Ageratum bushes with small fluffy flowers of the most delicate lilac-blue, white or pink color are called longiflorum for a reason: you can admire their modest beauty from early summer until frosts.
Ageratum is called ageless because in its natural habitat this perennial does not change its appearance even when the seasons change, but in our gardens it is grown as an annual crop: the plant does not tolerate frost.
In the article about ageratum you will find such information:
- how to grow seedlings and transplant them into the open ground;
- How to care for the plant during the season;
- how to protect ageratum from diseases and pests.
Planting and care of ageratum
- Planting: sowing in seedlings – in the second half of March, followed by transplanting the seedlings into the ground in the second decade of May.
- Flowering: June until the first frost.
- Illumination: bright sunlight.
- Soil: Light, nutritious, not too greasy, neutral.
- Watering: plentiful, under a root.
- Feeding: once every three weeks alternating organic and mineral fertilizers. Do not apply fresh manure, it is categorically not recommended.
- Propagation: by cuttings and seeds.
- Pests: leaf and gall nematodes, moth caterpillars, spider mites, whiteflies.
- Diseases: root rot, bacterial wilt, cucumber mosaic virus.
Ageratum plant (lat. Ageratum) belongs to a genus of the Aster family. Its representatives are found mainly in North and Central America, and also in eastern India. It takes its name from the Latin ageratos, which means “ageless”, and it looks very fresh when cut. In Europe, ageratum became widespread in the XIX century, in our country it is called “longiflorum”. Cultivate it in gardens for the fluffy pompon-like flowers, collected in dense inflorescences often in a blue palette of colors, in addition, it is quite unpretentious in care. There are about 60 species of ageratum.
Ageratum is a small shrub with triangular, oval or diamond-shaped leaves of a succulent green color with a serrated edge. The upper leaves are alternate, sessile, and the middle and lower leaves are opposite, on petioles. Numerous erect pubescent stems reach a height of 10 cm to 60 cm. Flowers are small, fragrant, ovipotent, gathered into small inflorescences-baskets from one to one and a half centimeters in diameter, which in turn form complex shield-shaped inflorescences – they come not only in blue and purple, but also white and pink hues. The fruit of the ageratum is an elongated wedge-shaped, pentagonal seed.
One gram contains approximately 7,000 small seeds that last 3 to 4 years to germinate.
In our climatic conditions, ageratum is grown as an annual plant because it is very heat-loving. Ageratum looks great in a bed, in a flowerbed, it is used to create carpet compositions. Ageratum’s partner plants include other annuals – lion’s wings, marigolds, calendula.
Growing ageratum from seeds
Propagation of ageratum is carried out, as a rule, by seed. Sow ageratum seeds in the second half of March in boxes with soil consisting in equal parts of humus, sand and peat. On top of the small seeds are carefully covered with the same soil and covered with glass or film. Keep the greenhouse in a room where the temperature is not below 15 ºC, and daily arrange airing.
It is very important that the soil is slightly moist all the time, so do not forget to sprinkle the soil as it dries out.
Sprouts usually germinate in a couple of weeks, and from the moment they appear, you can no longer cover the box with glass or film.
When the seedlings have two pairs of true leaves they need to be spaced out. Ageratum seedlings should be pickled twice, and during the second picking each sprout should be planted in a separate pot or cup. The air around the seedlings should be dry and the soil should be moist. Water the ageratum only in the morning. Two weeks before planting, take the plants outdoors for acclimatization, but if there is a threat of frost, be prepared to cover them.
Planting ageratum in the ground is carried out when night frosts are left behind. Plant in a place protected from draughts and with sunshine – if you plant ageratum in the shade, its shoots will stretch out and instead of compact bushes you will have disheveled bushes, blooming randomly. Well-drained, nutritious, light and not acidic soil is preferable, but in this matter ageratum is not capricious. Before planting, loosen the soil well, dig holes at a distance of 10-15 cm from each other and plant seedlings at the same depth as they grew in seedling boxes or pots. Ageratum will bloom in two months.
Ageratum care involves watering, fertilizing, loosening the soil and weeding. Ageratum should be watered abundantly, but not excessively, after watering together with loosening the soil, remove weeds. Feed the plant with humic or mineral fertilizers once every two to three weeks. Ageratum has a good effect on the fertilizer with an infusion of cowpea, but in no case use fresh manure as fertilizer – ageratum does not tolerate it.
How to grow cineraria – proven tips
Try not to overfeed the plant, otherwise it will lushly green, but will not bloom. Remove wilted inflorescences in time. If you want ageratum to flower abundantly and beautifully, it is worth to cut it as needed, leaving only a few internodes on the stem. Usually after such pruning, ageratum grows quickly and blooms more lushly.
Ageratum after flowering
On the eve of the first frosts, transplant the most beautiful ageratum bushes into flower pots and bring them into the house, on the balcony or porch – they will decorate your home until the end of autumn, and maybe even winter. In March you can cut cuttings from these bushes and root them for planting in the garden after frost.
In general, ageratum – heat-loving plant, not tolerating even the mildest winters. It will not help him and sheltering. Therefore, you will have to clean the bed from the remnants of ageratum and plant new plants next spring.
Diseases and pests
The weakest place of ageratum – susceptibility to diseases. Most often ageratums suffer from root rot, and there is no escape from this disease. But by taking preventive measures, namely by choosing light soil for planting ageratum, controlling watering and regularly loosening the soil to slow the process of evaporation of moisture from the soil, you can prevent the disease. Ageratum is affected by cucumber mosaic and bacterial wilt, all of which are the result of improper care of the plant.
I repeat my spell: diseases and pests affect plants when you violate the rules of care for a long time. If you stick to the right cultivation techniques, your plants can cope with this kind of trouble.
Keep young plants safe from spider mites and whiteflies while they are at home or in the greenhouse, but if they appear, you will have to remove the damaged leaves and treat the plants with insecticides until the insects are dead. Later, in the bed, ageratum can be encroached upon by moths and nematodes, and you will have to work hard to get rid of them.
Species and varieties
Since the cultivation of ageratum is not difficult, and the decorative value is quite high, it is not surprising that it is so popular among florists. We will present you a few of the most popular species and the most attractive varieties of ageratum:
Grows up to 20 cm tall with upright stems and white, fragrant flowers.
Ageratum blue Blue mink
It is a small branched bushes with strong shoots 20-25 cm in height. Fluffy inflorescences of delicate blue shade really looks like mink fur, because they cover the whole bush. The diameter of the inflorescences is 5-8 cm.
Or Ageratum haustona – compact globular bushes grow from 15 cm to 60 cm depending on the variety. Inflorescences range from 3 cm to 8 cm in diameter and consist of baskets formed by fluffy flowers. Varieties:
- Alba is a white ageratum with dense inflorescences;
- Azur Pearl – Ageratum blue with large inflorescences;
- Faye Pink – dark pink ageratum with loose inflorescences 4-5 cm in diameter and small leaves. The height of the bush is 20-30 cm;
- Blue Mink – ageratum blue with a lilac hue in the buds, the leaves are large, height 25-30 cm;
- Blue Bouquet – blue ageratum of very beautiful shade, a giant among ageratums – reaches a height of 45 cm;
- Hawaii hybrids : Royal Hawaii is a dwarf 15 cm tall with purple flowers and White Hawaii is also a dwarf compact, only 18 cm tall with white flowers;
- Bavaria – 25-30 cm tall with large loose bicolor inflorescences: the center of the basket is light blue, almost white, and around it thin petals are bright blue.
- Read about the subject on Wikipedia
- Features and other plants of the Asteraceae family
- All Species List at The Plant List
- More information at World Flora Online