Description of the haretail plant, tips for planting and growing in the garden, how to reproduce, difficulties in growing lagurus, notes for gardeners, varieties.
The haretail (Lagurus) is a plant that belongs to the monotypic genus of annuals that are part of the Gramineae family or, as it is often called, Poaceae. This genus contains only one species - the ovate haretail (Lagurus ovatus), which is found in such natural areas as the north of the African continent, west and east of Asia, the Caucasus and European lands. It is noteworthy that it mainly grows on the sandy or rocky substrate of coastal zones. Today, because of decorativeness, plants are cultivated in various countries.
|Family name||Bluegrass or Cereals|
|Landing period in open ground||Second half of May|
|Disembarkation scheme||A distance of 10-15 cm is maintained between seedlings|
|Substrate||Sandy, nutritious, light|
|Soil acidity, pH||Neutral - 6, 5-7 or slightly acidic 4, 5-5, 5|
|Illumination||Sunny accommodation, partial shade possible|
|Moisture indicators||Drought tolerant, but watering should be regular during the hot summer months|
|Special Requirements||Easy to grow|
|Plant height||In the range of 10–95 cm|
|Color of flowers||White, purple or light green|
|Type of flowers, inflorescences||Paniculate, consisting of spikelets|
|Flowering time||March to July|
|Place of application||Curbs, flower beds, lawns, bouquets or crafts, rockeries and rock gardens, garden paths|
Lagurus has its scientific name in Latin due to the combination of words in ancient Greek "lagos" and "oura", which translates as "hare" and "tail". This is how the ancient people correlated the inflorescence of cereal with a hare's tail. You can also hear how it is called in accordance with transliteration - Lagurus.
A hare tail can reach a height of 10 to 60 cm with its stems, but if growing conditions are favorable, they can stretch up to 95 cm. The stems grow upright, rather densely. In our latitudes, the plant is grown as an annual, but if the climate permits (milder and southerly, without harsh winters), then the growth period can stretch for two years. The root system of the lagurus is tuberous and has strong branching. The leaves are linear or elongated-lanceolate flat, with a smooth sharpening at the top. The foliage is attached to the base of the stem, while the length of the leaf plate reaches 20 cm. On the surface of the leaves there is pubescence of short villi and because of this they are soft to the touch. The color of the foliage is a rich light green or silver-green hue, which is also provided by a fleecy coating. The same villi cover the entire stem. Even when it hasn't started flowering yet, the plant has a pretty cute fluffy look.
It was flowering that gave such a bright name to this representative of the flora. Thin stalks of the haretail are crowned with panicle inflorescences, the sizes of which (length / width) can vary in the range of 0, 6-4, 5x0, 6-1, 5 cm, but there are specimens with inflorescence parameters - 7x2 cm. The shape of the panicle is ovoid, but occasionally it takes the contour of an elongated cylinder or oval. The spikelets are 7–11 mm long. Thanks to the pile that grows near the spikelets, the inflorescences have a fluffy appearance. The length of the villi is measured in the range of 2.5-4 cm. The color of the villi is light, whitish, purple or greenish. The flowering process takes the period from early spring to mid-summer, but in colder regions (for example, in central Russia), flowering can be expected from July to August.
After that, the haretail is ripening fruits that have the appearance of weevils. Their parameters reach 3x0.6 mm. The shape of the caryopses is fusiform, the structure is dense. In nature, reproduction occurs by self-seeding.
It is generally accepted to use a haretail for decorating borders and flower beds, as well as for drawing up bouquets and crafts. If there is a desire to use the inflorescences of the lagurus for the preparation of phytocompositions, then the cutting of the fluffy panicles is carried out until they mature and open. Otherwise, the seed material will spill out onto the ground, and decorativeness will be lost.
Tips for planting and caring for a haretail in the garden
- Choosing a location for landing. A flowerbed in a sunny location is most suitable, but a little shading will not negatively affect Lagurus. Growing in garden containers and pots is permissible. They need to be placed on terraces or balconies. The location should ensure the duration of daylight hours within 12-14 hours per day. It is important that there are no closely passing groundwater nearby, and moisture from precipitation or melting snow does not stagnate.
- Soil for lagurus. The plant is not very demanding on the soil and will feel great on any substrate. But if we take into account the natural distribution of this representative of cereals, it is better that the soil is light and well-drained, allowing water and air to easily reach the roots. However, if you add compost or humus to the soil, the hare tail will only be grateful. On heavy soil, moisture during prolonged precipitation can stagnate, which will entail rotting of the root system. To prevent this from happening, sand must be added to the soil mixture when planting.
- Planting a haretail in open ground should be performed in the second half of May, when the threat of return frosts has passed, since the plant does not tolerate the cold at all. If seedlings are planted, then it is recommended to prepare the soil before this. Due to the delicate root system, transplanting always has a bad effect on the lagurus, therefore it is better to use peat cups, from which the seedlings are not removed, or to use the transshipment method when the earthen ball does not collapse and the roots are not injured. Before planting, the soil is watered abundantly, and when the bulk of the moisture evaporates and is absorbed, they begin to place the haretail seedlings in the holes. The distance between the plants should be at least 10 cm. After the young lagurus are planted, the soil next to them is compressed and well moistened. In order for the summer to take root faster, you can add any root formation stimulator (for example, heteroauxinic acid or Kornevin) to the water for irrigation.
- Watering. Since haretail grows mainly in warm areas, it can easily tolerate short-term droughts. This is due to the fact that in coastal natural areas there are often morning and evening fogs, there is sea dust, and the air is saturated with moisture. However, when grown in a garden, the plant will be deprived of this and will wither without moisture (often even a slight drought can lead to death), especially if there is no rainfall for a long time on summer days. Therefore, it is recommended to irrigate twice a week, and in dry periods - every other day. This is especially true for plants planted in pots, where rain drops cannot reach. Moistening should be performed when the soil from above has already dried out. Water the lagurus carefully so that drops of moisture do not fall on the stems and inflorescences, due to pubescence. If the plantings do not have enough moisture, then the panicles will form small and seemingly inconspicuous. Filling the substrate will lead to rotting and death of the plant.
- Fertilizers for the haretail are performed before the flowering process begins. In this case, you can start immediately after a week or one and a half from the time of planting the seedlings in the ground. The frequency between feedings should be 10 days. You can use mullein diluted in water for the first time in a ratio of 1:10. In subsequent times, it is recommended to use drugs with a large amount of nitrogen content, such as urea (carbamide) or ammonium nitrate. This will help build up the green mass of the bushes. It is better to use liquid formulations of fertilizers that dissolve in water intended for irrigation. But it should be remembered that an excess of nitrogen can lead to too dark color of foliage and inflorescences, as well as to the rapid breaking off of the stems. When the flowering period begins for the lagurus, its plantings should be fertilized twice with complex preparations (for example, Kemira-Universal) - this will help prolong the formation of panicle ears. You can also replace one of the portions of these preparations with horny flour, which will provide the plant with the necessary nutrients.
- Cutting off haretail inflorescences. The highly decorative panicles that appear on the lagurus are often used in bouquets, but it is important to cut them off before they turn yellow. This will guarantee that the spikelets will not crumble yet and will retain their appearance for a long time. Before cutting, you need to wait for the dew drops to dry on the panicles, that is, they select lunch time or before the evening dew falls.
- The use of haretail in landscape design. Since the height of the lagurus usually has medium-sized stems, it is recommended to use it for planting in compositions of stones (rock gardens or rockeries), to plant borders or garden paths with such plantings. When planting in stone gardens, you can use the patchwork method, that is, they try to arrange the haretail in groups, small in size. Also, this representative of cereals will help fill the void between annuals with bright flowers or shrubs. So it is customary to arrange spaces in a rose garden or under fruit bushes. It should be remembered that quite unpretentious plant forms coexist next to the haretail, which will feel comfortable on poor substrates. Their bright inflorescences will be well set off by the pale green of the lagurus, while bringing revitalization to the floral arrangement. An interesting result will be the proximity of the haretail with perennial herbaceous representatives of the flora, which have a darker rich green foliage color. Here you can use combinations with Iresene Herbst (Iresine herbstii), Tenacious creeping (Ajuga reptans) or with Coleus Blume (Plectranthus scutellarioides).
- General tips for the care of a haretail. Several times during the growing season of the plant, it is necessary to weed the weeds. After rain or watering, it is better to loosen the soil shallowly so that it does not compact. Otherwise, a crust will form, which will subsequently retain both air and moisture.
- Application of dried lagurus flowers. Since the haretail has decorative paniculate inflorescences, consisting of spikelets and decorated with hairs, it can be used when drawing up dry bouquets. The ovoid inflorescences cut to full maturity are collected in not too tight bundles, after removing all the foliage from the stems. Then the bundles should be suspended in a room with good ventilation with the stems up, and the spikelets down.
When completely dry, dried flowers have a creamy shade that can be easily changed by coloring. For painting it is recommended to use:
- spray guns (spray guns) and conventional water-soluble dyes;
- paints in special aerosol cans.
After toning has been done, it will take 1-2 days to dry, and then haretail spikelets are ready for use in dry phytocompositions. For example, decorators combine painted inflorescences of lagurus with bright flowers well, but it is possible to make an independent bouquet from the spikelets themselves, painted in different shades.
Reproduction of haretail - features of growing from seeds
You can get new plants with fluffy inflorescences only with the help of seeds, but at the same time they can be sown directly into the ground or grow seedlings.
If there is no desire to tinker with the seedlings, then the seeds of the lagurus are sown in early May or, in extreme cases, in the last days of April. The best varieties of haretail are considered to be "Lesya", "Steppe wanderer", "Nanus" and "Hare tail". At the chosen place in partial shade or in the sun, it is necessary to dig up the soil, loosen and level it with a garden rake. The seeds of the haretail are sealed to a depth of half a centimeter, then the substrate is slightly compacted and only slightly rolled with a bar of wood. It is recommended to water the crops abundantly, the surface of the beds is mulched with humus. The layer should be very thin.
When caring for crops, it is important that there is a sufficient amount of moisture in the soil, since even strong haretail seedlings cannot break through when it dries. If you want to speed up the germination of seeds, then you can cover the crops with a film or spunbond. Then the sprouts will appear after two weeks.
It is possible to sow lagurus seeds before winter, at the end of November, when the weather is already quite cold. Often this time is shifted so that the seeds do not sprout before the arrival of spring.
To grow haretail seedlings, reproduction begins in mid-spring. This method will allow for early flowering. A soil mixture composed of light nutritious soil and coarse-grained river sand is poured into seedling boxes (equal parts of the components are taken). In order to avoid infection with fungal diseases or parasites, it is recommended to disinfect the substrate - ignite it in the oven for about half an hour or steam it in a water bath. On the surface of a slightly flattened soil, haretail seed is distributed in such a way that there are 3-4 cm between the seeds. Then they are sprinkled with the same soil up to half a centimeter thick. Spraying of crops from a spray bottle is in progress. You can put a piece of glass on top or cover the container with plastic. In this case, airing and watering will be important.
After the sprouts of the young lagurus appear (after about 10-15 days), the seedling box is transferred to a warm and well-lit place, but without direct sunlight. In the case when the seedlings are placed very tightly, it is recommended to thin them out. When the seedlings get stronger and it will already be clear that the morning frosts have passed (around the end of May), you can plant the plants in a prepared place in the garden. At the same time, the distance between them is maintained at 10–15 cm. After this, the plantings are watered and the soil is mulched.
So that transplanting to a permanent place does not bring problems to the haretail due to a weak root system, you can immediately grow seedlings in pots made of peat.
Difficulties in growing a haretail in the garden
You can please florists with the fact that larugus is a fairly resistant plant in relation to both diseases and harmful insects. However, if a large amount of nitrogen fertilization was applied, this leads to fragility of the stems, and the color of the stems, foliage and inflorescences becomes dark green. To avoid this, you should replace the nitrogen-containing preparations next time with horny meal.
Notes for gardeners about the haretail
When dried, lagurus inflorescences can take on a whitish or creamy hue, it is only important to hang the stems down with spikelets. If you want the color of the inflorescences not to lose their natural shade, then drying is performed in the dark with good ventilation (for example, in the attic or shed). If you do not need to use the haretail inflorescences for now, they are stored in cardboard boxes (so that they do not break), shifting with thin paper.
When painting haretail inflorescences, it is considered economical when the inflorescences are placed in water with a dye dissolved in it. You can pour the same solution into a spray bottle and spray a bunch of spikelets. It is better to do this process outside the home or, as a last resort, in the bathroom. After the spikelets of the lagurus have acquired the required shade, they are left to dry for another 48 hours.
The most popular varieties are considered to be:
- Lagurus « Hare's tail ". It is a herbaceous cereal plant that varies in height in the range of 20-30 cm, therefore it is often used for landscaping borders. The stems grow erect, their color is light green, the top is decorated with spikelets collected in panicle inflorescences. The shape of the panicles is in the form of an egg, the length reaches 4 cm and is 1–2 cm in width. The color of the panicles is grayish-white.
- Lagurus « The steppe wanderer. " Often it serves not only to decorate a garden plot, but also as a dried flower. The height of the plant does not exceed half a meter, the foliage is small, its shape is oblong, lanceolate. There is a slight pubescence of short hairs. The inflorescences have a spike-like structure. The length of the inflorescences varies in the range of 3-4 cm. The shape of the inflorescences is rounded or ovoid. The color of the panicles from the very beginning has a pale greenish tint, which over time acquires a snow-white color. The flowering process of this variety occurs from mid-summer to the end of August. The variety is cold-resistant and not susceptible to diseases or pests.
- Lagurus "Nanus". This variety is notable for its short stature, since its height indicators can vary within 15–20 cm. Recommended for filling voids in stone gardens or used in landscaping garden paths.
- Lagurus "Lesya". This bush has a large number of stems, reaching 0, 25–0, 3 m in height. The flowering process occurs in the period from July or early August and can stretch even until November, until the first frosts begin. The inflorescences are represented by egg-shaped panicles, but the spikelets in them are very dense, providing a high density. Such panicles are completely covered with protruding hairs. The color of the inflorescences is grayish-whitish, while the length can reach 4 cm.