The herbaceous annual and perennial plant Phacelia is a member of the Borage family. According to various sources, this genus includes 80-180 species and even more. In nature Phacelia is found in North and South America and prefers to grow in sunny, open places with well-drained soil. The name of this plant comes from the Greek word translated as "bunch", this is due to the appearance of its inflorescences. The species phacelia tussockweed is cultivated for the most part as a siderat.
Such a culture helps to improve the structure of the soil, enriching it with nutrients. Some species of phacelia are cultivated by gardeners as ornamental plants. This plant is also considered a good honey producer that can attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden.
Peculiarities of phacelia cider
Phacelia cauliflower or Ryazan is an annual plant growing taller than 100 cm with bristly hairs on its surface. The bush has an erect stem with glandules, each of which grows about 20 lateral shoots.
Radical pinnatipartite leaf laminae reach 3-15 cm in width and 6-20 cm in length. The leaves are composed of pinnately toothed, lancet-shaped leaflets. As a rule, the stem leaflets are sessile, but they sometimes have short petioles. The compound, umbrella-shaped inflorescences are made up of many broad-bell-shaped flowers about 1 centimeter long and painted a lilac-blue hue. The stamens are about 1.
4 cm long, which makes them protrude conspicuously from the corolla; they consist of oblong-elliptical anthers and glabrous filaments. Its fruit is a broadly ovate capsule up to about 0.5 cm long with two dark brown seeds inside.
This type of Phacelia is not only a melliferous plant but also a universal green manure. It is sown both before and after any crop.
For example, plants belonging to the cruciferous family should not be sown after mustard. This frost-resistant green manure differs from the others in that it builds up green mass very quickly, and it is also able to suppress the growth of weeds. Phacelia reduces soil acidity and enriches the soil with nitrogen and potassium.
Facelia: fertilizer, beauty and benefit! Sei phacelia for soil improvement
Growing phacelia as a siderat
When to sow
Facelia is very popular with gardeners and vegetable growers who use it as a siderat. The timing of sowing depends on what you want to achieve:
- Facelia seeds can be sown immediately after the snow has fallen.
Sprouts that show up half a month later will actively build up green mass. If you leave the grass on the ground after mowing, it will make a good mulch and if you embed it in the soil, it will make good humus.
- If this plant is used as a honeycomb, it is sown between the rows of other crops during the whole season. After it has withered, the bushes are mown and can be used as mulch or fertilizer. If necessary, plant phacelia again in the vacant plots.
- If sown after the harvest from the last summer weeks to the second half of autumn, such a green manure will contribute to the recovery and restoration of the soil, and it will saturate it with nutrients and improve its composition. After mowing facelia may be left on the soil surface as mulch, in which case it can save the root system of perennials from freezing, and the soil will not be subjected to erosion, and useful substances will not be washed out of it by rains in autumn. As a result, seedlings appear at the beginning of the spring period, they are mowed just before the main early crop is planted. In this case, the seeds should be sown very densely as their germination suffers after a frosty winter.
Seeds of such plants need not be treated before sowing, as they have a rather high germination rate.
The soil on the plot is loosened with a rake, and then the seeds are scattered over the surface. The seeds have a dark color, so they cannot be seen on the soil. Therefore, it is recommended to combine them with dry sand for easy sowing.
When sowing such a sedge between the rows of other crops, make a furrow 20 to 30 mm deep, then water it with a little water and sow the phacelia into it. After that, the furrow should be filled.
If the sowing is not done on a hot and dry day, there is no need for additional watering.
Grooming for tacelia
This crop only needs watering until the seedlings have grown up and become mature. If the seeds were sown in the winter or at the beginning of the spring, you don't need to water the area, because the ground is already very saturated. If it rains systematically during the season, there is no need to water this green manure at all. However, during a long dry period, the plot with phacelia should be watered occasionally.
It is also necessary to regularly loosen the soil surface around the plants to a shallow depth.
For the bushes to grow a lush green mass, they should be fed with organics (such as Optim-Gumus, Baikal EM-1, Bokashi, Shiyanie-1), which include effective soil microorganisms. Such fertilizing should be carried out strictly following the instructions enclosed with the fertilizer.
Mowing such grass is carried out during the formation of buds. If it is mowed later than necessary, the shoots and leaves will become very coarse, and this will greatly slow down their decomposition.
And with slower decomposition, a lot of harmful microorganisms enter the soil from the rotting mass. After the grass is mowed, it should be sprayed with a preparation that helps accelerate processing, and then the top layer of soil is recultivated. Such grass actively decomposes, and the subsequent humification of the soil is observed only if there is moisture in the ground, so in times of drought the area will have to be regularly watered. When the grass is incorporated into the ground, its surface is levelled, and then the area is reseeded with this siderat. This method allows for 3 or 4 crops of this grass to be produced in one season and the following season this area can be sown with vegetable crops.
Diseases and pests
This crop is very resistant to any diseases and pests, and it can also protect the nearby plants from them. To prevent vegetable crops from being affected by various diseases and pests, it is recommended to sow phacelia between the rows.
Phacelia species and varieties with photos and names
As already mentioned above, the most popular among vegetable gardeners and gardeners is the species phacelia tansy, its detailed description can be found in the beginning of the article. There are other species and varieties of this herb cultivated as well, but as a rule they are grown as ornamental plants.
In nature this rare species is found in northern California and prefers to grow on coastal sandbanks and dunes.
The ascending and drooping shoots are about half a meter tall. The surface of the glossy leaf plates is covered with white pubescence, making them silvery in color. The white small flowers are collected in globular heads.
Phacelia bolanderi (Phacelia bolanderi)
In nature, this phacelia is found in "redwood" forests throughout California. Extending worm-like shoots form low mounds.
The terminal inflorescences consist of large arc-shaped hanging bell-shaped flowers of a lavender-blue hue.
Phacelia lance-like (Phacelia hastata)
The species is found in the wild in the United States and prefers to grow in wormwood thickets and coniferous forests. The bushes are about half a meter tall. The flowers are small, white or light purple. This species differs from the others in that there are almost parallel veins and dense silvery hairs on the surface of the leaf plates.
This species has a quite popular variety - Alpina: the bush has spreading shoots and short inflorescences of lavender-purple shade, in the nature can be met at an altitude up to 3.5 thousand meters above sea level.
Facelia sericea (Phacelia sericea)
In natural conditions, this rather popular plant is found in North America from Colorado to Alaska and from Utah to New Mexico. The shrub has several or only 1 unbranched stem, reaching a height of about 0.45 m.
There is pubescence on the surface of the plant, consisting of silky, delicate, silvery hairs. The leaf plates are deeply incised. Flowers are lavender, blue or purple and have long stamens, making the plant look similar to monarda or lupine. Varieties:
- Ciliosa. Found in nature on the grassy slopes of Oregon.
This multi-crescented phacelia reaches about 20 centimeters in height. Of greenish-gray foliage, on the surface of which there are fine hairs, such grass forms a mat. The color of the flowers is purple.
- Verna. This variety is found in nature among the basalt rocks in Oregon.
Shrubs reach about 25 centimeters in height. The terminal cyst-shaped inflorescences consist of white or bluish flowers.
Phacelia campanularia, or Phacelia californica, or California bellflower
The species is native to southern California. This annual is about 25 centimeters tall. The upright and brittle shoots are colored pale red.
Greenish-blue, weakly pubescent leafstalks are about 60 mm long, with a brown-red border along the edges. The brush-shaped, unilateral inflorescences are composed of dark blue bell-shaped flowers, about 30 mm across, with dark spots at the base. The most popular variety, Blue Bonnet, has deep blue flowers on a bush up to about 0.4 m tall.
Facelia twisted (Phacelia congesta)
Tops of twisted inflorescences consisting of small blue flowers, up to half a centimeter across.
The stems reach about 0.5 m in length and are adorned with greenish leaf plates with dense pubescence on the surface.
The bush is about half a meter tall and its leaf plates are densely pubescent. The small flowers are about 30 mm across, the corolla is white on the inside and covered with purple spots on the outside. This plant has only recently appeared as a result of breeding.
Also cultivated are such species as: Phacelia multifoliata, full-throated and Lyellium.