Knifofia: colorful buds to the envy of all country neighbors!
Modern flower beds are often decorated with exotic specimens previously unknown in our country. Most of these plants come from the tropics, but this does not prevent amateurs from successfully breeding them in the Moscow region. Knifofia is one of these perennial flowers. Tall fancy candles rising from a rosette of narrow long leaves - this splendor is spectacular both as a single plant and as part of a mixborder or an alpine slide.
Knifofia in nature
Knifofia was brought to Europe from Africa
The charming flower got its name in honor of the botanist Johann Kniphof, who first described the exotic plant. In wildlife, it can be seen in Africa (Southern and Eastern parts) and Madagascar. Cultivated flowers, also known as kniphofia, tritoma and notosceptrum, are bred all over the world. However, due to the thermophilicity of this culture, hybrid varieties of knifofia, which grow well in the southern regions, are most widespread.
Features of growing an ornamental culture
The origin of the plant dictates its own laws - for a favorable vegetation and confident flowering, most varieties require a hot climate with sunny weather and short mild winters. In the northern regions and the central part of Russia, only one species of perennial is more often planted - the knifofia Tukka.
It is better to grow an exotic flower in areas where the sun reigns most of the day - elevated areas, southern slopes. In order for the plant to bloom longer, only a slight partial shade is allowed. When determining the landing site, drafts should be excluded.
It is best to plant knifofia in places open to sunlight and near water bodies.
Due to the fact that knifofia is a rather tall plant, it is better to use it in the middle of flower arrangements. And the brightness of the coloring of this African exotic recommends a competent approach to the formation of a flower bed - it is better to place squat representatives of flora with discreet flowers and an abundance of greenery next to a perennial.
Under natural conditions of growth, knifophya gladly settles in places with high humidity - near swamps, ponds... Landscaping can take advantage of this natural love of water and plant a flower next to artificial ponds in the garden.
In botanical reference books, about 75 modifications of knifophya are described. The most famous are the following types:
- Knifofiya Tukka is the most hardy variety, which is rather successfully grown in central Russia. The only variety of culture that can winter outdoors. The height of the bush is 0.8 meters, the inflorescences-spikelets reach 15 cm in height, have a thick red-yellow color. Bright torches delight gardeners throughout the month, starting in July.
Knifofia Tukka is the variety most adapted to the climatic conditions of central Russia
- Hybrid knifofia is a variety bred on the basis of berry knifofia. Variations of hybrid knifophy are characterized by a variety of colors - from burgundy and dark pink to bright yellow. Its height ranges from 0.6 to 1.0 meters.
Hybrid knifofia can be of various shades.
- Berry knifofia is the tallest representative of a perennial. It is characterized by beautiful coral-yellow inflorescences, abundant greenish-gray foliage. Mass bloom begins in July and lasts for 60 days. The following varieties of berry knifofia are in demand among amateurs:
The tallest variety of this decorative crop
- Shaggy knifofia - a special decorative effect of this plant is given by the villi-hairs covering the surface of the leaves. The inflorescences are conical, small in size - only about 3 cm in length - and the classic red-yellow color.
Knifofia shaggy has a traditional yellow-red color
Application in landscape design: examples in the photo
Cultivated species of knifofia can be planted in open ground and by seeds, and by dividing the bush. A plant sown with seeds is capable of sprouting even the next year, therefore, for a faster growing season, it is advisable to plant knifophya through pre-grown seedlings.
How to grow seedlings
The agrotechnology of growing knifofia from seeds is reduced to the following manipulations:
- seeds for seedlings must be planted in specially prepared boxes in March;
- the soil should be loose and light, with good drainage properties;
- after disembarkation, the earth is watered, and the box is covered with a film. To prevent the seeds from suffocating and moldy, you need to periodically remove the cover for airing;
- after 15–20 days, shoots appear, which must be cut open after the appearance of three leaves. When the seedlings become friendly, the film is removed so that young plants receive a sufficient amount of oxygen;
- within two months, the seedlings, sorted into separate containers, grow and harden. When a steady heat sets in, it should be taken out to the balcony or terrace.
Flowering begins only two years after planting seedlings
In early July, a grown perennial seedling can be settled in a permanent place in open ground. Flowering will occur in the third year after planting the seedlings.
Dividing the bush
It is possible to accelerate the flowering of knifofia when the plant propagates by dividing the bush. A three-year-old perennial begins to form rosettes, which are used for transplanting. Young layers are separated from the mother bush with a disinfected sharp knife and left in the air for 2-3 hours. The cut must be treated with charcoal and wait for a slight withering. The outlet can then be dropped off at its permanent location.
Immediately after transplanting, a young bush needs intensive watering, after a few weeks you can switch to watering 1-2 times a week. In hot weather and bright sun, the seedling is shaded.
Open ground planting scheme
Knifofia is a rather large plant, therefore, for a more comfortable existence, it needs free space. Both seedlings and daughter outlets should be planted at a distance of at least 0.4 meters from each other.
A perennial does not need to change its permanent residence without good reason. A transplant is justified only if the plant is more and more withering in the old place.
Care in the garden
Caring for an ornamental plant is not difficult
Cultivation of knifofia in the open field is not associated with particular difficulties. A heat-loving plant is mostly unpretentious, perennial agrotechnology consists of the following techniques:
- loosening and mulching the soil with regular weed removal;
- periodic watering;
- regular removal of faded spikelets.
Despite the hygrophilous nature of knifophya, it absolutely does not tolerate stagnant water - the roots of the plant begin to rot and the perennial may die. Therefore, the knifofia is planted on heights or in holes with drainage. For a more intensive heating of the soil, a black film or small pebbles can be placed around the perennial.
After the onset of the autumn months, the peduncles must be completely removed and the plant must be prepared for wintering. For this, the bushes are covered with a large amount of straw, leaves or coniferous litter. You can use a special covering material with ventilation holes.
For the winter, the knifofia must be covered with a special film.
With the onset of spring, the protective shelter is removed from the bush, but this must be done gradually so that the perennial gets used to the ambient temperature.
If a cold winter is expected, then it is better to dig out the bushes, plant them in separate containers and bring them into a cool room with a temperature of no higher than 80 WITH.
Pests and diseases
Cultivated species of knifofia are highly resistant to flower diseases. The main scourge of the plant is root rot, which develops due to a constant excess of moisture in the soil and too dense soil. If signs of a disease are found, it is necessary to dig up the cniphophy, examine the rhizomes and remove the affected parts. After aseptic processing (sprinkling with charcoal, ash or gray), the bush is transplanted to a place more comfortable for a perennial.
In rare cases, cniphophy can be attacked by pests - aphids, thrips, spider mites. For prevention, you can plant fragrant herbs or siderates next to a perennial, and if pests are found, the plant is treated with an insecticide.
Florist reviews about the features of growing
An elegant and exotic cniphophia with large torch-shaped inflorescences that bloom for 1-2 months, is able to decorate any garden area. Although the African plant does not require special efforts in cultivation, under unfavorable conditions it can refuse to bloom. At the same time, this ornamental culture responds to the care of the gardener with rapid growth and long flowering.
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The herbaceous perennial plant Kniphofia, also called kniphofia, is a representative of the Asphodelic subfamily of the Xantorrhea family. In nature, such a plant grows in Eastern and South Africa, while it can be found at an altitude of 4 thousand meters above sea level. Previously, this genus was a representative of the Liliaceae family. It unites 75 species, some of which, as well as hybrids of knifofia, are cultivated as flowering plants. This genus was named after the German botanist Johann Jerome Kniphof.
Types and varieties of Knifofia for open ground
Useful information about the plant:
- perennial beautifully blooming species
- Xanthorrhea family
- homeland - African continent
- the unusual flower was first described by the German botanist and physician Johann Kniphof
- the root rosette is formed from dense leaves of an interesting color: a gray-green tint adds decorativeness even in the absence of inflorescences
- flowering: summer - early autumn. First, a long peduncle is formed and stretched from the leaf rosette, a large, long inflorescence is located at the top
- most of the 75 species of Knifofia naturally grow only in Africa
- the buds look like a bell, the general appearance of the inflorescence is a large ear
- a specific feature is a change in the color of the petals. At first, the bell buds are red, during the opening of the petals - a rich orange, then various shades of yellow appear. The buds bloom unevenly, and the inflorescence looks spectacular due to the combination of different shades at the same time
- the highest peduncle is at Knifofia Thomson, length is up to 3 m.
Several species are suitable for growing in temperate latitudes. Each group includes many varieties with original characteristics.
- cold-resistant plant
- height - no more than 80 cm
- non-capricious plant
- the view is resistant to temperature changes
- large inflorescences: 12-15 cm
- grows well in the apartment and in the open field
- popular varieties: Fleming Torch, Alcazar.
- original colors of inflorescences, variety of colors
- basis for selection - Knifofiya Yagodnaya
- the height of the peduncles is varied, depending on the variety
- when propagated by seeds collected on the site, the characteristics of the mother plant are practically not fixed in young specimens
- popular varieties: Atlanta, Cobra, Cardinal.
- tall plants: some varieties grow up to 2 m
- large inflorescences - 22-25 cm
- rich palette of colors
- many varieties were cultivated back in the 19th century
- spectacular decor for open areas, lawns, resting areas in the garden, flower beds. Some growers create hedges and "plot dividers" in a large garden using a tall plant with a pronounced decorative effect
- interesting varieties: Eskimo, Dr. Kerr Lemon, Martian.
Growing by seeds and vegetatively, caring for plants is not particularly difficult. It is only necessary water regularly, weeding and mulching the soil. Watering should be moderate, as excessive moisture negatively affects the plant. However, on sunny days, it is made more abundant.
For the winter period, the knifofia is prepared in a special way in order to protect it from freezing. After flowering, the flower stalks are cut off from the plants, the leaves are tied in bunches and everything is covered with sawdust, fallen leaves or spruce branches of coniferous trees. The top is additionally covered with roofing material, leaving small ventilation holes to avoid overmaturity.
If the winter is with little snow or too wet, the plants may die from freezing. To be on the safe side, knifophia bushes are transplanted into special containers in which the soil must be periodically moistened... The containers are kept in a dry basement at a temperature of 1-8 degrees. Planting of plants for growing in the open field is carried out only at the end of May - beginning of June.
If the bushes remain hidden in the ground, then they must be gradually opened to acclimatize to sunlight. It is not recommended to prune the leaves for the winter period, since knifophya is an evergreen plant. Otherwise, it can negatively affect flowering. In the spring, before the start of the season, plant care begins, they are examined, dry leaves are removed and healthy ones are cut.
Top dressing and fertilization of knifofia
Fertilizing is done twice in the entire season. After the appearance of young leaves, fertilizing is carried out with mineral fertilizers containing nitrogen and organic substances. Diluted chicken manure can be used. As an organic fertilizer compost, humus, peat are used... In the second half of summer, after flowering, potash fertilizers or ash are applied, which helps the plants to endure the winter. Dark stones can be placed near the cniphophies, which emit additional heat, which is necessary for growing flowers.
Pests and diseases
If the plant receives proper care, regular watering, and feeding with the necessary fertilizers, then it is not susceptible to diseases and feels good. Excessive watering can cause root rot.
In this case, the method of treating cniphophia is fungicide treatment. If the plant no longer responds to treatment, then it must be urgently removed, as there is a risk of contamination of other flowers.
Of insects that can harm a plant are aphids, spider mites, thrips... They are destroyed by spraying with an insecticide.