Bear Ear, or Arctotis: Greetings from South Africa

    As an ornamental flower culture, arctotis has been growing for about two centuries, but in Russia this plant is not known to everyone. These flowers are very graceful, have a rich color. They are considered distant relatives of the gerbera. But her flowers are always open, and the arctotis necessarily close at night and on cloudy days.

    Where does the flower come from?

    In nature, arctotis is a herbaceous plant.

    The birthplace of the arctotis is South Africa, where it grows on rocky slopes. Occasionally found in southern Zimbabwe and Angola on scarce soils. Some species grow under the same conditions in South America. Therefore, arctotises can be considered an unpretentious culture, but this does not mean that they do not need care.

    Translated from Latin, Arctotis means “bear’s ear”, as it is sometimes called. Only not for the shape of the flower, but for the characteristic leaves. It is also called South African daisy, and hybrid varieties that are sold in flower shops are called gabris. This is a plant of the aster family.

    In the wild, arctotis grows in the form of shrubs and even grass, but in gardens when cultivated, it is able to grow in single large flowers.

    Features of growing arctotis

    Several seeds should be planted in one nest, leaving a distance of 20-40 centimeters between them

    It is believed that this flower can be annual, biennial, and perennial. It is an annual in the middle and northern strip of Russia, as it does not tolerate cold. But in the southern regions, the flower is experiencing a good winter.

    Gabris bloom from July to the very frost, until mid-November. Flowers resemble an aster or a large daisy, but look brighter and larger. At the cottage plot it is used as a decorative culture with a variety of colors. Due to this variety, different varieties are perfectly combined in the beds.

    The main popular varieties

    In nature, this plant has many different species, but not all are used in gardening, many hybrids have been created.

    Stachosolate (Arctotis stoechadifolia)

    Arctosis will feel most comfortable if there is sufficient sand in the soil, which can ensure its effective drainage.

    One of the most common varieties. The stems grow to 1 meter. The color is complex, of various shades (white, yellow, pink). Blooms for a long time, until the frost.

    As a cultivated plant grown since 1900.

    Short-stemmed (Arctotis breviscapa)

    Before the Arctosis begins to bloom, it is recommended that they be fertilized with a solution of mineral fertilizers

    A low plant up to 15 cm high. Perennial. Leaves and stems are covered with white pubescence. In the middle, the flowers have a bright yellow hue, along the edges - white.

    It has been bred in gardens for a very long time - since 1812.

    Grungy (Arctotis aspera)

    Organic fertilizers can harm flowers

    Reaches a height of half a meter. In Russia, grown as an annual. Inflorescences are mainly yellow and brown.

    Lush (Arctotis Fastuosa)

    Arctosis is vulnerable to parasites such as aphids and meadow bugs

    Has bright orange or yellow flowers, grows magnificent and heap. It is considered the progenitor of most hybrid forms.

    Stemless (Arctotis Acaulis)

    Arctotis there are more than 30 varieties

    The smallest and smallest variety of plants. Usually does not exceed 15–20 cm. The outlet is very thick, red or orange. Looks great in a cache-pot.

    Landing

    In the southern regions with a warm climate, the culture can be grown from seeds immediately planted in open ground. This can be done already in early May, if there is no threat of frost. However, the culture tolerates temperatures up to minus 1 degree. In colder conditions, you need to use the seedling method:

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    1. Seeds are purchased either in the store or collected in the garden two weeks after flowering; only it should be done quickly, the seeds are very small, then in the garden they will simply be lost.
    2. It is better to place prepared peat soil in separate pots, 2-3 seeds in each, it is better not to place seeds in the total capacity, arctotis does not tolerate diving.
    3. Landing should be carried out at the end of March; seedlings will appear in 8-10 days.
    4. Watering should be done carefully, preferably from below.
    5. Sprouts can be planted in open ground in late May or even in early June, it all depends on the climate; this culture especially loves temperatures around 20 degrees.
    6. Low-growing varieties should be placed at a distance of 20-30 cm from each other, higher - at a distance of 40 cm.
    7. You can plant seeds in a common box; with this option, they are scattered on the soil and covered with glass, after a while it is removed; Dive is carried out very carefully so as not to damage the root system.

    The soil can be chosen even calcareous, only not clay and not moist. Drainage is best.

    Care

    Plant care will vary depending on the flowering period.

    During growth and flowering

    Watering flowers abundantly is not necessary; they do not like this. You can generally rely on rain, and watering during a drought. A plant may die from waterlogging of the soil.

    Flowering occurs after 1-2 months. Prior to this, plants can be fed with mineral fertilizers once after planting, but in small quantities.

    You can’t feed this crop with organic fertilizers!

    Tall flower instances need vertical support

    After flowering, faded inflorescences must be removed.

    The leaves of a bear’s ear usually form a beautiful grass cover, which will be even more attractive if you trim from the top.

    After flowering - preparation for winter

    Weeks after 1.5–2 after flowering, the inflorescences begin to dry out. As soon as a peculiar white coating appears on them, collect the seeds. There can be a lot of them in one bud, up to 500 pieces, so take a little everywhere.

    Then they are dried and left in closed containers until spring.

    Only in the southern regions of Russia can a “bear’s ear” be left for the winter, covered with spruce branches or just foliage and shortly pre-cut.

    Magnificent combinations of arctotis are obtained with godetia, fuchsia and marigolds.

    In central Russia, the arctotis does not tolerate winter.

    If you really fell in love with this flower, transplant it into a pot and take it home. Only transplantation must be done carefully. The root system of the plant is very weak.

    Growing difficulties and disease

    The plant does not require special care, but frequent and plentiful watering can become detrimental to it. Then the flower can be infected with fungal root rot. It is very difficult to get rid of it, often even pruning the roots does not help. It is better to burn the infected plant so that the fungus does not spread to the rest of the flowers.

    Excess moisture in the soil can also cause spotting. It must be fought with Bordeaux fluid according to the instructions.

    In the heat, aphids can descend on the garden. An infusion of tobacco leaves or garlic will help here.

    The variety of colors of the bear ear is now attracting more and more gardeners. This plant is perfectly used in landscape design. For example, on curbs or lawns for rest.

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