Boronia: the flower of serenity


Boronia is a type of plant with flowers and fruits that is used both for ornamental use, given the impressive beauty especially in bloom, and for the properties that are good for the human mind.

Of Australian origin, this plant was also introduced in Italy, due to the dazzling color of its star-shaped flowers, which vary in shades of white, pink or fuchsia.
The leaves are very fragrant to the touch, especially if they are pressed between the fingers.
Due to its not excessive size, between 80 and 90 cm, it can be transplanted into parks or gardens for an aesthetic project dictated by style.
The flowering period goes from the first true to the late summer, guaranteeing the presence of these beautiful flowers for a rather wide period, at the end of which fruits containing small seeds are released.

Cultivation methods

Not tolerating excessive cold and lack of light, this plant must be placed in a place where many hours of sunshine are guaranteed. Because it flourishes at its best, you can opt for a mixed soil of peat and sand, although it usually does not imply particularly demanding requests regarding the underlying land.
This plant should be watered when the soil is very dry, because it does not like water in abundance, maintaining an average every two or three weeks.
To fill a garden starting from a few specimens of the same plant, it is necessary to help its propagation by taking the woody branches grown during the year and transplanting them in pots for at least two years, before being placed in the free ground.
It is also important to remember that despite its size, this plant needs a pruning of about 2/3 after the flowering has taken place so that it is ready for the next one.

Diseases and treatment

They are plants usually exposed to the external environment and for this reason they can be attacked by fungi, in particular by white malice or scab. For these reasons it is necessary to treat them beforehand with antifungal products that cover all the species.

Curiosity

Boronia is a plant that seems to have characteristics that give serenity to anyone who receives them, both for its well-defined colors and for the star shape of its flower. The adaptability of this plant is well known, since its export from the Australian territory and for this reason it is very successful also in Italy.

Caesalpinia Gilliesi: the flower of non-reciprocated love


Among the most scenic plants of the botanical landscape there is undoubtedly the Caesalpinia Gilliesii, otherwise known as the Flower of Paradise.

Belonging to the Fabaceae family, it is native to the South American countries of Uruguay and Argentina, as well as abounding in the most tropical and warm regions of the planet.

The plant can reach up to 4 meters in height, although it is necessary to wait at least 10 years to appreciate it in all its grandeur. From April to October it presents a luxuriant flowering with fragrant cluster inflorescences, similar to panicles: they sprout on racemes that can touch the 20 cm of length with their long stamens of a bright red color.
The flowers are then replaced by fruits similar to flat pods, rich in dark seeds rich in toxic tannins: the unpleasant effects of the possible ingestion of the same are resolved in about 24 hours.

Cultivation

The Caesalpina Gilliesi loves sunny environments and resists very well both in urban environments, usually polluted, and in marine environments, rich in salt. It is preferable to prepare a well-drained soil, rich in organic and loose substances, in soil or in pot, to be watered only when the soil is dry: if the plant is planted on the ground, the natural rain water is sufficient; if instead it is cultivated in pot it is important to place perlite or clay on the bottom in order to favor water drainage.
Although it is a plant particularly resistant to both cold and hot temperatures, in colder periods it is strongly recommended to mulch the roots with straw and dry leaves. In any case it is important to point out that even if the plant, due to the rigors of the winter, is quite damaged, it tends to recover very quickly with the right care. In the latter case it will be advisable to intervene at the end of winter with a pruning that will act in particular on the more dry and damaged branches.
To keep the plant lush and well flowered, it is important to fertilize the Caesalpina Gilliesi in spring every 20 days, with a fertilizer rich in potassium and nitrogen, either granular or liquid, to be diluted in the water used for watering.

Illnesses

The Caesalpina Gilliesi fears root rot due to too many irrigations: in this case it is essential, especially in the specimens grown in pots, to guarantee a good drainage of the water with an adequate substrate on the bottom of the container. The Caesalpina Gilliesi however suffers mainly from the floury cochineal: it is easy to notice this pest infesting because on the plant white and voluminous cottony formations begin to appear. In this case it is advisable to intervene quickly eliminating the cochineal with cotton wool soaked in alcohol or washing the entire plant with neutral soap and water: in both cases it is good to wash the plant at the end of the treatment.

Curiosity

The name of the Caesalpina Gilliesi plant refers to Andrea Cesalpini who was not only a philosopher and a botanist, but also the personal physician of Pope Clement VIII.
The flowers of this exotic-looking plant symbolize, in the interesting language of flowers, a non-reciprocated love.

Acacia of Costantinople: the plant of delicacy

The Acacia of Constantinople, thanks to its thick foliage and its flowers that appear to be feathered, is the perfect plant for those who want to beautify parks and gardens whether they are in the city or near the coast.

Also known as Albizia or Giaggia Arborea, the Acacia of Constantinople belongs to the family of the Mimosaceae, comprising a series of species of trees and small shrubs. It is a resistant ornamental plant native to Africa and Asia that can reach a height between 9 and 12 meters, whose foliage tends to develop during growth in a curious umbrella shape.
It has a smooth greyish-green bark when the plant is young, then tending to darken and crack as it grows over the years.
The foliage of the Acacia of Constantinople is characterized by many ovoid and elongated leaflets which, in pairs of 20-30, appear on the petiole similar to real ferns.
From June onwards fragrant, hermaphroditic flowers appear, characterized by numerous stamens up to 3 cm long, pink at the base and red at the apex: they look almost silky and give the inflorescences an appearance similar to that of feathers.
In autumn, fruits similar to brown beans rich in fertile seeds appear.

Cultivation

The Acacia of Constantinople loves sunny or at least half-shade places: although it resists even at low winter temperatures, it is advisable to repair the plant from the icy winter winds, while withstanding the warmer saline ones.
For the cultivation of the plant it is recommended to choose a loose, fresh, dry soil rich in organic substances: calcareous soils are also acceptable, while the harder ones that do not allow water to drain are to be avoided. In this regard, if the Acacia of Constantinople is cultivated on land, rainwater is sufficient, to be integrated in periods of greater drought every 2 weeks.
At the end of winter it is recommended to fertilize the plant, mixing the fertilizer with soil: a granular product can be used with gradual release or liquid, to be diluted in the water of the waterings, during flowering.
To contain the foliage, which tends to expand during development, it is advisable to prune it at the end of winter, eliminating the most damaged and dried parts, to the advantage also of the blooming which will be more luxuriant.

Illnesses

In addition to the root rot caused by excessive watering, the Acacia of Constantinople particularly fears the dangerous psylla insect. This in fact feeds on the sap of the leaves and shoots endangering the chlorophyll photosynthesis: the psylla releases a honeydew substance that in the long run causes the loss of the leaves and the desiccation of the plant. In this case it is recommended to promptly intervene by washing the plant with a potassium-based product.

Curiosity

The flowers of the Acacia plant of Constantinople symbolize delicacy in the language of flowers, so much so that they are nicknamed “silk flowers”.
The flowers, leaves and even the bark of the plant are rich in triterpenoids, polyphenols and saponins: in fact, in eastern countries they are consumed as vegetables or decoctions, to take advantage of the tonic, digestive, antioxidant and sedative properties against anxious states.

Helenium: the flower symbol of tears

the Helenium or elenio is a herbaceous plant, ascribed to the Astaraceae, native to North America and many widespread in California. It has a bushy stem, which reaches 1 meter in height. If grown it has an annual or perennial cycle. The root is fleshy and robust and generates thin and flexible stems with lanceolate leaves forming basal rosettes. The color is bright green, and are covered by a thick and short hair. The flowers recall daisies with a corolla of long petals that surround a central disc that has a color that goes from yellow to brown, through orange. The petals can be yellow, orange or red.
Cultivation

The Helenium plant prefers environments with direct and prolonged sun exposure, but protected from the wind. It has no particular problems with hot summers and harsh winters and has very few requirements regarding the type of terrain. The important thing is that there is good drainage, humidity and a high organic component. Watering must be abundant, especially during periods of drought and flowering. For good growth the soil should be added approximately every 2 months with slow release granular fertilizers with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or using liquid fertilizers for flowering plants every 20 days, diluted in irrigation water, if possible of rain origin . For the propagation it is sufficient to divide the tufts in October or in late spring. Both for repotting and to multiply it, it is sufficient to bury with roots and bread in holes of a depth of thirty centimeters, at least half a meter apart. After flowering the plant must be pruned at the base to allow the new throws the following spring.

Diseases and cures

The slugs and snails are greedy of the tender and juicy shoots of this plant, and are one of the main threats to its growth. In case of excessively humid climate, aphids can infest the turn-around of the leaves and the stems. The Helenium fears little fungus and root rot if the soil does not show stagnation. To protect the plants from attack by their voracious enemies they can surround themselves with chimney ashes, which keeps the snails away. In winter it is useful to mulch the base with straw to protect it.

Curiosity

Its long-lasting pendulous petals are, in the language of flowers, the symbol of tears.

Quisqualis indica: the flower of ambiguity

Belonging to the Combretaceae family, Quisqualis Indica is a climbing plant found in the tropical belt of Africa, America and Australia, but originally from Asia. It is an evergreen with a structure formed by many cylindrical branches, with climbing habit, which reaches 5 meters in length. The leaves, numerous and thick, are lanceolate, and of an intense green color. The inflorescences bloom in the axillary and terminal intersections of the branches, with corolla flowers with five petals, very fragrant, gathered in racemes. Their color varies over time, from white to red, passing through pink.

Cultivation

Despite being a plant of tropical origin, the Quisqualis adapts to mild climates, and partially shaded places, preferring the proximity of walls. If it is grown in pots, winter must be protected, and in any case never exposed to direct sunlight. For cultivation, moist soils with a good organic percentage should be preferred, such as peat mixed with garden soil, sand and pumice. Its water needs for soil cultivation is limited to the common rains, but if you go to an arid period, it is good to water it regularly, more or less once a week. To promote a balanced growth, given its rapid propagation, the soil must be fertilized every 15-20 days with a product for green plants, or a granular with nitrogen and potassium, every three months. Fertilization is essential for growth and flowering. The propagation in nature occurs by seed, but in captivity it is done, in spring, using apical cuttings, even if the hope of success is little. If you try to propagate it, the twigs must be treated with rooting hormones and buried in a mixture of sand and peat. Always in spring you can provide for the pruning to eliminate dry stems and promote flowering. In optimal conditions the Quisqualis manages to grow by almost 10cm a day, and consequently the mass of the roots increases considerably and at least one annual repotting must be provided, increasing the volume of available land. Once you have reached a large volume, you will have to change to replacing the soil with new and nutrient-rich material, keeping the pot.

Diseases and cures

The Quisqualis indica has problems with stagnations that cause root rot, and if the environment is too wet or rainy it is at risk of badly white and powdery mildew. The most aggressive parasites are the aphids and the cochineal, in our latitudes. Due to the fact that it is sensitive to fungi infestations, a spring treatment with broad-spectrum fungicidal products should be used, or specific biological anti-parasitic interventions. To avoid the risk of rotting, the saucer must be periodically emptied. The plant grows rapidly and especially in the first years it needs guardians to avoid the risk of the stems breaking.

Curiosity

The plant was studied by the Scottish surgeon Dr. John Ivor Murray who approached this climber in China, hearing stories about the use of his seeds as a remedy for diarrhea and intestinal worms. In the language of flowers it represents duplicity and ambiguity. because of the color that changes over time.

Calluna: the plant of beauty and protection

The Calluna Vulgaris Hull, is a plant belonging to the family Ericaceae, genus Calluna, of which it is the only representative. It is a wild plant, often called inappropriately wild heather. Usually it has a herbaceous posture, and a perennial cycle. Aghifoglia evergreen is a suffruticosa, which never grows more than a few tens of centimeters. The stem is very branched and tends to have a prostrate pattern, which makes the plant appear dense. The flowering is unilateral apical raceme with soft pink or mauve flowers, grouped in groups of 20-30cm. The capsule fruits contain 4 seeds each.

Cultivation

It is a spontaneous plant, widespread in Europe and also in Italy, of very simple cultivation with few requirements. If it is purchased, a first repotting in a box or pot is necessary, even with other plants. For healthy growth we need a soil for acidophils, for example the one optimized for azaleas. You must not use soil taken from other crops, because of the risk of contamination from fungi and parasites and you must always prepare an environment in which the roots can go down deep and expand sufficiently. It is very important that the root system can have constant access to moist soil. Fertilization should be regular, every 10-20 days, using a liquid product or a grains suitable for acidic soils, and the plant must be watered when the earth’s surface is dry. It does not need pruning or special care, but in autumn you can eliminate the dry racemes to give space to new ones in spring. You must not fertilize in winter, and in this period also the irrigation can be reduced and in any case the saucer must be emptied after about a quarter of an hour, when the water has been completely absorbed. It is a plant that absolutely does not fear frost, and that instead prefers a temperature between 18 and 20 degrees on average, but at the same time needs a good degree of sun exposure and areas sheltered from the wind.

Diseases and cures

The Calluna is a plant that does not fear fungi and parasites, but it has a strange relationship with sunlight: it is much needed, but dries her flowers, then the humidity and the temperature should keep an eye on, perhaps by moving during the hot hours. Care should be taken to which branches are cut, because in spring the green branches often come out from stems that look dead. To avoid problems with chlorine, use rainwater to water the Calluna.

Curiosity

In the language of flowers indicates the desire to protect. In Scotland it is used as a good luck charm.
The name Calluna derives from the Greek “kallos” or “beauty”. In the USA it is a feminine name.
In nature it plays an important role in the diet of many wild animals such as deer and deer, as well as sheep and goats.

Bignonia: the flower of success and prosperity

The Bignonia is a climbing evergreen plant, belonging to the Bignoniaceae family. Originally it was known as Teocoma, then take the name of the famous academic and librarian Paul Brignon.
Its posture makes it very used to decorate pergolas, gazebos, garden walls; the plant shows an aerial part made up of long branches that have small suckers suitable to adhere to the most different supports.
The foliage is lanceolate and with serrated edges: if in summer it is bright green, in autumn it is covered with an orange color. Winter coincides with the vegetative period of the plant which will therefore lose all the leaves.
The Bignonia is characterized by large flowers in the shape of a trumpet, with 5 petals curled on the tips and ranging from red to orange to pink: their intense aroma attracts bees, wasps and hornets.
To date, there are 450 species of Bignonia, some originating from the Asian continent, others from the American one. Among all these stand out: the widespread Bignonia Campsis Radicans, originally from Virginia; the Asian Campsis Grandiflora that can not stand the intense cold and is less climbing; the Bignonia Capreolata, similar to honeysuckle and known for the heights that reaches very quickly.

Cultivation

The Bignonia does not need special care: it loves sunny environments and sheltered from the currents and the cooler winds. To guarantee a luxuriant growth of the plant, it is sufficient to prepare an organic, dry and well drained soil: it is important to water the Bignonia only when the soil is dry. The rain will generally be sufficient for an adult plant, to be integrated in drought periods.
A luxuriant growth of the plant can be helped by fertilizing it, with a slow-release granular mineral insecticide, every 3-4 months. Pruning is also important, to be carried out preferably in February: it is recommended to shorten the oldest branches up to a few cm from the ground, as the Bignonia flourishes only on new branches.

Illnesses

The Bignonia is, like all plants, subject to attacks by pests. In case of aphids, it is advisable to hunt these insects with powerful jets of water and, if necessary, use an insecticide. A specific product is to be used in the case of cochineal, which can also be countered by using white oil.
The excessive humidity causes not only rotten roots, but also the appearance of the fungus called “white mal” and comes in the form of white spots: it would be appropriate to use not only a fungicide but also operate a thinning of the plant.

Curiosity

In South America (in particular in Peru, Argentina and Mexico) Bignonia is used as a good-luck plant: it often adorns churches and doors of houses. In the language of flowers, in fact, giving away Bignonia means wishing success and prosperity.
The Celtic legends tell then that the beings of the small people, above all fairies and elves, are transformed into this beautiful plant once dead.Very similar are the stories of ancient Greece, according to which even the Muses, once spirated, were transformed into Bignonie, plants sacred to the sun god, Apollo.

Lilac: the flower of fairies and purity

The Lilac, whose botanical name is Syringa vulgaris, is a shrub with deciduous leaves. This plant is native to northern Asia, the Far East and Persia. Much appreciated for its fragrance and rich flowering, the Lilac plant is widely used to decorate small and large gardens. It is in fact a shrub capable of reaching a height of 5 meters, but it is not rare to see it cultivated also as a hedge. In the past it has been abundantly used mainly for therapeutic purposes and to create pleasing essences, thanks to the abundant flowering that occurs in spring. The branches have an upward trend and the leaves are characterized by a graceful heart shape. The flowers are typically of lilac color, but with the presence of numerous hybrid specimens it is currently possible to admire showy blooms in pink, dark pink and light purple.

Cultivation
Being a shrub capable of reaching remarkable heights, the Lilac finds its ideal position in the ground. In pot instead it requires great availability of earth and space.
However, it is a very resistant species, which is why there is no need to resort to special techniques for its cultivation.
When the young plant needs to be planted, it is sufficient to prepare the accommodation by digging a hole and placing a light layer of fertilized soil on the bottom. It is advisable to soak the roots of the lilac for about an hour and then place it. This way you can reinsert the earth without pressing too much on the roots. Everything should be done in spring or even better in the fall. After a short period where the plant will regain its balance, the lilac will be completely autonomous.

Diseases and cures
The only disease to which the Lilac plant is subject is the bacteriosis. If taken in time, it is easy to intervene using copper and calcium oxychloride preparations. Rarely, but not impossible, it is instead that the plant contracted the peronospora that manifests itself through the appearance of small dot spots on the leaves. Although rare, this disease is rather harmful because it is still a funginic form, so eradicating it is rather difficult. To treat a lilac plant affected by this disease it is necessary to resort to copper or if you want to use natural methods, the nettle macerate.

Curiosity
In ancient times the flowers were used for the preparation of both perfumes and massage oil which was very useful for combating rheumatic pains. In addition, the Lilac plant has always been placed alongside the fairy figures. The ancient beliefs in this regard in fact that behind the flowers of this plant frequently hide these fairy figures. At the same time, the symbolism associated with this flower shows similarities with purity and with religious ceremonies.

Zephyranthes, lily rain: the flower of abundance and novelty

It is also called “the rain lily” because, often, it blooms in the rainy period that follows one of long drought. Originally from Argentina, Zephyranthes is a bulbous that can even reach 30 cm. tall and that produces colorful flowers, depending on the species of belonging.

It is a plant that grows lush and spontaneous in many areas of South America, especially if very humid. It is a bulbolsa: it means that its leaves are born directly from the bulb, which is also the reproductive part. There are at least 70 species of Zephyranthes, which are distinguished by the color of the flowers, the size and the physiological characteristics: some species, for example, smell only at night. The Zephyranthes is an upright plant, with bright green leaves and white, pink, yellow or purple flowers. It is an ornamental plant, which needs a lot of water but which adapts to outdoor life, also withstanding the cold temperatures, as long as they remain above zero. Among the most known and interesting species, some examples are:

1. Zephyranthes Candida: it is distinguished by its five-petaled, thin and silky white flowers, embellished with large gold-colored stamens
2. Zephyranthes Rosea: which produces flowers of an intense pink color, almost fuchsia, in the shape of a funnel
3. Zephyranthes Citrina: which makes small, bright yellow flowers bloom. It is more sensitive to cold than other species, because it originates from the tropical areas of South America

Cultivate the Zephyranthes

The Zephyrantes is a rather resistant plant, easy to grow even by beginners or by those who approach the hobby of gardening without still having great experience. Being a bulbous, just buy the bulbs, to be planted in the spring. April is the ideal month to bury the Zephyranthes bulbs. The best way to ensure their luxuriant growth is to plant them indoors, in pots, using a good quality universal soil. Towards the end of May, if desired, they can be moved outdoors, possibly in a place where they can receive direct sunlight. The Zephyranthes, to flourish, needs a lot of water. When the seedling has risen, it is necessary to wet it every day, abundantly. The bulbs can also be recovered from adult plants, to reproduce them. This operation should preferably be done in late autumn, towards the beginning of December, when the life cycle of the Zephyranthes is less lively. Also in this case it must be buried in the house and decanted out only in late spring.

Main Zephyranthes’ diseases and remedies

Zephyranthes is a strong and resistant plant. There are no specific diseases of his. It is also little subject to contract pests. However, in periods or prolonged situations of high humidity, it can become ill with gray mold. It is a disease that causes the leaves and petals to rot and, if left untreated or prevented, can kill the plant. To avoid this, just take some caution:

1. always water in the morning, so that the soil moisture has all day to evaporate, thanks to the sun
2. plant the bulbs at a distance from each other, at least 20-25 cm., To guarantee everyone the right air circulation
3. watering generously but without exceeding

If, in spite of everything, the Zephyranthes plant should contract the gray mold, you can intervene by administering to the ground the Bordeaux mixture, which is purchased at all the gardening shops and florists. The treatment, very effective, must be repeated regularly every 10 days, until the problem is solved.

Curiosities

Il suo nome significa “vento dell’ovest”, che è quello che provoca le piogge. Simbolicamente, è un fiore augurale di novità e di abbondanza, di recupero dopo un periodo di siccità, difficile. Una bella pianta, con un messaggio positivo, da regalare a qualcuno in convalescenza o che ha raggiunto un successo dopo un momento di difficoltà.

Edelweiss: the flower of courage

The furry and wild appearance make it a really strange and eccentric flower but the edelweiss (in German) or rock flower, as it is also dubbed this white example, is among the undisputed protagonists of the mountains.

In our country it is possible to find in the Alps but also in the Apennines, especially in Abruzzo where it is among the rocks and the toughest terrain and inaccessible.

Its natural habitat is not circumscribed only to our country but we can also find the Leontopodium in India, China and Japan, especially in the arid areas and of course mountainous.

Meaning and legend

This flower means courage and is probably more suitable to give to the mountain lovers and adventures … His legend tells, once again, of a love story:

A boy went into the top of a mountain where he remained stuck between two ice sheets, and his girlfriend, not seeing him return, decided to go look for him. Just caught up with him she realized to could not approach him and began to weep near him … The next morning, her hair and her tears were covered with frost, which most resembled the typical hair of edelweiss and, given the desire of  watch girl forever companion, she was transformed into this flower unreachable and unique as she had become!

Cultivation

The Edelweiss is a very special flower and so keep in mind what is its natural habitat before you get to buy seeds of this flower. The alpine climate and the Apennines it’s ideal while exposure to the sun almost essential as long as not too suffer the high temperatures of a few late spring. Irrigation must be regular, making sure that there are no puddles (for this you need to protect the flowers from areas too exposed to rain or place them in a well-draining soils)