Rose of Jericho

The rose of Jericho (Anastatica hierochuntica), which belongs to the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae), is a real eye-catcher not only in the garden bed. The annual plant, which can originally be found in the desert belt from southern Persia to Morocco, appears as a small rosette, which provides a striking look in the garden. The plant, which grows to a maximum of 10cm, forms green, small-leaved foliage and, due to its mythical background, is often given away at Easter or Christmas.

Location, temperature and soil conditions

The plant originally comes from very dry and hot desert areas. – It is therefore not surprising that the plant feels most comfortable in particularly warm and dry locations. Basically, the plant should be kept outdoors; indoor cultivation has not worked. Keeping them in warm indoor spaces is only suitable for cultivation. The rose of Jericho thrives best in a bed that is exposed to intense sunlight. Places in full sun with a lot of incidence of light are therefore particularly suitable. Such sun-drenched locations should have temperatures between 20 and 26 ° C so that the Rose of Jericho can thrive optimally. The plant is not frost-resistant; However, since it is an annual plant, overwintering is not necessary anyway. The plant should never be cultivated in partial shade or even in shade! The chosen place should also be protected from the wind. In addition to the right location, the right soil conditions are also decisive for the optimal growth of the plant:

  • A very loose substrate is particularly suitable.
  • The earth should be permeable to air.
  • Mixtures that have a high proportion of sand are particularly suitable.
  • Commercially available bird sand can also be used to grow seeds.

Watering and fertilizing – optimal care

The rose of Jericho is very undemanding and requires very little care. The plant must be watered at regular intervals, but overall watering is done with very little water. Too much watering must be avoided at all costs, as this can lead to root rot! The plant does not require any further care; fertilization is also not necessary. In addition, no specific pests or diseases are known from which the Rose of Jericho should be protected. Because of its modesty, the plant can also be cultivated by beginners.

Propagation and sowing of the Rose of Jericho

The “real” Rose of Jericho is only offered by very few dealers; The prices for the seeds are often correspondingly high. If a plant is already available, it can be propagated and cultivated. This works best in the months of spring. Each time it is opened, the plant loses some seeds that can be used for replication. Before cultivating outdoors, the seeds should be moved to a warm room to germinate. Germination is best done at temperatures between 17 and 19 ° C. After the seeds have been removed from the plant, they are placed on sandy, loose and light soil and only pressed very lightly. It is not necessary to bury it in the substrate.

Tip: Bird sand is particularly suitable for growing and germinating.

The nursery pot is then placed in a warm place on the windowsill. In order for the seeds to germinate successfully, there must be optimal irrigation. The best way to supply the liquid is with a small saucer that is placed under the pot. This should be well filled with water. In this way, the sandy substrate is always kept evenly moist. Germination is usually very quick. Then they are taken outdoors:

  • After growing indoors, the seedlings can be sown in a bed.
  • Soils with a high proportion of sand are also well suited for the seedlings.
  • Care should be taken to ensure a full sun and dry location.
  • The best time to move outdoors is late spring; at this time of year the temperatures are also optimal.

Alternatively, the Rose of Jericho can also be purchased as a finished plant. The seeds of a purchased rose from Jericho can then be used again for propagation.

The resurrection effect 

Anyone who has ever put a dry specimen of the plant in a bowl with water has witnessed a fascinating phenomenon, which is also known as the “resurrection effect”. Here, the apparently dried out plant turns into a flowering plant when it comes into contact with the liquid. To be able to observe this effect, the plant must be placed in a plate that contains cold water. Within a few hours, the curled up plant unfolds and turns green. To the superficial observer, this phenomenon can by all means simulate that life has returned to the already dead and dried-up plant. However, this is only a physical phenomenon. In fact, the already dead plant is really dead and cannot be brought back to life by the water. The fascinating phenomenon comes about through the cells of the plant, which soak up with water. This suction effect can be explained by the phenomenon of capillary force: the water is practically forced to pull itself up through very thin tubes. The rosette then unfolds through hydrostatic tension, but without restarting the cell metabolism of the Rose of Jericho. When performing the resurrection effect, certain criteria should be taken into account: The water is practically forced to pull itself up in very thin tubes. The rosette then unfolds through hydrostatic tension, but without restarting the cell metabolism of the Rose of Jericho. When performing the resurrection effect, certain criteria should be taken into account: The water is practically forced to pull itself up in very thin tubes. The rosette then unfolds through hydrostatic tension, but without restarting the cell metabolism of the Rose of Jericho. When performing the resurrection effect, certain criteria should be taken into account:

  • If the phenomenon is to be shown several times, cold water must be used.
  • With a single use of the plant, hot water can also be used; I set the effect after a few minutes.
  • However, the hot water is harmful to the plant, so the effect cannot be repeated as often.
  • The plant should always be left in the water for a maximum of one week, otherwise there is a risk of mold formation.
  • Before the resurrection effect is repeated, the Rose of Jericho must dry for at least two weeks.
Tip: A small gift, for example a ring, hidden in the dry plant will only become visible when the plant unfolds. – A popular gift especially for couples.

Rose of Jericho – naming and myth

The plant was originally brought to European countries by crusaders from the Orient. According to tradition, the plant is said to have been blessed by the Virgin Mary and given its name as the “daughter of the prophet”. In addition, the rose of Jericho is said to have a healing effect: According to legend, the plant is said to have been immersed in hot water; the brew is said to have cured the sick. Today the plant is given away mainly at Easter or Christmas in order to demonstrate the resurrection by means of the resurrection effect.

“Real” and “fake” rose – differences

When the rose of Jericho is spoken of today, however, the “real” rose is often not meant. In addition to the Anastatica hierochuntica, two other species are called the Rose of Jericho. One of these species is a moss fern (Selaginella lepidophylla), which is particularly common in esoteric shops or Christmas markets and is similar to the real rose from Jericho. The plant also shows the typical resurrection reaction. The rose is “fake”, but it is a “real” resurrection plant. – This means that, unlike the real rose, this species is actually still alive when it comes into contact with water. As a damp plant, the rose is able to do without water for months, whereby the individual parts of the plant dry out and turn brown. If the rose comes into contact with moisture, it begins to bloom again and green leaves develop. Despite all the similarity, there are some essential differences between the two species, which quickly show whether you have purchased a real or a fake rose from Jericho:

  • The real rose has a main root and the branches are elongated and smooth.
  • In the fake variant, there are many small roots that show numerous branches and present delicate grooves.
  • Because the plant is still alive, the living resurrection effect often only succeeds once; if an attempt is made to bring about the phenomenon again, it is usually a physical effect.
  • The real rose is also much more expensive than the fake variant.

Cultivation of the false rose of Jericho

The fake variant thrives best in a dry and warm location all year round. The planter in which the plant is planted should be filled with sufficient water. The fake rose unfolds after just a few hours, with the branches turning green. Because permanent moisture can quickly lead to rotting processes, the plant should be left in the water for a maximum of a few days. The plant is then dried and taken to a warm place.

After greening, the plant is planted in sandy substrate and placed in the sun. The plant rarely needs to be watered; A little water every few months, given for several consecutive days, is perfectly sufficient. It is important that the plant dry out completely in between. The propagation of the false rose of Jericho can be done in different ways; Specimens that still contain seeds can be propagated through them. But even the attempt with cuttings shows a good chance of success. For this purpose, the moss fern is divided in spring. Button cuttings are cut, which are then placed in a sandy substrate (for example potting soil with a high proportion of sand) and rooted at a room temperature of around 20 ° C.

Regardless of whether it is the real or the fake rose from Jericho: Both types are quite undemanding in terms of care and are therefore also suitable for plant lovers who do not have that much experience. If it is taken into account that the plant was originally native to dry and warm desert areas and tries to implement these conditions in the home garden, both species will bring a lot of joy. Due to the impressive resuscitation phenomenon, the plant is also ideal as a gift. Children in particular are delighted with the dried rosettes that suddenly begin to come back to life. The Rose of Jericho is therefore equally suitable for small and large plant lovers.

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