Mattiola or Levkoy: planting and care in the garden, tips and tricks

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Mattiola or Levkoy: planting and care in the garden, tips and tricks
Mattiola or Levkoy: planting and care in the garden, tips and tricks

Description of the mattiola plant, rules for planting and caring for levkoy in the open field, how to reproduce, combating possible pests and diseases, interesting notes, species and varieties.

Matthiola can also be found under the better known name - Levkoy. It belongs to the large family of Cabbage (Brassicaceae) or, as it is also called, Cruciferous. Natural distribution falls on the territory of the southern regions of Europe, Mediterranean lands and adjacent regions. The genus contains about five dozen main varieties, which have become basic for breeding today already six hundred decorative varieties, differing in the structure of flowers that have both simple and double outlines.

Family name Cabbage or Cruciferous
Growing period Perennial or annual
Vegetation form Herbaceous
Breeding method Seed (sowing directly into the ground or growing seedlings)
Landing period From the end of May, since return frosts are not terrible
Landing rules The distance between seedlings is at least 20 cm
Priming Anyone, but not waterlogged. Sod-sandy loam, loamy or black soil
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 - neutral
Lighting degree A well-lit flower bed or partial shade
Humidity parameters Drought tolerant
Special care rules Do not plant where cruciferous plants used to grow
Height values Usually within 20-80 cm
Inflorescences or type of flowers Spike-shaped panicle inflorescences
Flower color Shades from pure white to mauve, lilac, purple or yellow
Flowering period Depends on the variety
Decorative time Depends on the variety
Application in landscape design Garden containers, flower beds, next to benches or verandas, ridges and group plantings, for cutting
USDA zone 4–8

The plant got its name in Latin thanks to the British botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858), who decided to perpetuate in the name of the representative of the flora the memory of the physician and botanist from 16th century Italy, Pietro Mattioli (1500-1577). The second name "levkoy" originates from the German word "levkoje" or the Italian "leucoion", which in turn come from the Greek term "levkoiov", which translates as "white violet". Such data correspond to the dictionary of the etymology of the Russian language, published under the editorship of Max Vasmer. But among the people, Levkoy usually means Matthiola incana.

Typically, varieties of levkoy have both one-year and long-term growth, taking on a herbaceous form. The height of the stems often approaches meter indicators, but generally the height of the plant varies in the range of 20-80 cm. Usually, following the parameters of the height of the shoots, mattiola is divided into the following varieties:

  1. Not exceeding 30 cm - dwarfused for growing in pots that decorate balconies (eg Ten Week Mixed, Cinderella and Arctic).
  2. Approximately 45 cm tall referred to as medium-sized, they are Lazurit and Beauty of Nice varieties.
  3. Approximate height approx. 80 cm - tall specimens, they are the varieties Giant Excelsior, Giant Imperial and Waltz.

In this case, the surface of the shoots of Levkoi can be bare or have pubescence in the form of felt. Through the rapidly lignifying shoots, spectacular bushes are formed. In this case, the stems can grow both straight and with a slight bend, are characterized by weak branching. The shoots are quite leafy. Their color is a rich dark green hue. The sheet plates are characterized by a lanceolate shape, their edge can be solid or serrated. The color of the foliage is also deeply emerald in tone or bluish-green due to pubescence. Most of the leaves are concentrated in the lower part of the stems.

When mattiola blooms, spike-shaped panicle inflorescences are formed from buds. Flowers have two pairs of rounded petals, but in double species this parameter reaches 70 pieces. At the same time, the flowering of plants with simple corollas is extended for only five days, and terry forms will delight the eye for 14–20 days.


Seeds, which then give plants with simple and double forms of flowers, are obtained only from simple matthiola, but double forms of seeds are deprived.

Levkoy flower petals are painted in shades from snow-white to mauve, there are bushes with a yellow color scheme. When opened, the diameter of the flower varies in the range of 1.5–6 cm. When the buds bloom, a characteristic aroma hovers over the plantings of the levkoy. Flowering begins in the first days of summer and can stretch until November. However, if the growing area is southern, then Levkoi can bloom even in winter.

It is according to the flowering period, and not only according to the structure of flowers of matthiola, that the division into forms occurs:

  • summer - characterized by the opening of the buds throughout the summer;
  • autumn - begins to open inflorescences from the end of summer, capturing September;
  • winter - Plants will delight flowering in greenhouse conditions from mid-spring to the end.

The flowering time directly depends on the Levkoya variety: there are early ones, which will delight with flowers in 50-60 days from the moment of sowing the seeds, and the late flowering will have to be expected after 100-120 days.


Flowers in Levkoy begin to bloom at sunset, and pollination occurs through nocturnal insects, therefore the plant is an entomophile. At the same time, it is considered an excellent honey plant.

The fruit of mattiola is small, flat pods, which dry completely when fully ripe. On the surface of the pod, tubercles are visible from the seeds filling it. The number of seeds in the pods is large. The color of the seed is black or brown.

It was noticed that only with terry species do novice gardeners have problems with growing, the rest do not require such close care.

Mattiola: planting and care in the open field

Mattiola blooms
Mattiola blooms
  1. Landing place. In order for flowering (although it occurs in the evening and at night) to please with splendor, it is recommended to select a well-lit location. But a flowerbed that is in partial shade may come up. If the cultivation takes place in southern areas with a hot and arid climate, then a semi-shaded area will be the best choice for matthiola. Heat is not well tolerated by the plant; it even stops blooming. You should not plant in places where representatives of the Cruciferous family grew before, since some diseases can be transmitted through the soil. These colors are Lunaria and Lobularia, Iberis and Aubrietta.
  2. Primer for matthiola choosing is not a problem, since any garden soil is suitable for the plant. It is important that the substrate is not swampy or heavy, then levkoi will not grow on it. An excess of moisture will lead to the development of fungal diseases. Acidity indices are preferable to neutral pH 6, 5–7, only so that the substrate is not acidic. At the same time, the soil should be loose and light; sod-sandy loam, loamy soil or black soil is suitable.
  3. Planting mattiola. The plant is not demanding and the seedlings of Levkoy are not afraid of recurrent frosts, so they can be planted on a flower bed already at the end of spring. It is required to maintain a distance of 20 cm between seedlings. By planting seeds of a species with simple flowers, you can get 50:50 plants with a double and simple structure of flowers, or there can be even more double flowers - this is a feature of Levkoy. Moreover, the higher the percentage of bushes with double flowers, the more expensive and valuable the variety is.
  4. Watering. Since matthiola can grow in nature on rather dry and rocky substrates, it will be able to cope well with the dry period in the garden. However, when the weather is very hot, the buds stop opening and only when the temperature indicators drop to moderate, a second wave of flowering on the side shoots is possible. If the weather has been without precipitation for a long time, then you will have to carry out weekly soil moistening, but it is not worth pouring the soil. When watering, guess the time in the morning. The plant will signal insufficient watering with withered foliage and wilted species.
  5. Fertilizers for Levkoy necessary to ensure lush and long flowering. Regularly, from the beginning of the growing season, apply complete mineral complexes, like Kemir-Universal. This is especially required by varieties with tall shoots. Organic matter is practically not used, and you should not get carried away with manure, since it can provoke the development of fusarium. If the soil is fertile, then top dressing may not be used at all.
  6. General tips for caring for levkoy. It is necessary to periodically loosen the soil after watering or precipitation. Fight weeds systematically. Tear off wilted flowers from the stems, which will prolong flowering. It is noticed that the worse growing conditions for matthiola, the more double seeds will be obtained at the output. It turns out that you do not need to weed or water the bushes for this!
  7. The use of matthiola in landscape design. "Night violet" can be planted next to garden benches or verandas to enjoy the unique fragrant aroma in the evening hours. Also, the levkoy will look good "lost" among other plants on the flower garden. If mattiola has high stems, then such bushes can be planted in the background of flower beds. At the same time, delphiniums and phloxes with paniculate inflorescences may turn out to be good neighbors. The racemose inflorescences of "white violets" are well suited in bouquets, so they are used for cutting. Low-growing varieties of matthiola are recommended to be planted in flower beds and in group plantings, forming garden glades. If there is a dwarf variety, then it is usually used for forcing in the winter or planting in garden containers to decorate balconies. Plantings of thyme and thyme, ornamental wormwood and rosemary act as a good neighborhood; fragrant lavender and mignonette, cornflowers and phlox can be placed nearby.

See also tips for growing roses in the garden.

How to reproduce matthiola - growing from seeds and seedlings

Mattiola in the ground
Mattiola in the ground

To get a nocturnal, fragrant plant for the whole garden, it is recommended to sow its seeds. But seed can be sown directly into the soil or grown seedlings.

Reproduction of matthiola by seeds

When the pods of the Levkoy dry out at the beginning of autumn, the seeds are collected. They are extracted from fruits that have taken on a yellow hue. It is important to pluck the pods after the frost begins in order to have time to thoroughly dry the seed material before sowing. Pods are dried in a dry room with good ventilation. In the autumn, the soil in the flowerbed is prepared for sowing, so it is recommended to thoroughly dig up the sowing site and mix the soil with organic fertilizers (compost or humus).

Depending on the climatic conditions of the region where matthiola is grown, sowing is carried out from mid-April to the end of May. If the cultivation of Levkoy is carried out in the southern regions, then the seeds can be sown in open ground before winter - in November. Seeds are slightly covered and watered thoroughly. To enjoy the longer flowering time of matthiola, in which the captivating aroma will spread around, the seeds should be sown at intervals of two weeks. At the stage when the seedlings acquire three leaves, thinning is carried out to leave only the strongest specimens.


In order to separate seedlings with simple flowers from terry species, it is important to examine them carefully. Terry forms have a lighter shade of foliage and are larger in size. Then, by breaking through the crops, you can get rid of unwanted sprouts. But if the seedlings do not appear together, then it is better to wait a little so that the difference becomes more noticeable.

Propagation of matthiola seedlings

To grow seedlings of Levkoy, it is recommended to sow seeds in the second half of March in order to get flowering bushes with the arrival of summer. The substrate for seedlings will be a soil mixture of river sand and sod soil, combined in a ratio of 1: 3. In order to avoid diseases such as "black leg", it is recommended to subject the soil to mandatory disinfection by spraying with fungicidal preparations, such as Fundazol. You can simply steam the substrate before pouring it into the seedling box in the oven at high temperature.

The seeds are slightly buried in the soil and sprinkled with a layer of soil or sand, which will not exceed half a centimeter in thickness. Watering is not required here until mattiola seedlings emerge from the ground. The wait will not be long as the first shoots can be seen in just 4 days. After that, the substrate is carefully moistened, and the container with the crops is placed in a room with a heat of 10-12 degrees and good lighting.


When growing seedlings of Levkoy, this period is the most critical, since it is important to maintain a constant temperature regime.

When 14 days have passed, the grown mattiola seedlings are dived into separate pots with the same soil. Experienced growers recommend using special containers made of peat, as this will further facilitate transplanting to a flower bed without injuring the root system of the plant.


It is better to sow a large number of seeds at once, since not all mattiola seedlings survive the diving process.

After the most hardy plants remain in the new pots, they require careful care. The temperature is kept at about 10 degrees (a higher temperature will help to stretch the stems), and the lighting is high. The transplanting of grown mattiola seedlings into the garden should be carried out at the end of May, since they are not afraid of recurrent frosts.


Levkoi are able, after transplantation, to transfer the lowering of the thermometer column even to -5 below zero.

Fight against possible pests and diseases of matthiola

Mattiola grows
Mattiola grows

Since the plant is part of the Cabbage family, it is often affected by similar diseases and is affected by the same pests.

Among the latter, insects are distinguished that like to feast on leaves of levkoy, they are distinguished: cabbage butterflies, cruciferous flea and white beetles. It is important to take timely measures when such "guests" are found.

To fight the cruciferous flea, it is best to avoid dryness, that is, when the weather is hot and there has been no precipitation for a long time, spray mattiola plantings from a garden hose. You can also perform "pollination" of Levkoy bushes with a mixture of ash and tobacco dust. This mixture is poured into a gauze bag and shaken over the foliage in the morning so that the particles of the mixture adhere to the dew on the leaves of the plant. Such "contaminated" foliage is very much disliked by the pest. You can simply spray with insecticides using Aktara or Decis.

To combat cabbage butterflies, it is recommended to spray the plantings of levkoy with infusion of valerian or needles. You can make an infusion on delphinium leaves, salt, or from soap and ash. But chemicals such as Fitoverm or Actellik also help.

It is important not to get carried away with fertilizing from manure, as matthiola will inevitably get sick with fusarium, which is caused by fungi. At the same time, the plants have a wilted appearance and even after watering they are even more inhibited. In this case, the color of the foliage changes to yellowish, and it dries out. For the fight, it is recommended to remove all the affected parts of the levkoy and carry out the treatment with bio-fungicides, such as Fitosporin-M, Alirin-B or Fitolavin. If such soft funds do not bring results, then you will have to resort to more aggressive ones - Bordeaux liquid, Skor or Oxychl.

The following diseases of fungal origin are considered:

  1. Cabbage keel. A disease that gives rise to the root system, on which the formation of swellings and growths occurs, while the foliage quickly turns yellow and withers. For the fight, it is recommended to huddle the bushes, and if a lesion is detected, use fungicides like Fundazol, Previkur or Glyokladin.
  2. Blackleg, characterized by blackening of the root collar of the plant. Young seedlings are mainly affected, they weaken, become soft and break. To fight, it is recommended to pour in the drug Fitosporin under the root of the mattiola bush, which is diluted 100 grams in a 10-liter bucket of water.

Read also about diseases and pests in the cultivation of cockle.

Interesting notes about the flower and the area of application of matthiola

Flowering Matthiola
Flowering Matthiola

Usually, flower growers are not particularly philosophical about the classification of this representative of the flora, and it is “Matthiola” or “night beauty” that they consider the variety of Matthiola bicornis (Matthiola bicornis). The same plant is found under the synonym Matthiola longipetala. Levkoy, in turn, is called only a plant with spectacular double flowers - Matthiola incana.

For a long time, folk healers knew about this plant as a medicinal plant, since it has the ability to resist pathogenic bacteria. The aroma of matthiola is characterized by delicate notes, but at the same time it is able to relieve symptoms of headaches and even ease the course of migraines. Traditional medicine used levkoy for the preparation of infusions and decoctions, which were prescribed to be taken by patients in order to improve metabolism. There was also a diuretic and an increase in myocardial contractility (cardiotonic) action. As an antibacterial drug, you can use an infusion of alcohol from the leaves of Levkoy. If the patient suffers from rheumatic pains and gout, then he was instructed to take an infusion of seed material of matthiola and leaves.

But, despite all the active and positive actions, Levkoy is not included in the pharmacopoeial lists of the Russian Federation, and official medicine does not use the plant for medicinal purposes, although it has long been known to healers from the people.

Although no specific contraindications have been identified, however, it is necessary to take into account some peculiarities when taking drugs based on levkoy. Among them are: pregnancy, breastfeeding and children's age of the patient. An individual plant intolerance can also be identified, as a result of which allergy manifestations may occur.

Types of matthiola

In the photo Mattiola is two-horned
In the photo Mattiola is two-horned

Matthiola longipetala

can also occur under the name Matthiola bicornis … The height of the plant will not exceed 30-50 cm. Through the stems, a spherical shrub can be formed. The shoots are thin, but characterized by strong branching. The stems can grow lodging. Leaves with a pubescent surface unfold on them. Because of her, the color of the foliage is grayish-green. Each leaf is attached to the stem by means of a petiole. The outlines of the sheet plates are linear.

From the very beginning of summer, in the evening and throughout the night, buds begin to open, forming lush inflorescences of paniculate outlines. They consist of flowers of a simple shape, the corolla of which has 2 pairs of petals. The color of the petals takes on a pale pink or lilac color scheme. During flowering, which occurs in the night period, a honey aroma is clearly audible over the bushes, therefore the plant has received the nickname "night violet" among the people. After the flowers have been pollinated by nocturnal insects, small, flattened pods filled with seeds will mature. The size of the seeds is small, the shape is oblong.

An unpretentious and shade-tolerant representative of the flora, it is better not to grow it by the seedling method, since after transplantation, poor engraftment occurs in the open field.

In the photo Mattiola gray
In the photo Mattiola gray

Gray-haired Matthiola (Matthiola incana)

occurs under the names Levkoy gray or Levkoy gray … Since the surface of the stems and foliage is characterized by pubescence, which gives the plant a bluish tint, hence the specific name. Annuals or perennials. The height of the shoots varies in the range of 20-50 cm, but some specimens that can reach the mark of 0.8 m. Their shoots are simple or branched, often lignified, forming bushes. The root is shallow in the ground, has rod-like outlines, while its branching is rather weak.

The leaf plates on the stems are arranged alternately. The length of the leaf is 5–18 cm, with a width of 1–4, 5 cm. The shape of the leaves is lanceolate, elongated, sometimes obovate. The edge of the foliage is solid and whole-edged, a smooth narrowing goes to the petiole, the tip of the sharpening is devoid. The color of both stems and leaves can be light or dark green. However, due to pubescence, it has a grayish tint. The pubescence is a glandular or stellate hair. In rare cases, parts of the plant are bare.

When blooming, the buds bloom, turning into flowers of the correct shape. Flowers can have both simple and lush (terry) structure. Flowering occurs at night and is accompanied by a fragrant aroma. Dense or loose racemose inflorescences are formed from the buds. The number of flowers in them varies from 10 to 60 pieces. The length and size of the inflorescences may vary.

In the flower, the outlines of sepals are elongated-linear, their surface is covered with pubescence. The sepals are 1–1, 2 cm long. The petals have a narrowing in the lower part, and at the top there is a wide, practically rounded limb. Inflorescences take on different colors from snow-white to all kinds of shades of pink, purple, red and dark purple color scheme. If the shape of the flower is simple, then it is composed of two pairs of sepals and the same number of petals. Inside the corolla there are three pairs of stamens and a single pistil.

In central Russia, flowering is lush throughout the period from early summer to November. If cultivation takes place in more southern regions, then the dates become later. The fruit is a pod with a length of about 6–8 cm. It is polyspermous with a linear shape, flattened-cylindrical. Its surface can be characterized by smoothness or light ribbing. There is a dense partition inside.

In the pod, the seeds are small in size, not exceeding 2.5–3 mm in length and width, respectively. They have rounded or rounded-kidney-shaped outlines, flattened, on the edge there is a whitish, film-like border. The surface of the seeds is finely rough to the touch. The color of the seeds can take on a yellow, brownish or olive-greenish color.

The native habitat is considered to be the territory of Southern Europe, but the species is widespread in the lands of Asia Minor, Mediterranean areas and Atlantic Europe.

In the photo Mattiola fragrant
In the photo Mattiola fragrant

Matthiola fragrans

is also called fragrant Levkoy. In nature, it prefers to settle on slopes with rocky soil, chalk deposits and rocky slopes. The growing area covers Russia (the Voronezh, Rostov and Belgorod regions), Ukraine and the western regions of Kazakhstan. Perennial herbaceous growth. The stems can be branched or simple, reaching 20–50 cm in height. There is also a felt-like pubescence on the shoots. A root rosette is collected from the leaves.

The foliage has an oblong outline, while in the lower part of the stems there are much more leaves. They are devoid of petioles, sessile, characterized by pubescence. The color of leaves and shoots is grayish-green.

In flowers, the length of the petals is 20–25 mm, they are twice the size of the sepals. Flowers have a yellow-brownish tinge and are collected in loose inflorescences-brushes. At the stigma of a flower with an elongated conical shape. The flowering process falls on the period May-June, fruits in the form of pods ripen throughout July-August. The outlines of the pods are linear.

Video about growing matthiola in the garden:

Photos of mattiola:

Photo Mattiola 1
Photo Mattiola 1
Photo Mattiola 2
Photo Mattiola 2
Photo of Mattiola 3
Photo of Mattiola 3
Photo Mattiola 4
Photo Mattiola 4
Photo of Mattiola 5
Photo of Mattiola 5

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