Modest and watercolor cockles, or agrostemms
In touching sweetness and modest simplicity, the feeling that the plant was transferred to the garden from old postcards, perhaps a periwinkle can be compared with a cockle. This plant, which seems both old-fashioned and surprisingly picturesque, conquers with airy lightness and elegance. A clean palette of watercolor colors, with a transition from a white throat to a pink corolla, airy-looking curtains are created for massive groups and large spots. This is a plant that will attract only in the company of brothers. But to outshine him in romance is not easy.
Touching and lush agrostemma
The plant we know better as cockle, all over the world grown under the "legal" botanical name agricultural systems. Translated from Greek, it sounds like a "field wreath." And the touching elegance, elegance of the cockle fits perfectly with this name.
Puppet, or Agrostemma (Agrostemma) - a genus of herbaceous plants of the clove family.
At first glance, cockle can be ranked among the most flowering annual plants. Agrostemms are by no means modest in height: reaching 50 cm, all dolls can boast quite curvaceous jackets. But at the same time, even large species and varieties with a height of about 80 cm are perceived as light, delicate and airy. The secret to this effect is in the details.
The cockle bushes are highly branched, but the thin shoots do not seem massive, and the narrow, pubescent, oppositely sessile leaves are almost invisible. A lacy, graphic, elegant plant with its green leaves perfectly harmonizes with flowering. In the effect of soaring in the air, trembling flowers with a cockle, only another flyer can be compared - cosmea.
Cockle flowers are very large. Reaching a diameter of 2-5 cm, they stand out by their perfectly regular shape and soft color transitions. Externally, the flowers of the agrostemma are similar to phloxes, but their single arrangement immediately eliminates any suspicions of kinship with the legendary garden perennial. Due to the fact that the flowers are located at the ends of the shoots, they seem to soar in the air, and the whole bush looks like a weightless grayish massed with watercolor flowers.
The start of the colorful parade of flowering cockles begins only in the second half of June. But the sight is so impressive that even the abundance of petunias easily overshadows, continuing until the end of the summer. Cockles offer to admire the sun-dependent flowers, which “wake up” early in the morning and close again after dinner.
In old directories, the agrostemma is sometimes called the adonis, but nowadays, spring adonis is known as the adonis.
Cockle colors are limited. It includes only two basic colors - white and raspberry pink. But you can’t name boring agricultural systems. Their appearance is never boring, and the colors always seem especially bright and fresh.
Cockles are poisonous plants. When working with them, it is better to use gloves to protect your hands and thoroughly wash your skin in order to remove the slightest trace of juice.
Types and varieties of agricultural systems
In the family Agrostema just three types of plants. Moreover, one of them, formerly known as the “heavenly rose” agrostem, is now classified as a completely different culture - tar (silene coeli-rosa). This plant looks similar to puppets, but still the requirements for growing conditions, and its care are different.
The most popular types of cockles are:
The doll is graceful, or elegant agrostemma (formerly known as the botanical name agrostemma gracile and gracilis, and today retrained in agrostemma brachyloba) - a charming half-meter annual. The light pink, watercolor flowers of this Sicilian flaunt with an almost white center, ideally symmetrical in shape, with five rounded petals, resembling phlox flowers.
Due to the dense branching, it seems that the flowers are not single, but are located in loose inflorescences, but in fact they, like all cockles, sit on the tops of the shoots one at a time. An elegant agrostem blooms from mid-July to September, revealing flowers in the morning and closing in the afternoon. In cut, this species is able to stand for a week.
Agrostemma vulgarisalso known as sowing cockle (agrostemma githago) Is a plant that can be grown both as an annual and as a biennial. In height, an ordinary cockle is also limited to half a meter, is quite aggressive and can spread like a weed in the company of crops. Dense branched shoots with gray narrow leaves covered with a felt edge gracefully emphasize single flowers.
In the basic form, the flower diameter is limited to 2 cm, in varieties it can reach 5 cm. Flowers sit on long pedicels, bloom not only on the tops of the shoots, but also in the axils of the leaves. The color of the flowers is light or dark purple, sometimes pink, in addition to the light center, dark veins on the petals are also visible. The sowing cockle blooms more often closer to July, the flowers also close after dinner and open in the morning.
In addition to the basic form, several varieties are distinguished in an ordinary agrostemma:
- lilac, with gray foliage large-flowered variety "Milas";
- dark lilac, more saturated in color variety ‘Milas Serise’;
- variety with pink and raspberry color ‘Milas Pinky’;
- snow-white agrostemma varieties ‘Ocean Pearl’.
The use of agricultural systems in decorative gardening
In order for the cockle to become a star in your collection of flyers, it must be placed not individually, but in groups. And the larger they are, the better, the cockle will look spectacular. The combination of airiness and soft watercolors of a plant is revealed only when even in mixed plantings the agrostem creates beautiful texture spots.
Agrostemma looks great:
- large single groups on lawns or clearings from groundcover;
- large spots in the foreground and middle ground of mixed flower beds.
- in containers and pots (the plant will need support).
Cockles can also be grown as a cut crop. After cutting, the flowers of the agrostemma stand in bouquets for a very long time
The best partners for the agrostemma are: kaleria, wagtail, forget-me-not, marigolds, calendula, fescue. This plant is better revealed when combined with plants that will help emphasize the airiness of the cockle. That is why the agrostemma is so good in company with constantly moving cereal grasses, against which the cockles tremble like butterflies fluttering.
Conditions Required by AgroTems
Agrostemma does not tolerate even the slightest shading. This plant needs only sunny places, because even slight shading, scattered light can cause a violation of the growth form in the form of elongation of shoots and the absence of normal flowering. But the cockle is not afraid of drafts, winds, or even quite cold sites.
Moreover: it is better to grow this plant in windy places, because the ability of the agrostemma to tremble under the air currents is unique and a sight to behold in full measure soaring in zero gravity, gracefully fluttering flowers. High grades of cockle in the wind need support.
The soil for the cockle is not suitable for any. Agrostemma feels good only on fertile, light in structure soil. A critical parameter for this plant is good drainage. Cockles do not tolerate waterlogging in any form, so it is better not to ignore the water permeability of the soil. According to the reaction of the agrostemma, calcareous soils are more suitable.
Features of the care of the agrostemma
Caring for dolls is not difficult. This plant will not need systemic procedures, but just a timely response to the weather.
The relative drought tolerance of the agricultural system allows watering the plants as rarely as the rainfall allows. Procedures are best done only on the hottest days, in the prolonged drought. At the same time, a deep soil drink with moisture, rather than frequent watering, is more suitable for an agricultural system.
If you choose the right soil for the agrostemma, then plant nutrition will not be needed. But even on depleted soil it is not advisable to make full mineral fertilizers: a cockle with an excess of nutrients builds up greenery to the detriment of flowering.
For tall dolls, support may be needed. Since the shoots of the plant are thin and elongated, with an active wind, strong precipitation, they easily lie down, bend to the soil. And at the first signs of such lodging, it is better to tie the bushes immediately to an easy support.
The most difficult thing in caring for a cockle is to prevent aggressive self-seeding. This plant spreads very quickly, gives so abundant self-sowing that even in landscape compositions it is better to restrain it. Control is reduced to the removal of wilted flowers and unripened achenes or the timely collection of seeds before they spill.
Pest and Disease Control
Cockles demonstrate amazing stability in the garden, with the right selection of growing conditions, are invulnerable to pests and diseases.
Growing agrostemma from seeds
Agrostemma propagated exclusively by sowing seeds. The seedling method is not used for this plant, because the seeds sprout well when sown directly at the growing site. You can sow seeds:
- in spring, in April or later (when the soil warms up to at least 12-15 degrees);
- before winter, after the soil freezes slightly.
For seed germination, they can not be deeply buried in the ground. Sprinkle seeds with nests, 3-4 seeds nearby. When sowing in the spring, immediately after sowing, light irrigation starts, maintaining a stable soil moisture. As seedlings appear, they need to be thinned out, leaving 1 plant for every 15 cm of soil.
Pre-winter crops are carried out according to the standard technique, scattering seeds into grooves, and after covering with soil, planting is mulched.