Very often flowering plants from flower beds , borders and alpine slides can be seen on terraces, loggias and balconies . They are planted in boxes and pots of various sizes, large floor flowerpots and tubs. This is explained by the simple desire of flower growers to admire their flowering for as long as possible and inhale the aroma of summer. Among such plants, which often migrate from the garden to pots, are undersized varieties and hybrids of ageratum, a tropical plant discovered by V. Houston.
The ageratum flower, a photo of the growing process of which can be seen below, is often called long-flowered, since the flowering period of most of its varieties is four or even five months. As a rule, it lasts from the beginning of June to the end of September – the beginning of October.
Low-growing varieties and hybrids of ageratum form very neat and compact bushes, the height of which reaches only 30-40 cm. These fluffy bush balls look very attractive both in a flower bed, in a border composition, and in a pot on a balcony or terrace.
The color palette of the inflorescences of this plant includes all shades of pink and purple without exception, starting with pale pink and ending with a rich blue-violet hue.
There are also white and yellow varieties of this flower, with the help of artistic planting of which you can create real masterpieces in the flower beds.
Growing ageratum from seeds at home
Ageratum cannot be called too picky or fastidious flower, with which there are many problems. It is very unpretentious, so growing ageratum from seeds at home in the vast majority of cases does not cause any particular difficulties. For growing ageratum from seeds at home, southeast and south windows are best suited. The plant reproduces well by seeds, which are planted on seedlings , and then transplanted into separate pots for further planting in the ground or flowerpot.
Despite the fact that growing ageratum seedlings is a rather troublesome business, many flower growers resort to it. This method of plant propagation allows you to get a sufficient number of seedlings and plant large areas with these beautiful and abundantly flowering plants.
The best time to sow ageratum seeds at home is mid-March. If the climate allows you to plant plants in the ground or take it out in a pot on an open balcony or terrace already in early May, then you can sow seeds for seedlings 20-25 days earlier, that is, already in early February.
Before proceeding directly to sowing seeds at home, you need to prepare the soil. It must have the correct composition and be disinfected with a weak solution of potassium permanganate. The ideal soil for germinating seeds and seedlings is a mixture of humus, sand and peat, taken in equal parts.
Since the seeds of the ageratum are very small, for greater convenience of sowing they are mixed with dry sand. This will help to quickly distribute them among the beds. After placing the seeds in the soil, you need to irrigate it abundantly with warm water using a spray bottle. But watering in the usual way is not worth it, since the flow of water can wash away all the seeds in one place and the seedlings will turn out to be uneven. A container with sown ageratum seeds should be placed in a warm, well-lit place and covered with glass (plastic wrap).
After the first shoots appear, the film is removed and the container is placed on a well-lit windowsill. Comfortable growing conditions for ageratum are very important – it should be warm enough (at least 18 degrees) and humid. It is necessary to ensure that the seedlings do not stretch out and do not lean to one side. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended to turn the container with seedlings regularly, exposing the sun to one side of it, then the other.
After the appearance of the second pair of leaves, the ageratum is planted in separate peat pots or small plastic cups. At the end of May-beginning of June, the strengthened seedlings are planted in flowerpots or pots in which they will develop further.
Propagation of ageratum by cuttings
You can also grow an ageratum from cuttings that are cut in spring from a mother plant that has been preserved all winter in a greenhouse or greenhouse . Plants left in the ground for the winter are not suitable for cuttings, as they die when frost occurs.
Further cultivation of the cuttings of the ageratum flower takes place in separate containers filled with a soil-sand mixture. Young plants obtained by cuttings should be regularly sprayed and watered. Rooting cuttings of ageratum at home occurs quickly, since the process of formation of adventitious roots in this plant occurs without difficulty.
In most cases, breeders use this method of propagation of ageratum to propagate hybrid or breeding plant species. This is due to the fact that it will not work to cut a large number of cuttings from one bush, and sowing seeds is most suitable for mass reproduction and growing flowers for seedlings.
Growing and caring for ageratum (with photo)
In most cases, planting and caring for the ageratum do not cause any particular problems. The plant does not need any special procedures.
All that needs to be done is to loosen the soil to ensure sufficient oxygen supply to the roots, to remove weeds in a timely manner that prevent the flower from fully developing and to water periodically, preventing cracking and drying out of the soil.
As for top dressing, experts recommend using ammophoska nitrophoska and some other mineral components. But organic fertilizers, according to many flower growers, are better not to use, since in this case the plant begins to intensively increase its foliage mass to the detriment of flowering.
If there is no need to harvest seeds for next year, then after the flowers have wilted, they must be cut off, thereby stimulating the plant to renew the crown. In the event that some inflorescences lose their picturesqueness and become moldy, they need to be disposed of as soon as possible. Most often, such a nuisance occurs when plants are planted too tightly and the density of inflorescences is too dense.
Photos showing the planting and care of ageratum can be seen below:
Unfortunately, even excellent care for ageratum cannot completely exclude the possibility of developing diseases of this plant. Basically, the flower suffers from horse rot, as many flower growers water it too often.
Ageratum is also susceptible to bacterial wilt, to combat which it is necessary to remove all damaged greens. Also, the plant is exposed to the invasion of nematodes, mites and whiteflies, which are used to combat insecticides.