Many flowers adorn the autumn garden, but the Ageratum stands out among all for its long-lasting unfading beauty. This genus has more than 60 plant species that were originally found in the subtropics and tropics of Central America. Unlike native Mexican and Peruvian relatives, Russian ageratums are just annuals, although in their homeland they are perennial evergreens.
Outwardly, ageratums look very attractive. Low (up to 60 cm in height) strongly branched herbaceous shrubs are completely covered with whitish pubescence. Leaf blades have a triangular or rhombic-oval shape, located on the stems in the opposite order.
Fragrant inflorescences-baskets with a diameter of not more than 2 cm in a variety of colors: from white to densely purple, give a special decorative value to ageratums. They are collected in apical dense inflorescences, cones, which are located literally throughout the bush. Aguratum flowering begins with the arrival of constant heat: in the middle lane - in early June, in the southern regions - from the end of May. Lush flowering lasts until the frost.
Ageratum reproduction and planting dates
For propagation of ageratum, the seed method and cuttings are suitable. In the first case, the chances of getting new colors and the shape of the bush increases, and the second allows you to get exact copies of the mother plants.
When propagating by seeds under the conditions of the Russian climate, sowing of an agratum should be carried out a month before planting the plants in the ground. The seeds of this culture are small, so it is important to sow them on the surface of the soil, then moisten and cover the containers with glass or film. With this method of planting, seedlings appear in 10-12 days. After the growth of two leaves, seedlings can be peaked in separate pots.
Important! The root system in seedlings of the ageratum is more resistant to damage than in grown specimens. Therefore, it is recommended to dive them into peat pots so that during further planting in the ground they do not harm the plants.
Ageratum seedlings should be watered sparingly, and only in the morning, as it does not tolerate excess moisture. Before planting in the ground, you need to carry out two fertilizing with mineral fertilizers for flowering pilots in half dose. 10-14 days before placement in open ground, seedlings should be hardened.
Propagation by cuttings
To obtain young plants by means of cuttings, it is necessary to extract ageratums with a soil lump before frosts and place them in spacious pots. During the winter it is recommended to keep them in a room close to the source of natural light. Watering should be moderate, but with top dressing it is important not to overdo it. It will be enough once a month to add a quarter dose of floral mineral fertilizer to the water for irrigation.
One and a half months before planting in the ground, cuttings with a length of about 10-15 cm are cut from the bushes. The lower section is treated with a rooting agent, and then placed in fertile loose soil. Having moistened the school with cuttings, it is covered with glass and placed in a bright place with a temperature of no more than 22 degrees. Within 3-4 weeks, roots form on them, and after a month - young shoots.
Obtained from seeds or by grafting, seedlings are planted in the soil at the end of frost. The planting scheme is standard for all types and varieties of ageratum: in the row between the plants not more than 15 cm are left, and between the rows an interval of 20-25 cm is observed.
Choosing a place and soil
Ageratum grows best and blooms on fertile soils that pass air and moisture well. Sandy loams and loams of a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction are ideal for its growth. A plant needs a lot of light, just as much as fresh air. But humus and stony soil ageratum does not tolerate at all. It is recommended to feed it exclusively with mineral fertilizers for flowering annuals (ready-made mixtures are commercially available).
Based on these preferences, it is worth choosing a place for planting ageratums. It should be open to sunlight and air currents. Only slight shading is allowed for a period of not more than 2 hours a day.
Varieties of ageratum and the use of plants in landscape design
Ageratum has a large number of color variations, sizes and shapes of the bush. This makes it a real all-rounder that looks great in solitary landings and in company with marigolds, zinnia, verbena and heliopsis, rudbeckia and calendula. Any sort of ageratum is suitable for flowerbeds and rabatok, mixborders and borders. Also, plants of this genus look great in flowerpots and drawers on balconies and covered verandas.
The following varieties of ageratum are especially popular with flower growers:
|Grade name||The height and shape of the bush||Bloom|
|Blue Adriatic||Compact bushes not more than 20 cm high, spherical, slightly sprawling||Inflorescences are small, purple-blue color|
|Blue Angel||Low pillow-shaped bushes not more than 18 cm high, very dense||Blue spherical inflorescences with a diameter of at least 10 cm|
|Blue Lagoon||Strongly branched shrub at least 25 cm high||Light lilac spherical inflorescences|
|Blue Mink||Column-shaped bush not more than 25 cm high, compact, very dense||Azure blue or light purple inflorescences up to 15 cm in diameter|
|Fire Pink||Compact medium-sized bushes up to 30 cm high, with small leaves||Diameter of baskets up to 10 cm, color - from bright purple to salmon-pink|
|Summer Snow||Tall bush (up to 45 cm), sprawling, well branched||Inflorescences are very dense, white color|
Hybrid forms of ageratum are no less common in Russian gardens. So, blue varieties became very popular Adriatic and Ocean, White Weisser Schnitt and tdark blue Neptune Blue.
When growing ageratums, flower growers often encounter the problem of root decay and wilting of plants due to a variety of infections. So, most often this species is affected by the following diseases:
- bacterial wilting;
- cucumber mosaic virus;
- root rot.
Ageratum: growing and care
A variety of pests are not averse to settling on ageratums: whiteflies, gall nematodes, scoops and spider mites. To get rid of problems, in many cases it is enough to observe crop rotation and remove plants damaged by diseases in time. Such agents as garlic infusions and phytosporin can also cope with ageratum diseases. Strongly smelling infusions of wormwood, stalks of tomatoes and potatoes do an excellent job with pests on plants. It is useful to sprinkle aisle with pepper or mustard.