L’Anaphalis it is a perennial herbaceous plant cultivated both for ornamental purposes and for cut and dried flowers widely used in the preparation of decorative and persistent floral compositions.
General characteristics Anaphalis
The genus Anaphalis includes several species of herbaceous-woody plants of the Asteraceae family, almost all native to North America and Asia, known and cultivated, for their ornamental value and the trade in cut flowers appreciated such as those of the Helichrysum plant Bracteatum or shiny helichrysum.
The plant is equipped with a robust root rhizomatous and various secondary or adventitious sadists spent little more than a hair. The aerial part has a bushy habit and is formed by erect tomentose (hairy) stems covered with rich foliage.
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The leaves of the plants belonging to the genus almost all have a lanceolate shape, smooth margins and soft fuzz to the touch, especially under the underside.
THE flowers they are gathered in showy and decorative corymb inflorescences carried at the apexes of fragile and woody stems. Each flower has the shape of a small daisy with double corolla: the inner one that forms the central disc has short petals while the outer one has longer ligulate petals and all with a papery consistency.
THE seeds light beige-brown in color, they are oblong and so light that they are dispersed at a distance from the place of production by the wind.
Anaphalis blooms in summer from June to September. The period varies according to the species and in relation to the climate.
It is a plant that prefers exposure in full sun and sheltered from the winds but also grows well in partially shaded places. It is resistant to cold and also withstands temperatures below -20 ° C.
It is a rustic plant that grows strong and vigorous even in sandy or gravelly soils while preferring fresh medium-textured ones but above all well-drained ones.
It is a plant that does not fear drought but should be regularly irrigated even if moderately in the summer and only if the soil is completely dry.
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One autumn and in spring give the base of the tufts some slow release organic or mineral fertilizer. Alternatively, provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 15-20 days during the flowering period, suitably diluted in watering water. Fertilization is necessary and must be done more frequently but without excess only if the cultivation soil is too poor.
Anaphalis: cultivation in pots
This plant can also be grown in pots on the fully exposed or partially shaded balcony.
- The pot must be large and capacious to ensure harmonious and rapid growth of both the roots and the aerial part.
- The suitable soil is that of medium mixture mixed with coarse sand in order to ensure perfect drainage of the watering water.
- The supply of essential nutrients must be guaranteed at least once a month with the administration of a specific fertilizer for green and flowering plants.
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This operation should be done periodically as soon as the roots come out of the water drainage holes. We use a larger pot than the previous one and new soil, fresh and rich in organic substance.
The plants reproduce by seed and by agamic or vegetative way can be propagated by division of the tufts and also by cuttings.
Multiplication by seed
There sowing it is carried out in spring, from March to April in seedbeds filled with a specific substrate for seeds. The seeds should be distributed on the surface of the soil, perhaps mixed with a little sand. The seedbed should be placed in a sheltered place at an average temperature of about 18 ° C until the sprouts appear which generally appear 2 months after sowing. When the seedlings are large enough to be handled, they are transferred to single pots and there they will remain until they can be planted between October-November or in the following spring when the period of night frosts is completely averted. Sowing can also be done directly at home in the month of April. Seed-born Anaphalis plants flower from the second year.
Propagation by cuttings
In spring, at the turn of April – May, using sharp scissors, 5-8 cm long cuttings are taken from the most robust and healthy basal shoots and rooted in a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, in a cold bed. kept constantly humid until the roots take root, which is signaled by the appearance of new leaflets. The new seedlings are transplanted into single pots until they are ready for planting. Plants obtained with this method of reproduction will be identical to the mother one.
Propagation by division of the tufts
This agamic propagation method is very simple and split plants will bloom right away.
In spring, when the anaphalis resumes its vegetative cycle, the oldest but healthy and robust plants are extracted from the ground and divided into portions bearing pieces of well developed roots. The divided parts are replanted at the same time in well worked and previously fertilized holes or with manure or compost. Also in this case it is necessary to favor the drainage of the water so it is advisable to put coarse sand on the bottom of each hole and cover it with suitable soil. The division of the tufts is carried out on plants that are at least 3 years old. If the plants are too shabby they must be replaced with younger ones.
Propagation by cuttings
5-8 cm long cuttings are taken from the basal shoots in April-May and rooted in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, in a cold bed. The cuttings are transplanted into the nursery when they are well rooted.
System and combinations
Anaphalis plants are planted in April or October in fertile soil, rich in organic matter and well drained. To form dense and compact cushions, the plants should be spaced at about 30 cm from each other. In groups, about 5 plants are needed for every square meter.
The preferred combinations are: dwarf varieties of Achillea, Potentilla, Nepeta, Oenothera, and with some varieties of grasses. Some gardeners, for aesthetic purposes, combine Anaphalis plants with Alisso, Lavender or Caryopteris.
In general, pruning is done by cutting off the withered or damaged stems. Adult plants that take on an untidy shape and tend to become woody or too bare can be drastically pruned by shortening all the stems to a few inches above the ground.
Parasites and Anaphalis Diseases
Sometimes the leaves and flowers still in bud are attacked by aphids or by the white disease or powdery mildew if the climate is too humid. The real enemies of the leaves, however, are the caterpillars of the American butterfly Vanessa virginiensis, animal parasites that in a short period of time devour them all, leaving the stems completely naked.
Cures and treatments
Absolutely avoid water stagnation, as the Anaphalis plant is prone to fungal attacks. In case of infestations by caterpillars, the latter can be removed manually. The garlic pesticide and the nettle pesticide are also effective against aphids, both easy to prepare at home.
Among the approximately 25 different species of perennial, rustic herbaceous plants belonging to the genus Anaphalis, we mention the most widespread and appreciated for their ornamental value.
The Anaphalis alpicola plant is a hardy perennial herb native to Japan. It has greyish-green leaves and rounded bell-shaped flowers that are pink at the base and white above that bloom in summer, from June to August. It resists the cold and should be grown in the sun or partial shade. It is also suitable for multi-year cultivation in rock gardens.
The best known and cultivated species more than 1 meter tall with narrow gray-green leaves and hairy only on the underside. In summer it produces flower heads with a central disc made up of small yellow petals surrounded by a halo of numerous pearly-white bracts. The leaves of young plants are edible after boiling.
Perennial herbaceous 10-50 cm. Tall, with rhizomatous root and herbaceous stems with leaves from spatulate to hairy ovate. In summer, from June to September, it produces flower heads from June to September. Maximum height 10-50 cm.
A 20/40 cm tall herbaceous perennial with tomentose stems, oval-elliptical gray-green leaves and branched inflorescences formed by numerous silver-white flower heads that bloom from July to September. Withstands the cold; it is used for borders and in rock gardens and above all for its cut flowers.
It is a plant native to Asia also known as Anaphalis mucronata and is widespread especially in Hymalaia. It is a perennial herbaceous plant with tomentose stems covered with woolly and lanceolate, silvery-gray leaves. In August it produces white flower heads gathered in compact corymbs. It is a species suitable for the rock garden and the plants should be planted at a distance of 20 – 30 cm.
It is a perennial plant native to Japan, up to 60 cm tall, with gray-green, lanceolate leaves. The white flowers are gathered in compact corymbs …