In garden centers and in small flower shops, you can often see an interesting plant, strewn with elegant sparkling fruits, berries, surrounded by round, shiny leaves. Berries that look very similar to everyone's favorite cranberries are just a bright decorative outfit of a rare tropical plant called gaulteria. Throughout the year, this plant looks great, and also feels great both indoors and outdoors in the garden. If you purchase a gaulteria in the fall, then it will winter well on a glazed loggia or balcony. In spring, the gaulteria can be relocated to the street: in a rock garden or in a flower bed next to rhododendrons or low conifers.
Gaulteria (Gaultheria) - an evergreen perennial from the Heather family, which first attracts attention with dense bright green leaves. They are tiny (up to 1.5 cm long) or larger (3-4 cm). In June, gaulteria blooms with small white or pinkish flowers, very similar to drooping jugs and emitting a pleasant delicate aroma. By September-October, large (up to 1 cm) red, less often bluish, white or lilac fruits ripen on the branches of wilted flowers, which can stay on twigs all winter.
About 170 species of this plant are known, which are mainly found in America, Southeast Asia, and Australia. In culture, the brightest representative of the genus, the recumbent gaulteria, which has a number of names in the people - winter grass, winter-lover, mountain tea or wintergreen, is most popular.
Gaulteria lying (Gaultheria procumbens) - a low (up to 15 cm) evergreen graceful bush with creeping branches. In diameter, it can be up to 40 cm. Its leaves are oval-pointed, leathery, very similar in shape to the leaves of a pear. By fall, they acquire a bronze-reddish hue. Gaulteria of this species blooms with delicate light pink flowers. They are not toxic, but do not represent special nutritional value.
Hauleria lying down bushes look great in penumbra rock gardens or in curbs next to plants that love acid peat soils, and in the summer they need shelter from hot sunlight.
Gaulteria propagates by seeds, delenki, less often by cuttings. A seed-grown plant develops slowly and blooms only in its fourth year. When propagating gaulteria with cuttings, they need to be treated with a drug that stimulates root formation. And even in this case, rooting is only 40%.
Gaulteria lying prefers acid peat soil, do not tolerate stagnation of moisture and heavy soil. A hole for planting is dug up to a depth of 35-40 cm. Drain from broken brick and river pebbles is placed on its bottom, surely add rotted coniferous litter.
In the garden, plants are best placed in clusters with an interval of 20-25 cm. The root neck of the gaulteria should be left at ground level or buried by 1-1.5 cm. Seedlings are rarely watered, but abundantly, more often in dry weather, in the evening hours they are sprayed. The soil is covered with mulch, and if loosened, then superficially.
In autumn, young plants are covered with dry foliage, and adults mulch with wood chips and peat. In winter, gaulteri throw more snow on the bush. In early spring, the shelter is removed, the mulch is pushed to the side to prevent the root neck from warping. After thawing the land, the gaulteria is fed with granular complex fertilizer with microelements.