With its glossy green leaves and funnel-like pink or white individual flowers, the joint plant (Physostegia virginiana) makes a statement in any flower bed. grows as a perennial and reaches a size of up to 120cm. The joint flower owes its name to the enormous mobility of its flowers, which can be turned in all directions without breaking off. With a little care, the decorative plant can be easily cultivated even by beginners who have little gardening experience. Optimally cultivated, the perennial represents a real eye-catcher within the domestic green area for many years.

Location and soil of Physostegia virginiana

The joint flower originally grows in the northern parts of America, where it is cultivated in particular in moist forests and meadows. In our latitudes, the plant feels particularly comfortable in a sunny location within the green area. The more light and warmth the plant gets, the richer the flowering will be. The joint flower basically also thrives in shady areas, but then grows there with much weaker flowering. Cultivated in semi-shade, however, the flowering is not restricted.

The joint flower is particularly decorative in beds and borders; there the plant can be planted individually or cultivated as part of a group planting. However, locations close to water are also suitable for cultivating the tiered erika; the plant also finds ideal site conditions at the edge of a pond. The joint flower then has a very decorative effect with lamp cleaner grass, lavender and asters, with which it can be perfectly socialized. The proximity to speedwell, aster, cushion aster, sage, scabious and yarrow also has an appealing effect. In principle, the combination with other perennials is always worthwhile.

In addition to the ideal location, the soil also plays an important role in the cultivation of tiered erika; In order for the plant to thrive optimally, the substrate should have certain properties:

  • fumes
  • rich in nutrients
  • fresh to moist

A very wet and particularly cold soil, on the other hand, is generally not tolerated.

Tip: Physostegia virginiana also thrives particularly well when the substrate is highly permeable.

Sandy soils are naturally quite permeable; Therefore, for example, a particularly loamy substrate can be processed by the targeted incorporation of sand or gravel. Then the absorbed moisture can drain off better.

Irrigation, fertilization and wintering – care

Sufficient watering, which should take place regularly during the summer months, is part of caring for the joint flower. In dry periods, the plant is watered continuously, otherwise the joint flower threatens to dry out. To prevent both soil that is too wet and dryness, it has proven useful to mulch the substrate regularly. To ensure the absorption of a sufficient amount of nutrients, some compost should also be added in the spring.

The hibernation of the joint flower usually takes place without any problems, since the plant is frost hardy. Only in particularly harsh locations may it be necessary to additionally provide the plant with suitable winter protection, for example with the help of softwood brushwood, which offers excellent protection against the cold due to the close arrangement when layering. Spruce twigs have proven particularly useful, as they gradually lose their needles by spring, allowing more air and light to reach the plant at exactly the right time. A cleverly chosen location can also offer additional winter protection. For example, it has proven useful to plant perennials at the foot of an evergreen tree. For example, conifers, rhododendrons and cherry laurels are suitable.

Pruning Physostegia virginiana correctly

The joint flower can be cut at different times and for different purposes:

  • Promotion of the second flowering
  • Cut back after flowering
  • Cut back in autumn

The rough thinning and the removal of faded flowers can be done at any time and should also be done regularly so that the plant remains attractive.

A targeted pruning after flowering is particularly important. The spikes that have faded are cut off down to the top pair of leaves. This prevents the foliage from becoming unsightly due to falling leaves. This measure also serves to prevent seed formation and at the same time prevents the spread of various diseases. Last but not least, the regular removal of faded leaves ensures that the perennial grows back quickly and easily.

The classic pruning of the joint flower is done in late autumn. Now diseased parts of the plant in particular are removed so that nothing can rot. The stems of the plant, on the other hand, are cut back to the ground. The strict pruning then also increases the vitality of the plant.

Due to its rhizome, the joint flower spreads quickly overall, especially in the area. For this reason, it has proven useful to restrict wild growth by not only pruning the perennials after a few years, but also digging them up completely. After a targeted division, only the young, outer parts are used again. The targeted division of the perennials also takes place in order to maintain and promote the abundance of flowers. The separation then always takes place in one to two-year-old specimens.

propagation and plants

The joint flower can be propagated by different methods:

  • division
  • via head cuttings
  • by sowing

The division takes place about every two years. First, the root ball around the plant is cut off with the digging fork and then lifted out of the ground. It is important to ensure that the roots are not damaged if possible. When dividing, it should be noted that each individual piece has several leaves and a sufficiently developed root system. The separation always takes place in the younger growth area; Unclean separation points are then trimmed with a knife, injured plants. and root parts removed. The sections obtained in this way are entered into the prepared substrate as soon as possible.

Alternatively, the joint flower can also be propagated via head cuttings. These cuttings are taken from the shoot tips of the plants, which are separated with a clean cut just below a node. Then the leaves on the underside of the plant are removed. Now the cuttings can be placed in pots or bowls that contain potting soil. The shoots come with the originally basal part stuck down. At least one eye should look out of the ground after sticking. High humidity is now important for the cuttings to grow well. In order to create these conditions, it can be advantageous to cultivate the cutting construction completely under a plastic hood, which serves as an evaporation protection.

Last but not least, the propagation of the joint flower can also be done by sowing seeds in a targeted manner. These are cold germs; these are best sown in November, if necessary also in late winter, in special seed trays. The pots are then moved to a warm room and kept well moist until the seeds are swollen. This process takes about two weeks. Now the cultivation vessels can be set up in a sheltered place outdoors; in February or March the pots are then moved to a bright and moderately warm, bright spot in the house. Alternatively, cultivation in the cold frame is also possible. Then the first cotyledons will soon appear and the young plant can be cultivated under the same conditions as adult specimens. When planting the joint flower, a sufficient distance between the plants must be taken into account. This should usually be around 40cm.

treat diseases effectively

Physostegia virginiana is particularly susceptible to powdery mildew. This disease manifests itself in the following damage:

  • white or gray spots on and under leaves
  • mealy-mouldy coating on shoots, buds, flowers
  • curling of the leaves
  • Dirty gray or brownish discolouration of the covering over the course of time

In order to keep the risk of infestation with powdery mildew as low as possible, the distance between the individual plants should be chosen generously. In addition, various plant strengthening agents have proven to be useful, which are mainly given out when the weather is appropriate (high pressure weather and temperature fluctuations). A classic remedy in this context is garlic broth. If the plant is already affected by powdery mildew, the affected parts as well as fallen leaves and plant remains must be removed. Special fungicides should only be used if the infestation is very severe. Here, lecithin preparations that are gentle on beneficial insects have proven their worth, as have sulfur agents, which are considered to be relatively environmentally friendly.

One of the common diseases that can affect the joint flower is gray mold. Affected buds, shoot tips, stems and leaves as well as flowers appear soft and lazy; in addition, the formation of a heavily dusty, mouse-grey coating can be observed. Gray mold occurs primarily in the wrong site conditions; for example, too narrow a planting and a low permeability of the substrate used can increase the susceptibility to this disease. If the plant is watered, care should also be taken not to get too much water on the leaves. The use of various plant strengtheners also helps preventively. In this context, horsetail broth and rock flour have proven their worth. If there is already an infestation

The joint flower is one of the robust perennials that can be cultivated by both experienced hobby gardeners and beginners with optimal care. Only the choice of location and substrate should be done very carefully to prevent diseases. Cleverly combined with other perennials and pruned regularly, the plant can enrich the local green area for many years.

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