The myricaria shrub is relatively popular with gardeners because of its unusual foliage. It differs from most garden crops in that the main decoration of its dense, showy bushes is its scaly, silver-colored branches.
Properties of myricaria
Myricaria is a perennial that is part of the Grebenschikov family. Externally, this plant is similar to heather. The name of the genus is a word form of the Latin heath "mirica".
In nature this plant can be found in Asia, from the Altai to Tibet. It is most widespread in the plains of Mongolia and China. It is also commonly found on uplands and plateaus at elevations of up to 1900 meters above sea level.
The branching shoots of this shrub are brown-yellow or pale red in color, decorated with very small scale-like leaf blades. In temperate climates the low, spreading shrubs can be up to 100-150 cm tall.
However, there are sometimes wild specimens that are about four meters tall. The shrub can reach a diameter of about 1.5 m.
Each shrub has 10 to 20 main ascending, woody, smooth-surfaced stems. The surface of the short lateral shoots is covered with fleshy, bite-sized leafy plates that have a greenish-blue tint.
The growing season of myricaria begins in May and ends with the first frosts. The shrub has an attractive appearance throughout its active growth period.
The shrub blooms for eight weeks, and the delicate buds open in mid-May. It blooms so long because its flowers do not open all at once, but gradually. The first to open are the buds on the lower branches.
By the end of flowering, the opening of the buds occurs on the upper part of the bush. Each individual flower has a lifespan of 3 to 5 days. Flowers are gathered in inflorescences, spike-shaped, which rise on a long (about 0.4 m) flower stalk. Flowers may be formed in the axils of leaves and in the upper part of shoots (depends on cultivar).
Inflorescences consist of many small, violet or purple flowers, pressed tightly together.
When the shrub blossoms out, the elongated pyramidal shaped seed bolls form instead. The seeds are very small and their surface is covered with whitish pubescence.
Growing from seed
Miricaria seeds must be properly stored, otherwise they will lose their germination capacity very quickly. For storage, they are placed in a waterproof bag that must be sealed tightly.
The air temperature should be moderate.
Sow the seed the following year after collection. It needs to be stratified. When the seeds are 7 days old, they should be placed in a refrigerator shelf at a temperature of 3 to 5 degrees. Stratified seeds have a high germination rate of over 95 percent.
If you neglect seed preparation, only 1/3 of the seeds will germinate at best.
Fill the seedling box with substrate and distribute the seeds over its surface. The seeds should not be covered with soil and should not be buried in the substrate. It is recommended to water the seeds using the ascending or drip method. The seeds will sprout after two or three days, and the first seedlings will appear only after about 7 days.
When the seedlings grow and get stronger, they are planted in the open ground. Do this only when the weather is warm because even light frosts are fatal for the plants.
Prepare cuttings. You can use both single-trunked stems and young (annuals) for this purpose. Myricaria can be propagated with cuttings throughout the growing season.
The length of the cuttings should be 0.25 m, and their thickness can be up to 10 mm.
After cutting, the cuttings are immersed in a solution of a growth-promoting agent, such as Heteroauxin, Epin or Kornevin. Take them out after 1-3 hours and immediately plant them in cut plastic bottles or separate pots. Despite the fact that cuttings quickly give roots, during the first year the plants are kept at home.
This is because they will not be able to survive the cold winter. With the onset of spring, when it gets warmer outside, you can have cuttings planted in the open ground.
Shrub Myricaria foxglove blooming in spring
The myricaria plant is very resistant to both pests and diseases. It is also notable for its unpretentiousness. Both high (up to 40 degrees) and very low (up to minus 40 degrees) air temperatures do not harm it.
Grows well in a plot with nutritious garden soil, or in peaty loamy soil. The soil should be slightly acidic or neutral.
This drought-resistant plant is watered only in dry periods and then infrequently. However, when the soil is wet, the shrub's growth increases and it flowers more lushly. On average, during drought, it is watered twice a month, with one bucket of water per plant.
Stagnant liquids in the ground and short periods of soil flooding do no harm.
If you fill the surface of the root zone with a layer of humus or peat every year, the color of the leaves and flowers will become more vivid. During the growing season, the plant can be fertilized once or twice. A universal fertilizer for heather crops is suitable for this.
The shrub grows best in a little shade.
But it can also be grown in sunny areas. However, scorching sunlight in the midday hours may cause burns on the young shoots.
With time, the plant will become woody. When it reaches the age of 7 or 8, its ornamental quality will be greatly reduced. But systematic pruning will prevent this.
Pruning can be done in two stages:
- Fall time for formation;
- Spring time for sanitation (dead and frozen shoots are removed).
High wind gusts can damage the spreading stems. For this reason, the myricaria needs a special shelter or choose wind-protected areas for its planting. In deep autumn, the shrub is tied to a support. This is necessary so that the plant can withstand strong winds and snow drifts.
At the same time, it is recommended to bend the young stems to the soil surface and fix them in this position.
Gardeners cultivate only 2 species of myricaria: the foxtail and Daurian.
Daurian or longleaf Myricaria
The most widely distributed species in Altai and in the southern part of Siberia. Young shoots have a green bark with a yellowish tint during the first year of growth. Over time, the color changes to brown.
The narrow leaves are 0.5 to 1 centimeter long and 0.1 to 0.3 centimeter wide. They are colored with a bluish tint and their shape may be ovate or oblong.
The top of each leaf blade is covered with small glandules.
Flower peduncles are formed on annual apex stems and on adult lateral stems. The inflorescences may be simple or compound (branched). The pedicels are initially shorter, but become noticeably longer at the start of flowering. The bract is about 0.
6 cm across and a small calyx of 0.3 to 0.4 cm is formed on it. Oblong, pink petals are 0.5 to 0.
6 cm long and about 0.2 cm wide, extending forwards. The head stigma of the ovary is adorned with stamens, which are half-synthesized. The bush develops elongated, tricuspid seed bolls. Inside them are small seeds, 0.
12 cm long, with their awns partly pubescent.
Miricaria lisotailed, or lisotailed
In nature, it occurs most frequently in Central Asia, the Far East and Western Europe. The lateral stems of the low shrubs are ascending and straight. They are covered with numerous alternately arranged scaly fleshy leafy plates which are colored with a bluish-silvery hue.
From the second half of May until the last days of August, the tops of the shoots are decorated with brush-like, pink-colored inflorescences.
The inflorescences are lush, with the lower buds blooming first. The inflorescences are very heavy, so the stems often bend toward the ground, taking an arched shape. Before the flowers begin to bloom, the flower stalk is about 10 centimeters long and looks like a dense cone. But over time, it increases in length to 0.3-0.
4 m and becomes less dense.
The fruits begin to mature in September. The seeds are located at the tips of the branches and have whitish pubescence. As a result, the long stems look very much like a fox's tail with a fluffy, whitish tip. This is what influenced the choice of the name of this species.
Miricaria in landscape design
Miricaria is excellent for decorating artificial and natural water bodies. It is grown both singly and in group plantings. The shrub looks best next to coniferous and deciduous cultures of dark green color. It is also often planted in rose gardens.
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