The herbaceous plant Astrantia, also called asterisk, is a member of the umbrella family. It can be found in Eastern, Southern and Central Europe, as well as in the Caucasus. To date, experts have not precisely established where the name of astronomy came from, but it is believed that it consists of two words: "astron", meaning "star" (it is assumed that this is related to the shape of the flower), and "antion" - "opposite" (most likely, it refers to the covering leaves of the plant). There are about 10 species in this genus. In England and America this perennial plant is very popular and 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 astrancia have come into existence.
Peculiarities of astrancia
The herbaceous plant astrancia is a rhizomatous plant. Its shoots are erect, weakly foliated and sparsely branched, varying in height from 0.15 to 0.9 meters.
Leaf blades are usually palmately parted or palmately lobed, with 3 to 7 dentate lobes lanceolate or obovate along the edge. They are arranged in root rosettes. Simple umbrella-shaped inflorescences, which look like stars, have a large number of small ruby-pink or white flowers. The plant is made even more showy by the deep green leaves of the wrapper. Flowering begins in May and ends in the first days of fall.
The fruit is a double seed.
This plant is a honey bearer, so it attracts bees to the garden plot. It is also resistant to cold and drought. Astrantia is grown in squares, mixborders, in flowerbeds, used to create borders or planted in groups in the center of the lawn. In the garden it is recommended to grow such flowers together with medunia, astilbe, hostas, geraniums and variegated geichera.
The inflorescences of this plant are good for cutting, because they remain fresh and effective for a long time. Astrancia can also be used for making dry bouquets. This flower is undemanding in its care and cultivation. Because of this, it is quite popular among gardeners.
Growing astrantia from seed
Astrantia is capable of self-sowing reproduction.
Note, however, that such seedlings do not retain the varietal characteristics of the parent plants completely. In this regard, experienced gardeners recommend choosing other ways to reproduce such a flower. Sowing freshly harvested seeds can be done under the winter after the sprouts appear in the spring, they will only need to be thinned. If you want to grow astrancia can be through seedlings, for this purpose the seeds are sown in early spring in boxes. But in this case they will need stratification, for this purpose the seeds of the autumn harvest will need to be placed in a fridge in a box for vegetables for 8-12 weeks.
By the way, carefully inspect the packaging, bought in the store seeds astrantia, if it does not indicate that they have been stratified by the manufacturer, then you will have to do it yourself.
To sow the seeds use nutritious light soil. They are distributed on its surface, and a thin layer of substrate is placed on top. The boxes should be covered with glass or film and put in a warm place (20 to 23 degrees). When the seedlings appear, the cover should be removed.
After the first seedlings appear, the boxes should be moved to a well-lit place. When 1-2 weeks have passed after the seedlings appear, they should be thinned out. Plants should be systematically watered after the drying of the top layer of soil, and still the substrate should be carefully loosened. Make sure to protect the seedlings from draughts when airing the room.
When the plants have their first couple of true leaves, they should be potted in their individual pots using the same potting soil as for sowing.
Start hardening the plants 1.5 weeks before planting. To do this, the seedlings are taken out into the garden or onto a balcony every day, and the amount of time they spend outdoors should be increased gradually. Only when the seedlings are fully adapted to the new conditions can they be planted outdoors.
When to plant
Astrantia sprouts should normally be planted in the last days of May or early June.
A well-lit or slightly shaded area can be suitable for planting. The soil must necessarily be nutritious and loose, and its composition can be almost anything.
Astrancia. Planting instructions. GardenWithYourHands
How to properly plant
There is absolutely nothing difficult about planting and caring for such a flower.
When planting, a distance of 0.3 to 0.4m should be kept between bushes. It should be taken into account that after planting, the plant should be at the same level as it grew in the pot. The soil around the planted plants should be tamped down and then they should be watered very well.
Planted astrança flowering begins after 3 years.
Garden care for astrança
Astrança is one of the most undemanding garden plants in the world. As long as there is no heat or prolonged drought in the summer it is not necessary to take care of it at all, because it is very hardy and drought-resistant. If the summer was hot and dry, then even in this case, the astration will not require a large amount of watering. If you want it to bloom once, it will only need to be watered once every seven days during the most severe drought.
But if you want such a plant to bloom again, you will have to choose such a regime of watering, that the soil near the bushes was a little damp all the time during the whole period of vegetation. After the flowers have been watered or it has rained, do not forget to loosen the surface of the plot and at the same time pull out all the weeds. To greatly reduce watering and weeding, it is recommended to cover the surface of the plot with a layer of mulch (peat or humus). To ensure that the astrancia blooms longer and does not reproduce itself, it is necessary to cut off the inflorescences that have begun to fade in a timely manner. When the bushes have blossomed for the first time, all the inflorescences should be cut off, this helps to stimulate the growth of new flower arrows, and also the bush will become more lush and symmetrical.
In case the astringent is grown in nutritious soil, it will be necessary to feed it only once per season in the early spring period and use a complex mineral fertilizer for this. If it is growing on poor soil for more than three years, it is recommended to feed it once more in the second half of the summer period, and in this case use potassium-phosphorus fertilizer. Fertilizing is recommended with liquid fertilizer, but if you apply it to the soil in a dry form, be sure to water the flowers afterwards.
In the same place, you can grow astrantia no longer than 10 years. However, experienced gardeners advise that the bushes should be replanted every 5-7 years.
In some cases, this plant may need to be gartered to a support, especially during the rainy season.
Astrancia can be propagated the same way as almost all other perennial herbaceous plants grown in the garden, namely by bush division and by seed. How to propagate it through seedlings is described in detail above. However, experienced gardeners stratify seeds purchased in the store for 8 weeks and then sow directly into the open soil in the spring time after the soil has warmed up sufficiently. If the seeds are freshly harvested, they are sown under the winter immediately into the open ground.
But when propagating astrantia by seeds, it should be taken into account that seedlings may not retain the varietal characteristics of the mother plant. For this reason, it is recommended to propagate this plant by splitting, either in the spring (before the leaves appear) or in the autumn (at the end of the growing season). To do this, divide the root nest into several parts, which should be planted, making sure to keep a distance of 0.4 to 0.5 m between the bushes, and add humus to each hole.
In 4 weeks the seedlings will start to grow and have sprouts, and in 12 months they will not differ much from the adult plants. Plants propagated by bush division will start to flower after 3 years. This method is often used to propagate very valuable or rare varieties.
Diseases and pests
This plant is very resistant to diseases and pests. But it can become very immune if not taken care of correctly.
For example, if it is watered very abundantly all the time, it can cause a fungal disease. To cure the affected shrubs, treat them with fungicides such as Quadris, Fitosporin, Fondazol, Bravo or others with a similar effect.
Astrantia after flowering
If you are planning to collect seeds from an astronia, you will note the most spectacular and large inflorescences during flowering. When they begin to dry, you should put gauze bags over them, which will prevent the ripe seeds from spilling out onto the surface of the plot. The completely dried seeds should be cut off and placed to dry in a well-ventilated dry room by spreading them out on a newspaper sheet.
After they have dried, the seeds should be removed from the seeds, from which the dried petals are removed. Place the seeds in a small cardboard box or paper bag and keep them in a dark, dry place.
How to prepare for overwintering
Prepare the astringent for overwintering in the fall. To do this, its stems should be cut almost to the level of the plot. Then mulch the bushes with peat or humus.
To cover young bushes, it is recommended to use lapnik. If the plant is already mature, it will make it through the winter uncovered.
Astrantia species and varieties with pictures and names
There are over 10 different types of astrantia, but only 3 of them are cultivated.
Astrantia major, or greater Astrantia
In nature, this species can be found in western European Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Central Europe and the Baltic countries. This plant prefers to grow in lawns and edges of broad-leaved and coniferous forests.
The spreading shrub is about 0.7 m tall and about 0.4 m in diameter. The root rosette consists of three to seven divided long-petioled leaf laminae. Light pink flowers are arranged in simple umbrella-shaped inflorescences, about 50 mm in diameter.
Leaflets of the wrapper are green or light pink. Cultivated since 1597. The most popular varieties:
- Moulin Rouge. The inflorescences are colored wine-red, with the wrapper leaves having a darker, almost black hue. The flowers of bushes grown in sunny areas have the greatest effect.
- Ruby Wedding. The bush reaches a height of 0.65 m and the color of the flowers is dark red. This variety is recommended to grow in a shady place.
- Claret.The color of the flowers is burgundy, the transparent wrappers of the same color. The plant is 0.55 m tall. The astrancia blooms in the first days of July and ends blooming in the last days of September. It is recommended to grow in the penumbra and shade.
Can be cultivated in a container.
- Primadonna. The flowers are dark red and the wrappers are colored in a lighter shade. The plant is about 0.7 m tall.
The variety can be grown in a sunny or shaded area.
- Venice. The color of the inflorescences is ruby.
- Lars. The bush is about 0.
75 m high and is decorated with pink inflorescences, their coloration so intense that it seems to glow in the dark.
- Sunningdale Variegata. The color of the inflorescences is pale lavender. There are strokes of cream and yellow-gold on the surface of the green leaf plates.
The plant is about 0.7 m tall. The inflorescences are pink and the wrappers are pale pink.
- Rosea. The plant is about 0.
6 m tall. The inflorescences are bright pink and the leaf plates are spotted.
- Snowstar. The coloration 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 semi-shade and shade.
- Abbie Road. Astrantia is red, the color of the inflorescences purple and the wrappers a darker shade.
Astrantia maxima (Astrantia maxima)
Native to this species is the Caucasus. This compact plant is 0.7 m tall and is long-rooted. The leaf laminae are tricompartmental. The simple umbrella-like inflorescences are 45 mm in diameter and consist of small pink flowers.
The leaflets of the wrapper are very pale red, filmy and up to 10 mm long. Flowering occurs in August and September.
Astrantia minor (Astrantia minor)
In nature, this plant is found in the southern part of Western Europe, preferring to grow in the mountains. The bush is almost 1 m tall. The leaf plates with long petioles are three to seven-septate.
The umbrella-shaped inflorescence is 30 mm in diameter and consists of a large number of pinkish-white flowers. Flowering is observed in July and August. It has been cultivated since 1868.
Astrantia carniolica (Astrantia carniolica)
This is a herbaceous perennial plant. The palmate-separate leaf plates are suprotectively arranged.
The umbrella-like inflorescences consist of white flowers. The most popular variety is Rubra. The color of the flowers and wrappers of this variety is bright pink turning to 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.
Gardeners also sometimes cultivate Astrantia triceps, Biberstein's, Frostfoot and Bavarian..