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The herbaceous plant Astrantia, which is also called asterisk, is a representative of the umbrella family. Such a plant can be found in Eastern, Southern and Central Europe, as well as in the Caucasus. To date, experts have not established exactly where the name of Astrantia came from, but there is an opinion that it consists of two words: "astron" meaning "star" (it is assumed that this is due to the shape of the flower), and "antion" - "opposite ”(Most likely, this refers to the covering leaves of the plant). This genus includes about 10 species. In England and America, such a perennial plant is very popular, and it has been cultivated in these countries since the 16th century. At the moment, thanks to the work of breeders, a huge number of garden forms of Astrantia have appeared.
Features of astrania
Astrantia herbaceous plant is rhizome. Its shoots are straight, slightly leafy and slightly branched, their height varies from 0.15 to 0.9 meters. The leaf plates, as a rule, are palmate-separate or palmate-lobed, they have from 3 to 7 serrated lobes along the edge, lanceolate or obovate. They are collected in root rosettes. Simple, umbrella-shaped inflorescences that look like stars, consist of a large number of small ruby-pink or white flowers. The rich green leaves of the wrapper give the plant even more showiness. Flowering begins in May and ends in the first autumn days. The fruit is a two-seed.
This plant is a honey plant, so it attracts bees to the garden plot. It is also resistant to cold and drought. Astrantia is grown in rabatkas, mixborders, in flower beds, used to create curbs, or planted in groups in the center of the lawn. In the garden, such flowers are recommended to be grown together with lungwort, astilba, hosts, geraniums and variegated heuchera. The inflorescences of this plant are good for cutting because they stay fresh and showy for a long time. Astrantia is also used for drawing up dry bouquets.
This flower is distinguished by its undemanding care and growing conditions. In this regard, it is quite popular among gardeners.
Growing Astrantia from seeds
Astrantia is able to reproduce independently by self-seeding. However, it should be taken into account that in such seedlings the varietal characteristics of the parent plants are not completely preserved. In this regard, experienced gardeners recommend choosing other methods for propagating such a flower. Sowing freshly harvested seeds can be done before winter after sprouts appear in spring, they only need to thin out. If desired, Astrantia can be grown through seedlings; for this, the seeds are sown in early spring in boxes. However, in this case, they will need stratification, for this the seeds of the autumn harvest will need to be placed in the refrigerator in a vegetable drawer for 8-12 weeks. By the way, carefully examine the packaging purchased from the Astranian seed store, if it does not indicate that they were stratified by the manufacturer, then you will have to do it yourself.
For sowing seeds, use nutritious light soil. They are distributed over its surface, and sprinkled on top with a thin layer of substrate. The boxes should be covered with glass or foil and put away in a warm place (from 20 to 23 degrees). When the seedlings appear, the shelter must be removed.
After the first shoots appear, the boxes should be rearranged in a well-lit place. When 1-2 weeks pass after the seedlings appear, they will need to be thinned out. The plant must be systematically watered after the topsoil dries up, and the substrate must also be carefully loosened. When ventilating the room, make sure that the seedlings are protected from drafts.
When the plants have the first pair of true leaf plates, they need to be cut into individual pots, using the same soil mixture as for sowing. You need to start hardening the plants 1.5 weeks before planting. To do this, the seedlings are daily transferred to the garden or to the balcony, while the duration of their stay in the fresh air should be increased gradually. Planting seedlings in open soil can only be done after it has fully adapted to new conditions.
Landing Astrantia in open ground
What time to plant
As a rule, planting seedlings of Astrantia in open soil is recommended in the last days of May or the first days of June. For planting, both a well-lit area and one located in a small shade of trees are suitable. The soil must be nutritious and loose, and its composition can be almost any.
Astrantia. GardenOwn Hands
How to land correctly
There is absolutely nothing complicated in planting and caring for such flowers. When planting between the bushes, a distance of 0.3 to 0.4 m should be observed. It should be taken into account that after planting the plant should be at the same level as it grew in the pot. Around the planted plants, the soil should be tamped, and then they are watered very well. The flowering of Astrantia grown through seedlings begins after 3 years.
Caring for astrania in the garden
Astrantia is one of the most undemanding garden plants to care for. If in the summer there is no abnormal heat and prolonged droughts, then such a plant can not be taken care of at all, since it is distinguished by its hardiness and resistance to drought. If the summer turned out to be sultry and dry, then in this case, Astrania will not need a large amount of watering. In the event that you expect only one flowering from it, then during the most severe drought it will need to be watered only once every 7 days. However, in the event that you want such a plant to bloom again, you will need to choose such a watering regime so that the soil near the bushes is slightly damp all the time throughout the growing season. After the flowers have been watered or the rain has passed, do not forget to loosen the surface of the site and at the same time pull out all the weeds. To significantly reduce the number of watering and weeding, it is recommended to cover the surface of the site with a layer of mulch (peat or humus). In order for Astrantia to bloom longer and not reproduce on its own, it is necessary to cut off the inflorescences that have begun to fade in time. When the bushes bloom for the first time, it will be necessary to cut off all the inflorescences, this will stimulate the growth of new flower arrows, and the bush will also become more lush and symmetrical.
In the event that Astrantia is grown in nutritious soil, then it will need to be fed only 1 time per season at the beginning of the spring, and complex mineral fertilizer is used for this. If it has been growing on poor soil for more than three years, then it is recommended to feed it 1 more time in the second half of the summer period, in which case potash-phosphorus fertilizer is used. It is recommended to feed it with liquid fertilizer, but if you apply it to the soil in a dry form, then be sure to water the flowers after that.
Astrantia can be grown in the same place for no longer than 10 years. However, experienced gardeners advise planting bushes every 5-7 years. In some cases, such a plant may need a garter to a support, especially during the rainy season.
Reproduction of Astrantia
Astrantia can be propagated in the same way as almost all other perennial herbaceous plants grown in the garden, namely by dividing the bush and seeds. How to propagate it through seedlings is described in detail above. However, store-bought seeds are stratified by experienced gardeners for 8 weeks and then sown directly into open soil in the spring after the ground has warmed up enough. If the seeds have just been harvested, then they are sown before winter immediately in the open ground.
But when propagating Astrantia by seeds, it should be taken into account that the seedlings may not retain the varietal characteristics of the mother plant. In this regard, it is recommended to propagate this plant by dividing the bush, which is carried out in the spring (before the leaves appear) or in the fall (at the end of the growing season). To do this, divide the root nest into several parts, which must be planted, and do not forget to keep a distance of 0.4 to 0.5 m between the bushes, while humus must be added to each hole. After 4 weeks, the delenki will start to grow and they will have sprouts, and after 12 months they will not differ much from adult plants. Plants propagated by dividing the bush will begin to bloom after 3 years. This method is most often used in order to propagate very valuable or rare varieties.
Diseases and pests
Such a plant has a very high resistance to diseases and pests. But if it is wrong to follow him, then this can significantly weaken his immunity. For example, if Astrantia is constantly watered very abundantly, then this can cause the development of a fungal disease. To cure the affected bushes, they should be treated with fungicides, for example, Quadris, Fitosporin, Fundazol, Bravo, or other means of a similar action.
Astrantia after flowering
If you are planning to collect seeds from Astrantia, then during flowering, outline the most spectacular and large inflorescences. When they begin to dry out, they should be covered with gauze bags, which will prevent the ripe seeds from spilling out onto the surface of the site. Completely dried seeds must be cut and placed for final drying in a well-ventilated dry room, spreading them out on a newspaper sheet. After they are completely dry, you will need to extract seeds from them, from which dried petals are removed. The seeds are placed in a small cardboard box or in a paper bag, which is removed in a dark and dry place.
How to prepare for wintering
Preparing Astrantia for wintering should be done in autumn. To do this, you need to cut off its stems almost to the level of the surface of the site. Then the bushes are mulched with peat or humus. For sheltering young bushes, it is recommended to use spruce branches. If Astrantia is already an adult, then it is quite capable of surviving the winter without shelter.
Types and varieties of astrantia with photos and names
In total, there are more than 10 different types of Astrantia, but only 3 of them are cultivated most.
Astrantia major, or large astrantia
In nature, this species can be found in the west of the European part of Russia, in Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Central Europe and in the Baltic countries. Such a plant prefers to grow on lawns and edges of deciduous and coniferous forests. The height of the spreading bush is about 0.7 m, and its diameter is about 0.4 m. The root rosette consists of three to seven-part long-petiolate leaf plates. Light pink flowers are collected in simple umbrella-shaped inflorescences, the diameter of which is about 50 mm. The color of the leaves of the wrapper is green or light pink. It has been cultivated since 1597. The most popular varieties:
- Moulin rouge... The inflorescences are colored wine-red, while the leaves of the envelope are of a darker, almost black shade. The flowers of bushes grown in sunny areas are most effective.
- Ruby Wedding... The bush reaches a height of 0.65 m, the color of the flowers is dark red. This variety is recommended to be grown in a shaded area.
- Claret. The color of the flowers is burgundy, transparent wrappers of the same color. Plant height 0.55 m. Astrantia blooms in the first days of July, and flowering ends in the last days of September. Recommended to grow in partial shade and shade. Can be cultured in a container.
- Diva... The flowers are dark red, and the wrappers are colored in a lighter shade. Plant height approximately 0.7 m. The variety can be grown in a sunny or shaded area.
- Venice... The color of the inflorescences is ruby.
- Lars... The height of the bush is about 0.75 m, it is decorated with pink inflorescences, their color is so rich that it seems to glow in the dark.
- Sunningdale Variegata... The color of the inflorescences is pale lavender. On the surface of the green leaf plates there are strokes of cream and yellow-golden color.
- Rosensimphony... The height of the plant is about 0.7 m. The inflorescences are pink, and the wrappers are pale pink.
- Rosea... Plant height is about 0.6 m. Inflorescences are bright pink, and leaf plates are spotty.
- Snowstar... The color of the flowers is white, and the wrappers are white with green. The plant reaches a height of 0.55–0.7 m. It is recommended to grow this variety in partial shade and shade.
- Abbey road... Astrantia is red, the color of the inflorescences is purple, and the wrappers are of a darker shade.
The homeland of this kind is the Caucasus. The height of such a compact plant is 0.7 m, it is long-rhizome. The leaf plates are tripartite. The diameter of simple umbellate inflorescences is 45 mm, they consist of small pink flowers. The leaves of the envelope are colored very pale red, they are membranous and reach 10 mm in length. Flowering is observed in August and September.
In nature, such a plant is found in the southern part of Western Europe, prefers to grow in the mountains. The height of the bush is almost 1 m. The leaf plates with long petioles are three to seven-part. The diameter of the umbellate inflorescence is 30 mm, it consists of a large number of pink-white flowers. Flowering is observed in July-August. Cultivated since 1868
It is a herbaceous perennial plant. Opposite leaf plates are palmate-separated. Umbellate inflorescences are composed of white flowers. The most popular variety is Rubra. The color of flowers and wrappers of this variety is bright pink, turning into red. The plant reaches a height of 0.7 m. Flowering begins in the last days of May and ends in the last days of August.
Also, gardeners sometimes cultivate three-cut Astrantia, Bieberstein, hellebore and Bavarian.
Growing seedlings from seeds
Some growers first sow the seeds of "Blue Eyes" in a box, wait for the sprouts to appear, and only then transplant the grown American forget-me-not into open ground. Taking into account the timing for the emergence of strong seedlings (about 1.5 months), the time spent on preparing seedlings is not so significant.
Many fans of beautifully flowering species for open ground believe: you should not deal with nemophila seedlings, you can immediately sow a change on the site. Germination is good and less hassle. To plant flowers in a large area, you will have to prepare a lot of seedlings, which is very troublesome.
Which method should you choose? You can sow one part of the planting material immediately on a flower bed or summer cottage, sow the second in a container or wooden box. A simple experiment will show how it is more comfortable for a grower to grow American forget-me-not, taking into account the climatic conditions of the region, the area of the site and the percentage of seed germination.
Soil and capacity
Nemophila is not particularly demanding on the type of soil, but it is better to take soil for beautifully flowering plants, nutritious and loose. It is important that the acidity is neutral. A good option for self-preparation of the substrate is a combination of equal shares of humus, turf and fine-grained sand. You can add 1/2 tbsp. l. chalk powder to reduce the acidity of the soil.
Basic rules of care:
- watering. Moisten the soil often enough so that the earth never dries up. Water scarcity negatively affects the flowering and growth of American forget-me-nots. It is important that mold does not appear on the surface of the substrate.
- temperature. Seedlings are grown in a warm room, but not under the scorching rays. Average temperature - about + 22 ° С, heat is not needed
- illumination. A box with blue-eyed seedlings is kept on a window on the east or west side or on a low table, closer to the light. It is important that the seedlings are not in a poorly lit room: the seedlings stretch out, the stems become thinner
- thinning of seedlings. After 14–20 days, the seedlings are checked, the weak, poorly growing, rotten ones are rejected. Timely thinning of plantings gives other specimens more nutrients, prevents root entanglement
- humidity. You can cover the container with glass to create a small greenhouse to maintain high humidity during seed germination. Airing prevents the development of rot. The procedure is carried out every two days. It is important that the room where the box with seedlings is located is warm, otherwise, with high humidity and cold air, the development of mold cannot be avoided.
- For lush flowering, nemophila already by the end of May begin to seedlings in mid-March.
- It is important to thin out the seedlings two weeks after the emergence of the seedlings so that the remaining seedlings do not suffer from a deficiency of space and nutrients.
- When the seedlings get stronger, grow up to 5-7 cm, you can dive the plants into the open ground. It is important that the soil and the air are well warmed up, the risk of frosts in May on the soil disappears.
- Before planting (10 days), seedlings are hardened. It is useful for sprouts to “breathe” fresh air at first for 10–20 minutes, then for 1 hour or more. Immediately before landing, young nemophiles should calmly endure an overnight stay outside.
- The soil on the site is pre-dug up, loosened, a little peat is added to increase the nutrient value of the substrate.
- Landing is carried out on a warm, not rainy day, early in the morning. It is important to water the plants, but not spray, so that the sun does not heat the droplets on the surface of the petals during the day.
- A thin layer of mulch protects the soil from drying out.
- The American forget-me-not bloom begins approximately 7 weeks after sowing.
Erigeron karvinsky growing from seeds and care in the open field photo
Suitable for ampel cultivation. A short bush reaches a height of 15 cm, and can grow up to 60 cm wide. Shoots spread, abundantly covered with leaves. It blooms very interestingly: at first, the petals are light pink, gradually become whitish, but at the end they acquire a pink or crimson saturated color. Each basket on a bush goes through these stages at different times, so that the buds turn out to be multi-colored.
Erigeron Pink diamond photo in the garden
Erigeron "Pink Diamond" is a medium-sized bush, double flowers, pink-violet color. Abundant flowering. To keep in shape, you need a garter, because the side branches are strongly spread.
Erigeron Agra Treasures Photo
Erigeron "Treasures of Agra": frost-resistant, unpretentious perennial. The bush reaches a height of about 60 cm. There are numerous miniature inflorescences, they come in different colors, which makes it possible to create mosaics from flowers.
Erigeron Pink Treasure Photo
Erigeron "Pink Treasure" is very similar to an aster. The bushes are tall, almost 70 cm. The flowers are three-row, pink or crimson, with a yellow core. It blooms profusely and in 2 stages: July-August, September-October.
Erigeron Orange Erigeron aurantiacus Regel
Small petal Orange Erigeron aurantiacus Regel photo of flowers
The bush is 40-50 cm in height, abundantly covered with lush orange reed flowers. Large, oval leaves at the base, smaller ones on top.
Lovers of rare specimens will love the hybrids:
- Violetta - purple double flowers
- Rose Triumph - double flowers, dark pink
- Zommerneusnee - the bush is tall, has large white inflorescences turning pink gradually
- Prosperity - has blue needle baskets
- Rote Shengayt - flowers are pink or red, semi-double.
Small petal Glaucus Erigeron glaucus photo of flowers
An amazing plant that can sprout in crevices on bare rock. Wide, elongated leaves form a dense basal rosette. On a powerful trunk, alternate leaves grow densely, and beautiful pink flowers with orange-yellow centers bloom at the top. A perennial of short stature, up to 20 cm, but there are also varieties with a height of 40-50 cm.
Small petal trifidus Erigeron trifidus photo
A short-growing plant with pubescent leaves and stems. The leaves are small, oval-elongated, collected in round rosettes. Flowers on tall bare stems are quite large, they look very original.
Erigeron yellow Erigeron aureus
Small petal yellow Erigeron aureus photo
A beautiful compact bush of short stature is crowned with large yellow chamomile flowers.
Erigeron Fletta Erigeron flettii photo of flowers
Prefers rocky soils, for which it is also called rocky erigeron. Most often these are dwarf varieties with a compact bush shape.