Agrostemma or Kukol: planting and care in the open field

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Agrostemma or Kukol: planting and care in the open field
Agrostemma or Kukol: planting and care in the open field

Characteristic features of the plant, how to grow an agrostemma in open ground, recommendations for reproduction, diseases and pests when cultivating a cockle, curious notes, species. Agrostemma (Agrostemma) also bears the name Kukol and scientists attributed it to the Caryophyllaceae family, or as it is often called Carnation. The genus combines only three varieties of annuals or biennials, the places of natural distribution of which fall on the lands of Europe and Asia, where a temperate climate prevails. In floriculture, it is customary to use only two of them.

Family name Clove or Clove
Life cycle Annual or biennial
Growth features Herbaceous
Reproduction Seed
Landing period in open ground April-May or October before winter
Disembarkation scheme Seedlings are placed at a distance of 15-30 cm from each other
Substrate Light, sandy, lime-rich
Illumination Open area with bright lighting
Moisture indicators Moderate, drought tolerant
Special Requirements Unpretentious
Plant height 0.3–1 m
Color of flowers Snow-white, dark pink, dull purple, occasionally light pinkish
Type of flowers, inflorescences Single
Flowering time All summer
Decorative time Spring-summer
Place of application Tall flower beds, mixborders, ridges, containers
Usage Recommended for cutting
USDA zone 4, 5, 6

The plant got its scientific name due to the merger of two words in Greek: "agros" and "stemma, atos", which translates as "field" and "wreath or garland", respectively. The result is a "wreath of the field", that is, "decoration of the field", since the flowers of this representative of the flora are very decorative and growth is quite common. If we rely on the data presented by the publication "Flora of the USSR", then it indicates that the term Agrostemma is used for a field plant, from the flowers of which wreaths can be woven. People can often hear how the agrostemma is called "adonis", although today this name is given to the spring adonis.

Agrostemma are often annuals with a herbaceous form of growth, and they can be winter crops. The length of the root system reaches 80 cm, while the central root, which has branching, is well distinguished. Its surface can be covered with elongated hairs of gray or whitish color. The height of the plant stem can vary from 30 cm to a meter. It grows upright, simple in appearance, but sometimes lateral shoots can form on it. On the stem, leaf plates of a linear or linear-lanceolate shape are unfolded. Their length is 13 cm. The color of the leaves is light green or with a grayish bloom.

During flowering, bisexual flowers are formed in agrostemma, they are actinomorphic (only one plane of symmetry can be drawn through their plane). In full disclosure, the diameter of the flower is 5 cm. The inflorescences can be single or monochisal. Monochasia represent this type of inflorescence, when semi-umbilical (cymoid) inflorescences have such a structure, where each maternal axis contains only a single daughter. Inflorescences crown the tops of the stems.

The length of the calyx is 25–55 mm; it lengthens during fruiting. Its shape is elongated-ovate or oblong, equipped with long teeth of linear-lanceolate outlines. The corolla tube has 5 pairs of strongly prominent veins; it is also dissected slightly more than the middle by 5 lobes. Petals - 5, they are solid, the bend of which is at the top with a notch. Flowers are deprived of a bridle. The color of the petals can be snow-white, dark pink, dull purple, occasionally light pinkish. On the inner side of the marigold, there is a longitudinally placed strip with pterygoid outlines.

During fruiting, a box devoid of a leg is formed, which has one nest in the base part. There are a lot of seeds inside. When fully ripe, the capsule opens outward, unscrewing 5 teeth. Seeds are almost black in color. Their diameter is 2.5–3.5 mm. Their surface is more or less covered with pointed spines or tubercles; there is a bulge on the side of the dorsum. The seeds are poisonous.

Growing agrostemma in open ground

Agrostemma grows
Agrostemma grows
  1. Choosing a place for planting a doll in the garden. The adonis is distinguished by its photophilousness and it is better to select the sunny location of the flower bed. If the place is chosen incorrectly, then with their stems the plants will reach for the light, while greatly thinning.
  2. Landing. After the seedlings have grown to a height of 8–10 cm, the agrostemma can be transplanted to any other place. At the same time, a distance of about 15-30 cm is maintained between the plants. With the help of a garden tool, young adonis are dug out in such a way that the earthen lump is not destroyed. A hole should be dug in the chosen place, the size of which is suitable for the root system with the remaining soil. If the substrate is too moist, or groundwater passes nearby, then the planting site must be transferred or a drainage layer must be laid on the bottom of the hole. Such a composition (it can be medium-sized expanded clay or pebbles) will protect the root system from waterlogging.
  3. Growing temperature. This wildflower tolerates cold climates well.
  4. Watering. In general, the agrostemma is distinguished by drought resistance, but sometimes, on especially dry summer days, natural precipitation may not be enough and then the cockle does not bloom so luxuriantly. Therefore, you should moderately moisten the soil next to the stems. It is better to water the substrate in the morning or evening, so that the drops of moisture that fall on the leaf plates have time to dry. All due to the fact that, refracting, the sun's rays can cause sunburn.
  5. Fertilizers for the cockle, as well as for other wild plants that are grown by humans, are also necessary. But it is recommended to apply the drugs initially at planting, and then during the entire growing season the agrostemma will not need fertilizers. But in any case, even on depleted soils, you should not get carried away with fertilizing, since the plant will begin to increase the green deciduous mass to the detriment of flowering.
  6. The soil. For planting the cockle, it is recommended to use light, well-drained soils and are not distinguished by increased dampness. Although the plant is not demanding in care and in the composition of the soil mixture, the acidity indicators should be neutral. It is better for looseness to add to the universal purchased substrate or garden soil, quarry or river coarse-grained sand and a little calcareous component. That is, the land will become sandy loam or limestone.
  7. Application. When used in landscape design, the doll looks good next to the plantings of cereals or meadow grasses, which are used to decorate the lawn in the Moorish style. At the same time, it is recommended to plant varieties of sowing or graceful agrostemma. It looks beautiful in high flower beds, when planting in mixborders or working. Neighboring plants can be representatives of ferns and cinquefoil, which has a yellow color of flowers. The doll attracts bees, which pollinate its flowers. If you use it for cutting, then the stems in a vase may not wither for up to a week. Such bouquets can be used to decorate a room in the country style. Often, florist designers use Agrostemma as a replacement for the night violet.
  8. General advice on care. When growing a cockle, both in the open field and in garden containers, it is recommended to provide support. If the stems began to lodge, then this is due to the fact that, reaching a considerable height, they cannot withstand the wind. In this case, flower growers prevent such a nuisance with a thin wire ring. In any case, the support for tall stems should not be made the same size as the shoots, as it will shade the cockle and spoil its appearance. In any case (when growing, both outdoors and in a garden container), it is necessary to regularly loosen the soil around the plant. This will guarantee its long-term preservation of moisture and prevention of weeds.

When caring for an agrostemma, it is important not to allow it to spread independently through self-seeding. This process in the cockle is very fast, which is facilitated by a large amount of seed material. You can control sowing by removing wilting flowers or collecting the seed pods while they have not opened and their contents have not spilled out.

Recommendations for propagating agrostemma from seeds

Photo agrostemma
Photo agrostemma

Since the cockle is an annual herbaceous form, reproduction is carried out mainly by sowing seeds. Sowing begins at a time when the soil in the garden is already warmed up to 12 degrees. Or, you can place the seeds in the soil "before winter", when the substrate is already gradually freezing (approximately in November). Placed in the soil for 3-4 seeds, forming a kind of "nest". The seeding depth should be no more than 2–3 cm, but it was noted that the sprouts successfully make their way upward from a depth of about seven centimeters.

After the shoots appear in spring (usually 14–20 days are allotted for this period, especially if the weather is warm), it is recommended to carry out thinning, because young adonies planted with a high density will grow weak and there will be few healthy specimens. Chicken seedlings are thinned out when their height reaches 7–10 cm. It is necessary to leave between individual shoots up to 15–30 cm.

When sown before winter, the plants will sprout more amicably and are more healthy. The development of such crops will begin when the soil temperature begins to vary in the range of 12-16 degrees.

Diseases and pests during the cultivation of cockle

Flowering agrostemma
Flowering agrostemma

You can delight flower growers with the fact that agrostemma is not susceptible to disease and does not suffer from attacks of harmful insects due to its increased toxicity.

However, if the soil moisture is too high, the plant will begin to rot. If the weather is dry and hot, then flowering will be weak or will not come for a long time. When, during watering, the drops of water do not have time to dry before the time when the sun is at its zenith, this can provoke a sunburn of the leaves.

Curious notes about agrostemma, flower photo

Agrostemma flower
Agrostemma flower

Due to the fact that the seeds of the plant are poisonous, it is recommended to plant it in places where small children cannot reach. In this case, you should not worry about pets, since animals on an instinctive level bypass the agrostemma. The seeds contain poisonous toxins, so it is necessary to carefully inspect the hay so that no grass gets into the feed of horses or cattle. Since this can cause serious problems in the work of digestion and further provoke diseases in livestock.

Attention! When working with this herb, it is recommended to wear gloves, if not, then after all operations, hands and eyes are thoroughly washed with soap. The seeds contain a large amount of a substance such as the glycoside agrostemmine. If it accidentally enters the human body, then the entire gastrointestinal tract is disrupted, and erythrocytes are destroyed and the activity of the heart is inhibited, which further provokes convulsions. Therefore, self-treatment with cockle-based drugs should be carried out under the supervision of a physician.

But if the funds made from the common agrostemma are used correctly, then they have an antihelminthic, hypnotic and diaphoretic effect, and can also contribute to the early healing of wounds. Traditional healers have long used such remedies to eliminate pain in the stomach, treat colds and bleeding in uterine diseases. If you prepare compresses or poultices based on the herb of cockle, then they help to remove the symptoms of hemorrhoids and skin inflammations.

But in the fields, especially where cereals are grown, agrostemma is considered a weed, and even the flour obtained from the grains where the seeds of the plant got will be poisonous.

It is curious that some time ago the adonis was actively cultivated in order to make alcohol from the collected seeds.

Types of agrostemma

A kind of agrostemma
A kind of agrostemma

Agrostemma graceful (Agrostemma gracilis) is often referred to as the Graceful Doll. The distribution area falls on the lands of Sicily. Annual, stem with strong branching, not reaching 0.5 m in height. The flowers do not exceed 3 cm in diameter. The petals are painted in a light red color, in the center the shade becomes lighter. The flowers resemble phlox in shape, but are located at the tops of the stems. Since the shoots are very branchy, it seems that the buds are collected in a loose umbrella inflorescence. The flowering process is plentiful and stretches over the entire summer period. The buds open in the morning hours and by the afternoon of noon they are already closed. Seeds are small, germination lasts up to 3-4 years. If the plant is cut, then it will remain in a vase for a week.

Agrostemma ordinary (Agrostemma githago) can be found under the name Common cockle or Sowing cockle. The homeland is the land of Eurasia. Can grow as an annual or biennial plant. The height does not exceed 50 cm. In nature, it is often found in the fields among the plantings of grain plants, but it is considered a weed. The stems are branchy. Leaf plates grow oppositely, their shape is narrowed, the surface is with grayish-tomentose pubescence. Flowers are arranged singly, when opened, their diameter reaches 2 cm. Pedicels are elongated, originating in the leaf axils. The color of the petals is light or dark purple, but on the surface there are lighter longitudinal stripes. Sometimes the color is lilac-pink, but with dark veins on the petals. The flowering process takes place from June to the end of July. The buds open in the morning and close at noon. Ripening seeds contain toxic substances. Seed material retains its germination properties for up to 4 years.

The following varieties are common:

  • Milas, in which the color of the flowers is pale lilac, and the diameter is 5 cm;
  • Milas Serise has flowers of a darker color than Milas;
  • Ocean Pearl differs in a snow-white shade of flowers;
  • Milas Pinky flowers are painted in pink and crimson color.

Agrostemma heavenly rose (Agrostemma coeli-rosa) also bears a synonym for Silene coeli-rosa. Native lands are located in the western regions of the Mediterranean. The plant can be up to half a meter in height with shoots. The outlines of the stems are erect, with abundant branching, leaves grow densely on them, the surface of the stems is devoid of pubescence. The leaf plates are sessile, with a linear-lanceolate shape, pointed at the apex, entire, without pubescence. The flowers are regular in shape, in diameter when fully opened, they can reach 2.5 cm. The color of the petals is pink, red, lilac lily, snow-white. They gather in loose inflorescences, crowning the tops of the shoots. The form of inflorescences is corymbose-paniculate. The flowering process occurs in June-July. The fruit is a capsule, which, when ripe, opens at the top, bending back five teeth. It has been used in culture since 1687.

Video about agrostemme:

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