and varieties, are most often grown for apartments. Many hybrids have been bred, adapted, among other things, to low temperatures.
In the photo you can see what the types of flowers look like at home.
You can read more about the types of balsam here.
Waller's balsam is better known as Waller. It blooms very profusely, double flowers, like small roses. It has wide oval green leaves up to 10 cm in length, pointed at the end. Height up to 60 cm, erect stems. This is the first species to gain popularity in Russia.... There are many varieties of Waller's balsam, combined in a series.
Balsam Holst has an erect stem of about 60 cm. The leaves are brownish-green, pointed, oval.
Sultan's balsam or "room". Height 30-60 cm. Homeland - Africa. The flowers are pink, bright, solitary, there are a lot of them. The stem is juicy, brittle, from which, if damaged, pinkish juice flows... The leaves are green or purple, spreading, the edges are finely toothed.
Flowers in all these species can be either monochromatic or two-colored, of various colors: white, red, orange, pink, purple.
The following types are also fairly well known.
An annual plant that we often see in flower beds in the park. His homeland is China, India, Malaysia. Height up to 70 cm. Blooms from June to the onset of cold weather.
We suggest you learn about growing garden balsam from seeds by reading this article.
They are often decorated with hedges and fences. But without proper care, it quickly turns into a weed. Homeland - Himalayas and East Indies.
An annual poisonous plant, up to 1 m high. The leaves are oblong, on short petioles. The flowers are yellow, collected in inflorescences, irregular in shape. Blooms from June to September. Used in traditional medicine.
The most beautiful flower, often found in apartments. Height 30 - 50 cm. Leaves are green and reddish, toothed. The stem is very juicy and fragile. Flowers are single, large. There is a legend according to which a red light burned in the house of a girl waiting for a guy from the battlefield. The story ended sadly, the light turned into a “light” flower and is considered one of the most beautiful species.
Very similar to Waller's balsam, but grows much more slowly. Unlike all other species, it is beautiful for its luxurious dark green velvety leaves with colored veins. The flowers are white with yellowish or burgundy dots.
Basic rules of care
The rules for the care and maintenance of a flower are not complicated. The plant is unpretentious and grows on any windows, except for the southern ones.... The room needs to be ventilated. In summer, the touchy can be taken to the dacha and planted in open ground, preferably in a shaded place.
The main thing is not to forget to take the balsam home before the onset of cold weather, since this is still an indoor flower. The plant does not stop growing even during dormancy. With proper care, it can bloom all year round. In spring, it is better to pinch the tops of young stems, which will stimulate even greater flowering.
- Lighting... Prefers moderate. Does not like direct sunlight, but with a lack of light suffers from etiolation. The exception is Waller's balsam, it is shade-tolerant.
- Temperature... In the warm season 20-25 ° C, in winter 14-16 ° C. Hypothermia and sudden temperature changes should be avoided.
- Watering (read more about watering and feeding a flower here). The flower is very hygrophilous, so in the summer watering is regular and abundant so that the soil does not remain dry. In winter - moderate, but the soil should not dry out. Stagnation of water in the sump must not be allowed, otherwise the roots will rot.
- Humidity... The usual room is enough. He loves spraying in the warm season, but moisture must be avoided on the flowers. Wipe the leaves with a dry soft cloth.
We bring to your attention a video about plant care:
More nuances about caring for balsam can be found in this article.
The plant propagates by seeds and stem cuttings. For planting in open ground, the first method is more suitable. Seedlings are preliminarily prepared.
- For this, in February - March, seeds are sown in boxes to a depth of about 0.5 cm, watered and covered with foil. The film must be lifted daily to allow air to enter. The distance between the seeds is 4 cm. And they sprout already at 8-15 days. It is important to observe the temperature regime - 20 - 25 ° С, otherwise the seeds will not germinate.
- After sprouting, it is better to plant them in separate pots.
- Seedlings are planted in open ground in June, at a distance of 25 cm from each other.
To propagate a plant by cuttings:
- You need to cut off the apical shoots about 10 cm long and root them in water or sand.
- Then plant in small containers and use as seedlings.
Cuttings take root in a couple of weeks, and young plants can bloom in 2 - 3 months.
Video about the reproduction of balsam:
More details about the balsam multiplication procedure can be found in this material.
Planting and transplanting
After purchase, the flower is planted in a cramped pot so that it blooms... The soil can be used ready-made universal for decorative - flowering plants. The flower loves nutritious loose soil mixtures.
You can prepare the soil yourself by mixing humus and peat in equal proportions, adding a little sand. It is unpretentious to the soil, the main thing is that it is fertile. Every year - two soil needs to be renewed to maintain decorative appeal.
- They are transplanted hard to get in the spring.
- Top dressing is carried out once every two weeks, alternating organic and mineral supplements.
- In winter, you do not need to fertilize the soil.
- In open ground, they are planted in pits, mixing fertile soil and compost there. Annual species grown from cuttings are not transplanted, they are renewed by cuttings. This is a very convenient way to rejuvenate the plant.
More details about planting and transplanting balsam can be found here.
Diseases and pests
- Aphids, whiteflies... Leaves curl and turn yellow. If you notice early on, you can try to remove them manually. Use chemicals against aphids.
- Spider mite... Can be seen on the stem, especially in internodes. The leaves turn pale, turn yellow, dry up. Apply anti-mite drugs, wormwood or dandelion infusions. It is recommended to increase the humidity of the air.
- Downy mildew... A white or gray bloom appears on the stems and leaves, they turn black and fall off. Treat with systemic fungicides. The reason is high humidity at a fairly low temperature.
- Thrips... Insecticides are used.
- Gray rot... The reason is excess moisture.
At an early stage of damage to the plant by pests, washing with a soapy sponge helps, then the foam is washed off with warm water. If time has passed, biological and chemical remedies remain effective.
Thrips and aphids are carriers of a mosaic that is most often untreated.... But at the initial stage, you can try to spray the plant with Bordeaux liquid and be sure to isolate it.
With improper care, the plant itself gives signals, and it is enough to change any maintenance conditions so that it continues to grow and please us:
- Leaves fall in winter: increase the temperature in the room.
- Does not bloom, and the lower leaves fall off: little light.
- There are many leaves, but almost no flowers: the pot is too loose.
You can read more about the diseases of balsam here.
Both ordinary indoor flowers and garden types of balsam are an excellent decoration for our houses, apartments, parks and squares. Nowadays, vertical flower beds are gaining more and more popularity; Waller's balsam is more suitable for them. Its popularity all over the world lies in its extraordinary beauty and relative unpretentiousness.