Beautifully decorated garden plots always delight the eye and delight the neighbors. To ennoble the garden, flower cultures are usually used, growing in lush color, but decorative herbs are often forgotten. However, it is they who are able to radically transform the appearance of the site, making it unique. One of these herbs can be the cortaderia or pampas grass, which we will take a closer look at in this material.
Cortaderia Sello is a perennial plant native to South America and belongs to the cereal family. It is worth noting that in their homeland culture is not at all appreciated - it is believed that this is a weed grass. Nevertheless, the plant looks quite impressive.
Consider its main features:
- maximum height - 3 meters;
- the length of the leaves is about two meters, the ends and edges are sharp;
- the color of the foliage varies depending on the variety - it can be green, light gray, blue;
- panicled inflorescences, their size reaches 40 centimeters, mostly white, but sometimes other colors, for example, pink, can also be found.
The cortaderia blooms in August, and this process continues until the first frost. If you want to see lush, beautiful bushes on your site, choose young female specimens of culture. They perfectly resist the weather and remain unchanged all fall, while men's - quickly wilt and wither.
Important: pampas grass has sharp leaves that cause skin irritation, it is also easy to cut about them. Therefore, experts recommend working with the cortaderia in gloves, as well as with caution to purchase it for those with children walking on the site.
Despite the fact that the plant is considered a weed in its homeland, it does not always survive in the climatic conditions of Russia. Winter does not tolerate very well, so gardeners who have already encountered its cultivation recommend paying attention to winter-hardy varieties.
Crops with spectacular violet, pink and other colors, most likely, will not take root.
We will get acquainted with the best varieties of Cortaderia selloana for growing in different regions of the Russian Federation, including in the Moscow region.
- Pumila. "Pumila" - One of the most popular varieties in Russian gardeners. Its height is 1 m, and the plant itself is famous for its beautiful panicle inflorescences of cream color. It tolerates frosts pretty well.
- Rosea. This variety is higher than the previous one - about two meters. It is interesting in unusual pink inflorescences with a silver tint. Blooms in the fall.
- White Plume. A large, very elegant plant that can decorate a large summer cottage. Lush white inflorescences gather at the top of the plant, creating the illusion of a snow cap.
- Rose Plume. This variety is one of the highest, grows up to 3 meters. It blooms from August to November with large inflorescences of a pink tone, adding some tenderness and airiness to the garden.
- Remorino Excellent frost-resistant variety, quite high. It blooms luxuriantly, the color of the inflorescences is white with a silver tint.
- Patagonia. This variety grows up to two meters up, also tolerates winter. Its leaves are green with a bluish tint, and the inflorescences are beautifully cast in silver.
To propagate the cortaderia, gardeners use several popular techniques. Let us describe them in more detail.
When choosing this method, it is important to remember that female plants look more interesting than male ones. Therefore, it is recommended to separate them for reproduction. The timing of the procedure is the end of spring or the very beginning of summer. Choose the strongest, well-developed plants and dig them up. The tuber is divided into several parts, at the same time, you can prepare pits about 45 cm deep. The bottom is lined with a thin layer of drainage, and the ground is fertilized with manure. Separated roots are planted in holes, covered with earth and watered.
Cuttings are another way to propagate pampas grass, although it is almost never used. In late August, several stems are cut from selected bushes. Their length should be about 5-6 centimeters, and more can be. The ends of the stems are soaked in growth accelerators, and then planted in open ground.
Propagation by seeds is the most difficult method, in addition, it is not always profitable. The fact is that most seeds will give male flowers, and no one guarantees that the plant will bloom in general.
It is also important to remember the fact that the first flowering earlier than after 3 years should not be expected.
At the beginning of March, containers with moist and nutritious soil should be prepared. Sowing material is laid out on the soil surface, slightly pressed down and covered with a film, in which there are several small holes for air flow. Boxes are placed on the sunny side, making sure that light falls on them at least 8 hours a day.
The temperature in the room should be about 20 degrees, you can a couple of degrees more. The soil is moistened from a spray bottle, avoiding drying out. Sprouts will appear in a couple of weeks, then the film can be removed. Upon reaching 10-15 cm, the seedlings are transplanted into separate spacious containers that need to be exposed to air in the summer. With the onset of frost, boxes with seedlings are brought into greenhouses, which are optional to be heated, the main thing is that they are protected from drafts and insulated.
Before embarking on a landing, it is very important to consider how much space you are willing to devote on your site for this crop. The plant is characterized by a high growth and distribution rate, it can grow greatly, filling the entire area. Therefore, you need to take this point into account, unless the cortaderia is the only crop that you are going to grow.
Choose a place
In their homeland, pampas grass makes absolutely no demands either on the landing site or on the soil. She does not need human involvement either. However, the Russian climate does not always take root well, and you need to carefully consider the choice of area in which it will be grown.
The landing area should be very sunny, the shadow is unacceptable, like the wind. Experts recommend planting pampas grass in places where drafts do not pass, for example, near the walls of a house, near trees that can protect the culture from wind gusts.
In addition, it is important to remember that cortaderia does not tolerate stagnation of moisture, and therefore it is impossible to plant it in lowlands or where groundwater passes close to the surface.
Preparing the ground
Pampas grass needs light soil that can pass air well. Excessive moisture is unacceptable, because the roots quickly rot, destroying the plantations. Let’s figure out how to plant a cortaderia on different types of soils.
If the soil is sandy, it is necessary to make a hole to the permeable layer, and then make a mixture consisting of the following components:
- 50% fertile garden soil;
- 10% sand;
- 20% peat and humus.
The seedling is lowered into the hole, and then fall asleep with the resulting composition. In addition, you will need to create a small mound, which will serve to divert excess water.
On impermeable or clay soils, the planting pattern looks somewhat different. Here, a mandatory moment is drainage, without which it will be impossible to get rid of excess moisture. As drainage, for example, pebbles can be used. And also it is not necessary to use garden soil, if for the most part it consists of clay. It would be more reasonable to increase the content of humus, peat and sand.
The drainage layer should be at least 20 centimeters, and the hole diameter should be about 150 cm. As in the previous case, an embankment is made around the seedling, the height of which is at least 50 cm.
It’s easy to grow beautiful and lush pampas grass, but you need to take care of it regularly. Therefore, cortaderia is often not recommended for beginners who do not know all the intricacies of caring for such crops.
This culture loves water, so it needs to be watered regularly, especially before flowering. The frequency of watering is increased in hot weather. You need to water the plant in the early morning or late evening, so that the liquid does not fall on the inflorescences or foliage. Despite such a need for moisture, it is simply necessary to observe the measure of watering - at the slightest stagnation of water the plant will begin to rot. In addition, you can not be insured against prolonged rains, which will further provoke moisture accumulation.
If rainfall does not stop, shelter must be made over the plant so that the soil does not suffer from waterlogging.
The best option for feeding cortaderia is organics, thanks to which the grass grows well and blooms profusely. Before flowering, the plants are fertilized with compost, but it is important not to overdo it with the amount, the top dressing layer should be thin. For the entire season you need to fertilize 2 times - in May and June.
And you can also use complex fertilizers for growth and flowering, which will contain a lot of nitrogen. They are dissolved in water according to the instructions and water the culture. Another good option would be azofoska, which should be administered once a month.
Not all varieties of pampas grass can tolerate winter. Above, we indicated some varieties that can be planted in cold climates. However, they also need thorough shelter for the winter.
When the grass turns yellow, it is cut so that the height is not more than 40 cm. The middle and top are bandaged, achieving the form of a sheaf. Then the plant is covered with non-woven material filled with dry foliage. The foliage circle is closed with the same foliage, and the layer should be thick, the earth is strewed from above. A layer of earth and soil can be additionally covered to prevent moisture from entering.
If you live in places where cold winters reign, for example, in the Moscow region, then additional measures will be required. The culture, in addition to foliage, is wrapped in a good layer of straw; you can even equip an impromptu roof. But in regions such as Siberia or the Krasnodar Territory, pampas grass is not recommended to be grown, because it will be extremely difficult to winter it.
But here there is a way out - this is a plant transplant. Cortaderia is planted in separate containers and brought into a room where the temperature will be about 10 degrees heat. In spring, both the garden and the grass that has wintered in the house are pruned, removing dead and withered stems and inflorescences. But going to use this method of wintering, it is worth considering two important things:
- a culture of 3 meters in height will not feel comfortable in a pot and indoors, so only low-growing varieties are suitable;
- constantly digging and planting pampas grass does not work back - the rhizome quickly grows underground, and sooner or later, even the most careful gardener will damage it.
Diseases and Pests
Cortaderia is incredibly hardy, it is able to please gardeners for many years with its beauty and resistance to many diseases. Nevertheless, they may appear, and most often the reason for this is errors in care.
One of the most common diseases will be powdery mildew. This fungal ailment appears on absolutely all cultures, and pampas grass is not safe from it either. The reason is excessive watering, as well as infected tools that cut diseased plants.
Powdery mildew looks like white plaque, and this plaque from the leaves gradually spreads to the stems. Foliage turns yellow and wilts, the plant is deformed, stops flowering.
Fighting misfortune with strong fungicides, one of the most effective is Tiovit Jet. Another good remedy is Fitosporin.
The second unpleasant disease that pampas grass can catch is anthracnose. This is also a fungal ailment that rapidly multiplies in heat and moisture, quickly capturing other nearby crops. It is manifested by the appearance of brown spots: first they appear on the foliage, then they move to the stems. Over time, the spots will merge into one, and the culture will begin to rot.
Bordeaux fluid, colloidal sulfur, as well as good fungicides, help against anthracnose. If all else fails, sick bushes will have to be dug up.
Among the pests, aphids and spider mites can be noted, although they rarely appear. Aphids prefer foliage, it parasitizes on it, depriving the plant of vital juices. The best medicine will be insecticides. It’s also worth checking if there are anthills in the garden. All anthills found are destroyed, as the ants contribute to the rapid spread of aphids.
The spider mite is easily detected by the thin cobwebs with which it braids the foliage. Initially, the pest almost does not bother the gardener, but if you miss the moment, it will multiply and may well cause the death of the plantings.
In the initial stages, the tick is destroyed with a soap solution or infusion of garlic, in advanced cases only strong insecticides will help.
Landscape design application
Due to its spectacular appearance, cortaderia is very often used in decorating kindergartens and summer cottages. Mostly gardeners prefer single plantings of culture, since tall, round bushes with delicate inflorescences look quite impressive. However, if your plans are to create a variety of compositions, you should know what else this plant can be combined with.
One of the best ideas is to combine pampas grass with crops that change the color of foliage in autumn. For example, it can be birch, maple, willow, viburnum and mountain ash. Among flower crops, you can choose bells, cloves, asters, lavender and iris.
Cortaderia with its appearance symbolizes peace, relaxation, therefore, it is often decorated with arbors and benches, recreation areas. In this case, it is recommended to combine the culture with calm, delicate plants: hydrangeas, roses, boxwood.
And finally, some interesting examples of how you can effectively apply cortaderia on your own site.
- Pampas grass decorated benches, creating an excellent zone of comfort and relaxation. It is best to choose high varieties of culture.
- Cortaderia combined with pink perennials. It looks unobtrusive, but very beautiful.
- The unearthly pink pampas grass on the site will immediately attract attention. Merging with each other, pink inflorescences form a beautiful ensemble, which is hardly possible to repeat with other cultures.
- Many people like a single, solitary landing. And it will look even better if you decorate the bush with stones and various stunted plants.
- In large areas, you can plant a cortaderia between round bushes. This design is perfect for parks, walking areas, resorts.
- Cortaderia blends wonderfully with purple crops. It can be, for example, lavender or irises. The colors contrast with each other, creating a composition pleasing to the eye.
For more on growing pampas grass, see the next video.